"One of the greatest and strangest BC-supported tours ever"
Tim Hodgkinson, London, UK

Ten Years of Friendly British Invasion (Into USSR)

P R E F A C E by Boris A. Podkosov

Boris PodkosovAt the 6th of April, 2000, 10 years have passed since the beginning of the "exploratory" tour of the Britons (& Londoners...) like (an Englishmen) Tim Hodgkinson, as, keyboards, electronics and (Scotchman) Ken Hyder, ds, voice all through (back then) USSR as SHAMS: "In Search for the Soviet Sham(an)s" (and under general (in small letters...) "Friendly British Invasion" slogan).

In their dangerous trip, they were accompanied by (skinhead & bearded Mongoloid ...)Boris Podkosov, 1 "jazz buff" domestic jazz festival producer (and "sort of SJF functioneer" 2/ "distant rep") and (longhaired Slav ...) Sergey Cheshkin, graphic artist/book designer, both from Khabarovsk, Far East of USSR.

It was somewhere 25+ days trip, 7 cities or so - industrial centers (no settlements...), mixed feelings, modest stages, wild audience, good people, NO shamans found indeed sadly ... Nothing special comparing to the international concert practice and something of rather passionaire nature event in itself (instead of the pro- attitude seeked ...).

Meanwhile it was probably "the first ever" 3 so wide geographically (Far East - Siberia 4 - Moscow/ Leningrad) tour of this - so strangely syncretic ... - sort - i.e.:
- of foreign team,
- international project,
- independently produced,
- distanced from the governmental concert organizations quite consciously,
- based on the "indie" structures
(of "born-not-so-long-ago" SJF2 mainly (and its "senior" - pro-governmental, sure, though ... - Pan-Soviet Union Music Society)),
- supported financially both domestically (by human sponsor - a person and "in a human manner", by Aeroflot) and internationally (by British Council) as well,
- with strange (impro/world/jazz/rock/electro+) brew of musics indeed,
- and within related unimaginable general discomfort and barriers so common / well known to Soviet citizens and indie jazzmen and so seemingly alien to the "invaders" ...) ... -
- ... at the break of the eras almost,
where ever strongest both the challenges and opportunities met ...

5 Most of all, it all was done rather "instead" than "owing to" circumstances. 6

This experience was "hot" illuminated in Jazz Forum #6 of the same year ('90) and SJF's "Jazz" magazine #1 (or #2) - by those who have survived .... - when the trip (at least) was not that too much vibrant for domestic (concert ...) life pregnant with Revolution ...

Meanwhile, a bit too much of impressions was gathered even back then to press into the magzs' pages ...

Each of us had something to recall from his "shoulderbag". Ken and Tim, probably, their share of sounds, diaries, comments, photos, fragments of their reports to both British Council and MI5 (or MI6 ...), when we - our post-impressions (of related ancedotes mainly ...) and something from our reports to KGB instead. 7

Since then, these Britons had experienced Russia as some other homeland - for several times afterwards already ... (that is the distinct, their own story), and for all of us together, some things became clearer with age - and changes ...

As for the back 8 experience ...

Indeed, we - all four - crossed Siberia (Novosibirsk, Abakan, Irkutck, were unwillingly "catched" by KGB in Krasnoyarsk), visited two majour cities of Soviet Far East (Khabarovsk, Vladivostok) and finalized in the heart of Russia (Leningrad, Moscow) ...
We had lost two festivals - unwillingly ... - and had done almost all the rest planned.
We brought sounds, met people and felt the winds of an eras on our faces
(as well as the weight of freedom7 on our backs 8 ...) ... -

... "Ten Years of Friendly British Invasion (Into USSR)"
have seemed the right name ...

... - so, "10 years later", we have turned to Internet:
- with "putting this strange quantum of cultural history up on a website ... like a montage so the cuts between one perspective 9 and another would be very visible" (Tim).
- to talk "about the interplay between two (and sometimes why not more) - different perspectives on indeterminate events /in music/" (Tim).

All this stuff can be of some interest for you yet - probably - comparing say to the current realities (of Russia and West per se and its correlations) ...

The Old News and The Big Idiotic Idea, meanwhile, right? 10...


"No music made under drugs excels music made with a sober mind" (the post-hippy era ...) affirmation is valid for these "hypertexts":
there is nothing unique or exclusive in our more pleasant with years experience -
except for the fact it was obtained by some crank people at the right 11 moment:
the first co-touches of Western and Eurasian civilisations in the Era of New Changes.

So we go on with this - and some music - in minds ...


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1 Skjold (Denmark) is quoted.
2 Soviet Jazz Federation.
3There was not heard about "competitors" (on the field of say improvised music) until now ... - not that pretty regular event, one would say ... (We can't compete with URIEH HEEP though.)
4There at Far East of Russia, people are a bit careful about not to blend them with Siberians ...
as well as their country, Far East, with "Siberia" ... Indeed, Russia is the big country...
5 Apologies for the ten "marketing points" (see above) here: in the times being, Comrade Stalin (or Uncle Joe for the Western world ...) dispensed with three-five ("first", "second"...) maximas only - quite succesfully. Since this text is the product of both post-Stalinistic liberal era and man, we could not escape but to triple the points - liberally ...
6... and seems like no one of the crew would want to repeat - or just would be able ? - anymore ...
7In both senses.
8Boris was liberated (exempted) though almost ...
9... or rather worlds ...
10 ... when Boris is rather the delayed/demented boy, sorry, here's his nature ...
11 We have got the same affirmative term from our former Soviet sponsor Vitali Dm .Shalduga - quite suddenly:
"Mad time, good time, the time when show-biz have not arrived yet ..."