Friday, August 7, 2020


So much of what is deemed is great just grates. At least to my ears. I have always had a taste eccentric to the vox populi, preferring and tending to seek out the less well served by collective opinion. I guess as in the same way my favourite dog breed is under. Luckily, courtesy this mouthpiece, my clarion call to the masses, this allows me free rein to inveigle my audience, that's me and my sockpuppets btw, into submission.

The Greatness and Perfection of Love

I bloody loved this album when it came out, World Shut Your Mouth, the first record by Julian Cope after the demise of The Teardrop Explodes. Always prone to overtly english vocals: Syd Barrett, Kevin Ayers, Ray Davies, Cope was another who rejected the standard transatlantic twang most UK singers have always tended to adopt, knowing, I guess, the bigger market. Mind you, I had always been pretty keen on the Teardrops, especially the standout single, below.


Cope was never going to be conventional. Coming from Tamworth, a desultory town slightly north of Birmingham, it was never going to be his provider, that taking a move to Merseyside where his accent would always have been a sore thumb amongst those around him. And perhaps why and how a young Courtney Love took such a shine to him? When the record came out, in 1984, I really thought he would be a big star. Hell, he was even on Top of the Pops with the title track, confusingly not included on the album, it coming out two years later, sporting his own design microphone stand.

World Shut Your Mouth

In the years since he has built a name for eccentricity, inconsistency and a weird sort of reliability to avoid entirely any kind of pigeon holing, with this not the place to celebrate his increasingly bizarre stylistic ricochets. Well, not entirely and not now. But, should his musical meanderings not prove easy enough on your ear, consider the fact that he is a celebrated author on subjects as unrelated as (am I still allowed to call it, even if he does?) krautrock and ancient monuments.

Elegant Chaos

Lunatic and Fire Pistol

Back to the o.p. and why it is so great. One reason is always within the lyrics; is he really singing "the greatness and perfection of love"? Sounds mighty like the "greatest imperfection" to me, so much so I am not going to check, preferring the incongruity. But it isn't by any stretch the only good track on the album, I being drawn also to the oboe led majesties of Elegant Chaos and Lunatic and Fire Pistol, peculiar whimsies of uncertain provenance. This pair stand out, along with Head Hang Low, at full arms length from the poppier, Teardroppier other songs, betraying his then state of mind.

Head Hang Low

Fast forward and Cope is still around, with somewhere around 20 albums under his own name, more if you include ones his many and varied labels have suppressed or rejected, often sneaking out years later under some arcane imprint. Some are good, very very good, some frankly unlistenable, but always interesting and seldom classifiable alongside his peers. Somehow I think I need to return to his muse another day.


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