DF 54 - Cyprus
There's a bit of a hoo-ha going on about our forthcoming show in Cyprus, so here are some thoughts on the issue.
As it says in the Caramba disclaimer, my views are not necessarily those of the rest of the guys in Deep Purple. So, please take this as a personal opinion; IMHO as I used to say.
We - DP - have never been on one side or the other when it comes to performing music. I remember - during the cold war - hearing about visits to London by the Bolshoi Ballet and the top football teams from Moscow, also the Cossack dancers, and many other cultural exchanges between The West and The Soviet Union. The diplomatic and cultural side door was always open for art, entertainment and sport, no matter how frightening and confrontational all the rest of it was.
Amongst many of the countries we have visited in our peripatetic jaunts are Israel, Lebanon, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, USA, Venezuela, Argentina, UK, China and Japan; all of which have a conflict with somebody or another, and all with behaviour and traditions that someone else doesn't like.
And I love them all.
The underground contact in the Seventies between Soviet youth and Western music (forbidden by the authorities) has resulted in an enduring social bond and mutual respect that is a significant element in the game of survival and domination being played out before our eyes; it was ever thus.
The nearest I ever came to banning myself from performing in a country for political reasons was very close to home. And so I was involved, had a stance, took a side. Tony Blair's illegal and murderous adventure in Iraq made me angry, and ashamed enough to think about excommunicating Britain; sounds silly but I was very angry. However, it went against our historical position, which is: To perform anywhere we are invited, regardless of local difficulties/conflict, wars, earthquakes, riots, typhoons, strikes, rebellions, gun-fire and so on. Therefore we continued to perform in the UK.
And so it should be with Cyprus, across the divide. And may I add that our many previous visits to Turkey and Greece have been fabulous; I personally have friends in both countries.
That is my position.
May peace be in your hearts,
Copyright © Ian Gillan 2014