January 2001ce

Motherloders, it’s a Happy New Yeah Yeah Yeah,

2001 Kubrickian greetings this January 1st. Maybe the no-strings simplicity of this New Year will serve as a reminder of just how huge last New Year’s Eve was. No chance of computer meltdown this time, though my Crocodile Dundee underbelly was still a bit frit of an accidental showdown if you want the real Luddite lowdown. With Shitehouse in the White House and no deal on global warming forthcoming, Britain’s floodplains are gonna continue to take a right hammering. And the savagery of last night’s New Year's Eve wind across the Marlborough Downs made it seem as though Odin himself was at the door.

But what a winter festival it’s been. Two Jewish friends from New York got me in an early Chanukah mood so my menorah has been primed and well-to-the-fore. Since the end of the tour, I must’ve eaten over 450 mince pies and X-Massive amounts of figgy pudding. Now, I’m sitting at my pewter listening to Granicus drop their load on America and wondering why such a proto-Physical Graffiti sound wasn’t the biggest thing ever. Fools who overrated Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle” should’ve creamed their undies for “Welcome to America”, whilst the 11-minute “Prayer” is the wailing-est, lost-est howl at the moon to occupy any end-of-side-one since “Stairway…”

These past weeks have been spent scrambling my brain with all manner of monolithic dreck, from the turgid genius of Randy Holden’s Population 2 to Die Krupps’ Stahlwerksynfonie, via Sabbath’s Sabotage and Alex Harvey’s overlooked masterpiece Rock Drill. I need sluggish bombardment. I neeeed sludge. I love Dylan’s “Ballad of Hollis Brown” as played for eight drum machine minutes by Iggy and James Williamson. But I’m a sick sick boy, and I like Nazareth’s 10-minute death’s head version even better. Albany and Avalon gave me a bright orange toy doubleneck guitar for X-Mass, and its pre-programmed noodling has turned me into Edward Van Gottsching.

On the subject of rhythmless dirge, sometime in March should see the Head Heritage release of the first album by L.A.M.F. or Like A Mother Fucker. This enormous slab of drummerless guitar FX will be known as Ambient Metal, and is a collaboration between several of my favourite contemporary guitarists. I won’t tell ya right now whose starring, as it's more fun to be coy and you can probably guess whatever. I’m clothing the CD in that blue‘n’grey urban camoflage so beloved of myself and other Action Man fans in the 6-10 year range. I’m even hoping we may take this collaboration on to the rockstage at some stage.

Thank y’all again for The Tour. I dug it so much that I asked my agent Mick Griffiths if he could find any more weird and unlikely places that would have me. And guess what? Yeah, no shit. I'm booked to play throughout April and May. I asked for another Highlands & Islands tour, as Donneye’s family all come from Unst in the very north of the Shetland Isles, and he’s never been up there on to Ordnance Survey map 1. What a trip it is! No luck so far, but we're persisting. And all those who complained that I’d not come to Wales will be happy to know that I'm gonna be in Aberystwyth and Swansea sometime soon. Rock! Man, I’m going to Whitehaven on the Cumbrian coast, Hanley in the Potteries, Blackheath south of the Thames, and all manner of other exotica. As some guy in the front row of the Shepherd’s Bush Empire show kept calling out to me: “Julian, you're so local!” Rite ON! When I’m 50 years gone, I want to have travelled and played and written about so many parts of these British Isles that no matter where people are from, they can always say “Yup, Cope came here. He’s a local in these parts.”

I need to travel to the Shetlands and Orkneys this year in any case. Getting the gazetteer ready for Let Me Speak to the Driver is one of this year's priorities. I’m still talking to the British Museum about a possible 2-day festival around the late summer, so putting my mind into a …Driver headspace (and getting back out into the wilderness) is gonna be a right Practical Gas. Watching the last TV moments of the Castaways on Taransay, I felt so sorry for them. That island is so bleak that even the hardy Harrismen who live in nearby Tarbert will think them all just crazy city dwellers on a thrill ride. Yet I can feel only a deep compassion for them all. The BBC called it Castaway 2000, but the real journey to the outside will only kick in when they arrive back on the mainland. The film crews should really have started filming Ben & Co. only when they left – for sure their real test is just starting. For only their returning to snivilisation will make genuine castaways of them. Castaway 2001 – You betcha life.

Finally, Brain Donor releases its first thang in the next month or so. The single is “She Saw Me Coming” and features a stunningly loud guitar solo from Doggen. I'd love to make President Dubya the cover star, but it’s just too damn obvious. 2001 is the ideal time for a celebratory Getdown with our barbarian selves, so you keep the forums as buoyant as ever, and we'll continue to top this site up with massive Albums of the Month and a Vast Overhang of Thang.

Drudion, love to y’all and your families, too.

M’Lud of Yatesbury (Self-styled)