Youssef Mourra named this company Nonsuch for two reasons – one related to a great historical project that went hopelessly over budget, overtime and suffered from major ‘scope creep’ and one related to a great band from England that he adores.
King Henry VIII wanted to build a palace that would rival Francis I’s Chateau de Chambord and to show off the power of the Tudor Dynasty. So he chose a site in Surrey to build the grandest of his building projects and work began in 1538. Within a couple of months after work had begun, it had been named ‘Nonesuch’ because it was claimed there was ‘none such place like it’ anywhere that could equal it in magnificence. Most of it had been built by 1541 but its construction would carry on for a few more years. When complete, the palace cost at least £24,000 (or over £120 million in 2018) because of its rich ornamentation.
Unfortunately, years later it was torn down to pay gambling debts of the then owner, Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine. Its ruins are found in Nonsuch Park near Epsom, London.
Youssef was introduced to Nonsuch Palace and was inspired to learn more through the 1992 release of the album Nonsuch by XTC, who are in his opinion, the 2nd greatest English band ever (after The Beatles). He remembers buying the LP, the CD and the cassette and marvelling at the cover. The outline of Nonsuch Palace was gold embossed on a blood red background. The inside packaging was equally divine from the mock Tudor style fonts, the photos of the members to the woodcut images used to identify each track.
However, packaging alone does not on its own make a good album, so from the second that he put that needle down on that first track and heard the opening chords of ‘The Ballad of Peter Pumpkin Head’ through to the final note of ‘Books are Burning’, Youssef was hooked. Along with Apple Venus Volume 1, Youssef considers it their finest work and strongly recommends it.
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