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Who is Gerald Bostock?

Short answer, no-one.  But try telling that to many of the people who bought Jethro Tull’s 1972 album, Thick As a Brick.  It’s a great album — sort of a progressive rock symphony.  The “radio edit” is in fact, a travesty.  Bad enough when Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do” was cut down to about half for AM radio back in the day.  Can you really justify cutting the 45 minute Thick down to about 4 minutes?  Well, I guess they couldn’t play the whole thing on even album rock radio, and radio play sells a lot of records, so there’s the answer — that’s how the band themselves could justify it.  OK, I’ll let it pass.

I never did own the vinyl album, so I missed out on that incredible full-size cover.  It looks like they had to have spent at least as much time on the cover as on the album itself!

This “cover story” barely scratched the surface.  An entire small town newspaper was constructed with very British jokey stories and pictures.  This was truly a Monty Python era album.

So Gerald Bostock was the fictional 8-year-old boy who was said to have written the “poem” Thick As a Brick which won a prize in St. Cleve only to be later disqualified because the judges decided that it showed how psychologically disturbed little Gerald was.  But in an fairly recent interview with Ian Anderson, he revealed that a lot of people had approached him in the new century and asked how Gerald was doing!  “He must be in his 30’s by now!  Do you still keep in touch?”  Maybe that puts Gerald Bostock up there with a certain bunny or St. Nick or the Great Pumpkin.

The album goes so far as to name “Ian Anderson and Gerald Bostock” as the composers.  In fact, Anderson has said that the album itself was sort of a spoof a “grand rock” such as that of Yes and ELP.  He wrote it as a response to what he found to be the ridiculous idea that Aqualung was a “concept album”.  He basically said, “you want a concept album, I’ll give you concept album.”

In fact, Anderson released a sequel, Thick As A Brick 2, in 2012.  The cover is again filled with “news” stories, at least one of which updates us on the life of a now 50-year-old Bostock.

You wouldn’t want to let all the believers down.  Nice one, Ian.

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