I remember the Royal Court Theater sometime in the late 80’s. A sweaty writhing festival of bouncing and pummeling and shouting. A deranged individual hanging from the mike stand he was riding sweat showering down on the audience. The music loud and insistent and pervasive. The audience and band one. It was then I realized that the young woman I had brought to the gig was not going home with me. In fact she was not going home with anyone, in fact she had gone home alone and about 10 minutes ago. Or as a matter of fact almost as soon as the wild show that was Julian Cope had staggered onto the stage as his Syd Barrett meets Jim Morrison leather clad rock god persona had arrived.
For about two hours he hollered railed and gyrated his way through the show. There was no thinking, no mercy and only an ego as large as Cope could manage to pull it off. Surrounded by the worshippers at the church of Cope it was easy to forget that I hadn’t wanted to come and had only bought the tickets as a way of getting the young woman I went with to come out with me. She had however become overwhelmed it seems by the event even before it began. Of course a concert at the Royal Court in those days could be pretty overwhelming.
I never saw this young woman again, I never saw Julian Cope again either, maybe it was all a bit overwhelming after all.
The jury is often out on Cope. He has however managed to meander his way through the pop world doing whatever he wants to do and seemingly only answerable to himself so more power to him, He has also written some of my favorite songs over his albums. If you want a crash course in his early work St. Julian is as good an entry point as any other, it does manage to be a bit more consistent than his other efforts.