John Cale
Fear Is A Man's Best Friend - John Cale

Promoting John Cale

Sedition and Alchemy

Sedition and Alchemy extract

Courtesy Of Peter Owen Publishers

An account of a Drury Lane, London, gig from 1976

Cale had agonized long and hard about what form his first proper stage shows were going to take. Gone now were the projected theatrical extremes of the cancelled Victoria Palace show; in their place were the shades and the leathers and, at the Theatre Royal in London's Drury Lane on 11 May, a dummy dressed in a nurse's uniform. Inside the dummy's knickers was a capsule filled with fake blood. The idea was for Cale to attack the dummy at the end of the gig, but that all changed when during the course of the performance he broke a string on his guitar. The roadie whose duty it was to fix the string was unprepared, so Cale had to take some decisive action if the momentum of the set was not to be lost. He grabbed the dummy and bit at its crotch, but the hidden capsule refused to burst, and he had to resort to a frenzied attack on the lifeless figure. During this assault, in the course of which Cale hit the floor, the capsule did eventually burst, and he continued the gig with blood over half of his face, with some people in the audience convinced that he had broken his nose. As a result of this performance Cale and the other members of the band are banned for life from the Theatre Royal.

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Book details:
Sedition and Alchemy: A Biography of John Cale
Tim Mitchell
Paperback Original
£14.95 (tbc)
Published June 2003
Isbn 0 7206 1132 6

© 1999- Hans Werksman