Harrogate author's adventures with Massive Attack and climate change protests

Tony Wild signs copies of his book
Tony Wild signs copies of his book

His great uncle was a key figure behind the famous Bettys tearoom in Harrogate, he himself was a leading expert in coffee and tea before becoming a fiction writer, he’s filmed adverts for Yorkshire Tea and travelled the world on numerous adventures but Tony Wild has never inspired a song for climate change campaigners involving a member of Massive Attack - until now!

Recent events in Paris made the planned marches to protest at the current UN Climate Change Conference impossible, so protesters have turned to music to get their message across.

Enter Tony Wild. A published author for HarperCollins, the Harrogate-born Wild is such a fan of the old Sixties favourite The Age of Aquarius from the classic musical Hair, he included it in a chapter in his Moonstone Legacy Trilogy, co-written with Diana De Gunzburg.

Although inspired originally by Wilkie Collins’ famous Victorian novel, this thrilling mystery adventure about the legendary lost jewel of the title came to outgrow its original setting in the North Yorkshire moors and started leaping continents and time.

A chapter in the concluding part of the trilogy includes a fictional DJ called Phil Solaris, inspired by Philippe Cohen Solal of renowned Parisian electro music group Gotan Project.

In book, the fictional character does a live remix of the classic late 1960s hit at a solar eclipse party on a beach in the south of Spain.

And that seemed that - until Tony had the brainwave of turning the song from the book into something real.

To cut a long story short, he eventually managed to persuade Philippe Cohen Solal who, in turn, inspired roots reggae songwriter and singer Horace Andy of Massive Attack fame to join him in making a new version of the famous song.

Tony said: “We had no idea when we wrote the book the song would emerge from the pages for real and be picked up by anyone. Diana hates the song but I’ev always loved it.

“It’s been adopted as an anthem by the climate change campaigners. It’s being played worldwide!”

Recorded in July in Paris, the end result features an actual passage from the book read by Tony’s co-writer Diana De Gunzburg.

It’s hard to explain why, but the dialogue was actually recorded in Laguna Beach in Orange County with the help of an old friend, musician Jason Feddy who left Harrogate more than a decade ago for sunny California.

The now completed new version of The Age of Aquarius struck a chord quickly with climate change campaigners.

Tony said: “Paris means a lot to me. I went back there after the bombings. I’d heard the terrible recent events had made the planned marches to protest about the COP21 Climate Conference impossible. They obviously got banned.

“But the song’s message of spiritual harmony and peace in both our book and the song got everyone excited and turned on.”

The Age of Aquarius, complete with Tony’s words and Diana’s voice, has now been taken up by Coalition Climat 21, the most powerful umbrella organisation for protest groups whose activities were halted after the Paris attacks.

For the duration of the Paris Conference, which runs until December 11, supporters of more than 130 global networks affiliated to Coalition Climat are being asked to play the track on the hour every hour to spread the word.

To find out more about Tony’s book, visit www.moonstonelegacy.com