All text copyright Stephen Coates 2006 - 2015


A couple of years ago I had a very strong dream about being on the South Bank of the River Thames in a kind of glade of trees - a landscape as it probably would have been before the city existed. Across the water came floating a kind of barge and on it were a family of half human - half horse-like creatures. They disembarked and I watched them for a while before we engaged in some sort of communication. They told me something important or imparted some kind of wisdom which of course on waking I couldn't quite recall. The dream itself continued in a strange and fairy tale sort of way and it inspired some music I later wrote called 'Epitaph for a Dream'.

Then I kind of forgot all about it until, with the strangeness of things, during some research, I recently came across a wonderful animation from 1921 by the American Winsor McCay in an archive. Surprise, surprise I thought I recognised the dream there.

Did I see it as a child and just forget?
Is it is a well-known myth?
Is it an unconcious archetype?
"What does it all mean Steerpike?"

I've no idea - but anyway, here are both.

Mad Hair

I often consider myself to have been rather fortunate and to have been the beneficiary of many happy accidents. A nocturnal meeting with Valentine Rose in Clerkenwell, reading about Dreamy records in London Time Out ten years ago, discovering a copy of Jung's "Memories, Dream and Reflections' in the carriage of a deserted train somewhere in West Wales and so on.

Another of these serendipitous events was receiving a letter one day from an animator called Alex Budovsky which sparked a friendship and a collaboration that has now gone on for several years and has produced some wonderful work. Alex also introduced us to Russia and to various extraordinary people there who we now work with too and some of whom have also become friends.

Amongst them are the amazing folk from the late, great Alexander Tatarsky's animation studio 'Pilot'. They have been engaged in an epic work to create two animated fairy stories for each of the ex states of the USSR - some of which I saw in progress and was duly blown away by. So, it was with great pleasure that i was invited to work on their latest project "Mad Hair'. This is a kind of trailer for a feature based on drawings and ideas left by Tatarsky before his untimely death last year and it truly is a gorgeous, eye-poppingly surreal tale of espionage, lunacy, baldness and sausages set in a re-imagined wartime London. You will rarely have seen anything like it and I look forward to being able to show more soon.

At a time when a kind of cultural (or at least Bureaucratic) Cold War has arisen between this country and Russia again, it feels rather happy to be engaged in such a cross-border collaboration.


My friend Gina reminded me that today would have been Gainsbourg's birthday. Can you imagine what he would have been like had he lived to be 80? No?- "moi non plus" as he might have said. And it's seventeen years since he died in Paris - rather reduced but still pretty stylish - and smoking - almost to the end.

These days with the slightly irritating ubiquity of Jane Birkin, it's easy to forget how forgotten he actually was during his lifetime - well outside France at any rate.

Anyway, I was reminded of an afternoon round at Clive's a few years ago when we sat around and recorded this. It's a bit out of tune and francophone's may quarrel with the translation but it felt right somehow.

Happy Birthday Serge.