Long, long ago in in the deep forgotten past, three musicians came together in an ancient landscape and made music that drifted away, seemingly lost for all time. This was in Wiltshire around 1992.
There are only a few copies of the second run of 111 books left. First come, first served until all copies are gone.
The band was TC Lethbridge. It contained Doggen and Kev Bales from Spiritualized/Brain Donor and the artist Flinton Chalk. The band did not last long – they imploded before they had even played their first gig. But something happened to these musicians as they practiced, wrote and recorded in the Neolithic village of Avebury in the early nineties. They were marked by the experience.
The album they were recording as they fell apart was a project that always required closure. Two decades needed to pass before the politics and damaged relationships created by the band’s collapse could allow this to happen. In 2014 that album, 2000TC by TC Lethbridge, was finally mixed by the band from the original tapes, mastered and released on Iron Man Records.
One of those fascinated by the legend of this lost album was the author John Higgs. The Quietus has said that Higgs’ last book The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds “might well be the best music book of the 2010s”. In The Guardian Dorian Lynskey described it as “like Adam Curtis brainstorming with Thomas Pynchon”, and Alexis Petridis called it “a thing of endlessly fascinating, utterly demented genius.”
Such was the lure of the TC Lethbridge story that Higgs set about writing another book, 2000TC: Standing on the Verge of Getting It On, “in order to understand the drive, integrity and ambition of the young musicians in that Avebury hall.”
In keeping with the unobtainable, mythic nature of the band, Higgs originally published this book in a limited run of 111 copies. It was not for sale and there were no plans to make it available in any other format…..until now.
In Newsletter #21 August 1st 2020 John Higgs wrote:
“Those of you with long memories may recall a little book I put out in 2014 called 2000TC: Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On. This was a biography of the almost mythical band TC Lethbridge who, being monolithically slow, famously took 20 years to record an album. It was written to mark their first ever gig, 23 years after forming, at the Cosmic Trigger festival in Liverpool, and it is a story about the impact – both good and bad – that creative projects can have on your life. I suspect TC Lethbridge are the only band to have a biography written about them before they played their first gig.
For reasons that made sense at the time, the book was limited to 111 copies, was 111 pages long, and was 111mm wide. The story features characters who appear in my Timothy Leary and KLF books, so it acts as a jigsaw piece that connects the two. To this day, people still give me grief about not being able to get a copy.
The band were named after the radical archaeologist TC Lethbridge who, in the 1950s, wandered the Gogmagog Hills near Cambridge searching for evidence of long-rumoured Neolithic hill figures. By inserting rods into the ground to determine when the chalk beneath the turf had been last uncovered, and then mapping the results, he uncovered on Wandlebury Hill what he thought was an extraordinary piece of landscape art.
The wider archaeological community were not having this, however. Lethbridge’s methodology made no sense to them. As they saw it, there was no reason to believe that the figures had ever existed before, so they were promptly covered up. All of which raises the question of where that design comes from. If it had never existed before, then it emerged somewhere between the geology of the hill and the mind of Lethbridge.
Enter Flinton Chalk of the band TC Lethbridge (and also, of Badger Kull). He is currently trying to get the figures unearthed again – not with any claims about them being authentic Neolithic designs, but simply as a piece of extraordinary landscape art. Part of this process requires an environmental survey of the hill’s insect life, and to get money to pay for this he’s been hassling his record company. Mark Sampson of Iron Man Records tells that story here.
To help fund this – and also to guilt trip the band into finishing the new single they have long promised – we’ve printed a second run of the book, again limited to 111 copies….. The only difference is that instead of being signed like the first edition, these have been stamped with Gog in purple ink. Oh, and a sticker changes ‘first edition’ to ‘2nd edition’ which is classy.
Incidentally Iron Man Records were also involved in the recent audiobook version of Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger II, read by Oliver Senton, which I know a lot of you will enjoy.” – John Higgs 2020
This, then, is the story of TC Lethbridge. They are now an active live band whose three albums – the once-lost 2000TC, their first album Moon Equipped and their instrumental album Mina – have all been made digitally available. Listen here on Bandcamp among other platforms.
This run of 111 Books is the start of the next chapter in the story. In keeping with the “unobtainable, mythic nature” of the band, and the “not for sale, no plans to make it available” idea….. there will be a limited edition POSTER next and then a Limited edition TC Lethbridge Vinyl 7″ Single with new music currently being worked on at a secret location.
There will be more to follow too….. but first, Iron Man Records needs more Patrons, and I have to call Flinton. I have to make the case of how we manage our way out of this current Apocalypse, and bring the music to the people. And there’s the Project to Uncover Ancient Hill Figures on Wandlebury Hill, Cambridgeshire. We all have a lot of work to do. And the all seeing eyes of John Higgs are upon us. If you would like to help make all of this happen faster, you know what to do….