The Longest Day

Today is the longest day and the summer solstice, where the sun rises earlier and sets later than any other day. Make the most of it. I’ve never been to the stones at sunrise but if I did the man I’d want beside me would be the arch-drude, Julian Cope himself. Maybe he has the answer about the ancients…

They Were All On Drugs

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You Don’t Have To Be Afraid

I was listening to Julian Cope’s Peggy Suicide album last week. I was looking for something I hadn’t heard for a long time to soundtrack my drive to the Lakes and it caught my eye. Released in 1991 it signalled a new Cope. He went on to make a further opus for Island, Jehovakill, who then dropped him, at this clear turning point in his career. It was the period when the post-80s pop Cope was formed, with his lyrical references to organised religion, feminism, paganism, ecology, Mother Earth, prehistoric sites- the Cope world view. It was also a move away from the pop sound of the previous decade and into a heavier, psychedelic rock sound. He was at a peak of press interest (the weeklies loved him and the new spate of monthlies were on board too). His hatred for the Thatcher government and the poll tax demonstrations/riots took pace during the making of Peggy Suicide, with Julian attending the London demonstration dressed as Squibsy.

Peggy Suicide is a double album and an ‘artistic vision’ record. The band were a mix of old (Donald Ross Skinner, Rooster Cosby) and new (Mike Joyce and Mike Mooney). Some of the songs sound, not dated maybe, but of their time- 1990/91 drum beats, Manchester funky rock- but there are some career highs here too, perfectly sequenced, leading us through the album in a certain order, lyrically and musically. Beautiful Love is a gorgeous, lightfooted calypso song about Albion and dolphins. Hanging Out & Hung Up On The Line is dense Detroit rock. Drive, She Said is a stunner. But on the drive up the M6 the one that struck me most was Safesurfer, seemingly a tribute and ode to contraception and safe sex, from the opening line ‘I saw my old man exploding out of a tunnel’ to the huge Mick Ronson- inspired guitar track. Eight minutes of epic Cope magnificence that no one else could have made.

Safesurfer

So Shall It Be

A 1971 psychedelic/Norse crossover, this one drawn by John Buscema, from the Third Eye series. Odin resurrects Hela. So shall it be.
This can only go in one direction can’t it? From 2008’s Black Sheep album, some prime recent Julian Cope.
More from the Marvel Third Eye series, these ones are all by Jack Kirby I think, but its the colourist who’s getting most of the fun- The Infinity Man, an acid trip in spandex; the Silver Surfer, freed and unbound; magnificent Medusa.
And because Cope has more than one Marvel link, Spiderman and Daredevil threatened by Submariner- The Teardrop Explodes!
This is their 1979 single (that inspired its own tribute song by┬áChris Sievey and the Freshies, otherwise known as Timperley’s own Frank Sidebottom).

Spiked

Since not going to see Julian Cope a couple of weeks ago I pulled out his recent compilation album Trip Advizer, a sixteen track cd that rounds up the best of his work from 1999- 2015. If you only get one Julian Cope cd from this millennium etc. Also, Trip Advizer is the best name for a Cope cd (and strangely when listening to it I can kind of hear parallels with Half Man Half Biscuit- the wordplay, the music, the playing it straight). Anyhow, I don’t always agree with the archdrude but I always enjoy him and his songs, and it may be the case that Trip Advizer works best as a dipper (play a few songs from it every now and then rather than an eighty minute one sitting album), but every song on it is a good one. They Were All On Hard Drugs is my favourite, a sweetly sung ode to ancient civilisations and their psychedelic drug practices with a Casio keyboard hissing away underneath but I’ve posted that before. In Psychedelic Revolution Julian promises to settle some scores tonight and then sings about spiking a range of targets- fat cats, greed-heads, moneybags, fuckers generally.

Psychedelic Revolution

I’ve Got A Love Song In My Head

Happy Valentine’s Day lovebirds. Julian Cope’s here with a song for all the lovers, opening with a crystal clear garage guitar riff and ‘walking round with my very best friend, she looks good- fine to me, I’m in love with my very best friend.’

Sunspots

Copey played Manchester on Friday night and I didn’t go which was stupid of me. I saw it advertised ages ago, didn’t get tickets, forgot about it and then missed out. And by all accounts he was very, very good.

 

Or Is It Treason?

The idea that any band could contain three egos like Ian McCulloch’s, Julian Cope’s and Pete Wylie’s is absurd and according to legend The Crucial Three never even got as far as rehearsing, but it’s nice to try to imagine what they might have sounded like. This video for The Teardrop Explode’s Treason, a single off 1980s Kilimanjaro, is a hoot. The B-side was Read It In Books, a joint McCulloch-Cope effort recorded by both bands.

Je Suis Charlie

There’s a risk when a music blog starts commenting on events like the ones we’ve seen in Paris this week that it just becomes trite or banal or blindingly obvious, so I’ll keep it brief and try not to pontificate. It does seem to me though that people who kill cartoonists are so utterly morally bankrupt that they’ve already lost the battle. What major world religion is so weak, so unsure of itself, so insecure, that it cannot withstand a cartoon?

Julian Cope has got no time for murderous fundamentalists.

All The Blowing-Themselves-Up Motherfuckers (Will Realise The Minute They Die That They Were Just Suckers)