Sunday, 20 February 2011

Never Has England Looked So Beautiful Yet Been So Violent

The next few months will be very busy. As well as completing my MSc, I am in the process of putting together the next Wyrd Tales and starting work on a new issue of The English Heretic Collection. A CD will accompany the magazine and I will be posting mixes from the CD as work in progress over the coming weeks. The title of the CD is Never Has England Looked So Beautiful Yet Been So Violent. A first mix of the title track to the CD is available here.

The CD title comes from the trailer to Witchfinder General. I can't help but feel we are becoming overblown advertisements for the bathic truths of our inner lives. It as if some portentous voice over artist is hyping the actuality of our self-importance, accentuating false peaks and air-brushing out the natural vales. I've been watching lots of low budget film trailers and love the disconnect between the crummy sets, the hammy actors and the hackneyed monsters, and the maniacal revved up promises of these quick cut edits.

I imagine if we do ever have a revolution in England, it will be similarly paced and promoted. I've been reading Summer Of Blood, Dan Jones' middlebrow page turner on the Peasant's Revolt. The book culminates with a poem by a young Robert Southey, dedicated to John Ball, one of the ringleaders of the revolt. Southey later went to become the poet laureate, "a hoary old conservative", in Dan Jones' words. Much to the embarrassment of the older Southey, the poem was published some two decades after he originally penned it.

I include two sections of the poem at the climax of the song, over sweeping strings.

...Flattery's incense
No more shall shadow round the gore-dyed throne;
That altar of oppression, fed with rites,
More savage than the Priests of Moloch taught,
Shall be consumed amid the fire of Justice;
The ray of truth shall emanate all around,
And the whole world be lighted!

John Ball, a "hedge priest" from Kent, was executed on 15th July 1381. He was hanged, beheaded, disembowelled and quartered, his butchered body sent to four parts of the country. Ball and John Lowes, the vicar hanged at the behest of Matthew Hopkins represent a different kind of heretic. They are totemic by products of the paranoia of civil war - the question  Iam asking on this track is how might this curious strain of paranoia manifest today, as the country becomes seemingly more divisive?

I'll also be publishing a series of English Heretic postcards with the tracks. The first postcard is made from a visit to Thetford, in honour of Dad's Army, which was filmed there, and the climax of this year's Straw Bear parade at Whittlesey.

That said, all these images and cute film samples merely represent the psychotic top soil of the subconscious, a  prophylactic film protecting us from access to a far more visionary and mysterious deep. I hope to unearth more archetypal relics as the CD progresses...


Daniel said...

Great track. Looking forward to the hear full-length!

Fearlono said...

Very excited to hear about another Wyrd Tales in progress. Look forward to reading it on my gore-dyed settee.

Great track, thanks for the postcard.

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