(From Sounds, 24/31 December 1988)
OLD JAZ'S ALMANAC
Who needs Nostradamus when Jaz Coleman's around? Roy Wilkinson hears him predict that we'll all be destroyed by fire before the '80s are out and that '89 will be Killing Joke's best year yet - but he proves a dead loss in advance tips for the pools.
HA! HA! Ha! Ha! The eyes stare unflinchingly from their black pits, the head thrown back.
This isn't a laugh, but the mocking taunt of one who has seen what's coming, who knows everything is not alright. It's the end of the world as we know it and Jaz Coleman feels fine.
I have travelled to the very ends of the District Line of the Underground (Ha Ha Ha) for an audience with the Coleman. As we see out the old year and welcome in the new, this seeker of extremities is casting a wary eye over the 89th year of the second millennium AD.
The chosen ones will find a stout pair of wellies in their Christmas stockings ...
"People like Friends Of The Earth have been saying that as the greenhouse effect takes hold we will have more disasters like Bangladesh and Jamaica, and that London will be under water by 2030," reasons Jaz. "I believe there will be an acceleration of the greenhouse effect. All the prophecies says it'll come in the '80s. Ha Ha Ha Ha! In a time of peace." Casually he begins to hum a killing Joke song - 'Eighties'.
Beyond the prophecies that Jaz refers to, there are more portents as to the coming year's destiny. If you add its constituent numerals, 1989 becomes 27. That could well mean 2x7 and when two sevens clash, the end of the world is nigh!
Then there's the seventh son of the seventh son which brings us to that arcane document Ye Laste Album Of Ye Maiden Of Ye Iron and its mystical chant 'The Clairvoyant': "There's a time to live and a time to die/When it's time to meet the maker"! The time is now and if the agent of fortune isn't flood, then it'll be fire.
Jaz continues: "Though I increasingly believe the threat to this planet is ecological, all the mythologies predict that Earth will be destroyed by the element fire. At the end of the day I must tell you the truth, and I believe we cannot continue the way we're going. I believe it'll happen because I've got a funny feeling in my gutty-wutty. I've got a chapter in my book called Painter And Witness. I believe I was born to witness this. Ha Ha Ha Ha!
"Wouldn't it be funny if I was wrong, though! Ha Ha Ha Ha! Then you could all live your miserable lives a little longer! Ha Ha Ha Ha! It's a giggle, isn't it?"
In The Bible, the Book Of Revelations (significantly, 'Revelations' is the title of a joke album!) predicts the end will come with a battle at Armageddon, a site thought to be just outside Tel Aviv. Uncannily, Jaz's predictive instinct homes in on the same area.
"I've studied this area because in geomancy (divining by means of lines or geographic features) the Earth is seen as a human body with spiritual chakras (world navels) which align the body. The base of the spine, the bottom chakra, is the Middle East in geomancy which means, because the back of the Earth isn't straight, metaphorically speaking, that this is where the focus of trouble will be.
"Now the Soviet Union has accepted the PLO and recognised Palestine as a state - that's a radical event. The balance of power is being altered there, because half the world'll follow the USSR. If the US doesn't recognise Palestine, they'll be advocating crimes against humanity. I think it'll hot up in the Middle East. As illustrated by the bombing of Tripoli, things can escalate very quickly in that area."
Any tips for the Cup?
"No, I only bet on certainties. My sport goes as far as sub-aqua diving and fishing. Ha Ha Ha Ha."
No Maidenesque mystic soccer rock for this boy. As well as watching the Earth in the coming year, Jaz will attempt to mould a small part of the planet. With ODIC (Order of the Distant Island Charter), the Joke collective plan is to buy some land on a Pacific island and dedicate it to a program of geomantic study.
"One of the greatest works of art I've seen in the last 12 months was a place called the Waipara Water Gardens in New Zealand. Two German scientists bought 200 acres of land. With an Eastern style of geomancy, they diverted all the streams and transformed it into a place where there were so many species of butterflies and moths that epitomised the health of the area.
"The idea is, unlike those prats in The Cult, not to spend our money on Harley Davidsons, but to buy 200 acres on a Pacific island and dedicate that area to research. The program is in motion - the land'll only cost £40.000 - and the location will be revealed to the ODIC membership on March 20. Ha Ha Ha Ha!
"The objective is to see if these geomantic siting techniques enhance the general fertility of this specific area. I predict that you'll be able to notice the change within three or four turns of the cycle. A cycle is a year, but I take my year from the spring, not the birth of Jesus Christ. Sounds like a wheeze doesn't it? Ha Ha Ha Ha! I'm telling all the numerous nutcases out there not to bother turning up there. Ha Ha Ha Ha! Maybe I've been guilty of that (being a nutcase) myself in the past. Ha Ha Ha Ha!"
A lively year on the geomantic front will be accompanied by an equally vigorous Jokomantic year. Jaz predicts a revolutionary approach on the concert front.
"I feel that, more than any time, something good is going to happen with the music we're writing. It's like a dream is beginning to happen somewhere. I will make a prediction: next year Killing Joke will have their most exciting year in the last eight years.
"We're going to bring in a whole new way of looking at what you call gigs. The ODIC party on December 22 is just the start. I will take live performance to the extreme limits. We're trying to arrange a couple of bizarre happenings, one in the Northern hemisphere, in Greece. It'll be very tribal.
"We're trying to control the environment - to me the landscape is frozen music. One day we will perfect that approach. Mark my words, Killing Joke will set you on your heels next year. Ha Ha Ha Ha! If you're not with us, you'd better get out of our way. Ha Ha Ha Ha!"
Beware the Ha-rangues of Jaz Coleman.