The scoop on Damon Albarn and Alan Moore's John Dee Opera

Is this the supergroup for our time? Even more super duper than the other Gorillaz superstar lineups on their new album? Over at Vulture, Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn has a bit more on his upcoming collaboration with Alan Moore for a new opera: it’s based on the life of John Dee, a 16th century scholar who, Wikipedia tells us, spent the last thirty years of his life trying to talk to angels in order to effect the unification of all humankind for good before the apocalypse. Hard to see what might have attracted the witchcraft-practicing Moore to THIS subject matter, eh?

According to Albarn, Dee was also “responsible for creating the concept of the British Empire. So he affects all our lives in one way or another. He was an alchemist and it’s about his life.” The Vulture interview continues:

Q: Do you know what the music will sound like?
D.A.: No, not really. This will be the first time I’ve stopped writing for six months; I’ve just been reading about Hermetic magic and catalysts and philosophy, which is what all of his stuff is based on  Euclid and Pythagoras and all of that stuff. It’s a lot. And it’s been brilliant. I’ve got an idea of how it’s going to sound.

It’s not entirely clear if Albarn’s Gorillaz’s collaborator, Jamie Hewlett, will be involved in this project, as he’s very busy promoting Plastic Beach, the Gorillaz newest and best album, but one can hope.

Dee has made several previous appearances in the “Moore-verse” of comics, with a prominent role in his mystic-themed PROMETHEA — Dee was also reinvented as Dr. Destiny in Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN run, and we’re pretty sure Grant Morrison mentioned him somewhere, and he’s part of the whole Cthulu mythos. So it’s about time Dee got his own mystico-pop opera!


  1. says

    MUST it be Jamie Hewlett? As much a fan of his as anyone, but mightn’t anyone else be as much if not better a match for a non-Gorillaz project? (& yes, I know Albarn & Hewlett also did the “Voyage to the East” project together. Maybe that makes the question even more relevant.)

    Whatever form it takes, it’s got a guaranteed sale in me.

  2. Craig says

    This literally made me red in the face with anger. The thought of Moore associating himself with Damon Albarn is sickening, especially after Plastic Beach which was such a load of garbage. After this Alan Moore may very well be f–king dead to me.

  3. says

    Craig, that post actually prompted me to check your ISP to see what planet you were posting from. In any event, don’t worry: It Will All Be Over Soon.

  4. says

    LOL Heidi. But maybe it’s just some sort of meta-commentary. I mean, isn’t Plastic Beach (the fictional place, not the record) *literally* a load of garbage?

  5. Kenny Cather says

    Moore and Albarn? YES please! I *really* hope this project comes to fruition!

    And yes “Plastic Beach” was bad – there was no Danger Mouse! I like Albarn a *lot*, but he can’t do Gorillaz on his own! (Even the *ugh* Automator was better than Albarn on his own….)

  6. That Guy says

    Watch me be That Guy on the Internets:

    Though Dr. Destiny’s name was given in Gaiman’s Sandman as John Dee, he was not said to be the historical John Dee. He remains a cheap crook with a scary gimmick, but he can’t hurt me because my near-mint original copy is safely polybagged in a tightly packed longbox.

    But an Alan Moore opera about John Dee? That’s cool …

  7. jacob lyon goddard says

    one of my “when i win the lottery” dreams is to commission and produce a play written by alan moore about Jack Parsons.

  8. Craig says

    Yes, let us all disregard the fact that the person writing the music is a talentless hip hop artist.

  9. says

    Moore also wrote John Dee into The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as one of the creators of the League with Queen Gloriana.

    Count me among the Plastic Beach fans. The songs on the album have the most consistent feel of any Gorillaz album so far. Which is not to say the songs aren’t great on the others, but they don’t flow together as well.

    And I think that Damon Albarn must have kicked Craig’s mother down a flight of stairs or something. That’s the only explanation that makes sense.

  10. Kenny Cather says

    “Yes, let us all disregard the fact that the person writing the music is a talentless hip hop artist.”

    Wow, that is so wrong it’s hilarious. I had a good laugh when I read that.

  11. Stephen B. says

    This project never happened [or rather, was never concluded with music and contributions by Moore]. Alan Moore has, in a couple of interviews, explained what led him to back away from involvement or continuing in the opera on John Dee…

    but a libretto for the opening one third of the work exists. It was collected in a paperback for STRANGE ATTRACTOR VOL. 4 – and can be found or ordered from UK shops.


  12. Greenaum says

    Anyone like to tell me the reasons Alan decided against pursuing a project with talentless hip-hop artist Damon? Damon does come across as a teeny bit of a massive wanker, and pretentious and “arty” with it. Though not as bad as his mate Alex out of Blur. But that’s not saying much, being second-place “arty” wanker to, well, Alex Whatsisname, the ne plus ultra of pretentious “arty” wankers. And expensive cheese artisan.

    Anyway, apart from him being a wanker, is that why the project failed? Or did Dee curse it from his place somewhere near the second or third sephira? I forget which, have to dig out Promethea.

    Actually the URL for this article mentions Snoop Dogg. Who is awful, and hip hop. And Skyping. Apparently you can’t change the URL after you’ve edited the article.

  13. Greenaum says

    Also, of course… Jamie Hewlett worked on 2000AD a good few years ago. After Alan Moore had left. Jamie was big on collaborating with Peter Milligan, another great comic writer. Although I’d leave his franchised American stuff out, his own work is much better, and very good. Not bothered about reading All The Green Lanterns Of The Rainbow, and the abortion I’m sure they’ve made of new shiny John “Keanu” Constan-“innit geeza!”-tine.

    But anyway, Peter is dead good in his own stuff. So perhaps 2000AD is how Alan and Jamie know each other, perhaps that’s how Damon knows Alan. I dunno how much Alan burned his bridges with 2000AD after America whisked him off to fame and fortune. 2000AD had no respect for creator’s rights, but that’s normal for the 1980s.

    I’d also like to see Alan finish Halo Jones. 2000AD was bought up by a computer games company a few years ago, owned by a massive fanboy and boyhood reader. I’m sure he’d give Alan the rights, and whatever else, if Alan wanted them. The new management isn’t anything to do with the people Alan worked for back then, 30 years ago. Unless him and John Wagner had a falling out. Wagner doesn’t own the company or anything, but he’s always been a large part of the comic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *