[kj] Jaz Coleman lecture @ Columbia Hotel 31/08/1995

antoni at clara.net antoni at clara.net
Sun May 23 14:20:14 EDT 2004

Hello folks,

Just clearing out some stuff & found a review that may not have been posted on The Gathering Mailing List before. This appeared in The Independent newspaper on Friday 8th September 1995 and was penned by Mat Smith, a journalist with Melody Maker amongst others, who indeed was sitting next to me. Mat said that he had just got back from Marrakech whilst I responded that I'd just spent 5 days in Moscow though I didn't actually elaborate on what I had been doing there - no prizes for guessing correctly. Anyway, back to the review about the lecture that several of you were also present at (my own comments in italics) ...


Jaz Coleman lecture
Mat Smith
Columbia Hotel, London

'Coleman has a passionately held theory on almost anything you'd care to think about'

Dante typified hell as a place full of people with no opinions. By this reasoning, Jaz Coleman, Killing Joke singer or, as he prefers these days, "composer", seems to be destined for a place in the clouds. Coleman has a theory on anything you'd care to think about. His obsessions being reserved for things you'd rather not.

His philosophy is a strangely appealing hybrid of new-age sensitivity and pull-your-socks-up-man-there's-a-war-on sensibility. 

Eyes blazing beneath the brim of an Indiana Jones hat and flanked by burning candles, Coleman cuts an oddly commanding figure in the Regency Room of the Columbia, home to generations of bands.

It's impossible not to be impressed by both the sheer magnetism of his presence and his extraordinary work rate. The past two years have seen him complete one Killing Joke and six classical LPs, set up a studio, produce Maori choirs, undertake three European tours and found the Perma-Culture Trust to promote eco-friendly areas in New Zealand. 

Of the 64 attendees, committed KJ fans outnumber the merely interested by two to one, carefully vetted by Coleman in a display of anachronistic cold-war style paranoia.

What it was in aid of, nobody seemed quite sure. Contradictions have always been Coleman's forte. During the five hour lecture, he counselled those present to know their limitations on one hand while on the other, urging them to follow their dreams, even into "the realms of irrationality".

He raged against the short-termism of Thatcher yet cackled at his own recent economic quick fix - arranging three CDs of Who, Pink Floyd and Rolling Stones songs for symphony orchestra - effectively dismissing his involvement as a case of "stepping over stones" to get where he wants. Or in this case, stepping over the Stones.

Coleman calls upon quotes from Spinoza, Mohammed, TS Eliot, and Nietzsche to add academic weight to the emotional battering-ram of his passionate views. However, it's Napoleon's warning, "Beware of the man who dreams with his eyes open", that he seems to have taken closest to heart.

He returned to the subject of dreams constantly. You half expected him to add the Arthur Askeyesque proviso "Stop me if you've heard this one before". Instead he asked members of the audience to outline their aspirations on paper while listening to a tape of his Symphony No 1, due for its Albert Hall premiere on 25 November (Did this ever happen folks ?).

While comtemporaries either live it up in LA or down in the George Robey (a gig venue in Finsbury Park), Coleman is working on "One enormous masterwork for no other reason than to glorify existence".

Grand conceit ? Surely. But what else would you expect from a master of the art ?


Hope you enjoyed that. Looking forward to meeting some familiar faces and new friends on Tuesday night. Right, it's Sunday evening so I'm off to church. Well, almost. My mate's band < Solar > are playing at the Union Chapel in Islington - no doubt I will be dancing in the pews, with a few bottles of Grolsch. Hic.



* http://home.clara.net/antoni/ *

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