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William Blake on Facebook? No way, says Iron Maiden frontman

17 August, 2018 — By Pema Monaghan, William McLennan

William Blake’s grave at Bunhill Fields

IRON Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson took aim at social media and reality television as he addressed a crowd gathered to celebrate the life and death of William Blake at Bunhill Fields.

Speaking at the site where Blake was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave in 1827, Mr Dickinson said: “I have two quotes from Blake, which I think speaks volumes about what our attitude should be: ‘I must create my own system or be enslaved by another’. Every time you look at your Android or you iPhone, just remember that. Would Blake be on Facebook? No bloody way.”

Referencing another quote, that he described as “Blake on reality TV”, he said: “In a fantastic rebuttal of everything that is our world today, [he] said: ‘that which is comprehensible to an idiot is not worth my care’”.

Bruce Dickinson

Blake’s exact resting place was discovered in 2006, spurring a campaign to erect a stone. The celebration on Sunday marked the laying of a gravestone, 12 years on, made by sculptor Lida Cardozo.

Mr Dickinson, whose album The Chemical Wedding was influenced by Blake’s work, said he “first met Blake when I was adolescent and I saw a picture of Nebuchadnezzar” – an image of a Old Testament Babylonian king who had lost his mind and lived like an animal on all fours.

Mr Dickinson added: “Later on, the same picture repeated itself when I was crawling down a hotel corridor at the age of 22, having had a number one album, being one of the most successful bands in the world. I was drunk as a skunk and I was looking for hotel room service trays that somebody might have left a bread roll out on. As I was crawling on my hands and knees there was a full-length mirror and I caught sight and I went ‘there is Nebuchadnezzar again. You better do something about that or you’ll end up like him’.”

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