Jaz Coleman lecture; Columbia Hotel, London
Friday 08 September 1995
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.
While contemporaries either live it up in LA or down in the George Robey, 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?
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures