Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Never Too Old to Rock O

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Never Too Old to Rock O

Article excerpt

Ipened to Gerald with various hypotheses explored. Did Gerald become an investment banker or a soldier, a preacher or a down-and-out? Probably none of these. In Homo Erraticus, the fictional Bostock's back as songwriter and co-tour manager.

As Anderson explains on his website, the new album "chronicles the weird imaginings of one Ernest T Parritt, as recaptured by the now middleaged Gerald Bostock after a trip to Mathew Bunter's Old Library Book-k shop in Linwell village.

"Bostock and Bunter (sounds like a firm of dodgy solicitors) came across this dusty, unpublished manuscript, written by local amateur historian Ernest T Parritt (1873-1929) and entitled Homo Britanicus Erraticus." Homo Erraticus, then, is a jocular, wordy, ideas-laden feast of an album spanning the whole of human history with enough to fuel a couple of dozen PhDs - spoof ones, at least. It will fill one half of Anderson's concert in Gateshead with the other devoted to Jethro Tull hits.

The real identity of Gerald Bostock is quickly revealed. "He's an alter ego who can say things and have views that I don't necessarily have," explains Anderson.

"I'm merely the conduit for his views, the man who brings them to the stage."

Not that Anderson is a man without views. Far from it.

Prog rock, he says, "is known for its self-indulgent and expansive performance values where showing offis part of it".

It was in the mid-Seventies, he reckons, that instrumental excesses started to give it a bad name, but Jethro Tull survived punk and Anderson is happy to keep on touring under whatever label, provided he can fill halls.

He says it was The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, released in 1967, that set him on his musical course.

He was still cleaning the toilets at the Ritz Cinema in Luton at the time. "But The Beatles, and that album, impacted on me very heavily and I was ready to follow in their footsteps, begging and borrowing in order to do it."

His aim in music thereaf-f ter was "to do something en -chanting and adventurous".

It wasn't really rock at first, though: "It was was really jazz or folk with some elements of World Music that came to me along the way. In 1969, I was being described as being in a progressive rock band and that was good until people started to call it 'prog' and it went down hill from there."

Progressive or prog, Ian Anderson has enough fans and admirers to keep him going in the 21st century.

Some remember him as the hirsute flute player who stood on one leg and others have been picked up since along the way.

He can do his own thing with impunity, especially since "prog" is more likely to be used these days with retro-tinged affection than disdain. Of his particular calling, he says: "I think it's still very much keeping alive the spirit of restless souls". …

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