Monday, February 16, 2015

Lady June - 1974 - Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy

Lady June
Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy

01. Some Day Silly Twenty Three 2:26
02. Reflections 1:10
03. Am I 2:34
04. Everythingsnothing 4:26
05. Tunion 4:17
06. The Tourist 2:23
07. Bars 2:47
08. The Letter 4:04
09. Mangel / Wurzel 0:58
10. To Whom It May Concern 2:52
11. Optimism 1:34
12. Touch-Downer 2:00

Lady June {Vocals}
Kevin Ayers {Guitars, Bass, Bowed Bass Synthesizer, Vocals, Harmonium Guitar, Piano, Ukelele}
Kim Solomon {Piano }
Eno {Music, Vocals, Electronic Guitar, Imminent Linearment}
Luna Lollipops
Pip Pyle {Drums}
Martha {Vocals}
David Vorhaus {Kaliedophon, Mix}
Jakob Klasse {Piano}

Born to Russian and Scottish parents, June Campbell Cramer was raised in Plymouth and received a strict education. In the late fifties, she studied at art college, and from the early sixties spent most of her time living in Spain, painting and working as a fashion model. She lived in various other places for a while, including Italy, Greece and the Balearic Islands. It was while living near Palma in Mallorca that her path crossed with the Canterbury school : Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Kevin Ayers were occasionally residing on the island. It was through June that Allen and Ayers met Wes Brunson, the American millionaire who sponsored Soft Machine in their early days.

At that point, Lady June was using the pseudonym June 'Onion' for her painting activities, 'signing' each work with a small suspended onion bulb. From 1967, her involvement in painting, music and poetry intensified, and her artworks received numerous exhibitions. In 1970, June made a conscious decision that it was time for her to combine the music, visuals and words. This multi-media approach was subsequently developed in her performances, literature and recordings. Her public appearances became more frequent. She gave a talk and played tapes to polytechnic students in London and had several gigs in Britain during 1971, including a brief residency at the Electric Cinema in London. By now she had adopted the name Lady June.

Further public appearances were made by Lady June during 1972, including a performance at the badly organised International Carnival of Experimental Sound at London's Roundhouse, with Steve Hillage, Tim Blake, David Bedford and Lol Coxhill, an appearance at the Edinburgh festival, and the 'Fun and Games' gig in London during November with Geoff Leigh, Steve Hillage, Didier Malherbe and Gerry Fields. In addition, she performed in London with Henry Cow and a slide show, and during June played a gig with them at Amsterdam's Paradiso.

In the next year, she was visible at a variety of venues in England, solo as well as with Ron Geesin and Ivor Cutler. She was also involved in the BBC Radio 4 series "If It's Wednesday It Must Be...", featuring oddbods Kenny Everett and Viv Stanshall. June also prepared a series of tapes at the Radiophone Workshop for the BBC Radio 3 third programme. Also in 1973, she was close to a most dramatic incident, as it was in her Maida Vale flat, at her and Gilli Smyth's birthday party, on June 1st, that Robert Wyatt fell out of a window and broke his back.

During 1974, Lady June gave her 'Uppers and Downers' show at the Cosmos in Amsterdam. The title was to be used for the booklet of poetry published by Virgin that appeared the following year. Also, there was a solo appearance at Amsterdam's Melkweg, supported by Hatfield and the North with whom she also made many private recordings. Work on her album progressed during the year; the finalised session was released by Virgin on the budget-priced Caroline label in early 1975 with the title Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy. Recorded at cost of £400 according to one review, it features Brian Eno (who was also resident in the Maida Vale area of London), Kevin Ayers (who wrote much of the music) and Pip Pyle. It is an adventurous and intriguing kaleidoscope of music and words.

Early the following year, June performed with Lol Coxhill and David Vorhaus amongst others, at the Puck Fair, with ex-Radar Favourite Gerry Fitzgerald (once a lodger in Lady June's flat), and in Wakefield with Fitzgerald and Coxhill. In the Summer she appeared on the same bill as Heathcote Williams and Mike Horowitz (for some years June has been a member of the Poetry Society in London), at the Unity Theatre with Fitzgerald and bass guitarist Colin McClure. She appeared too at the Edinburgh Festival, where she also did some compering. In December, Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy gave three performances of 'Away of Living' at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London.

In 1976, Lady June participated in a women's festival in Amsterdam incorporating slides, films and tapes, and with films at a gig for the Women's Free Arts Alliance (for whom she gave several readings), at another gig in Wakefield and did a couple of short sets in London. The following May, she made appearances in front of an audience of 8000 at the Gong reunion concert in Paris, at the Winchester Hat Fair, using slides and films; and at Battersea Arts Centre for a women's festival where she gave a short lecture on the transition from spoken word to music and song (playing an extract from the music of Gilli Smyth and Daevid Allen to illustre this). June also appeared on a BBC World Overseas programme that was broadcast to Spanish and Latin American countries. As well as being interviewed she played some tracks from her album and sang a couple of unaccompanied songs.

After this she returned to Spain for several years, making occasional live appearances in Deya, such as gigs in the Municipal Theme Park with Jeremy Hart and Hamish, and at a French restaurant in a recording made available on cassette and also featuring Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Ronnie Watham (who can be heard elsewhere on Smyth's Fairy Tales). In Deya, June organised jumble sales, slide shows, art exhibitions and did some photo-journalism for a Mallorcan newspaper. In 1981, she was given an award at an amateur film festival.

Lady June was to return to London on May 16th, 1982 to organise 'An Odd Acts Event' at the Centro Iberico in London. This event featured a hilarious story by Lol Coxhill accompanied by Gerry Fitzgerald on guitar; some solo poems by Daevid Allen; and Gilli Smyth's performance accompanied by extracts from Harry Williamson's Tarka, as well as Lady June's own performance. Some of the evening's music and words was made available on a cassette released in 1983. Later that year, June published a book and a booklet (Caves), and designed a calendar.

Subsequently, her activities have mainly been in Mallorca. She printed another calendar, exhibited in several events, organised further jumble sales and acted in the video movie Paradise Is In The Mind, directed by Del Negro, for which she wrote the title song. She also contributed to an exhibition of Fifty Years of Deyan Art which was shown on Spanish TV. In 1984 she had two tracks included on a French underground cassette called Insane Music (Illusion Productions) and another two tracks on a French various artists release entitled History Of Jazz.

During 1985 she exhibited in an Amnesty International Benefit show in Palma, and performed on the closing night with guitarist Gerry Hart. That year June mad various broadcasts on FM Radio Mallorca, produced another calendar and organised a poetry/music/song event on a full moon night in Deya, which featured herself, Joan Biblioni and a wandering Irish minstrel. A recording of this was made available on cassette. She also gave a sketch in August at Robert Graves' Amphitheatre.

Activities over the following two years included involvement in the organisation of an Arts Festival in Spain in 1987, where she also exhibited, which was filmed for Spanish TV, and the production of a calendar for 1988. Around this time, she also had an exhibition entitled 'Something Old - Something New' in London. During June 1989, Lady June exhibited 42 of her paintings at the Restaurante Suizo in Deya, opening the event with tapes, poetry and accompaniment by a guitarist. In 1990, she had a track called "Growing Up" on a French cassette called Ode To Samantha Fox.

In the two years leading to her sudden death, June had been working on her most ambitious project to date. With Mark Hewins as composer and musical director, this project, Rebela, became the meeting point for many exponents of the Canterbury scene. Mark Hewins is still hoping to finish the project; needless to say, it is greatly anticipated.


 "LADY" JUNE'S title was purely honorary, a mutation of the function for which for a time she was best known in London: landlady to many of the capital's more creative musicians.

In this role it was sometimes overlooked that she was one of the city's great catalysts, albeit at an underground hippie level; an inveterate thrower of parties, she spent her time in the late 1960s and early 1970s at Vale Court in Maida Vale inadvertently running what the musician Daevid Allen described as "London's premier smoking salon". "She was ferocious in the mornings until the first joint arrived: she'd hover over you with a wet cloth demanding that you clean the stove." At a birthday party that June threw there for her closest friend, Allen's wife Gilli Smyth, Robert Wyatt fell from a window, breaking his back.

It was when she finally moved permanently to the artists' community of Deya in Majorca, in 1975, that June fully came into herself: as much of an artist as any of her London tenants had been, a great British eccentric and cosmic prankster on a par with Lol Coxhill and Viv Stanshall. The last five years saw a period of almost unparalleled productivity that will climax in an exhibition at the La Residencia hotel in Deya that opens tomorrow.

"I think she found what she was looking for," said the musician Kevin Ayers, another of her tenants, who wrote the music for and produced her 1974 album Linguistic Leprosy. "She had been involved in fashion and didn't really like it. She had a longing to be an artist - at whatever cost - and discovered that in Deya."

Lady June was born June Campbell-Cramer in Doncaster in 1931. Her father, who had made money in fashion retailing, took her to Majorca as a teenager and she fell in love with the island. After working as a photographic model in London during the 1950s, June moved to Palma, continuing the same career.

One day she met Daevid Allen and the troupe of artists and musicians who were to become the Absurd jazz-rock group Gong. "We all felt we'd known her from before we met," remembered Allen. A close friend of his was a Frenchman called Michel Albert, the radical son of a right-wing general, "a gorgeous-looking guy, living in Deya, who spectacularly was trying to paint his acid trips. He became one of the loves of her life."

Moving to Deya, June also started painting, putting on the first of a series of exhibitions always characterised by surreal humour, which also emerged in her poetry. Deya was ruled over by the poet Robert Graves. "To live in Deya you had to have some sort of satisfactory relationship with him," remembered Allen. "Robert was very tolerant of June, and she hung out with him."

"Everyone got on well with the Graves family," recalled Ayers. "Lady June was part of the poetry scene at the theatre club. She liked being in a place where you could go to the beach and flirt. And be around people who were painting or writing."

Lady June always had a tendency towards hedonistic consumption of alcohol and soft drugs. Lynne Franks, who has a home in Deya, recalls June remonstrating with her daughter for smoking cigarettes. "Give them up. Take up joints - that's what I did," she told her in all seriousness. Her fondness for excess was often a way of overcoming a chronic shyness. "She smoked and drank a bit too much," said Pete Brown, the musician who wrote the lyrics for many songs by Cream. "She had a minor stroke a couple of years ago. She would work hard, get a bit wired, and that combined with smoking and drinking was not too good. But her paintings continued to be terrific and so funny. And she was always such a great spirit."

Three years ago she was part of a spectacular Deya poetry evening with Roger McGough and Brian Patten. But Lady June's most achieved performance was herself: she succeeded in turning her existence into living art, bristling with humour. Last year's Hit and Myth record was an emotive work, bolstered by her habitual wackiness. In recent months she had been completing Rebela, an autobiographical record with contributions from much of the Gong camp, as well as Lol Coxhill, Pete Brown and Galen Ayers.

Tomorrow's opening at La Residencia in Deya will go ahead; the sculptures and paintings will not be complemented, of course, by her performance art and poetry. Somehow you have the feeling Lady June would not be too worried about that. "This event is so well organised," she told Frances Graves last week, shortly before her fatal heart attack, "that it doesn't matter if I drop dead."

June Campbell-Cramer (Lady June), artist and musician: born Doncaster, Yorkshire 3 June 1931; died Deya, Majorca 7 June 1999.



  2. Thank You SO very much for this! As well as the plethora of AMAZING music you have posted, and subsequently turned me onto :-) My musical tastes, exploration, and knowledge has always been wide and vast; but you have increased it even further and greater! I cannot Thank You enough for running this blog (and Thank You for finding a site to renew it's lease on life! I was so very crushed when you were shut down last year). You do a Tremendous service to music freaks far and wide my friend...Your tireless efforts and truly insane amounts of postings, are breathtaking. It is all I can do to keep up with you most times! lol :-) I do not know when you find time to eat! :-)

    Well, again, simply, Thank You. You have made my life that much sweeter for the music...

    Hope you are Well; and I wish you a Wonderful New Year...

    Cheers!! Lancealot :0)


  3. new link:

  4. I was just making a comment the other day on this blog about how it is incredible how many roads lead back to this blog - I was just on Discogs, checking to see if Yuzuru Agi, the founder of this very obscure Japanese label from the early eighties, Vanity Records, had released any recent material - then I saw a link to this record (he had done the sleeve notes to the 1974 Japanese release) and I thought, if he thinks that highly of it, it has to be worth a listen.

    A quick search later and here I am again! Is it an amazing album? Hell, yes! And judging by the low numbers on Discogs who have it or want it - this is still a relatively 'obscure' release, which given the Brian Eno involvement, and the strangeness of the record, is really surprising. Many thanks again Drago, you are a true star!

  5. Unfortunately the May reposting of this is already down:

    "This file is no longer available due to an unexpected error. If you are the owner of this file, it will need to be re-uploaded."

    Can you reupload?

  6. Some (2011) News on REBELA -

    July 2015 Duo - Lady June & Myself -

    Thankyou so much for your support. It means a lot to me. There will hopefully be some more news in September.
    Matt Knights and I are continuing to work on this project and its pretty close to a finish.

  7. Sir - Would you please repost this extreme treasure? thank you

  8. I'd be very grateful if you'd re-upload also. Your site is wunderbar