Back in May, the Welsh Government appointed its first ever Climate Change Minister. That person was Julie James. And in an interview with BBC Wales this week, she reveals quite a back story. For example, in 1978, her long-term partner was killed in a car crash – leaving her a single mother to an 11-month old child.
Another fact that has been picked up is her brother is a man called Richard D James. He’s the man behind Aphex Twin, a man once called the “Mozart of Techno” in the 1990s. That interview taught us a lot about the politics of the Welsh climate change minister.
Much less, however, is known about the politics of Aphex Twin himself. And this is a fact the man himself revels in. Awkwardness is something he actively pursues sometimes – he once insisted on doing an interview with a Spanish newspaper via email. They’d send him these long questions and he’d respond with short, often pithy comments – much to the irritation of any journalist trying to get a story.
Or there was another interview he did with Pitchfork back in 2014. For reasons best known only to himself – and possibly his spouse – his wife was busily drawing the writer and James himself as they spoke.
And from the beginning of his career, it’s been hard to work out whether his claims are true. In an interview with Melody Maker from 1993, he talked about making music compulsively. He also claimed to only sleep two hours a night – something that the Harvard Health Blog says would be extremely unsafe in the long run – and that he only made music out of his own homemade synthesisers.
So, what of his political beliefs? Like in other areas, James has said things in this arena that are inconsistent, possibly deliberately so. He’s previously said he believes that the September 11th 2001 attacks in the USA were “an inside job”, saying anyone who believed the official explanation of events was “absolutely gullible”.
He also frequently entertains conspiracy theories, apparently deriving enjoyment out of them. What isn’t so clear is whether he agrees with them, or is simply making fun of the conspiracy theorists themselves. Who knows what else to make of his statement to NME that “You can’t only believe things which can be proven. It’s boring”?
The only thing I’ve found that’s definitive is that James doesn’t believe in the private sector providing healthcare. The reason? He’s been asked in the past to licence Aphex Twin songs for adverts and has said he won’t allow private healthcare companies to use any, saying it goes against his “morals”.
You’ll have to make up your own minds on this one…