London Camden Dingwalls

[B]Cope[/B] in 1999 finds himself in the suitably perverse position of being without a record deal, but chased by a host of TV companies keen to adapt his acclaimed guide to sacred neolithic sites.

London Camden Dingwalls

It's been 18 years since Julian Cope last stood in this venue, a brash young psych-punk blasted on LSD. "I wasn't gonna bring it up - I'm an author now," he says tonight, though you suspect, considering he's dressed in leopard-spot tights, a fake fur headband and ultra-tall platforms, that his respectability isn't really on the agenda.



Last time he stood here, he was a genuine pop star. Now he stands and lectures us: a repository of arcane knowledge; a glam rock shaman-academic. Cope in 1999 finds himself in the suitably perverse position of being without a record deal, but chased by a host of TV companies keen to adapt his acclaimed guide to sacred neolithic sites, The Modern Antiquarian. Weirdly hot property.



Hence this two-hour spoken-word gig. It's a long, digressive trip, but one which Cope's pure enthusiasm and gnostic thoroughness solidifies into, at the very least, ur-fact: his mysticism is always far too pragmatic to be compared with, say, Crispian Mills' woolly offensiveness. The theories are all over the place, but even when he claims Cliff Richard is a closet pagan, supported by a druidic intonation of 'The Young Ones', it sounds plausible. By the end, he's throwing camp poses in front of the fluorescent lectern, frozen in pure rock'n'roll adulation. Like the stone circles he writes and speaks so beautifully about, really: a national treasure.

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