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Wednesday, July 27, 2011
"If Damon Albarn is serious about the occult, shouldn't we call him Damien?
Damon Albarn's recent admission that the supernatural is now part of his life explains an awful lot The 17th-century witchfinder general, Mary Hopkin, roamed Essex on top of a horse, burning witches and stuffing her bearded face with purloined olden-days tavern fayre – crusty bread rolls, steak and ale pies and banana splits. And yet, crawling from Colchester in a crackling cloud of dark energie, it appears the spawn of at least one of the satanic miscreants Hopkin once hounded haunts the cultural landscape of Britain even now. Its name? Damon Albarn.
Speaking to the Observer's little sister paper, the Guardian, last week, the former singer of the Blur confessed: "Magic and the occult are part of my life. I've got to come out of the closet", like some kind of Enochian Duncan Norvelle. The Britpop man even claimed to have contacted the spirit of Elizabethan mage John Dee, about whom he has written a pop musical, but the crepe-necked kabbalist was, apparently, unwilling to communicate.
So, is D Albarn – whose initial sounds the same as John Dee's surname – as sincere in his insane devotion to the occult as his former band-mate, the tall one with the farm, seems to be in his desire to create cheeses for his Tory neighbours' dinner tables? Or is D's deranged enslavement to evil just one of the survival strategies all mainstream celebrities employ in search of South Bank Centre Meltdown-curating gigs and garbled Alan Yentob hagiographies? To satisfy your gnat-like attention spans, the arts survivor must "evolve", less like an artist and more like a primordial glob.
For example, if viewed as an "artist", David Bowie makes no sense at all. He seems to be little more than a perpetually spooked moth in slip-ons, sputtering, in a series of self-shaming leaps towards imagined relevance, from one swiftly guttering fad to another – grunge metal, drum and bass and having a skellington face. But imagine Bowie instead as a cunning lichen, an adaptive tuber or a semi-sentient mould, endlessly reshaping himself in search of the moisture of acclaim, and it is easy to understand him. D Albarn, however, has played a better game than the talcum-faced pierrot and now no massive public- and privately funded multimedia arts project is too small for him to accept.
"It is not for me to draw parallels between my own life and that of Christ," runs the opening line of Irish writer Fiachra MacFiach's new autobiography, The Autobiography of Ireland's Greatest Living Genius. Likewise, it is not for me to draw parallels between my own life and that of D Albarn and yet I recognise his moves. I was part of the short-lived early-90s idea that "comedy was the new rock'n'roll" around the same time D was part of the Britpop movement.
Both of us have survived by exploiting the goodwill of one-time teenage fans who have grown up to be journalists and regional culture tsars, and who can now give us glowing reviews and valuable commissions in order to post-rationalise their adolescent crushes. But even in a culture where it is fashionable for newspaper columnists and salaried blabbers to defy the supposed atheist orthodoxy with cautious credulousness, D Albarn has gone one further than famously faith-ridden celebrities such as Ian Hislop, and that woman with the energy-draining face in Episodes, would ever dare. He has embraced the occult.
I was ready to dismiss D's devilish conversion as a Bowie-like toadstool gambit, but a quick glance at the Blurs' career reveals a series of events that only make sense if you view them as part of a magical working of the upmost seriousness. Consider.
During the early 90s, satirist-thinkers David Baddiel and James LoadedBrown were among a group of dedicated activists working hard to repopularise the forgotten activity of men masturbating their penises over pictures of naked women. This ancient practice had all but disappeared during the 80s, if the results of contemporary questionnaires in Talulah Gosh fanzines and Living Marxism were to be believed. Then, in 1995, D Albarn appeared alongside some sex models in the music video for his song "Country House". But D was not trying to ride a wave of then-fashionable pornographic revisionism. By consorting with fallen women he was, I believe, trying to position himself as the Gnostic Christ of Ordo Templi Orientis lore.
When the album The Great Escape was beaten in sales by Oasis's(What's The Story) Morning Glory? it seemed to be the final humiliation in the so-called Battle of Britpop, a dispute not dissimilar to the magikal wars that see followers of rival sects, such as the Temple of Set and Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, fling curses at each other across the astral plane. But nearly two decades later, could the mere existence of the Beady Eye album be seen as evidence of the warlock D's ultimate victory? And was it the evil influence of some malignant magic spell of D's that made his rival Liam Gallagher fidget so on The Chatty Man's show last week? "Worms of the Earth, your burrows forgotten/Wriggle instead in Liam's bottom," D and his milk carton homunculus sing to the smoking cauldron, I expect, or something like it.
And, let us not forget, on the main stage of Glastonbury, the sacred site, D appeared twice in succession. Once in his old form, as the singer of Blurs, and then again, reborn as the musical director of the Gorillas, a magus holding a crowd of thousands spellbound as he conjured dances and songs from the shuffling corpses of the undead – Lou Reed, Mark E Smith and Shaun Ryder.
Predictably, the last few weeks have seen many of D's Britpop contemporaries announce their own occult projects. The Echobellies are to reform, not as a band, but as a druidical sex cult, and Louise Weeners of the Sleeper is planning a lighthearted chick-lit novel about Ithell Colquhoun and her magic goose. In a reversal of these new norms, Northamptonshire magician Alan Moore is to perform a one-man dance piece about the rise and fall of Menswe@r.
I don't doubt for a moment that D Albarn is anything but utterly sincere in his enthusiasm for the occult. But let the seeker tread carefully, for stronger men than he have been swallowed by the dark side. Mickey Mouse thought that he would be able to use the occult to clean his floor more quickly than was reasonable, but he soon became the terrified victim of loads of singing brooms. D Albarn might master the darkness, but it may be more likely that the darkness will master him."
"Damon Albarn will compose music for movie about magic oak
Spinner informs that Blur and Gorillaz leader Damon Albarn will compose a soundtrack for a short film "The Boy in the Oak". The movie will be based on children"s book written by musician"s sister Jessica. The movie will tell about a boy behind the house of who there is magic tree. But the child does not believe in magic till he is not visited by the fairies living in the oak branches.
The narrations will be read by the actor Jude Law. It is supposed that the director of "The Boy in the Oak" will be Luke Losey, who previously cooperated with such music projects as Orbital and Mercury Rev. The movie will come in spring 2011. Early before it was known that in 2011 Blur can start recording the next disc. If these rumors are confirmed, the new album will be the first work of the group after eight years."