Jamie T is no stranger to dropping a few historical names into his tracks. It’s something he’s done throughout his back catalogue, from Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro (‘Castro Dies’) and Ike and Tina Turner (‘Ike & Tina’) to Margaret Thatcher (‘368’) and poet John Betjeman (sampled on ‘Sheila’). We don’t know much about new album ‘Trick’ yet (due for release on September 2), but it seems like 2015’s comeback king isn’t going to be bucking the trend just yet.
Between titles like ‘Tescoland’, ‘Police Tape’ and ‘Self Esteem’, the tracklisting reveals a new crop of historical figures who look like they’ve been influencing Jamie. But who are they and what might we expect the songs they’ve inspired to sound like?
Old Solomon is probably the lesser known character this time round, but his existence is well documented. The Quaker got a mention from Daniel Defoe in A Journal Of The Plague Year, where he’s said to have gone about London “denouncing of judgment upon the city in a frightful manner, sometimes quite naked, and with a pan of burning charcoal on his head”.
Samuel Pepys also wrote about him in his diaries, describing him as “a man, a Quaker, [who] came naked through the [Westminster] Hall, only very civilly tied about the privates to avoid scandal, and with a chafing-dish of fire and brimstone burning upon his head… crying, “Repent! repent!'” Eagle, whose real surname was Eccles, is also depicted in the album’s artwork, a piece by Paul Falconer Poole. In it, he’s walking through a crowd of people, most of whom are sat or lying on the floor, with the pan of burning charcoal Defoe described balancing on top of his head.
What could his presence on ‘Trick’ involve? Well, he was known as something of a prophet of doom (he’s said to have paraded around the city telling everyone just why they were going to hell), so don’t be surprised if this track tackles some of society’s flaws and the problems with the human race.
Joan Of Arc
French teenager who greatly influenced the events of the Hundred Years War after claiming to have seen visions from saints telling her to support King Charles VII in reclaiming France from the English. She was later burned at the stake for heresy when people claimed she hadn’t seen visions, but used magic. She was also accused of answering only to God and being headstrong in speaking out for her faith. Eventually, 25 years after her death, she was proclaimed innocent by the then Pope, Callixtux III, giving her martyr status. The track named after her, then, is likely to deal with beliefs and those who’ve been punished for what they believe in.
Hood is a legend of English folklore; a friend of the working classes (and master archer) who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. He first appeared around 1377, according to the poem Piers Plowman, and has featured in literature, films, plays and songs ever since. He’s commonly referred to as an outlaw and it’s been suggested that the name Robin Hood is merely an alias used to describe thieves.
It seems likely that this song is going to get into the class system. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Jamie, so good at writing about characters, documented a new Robin Hood figure for modern times. Who could the rich be – the government? Bankers? The one per cent? The poor – the ordinary working people? Refugees? We’ll just have to wait to find out.