“I do not give a fuck who Ed Sheeran is!”
The comic strip come to life Everett True (aka Dr Jerry Thackray) stands before a small audience consisting of music fans, journalists and avid coffee drinkers. Yet, from within his everyman-ish stature booms a voice, wilful and incensed and eagerly proclaiming the words ‘Ed Sheeran is shit!’.
Around the room, people cease their conversations. The room is not silent, because these are not the words you consume in silence, but discuss with fervour. Suddenly, this everyman is more than a man; he is the voice that is the law of music.
Pacing madly, gesticulations so much bigger, so much more than those belonging to Jerry Thackray, module leader at BIMM London. Jerry Thackray is no longer here; Jerry Thackray has left, and from the fire in his eyes, he is not coming back anytime soon.
His first reading is just a small section of Ed Sheeran is Sh*t (and Other Major Musical Malfunctions), his latest novel and an explosion of musical opinion one could only expect from a journalist so experienced as he. Described by the man himself as simply a statement of fact, the book compares artists like Sheeran and Bono to McDonalds and Asda, mocking the simplistic yet somehow unavoidable capitalism of the matter and it’s hypocrisy. The oh-so-frequent, white bread produce reel of radio music and the maelstrom it produces is mocked, stripped to its knees, and ridiculed once more even as True admits his own hypocrisy; he too eats at McDonald’s upon occasion.
His second reading is more personal; only half of it is read from the text itself. The other, a devastatingly real proclamation of stories the audience knows too well (there is a hush, finally), is more man than critic. Beneath the shell of Everett True, a glimmer of Jerry shines through; his heartache, his love of music, the life he has lead. Not quite an autobiography, The Electrical Storm is a series of anecdotes from his life, with names of the music icons he associated with ostensibly replaced by nicknames; though if you are familiar with his work, the dots are easy to connect.
He cannot and will not look the audience in the eye now. So much is hidden and yet he is more vulnerable than ever. From the self-righteous, defensive, damning man of before, this is a new kind of passion; one quieter, more morose and self-reflecting. This is the duality of a man driven in half; and yet, he is entirely, irrevocably, damningly whole.