Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Drudion Augustus 2005

August 2005ce

Hey Drudion,

Sorry for the tardy address, but the past ten days has been spent on preparation for the Urbino Festival, which takes place on a sacred hilltop in the Italian mountains southeast of Bologna. Its importance seemed particularly great to me due to the festival’s name; a beano being British slang for a ‘a celebration, a party, or other enjoyable time’. So the addition of the ‘ur-‘ prefix (as in ur-text) makes Urbino (at least in the poetic sense) into the very first festival. Wishing to take some pressure off Doggen during our Nottingham rehearsals, Dorian and I discovered that there is a self-catering apartment above the D H Lawrence Museum, located in his childhood home on Garden Road, Eastwood, just 600 yards from Doggen’s own house. I was already used to daily walks past Lawrence’s primary school, but was not prepared for the impact of renting this house which stands upon one of the thin blue heritage lines that pass along certain Eastwood streets, indicating all of D H’s favourite routes. Having become so aware, these past years, of the prehistoric temples as gateways to the underworld, my senses were so amplified in this former Lawrence habitat that it soon became clear to me that this house too was now a modern portal into the literary underworld. Indeed, this was particularly reinforced after last month’s travels through Barbagia and up to the Sardinian village of Fonni (see July Drudion ’05). And so, during our latest rehearsal period, Doggen and I took the opportunity one night to psychedelicise ourselves with Mexican mushrooms. Around 3 a.m., we ventured down into the Lawrence museum on the ground floor, and managed to take photographs dressed in full rock’n’roll battlegear. The trip was so clear that even a gigantic firework display nearby failed to send us scuttling under the bedsheets, though the presence of monochrome photographs of so many eminent (and damned scary-looking) visitors on the third floor landing did undermine our outrageously rock bonhomie every once in a while. With all those psychic preparations, Urbino turned out to be a wonderful experience, and we left the stage burning and wretchedly unuseable, with exploded amps and blood on the boards. Scorched earth policies, baby – leave the headliners with less than shit. I’d like to say a special thanks once again to my Italian publisher Simone Caltabellotta for increasing an already huge vibe, plus another massive ‘ta baby’ to Doggen, my new drummer Mr. E., and ninja synthesizer player Zachary, whose shameless licking of the blood from my belly added a truly heathen dementia to the climax of our show.

Which makes y’all demand where the hell was Holy McGrail during all this? Well, kiddies, Herr McGrail was back home birthing several projects simultaneously as is always his multi-tasking way. Number one was the early arrival of son Dom, whose clocking in at over 9lbs suggests an enormous weight off of wife Abbie’s distended belly. Congratulations to both of you, my darling babes. Further congratulations to McGrail for the final and hugely belated delivery of his magnum opus COLLECTING EARTHQUAKES (see Merchandiser), in which three massive doom drones gradually unfurl their banners across the firmament. All you pragmatic motherfuckers should specifically search out COLLECTING EARTHQUAKES’s rear gunner collaboration with Sunn0)))’s Stephen O’Malley, as this is death drone at its most useful… really The Shit!!!

In the meantime, as DARK ORGASM proceeds at a pretty pace, I should warn y’all that I have, for this particular album, returned to some pretty fundamentalist rules regarding the recording. As you know, Brain Donor adopted a tight glossary for their music very much in the same style as that found in the ZOOLOGY retrospective from The Teardrop Explodes. Inspired by both, I’ve returned for DARK ORGASM to some of The Teardrops’ 1978/79 work and plundered not the music but the law in which it was created. From my point-of-view, only a coupla months into the recording schedule, the method has already yielded several excellent new songs that I could never have reached without the formula. Three songs (“Hell or the Other Place”, “White Bitch Comes Good” and “Looks Like I’m Goin’ Down”) are dedicated to my ardently heathen belief that (in these increasingly Christian=Sir Cliff times) St Peter’s place as the pearly gate-keeper is no longer tenable, and that the blond Death Goddess Hel should be returned to her rightful position at those sacred portals – just as she always was in these northern realms (see Norse Myths and early German tales) before cruel Christian theologians appropriated her name for the hot place where all the baddies go. In the wake of the London bombings, what has become most clear to me is the importance of every Briton’s fundamental right to believe in Fuck All, motherfuckers! Those who choose to insult and murder and create mayhem on behalf of their own deities (“My invisible sky God is better that your invisible sky God”) can take a motherfucking hike across the Channel… and that includes all monotheists. Meanwhile, all the rock’n’rollers, artists, Hindus, and other free thinkers can get down to some real living on these sacred islands.

Finally, I have to agree generally with Muslim leaders who have noted that there’s far more fundamentalism in Christianity than in Islam. However, to my way of thinking, that is also a very disingenuous way of looking at the situation, if it excludes addressing what has become the current situation here in the West. The schism within Islam that subsequently caused the so-called Shi’ite separation from regular Sunni Islam was created right at the death of the prophet (730 AD), and appears to have been the result of certain Muslims going against Mohammed’s primary wishes. The separation ultimately concerned Shi’ites choosing to follow a caliph who was directly related to the prophet, rather than the caliph whom Mohammed himself wished to lay upon them - something which the Sunnis righteously rejected as being contrary to Mohammed’s own wishes (Mohammed claimed that it was not he himself who was divine, only the words which he spoke). It is for this reason that Shi’ism languished for so very long as an outsider form of Islam. Indeed, Shi’ism only really gained ground in the early 20th century when Islam – by now in its own 12th century – saw certain migrations of Sunnis to embracing Shi’ism in order to feel closer to the prophet via the Shi’ite caliph, himself a distant but nevertheless direct descendant of the prophet himself. Unlike Christianity, however, because Islam has never gone through the kind of Westernising filter that Zeus-ified Jehovah when St. Paul made his address to the Greeks of Ephesus (making him more Dad-like), the Allah that we are currently experiencing remains an entirely desert phenomenon (and a raging one at that), unused to the ridicule and mockery that has always been par for the course with European Gods and Goddesses. The Muslims of the modern West (which they refer to as Dar al-Harb, the lawless place) would do well to remember that we Europeans can be a compassionate lot when furnished with the facts, but that we are driven beyond suspicion into paranoia when we feel that ‘stuff’ is being withheld from us. Clue us, guys. Furnish us with the fax, babes. Why is the dog unclean in your society? Why do you ‘protect’ your women in a manner that appears sinister and smothering to us? We’re all ears. We owe a lot of our science and our inventions to forward-thinking Muslims, so no way are we trying to fuck you off.

For myself, I will remain Godless because I believe that by dwelling in the British Isles, I inhabit the most fertile region of the Mother Earth; a place where the Gods just ain’t necessary anymore. Also, I’m a rock’n’roller living in the freedom of NOW, whereas religions are (inevitably?) more concerned with control of the congregation and keeping bums on seats in order to justify paying the priesthood. As a rock’n’roller, I can experience all the light and all the dark and all that lies between, which is why I wrote ten years ago on the cover of my 20 MOTHERS double-LP:

“Glow in the dark earth, Glow in the safe earth, Glow bop a-rebirth, Glow in the dark earth.”

Hey, Sister-lovers and Brotherfuckers, I’ll hush my gob now and cut out of here before I pass my sell-by date. But you all take care out in them there streets. The bombing of London was perhaps unavoidable, but no less soul-destroying for all that. Coming in the wake of London getting the 2012 Olympics, and anticipating the earthmovers and JCBs that will hack up huge swathes of the city, the chaos resulting from the terrorist bombs reminded me of what John Steinbeck concluded back in 1962, whilst observing the chaos that resulted from extending the city limits of Seattle: “I wonder why progress always looks so much like destruction?”

Love a Fucking Piece,

LORD YATESBURY (Archdrude)