Last weekend we had our annual Winter Gathering in Glastonbury for members and friends of the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids. It’s always wonderful to catch up with old friends and make new ones. And there’s the combination of ritual (at Chalice Well and in the Town Hall with great piles of mistletoe), stimulating discussions, and the legendary evening party, with its Eisteddfod of incredible poetry, song and dance.
This year we had a punk theme – I interviewed long-time member of the Order and of the punk band Killing Joke, Youth (Martin Glover), about how he works with creativity. And John Marchant, the punk artist Jamie Reid’s co-conspirator and gallerist, gave a fabulous talk about Jamie, alongside illustrations of his work.
What has punk got to do with Druidry? It’s a long story…. food for an article or book one day!
On Saturday evening we crowned Youth and John (for Jamie) as Honorary Bards, in recognition of their achievements.
This year Youth received a top accolade at the 2016 Music Producers Guild Awards when he was presented with the Award for Outstanding Contribution to UK Music.
This is what the Music Producers Guild said:
“One of the UK’s most consistent, credible and influential producers, Youth has been responsible for numerous hits from artists including The Verve, Embrace, Echo and the Bunnymen, Crowded House, The Orb, Sir Paul McCartney and The Charlatans. Among his recent projects was the co-production of Pink Floyd‘s final album, The Endless River. Released in 2014, this quintessential Pink Floyd album sold over 2.5 million copies in its first year. It debuted at No. 1 in the UK and in more than 20 other countries around the world including France, Germany, Canada and New Zealand. Youth also remixed David Gilmour‘s current solo No. 1 album, Rattle That Lock.
By honouring Youth with an Outstanding Contribution Award, the Music Producers Guild is recognising an exceptional body of work that spans more than 30 years and has made a significant contribution to the success of the UK music recording industry
Youth’s Butterfly Records label has produced artists such as Take That, Wet Wet Wet, Tom Jones, The Orb, Maria McKee and Heather Nova. He has also worked, produced and remixed for bands including Kate Bush, Guns N’ Roses, Primal Scream, Embrace, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Art of Noise, Crowded House, Zoe, P.M. Dawn, Yazoo, Erasure, U2, Bananarama, INXS, James, Suns of Arqa, Depeche Mode, The Shamen, Misery Loves Co., Texas, Dido, Gravity Kills, Fake?, Pink Floyd and The Charlatans.”
But Youth is an artist too. When I tried to buy his Anarchist Colouring book, it had sold out at the Idler Academy. And an Exhibition of his latest artwork has just opened in Greenwich at the Cadiz Gallery. He is an incredibly creative guy and I hope the discussion with him on creativity will be up on the DruidCast podcast soon.
Jamie Reid, famous for his work for the ‘Sex Pistols’ albums, combines a love of magic and Druidry with radical socialism and an anarchic spirit which results in artwork which is powerful, often colourful, and often challenging. Jamie manages to combine a sense of child-like playfulness and innocence with a tough, no-holds-barred anger and indignation at social injustice and the iniquities of the capitalist system. Like Youth he’s been at it for a long time and has built up an incredible body of work which we wanted to honour by nominating him as an Honorary Bard. He was unable to be with us, but John Marchant agreed to accept the award on his behalf. John has set up a website featuring the 365 pictures Jamie painted to depict the Eightfold Year. Each day the website shows you a different picture. You can see it here: eightfoldyear.org
When the UK government threatened to sell off all the public forests, we asked Jamie to create a picture for a campaign against this. In it he played on his well-known image of the Queen with ransom-note lettering saying ‘God Save the Queen’.