INCREDIBLE NEW STRANGLERS ALBUM!

My Literary buddy Nasir has highlighted that i have a weakness for “CAPS LOCK” Capitals on this blog which to be fair was a rather unseemly habit which shall now be replaced by proper punctuation – wise advice! (Dyslexia!?) More reviews from me on his fab Horror blog and unique takes on life will soon appear in lights here soon…In the meantime I recently wrote a review of this charming humorous piece with a nostalgic twist. It also has a funny music story that delighted me! https://spiralstaircase.blog/2021/05/22/foam/

Which brings us in no way whatsoever to a comeback Album/latter career album that has totally put a spanner in the works! Though the aforementioned story is set in the same period of the early 80’s..the last time the STRANGLERS were so high in the UK Chart.

As for Spanner in the works, I mean in regard to albums or an artist matching or even in some ways surpassing early work from maybe decades earlier. It never happens. As a result Some time ago I wrote an article on here with regard to the lack of authentic comeback albums. Particularly ones with original members. Ultravox had a try with a decent result. Though critically panned. The Monkees did a brilliant album of songs by the likes of XTC’s Andy Partridge that was a delight of original music that sits beautifully by earlier work even if with different songwriters. Do bands like Hawkwind, Genesis or The Who count? Hawkwind seem an ever changing band in keeping with the original with BROCK as the original founder as central. Though JJ didnt start the STRANGLERS he was central. Do the bands mentioned count as not original line ups? If thats the case then the new STRANGLERS album is nothing more than a tribute album or new band “Spin off”. But this is far far from the case. In fact in complete contrast to the usual trend amongst artists- JJ and the late Dave Greenfield from the original line up may have Jettisoned the Stranglers to a new career with new evolving line ups – rather like the Floyd and Genesis. However here we can enjoy an album pretty much dominated you feel by JJ. In the past with his humorous poetic albums with Greenfield he has led the band (less so when Hugh was with them) but JJ has reached new heights on this album. “Water” for me is really up there with the original line ups hey day and JJ’s beautiful moving tribute “If you should see Dave…” certainly had me shedding a tear. I remember having an extraordinary dream about Greenfield vividly after his sad death last year. I could hear swirling Bach style Harpsichords and he was younger in black and i watched from behind as he walked through peaceful gardens green and lush He was at great peace (looking rather as he did during the RAVEN LP Era) and he was in a green leafy avenue of trees in a very serene creative place which might have been a churchyard or country garden…perhaps in Somerset which I know so well. It certainly was evocative. Was it a real psychic experience or simply the over active imagination of a man who grew up loving the Stranglers since a wee nipper? Whatever the reason I can say this album has produced some of the most sparkling new music from a band who had everything going against them not least losing original frontman Hugh.

I would say that “DARK MATTERS” Just beats “NORFOLK COAST”. and is as good as HC’s magnificent solo “MONSTER” Album or his “WI’FI” and “GUILTY” Albums. If not better. I would put it equal with MONSTER and despite the incredible NORFOLK COAST title track id have to say this is their best post Hugh work. DARK MATTERS and MONSTER are the best produced by any member of the band in my view now since 1986’s DREAMTIME now whereas before I felt MONSTER and NC were equal best since “10”. This album changes all that. That can be “THROWN AWAY”..(An original line up classic i recommend).

Certainly the top 3 position has now perhaps made BURNEL’s point that they were always a BAND. So much that HUGH might want to be seen as the man behind it all who never mentions his past bandmates or gets asked. In the same way the band pretty much ignore Hugh C and are not asked either which seems perverse when his era produced the heyday of the band. Personally i listen to both. Certainly most frontmen have success like WELLER (though he is a unique maverick with more ups and downs than most). Some like SYD BARRETT or PETER GABRIEL might leave a band they formed and the former have failure (only commercially in my view not creatively…he even painted well at the end) the GABRIEL success. JULIAN COPE (TEARDROP EXPLODES) also was a huge continuance of work done in his band with success -but what of BLAZE BAYLEY of IRON MAIDEN? Or those that have followed great lead singers whether ACDC or the BUNNYMEN but never fitted in? In a sense PAUL ROBERTS of the STRANGLERS MK2 line up was out of place but at least sang in a HUGH style at times. BAZ WARNE and JJ now do a great job on vocals, though I know any fans reading might hate me for saying it but he has a slight nod to CORNWELL in style but he is wonderful in his own right.

When it comes to new singers usually it can go drastically wrong or a new personality perhaps based on an old one can emerge – without (if not the original line up) losing the signature sounds of that member. Of course with UB40 you have a similar strange Rock and Roll feud. With JEAN JACQUES BURNEL and HUGH CORNWELL (who formed the band- HC that is) it seems as likely that the two might go for a pint as a JAM Reunion or RICK playing bongos on the next STYLE COUNCIL TOUR!

Usually its the backing musicians that dont get the credit of the Jim Morrison’s of this world. The JAM for example and to a certain extend not just Foxton and Buckler but Mick Talbot – who all contributed. However when you have a RAY DAVIES, or a MORRISSEY you can see that it can go either way- a success going alone and sometimes not, as if the ego has torn at the base of whatever made a great collective unit in the first place. It would have been fantastic to see the STONES make a jazz or Reggae or folk stripped down album to surprise but it never did. In a sense this (DARK MATTERS) is the consistent set the STONES never managed in later times. In the case of most bands its very rare to equal an original line ups hey day and perhaps for the first time unlike the ROLLING STONES (sad to see Watts go recently, he seemed an impossibility- a modest STONE!), but the STRANGLERS may have done it!

The cover is a classic up the with the RAVEN – actually I spotted a number plate over here in Cali called “RAVENMIB” on the day i heard the new LP had gone in at number 3! (or is it 4? its high anyway!) I shall never know who that Stranglers fan driver was or perhaps in excitement I was seeing things and it had more to do with the MIB Movie…

Back to the cover…EASTER ISLAND is depicted and perhaps is a slight reference to the 1981 seminal work “GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE MEN IN BLACK”. One of the best songs with an alien agenda conspiracy edge that might have fitted on that 81 classic is “THE LAST MEN ON THE MOON” with its HG Wells style evocative title. Within which are references to the Ancients and ALIEN life which is often dwelled upon on these pages (both aliens and the men in black…the band that is). The Cover on the new album is perhaps another reference to the post apocalyptic Covid world (which tragically took Dave Greenfield) and the current Alien life and UFO revelations by the American Government. I remember being told by a fan of the STRANGLERS -that when it came to HUGH that to not mention him if i met the band – particularly JJ – and that if I preferred the HUGH CORNWELL era of the band he might hit me! I didnt mention that when I got CORNWELL’s signature on an old Album and briefly met the original Man in Black. As for the rift so the story goes – the original front man left to be an actor, the band asked him back, he declined and then many years on front man Hugh asked them to rejoin and got a no…

Whatever the reasons and motivations- whether the hell of Lockdowns and Dave’s passing as a result of covid – or the fact that rather like the track “WATER”. which opens the album magnificently. That it is rather like water to a dying man in the desert in terms of the musical delights hidden on this LP. The Harpsichord Bach style crescendo sounds like something from a classic JOHN BARRY soundtrack. The three tracks that dont feature D GREENFIELD are charming little mournful Laments with pieces like “AND IF YOU SHOULD SEE DAVE…”, “THE LINES” (an hilarious autobiographical piece perhaps about each reason for each aged line) and “DOWN”. which are all moving poetic brief BURNEL songs up their with his finest work. The Bells on the tribute song to the late keyboard wizard are also a wonderful little touch and are enchanting, evocative and different and they add to the sad subject. As does the very beautiful line “This is where your solo would go”. On either side of this lovely song which has “Standard” written all over it are more examples on of his Magical Keyboard mastery. First on “THIS SONG” and then “IF SOMETHINGS GONNA KILL ME” . Wonderful! One does wonder if the intro to the latter with its swirling soundscapes of keyboard mastery was recorded since his death. Once DAVE’s beautiful keys begin it becomes an instant classic with a dreamy FELINE feel. I feel I want to say this is a fitting epitaph to Dave’s memory but thats a bit cliched but it is delightfully subversive in a joyous sense whilst also dynamic in the way they were so long ago…Subversive and progressive…yet Pop music in the way “M ” meant it. The Female singers on “WHITE STALLION ” are quirky and dynamic in a wonderfully inventive way. Could it be CELIA AND THE MUTATIONS from 1978? It certainly isnt ELASTICA! THIS SONG is Intellectual, intelligent headbanger music and the lead single…I love it but its my least favorite song. This speaks volumes of the high standards of this set of songs. The lyrics on “LAST MAN ON THE MOON” turns ones mind to current activities by the likes of RICHARD BRANSON and ELON MUSK or HG WELLS…

The aforementioned “WATER” really is up their with early work and symbolizes perhaps a new mood and optimism. It is poetic and heralds not just an incredible vintage opener stomper (rather as on MONSTER the track “PURE EVEL” was from HUGH and also as does NO MORE HEROES from day one live for the band) it brings new life to the band. It heralds a bringing of new life and to those who are desperate and starving and in a sense as a musical audience and culturally I find it as pleasing to the ears as water to a dying man! Like food to a starving man…at last great music for the masses! Much as I love some ABBA i cant get anything like as enthused as I am over DM. it would be seminal template except its an established act. But its far from an artistic retread. Its dynamic and fresh in a similar way to the recent WHO album but way more consistent and a stronger more original set thats vintage and yet of the original days of STRANGLERS legendary yore…Think 1977 – 1986 heyday and this isnt far off. I wonder if there any offcuts off of DARK MATTERS as good as TOWNSEND’s “THIS GUN WILL MISFIRE”? I bet some even more wonderful songs will emerge. As it is its a faultless set of songs. My fave other than WATER is “IF SOMETHINGS GONNA KILL ME IT MIGHT AS WELL BE LOVE”. What a title! Its fitting we have the highest chart placement for the band since 1983’s “FELINE” because this charming 17th century style swirling organ led masterpiece has an electronic charm right from those early 80’s days. Pure class…A Masterpiece. I hope Dave can have a listen…

“ITS SPRING AND THERES CHANGE” IS JJ SUGGESTING A FUTURE WITH AN ALIEN INSPIRED LOCKDOWN REVOLT OF ANARCHY BRINGING REVOLUTION?! A NEW WORLD ORDER OF SOCIO POLITICAL ECONOMIC CHANGE? “SOMETHING BETTER CHANGE” AS JJ ONCE SAID!
INSPIRATION FOR THE STRANGLERS COVER? A VEILED REFERENCE TO SUCH THEORIES? THIS CONSPIRACY THEORY CLASSIC IVE OWNED SINCE A BOY

RECOMMENDING A FOLK HORROR TREAT WITH SOME UNUSUAL INSIGHTS INTO THE DARK DEEP RECESSES OF OUR MINDS…

OVERALL I DON’T USUALLY GET MUCH PLEASURE FROM APPRAISALS OF ONE OF MY FAVORITE PARTICULAR NICHE HORROR GENRES. BUT I RECOMMEND MY FRIENDS BLOG AND THIS PIECE ON “FOLK HORROR”, AS THERE ARE INTERESTING OBSCURE POINTS MADE THAT OFFER SOME MORE UNIQUE INSIGHTS AND FILM / MUSIC RECOMMENDS IVE LOVED FOR YEARS AND A FEW THAT MIGHT BE LESS FAMILIAR FOR YOU OR I.

https://spiralstaircase.blog/2021/08/16/1033/

THE SUBJECT IS A KIND OF SUB GENRE OF HORROR (PERHAPS UNFAIRLY) CALLED “FOLK HORROR”. IT IS FOUND IN USUALLY EUROPEAN OR BRIT BASED EVOCATIVE ALMOST FABLE LIKE STORIES THAT CONNECT TO A DEEP FEARFUL PART OF OURSELVES OR PERHAPS THE UNEXPECTED TO BE FOUND IN BOTH OTHERS OR IN THE SOCIAL OR POLITICAL WORLD AROUND US. WHICHEVER FORM HORROR TAKES – WHETHER A FACEMASK AND A NEW WORLD ORDER – A CONFORMITY OF DAILY FEAR, OR THE HORROR OF SUFFERING ILLNESS OR PAIN EITHER PHYSICALLY OR OF THE PSYCHE. PERHAPS THOSE CHARMING VERY CHILLING REAL HORRORS HIDDEN WITHIN THOSE FILMS IN AN ANCIENT FABLE SENSE TOOK US TO A REAL UNDER COVERING OF WHAT FEAR AND HORROR IS IN AN UNIVERSAL SENSE. THIS IS CONNECTED WITH WHAT IS IN ORGANIZED RELIGION OR PAGAN TRADITION OR EVEN FROM OUR UPBRINGING, FAMILY OR EXPERIENCES IN FORMATIVE YEARS IN SCHOOL FOR INSTANCE. I FIND IT ALSO SLIGHTLY QUIRKILY DIFFERENT THAT HUSSAIN MAKES A GENTLE SWIPE AT A SACRED COW- SUCH AS OBSERVING THE SLIGHTLY OVERRATED WITCHFINDER GENERAL AS BEING EXACTLY THAT. BUT THEN ALSO LOOKING AT BLOOD ON SATANS CLAW WHICH PERHAPS MIGHT NOT GET THE RECOGNITION IT DESERVES AS AN UNDERRATED CLASSIC. HE ALSO CONNECTS GENRES WELL TO LOTS OF UNUSUAL ARTISTIC AVENUES ON FOLK HORROR IN HISTORY AND ALSO SHEDS LIGHT ON WHERE IT IS GOING FOR THOSE PERHAPS STUCK IN A 1970’S TIME WARP LIKE ME! HE IS BLUNT ON HIS VIEWS ON AMERICAN HORROR, PERHAPS UNFAIRLY BUT ID AGREE WITH HIM. THE US HISTORY CAN HINT AT FOK HORROR RATHER LIKE JAZZ OR SKA BRASS MIGHT HINT AT 1890’S BRITISH MILITARY MUSIC… BUT THATS WHERE THE COMPARISON STOPS. IF YOU GO BEYOND A FEW HUNDRED YEARS AND HISTORY IT LOSES THE EDGE THAT AN OLDER THOUSANDS OF YEARS OLD TRADITION OF HORROR BRINGS.. I AM SURE HOWEVER THAT THERE HAVE BEEN HORROR FILMS AT LEAST INSPIRED BY ANCIENT NATIVE INDIAN MYTHS. FOLK HORROR IS PRESENT IN MY FAVE POET COLERIDGE’S WORK SO ID BE TEMPTED TO MENTION SUCH THINGS AS THE VAMPIRE TALE “CHRISTABEL” BUT HUSSAIN KEEPS TO TOPIC WELL AND INSPIRES THE READER TO DELVE WITH REGARD TO UNUSUAL OBSCURE MOVIES. WICKER MAN IS SUCH AN INTERESTING STUDY INTO THE MIND PROCESSES OF THOSE WHO ARE MARGINALIZED OR MADE A VICTIM IN THE SENSE OF FIGURES IN RELIGION OR IN ONES OWN LIFE OR IN HISTORY. I PARTICULARLY ENJOY THIS IN A TIME OF ISOLATION BUBBLES AND BANNED ANTI VAXERS. WE ARE IN A NEW AGE OF THE LEPER SO PERHAPS WICKER MAN HAS NEVER BEEN SO RELEVANT FOR THE ALIENATED. THE FACT THAT THE WRITER IS NOT PUT OFF BY THE GHASTLY RATHER ODD LOW RATINGS OFTEN GIVEN BY BBC RADIO TIMES FOR EXAMPLE OF REALLY CLASSIC HORROR MOVIES (THEATRE OF BLOOD OR THE DR PHIBES MOVIES ODDLY GET MOW RATINGS SOMETIMES ) IS REFRESHING, USUALLY BECAUSE OF POLITICALLY CORRECT OR EVEN PHANTOM IMAGINED REASONS. ID SIGHT RECENT ARTICLES THAT TOTALLY MISSED THE POINT IN THE HUMOUR OR THE IRONY OF LITTLE BRITAIN AS A COMEDY SHOW WHICH NOW FINDS ITSELF BANNED. THE HORROR IS NOT PREDICTABLE IN THESE TALES, ITS NOT ALWAYS GHOST FILMS ID BE TEMPTED TO PICK LIKE THE EXORCIST …ITS THE BBC’S CHILDREN OF THE STONES FOR EXAMPLE THAT GETS A MENTION AS DO ON THE MUSICAL SIDE CULPEPERS ORCHARD – A VERY OBSCURE DELIGHTFUL EURO PROG ROCK BAND WITH A REAL FOLKY EDGE. THE ROLE OF FAITH IN WHY WE HAVE THE IMAGERY WE DO IS A NICE AREA TO DELVE BUT MY FAVE ASPECT IS THE FACT THAN RATHER THAN DO THE TRIED AND TESTED “AND HERE IS A CLASSIC SOUNDTRACK” AS THE ONLY MUSIC MENTIONED (MAYBE MOOD MUSIC LIKE JOHN BARRY GETS A MENTION OR MIKE OLDFIELD FOR TUBULAR BELLS WHICH IN ITSELF AS MUSIC HAS FOLK CELTIC HORROR ELEMENTS – EVEN IF THE FILM IT WAS USED ON DOESNT ) HUSSAIN LOOKS AT TALKING ABOUT SOME REALLY INTERESTING BANDS OF THE SEVENTIES THAT COULD HAVE ACCOMPANIED ANY MOVIE IMAGERY IN TERMS OF PERFORMANCE, LYRICS AND DIRECTION. NAS ALSO DELVES INTO THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ROOTS AND PERHAPS WHY WE RELATE SO TO SUCH MIND PROBING MADNESS. MY RECOMMENDS? “ASYLUM” FROM THE EARLY 1970’S STARRING ROBERT POWELL AND “FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE ” WITH PETER CUSHING. MIND YOU I AM NOT SURE THEY QUALIFY AS FOLK HORROR THOUGH THE ODD SHORT STORY WITHIN MAY…I WOULD LIKE TO ADD THAT THE TITLE OF HUSSAIN’S PIECE, SOMEWHAT TRITE AS IT MAY SOUND FOR ME TO SAY, MAKES ME PERK UP AND READ. ITS NICE AND ORIGINAL WITH ITS SHINY GREEN…ITS NICELY EVOCATIVE LIKE AN ALBUM TITLE AND THE IMAGE HE USES ALSO WOULD FIT AN BOOK/ALBUM COVER VERY NICELY. ID ALSO LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT THIS WILL BE LEADING TO THE PUBLICATION OF A SOMEWHAT UNUSUAL MYSTERY AND ORIGINAL CONCEPT THAT MY OWN VRIL CODEX NOVELS ONLY HINTED AT DEAR READER. “MUNGUS FUNGUS” WHICH AGAIN AS THE TITLE SUGGESTS EDGES TOWARD THE QUIRKY ALMOST STEAMPUNK IMAGERY HUSSAIN ADORES WITH PERHAPS SHADES OF THE WICKER MAN. JUST AS I TRIED TO EVOKE HAMMER HORROR WITH MY VRIL BOOK. ID HAVE BEEN TEMPTED TO INCLUDE REFERENCES TO THE GOTHIC MUSIC OF THE 80’S TOO PARTICULARLY THE MORE CELTIC FOLK IMAGERY OF THE BANCHEES OR BEFORE THAT THE CELTIC CHARM OF MARC BOLAN. BUT ID PERHAPS BE TAKING IT OFF TOPIC WHICH NAS NEVER DOES. THIS DOES WORK AS A TASTER AND COMPANION PIECE TO THE GENRE AND HIS FORTHCOMING BOOK RATHER NICELY. I LIKE TO WRITE THE ODD REVIEW FOR THE MORE HORROR LIKE PIECES HE WRITES AND I OCCASIONALLY DABBLE IN POLITICALLY INCORRECT GUERRILLA HUMOR WITH THE AUTHOR IN OUR SPARE TIME…THIS SOMEHOW HAS SURVIVED ON THE YOUTUBE AND TAKES PART INSPIRATION FROM THE GOONS AND DEREK AND CLIVE. NAS HAS GREAT COMEDY SKILLS BUT I DO LIKE HIS LOVE OF HORROR SO ITS GOOD TO SEE THIS WHICH I FIND FAR MORE OF ORIGINAL SUBSTANCE THAN SOME OF THE ARROGANT FILM SCHOOL PRETENDERS I REMEMBER FROM BOURNEMOUTH UNI!

https://spiralstaircase.blog/2021/08/16/1033/

ALWAYS LOVED THIS MYSELF SO DELIGHTED TO SEE A MENTION IN THE ARTICLE.

I AM ONLY INCLUDING THIS AS BOTH THIS AND THE OTHER DUMPED SYD FLOYD SINGLE “SCREAM THY LAST SCREAM” BOTH SEEM FROM A FOLK HORROR CHAPTER AND VEGETABLE MAN ALSO EVOKES SOME SORT OF ANCIENT “GREEN MAN” CONNECTED DEVIL OR HORROR.

A VISIT TO WORDSWORTH’S DOVE COTTAGE AT THE LAKES GRASMERE…A CONTRAST TO ALFOXTON

LAST WEEKEND I VISITED THE LAKE DISTRICT AND DOVE COTTAGE FOR THE FIRST TIME. IT WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCE – A REAL PORTAL TO THE PAST AND AN INSPIRATIONAL TRIP. LARGELY UNCHANGED THE LOCAL ANCIENT STONE USED THROUGHOUT AND UNCHANGED LANDSCAPE MAKE IT CLOSE TO WHAT WILLIAM AND DOROTHY WOULD HAVE KNOWN. OVERALL IT WAS BITTER SWEET TO SEE SUCH REVERENCE FOR WORDSWORTH PRESERVED IN ASPIC YET FOR COLERIDGE THE SAD TRUTH OF ALFOXTON REMAINS DESPITE THE EFFORTS TO SAVE IT. HERE IS A COLLECTION OF PHOTOS FROM MY VISIT THAT BOTH DELIGHTED ME BUT MADE ME MUSE WITH MELANCHOLIA ON HOW WONDERFUL ALFOXTON COULD BE. ALL THE MEMBERS OF STAFF HAD HEARD OF ALFOXTON SO I DIRECTED THEM TO MY BBC PIECES AND FILM. BUT NONE HAD HEARD OF THE LONG LOST KEN RUSSEL MOVIE I HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT ON THIS BLOG AND FOR THE COLERIDGE JOURNAL – THOUGH I MAY HAVE STARTED SOMETHING…”WHATS THAT?” SAID EXPERT AFTER EXPERT. OF COURSE THEY ALL HAD HEARD OF THE JULIAN TEMPLE MOVIE! I DO HOPE “CLOUDS OF GLORY”. SURFACES. THE REASON IT HAS NEVER BEEN REBROADCAST SINCE 1978 OR RELEASED IS THE OVER USE OF EXPENSIVE COPYRIGHT MUSIC- I WAS TOLD BY KENS WIDOW BUT PERHAPS THE CONTENT TOO? WHO KNOWS. IT CERTAINLY CAPTURED THE LAKES AND DOVE COTTAGE IN DRAMA BETTER THAN ANYTHING IVE SEEN AND TO ME WAS SUPERIOR TO PANDEMONIUM. THE BIGGEST SURPRISE ON THE DAY WAS TO SEE WILLIAM WORDSWORTH’S SOCKS! ALSO HIS SKATES, HIS CANE, HIS SPECTACLES AND SO MANY MEMORIES OF COLERIDGE. TWO SUCH CONTRASTING GENIUSES. THE PANORAMIC EVOCATIVE MOODY TRANQUIL AND UNCHANGED SETTING WAS BOTH MOVING AND FITTED TOTALLY WITH WHAT I HAD EXPECTED. TO THINK OF DOROTHY, SAM AND WILLIAM TRUDGING THROUGH ALL WEATHER TO RESEARCH AND CREATE FROM NATURE REMAINS AN EXTRAORDINARY MOMENT IN THE ARTS THAT INFLUENCED MUSIC, LITERATURE AND THE PERFORMING ARTS…EVERYTHING. AN UNCHANGED LANDSCAPE IS A RARITY IN THE UK AND THE LOVING CARE WITH WHICH DOVE COTTAGE HAS BEEN KEPT WAS JUST RIGHT IN TERMS OF BEING BOTH REAL, ACCURATE AND EVOKING THE PAST WITHOUT BEING TACKY. IN SOME WAYS AS A HUB IT REMINDED ME OF LLOYD WRIGHT’S TALIESEN WEST IN ARIZONA (THE ARCHITECT) WHERE I HAVE ALSO VISITED. ALFOXTON MAY BE SUCH A HUB WITH A CAMPAIGN. DOVE COTTAGE GRASMERE IS A LASTING MEMORIAL TO WHAT WAS AN ARTISTS COMMUNE WITH SPIRITUAL IDEAS THAT REACH OUT TO US NOW AS IT DID THE THE SIXTIES GENERATION OF MUSICIANS AND ARTISTS (JIM MORRISON OF COURSE LOVED THE ROMANTICS…PARTICULARLY BLAKE). I HAVE TRIED TO THINK OF AN INTERESTING SONG OR BAND BUT UNLIKE COLERIDGE (FLEETWOOD MAC FRANKIE ECT) I CANT THINK OF A DIRECT WORDSWORTH CONNECTION BUT ITS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT THE CREATION OF HIS SIMPLE HEROES AND RUSTIC CHARACTERS IS ONE OF THE FIRST INSPIRATIONS THAT PERHAPS LED TO THE LIKES OF OF ELVIS AND ROCK AND ROLL AS WELL AS MANY SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES MUSICAL MOVEMENTS THAT TOOK INSPIRATION FROM EVERYDAY CHARACTERS. RAY DAVIES IS AN EXAMPLE PERHAPS. FOLK HEROES HAVE BEEN CAPTURED IN SONG TRADITIONALLY BY FOLK SINGERS FOR FOREVER AND A DAY, BUT WORDSWORTH TOOK IT TO A DIFFERENT LEVEL AND WAVELENGTH AND THUS HELPED SHAPE MODERN WRITING. CHARACTERS SUCH AS “LOVELY RITA” OR “ELEANOR RIGBY’S”…BY THE BEATLES. PERHAPS WORDSWORTH EVEN INFLUENCED REALISM OR EVEN “KITCHEN SINK” TYPE DRAMS PERHAPS AS A RESULT. PERSPECTIVES UNIQUE AT THE TIME. A SEEMING EVERYDAY CHARACTER IN A CLASSIC WORKING CLASS MOULD MADE EXTRAORDINARY. OF COURSE, WORDSWORTH’S PIONEERING WORK WAS “INCIDENTS AND SITUATIONS FROM COMMON LIFE”. WHILE COLERIDGE TRIED TO MAKE THE SUPERNATURAL COMMONPLACE…JIM MORRISON (THE DOORS) AND HIS CONTEMPRARIES PERHAPS DREW FROM THIS SIDE MORE…

IF ONLY THE DERELICT ALFOXTON COULD BE PRESERVED LIKE DOVE COTTAGE GRASMERE. LETS HOPE THOSE CLOSELY INVOLVED WITH THE COTTAGE LIKE MELVYN BRAGG TAKE NOTICE AND SAVE THIS PLACE WHERE ANCIENT MARINER WAS FIRST PERFORMED…

MY BBC INTERVIEW APPEAL

HERE IS MY LIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE BBC. IT, I HOPE WILL LEAD TO FURTHER INTEREST AND PERHAPS A MUSICAL AND CREATIVE LITERARY EVENT TO RAISE MONEY. I HOPE TO ENTER FURTHER DISCUSSIONS AS MY ORIGINAL HOPE TO REACH A WIDER AUDIENCE THUS FAR HAS NOT BEEN THE CASE SO MY INTENT WILL BE TO TRY TO IMPRESS THE POWERS THAT BE THAT SOMETHING BIGGER THAN A LOCAL RADIO SLOT IS NEEDED.

Well That was the week that was…alright!

LIFE HAS TURNED INTO BRAVE NEW WORLD SOMEWHAT I WELL REMEMBER READING THE CLASSIC AT 15. WELL WHAT A FEW WEEKS WE HAVE HAD. AS YOU MAY KNOW I HAVE BEEN INTO UFO’S ALL MY LIFE HAVING SEEN MANY. ONE SPRINGS TO MIND THAT WENT VERY SLOWLY THEN DARTED IN A HAPHAZARD DIRECTION THAT I SAW IN 1993 IN SOMERSET (AS DEPICTED IN THE PASTEL PICTURE OF ME ON THIS SITE FROM 1995) AND THEN IN 2016 ON A PLANE (RATHER LIKE THE CLASSIC TWILIGHT ZONE – NOBODY ELSE SAW BUT I GOT TO MY DESTINATION JUST FINE!) I SAW FROM THE PLANE A BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN GROUP OF LIGHTS FROM LOWER BENEATH ME FROM THE GRAND CANYON. IN 2012 RENOWNED UFOLOGIST ANTHONY J HILDER (HIS MUSIC WAS IN THE FILM PULP FICTION WITH HIS BAND THE VENTURES) CALLED ME TO TELL ME UFO’S IN MY BOOKS ABOUT THE VRIL WERE NOT CONSPIRACY THEORIES BUT WERE REAL – HE HAD MET NASA WHISTLEBLOWERS….HE DIED SOON AFTER SO OUR MEETING IN PERSON NEVER HAPPENED AS HE WANTED NOT IN CALIFORNIA BUT GLASTONBURY WHERE HE USED TO VISIT TO UFO SPOT FROM THE TOR. SO TO SEE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY THAT A GOVERNMENT HAS DISCLOSED THAT WE ARE ARE NOT ALONE IS MOMENTOUS ONE WONDERS IF ANY OF THOSE BEAUTIFUL CROP CIRCLES WERE REAL AFTER ALL? AFTER A UNPRECEDENTED YEAR ON A LEVEL WITH THE GREAT WARS… THE COVID PANDEMIC SURE SET US ON A UNIQUE PATH. AS LENNON SAID “STRANGE DAYS INDEED…UFO’S OVER NEW YORK…”

THE LYRICS REFLECT THOSE STRANGE DAYS BUT NO STRANGE SIGHTS CAN MATCH SOME OF THE ONES WE HAVE SEEN THIS PAST YEAR!
I HAVE BEEN WRITING A LOT OF FUTURISTIC POEMS AND WHEN I SAW THIS I THOUGHT IT DOES REFLECT A NEW GARY NUMAN REALITY AS TO WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW WHICH LEADS ME TO THIS NEW RECORD WHICH MUCH AS I DO LIKE DID LEAD ME TO LAUGH BECAUSE IF IT WAS MATT BERRY HE WOULD PROBABLY WANT TO BE CALLED “GARY CUREMAN” !! I RECOMMEND THE CURE’S “A FOREST” AFTER THIS FOLLOWED BY GARY NUMANS’S “COMPLEX”!
NICE TO HEAR THE AUTHOR HIMSELF BUT FOR THE DRAMA ITSELF JUST GET UP TOMORROW WE ARE HERE…PERHAPS…
MY EXPERIENCE WASNT QUITE LIKE THIS! AN ABSOLUTE CLASSIC…
IN 2013 I HAD SOME CORRESPONDENCE WITH RICHARD D HALL WHO LIKE DAVID ICKE IS VERY UNIQUE IN HIS UFO VIEWS. IF HIS VIEWS ARE TRUE THEN WHAT WE SEE HERE ONLY TOUCHES THE SURFACE BUT HOW EXCITING THAT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN HISORY THAT UFO’S HAVE BEEN ADMITTED TO AND THE FOOTAGE IS GREAT OF DAILY SIGHTINGS!
APPARENTLY THIS WAS WRITTEN ABOUT A REAL EXPERIENCE HE HAD!
THIS PROBABLY REFLECTS THE CONFUSING SITUATION IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW A LOT BETTER AND I LOVE THE ULTRAVOX INFLUENCE
A CHILLING STORY HAUNTINGLY FILMED…CLEVER AND ETCHED ON MANY’S CHILDHOOD MINDS…
I FOUND THIS ON VINYL IN CALI A CLASSIC STORY DRAMATIZATION THAT CAUSED SUICIDES…ONLY THIS TIME ITS REAL!
I CANT HELP ADDING THIS. A FINE RETURN TO FORM…NICE TO HEAR SYNTHS FROM GARY AGAIN I REMEMBER MY MATE KEIREN SAYING HE ONCE SAW NUMANS COLLECTION OF ANALOGUE SYNTHS THAT FILLED ROOMS AND REACHED CEILINGS! THIS REFLECTS THE CURRENT MOOD WELL WITH THE BLACK SUN REFERENCE. I INCLUDE THE BLACK SUN CULT IN MY VRIL CODEX NOVELS
MY FAVE RECORD OF THE YEAR SO FAR…HAS A REAL LATE SIXTIES PSYCHEDELIC SOUND…THE LEFT SIDE STEREO DRUM BEAT IS REMINISCENT OF THOSE BEATLES STEREO MIXES. A LARGE PINCH OF IRON BUTTERFLY RATHER THAN SAY…SYD BARRETT..AND A SLIGHT NOD AT ONE POINT IN THE GUITAR TO BORN TO BE WILD, .LOVELY BYRDS STYLE INTRO JANGLY IN A STONE ROSES BUNNYMEN SENSE TOO…WITH ITS SLIGHT NOD IN ITS VISUALS TO 1970’S DYSTOPIAN SCIENCE FICTION CLASSIC BLAKES SEVEN (ELEPHANT MAN- 1970’S TELEVISUAL ATV EFFECTS /70’S DR WHO) BUT THE BLAKES 7 LINK MEANS THIS CAN BE SLIPPED INTO THIS WEEKS DYSTOPIAN THEME THUS!
INTERESTING DISCUSSION ON THE GREAT DYSTOPIAN CLASSIC THAT WE ARE HEADING TOWARD ACCORDING TO THE MANICS…BRAGG LOVES COLERIDGE AND WORDSWORTH AND REGULARLY DOES PROGRAMMES ON THEM…AND KNOWS ALFOXTON WELL…
ANY EXCUSE FOR SOME 1980’S ELECTRONICA MY FAVE TOYAH TRACK…

NOT UFO RELATED…MY MATE GILES GOODEN AND BAND TURNED ME ON TO THIS TRACK – A BIT OF LIGHT RELIEF. FAT POP IS A FINE ALBUM WHICH I MAY REVIEW HERE BUT FOR AN ARTIST WHO HAS BROKEN SO MANY RULES OF MUSIC AND BROKEN DOWN BARRIERS OF GENRE BRILLIANTLY ITS ALWAYS SEEMED IRONIC THAT MANY OF HIS FANS SEEM SO…WELL THIS JOKE RECORD IS A LAST BUT NOT LEAST THAT SUMS IT UP!

Return to Alfoxton…

MYSELF WITH JAYRAJA. TOUGH LIVING IN SUCH TRYING CIRCUMSTANCES. I SUFFERED A SPELL IN HOSPITAL WITH FOOD POISONING THE NIGHT BEFORE SO I AM A BIT GREEN AROUND THE GILLS BUT IT WAS WORTH EVERY MINUTE TO VISIT AND ON SPEAKING TO THE BBC OR RATHER SPECIFIC JOURNALISTS I THINK I MAY BE ON THE RIGHT TRACK FOR A HIGH PROFILE EVENT BUT WILL KNOW IN JUNE
SURPRISINGLY I FOUND THIS ON VINYL IN CALI!

I had a very interesting trip today to ALFOXTON where I presented and wrote a little film 7 years ago. The current owners- An extraordinary Buddhist group, are planning a literary hub and international centre just as I had envisaged and Jayraja, the chap pictured in my photos, explained to me that not only due to legal issues have they had to Sleep in the OPEN but that if it were not for donations they would not have furniture! An extraordinary statement on how these wonderful new owners are trying to make good of a very challenging scenario – really suffering for art. In a quest to save what could be a cultural centre. Sadly this house – one of the most important cultural arts literature places of worldwide importance is just rotting away…Even though its positive my film helped save it the sad truth is its derelict leaking the power points dont work and the roof is falling in. So I am going to see if I can launch an APPEAL once again. If only George Harrison (another Buddhist) were alive…(mind you it isnt exactly easy contacting a Beatle!) If you arent aware please check out my Alfoxton film. In literature terms this place is every bit as important as Dove cottage and Coleridge cottage nearby yet this 300 year old property actually is unchanged UNLIKE Coleridge Cottage which as Grade 1 got all the care while this actually SUPERIOR setting has been left to crumble. It continues to be a NATIONAL DISGRACE of monumental proportions. Endless witless owners have cut costs and treated the place like a pig sty. At least the owners now care and want to save it and thats a massive improvement. Coleridge and Wordsworth have influenced the world of music (particularly Coleridge) from Fleetwood Macs Albatross to countless other mentions from Franke Goes To Hollywood’s Welcome to the Pleasure Dome (Kubla Khan) through to Iron Maiden. I would compare it to where Lennon and McCartney first composed together. For it is here that Coleridge first read “Rime” to Wordsworth. As it stands the house needs rescuing. The ecological aspects of the Romantic poets cannot be underestimated. Not only the Pantisocracy commune movement (which should be resurrected!) but the reverence shown to nature in a very 1960’s sense, but far from posturing they really meant it. Spy allegations and all manner of intrigue made their stay at Alfoxton very memorable…Perhaps a fundraising concert might work? King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard ?! It will need something big. But to start with some BBC journalists…I will keep you posted…https://sites.google.com/view/alfoxtonpark/history

Incidentally there are two ghosts of servants according to the new owners and by total unconnected coincidence one of the (Buddhist owner) members is called Hartley – Strangely this was Coleridge’s sons name and Frost at Midnight with the lines “The frost performs its secret ministry” was indeed the inspiration behind his name but long before any involvement which is…”Strange but True”! As a last note – to those who say “there are more important things”. What is more important than giving hope at times of empty loneliness? Poems like This Lime tree Bower my Prison (which inspired Shelley Byron…Jim Morrison…) is used in prisons to give hope and for those in Lockdown or hostages this has also been the case. Art can help enrich and give therapy and hope to those at the end of their tether. Primo Levi Cited Ancient Mariner as his favorite ever work and used it to great effect to show the suffering in the concentration camps of the second world war. Coleridge’s words resonate across the ages and reach us from Iron Maiden to Monty Python to “Water Water Everywhere” said by the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz. Much Like the Beatles and Coleridge’s favorite romantic composter Beethoven Coleridge found a seminal base to launch what would become the crowning inspirational moment in the history of romantic culture literature and music worldwide. Would we let Dove Cottage, Coleridge Cottage or Lennon and McCartney’s Liverpool places like Lennon’s Liverpool home just rot? (which is protected by the National Trust…Again the GRADING was clearly off with Alfoxton but in some ways it may lead if saved to a literary hub rather than a private dwelling or hotel as id always hoped) To ignore Alfoxton is as bad as the doomed sailors treatment of the Albatross. Ignore at our peril!

On my Turntable this week…

I had to share these few masterpieces I have been listening to all week. Matt Berry is known for comedy, rather like Neil Innes was but as Madness or the Monkees show, lines get blurred. Even more so with these gems which compare to Mike Oldfield (Tubular Bells style Intro!) Vangellis, Jean Michel Jarre (Oxygene), Brian Eno (Music for Airports) and even a bit of Kraftwerk. The vocals are also very 1970’s progressive in terms of vocal styles Genesis or King Crimson used with choirs, also the case with Steve Hackett’s Voyage of the Acolyte for example. For these wonderful ambient soundscapes Berry deserves serious recognition. To illustrate the point further of comedy/tragedy (only tragic if the music isnt recognized I guess) I have included my fave (Oasis sounding before Oasis) classic Rutles song. Usually a great musical discovery by an artist comes BEFORE they dabble as an older person in acting or comedy but clearly Berry has his own way and its to be commended but I would never write off his music, its far from comedy. Even if Berry dressed as Vangellis once in a comedy was one of the funniest things I have seen in recent years (and the Snuff Box Prog rock skit is up there with Spinal Tap). I do have to add that toward the end of part two when he plays around with the Jarre style melody that perhaps he has a Mozart style joke on us. But as an Ambient listen this is up the with the Orb in places…I also greatly enjoy the slight Jah Wobble style Dub Reggae tinged sections.