Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown - interview with the God of Hellfire

One imagines had he not chosen to become a singer and the self-proclaimed God of Hellfire, he would have also made for an excellent tour guide. We are invited to meet Brown on the edge of the Sussex downs in Lewes where he now resides to discuss his new, crowd-funded album Zim Zam Zim, the 72 year old’s first record in nearly a decade. 

He courteously agrees to pick DiS up in his rusting white Corsica van and promptly shows us around the town. It’s a dizzying experience. Over the course of a couple of hours we stop by a few curious places including Zu Studios, a former industrial unit converted into communal studios for artists. As we wonder inside, every surface is covered with found pieces of art, sculptures, tapestries, paintings and ornaments with performance and exhibition spaces where regular parties are held for the creative underworld in these parts.

Things take a particularly strange turn at the huge studio for artist and friend Paul Harrison, where caravans hang from the ceiling and handguns are haphazardly cast aside on work benches. It’s a little like stepping into Steptoe’s version of Narnia had he gone to art school and had a penchant for making experimental up-cycled furniture. There’s even time to feed the swans on the river. But before it becomes to quaint and normal (although by this point we’d thrown this construct out with the bread for the swans) Brown shows me his new home, a large, terracotta yurt made partly out of concrete, which he reliably informs me should float in the eventuality of a flood.

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