My friend (and your friend too if you are independent, free-thinking, rational and humane) Julian Cope is currently doing what he calls his Joe Strummer Memorial Busking Tour at selected places of historical interest to advocate free speech, direct action and civil protest, the theme of his latest album, Black Sheep.
For example, today he’s out busking in London at the Wat Tyler Memorial (Tyler led the 1381 peasants’ revolt); at the Emily Pankhurst Statue (she championed women’s rights only 90 years ago â€“ don’t forget this, sisters); at the Winston Churchill Statue in Parliament Square; and at Karl Marx’s grave.
Yesterday Cope and his black leather-clad band were out and about on the streets and lanes of Wiltshire. I couldn’t go because I should have been at work but I couldn’t even get there – have been rather poorly since Saturday. But Moth went along and took lots of photos. Including this one which I want to share with you because it sums up the man in ways no other photo of Cope I have ever seen can:
Did you notice the old guy in the background, twitching his curtains?
There he is just a-walking down a street in Chippenham, on his way to busk at the Eddie Cochran
memorial. Tom Cox writing in The Guardian said of Cope “He’s unique in that he manages to sit somewhere between self-effacing, self-righteous and self-mocking.” Whether you like Copey’s music or not, or whether you think he’s an opinionated eccentric, you have to admire a man who follows his rational visions to this extent, knows his own mind, thirsts for knowledge and makes a living by just being himself. I know I do.