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Issue Thirty-Nine    August 17th 2013
This is the nearest that you are ever going to get to a posh weekend colour supplement from the Gonzo Daily team. Each week we shall go through the best bits of the week before, and if there aren't any we shall make some up, or simply make our excuses and leave (you can tell the editor once did contract work at the News of the World can't ya?)
Social media stuff that I am really too old to understand, (my stepdaughter spent much of last Christmas trying to explain Twitter to me) but I am assuming that at least some of our readers are younger and hipper than I am.
Google Plus
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So what is this all about?

It is simple; my name is Jon and I am the editor of the Gonzo Multimedia daily online magazine. Now there is a weekly newsletter, once again edited by me and my trusty orange cat from a dilapidated ex-potato shed  in rural Devonshire. 

You subscribed to it by opting in on the website. I hope that you all stay to join in the fun, but if it is not to your liking it is just as easy to unsubscribe again. But what a long, strange trip it is gonna be...
Last week I wrote "I am in the particularly unenviable position of putting together two editions of The Gonzo Weekly at the moment, because next weekend is my busiest time of the year. It is the annual Weird Weekend promoted by The Centre for Fortean Zoology, an organisation of which I have the honour of being the Director. So my house and garden will be full of the great and good of European Forteana, and various of my adopted nieces and nephews (I seem to be Uncle Jon to half of North Devon) in tents".

This is the second of those aforementioned magazines. I am hoping to do most of it today (Tuesday) and have it ready to put out on Friday evening by just pushing the relevant button. However, whether it actually works out like that remains to be seen.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Galahad  biography
I always have a massive number of books that I am meant to review. Add to those, the enormous number of books that I buy or am sent, plus the fact that I personally own over 3000 books plus the CFZ library, and you will soon realise that I am not only somewhat of a bibliophile, but that wherever you go in my house there are books.

I even have a library. What used to be my lodger's room now contains a folding sofabed, and is lined, wall to wall with bookshelves, and there is a big room divider thingy, also covered with books. This all sounds idyllic for a bibliophile, but I have been trying to get it into some sort of order for years to no avail. There are also teetering piles of books by my side of the bed which I share with my wife, Prudence the dog, and two lively kittens, and another, equally teetering pile of books by the side of my favourite armchair.

I also have a study, which is also full of books (and tanks of fish, but that is another story entirely), and so I hope that you understand why, and forgive me for, taking so long to review this book.
I am an avid reader of rock biographies, and I would not be surprised if - when my library is finally in some semblance of order - that I find that I own somewhere between 500-1000 of them. 

Ignoring the vagiaries of literary/journalistic style and other considerations which have a lot to do with the books themselves, but not a lot of relevance to the story of the artiste(s) being covered, there are two main types of rock saga.

Firstly there are the trainwreck stories; the ones that tell a story so lurid that you cannot help being fixated whether or not you are a fan of the music. Stories like that of The Rolling Stones, which are so chock full of intrigue, violent death, and politics that you are entranced even before you get to the massive amounts of sex, drugs, and yes...I almost forgot the rock and roll. Stories like that of Elvis (boy meets girl, boy gets girl to caper around wearing white knickers, boy marries girl then loses interest because she was no longer a nubile teenager, whereby he eats himself to death some years before becoming Michael Jackson's father-in-law). And stories like Led Zeppelin (girl meets fish, television meets sidewalk) are in this category.

Secondly, there is a whole genre of band stories which are dull but worthy. I once read a biography of REM which spent several chapters describing how the band's accountants had freed up 15% of taxable revenue, by employing an Actuarial Consultant. Sufficient to say that I remember more about the Rolling Stones and Elvis biographies.

But I have been in bands. I know the real story of a band. How vans break down, how drummers turn up drunk, how keyboard players run off with the lead singer's wife (or perhaps that was just me), and how the proprietors of the less reputable pubs chisel the band out of their earnings, provide an absolutely fascinating story.

And that is what you find in this book. The nuts and bolts story of a nuts and bolts band who have made some fine albums, and some great music, but never earned enough money to have to worry about the guitarist needing to have his blood changed in a private Swiss clinic. 

This surprisingly entertainingly written book tells the story of Galahad a band of whom I am really rather fond who have never outgrown their Dorset roots, but who have trod the path of melodic prog-metal for many years without losing the plot. In short, the sort of band without whom there would be no rock and roll.

Well done to all involved, and many thanks to Stu Nicholson for sending it to me.

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: From Sparks to a flame
I so wanted to like this book.

I wanted to like this book because it was sent to me unsolicited, which is always nice. I wanted to like this book because it chronicles the story of a man's unreasonable obsession with the music of his youth, and as I have a lot of unreasonable obsessions, I am always happy to meet a fellow obsessive, and I wanted to like this book because I, too, am somewhat of a fan of Sparks, but not as much so as Tosh Berman.

But I don't.

I don't dislike it; it is merely that the whole emotional impact of this book totally passes me by, and I found that in the end I didn't care enough about either the protagonist or the band itself, to have it make any sort of difference to my life.

It tells the story of how one bloke travelled to London from his home on the West Coast of America, in order to see Sparks play a marathon series of concerts during which "the band Sparks would perform all twenty-one of their albums in a succession of twenty-one nights in London...a monumental experience for any Sparks fanatic".

The book is described as "Part travel journal, part personal memoir, Berman takes us through the streets of London and Paris, observing both city's history and culture through the eye of an obsessive Sparks fan's lens. Including album-by-album reviews of all twenty-one albums and beyond, "Sparks-Tastic" defines a place and time in music history that's too defining to be ignored."

The trouble is that it doesn't. I wrote a book Road Dreams 20 years ago which told the story of my first wife and myself travelling all over the UK on a tour with Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel. It, too missed the mark, but at least there was some sex and quite a lot of drugs in my volume. The trouble is, that this is where my book missed the mark; there was too much proselytising about hashish in it.

Tosh Berman hasn't got that excuse. His book, whilst doing everything that the blurb claims for it, just doesn't manage to engage the reader emotionally. At the end of it, you put it down and immediately forget all about it. It needs - dare I say it - a spark, which just isn't there. Sorry chaps.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Barbara's Bargee feedback
The other week we posted an audio interview with the ever lovely  Barbara Dickson about her appearance in a major new opera called The Bargee's Wife. Following the performance she wrote to me:

Dear Jon,

Just to let you know we had a big crowd in the beautiful Gloucester Cathedral last night.

The opera was great. John O'Hara is brilliant. The piece was moving and very well received.

Kindest regards and thanks for the 'plug'.


Sent from my iPhone

No problem, Barbara. It was a pleasure...

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Mr Averell update
This week I received a letter from René van Commenée with the latest news from the Mr Averell project:

"I have a new live group consisting of Martijn Alsters (flutes, WX5, guitar, synth), Dyane Donck (basses, computer, flutes, vocals), Fredrike de Winter (mallets, percussion, drums, piano, vocals) and of course me myself on everything's needed.

We had a rehearsal, a kind of try-out which was great so very promising! The first thing needed now is promotion for bookers so I will be busy with that the coming weeks.

Besides that I will be busy with the promotion of the trio I'm in called "The Art of Doing Nothing" which is Willem Tanke, Martijn Alsters and me. We have some chances in France next year where I visited some very interesting venues last weeks.

My visual art is going on as well and it seems like I'm part of a group exhibition in Amsterdam during October. Unfortunately I need to do some tour-managing/driver work as well just for the money so it will be a very busy period until January 2014!"
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Fish - The Moveable Feast Tour

14/09/13  New Brighton, Wirral, Floral Pavillion, United Kingdom            
15/09/13  Pontardawe, Arts Centre, United Kingdom          
16/09/13  Cambridge, The Junction, United Kingdom          
18/09/13  Amsterdam, The Paradiso, Netherlands      
19/09/13  Groningen, Oosterpoort, Netherlands      
21/09/13  Zoetermeer, Boerderij, Netherlands      
22/09/13  Eindhoven, Effenaar, Netherlands      
23/09/13  Hannover, The Blues garage,Germany          
25/09/13  Duisburg, Steinhof, Germany            
26/09/13  Worpswede, Music hall, Germany            
27/09/13  Copenhagen, Viften, Denmark  
28/09/13  Gothenburg, Tradgarn, Sweden              
30/09/13  Bergen, Riks, Norway              
01/10/13  Oslo, Rockefeller, Norway              
02/10/13  Stockholm, Debaser Medis, Sweden              
04/10/13  Helsinki, Tavastia, Finland                
05/10/13  Tallinn, Rock Cafe, Estonia                
06/10/13  Vilnius, Club New York, Lithuania            
08/10/13  Gdansk, Club Parliament, Poland
09/10/13  Warszawa, Club Progresja, Poland
10/10/13  Poznan, Club Eskulap, Poland
12/10/13  Lodz, Club Dekompresja, Poland
13/10/13  Bielsko Biala, Club Klimat, Poland
14/10/13  Krakow, Club Studio, Poland
16/10/13  Rzeszow, Club Pod, Palma, Poland
17/10/13  Walbrzych, Club Sala Osir, Poland
19/10/13  Budapest, A38 Boat, Hungary              
20/10/13  Bratislava, Majestic Music Club, Slovakia              
22/10/13  Munich, Backstage, Germany            
23/10/13  Pratteln Z7, Switzerland      
25/10/13  Karlsruhe, Substage, Germany            
26/10/13  Landstuhl, Stadthalle, Germany          
27/10/13  Bonn, Harmonie, Germany            
29/10/13  Aschaffenburg Colos saal, Germany            
30/10/13  Rubigen, Bern Mühle Hunziken, Switzerland      
01/11/13  Zug Chollerhalle, Switzerland      
02/11/13  Nancy Chez, Paulette, France
03/11/13  Trier Theater Trier, Germany            
04/11/13  Paris Divan du Monde, France
06/11/13  Leamington Spa, The Assembly, United Kingdom              
07/12/13  Great Yarmouth, Norwich, Vauxhall Holiday Park –
                  Planet Rockstock, United Kingdom              
20/03/14 - 23/03/14 Pwllheli, North Wales, Hafan y Môr Caravan
                  Holiday Park, United Kingdom  

There are two new shows for you this week, jam-packed with all sorts of groovy stuff.. There are also some exciting things afoot with another entirely new station being added to Gonzo Web Radio, and a total revamp of the radio index.

Canterbury Soundwaves #24
Date Published: 14th August 2013

Before Canterbury Sans Frontières was Canterbury Soundwaves a show which creator Matthew Watkins described as "exploring the so-called `Canterbury Sound`, its many roots, branches, twigs and accompanying mycelia in 28 episodes (November 2010 - January 2013). We, the little fellows hiding behind the scenes at Gonzo Web Radio are proud to announce that as well as Canterbury Sans Frontières episodes as they happen, all 28 of the back catalogue will also be hosted. 

EPISODE TWENTY-FOUR: A tribute to keyboardist and composer Alan Gowen, including his work with National Health, Soft Heap, Soft Head, various Gilgamesh lineups and collaborations with Hugh Hopper and others. Also, more orchestrated Kevin Ayers live from '72, more Gong live in the Canterbury area in summer 2000, Caravan trying out a new tune on BBC radio in late '68, another recently surfaced audience recording of Soft Machine on the '68 tour of the USA, Robert Wyatt discussing one of the tracks from 1997's  Shleep, and evidence of a significant Soft Machine influence on the early Henry Cow.

Playlist for this episode

EPISODE TWENTY-FIVE: A tribute to Lol Coxhill (1934–2012), from solo busking in Piccadilly Circus

via Delivery and Kevin Ayers' The Whole World to a 21st century collaboration with jazz-electronica innovators Lob. Also including Lol's collaborations with Hugh Hopper, Fred Frith, Lindsay Cooper, and several pieces with pianist Steven Miller (to whom this episode is jointly dedicated). Miller's brief stint with Caravan is re-examined, including a studio outtake of what was to evolve into a Hatfield and the North classic.

Also, a look at repetition, looping and electronica from a Canterbury perspective, with live Tim Blake, Terry Riley, Soft Machine '67 and System 7 in 2010.

Playlist for this episode

For more news on Strange Fruit CLICK HERE
For more news on Canterbury Sans Frontières CLICK HERE
For the Gonzo Web Radio homepage CLICK HERE

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: What's been did and what's been hid
I am growing up in public, as it were. The Gonzo Weekly has been going for nine months now, and we are beginning to find our feet. I am making changes as I go along, and - no doubt - some of these changes will turn out to be mistakes. So, let me know what you think. Do they work? Do you like them? Hate them? Or don't you care either way?

Please pass this magazine around as far and wide as you can. And encourage as many people as you can to subscribe. Remember it is free, and will remain so. However, I want as many subscribers as possible to move on to the next stage of the party. There might well be cake.

Remember, I am always looking for new authors. If there is something that you feel you could add to the general melange which is the Gonzo Weekly, please email me at The more the merrier.

Although this newsletter also goes out in a plain text version for those of you who do not trust image intensive thingys in your browser, I promise that as long as it is technically feasible (which will be for the forseeable future) the text only mailout will continue. However, I strongly advise that for you to get the best out of this rapidly evolving publication, that you really should see it in all its picture-led glory.

Please tell your friends, colleagues and family about The Gonzo Weekly, and try to persuade them to subscribe. The more subscribers we get, the bigger and better and more effective the whole thing will be.
Remember, if you want more than your weekly fix of this newsletter you can check out the Gonzo Daily, which - as its name implies - does much the same as this newsletter but every day. It also features a daily poem from Thom the World Poet, and the occasional non-Gonzo rock music rambling from yours truly, plus book and gig reviews from our highly trained staff of social malcontents. And its FREE! You cannae say fairer than that!
Each week, some of you seem to recognise me. Yes, I am indeed that weird bloke off the telly who chases mythological animals. I have a day job as Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, and also the editor of the CFZ Blog Network, and publisher of a plethora of books about mystery animals.
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THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Jon Brookes (1969-2013)
Drummer from The Charlatans  dies age 44 from a brain tumour.

Sky News breaks the sad news
onzo tribute to Brookes
COVER STORY: Exciting new Vangelis DVD

Much to the excitement of music fans worldwide, the new feature length documentary on Greek music legend Vangelis titled 'Vangelis And The Journey To Ithaka' will be released on September 23, 2013 by Gonzo MultiMedia UK. The two-hour documentary includes interviews with Vangelis and many of his friends and colleagues, including Sean Connery, Hugh Hudson, Jessye Norman, Oliver Stone, Akiko Ebi, Julian Rachlin and many others. It also includes rare, historical footage, most of which has never been seen before. Another highlight includes recent footage of Vangelis improvising new music!

Vangelis, a composer of electronic, ambient, jazz, pop/rock and orchestral music, is best known for his Academy Award winning score for the film 'Chariots Of Fire', and composing scores for the films 'Antartica', 'Blade Runner', '1492: Conquest Of Paradise' and 'Alexander', as well as the use of his music in the PBS documentary 'Cosmos: A Personal Voyage' by Carl Sagan. Vangelis began his professional music career working with several popular Greek bands in the '60s such as The Forminx and most notably Aphrodite's Child. Throughout the 1970s Vangelis composed music scores for several animal documentaries; the success of these scores brought him into the film scoring mainstream.
In the early '80s, Vangelis teamed up with YES vocalist/songwriter Jon Anderson. The duo recorded a series of successful and critically acclaimed albums under the name Jon & Vangelis. In 1981 Vangelis composed the score for the Oscar-winning film 'Chariots Of Fire', which won him an Academy Award for Best Original Music Score. The soundtrack's single “Titles” reached the top of the American Billboard Hot 100 chart and was most recently used as theme music at the London 2012 Olympics.
In a career spanning over 50 years, writing and composing over 50 albums, Vangelis is regarded as one of the greatest composers of electronic music of all time. And now, the new documentary 'Vangelis And The Journey To Ithaka' celebrates the music legend's illustrious and fascinating career!
CORINNA DOWNES: To town to see the lights
When I was younger my parents used to take my brother and me to London to see the sights, or a show. Living at the end of the Metropolitan line it was easy for us to get to the bright lights of our not-so-glorious-these-days capital.  There we would sit, swaying side to side in unison to the rolling clackety-clack of the train on the tracks, with the occasional exaggerated left or right lean when it came to a particularly bad connection of sleepers.  Woe betide if you were the one sitting snoozing next to the window as it was quite likely that you would crack your skull against the glass on one of the latter sways.  
I think it was the trip to The Royal Albert Hall that introduced me to music in its own right; this outing to see/hear a performance of Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture’. I am sure there must have been something else being performed as well, but it is the ‘1812’ that sticks in my mind - it gave me the shock of my young life.  I had never heard it before, you see.  And what is more, I had no idea it comprised of cannons, never mind the bells at the end.  And, obviously, I had no idea whatsoever that at a certain point those cannons went off.  I clearly didn’t realise, either, that there was a cannon situated in close proximity somewhere behind me.  But at that glorious moment when they make their entrance I remember only too well that I literally jumped out of my seat.  What a magnificent introduction to one of the best pieces of blood-stirring, spine-tingling ‘classical’ music ever.  I still get goose bumps when I hear it.  
And then, quite a few years later, there was Stomu Yamash’ta and his Red Buddha Theatre (I believe that was at the Piccadilly Theatre from a quick search of the internet – I instantly remembered the programme cover when I saw it during the search anyway).  It must have struck a chord with me somewhere because I bought – and still have - the vinyl of his Come to the Edge album.  A tad obscure?  Quite probably. 

Aside from a few years of inactivity in the mid-eighties, the Doobie Brothers have continued to perform, create and record for over 21 consecutive years. “The Doobies have always been about playing live,” Johnston says. “We’re not a studio hot house group and we’re not a concept album band. We’ve always just brought in the tunes we had, put them together and made an album. That’s the way it’s been from the very first album and that’s still the way it’s being done.”

Formed originally in 1970, the first Doobie Brothers line-up consisted of Tom Johnston on Guitars/keyboards/harmonica/vocals; Patrick Simmons on guitars/banjo/flute/vocals; Dave Shogren on bass/guitar/backing vocals; and John Hartman on drums/percussion/backing vocals.  The band played live all over Northern California during that year. Their first album, The Doobie Brothers, was released in 1971, and album releases were to follow yearly until 1978, when Minute by Minute was released.  This spent five weeks at the top of the music charts, dominating several radio formats for the better part of two years. The album won a Grammy Award for Pop Vocal Performance by a Group and was nominated for Album of the Year. However, this album’s success was bittersweet, because it coincided with the near-dissolution of the band. The pressure of touring while recording and releasing an album each year had worn the members down. (Wikipedia)

After many member changes and a rest between 1982 and 1987, the Doobie Brothers’ re-formation was hardly planned. Keith Knudsen (drums, percussion, vocals, who had joined in 1993, and who died in 2005 of cancer and chronic pneumonia) had become active in Vietnam veterans' affairs, and early in 1987 he persuaded eleven of the Doobie alumni to join him for a concert to benefit veterans' causes. Answering the call were Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons, Jeff Baxter, John McFee, John Hartman, Michael Hossack, Chet McCracken, Michael McDonald, Cornelius Bumpus (died of a heart attack in 2004), Bobby LaKind and Tiran Porter. Tickets were in great demand, so this one concert quickly evolved into a twelve city tour, and the successful reunion sparked discussions about reconstituting the band on a permanent basis. They eventually settled on a line-up featuring Johnston, Simmons, Hartman, Porter and Hossack (died of cancer on March 12, 2012), plus more recent addition LaKind (died in 1992 of cancer), and released Cycles on Capitol Records in 1989.

The group continues to tour heavily and remains a popular concert draw,  and has maintained a continuous and active presence on the Internet through the  official website since 1996. Sadly the original bassist Shogren died in 1999 of unreported causes.

There have been many changes in lineup over the years which prompted one unnamed journalist to quip many years ago “Now that Greg Allman has left the group he founded, there are now no Allmans in the Allman Brothers, but the good news is there are still plenty of doobies in the Doobie Brothers”.

On November 13, 2012, the Doobie Brothers released Let the Music Play: The Story of The Doobie Brothers, which is a documentary of the band's history from their early days in the 1970s to the present.

The current live line-up is Tom Johnston on guitars’ vocals; Patrick Simmons on vocals/guitar; John McFee on guitars/strings/vocals; John Cowan on bass/vocals; Guy Allison on keyboards/backing vocals; Marc Russo on saxophones; Ed Toth and Tony Pia on drums.

“This band represents a lot of American music styles,” Johnston says. “From the finger-picking stuff that Pat does – and John can do as well – to blues, jazz, rock and roll. By the time you get done you’ve got, to lift a song title from another group, an American band.” (

There are many interesting and exciting bands that Daevid has played in during his musical career, and University Of Errors is certainly one of the most notable. 

University Of Errors came ( U of E) together by accident. Daevid needed a band to play gigs with that was based in America. His previous American based band was of course the late seventies New York Gong which included the now legendary Bill Laswell, Kramer and Stu Martin amongst others.

U of E first came about when Pat Thomas and Michael Clare arranged a jam session as a way to spend the night with Daevid Allen before he left San Francisco for Australia. It was never meant to be anything more than a pleasant way of spending a few hours improvising. Fate took a hand and the band grew and mutated with the addition of Josh Pollock,  Jay Radford and Erik Pearson. The band went on to record their first album entitled ‘Money Doesn’t Make It’ which was released in America. 

Daevid Allen was a founder member of The Soft Machine. While he was with the band they became the darlings of the underground music scene and Daevid Allen recorded one LP with them. Daevid always loved those songs, and U of E seemed the perfect vehicle with which to revisit the older material.

This DVD, recorded live at the Gong UNCON in November 2006, features a number of songs performed by the University Of Errors that covers that Soft Machine era.

This album will be of interest to the large and dedicated Daevid Allen and Gong audience and also through historic connection to the fans of Soft Machine and the Canterbury Scene as a whole.

The Amsterdam performance was the first time that U of E performed most of this material live since recording the songs for their CD "Jet Propelled Photographs" in 2003. It was a very fitting situation as the entire weekend was a celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Daevid's  original vision of The Planet Gong in 1966 while he was still a member of The Soft Machine. 

University of Errors played on the last night of the 3-Day Amsterdam UnConvention. Expectations were high and the band rocked and roared through the set.

The performance was professionally filmed using five HD cameras and 48 track audio. Audio mixing and editing and the classy Cubist Video Edit was done by Harry Williamson at his Melbourne Studio with Daevid and Michael Claire contributing artistic and cultural detail. All the wild effects were carefully planned and executed with meticulous precision. The result is not just another concert video.

It is a WORK OF ART in its own right.

Travelling Daze: a review of a book about New Age Travellers by Alan Dearling & Friends

I’ve met Dean Phillips twice now, both times at Stonehenge at the solstice. Dean is the custodian of the Wally Hope archive and keeper of Wally’s box.

The first time was in the car-park. I’d just parked up and was sipping a beer, when this friendly voice called out to me.

“Is that Mr Stone?”

We were parked in the same row, just a few cars apart. We had arrived at almost the same time.

The thing was, we’d only been in correspondence up till then… and that very day I’d finished off a chapter of a book I was writing, by talking of Wally Hope’s death.

“We can say this, however: that his was probably not the first human sacrifice to be associated with Stonehenge.” Those were the last words I’d written before starting on my journey that morning.

And now here he was, Dean Phillips, with Wally’s box, the one that Penny Rimbaud, had made to carry his ashes, which had been scattered at Stonehenge all those years ago.

Penny Rimbaud was the drummer with Crass, the anarcho-punk band who were formed, in part, to fulfil Wally Hope’s dream: “We want to plant a Garden of Eden with apricots and cherries, where there will be guitars instead of guns and the sun will be our nuclear bomb.” Wally Hope was the guy whose vision it was to start the Stonehenge Free Festival in the first place, way back in 1974.

Wally Hope at Stonehenge 1974
Wally Hope at Stonehenge 1974
The front cover of Travelling Daze by Alan Dearling & friends
The front cover of Travelling Daze by Alan Dearling & friends

Travelling Daze

The reason I’m telling you this is that I’ve been reading Travelling Daze, a book compiled and part-written by Alan Dearling, with help from over 40 of his Traveller friends. That includes Dean, who has written a piece about Wally Hope.

You can’t write a book about the origins of the hippie movement in the UK, without mentioning Wally Hope. He was the martyr of Stonehenge. He died so the festival could live.

The book contains a lot of new information about Wally. It includes a collection of letters written from prison, in the name of Phil Russell - prison number 11413 – from 1967-68, long before he became known as Wally Hope.

They are remarkable documents, not least because of the means by which Alan Dearling acquired them. He was sitting in a pub in Lyme Regis, he says, thinking about Wally, when he fell into conversation with a couple called Victoria and Nick.

As he says: “No such thing as coincidences, but four or five pints later, and I had learned that Nick was Phil Russell’s closest friend back in the Windsor/Stoke Poges area of 1965-67.”

Thus we have a set of remembrances of Phil Russell by one of his friends from the days when they were both just a couple of young men hanging around in the burgeoning hippie scene in the '60s, going to Eel Pie Island to watch the new R’n’B bands which were emerging from the Jazz scene at the time, smoking some weed and imagining a future for themselves; and then some letters Phil wrote from prison after he’d been busted for dope, possibly at the instigation of his crazy mother, in order to teach him a lesson.

Read on...



(The Masters of the Universe do seem to have a steady stream of interesting stories featuring them, their various friends and relations, and alumni). Each week Graham Inglis keeps us up to date with the latest news from the Hawkverse..
Although the Hawkwind news channel on Yahoo Groups thankfully seems to have resolved its recent problems with off-topic warfare and general bad vibes, it's nice to see the traditional ferocious humour of some fans is still alive and well.

During a discussion of Nik Turner's upcoming album, someone asked what the difference is between the two discs on offer. "Why one at £10 and the other at £16," he asked.

Back came the answer: "The more expensive one has the saxophone taken out of the mix."

As someone subsequently remarked: ouch!

Meanwhile, Robert Calvert's son Nick has arranged the audio release of a rather unusual performance: the monologue of a man who finds himself trapped in a box or cupboard, and doesn't know where he is or what's going to happen to him.  The Box is available on SoundCloud as a free download or audio stream, but contributions to the "Bob Calvert Macmillan Cancer Support" appeal (organised by Nick Calvert) are invited. 

The total has now wriggled up to within a few pounds of the £500 mark.

And on the touring front, Hawkwind's four-date stint in August kicks off on the 16th in Falmouth, and then takes in Bournemouth, Shepherd's Bush and Stamford.  Further details are on
The Court Circular tells interested readers about the comings and goings of members of The Royal Family. However, readers of this periodical seem interested in the comings and goings of Yes and of various alumni of this magnificent and long-standing band. Give the people what they want, I say

I received this letter:

Michael has left a new comment on your post "Yes stays true to its concept-rich history":


I thought you may be interested in the video from Fox News about the bipartisan effort of getting YES into R&R Hall of Fame. I do not know the idiot who is sitting to the right of Clint Black.

Interest stuff although you get tired of people like the moron mentioned above saying Prog killed Rock and Roll.

Here is the website:

Mike Braden (
Sugar Land, TEXAS USA 
There have been an awful lot of Yes and Yes-related stories on Gonzo Daily this week. Even though it is a shorter week than usual, we still have more than average. We start off with a preview of the next tour, and an interview with Steve Howe.  Then comes more news about Steve Howe's forthcoming solo album of demos, nd an interview with Alan White in which he talks about his drums and influences. There is an interview with Rick Wakeman, as well as news of a second gig at the Royal Albert Hall. And finally, Jon Anderson recalls his first meeting with this issue's cover star, Vangelis.
I am probably getting a bit OCD about all of this, but I find the Yes soap opera of sound to be absolutely enthralling, and I for one can't wait to see what happens next! 
you idly pick a little pebble/skim it on a surface
do not think of all the little pebbles gathering like demonstrators
in their Tahrir Square underwater.They want change!
They are tired of having their little lives left in your hands!
You may wonder why at the edge of eternity
you scratch yourself on coral or on rock
It is a message-push off!Rock was here before you-
and afterwards!Sea is insistent that you do not dump your sewage
When you will not listen,drinking water gains pollution.
Yes-there are messages on rocks and standing stones-
inscriptions from all ages past.Inside,stored DNA from pre-Pyramids
reminds us of mortality and other mysteries-we
will leave before that pebble falls into the waters
Skim slowly,o holder of stone stories
Turtle Island stands beneath you!

In Victorian times every well-bred Gentleman had a 'Cabinet of Curiosities'; a collection of peculiar odds and sods, usually housed in a finely made cabinet with a glass door. These could include anything from Natural History specimens to historical artefacts. There has always been something of the Victorian amateur naturalist about me, and I have a houseful of arcane objects; some completely worthless, others decidedly not, but all precious to me for the memories they hold..

I used to be a collector of rock and roll memorabilia, but most of my collection went into my solicitor's pocket during my divorce from my first wife, and I never had the stomach to build the collection up again. However, people send me pictures of interesting things such as this rather nifty thing.

This is a programme from the legendary Bickershaw Festival

Read on...

On the third weekend of August every year for the past fourteen years we have had the weirdest weekend you can imagine. The Weird Weekend is the largest yearly gathering of mystery animal investigators in the English-speaking world. Now in its fourteenth year, the convention attracts speakers and visitors from all over the world and showcases the findings of investigators into strange phenomena.
Cryptozoologists, parapsychologists, ufologists, and folklorists are descending on Woolfardisworthy Community Centre to share their findings and insights. Unlike other events, the Weird Weekend will also include workshops giving tips to budding paranormal investigators, and even a programme of special events for children. The Weird Weekend is the only fortean conference in the world that is truly a family event, although those veterans of previous events should be reassured that it is still as anarchically silly as ever!
The event is raising money for the Centre for Fortean Zoology, the world’s only full time, professional cryptozoological organisation. The profit from food and beverages goes to a selection of village charities, mostly working with children.
How do you fancy spending three days of high strangeness, good food and great beer, together with the cream of British Fortean researchers in the middle of the glorious Devon countryside? By the way, I am sorry to have to say this, but as this is a fundraising event, tickets are non-refundable, although you are free to resell them should you be unable to attend.
Lee Walker: Dead of Night
Andrew Sanderson: Russia Expedition report
Lars Thomas: The Natural History of Trolls
Judge Smith: Life after Death
Jon Downes/Richard Freeman: Intro to Cryptozoology
Nick Wadham: You will believe in fairies; you will, you will!
Tony Whitehead (RSPB): Starslime
Glen Vaudrey : Mystery animals of Staffordshire
Darren Naish: Adventures from the world of tetrapod zoology
Richard Freeman: Expedition repoort Sumatra 2013
Sarah Boit: Orbs from a photographer's perspective
James Newton (London Cryptozoology club): Bigfoot
Shaun Histead-Todd: Pre Columbian civilisations in america
Ronan Coghlan: Amphibians from Outer Space
Jon Downes: Keynote Speech
Speaker's Dinner at the Community Centre
Tickets are only £20 in advance
I think Peter McAdam is one of the funniest people around, and I cannot recommend his book The Nine Henrys highly enough. Check it out at Amazon. Each issue we shall be running a series of Henrybits that are not found in his book about the nine cloned cartoon characters who inhabit a surreal world nearly as insane as mine...
Kev Rowland
KAVE  Dismal Radiance (EIBON RECORDS) 
If ever there was an album that is evocative of bleak and empty landscapes in a time that has long been forgotten then this has to be it. I know nothing about the band, who are apparently Dutch, and I am not sure I have ever heard anything quite like this. In fact, in many ways it is one of the simplest albums I have ever heard yet at the same time is one of the most complex and massively over the top, yet the music is always quiet. With this album we are in the strange world of ‘Dark Ambience’, the far more threatening and overpowering side of New Age. I don’t think I have ever come across anything quite like this before, and when playing it during the day as background I often lost the subtle nuances and changes. But, playing it in the quiet dark of night is a whole new ballgame, take it from me.
If ever there was an album that should be a soundtrack to something incredibly dark and mysterious then this is it. I can imagine this being played on big speakers in a darkened hall, daring visitors to come and embrace the dark side. If you had asked me in daylight whether this was worth hearing I know that I would have responded in the negative, but here in the night I have gained a totally different perspective. Evolving structures and unsettling atmospheres with a cinematic element, this is definitely for anyone else into menacing, profound black ambience.
KB36   Fish eat Fish (INDIE)
What we have here is the debut album from Russian outfit KB36, and I am somewhat at a loss to explain what I am listening to. While their core sound is rock/, they bring in loads of different elements that are quite experimental in nature, then they add to that some obvious classic rock influences. Take “End of the Road” for example, a delicate nature with plenty of gently picked guitar at the beginning which starts life heavily influenced by Neil Young, but then goes into something that is far more reminiscent of Ian Dury! But, the band that I am most reminded of when playing this album is Horslips, and I can’t really explain why! There are little pure folk elements on this album, and these guys are Russian and not Irish, but they do seem to be channelling some inner Celt, although it is later period Horslips as opposed to the early days.
Their songs are all sung in English, with little in the way of accent, and it is only the odd polka influence that lets one realise that this may not be a Western album after all. It is the sort of album that belongs in the Seventies, and definitely hearkens back to that time. They describe it as a Rock/ Hard Rock album which has experimental overtones and draws on both our love of Classic Rock as well as including elements of different music genres with the lyrics focusing on personal themes and social concerns.” It may not be indispensible, but it is certainly worth searching out if you miss the times when bands pointedly refused to stick within any one genre. If you go to the website you can hear some samples to see what I am talking
Apparently this is the fourth album from this Swedish band, but is the first time I have come across them. Given that singer Tony JJ (Mnemic, B-Thong, Transport League) and bassist Rob Hakemo (Ex Engel, Relevant Few, Gooseflesh) had to recruit two new members after the last album, this is more like a new band altogether. They managed to gather Mark U Black (ex Dream Evil, DragonLord) on guitar and Adde Larsson (Black Candy Store, ex Engel, Urbandux) on drums, and the result is something that in many ways is as subtle as a sledgehammer but in others has layers and plenty going on to maintain the interest.
While they are very much a metal act, then have straddled different genres to create something that is very heavy and familiar yet also different and somewhat strange. 
Imagine Slipknot with Meshuggah and The Haunted then you may get close to the nu-metal based djent-style hardcore band that I am now listening to. Interestingly they describe themselves as ‘Metal-Hardcore-Progressive’, but there is little of the latter and no mention of nu-metal anywhere in the press release. There does seem to be many who think that this genre has had its’ day, but anyone who has seen Slipknot in concert knows what a fallacy that comment is, and that sound has a part to play in the very wide plethora of genres that we call ‘metal’, and these guys know exactly what they are doing with it so this is punchy and heavy with a real groove and feel.
It may not be totally indispensible but does a very fine job of removing the dandruff, thank you very much. Powerful and impressive.
MAX PIE Eight Pieces - One World (MAUSOLEUM)
Formed in 2005, this Belgian band originally started playing classic hard rock in the style of Deep Purple and Whitesnake, before they gradually evolved into a power/symphonic metal act who have been influenced by Kamelot, Rhapsody and Symphony X among others. I have no idea how they came up with such a (it has to be said) naff band name, but it really is necessary to look past this as what we have here is an album that has a great deal going for it. Singer Tony Carlino has a good strong vocal presence (although there are some times when he doesn’t seem to be totally in key) while Damien Di Fresco is a powerful guitarist (and he also provides all keyboards). The rhythm section of Olivier Lemiere (bass) and Sylvain Godenne (drums) provides a very strong foundation that allows Damien a freedom to move away from straightforward riffing to some wonderfully complex solos and instrumental passages.
In fact, the only concern I have over the album at all is how on earth they can reproduce this in a live environment? Apart from the obvious issue that it isn’t possible to play guitars and keyboards at the same time, there is normally a minimum of two guitars and sometimes more, so unless they have an octopus hiding in the back they are going to either need more musicians or the sound will be somewhat diluted. But, that is an issue for another day as what we have here is an album packed full of great performances and tons of melodies and hooks that fans of the power/symphonic genre are just going to lap up. This is definitely worthy of investigation

This week I received an email from a charming young lady who has just released a single she recorded with Uncle Rick Wakeman
Valentina Blanca was born in Catania (Italy) in a family of musicians. Her father is a professor of flute and her mother an opera singer at the Teatro Massimo V. Bellini. They transmitted her an immense love for music.
At age of 8 she started studying violin with her aunt and in the meantime she joined the children's choir "Gaudeamus Igitur Concentus" with which she took part in several operas. Valentina’s love for “ Belcanto” was growing.

At the age of 16 she extended her musical repertoire, performing in many shows, pop music, bossa nova and jazz, highlighting a clear and sweet voice, with great vocal range and a little “retro” which fascinates the audience.

A few years later she decided to study opera getting his diploma at the Conservatory of Catania. In Italy she collaborates with high level musicians performing in various concerts.

She worked with worldwide artists such as Jon Anderson, with whom she sang in duo with in few tracks, and also with Rick Wakeman with whom she collaborated for the release of her first album "la bambola di pezza (ragdoll)" (still in development) written by Bruno Rubino (composer/drummer for Fiaba band) and arranged by the same Wakeman.

In 2012 Nick Pullin (Ilya group) from Bristol, wrote a number of songs specifically for her voice and started a side project for another album.

In 2013 she made his debut in Krakow (Poland), as lead singer, in front of an audience of over 10,000 people,  for the acrobatic show "Voalà."

At the moment, not having a record company to support her, Valentina continues to self-finance her projects, publishing also beautiful video, made by her boyfriend Pierluigi Cavarra (photographer and video maker) and also thanks to the collaboration of various fans.

Among her dreams, as well as finding aids to bring her projects to the general public, it is to sing in a concert, piano and voice, with Rick Wakeman and to be able to duet, one day, with her idol: Barbra Streisand .

The single is available on iTunes:
The last week has been a little fraught here in the badly converted potato shed where my new assistant editor Captain Frunobulax the Magnificent and I labour on all the different projects that I do. But as I have said repeatedly over the past few weeks, this is the busiest and most complicated time of our year.
I have had a houseful of people for the past week, and things are going to get more crowded as the week progresses. However, I have had a couple of interesting musical snippets. My old friend Davey Curtis has presented me with a copy of the new album he made with his band Happy the Man (no, not the American prog band) which features such immortal classics as Single Mothers love my brother and Tracy the mass murderer. When I finally get around to it, and CFZ Records becomes a reality, it will be distributed via Gonzo Multimedia.

His teenage daughter Rosie also told me about a new pop sensation from Japan who have a lead singer who is a hologram. I am not sure whether to be appalled or invigorated..

This issue has been put together in a bit of a rush, but I am very pleased with the way that it has come together; each time we get closer to my ideal of an anarchic journal of sounds and letters and ideas that I have been trying to put together for at least thirty years. Once again many thanks to Rob Ayling for giving me the opportunity to do this.

Things are actually going rather well at the moment, and the next wave of Gonzo grooviness is imminent. As you know, I already do various podcasts for Gonzo Web Radio and I am toying with the idea of expanding this to something special, and doing a series of podcasts featuring music unavailable elsewhere, especially for subscribers to this magazine. 

Remember that it doesn't cost anything to subscribe, and that in doing so you are joining an elite, and rapidly expanding group of music fans who believe that we are not being given the music or the cultural coverage that we deserve. We are living in disturbing and strange times, but ultimately they are very interesting ones, and continuing to chronicle the Gonzoverse is an immensely rewarding thing to do. Thank you for reading.

Until next week,

Jon Downes
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