Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

March 007

March 2007ce

Hey Drudion,

Sometimes it’s hard being the Archdrude, but I gotta say a huge thanks for all the positive feedback from my February Drudion discussion about Odin and the incoming patriarchy. While many Odinists among you agreed that they too used him as a role model with which to successfully circumvent the need for so-called Gods, I was charmed by the many similar emails from Humanists and modern Buddhists who also take the same attitude to ‘controlling’ their own world-view. As I’ve probably mentioned before, I have a first cousin who is a practising priest in the East End of London, and even he has questioned the nature of his own ‘God’, preferring to see ‘him’ as a kind cosmic hitching post [my own paraphrase) with which to harness power in order to do good. About five years ago, I had an hour-long conversation with the then-new vicar of Yatesbury in which we both discussed the sheer remove of his new parish from his old stamping ground on London’s Peckham Rye estate. The evening ended in a cataclysmic thunderstorm, which bounded across the Downs in a hail of lightning bolts from the Avebury Trusloe and Silbury direction. As a city dweller, the new vicar had no idea that the hill whence came that storm was Waden Hill – named after the Ur-God currently under discussion – and even this lovely, genial vicar immediately grasped the incredibly tangible nature of the Gods once removed from their safe urban context. Within 45 minutes of the vicar leaving, all was peaceful once more as the storm stomped off in the direction of RAF Lyneham. All of which brings me once again to the ‘new’ highly-expanded EEC and all the problems that such huge changes can cause when undertaking too huge an influx of newcomers in too brief a period of time. Of course what has made Britain great is its constant immigration down the millennia - as the 17th century diarist Daniel Defoe commented on being asked if he was a ‘true’ Englishman: “Yes, your Roman-Saxon-Danish-Norman Englishman”. But, in my own not-so-humble opinion, far too many English liberals (I won’t tar Welsh and Scots liberals with this same brush, as I don’t think they have those same hang-ups) suffer from over-thinking the position of others without genuinely looking inside themselves and confronting their own world-view. The local nature of the so-called Gods changes not by the continent but by the mile, as the vicar of Yatesbury was shown when he moved a mere 85 miles west. Now, multiply all those local Gods (and the traditions that they throw up) by many millions and we have a huge complication of migrants from the east of Europe bringing in all of their own versions of their so-called Christian God (often filtered through years of Communism), plus all of the traditions, superstitions and phobias that come along with them. Surely only those of us with their heads buried in the sand could not be somewhat fearful that this could cause problems, not so much to us Whiteys but certainly to those of Asian and Afro-Caribbean descent who’ve come here from our Commonwealth over the past 30-odd years. And it is our government’s absolute DUTY to prepare both those excited and expectant incomers AND the present population of these islands, so that both groups can learn how to interface with each other properly. Visitors and incomers to any country need to know that country’s rules and traditions. In Armenia, I respected their cultural traditions that said a man must not bare his legs around women even when the weather is 113 degrees. In Malta, I respected their island traditions that said a visitor must not gain access to ancient monuments once the custodian has left for the evening. In Japan, despite my natural western opportunism, I respected their (to my mind strange) tradition that says the piles of next day’s newspapers neatly stacked upon unlocked news stands are ‘off limits’ until the vendor returns to his post to dole them out. We cannot adopt a laissez-faire attitude to incomers, or we risk two things: 1) they’ll think we don’t give a damn and do as they please; 2) their doing as they please will create the same attitudes in our own kind. At this highly important juncture in our cultural narrative, I beseech you all: confront your inner feelings and don’t hide behind Political Correctness. I am a Utopian product of ‘70s Feminism, British post-war socialism and Rock Against Racism; there is no subject matter too taboo for me to address. And though there is much that I do not know, I do know (from experiences abroad) that although women, gay people, black people and many minorities suffer intolerance in other less sound, less-inwardly self-reflecting areas of the world, they are still (comparatively) safe here in 21st Century Britain. Let’s keep our expectations high. Let’s keep it that way.

A RIPPLE IN TIME by Changes

ALETHES by Alethes

BURNING HOLY ROME by Holy McGrail

SACRAMENTO SESSION/5 OF 3 by Jennifer Gentle

MUDDY SPEAKING GHOSTS THROUGH MY MACHINES by Gianluca Becuzzi and Fabio Orsi

BATTLE STAFFS IN THE MUSHROOM WOODS by The Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom

But onwards now to my monthly mouth-off about contemporary rock’n’roll, for the current underground scene still continues to barf out umpteen epics per month defiant in the face of those so-called rebels who whore their way into people’s hearts via TV commercials. Flying as high above such indelicate opportunism as it’s possible to do are the American folk duo Changes, whose exquisite new album A RIPPLE IN TIME has a timelessness about it similar to the late ‘60s band Kaleidescope. This is possibly because the voice of Changes singer Robert A. Taylor is highly reminiscent of Kaleidescope’s David Lindley but more likely because this pair have themselves been working together since way back then. I’ve heard much of their material over the years, and always been transfixed by the purity of their songs. It’s as though they mine some seam of music so simple that no other artist has ever considered it, although Changes’ sound has really informed many of the so-called ‘dark folk’ bands of recent years, such as Werkraum and Cadaverous Condition. This new Changes album is a vinyl-only affair on stunning white vinyl, released on the White Label in a superb gatefold sleeve. Get hold of it at www.nmia.com/~thermite. Those of you seeking even darker acoustic music should also have a look for the Alethes album, which features long drawn-out songs, accompanied by the percussion of Waldteufel’s Markus Wolff. This otherworldly sound conjures up the atmosphere of northern oak forests and ritual sacrifice, as opposed to taking the hoary riddle-me-ree route of so much overly Kelticised ‘folk’. Having heard BURNING HOLY ROME, the new limited edition release from Holy McGrail, I wish even more that I’d been able to catch his solo debut at my Lyric Theatre festival ROME WASN’T BURNED IN A DAY, back in November ’03. This live album, released on the Italian Southern Cross label, even includes McGrail’s soundcheck performances, and mighty fine they are, coming across like a doomy night rally and occupying a bizarre hinterland somewhere between CLUSTER I and Klaus Schultze’s debut IRRLICHT. Get your doomy butts to holymcgrail.com right away. Next, I wanna make a big pitch for the latest vinyl release from Italy’s Jennifer Gentle, whose performance mightily impressed me when we played together on the same bill during the summer of 2005CE. Because of their name, I’d always unfairly written them off as a sub-Barrett act, but that live show showed them to be far more harshly transcendental and Krauty. In my opinion, their new vinyl-only LP, SACRAMENTO SESSION/5 OF 3 released on the A Silent Place record company, is a perfect way into their world. While the opening side-long track ‘Sacramento Session’ is over 20 minutes of organic Agitation Free-style psychedelia, the stunning ‘5 of 3’ is even better, being a crunching and hefty slab of tripped out musique concrète worthy of Joji Yuasa, Kunihara Akayima or one of their equivalent early ‘60s greats. Su – fucking – perb, mein hairies! Cop this essential gatefolded sucker at all good record stores or via www.asilentplace.it. Also available from the same label is the strangely beautiful and melancholic MUDDY SPEAKING GHOSTS THROUGH MY MACHINES, by Italian artists Gianluca Becuzzi and Fabio Orsi. These gentlemen have processed many old field recordings of blues and folk singers, weaving the results into the fabric of their strung-out meditative drones, which is itself full of old analogue sounds, producing an overall effect of sheer mystery. Currently, my favourite metal album is BATTLE STAFFS IN THE MUSHROOM WOODS, the latest offering from The Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom, an English duo who’ve recently shortened their name to the less unwieldy Bretwaldas. Available from www.kingpenda.com, this first full-length Bretwaldas album is a stark and true product of the Wodenist Midlands, the accented vocals and battle-drums somehow reminding me of the semi-rural landscape around Leicestershire and North Warwickshire.

Okay, regarding my own rock’n’roll schedule, I have to say that YOU GOTTA PROBLEM WITH ME is shaping up into a full-on heathen experience of beautiful and transcendental songs and sounds. Replete with Mellotron 400s, wa-acoustic guitar, two 30” Salvation Army marching drums and lots of chorus-heavy solo songs in the Cope tradition, it’s full of blasphemous utterings of the sweetest variety. To celebrate its May release, I’m embarking on a short solo tour of more out-of-the-way places. These are the dates thus far confirmed:

May 11th Reading Concert Hall May 12th Norwich Arts Centre May 15th Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms May 16th Birmingham, Glee Club May 17th Gloucester Arts Centre May 19th Northampton Roadmender May 20th Stoke Sugarmill

Finally, someone just alerted me to a Youtube performance of ‘Pristeen’ at the Brixton Fridge Anti-poll Tax gig. Recorded a full year before the release of PEGGY SUICIDE, this performance is pretty damned impressive, replete with Rooster Cosby in full Skellington costume and a remarkably able guitar solo from yours truly! Also, having asked in the last Drudion for the band known as Kabalist to get in touch, I actually received a boxed set from a band called Kabaalim, as well as the aforementioned lot whose record we intend to release on our Fuck Off & Di subsidiary. Rock’n’roll!

And with that, I shall quit my yacking.

Love reign on y’all,

JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)