The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Mercurial Rev: Richard Coles' Favourite Music
Alex Burrows , April 14th, 2021 08:57

Vicar, musician, broadcaster and ex-Communard, The Reverend Richard Coles tells Alex Burrows how music is still important to belief and why parish choirs are the new punk. Portrait by Tim Anderson.


Joe Smooth – ‘Promised Land’
This was the closing record of the nightclub I used to go to in the late 80s. 1989, the second summer of love – Troll at the Soundshaft in London. That used to end with Joe Smooth’s ‘Promised Land’. I had so much fun, it was a great period. I formed friendships there that I still enjoy today. This record was the soundtrack for that. The Soundshaft [now The Stage Bar] was behind Heaven in Craven Street and it was very… just lots of people taking Ecstasy, really. Dancing for days. A brief and very enjoyable – but mental – year or two. Taking lots of drugs, going to Ibiza and getting off my face all the time.

My parishioners? They know all about it. I think they would be worried if I was doing it now, but that chapter of my life is very definitely closed. Funnily enough, my plumber Mark who lives in my parish, he and I met at an illegal rave in Hackney Marshes in about 1989. He went off and joined the Royal Marines, I went off and joined the Church of England and we both ended up in Finedon.