Skip

On the Road to Damascus
July 8, 2011 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Bill Drummond, best known as co-founder of the KLF, writes about his slow infatuation with damsons.
posted by rollick (32 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for introducing me to The Quietus and Caugh by the River.

Bill Drummond cares a lot more for a particular plum than he did for a million quid.
posted by furtive at 12:28 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


In Missouri I knew these as "damson plums" and a friend had a cousin out in the sticks who would send jars of preserves. Fried chicken, Milwaukee's best and damson plum preserves on bagels for dessert.
posted by Rat Spatula at 12:32 PM on July 8, 2011


I've always thought there's a fascinating/funny/sad documentary waiting to be made about Bill Drummond.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:33 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've never heard of damsons. Are they cromulent?
posted by neuron at 12:44 PM on July 8, 2011


Do they eat damsons in Mu-mu land?
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:58 PM on July 8, 2011


Lovely, in every way.
posted by steef at 12:59 PM on July 8, 2011


Kidney Liberation Front?
Killer Librarian Association?
Kansas Local Anglers?
posted by happyroach at 1:00 PM on July 8, 2011


Also worth a read, off the damsons link: Bill Drummond Interviewed: Recorded Music Has Run Its Course -- August-2008
posted by philip-random at 1:08 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is utterly ridiculous. The Luftwaffe did not need damson skins to dye their uniforms. The Germans had plenty of aniline dyes, they produced chemical dyes at a massive industrial scale and they were a major export.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:27 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have some in the icebox right now that I'm saving for breakfast
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:28 PM on July 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


A musician eating plums and kickin' out the jams. A perfect match, I think.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:30 PM on July 8, 2011


What's the similarity between a plumb and an elephant?

They're both the same color except the plumb's purple.

my favorite broken joke
posted by philip-random at 2:06 PM on July 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


That is utterly ridiculous.

It's Bill Drummond.
posted by mykescipark at 2:39 PM on July 8, 2011


I am like this about (fresh, NOT CANNED) peaches. Which is far less romantic than being obsessed with damsons, because, I mean, peaches are easy to find, at least at this time of year.

However, once, only once, when I was ten or eleven, I ate a bowl of homemade peach ice cream on a Mennonite farm. The taste was beyond mortal description. No food since has compared.

Peach ice cream handcrafted by Mennonites with just-off-the-tree peaches and fresh cream from the cow right next door in the barn is, sadly, not as easy to find as plain peaches. But sometimes when I get a peach at just the right ripeness, or a peach cobbler or pie baked just right, I can catch just an echo of that platonic peach flavor and the world stops and I'm a kid again and wondering whether the Mennonite girls think I look like an alien in my jeans.
posted by BlueJae at 3:10 PM on July 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


I am seriously regretting not making a vat of damson jam while I still lived in England.
posted by Specklet at 5:15 PM on July 8, 2011


We used to gather damsons in my uncle's garden when I was a kid. My uncle has since passed on, and the house long left the family, yet the taste of a damson or the simple mention of it on this page takes me right back there. Thanks rollick.
posted by arcticseal at 5:42 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Movin' to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches damsons.
posted by candyland at 6:48 PM on July 8, 2011


Nice article. I just read The Fruit Hunters, and it exploresfruit obsession, so this was a nice tie-in.
posted by annsunny at 7:32 PM on July 8, 2011


These sound really good. If there any where near Key West mangoes (which I consume with a genuine zeal on a morningly basis) they I understand. I understand.
posted by Mike Mongo at 10:08 PM on July 8, 2011


So is it this Bill Drummond we are speaking of? I only ask because I am a little drunk and too lazy to look to Wikipedia for an answer.
posted by echolalia67 at 12:01 AM on July 9, 2011


Damsons are big news this year in the UK. They've come early, and it's a bumper crop.

This is what I'm making today: damson and earl grey ice cream (substitute damsons for plums).
posted by MuffinMan at 2:06 AM on July 9, 2011


So is it this Bill Drummond we are speaking of?

Probably. I'm also too lazy for Wikipedia but the KLF/damson Bill Drummond had a background with Echo + the Bunnymen (management?), who were a Liverpool band, and Julian Cope's a Liverpudlian, so it makes sense they'd all have found themselves at some point at the same pub, being situational.
posted by philip-random at 8:56 AM on July 9, 2011


@ charlie don't surf >That is utterly ridiculous.<

Obviously you’re not familiar with Bill Drummond.

It’s kind of embarrassing how excited I get when I see a link to something about Bill Drummond.
And I think there’s a good chance I would hate him if I met him.
posted by bongo_x at 11:13 AM on July 9, 2011


>Thanks for introducing me to The Quietus and Caught by the River.<

Indeed.
posted by bongo_x at 11:14 AM on July 9, 2011


Obviously you’re not familiar with Bill Drummond.

No, I am not. But I am intimately familiar with the history and chemistry of dyes and pigments. It is a major part of my professional work. I assure you damsons were not needed for dyes by the Luftwaffe, as Drummond claims. They're uniforms were blue and dyes like Prussian Blue were invented over 200 years earlier. Why do you think they call it Prussian blue? That's the color of the Prussian's uniform, dyed with Prussian Blue. Same color scheme used by the Luftwaffe, and other branches. In any case, even some cursory web research (PDF) shows that Damsons were superseded by chemical dyes in the 19th century, as aniline dyes began mass industrial production in the 1840s and 50s.

Now if you're suggesting that this is some high concept satire by Bill Drummond, who had some reason to associate the decline of the damson with Hitler, well that is just fucking stupid.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:37 PM on July 9, 2011


charlie, this is a man who burned a million quid, attempted to ritually sacrifice an effigy of Elvis at the North Pole in the company of man called Zodiac Mindwarp and revitalised the career of Tammy Wynette in the process of inventing a new genre of dance music.

Flying into a humourless rage about the truth or falsity of his damson dye-related factoid seems like a waste of energy at best.
posted by jack_mo at 3:18 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is a not-at-all fine line between satire and stupidity. What seems particularly stupid is Drummond expending so much energy writing a stupid hoax about Hitler's damsons. It seems even more pathetic, after seeing your list of his other "accomplishments."
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:50 PM on July 9, 2011


Like I said, he's spent decades expending enormous amounts of energy on projects that often don't make a blind bit of sense and that his audience assume are either horribly cynical hoaxes or completely genuine, heartfelt acts according to preference - I know folk who love Drummond because he's an arch prankster, and folk who love him for making wonderful, joyous pop music (and folk who hate him for the former and think the latter was the biggest prank of all).

Anyway, my point was: if you're going to get angry about Bill Drummond, you can find much bigger things to get het up about than a mildly amusing aside about dye. It's like saying you despise Hitler because he was a mediocre watercolourist.
posted by jack_mo at 4:46 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


This discussion is going in exactly the direction that would delight Bill Drummond most. The UK tabloids used to do this with him all the time.
posted by mykescipark at 7:11 PM on July 9, 2011


There is nothing like a mediocre watercolour for throwing me into a murderous rage.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:22 AM on July 10, 2011


This discussion is going in exactly the direction that would delight Bill Drummond most.

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Drummond fashioned the damson anecdote to specifically enrage those intimately familiar with the history and chemistry of dyes and pigments.

Tomorrow morning, charlie's comments will be graffitied on a bridge over the M53, and by the end of the week The KLF will have topped the international pop charts with their hit 2011: What the Fuck is Damson JAMM?.

The lyrics will be roundly condemned by the Womens Institute, the panel of Gardners Question Time will sue over an uncleared sample, but - in an unexpected move - the song will be adopted as the official anthem of the 2011 International Symposium and Exhibition on Natural Dyes (an event later revealed as a long-running Drummond & Cauty side project based on a misprint in recent editions of The Illuminatus! Trilogy).
posted by jack_mo at 5:01 AM on July 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Kidney Liberation Front?
Killer Librarian Association?
Kansas Local Anglers?


Kopyright Liberation Front.

I was going to wait until 3 AM to post this but I'm getting too tired.
posted by Sutekh at 6:33 AM on July 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


« Older But where did the German newspapers come from?   |   Dr. Rhythm will see you now Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post