Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Shock and Aw Shucks Drudion

March 2005ce

Hey Drudion,

Please excuse the extreme tardiness of this address, but I’ve been labouring these past weeks to get the US immigration sorted for my forthcoming American shows. Unfortunately, there were several things to do with my applications that were making their Politburo mighty unhappy, so much so that they’ve gone and turned me down! No freedom fries for the Cope! My beard was creating problems because they reckon it doesn’t look like me, the script on my Armenian visa is too generically ‘foreign’, and my request for gainful employment was treated with suspicion, also my not having visited Amerika since 1998 despite being married to a US citizen for 20 years; all of these things conspired to create a No Show situation. Damned Yankees, ain’t I free enuff for ya? All I can say is a big thanks to everyone who tried to get this thing going (Frank Riley and Jackson Haring most especially), and a big sorry to everyone over there who were hyped to see my luscious looseness made flesh… I got no guns, no religion – I guess Uncle Sham ain’t got the need for someone armed just with primal raw talent anymore.

In the meantime, Britain has just suffered a cruel blow at the hands of Lord Justice Brooke, the judge who has upheld the Muslim girl Shabina Begum’s claim to her right to wear her symbol of religious bondage to school. In my opinion, wearing suffocating and restricting clothing in an everyday situation should only be the right of Manny lads in snorkel parkas and other Gallagher Brothers-informed teen cults, and certainly not extend to the domain of invisible Sky Gods and the bizarre neuroses of their respective priesthoods. Sexism in Islam is even more extreme that it is in Christianity and Judaism, yet we in the West persist in offering these patriarchal homophobes their right to practise archaic misogynistic practises under our very noses. Has Britain become so secular that its population can no longer see that disputing the right to indulge in such irrational lifestyles is not Racist, but merely Creedist? Like Judaism and Christianity before it, there is plenty of evidence that Islam works well in Dar al-Islam, the geographical region in which Allah was conceived. Those are desolate and unfertile regions where a powerful male God makes sense in the constant fight for the wells and the good land. However, we in the West (what Muslims refer to as the lawless regions of Dar al-Harb) have spent too long fighting the Judeo-Christian hang-ups of the priesthoods to start all over again with Islam. Western culture of the post-war times has been one constant battle against the stubbornly dogmatic patriarchal religious authorities who had for millennia enforced violently racist, sexist and homophobic doctrines, and we WON THAT FUCKING WAR!!! Or so we thought. And if no one in the West has much of a stomach for re-starting the battle now that religious intolerance has come again beating at our doors, then those with battle fatigue are gonna have to take a big old psychic Pepto-Bismol and get back on the programme.

Get this, motherfuckers… in Britain, our women are strong, and our ethnic minorities are accepted and our homosexuals no longer worry about using public toilets for fear of getting done for soliciting. That will change forever if the chill fundamentalist wind of Allah’s burkha boys and the Anglo-Catholic Blair Bush Project squeezes us from both sides. Standing outside W.H. Smith’s mouthing off about the Lord at weekend shoppers don’t make you a good person, it makes you an evangelical Christian. Refusing to eat pigs, rodents and the kind of sealife that crawls on the ocean bed don’t make you a good person with an admirable regard for the welfare of the animal world, it just means you’re Jewish. And trailing your subservient ass sunwise around a fragment of Meccan meteorite don’t make you a good person, it just makes you Islamic. The aforementioned actions would all be classed as extreme cult behaviour were it not for one big difference – there’s so many members of the Big Three invading our Godless space that we gots to dignify their aberrant behaviour and call it RELIGIOUS. We gotta wake up and smell the roses, brothers and sisters.

During my Italian book tour promoting the translated edition of HEAD-ON three weeks ago, one of my performances was set in Roman catacombs overlooked by the place where they kept the Turin shroud. One member of the audience asked me: “Hey, how do you feel now the scientists have proved that the shroud is of a far more recent age than the period ascribed to Jesus Christ?” I told him I could dig it because it brung the Nazz closer to us all. Hell, brothers and sisters, that shiny imaginary sucker could turn out to be later than Mohammed! However, I was extremely weirded out whilst I was in Rome because even non-religious types seem to get an attitude when you mercilessly slag off the Papa. A big thank you to Simone, Tomas and Annachiara at Fazi Publishing, and to the novelist Emidio Clementi for reading the Italian versions of my text with such authority.

However, continuing on the theme of disappointing religious experiences, I’m reluctant to tell y’all that the Spongebob Squarepants movie’s supposedly a pile of crap. My daughters Albany and Avalon both told me to stay far away from any cinema showing it. Gone are the constant allusions to Neptune worship, the druggy non-sequiteurs and the parts where Mrs Puff plays chords on a Burns Scorpion whilst Spongebob solos on a Flying V. Albany just called it ‘crap’, ‘not culty enough’ and (the ultimate crime) ‘typical Disney humour’. Avalon says it was ‘extremely extremely extremely disappointing. Not the same kind of humour.’ Luckily, our sadness was soon quashed as we spent the next day (February 19th) celebrating the 25th anniversary of Bon Scott’s death. Candles were lit and patchouli was burned and ‘Hell’s Bells’ was played at massive volume, before we embarked on a heavy-rotation playing of the sublime ‘Ride On’ from the otherwise-disappointing DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP.

Death came to another underground legend last month, but this time through his own choice. Hunter S. Thompson decided to quit this mortal coil of his own volition aged just 67 years old. Personally, I cannot say I’m surprised that someone as singular as Thompson would choose to go it that manner, indeed I believe that choosing to make a date with Death before the Reaper is ready for you might well be the best way to throw the Old Man off his guard. And who can find fault with any writer percipient enough to call Amerika “a nation of 200 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable”.

Okay, I’m hauling my ass out of here. Sorry again for the late address, but I really did think the US visa would eventually come through and it would all have a happy ending. Now, I’m off to listen to that itinerant poet Bon Scott howling his way through T.N.T. and remember Hunter S. Thompson via his greatest ever quote:

`The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.'

Yowzah!

JULIAN (M’Lud Yatesbury)