If the Babylon album came from a dark place of “dealing with shit”, Horus Tweets came from the jubilant release into new ways of embracing life (even though there’s always still some shit in it).
I’d got rid of the constant drain of dealing with my partner’s family, and we’d got through the winter. My translation work was still taking up most of my time and energy, but I had a lot more energy I was no longer wasting on stupid drama, and I think this comes through in the overwhelmingly upbeat nature of this album compared to the others that came before.
I’d also started to realise where I wanted to take my musical explorations, so in a sense, this was also a “Spring Cleaning”. Some of the songs, Like Morning Oud, which opens out and sets the tone for the album as a whole, are very early, written before, and stored in the “Weirdcrap” folder for future consideration or reworking. More than half of the songs that wound up on Horus Tweets were already written, in some form, by the time I came to put them together into an album. Of these, I think Fuckin’ Hippies still secretly pleases me the most.
Sometimes, you write something that you feel is good, worth putting out, but it doesn’t seem to fit with what you’re putting together at the time. I was already aware, from Bad Influence, that I very much liked working to a theme, so this was the beginning of thinking of albums in terms of how I could unify them thematically.
Free from the draining constraints of everything except my abysmally-paying job (a pretty big drain, admittedly, but without the other stuff weighing on me, it didn’t feel so bad at this point), I felt very positive going into the album. It has good forward-flowing energy, and I knew I was also “clearing the decks” for future work.
Around this time, too, I really did have a series of Strange Dreams, and these were what wound up giving me a loose “theme” for the album, if there is one. What happened was this: several times in the same week, I had “archaeological” dreams. The one that was very memorable was a dig site that I then saw in previously-unreleased photos in my newsfeed the next day, and which identified the place as being in Hunan Province. I can't prove that, of course, but it did have a profound effect on me, and it helped to suggest the ideas that led to the naming of this album.
There was also a very long dream, set maybe a thousand or so years in the past, but quite modern at the same time. (I made detailed notes, from which these are a few main points):
“There’s a (gravel?) walkway towards the edge of a tall overlook, like a viewing platform, tall modern somewhat-dishevelled looking buildings with long, vertical white flags and written characters in red to the right. I can’t see what they say, because they’re flapping in some wind or are caught or something. I’m not aware of any wind blowing. I approach the viewing platform’s edge — it feels like the top of cliffs surrounding a bay, they are curved. As I gaze out to what is there, expecting to see the sea, there’s an astonishing view of temples and an ancient city, all kind of soapstone-pink, towards maybe purplish-brown (red sandstone?). There are delicate, tall willowy-looking pagoda-type buildings, and the temples are massive, impressive, huge and very square. They have an overwhelming feeling of weight and awe. There are, I think 4 of them, but maybe 5, but their layout is definitely foursquare to each other, a huge, connected complex in terms of architecture. They are square, but with a feeling of roofs, giving them a pyramid kind of feeling. The one I’m closest to appears to have been carved out of the mountain of rock, like it is growing out of the earth, rather than built on it, and the cliffs (also carved all the way down with dwelling-places, maybe, and figures) are the same pinkish-red sandstone (or whatever it is). Nearer to me, to the left, curving round, are other huge carved-out structures, each with a dome-ish roof, and rounded walls, forming a series of cliff-walls that are both natural and carved by people at the same time. They remind me of elegant boxes and I get the feeling that the roof parts are emerald green and dark brown now, and the curved walls are more of a pale yellowish, like wood, when I regard them. There are at least 3 of these, all next to each other, creating a wave-like impression as they open out and away around the bay-cliff. The sky is a brilliant summer blue...
…I see there’s water down below, and think it must be a bay, after all. But the water is in a large, perhaps completely contained rectangle, kind of like a reflecting pool. It’s not exactly square, and seems also to be rounded and pointed(?) at the ends like a cartouche. There is a division of this water structure in half — one part is the brilliant clear emeraldish-blue of sea surf, and half shows the dark black ghat or landing stage with stairs leading down into the water. The black part also seems to have large round vessels, like water amphora and possibly ferns, bright, deep vibrant emerald. I see (like visions before me) various very delicious dishes, maybe some kind of curry, other vegetable dishes. Vaguely Indian or Thai food, but not quite…
… (later) I go through a curtained entrance and wind up in some sort of elegant (gold and cream and maybe coral colours) place that feels like a Japanese shopping mall or an important investment bank, with wide, vaulted spaces, very tastefully designed. I think that if I go through this place, I’ll come out where I need to.
I turn round a corner (to the right) and enter into a touristy Buddhist temple shop, and I realise this mall must be somehow connected with the large temples. There’s a slightly jaded family running the shop, but the man sees I want to take a photo (do I? Apparently so!), and feels very proud, assembling his family. They remind me slightly of my time in India, but the clothing, especially the young daughter’s headdress remind me of… Tibetan art? Egyptian? She has a long gold headdress kind of shaped like the feather of Maat, with a red jewel in it. Egyptian ruler style. The wife is wearing a glistening emerald green silk sari and the man is in cream silk, with (I think) a brocade border of red and gold. There’s a tiny infant, swaddled and sleeping on the mother’s lap, also with a Maat kind of headdress. The photo comes out very well, and they look a nice family. They warn me against buying anything from their fat neighbour whom they tell me is “no good” (He’s actually right there with his wife and children, too, behind a curtain I think, and I have the idea that he’s very fat, dressed in green and white striped silk clothes with a pointy golden yellow hat). I’m determined to buy something from this family for … allowing them to cajole me into taking their photo… and I wind up choosing a clear glycerine rose soap (flat, square bar in cellophane wrapping, mass-produced, and called something like “Ku”) with a darker, but still see-through rose coloured bottom, a little like those pink and white coconut sweets, except, well… a fragrant rose soap. And then I wake up.
I spent a long time after that dream trying to identify the place, especially after the other Hunan dream, but I’ve only found elements that remind me of parts of it, the temple complex at Luxor being one of them. My time in India and elsewhere have, I think, mixed in some other things, but I am still struck by the very insistent colour scheme of that dream — pink, emerald green, gold, cream, and vibrant red. Over and over again, in every scene.
And so anyway…. Horus. He is the Lord of the Aeon. I got to thinking, after that remarkable view of truly impressive temple structures and interiors from long-past, and felt a little sad at what a crappy aeon Horus has to look over in comparison. He is the “crowned and conquering child god”. Hawk-headed. And that’s when it dawned on me… if such a God cared to communicate with humans, how would he do it? Well, social media, obviously. He would Tweet. From his tablet.
Well, that was it. This was an album for the Aeon, and its name was Horus Tweets. Suddenly, all these funny little songs I already had fit in somewhere, and fit together. (I had no idea at the time that the US president was? Would become? a Twitter dumpster fire. Po-tu-weet?)
My partner very kindly agreed to pose as Horus for the cover, secure in the knowledge that he would have a hawk’s head to replace his own face. I’m telling you, he’s amazingly supportive of all this weird crap I get up to. As soon as I had the album’s name, I knew exactly what I wanted to do for it — Horus kind of a young clubbing maybe hippie-ish dude with jewels who probably hasn’t slept in a while, wearing a sort of towel (It’s actually one of my saris, but never mind), and tweeting from a grotty bathroom (symbol of our present state of civilisation). He’s ok with it, he’s hip. He tweets. The Aeon is young…
I like the album as a whole, and am probably most pleased with the “later” songs — Waiting for Tiangong (which I wrote in the evening when we were all waiting to find out if the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 was going to fall on any of our heads), Get Real, Social Anxiety, and (especially) State of Alarm — in which I started to use homemade sound samples from some of the old (copyright-free) documentaries I use to make my music videos.
Everything started to feel like it was coming together, and I started to feel like I even kind of knew what I was doing. The Adventure was truly underway now. Meanwhile, my job was wearing me down, and my partner began to petition me to quit. I didn’t though. Not yet.