"Listen, Geoff, I think we have to assume, you and me, that the Rolling Stones are coming to Long View, and not weaken the effort by any thought that they might not."
I started calling Alan Dunn about midday, the next day, but got his answering machine each time. His voice — on the assumption it was his — seemed crisp, cool, and thoroughly under control. Not at all rock 'n' roll.
He returned the phone call to me later that afternoon, while I was still in the office at Worcester. Very formal, very polite, very to the point. Yes, they had liked Long View Farm, particularly in respect of its privacy and general inaccessibility to the public. No, there was no one area at Long View quite big enough to accommodate a full-scale rehearsal of the Rolling Stones.
I then explained to Alan Dunn our plans for the loft in the barn, and attempted to convey to him my feeling that the construction could be completed in time for their intended starting date of Monday, 17 August. Alan Dunn sounded skeptical, and not at all ready to make up his mind. Not yet, at any rate.
They had worked in Woodstock the last time around, three years ago. Apparently using some of the facilities at Bearsville — the recording studio. How they had worked out the living accommodations was never quite clear to me, although I detected some lingering dissatisfaction with these arrangements. But at least Woodstock was a known quantity. Long View was an unknown quantity. And now, with Mick gone to India, or going to India tonight, it was going to be hard to get a decision, or even a mild consensus, concerning a totally new place, like Long View.
"Alan," I said. "I think it would be a good idea if we could meet each other. I'd like you to see who you're dealing with, and you need to be further informed concerning our plans for the loft in the barn. Let's let the eventual decision take care of itself."
"That's all very nice, what you say," Alan replied. "But I might be making things a lot easier for myself if I didn't try to turn them on to something too new at this point. I'm going to go back up to Woodstock tonight, I think. Although it's supposed to rain."
"I hope it rains hard, Alan," I said. "I hope it rains hard and that you hate the place all over again. Tomorrow's Saturday. Why don't you call me when you get back from Woodstock, and you can give me further news then."
"I hope you understand my position," was his reply.
"I understand, Alan. Call me tomorrow if you want, or on Monday."
I hung up with an unsteady hand and a cold feeling in the pit of my stomach. Maybe this deal wasn't going to happen at all, maybe not even get to first base. Mick's in India. The band has temporarily split up. They have to start somewhere on the 17th. That's three and a half weeks from now. This fellow Alan Dunn seems to want a sure thing, which would seem to favor Woodstock, but then he seems a bit susceptible to me on the phone. Who knows?
My desk phone rang again, almost instantly. I stared blankly at it for a second. It screamed at me again with its stupid thousand-cycle chirps. The ear can't easily locate thousand-cycle sounds, and in a big office like ours it's sometimes hard to find the phone that's chirping. This time it was my phone, and it was Geoff Myers calling in on the hot line from the Farm.
"Great news, Gil."
"What's up, Geoff?" I asked.
"Nigel can cut the beams tonight and deliver them tomorrow. Only $800, but he needs cash. My cousin Billy said he can come, although he'll probably bring a girlfriend. We've got to pay Billy this time. Bruce said he and Happy don't want to work the second shift, so they're going to start tomorrow at 8 AM."
"That's Saturday, right, Geoff?"
"Doesn't matter, they know what's at stake. They'll be the first shift 'til further notice. Happy needs some money to give his wife in Connecticut, and I've already told Kathleen. How's everything in there? Did you call Alan Dunn yet? They're still coming, right?"
I didn't know what I was going to say. But my mouth started moving.
"Yeah, Geoff, I'm here. Listen, Geoff, I think we have to assume, you and me, that the Rolling Stones are coming to Long View, and not weaken the effort by any thought that they might not. I did talk to Alan Dunn. Just a few seconds ago."
"And they're coming, right?"
"Yes, Geoff, the Stones are coming. We've got to assume the Stones are coming. So, full speed ahead."
"Great, see you later, Gil."
"Maybe not until very much later, Geoff," I said. "I thought I might go up to the El Morocco tonight for a meal."
"No problem," Geoff replied, "leave everything to me. I'm glad the Stones are coming."
"The Stones are coming, Geoff," I said.
All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.