Julian Cope – 'A perfect respite for these Trumped-up troubled times'
- Fiona Shepherd
- 27 January 2017
Positivity provides in new show from the musician, author and antiquarian
Shortly after Donald Trump's election, an American friend emailed with the succinct message: 'so much anxiety, let's get drunk!' Julian Cope, the historical oracle, the acid archaeologist, the archest of drudes, must have tuned in to her desperate vibrations across the information superhighway because he has recently celebrated his return to alcohol consumption with the release of Drunken Songs, which he describes as '40 minutes of Gnostic drunkenness – a perfect respite for these Trumped-up troubled times', to be followed by a winter wassailing tour. Just in the nick of the time, more of Julian's marvellous medicine.
Cope is no stranger to altered states. His early career, fronting Liverpudlian post-punk dynamos, the Teardrop Explodes, was marked and ultimately marred by his insatiable acid and mushrooms intake. He cleaned up and got high on history instead, forging an alternative career as a well-respected if wigged-out academic and author (Mastermind specialist subject: Neolithic stone circles and/or the far-out progressive musics of Japan, Detroit and Germany).
But the publishing world's gain is not entirely music's loss. 'I love listening to music more than I love making it,' he admits, 'but then I'll suddenly get a feeling out of nowhere, maybe from some trip abroad or interfacing with some unusual person and I'll be back.'
In this case, the catalyst for Drunken Songs was the track 'As the Beer Flows Over Me', which he wrote for his own funeral, and in specific praise of the grain (he'll have no truck with wine).
Cope must be a jolly drunk, as he does offer reasons to be hopeful, if not outright cheerful, in the Trump age. 'I'm always of the belief that we're working towards something,' he says. And that doesn't necessarily have to mean oblivion.
La Belle Angele, Edinburgh, Sat 18 Feb; Òran Mór, Glasgow, Sun 19 Feb.