I was told recently that editors of the gutter press in the UK are all Oxbridge English Literature graduates. I had always assumed that morons wrote those dreadful punning headlines and trashy articles but apparently not! While I would hate to align myself with these cynical oaves, writing a blog does help me to understand how writing silly headlines has its particular allure. The title of this post, however, sticks to the truth: the artist Jamie Reid, who shot to fame with his iconic punk images of the Queen sporting a safety-pin in her nose, is inspired by Druidry – and one of his latest collections was a set of 365 paintings that he made for each day of the year, grouped into eight sections to follow the basic mandala of modern Druidry: the Eightfold Year.
Jamie and friends have now built a website to feature these images (some of which Jamie has kindly said we can feature here). A new one appears at midnight every night, together with information about the day. This is how Jamie describes the site: “It’s great news that we’re launching the Eight-fold Year website on October 31st. This will offer a new picture every day of the year. All of these paintings are from a major project worked on over the last few years which has involved paintings on canvas and paper, huge wall hangings and photography. Much of the inspiration comes from study into the seasonal system of festivals and lunar phases that compromise the marking points of the calendar. More intuitive responses to nature from extensive walks through the British Isles and Ireland have also played a major part. The website also has moon phases, seasonal plants, anniversaries and festivals. We’re encouraging visitors to the website to get involved. It’s quite simple at the moment but it will grow as the year proceeds.” Have a scoot over there and take a look: www.eightfoldyear.org
Jamie Reid’s Great Uncle was the founder of the Druid Order. This is how Jamie describes him: “George Watson Macgregor Reid, founder of the Universal Bond and primogenitor of the contemporary Druid movement is the subject of this fascinating paper by Dr Adam Stout, delivered as the Fifth Mount Haemus Lecture to the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids in 2005. Proto-union agitator, swami, druid, maven and maverick – GWMR was where the family involvement in indigenous spirituality and social revolution began.”
Jamie’s connection with the music world stretches from his work with the Punk band the Sex Pistols in the 1970s to his involvement with the Afro-Celt Sound System which has a strong influence from modern Druidry in it. Jamie writes: “A realigned Afro Celt Sound System played at the Barbican in London on November 2nd. Unexpectedly they really went to town on the projections using loads of my paintings and graphics. I worked with Afro Celt for years, following a first meeting at the Strongroom Studios in Shoreditch. Look out for further dates when they’re announced, as they are amazing live – and you can see my paintings in a perfect setting!” See www.jamiereid.org