The world of And Yet It Moves had fell quiet for some time, and no one despite a small group of people knew exactly what was happening, however Dale Barclay the frontman of the group contacted me wanting to shed light and share exactly the ordeal that has happened.
Cutting to the chase, at the tender age of 32 Barclay was diagnosed with grade four glioblastoma brain cancer and as a result has relocated home to Glasgow from the band’s Berlin base to focus on fighting that, but from what is a quite terrifying reality has born a man more awake than ever before.
When I met up with Barclay and band mate and now wife Laura St. Jude, they came across like they had done in the past, the most welcoming enthusiastic people you could ever meet in your life; now two artists caught up in a whirlwind of a medical catastrophe are making the only choice; to face to head on, keep creating, keep fighting and enjoy everything that comes your way.
When putting together this piece I wasn’t quite sure how to approach this piece, however the best way felt to go Barclay’s raw dialogue, a stream of inspiring consciousness, about fear, life, beauty and what really matters:
Being diagnosed with cancer is potentially the scariest thing that can happen in someone’s life, can you explain what your initial reaction to finding out was?
Exhilaration, doom, sadness for my family and Laura (St. Jude), seeing them upset was worse than being told. The fog only really clears after surgery for me. My surgeon, Mr Alakandy, telling me my adversary was turbo charged is the moment I’m recalling. Post surgery. A moment seared into me. Grade four Glioblastoma brain cancer. Unmethylated. Wild type mutation. It’s pure instinct. Run or fight. It was a morning of crystal clear clarity, every detail is there, the power of facing uncomfortable truths, it has to be faced. A lesson for some in never jumping the gun. My reaction now is rage, I’m fuckin raging and must remain so. I’m in the fight of my life. I have much to do. The stage, they say, is set. Cancer can fuck off. All barrels are loaded. Fight, fight, fight every day is the way. Music and words are the bullets. Clarity is the light.
Can you go into detail about the scenario that led to going to hospital and finding out?
I had two seizures, one in Frankfurt before a Laura St Jude gig, the second was the night before an And Yet It Moves show in Portsmouth. Laura and I had been living in Germany but after the second one returned to Glasgow. The docs were testing me for epilepsy, there’s no history of that in my family, so, there was one doctor in the RAH that flagged it and got me a scan, and by that point I was drugged up enough to forget her name. I shall be forever grateful to her. If she hadn’t taken the initiative then, the tumour may have keep growing until it was too late to rumble with it. My lady of the RAH I thank with every ounce of my being. I remember much more after surgery, waking up with a tube sticking out the side of my head, the nurses that took care of me, I remember everything, being told it was grade four, the docs faces, the tears from the people I love and who love me, my tears. I felt no fear. I feel no fear. I feel awakened. If you’ve watched the Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson then that’s it. The sky has never looked so beautiful. I feel more alive now than ever before. Cancer has brought liquid gold clarity to me, like a gift from the reaper, I am grateful. A clear mind now is paramount. I must fight and will. No mercy will be shown and none asked for. It’s war, let there be no doubt.
Without going into too much technical details can you tell us aboit the form of cancer you have?
I have grade four Glioblastoma brain cancer. All cancer is aggressive. Some more than others. Mine is primary, which means it’s contained in my brain and has not spread or migrated from anywhere else in my body. I am extremely fortunate that that is the case. Fight or flight time and it’s all on black. Run and die or fight and live. No heads in the sand here. Ever. Never. My surgeon, Mr Alakandy, his team, Wuillie and Big Chris, cut 90% of the cancer out, the remaining 10% must be burned. I’m on Chemo, Radiotherapy and a clinical trial. I attend the Beatson in Glasgow. My treatment is on going for the next six months at the very least. I would also urge anyone reading this that has cancer or if someone they love has it to Google cannabis oil and cancer.
You recently got positive news, what was that and how did that effect you?
I recently got my first MRI scan since leaving hospital and starting treatment. No growth. A smiling oncologist is worth more than heaven could hold. No doubt. A fine day. First one so it’s a gravel pit to now bounce to the future off of. And it warmed my blood to see Laura and my family and friends smiling. Good vibes all over. It’s always onwards never a backwards step. Onto the next one.
How has having cancer affected yourself and those around you, both in terms of living habits and life view?
There’s before and after no doubt. A silver edge crossed and there’s no way back even if I wanted to. And I wouldn’t if I could. Cancer can’t be ignored. Or it can but you die if you do. I refuse to die, I have too much to do and see, too much music to make, I fight with drugs and music and love and friendship, all remnants of bullshit have been flamethrowered from my being. Sugar is gone, cancer loves sugar, the solution they inject you with when you get an MRI scan has glucose in it, when it gets to the tumour it creates a creates a feeding frenzy and the fucker lights up like Christmas. If anyone reading this reckons it’s a good idea to feed your enemy I would urge them to take a permanent swim in the Clyde. Certainly trying to cut back on the smokes and the cocktails is recommended. It can be done. Put your arms around anything or anyone you love and don’t let go. Now.
You’ve kept on writing and performing since having the operation, has cancer affected your approach to this in any noticeable ways?
My love for my loves has increased more than I ever thought possible. I’m greedy for beauty and it’s everywhere. I would not go back given the choice. Music, writing, reading, friendship. I have not stopped writing since leaving hospital, I thank Steven Thomas especially for the encouragement and inspiration to not stop. I haven’t. Thank you Steven, my brother. The truth is in the book. I want more of everything I love. I want to be in good company more than ever. All doubt is gone. I have no need for it any more. It’s fuelled me up to now but cancer has cremated it. I’m grateful. My purpose is music. It’s in me. Where it goes I go. Laura and me are here for music. Music is the answer and the source of all my power. Life. Source. All of the above.
What does this all mean for And Yet It Moves?
And Yet It Moves live and create in Berlin. Laura and I have to be in Glasgow for 2018, my treatment is on going for this year, so until I’m not shackled to the hospital we can’t tour. We were just setting up album two. To be continued…
You have formed the Cain’s Collective, can you tell us more about that (who it is collectively, what they do, how you met and what is planned release/event wise for the future)?
CC is Laura St Jude, Dale Barclay, Steven Thomas (poet), Kelsey Black (painter), Paul Barclay (photographer). Paul and I met at T in the park, when the Snakeheads played there. Many miles together since. Laura and I and Steven and Kelsey got talking at a And Yet It Moves gig and haven’t stopped since. Steven’s first book will be published by Cain’s Collective. Steven will have a 7” vinyl out soon. Me and Laura are will have a split 7” out in June. Kelsey’s artwork will be landing. Steven is main support for Dale Barclay and Laura St Jude shows in June (21st, Edinburgh-Sneaky Petes, 22nd Glasgow-The Art School). Steven’s book and the vinyl will be on sale at the Cain’s Collective stall at the gigs.
Has Cain’s Collective been something you’ve thought of putting together before this happened, or is it more a case of seizing the scenario that life has thrown your way?
Cain’s Collective is most definitely seize the moment, we unexpectedly find ourselves back in Glasgow fighting brain cancer, so what can be done now we are here? That was the question. I’ve never been more sure of anything before. Magic is real and fairies exist, there will be blood.
The battle commenced. It must be fought to the death. Poetry, music, imagery from a deep dark place speaking many uncomfortable truths! We create through the inspiration of each other as part of Cain’s Collective! Cain’s Collective is a group beyond society a family of creatives, brothers and sisters bound by blood and bone. If you lift the dirt and the gravel, you will find us there. Creation on many different platforms, from blood, from love. Darkness guides our hands and heads, our pens and paint brushes, it seeps from cracks and minds alike. In this ceaseless war of life, we are here to put forward our woes and worries, our love and hate. The truth is on every line and can be read between. In the field Cain rose against Abel his brother and killed him, what have you done? Listen! Your brothers blood cries out to us from the soil. It’s head in hands, the sweat dripping down your cheek, a clear vision. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable, we confront with dilated pupils, we confront. It’s a dark night, it’s a throat cut, it’s a warm embrace here at Cain’s Collective. Welcome to ‘Cain’s Collective’, publishing, bookmaking and record company for the rebel hearted among the humans. In the great tradition of independent labels and publishers we provide cover for outsider artists that the mainstream media can neither fathom nor handle. Words, images and music from beyond the standard model. We only release work we truly love with focus on quality and clarity. Cain’s Collective; for those creative souls cursed to wander through a life of artistic exile, shunned by the ignorant and ignored by the masses. We aim to liberate those minds from the shackles of modern society through art, poetry and music. Bound together by a need to create, we are a band of brothers and sisters working collaboratively as a non-profit organisation to produce widely accessible, inclusive to all anti-authoritarian art. We believe in artistic liberty and freedom of speech for all. We denounce any use of censorship, our work is honest and must be acknowledged. Condemn those who create for profit. Art for art’s sake always. No exceptions.
Steven Thomas of Cain’s Collective
During all of this you and Laura got married, was this something that was in the pipeline for a while, it doesn’t seem to have changed anything between the pair of you, but it would be good to get your feelings on what made you take that step.
Yes, we had been engaged to be married for two years, living together for six, it was past the time to do it and there is no more waiting. When Sailor married Lula, it was no cold December, for true love and the sacred heart, a Saturday morning to remember. A moment of pure beauty in a sea of darkness. A blood red wedding. Boots size nine. A Benny Hamish special. Sailor and Lula forever and always.
Cain’s Collective established February twenty eighteen for good reasons. Based in Glasgow, Scotland. Limited run signed and numbered books, paintings, prints and vinyl releases coming soon. Dale and Laura play 6/5 Stag and Dagger, 12/5 Pie and Brew, Glasgow (acoustic)