Alex Johnson

17 March, 1983 –
Mumufied 2019

foundation stone

By friend Lucy Dafwyn

Alex’s love, passion for and comprehensive knowledge of music, books, film, tv, history and culture spanned the arcane, the absurd, the abject, the ridiculous, the extremely low-brow, the esoteric and much outsider art. And it was this, combined with his sense of humour, his love of mayhem and mischief, his manic laugh and animated conversation that will have drawn most of us to him, maybe at a party, or a gig, but most likely in that “most wretched hive of scum and villainy” the Voodoo Lounge at 4AM or the Nowhere Inn in Plymouth – both now sadly gone as well.

He was a reincarnated mixture of Oscar Wilde, Alistair Crowley and Jeremy Claypole from rentaghost, he was a treasured bandmate in Mummy thinks we’re special, Gugalanna, NSWAC, Dumnonian ceremonial house band. Who else was he? Well, he was loyal, caring, and generous, insouciant, debonair, a drinker of the finest wines know to humanity, a dandy of the highest order, a spiritual warrior in the mode of Jodorowsky, the wise trickster, a full embodiment of his emblem, the raven. He was also a  teller of tall tales, a psychadelic wizard, disturber of the peace and occasional destroyer of minds, definitely given to horse play and occasional menace.

He was also indomitable, a veritable force of nature. 18 months before he died, Alex suffered an enormous stroke, losing 60% of the left side of his brain. It would have felled most people, and yet within 6 months he was living independently in his flat, and within a year making music again. Life wasn’t easy for Alex, following his stroke. For someone so gregarious and erudite losing his speech was a real blow, and he was struggling. Yet Alex did not give up on life, he did not retreat. Only a few weeks before he died Alex performed one of the best Gugalanna gigs I ever saw – it seem almost unthinkable, and feels like an outrage, that we are here now reading his eulogy. 

Alex wasn’t with us for long enough, not long enough at all, but he lived a full life, full of friendship, with not a moment wasted, and all his family and friends are grateful that we “shared a current” even if only for a short while. 

To paraphrase the words of black phillip then, the old goat and tempter…if you like the taste of it, eat butter, live deliciously, it’s what he did!