Issue Thirty-One     June 21st 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.
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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...
I am very pleased with this issue. It marks the debut of my darling stepdaughter Shoshannah as a music journalist, it features four exclusive interviews and the same number of exclusive live reviews, and it features on the cover a lady who I am partly responsible for getting onto the label.

Crass are a very important band to me. Not because of the music, although I will be the first to admit that more than a few of their songs were absolute classics, even though some of their music was a bloody awful noise. No, the reason that they are important to me is because they are the band that politicised me all those years ago. Basically my personal politics and code of ethics come largely from them, and I have said as much on many occasions over the last 30 years.

But what has Crass got to do with this week's magazine? It is simple, gentle reader. Carol Hodge aka Miss Crystal Grenade sang with Steve Ignorant on his recent world tour. I didn't attend any of the shows, but I followed the tour online, and one day out of interest I checked out what Steve's erstwhile bandmate was doing now. When I found out, I was so excited I immediately e-mailed Rob.

Each week this publication does get more like a bona fide magazine, and each week we get closer to the anarchic but sophisticated journal of letters, sounds and ideas that I have been wanting to publish for the past thirty something years. 

But how did it happen? Rob Ayling originally asked me to write a weekly record company newsletter. How did an ordinary record company newsletter turn into the ever expanding e-magazine that you are read each week (or that I hope that you read each week). 'Tis simple. This was never going to be an ordinary record company newsletter, because Gonzo is about as far from being an ordinary record company as you can be whilst still operating within the music industry. Nothing about the company is ordinary from the Managing Director to the catalogue; all are innovative, experimental and ever-so-slightly strange, and so maybe this was all pre-ordained. However, I would still like to publically thank Rob for setting me loose on an unsuspecting public and pretty well letting me do what I want. Thanks my old friend!

I am growing up in public, as it were. The Gonzo Weekly has been going for six 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.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: A kind of magick
This week I received a letter from Michael Duncanson about the Magick Brothers live CD/DVD package.
Hi Jon,

I finally received my copy of this wonderful Live cd/dvd.. Thanks for the release! Question: Was there supposed to be a booklet of some sort included? This big double wide case with the 2 discs seems made for such. If there is one, how could I procure a copy for my set? If not--please let me know.

Thank you so much!
Michael Duncanson

PS I liked your song about Amerikkka-----Every time I open my eyes-it appears worse..
Thanks for your kind words, Michael. No, sadly there isn't a booklet with the package, but I agree with you that it is a massively entertaining one. My 83 year old mother-in-law and I spent a happy evening watching it recently...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The longest day
This week sees the Solstice. The middle of the year, and the height of midsummer. The Gonzo Track of the Day, celebrated this.

Check it out

As the sun spirals its longest dance, Cleanse us 
As nature shows bounty and fertility, Bless us 
Let all things live with loving intent 
And to fulfill their truest destiny.

This weekend various Gonzofolk including Alan Davey, and The Deviants will be at a Solstice Festival in Wales. Mick Farren had THIS to say...
Hopefully, next weekend, we will have acquired some survivors' stories of how this festival went...
THE  WEEK THAT'S PAST: Goodbye old friend
Speaking of the longest day, I found out this week that an old mate of mine had died. Yes, Bill Millin, the piper who led the troops ashore on D-Day was a friend of mine.

Millin is best remembered for playing the bagpipes whilst under fire during the D-Day landing in Normandy. Pipers had traditionally been used in battle by Scottish and Irish soldiers. However, the use of bagpipes was restricted to rear areas by the time of the Second World War by the British Army. Lord Lovat, nevertheless, ignored these orders and ordered Millin, then aged 21, to play. When Private Millin demurred, citing the regulations, he recalled later, Lord Lovat replied: “Ah, but that’s the English War Office. You and I are both Scottish, and that doesn’t apply.” He played "Hielan' Laddie" and "The Road to the Isles" as his comrades fell around him on Sword Beach. Millin states that he later talked to captured German snipers who claimed they did not shoot at him because they thought he was crazy.
Millin, whom Lovat had appointed as his personal piper during commando training at Achnacarry, near Fort William in Scotland, was the only man during the landing who wore a kilt – it was the same Cameron tartan kilt his father had worn in Flanders during World War I – and he was armed only with his pipes and the sgian-dubh, or "black knife", sheathed inside his kilt-hose on the right side.
In the mid 1980s when I was a student nurse and he was the Senior Nurse (nights) we bonded over cheap whisky in the Staff Social Club at Langdon Hospital near Dawlish. I hadn't seen him for over 25 years, but it was still a pang when I found out that he had died back in 2010. This week, however, I found that he has been commemorated by a life-sized bronze statue of him which was unveiled on 8 June 2013 at Colleville-Montgomery, near Sword Beach, in France.
Rest in peace old friend.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Wilko's last stand
This week, more by chance than anything else, I watched the YouTube video of Wilko Johnson's last ever show - with Madness at the BBC. Knowing that he is dying of pancreatic cancer, and is being insanely brave about it, brought tears to my eyes. Following this gig he called off his final gigs in Canvey Island. He told Echo News: “I only performed one song, but it was freezing. The wind was blowing up an absolute gale. It was whipping into my face – how Madness performed for an hour I have no idea. It was very very, very cold; and I think this is why I feel down.”

“It is really upsetting not to perform for the people of Canvey at the end,” he says. “I really wish I could have done it. If one little bit of me thought it was possible I would have done it.”

OK, it happened back in March, but I didn't see it until yesterday, and it has been one of the emotional high spots of this week, so I am including it.

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Dave McMann goes to see The Patti Smith Group. Shepherds Bush 18/06/2013.
After dining with friends in the excellent O'Neils  pub, we headed next door to the O2 Academy for the welcome return of Patti Smith in London.
Unlike last time, when she was touring with her new album 'Banga', this time she wasn't promoting anything, so what will she do?
What could be better than a selection of her previous body of work, that's right, nothing could be better and that's what she gave us and more.
She knew what we wanted and she gave us it. 'Redondo Beach' was one of the first of many, a slight re-working of 'Land' (Horses) for the 21st Century totally blew me away as they played it to segue into 'Gloria', then a few numbers from 'Easter', a terrific version of 'Summertime Blues', then over to guitarist Lenny to shine and a rather nice surprise for me, Alice Cooper's 'Talk Talk' from 'Flush the Fashion'.
The band mellowed down a tad, no doubt to give the drummer a bit of a break and he certainly earned it, for the crowd pleaser 'Because the Night'.
Over two solid hours of sheer enjoyment. Hurry back Patti Smith.
Image credit

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.

This is going to take some time, especially as I live out in the sticks with very dodgy and intermittent internet access. But they will be posted in batches of half a dozen or so. The other week we posted that the first seven episodes, complete with playlists, were available at the Gonzo Web Radio site.

The next seven are now available. 
Check them out!


EPISODE EIGHT: "Oh no......Steve Hillage!" (Neil, The Young Ones)

Oh yes! From the heavy psychedelia of his (and Dave Stewart's) first band Uriel to his more recent collaborative efforts with '90's spacerockers Ozric Tentacles and ambient explorers The Orb, from the classic '73 Gong lineup to his triumphant 2009 return, Subcomandante Spillage's influence on British psychedelia examined from several angles, oblique, acute and orthogonal. ALSO a '68 Caravan classic, the Annie Whitehead connection, Robert Wyatt's second favourite piece of music ever (supposedly) and an Ornette Coleman cover performed in Canterbury just the other day...

Playlist for this episode



EPISODE NINE: An investigation of how Henry Cow got from Cambridge to 'Canterbury', with special attention paid to everyone's favourite feminist avant-rock bassoonist, Lindsay Cooper. Also, the Soft Machine quintet lineup live in early 1970, Richard Sinclair guesting with some Norwegians, Jimmy Hastings in both absent and present forms, the (almost) beginning of the Planet Gong mythology and an Australian listener called Wyatt covering Robert Wyatt, as well as (Robert) Wyatt's choice of favourite record ever (as of late 1974).

Playlist for this episode 



EPISODE TEN: East Asian connections from Canterbury to Malaysia, Japan, China and Tibet, then back again. A rare instance of Dave Sinclair singing, Robert Wyatt reading from some Chinese communist propaganda, quite a bit of Alan Gowen, Acid Mothers Gong being very strange indeed, another cover of Wyatt's "Alifib", more Hugh Hopper collaborations, an (almost) live version of "Winter Wine" by Caravan, Steve Hillage in Japan with Ash Ra Tempel's Manuel Göttsching... AND a frivolous poetry competition!

Playlist for this episode 



EPISODE ELEVEN: The entire set from an embryonic Hatfield and the North lineup live at the Tower of London in summer '72, a beautiful Hugh Hopper/Richard Sinclair collaboration, the largely undocumented Hastings-Coughlan-Richardson-Austins-Evans Caravan lineup live in France in '72, an extraordinary (and quite long) tape experiment put together by Daevid Allen in 1966, Kevin Ayers with The Wizards of Twiddly, Lindsay Cooper playing bassoon and electronics at a festival of Women's Improvised Music in Zürich, '86 and the latest on the Canterbury Soundwaves haiku competition!

Playlist for this episode 



EPISODE TWELVE: Strange encounters with punk, funk, new wave and disco, as typified by Daevid Allen's late 70's New York Gong project. Also, Soft Machine experiencing technical difficulties (but ultimately triumphing) at the 1970 BBC Proms, Hatfield Mark II (with Dave Sinclair on keyboards, and Robert Wyatt on guest vocals), a freaky Gong jam from '72 with mystery trumpet player, some Canterbury sounds from early '70s Holland, thirty-seven seconds of unparalleled brilliance from Henry Cow (twice), the last vocalist you'd ever expect to hear on Canterbury Soundwaves and the winning entry in our recent haiku competition...

Playlist for this episode 



EPISODE THIRTEEN: An extended chat with jazz trombone legend, East Kent resident and Robert Wyatt collaborator Annie Whitehead about jazz, politics and feminism in the 1980s, Zappa, Wyatt's creative processes, the "Soupsongs" band she assembled to play his music live, her various collaborations with Elton Dean, Phil Miller, Dave Stewart, Geoffrey Richardson, John Etheridge, et al., as well as the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Also, the classic Soft Machine trio lineup on French TV in late '67 (incredible, newly surfaced footage), the top three Canterbury tunes from our winning haiku poet, and a few thoughts from the current Archbishop, Rowan Williams.

Playlist for this episode 



EPISODE FOURTEEN: An exploration of Canterbury connections with Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd (mostly Soft Machine related, but not all), including some remarkable Floyd recordings you've probably never heard. Also, some very free jazz from Lol and Didier, more incredible autumn '67 Soft Machine from French telly, Kev and Daev reunited, Matching Mole live, a beautiful two-part cover of "O Caroline"... and Caravan playing with an orchestra and getting away with it (arguably).

Playlist for this episode 


STRANGE FRUIT: Episode 42 
Date Published: 21st June 2013

Strange Fruit is a unique two-hour radio show exploring the world of underground, strange and generally neglected music. All shows are themed and all shows set out to give the most hardened of sound-hounds some new delight to sample. The show is also unique in providing homework for undergraduate students on North West Kent College’s Foundation Degree in Professional Writing (who dig up many of the odd facts featured in the links between tracks).  Strange Fruit presenter is currently working on a book about rare albums for Gonzo Multimedia.  

The show is broadcast on Miskin Radio every Sunday from 10-00-midnight.

Playlist for this episode 

Listen to P
art One
Listen to Part Two

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
I am very excited about this new venture. We shall also be hosting all the episodes of his previous Canterbury Soundwaves podcast. I don't know how long it will take to get them all up and in place, but we shall get there in the end.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The Gospel according to Bart
Once again, Bart Lancia has been on the ball this week. He wrote to me saying "It seems,my friend,that everything old is new again...B" and attaching this story from Rolling Stone.

Black Sabbath have topped the U.K. albums chart for the first time in nearly 43 years, setting a record for the longest gap between Number One albums. The band's latest, 13, entered the Official U.K. Albums Chart in the top spot, 42 years and eight months after their second album, Paranoid, reached Number One in 1970.

With 13's Number One debut, Sabbath has surpassed Bob Dylan's 38-year gap between the chart-topping releases New Morning in 1970 and Together Through Life in 2009; and Rod Stewart's 37 years between 1976's A Night on the Town and current album Time.
What Bart said reminded me of a passage I first read years ago which may or may not have been written by King Solomon.

    What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.

                                             Ecclesiastes 1:9

I am very fond of Bart, and am impressed that every week, come rain or come shine, he finds peculiar little stories for me, always with the human touch. Thank you my friend.
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.
THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Slim Whitman (1924-2013)
Ottis Dewey Whitman, Jr. (January 20, 1924 – June 19, 2013), known professionally as Slim Whitman, was an American country music and western music singer/songwriter and instrumentalist known for his yodeling abilities and his smooth high octave falsetto. He claimed to have sold in excess of 120 million records.

Whitman at Wikipedia
Carol Hodge was last seen in November 2011 on stage at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.  She was holding the hand of the one-time Crass vocalist Steve Ignorant as they closed both Ignorant’s world tour and his career of singing songs by the one-time Kings and Queens of anarchopunk, with a massively emotional version of 'Bloody Revoutions'.  Even watching it on YouTube brings tears to my eyes, so I can only imagine what it would have been like being in the audience, or even more, on stage. Carol joined Ignorant’s world tour half-way through after the previous female vocalist had dropped out for family reasons.  And she had some pretty big shoes to fill (I suppose if I was clever enough I should make some sort of reference here to Crass’s notorious song about Chinese footbinding, but I can’t think of one).  And she filled them righteously.  
But what happened next?  

Carol has adopted the personality of Miss Crystal Grenade; an existentialist Victorian artist, singer, and freak show performer with a peculiarly deformed hand. She has an album coming out very soon on Gonzo, so I had the perfect excuse to set up an interview.
JON: So tell me about the album. I’ve heard most of it and I think it’s absolutely wonderful.  

CAROL: Thank you.  I’ll tell you the technicalities of it first then.  So three of the tracks were recorded at Southern Studios, which is in London, which is where Crass Records used to live and John Loder used to run it, and I worked with Harvey Birrell who is a very well-established sound engineer and has recorded a lot of albums that I really like. Like “Pleasure Death” by Therapy! being one of them. So yes that was just after I did the tour with Steve Ignorant.  Allison, who was from Southern, she was our manager and she heard a few tracks and she just said if you want to come down and do some recording with Harvey I was welcome to.

So yes, I did that and I think I was the last to record there which is a bit of a dubious honour. So that was a really good experience and that place is very ambient and quite an old building.  It’s basically an old terrace house that they converted into studios. It’s kind of like digital analog, it’s a massive analog desk and of course Harvey has kind of updated it suing, I think, Protools with that so it’s all like from the 1960s and going behind is like a Spaghetti Junction of leads behind the mixing desk and all the Crass original massive tapes on the shelves so it was quite exciting for me to be in that kind of location to record these three songs. So those songs were “Go Around Twice”, “You Could have Lived”, and “Nothing to Do With Me”.

And then I started working with a producer, studio record this-type guy called Nick Zart.  I actually went along and did some session singing for his music, which is great; kind of gothy, rocky-type stuff and we ended up trading sessions.  He’s recorded the rest of the tracks that are on the album and there is one we’ve yet to finish, which he has changed – it’s just a rough demo version that is on the album at the moment. I get on really well with him – his studio is in St Helens which is quite close to me in Manchester and he has a background of working in the dance industry and he was a dance producer for years and years back in the ‘90s.  He’s a nice, relaxed person to work with and we seem to be on the same wavelength, which is always a joy.  He’s one of the few people who has managed to capture a good sound out of my voice.  I’ve always been a bit reticent to use my head voice and be softer with my tone because my history comes from being in rock bands and  punk bands so it’s been quite nice – he’s helped give me the confidence to explore the softer edge to my tonal range which I think has worked quite well with the album.

JON:  I was very surprised….because I had only heard of you as a singer with punk bands. I stumbled upon your Soundcloud page and immediately ‘phoned Rob and said “Dude,  you’ve got to listen to this”.

CAROL: I was very surprised and flattered when I saw your message and your blogs – thank you for that. 

JON: It’s fantastic, and I like the whole idea of your Victorian alter-ego – it fits in with all the Fortean stuff that I’m into, so … am I interviewing Carol or am I interviewing Crystal?

CAROL: Well that’s the question, isn’t it…..  The Crystal Grenade thing is a funny thing.  I realised quite early on – I mean I started singing in bands when I was about 15/16 years old – and I realised that I’m a performer and when I am on stage I kind of perform and as musicians will tell you, something kind of takes over a bit and I found that it was kind of strange that a lot of people in the audience when I spoke to them after, they couldn’t quite equate the person they were talking to with what they’d seen  on stage and so it’s a character effectively.  Crystal Grenade is the sort of Victorian character for aesthetic purposes and some of the songs like “1892 Man” which I don’t know if you would have heard yet and “Take Aim” they’re kind of almost  - “1892 Man” in particular  is almost biographical in respect of Crystal Grenade, this freak show persona. That’s the character really.  It’s a hundred years ago or a 120 years ago that’s the Crystal Grenade – it helps to have a moniker for it to make it make a bit of sense really. Not Carol Hodge, assuming a persona to write these songs … I come from a theatrical background as well, I trained to be an actor and that’s partly why it makes sense for me to do that as well.

JON: Is the album coming out as Carol Hodge or Crystal Grenade?

CAROL: It will be Crystal Grenade. That is the name of the band sort of thing I suppose – that’s the name of the act. I’m not going to pretend that’s my real name.

JON: Is it going to be an ongoing thing, Crystal Grenade, or are you going to go off on to other things … is this just a one off? The persona.  You’ve done this album as Crystal Grenade, is she going to go on to do more things?

CAROL: That’s a very good question. Yes, I would certainly consider it.  This is just the outlet for the songs I am writing at the moment. They are quite reflective, and pensive and I suppose you know they’re dark and that kind of suits. You know if I suddenly start writing songs that are in a totally different ball park and I want to use experimental instruments or whatever and change the style, then that would probably be a different project, but the piano and reflective heartfelt-type songs I think is going to be Crystal Grenade, yes.

JON: Because I have visions of Spring Heeled Jack with a glass of absinthe sitting in the audience watching you.

CAROL: Yes, perfect. That’s brilliant.

Read on....
Also, this week, I got hold of the first ever video released of A Slice of Life. Most bizarrely - after years of screaming, it turns out that Steve Ignorant can actually SING!

Check this out...
On February 21, 2012, five members of the group Pussy Riot, a Russian feminist punk-rock collective based in Moscow, staged a performance on the soleas of Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Their actions were stopped by church security officials. By evening, they had turned it into a music video entitled "Punk Prayer - Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!". The women said their protest was directed at the Orthodox Church leader's support for Putin during his election campaign. On March 3, 2012, two of the group members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested and charged with hooliganism. A third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was arrested on March 16. Denied bail, they were held in custody until their trial began in late July. On August 17, 2012, the three members were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, and each was sentenced to two years imprisonment. Following an appeal, Samutsevich was freed on probation, her sentence suspended. The sentences of the other two women were upheld. In late October 2012, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were separated and sent to prison.

Helen McCookerybook, originally bass player with Joby and the Hooligans, then The Chefs and Helen and the Horns is one of my favourite Gonzo recording artistes. Some months ago she posted this on her blog:
Don't forget them- they are very brave and they are having a tough time. This book is coming out on 24th June; details below. It's being launched at Yoko Ono's Meltdown.

Storm in a Teacup are very excited to announce that â€œLets Start a Pussy Riot” book will be launched at Yoko Ono’s Meltdown festival as part of the Activism weekend. The book has been created in collaboration with Pussy Riot, Emely Neu, Storm in a Teacup, Girls Get Busy and Not So Popular and will be available to buy on the 15th of June at Meltdown. The book is available now for Pre-order and will be available at Rough Trade shops on 24th of June. All profits go directly to Pussy Riot and their families. Read on...
This week she wrote about them again:
Some might say it is postmodern, but actually The South Bank was chaotic  yesterday afternoon. Families collided against each other, and young people with clipboards clutched to their chests like shields looked anxiously for others whose t-shirts matched their own for a sense of community. People sat at tables with leaflets, and a Steampunkish man made announcements through a loud hailer, while simultaneously being photographed and filmed as he apparently gave a running commentary on what was happening now (or should that be 'what is happening now'? Dammit, the moment's passed). Add intermittent showers to the mix and some very firm-to-rude security guards at the doors of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and it was tempting to go home.

But I didn't want to leave without a copy of Let's Start a Pussy Riot in my hands and I'm glad I persevered: and I'm also glad I had the patience to attend the whole event, the launch which had occasional clunky moments and occasionally prompted me to question what artistic freedom is about.

Emily Neu, who put the book together (what a feat! it is a beautiful book) and the editor Jade French (much hard work!) sat together and talked through the process of creating the book briefly before inviting Fox, who had appeared an a Channel 4 TV programme about gender realignment, to talk. Fox has artwork in the book and he is a guerilla artist, pasting photographs of transgender people in public loos. He was joined by Finnish musician and film-maker 'E' who showed a film that told the story of a motley crew of presumably gay men being interrupted in their revels by a group of white-clad homophobic religious people. What bothered me was that the first punch was thrown at a woman, by one of the men. Elias was asked about any controversy thrown up by the film and he said it was mostly to do with the smoking of cigarettes by the actors. I found the film upsetting, because alongside the thread about celebration of (male) gay lifestyles was one of violence against a woman.

I think I was primed by the horrible exhibition that I wrote about yesterday to notice things like this.

However, these feelings soon vanished as Katya joined us via Skype for a very short interview. My skin began to tingle - I found this a profoundly moving moment and I actually started to cry. They have been so brave: witness what has happened to Litvinenko and various other Russian dissidents. I am certain that it is only the international attention that we give to Pussy Riot that keeps them safe. Katya looked so young and vulnerable. I hope she heard our applause.

Then two members of the Pussy Riot collective joined the stage, with their translator (who did a fantastic job). This was truly bizarre. Wearing balaclavas as part of their stated desire 'not to be part of a world that creates stars, celebrities and famous people' (and also I imagined, for safety), they spoke through voice changers and an interpreter (whose voice also took on the Dalek timbre from time to time as she swopped microphones). This was political performance art; occasionally their wisdom was punctuated by a giggle, rendered sinister through the voice-changer. Their message was of individual empowerment: 'We look on our actions as a fight for art'. An audience member asked them if they were afraid when they protested. 'Our actions are more important than fear'.

One of the many reasons that I support Pussy Riot is that they have picked up something that surfaces at times in history and made it their own: the desire for change, and the feeling that the potential for change resides in each individual person in every aspect of their lives.

I felt this at the age of 5 when I was taken on an Aldermaston March by my parents against nuclear weapons. It was embodied in punk and has recently erupted in communities across the world.

This feeling should not just belong to young people. We should never stop caring and never become complacent.

Incidentally, they told us that under Russian law, a prison sentence can be postponed until a convicted person's children are 14 years of age. This makes the incarceration of Nadya, who has young children, all the more brutal. She has only seen her children once a year.

So, to go back to the Finnish video. I have been thinking a lot about artistic and political freedom, partly because of a concern for the proliferation of pornography on the internet. It is difficult to work out what to think and how to articulate it. Perhaps today's personal position is that people who use artistic freedom to abuse other people are abusing freedom itself. But then where does this leave me, the creator of Boriceberg?

The sketch above was drawn because we were not allowed to take photographs. I was going to draw a more finished one but this spontaneous scribble seems more free!

Book available here:
I was very moved by this impassioned piece of writing so I e-mailed Helen, and asked firstly whether I could repost her essay, and secondly, whether I could interview her about the wider implications of the case. She agreed to both. You can listen to our conversation HERE.

I then contacted Mick Farren, who sent me the following piece of writing which originally appeared in Classic Rock last year:
When, in October of this year, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were convicted of hooliganism in a Moscow court and sentenced to two years hard time in some godless gulag, the international media were horrified. Amnesty International designated the two women “prisoners of conscience” and the Obama White House had "serious concerns about the way that these young women have been treated by the Russian judicial system." In Russia, on the other hand, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin grimly stated that the band had "undermined the moral foundations" of the nation and "got what they deserved."
And exactly what crime had Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina committed? On February 21, 2012, five members of Pussy Riot staged a guerrilla performance inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, doing an impromptu can-can in their brightly coloured balaclavas as they protested the increasingly authoritarian Putin regime, and the close ties between the Russian Orthodox Church, Putin, and the KGB. They even called Orthodox Patriarch Kirill 1, “Putin’s bitch.” They were quickly ejected by church security, but a subversive and hastily edited video “Punk Prayer - Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!” was in circulation later the same day. 
The harsh sentences imposed on Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina lay bare how Russia’s power elite is threatened by the challenge of this kind of anarchic agitprop. They want it ruthlessly eradicated, but in reality Pussy Riot is the product of a process that has been going on since the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia has been playing cultural catch-up – in music, film, rock & roll radio, comic books and even ideas like motorcycle gangs. A spectrum of conventional Russian rock spans popsters like Mumiy Troll to the pagan metal of Tracktor Bowling. Pussy Riot are just one of the extremes. Their roots are in punk and oi, but they also owe much to performance artists like Karen Finlay, and to the French Situationists who advocated using pop music, comics, street art and even pornography as weapons against the establishment, and who heavily influenced the thinking of Malcolm McLaren and his plans for The Sex Pistols. But Pussy Riot’s major influence is the riot grrls of Bikini Kill. As they told the newspaper Moskovskiye Novosti, "What we have in common is impudence, politically loaded lyrics, the importance of feminist discourse and a non-standard female image. The difference is that Bikini Kill performed at specific music venues, while we hold unsanctioned concerts."
The stakes are obviously far higher contemporary Russia, but the game is much the same all over. Young people, women, gays, minorities, and non-conformists are demanding a voice that will be heard. Individuals want to decide how to live their lives rather than having it decided for them. And before politicians and pundits express such total shock and outrage at Putin’s treatment of Pussy Riot, they should recall how authorities in the West had quite a go at eradicating rock.

Back in the 1950s, Miami police filmed Elvis Presley live hoping to jail him for “criminal obscenity.” A decade later, Keith Richards was sentenced a year in jail and Mick Jagger to three months, after a raid on Keith’s Sussex home. Harold Wilson wanted the new hedonist hippie lifestyle vigorously stamped out. Brian Jones and John Lennon rapidly followed Mick & Keith into the paddy wagon. In New Haven, Connecticut, Jim Morrison was dragged from the stage and arrested, and later in Miami (again), given six months for indecent eexposure. John Sinclair, poet-activist and manager of the MC5, was jailed for 10 years after giving a couple of joints to an undercover narc. In the 1970s, punks were castigated in the press, and assaulted by neo-Nazi thugs, but no punk stars did time, except maybe GG Allin, but his year in the slammer was for felonious assault, not his excremental stage act.
Today, in the west, rock is 99% commercial, corporate, and entirely safe. David Cameron listens to Pink Floyd and The Killers. Rockers are only jailed for drunk driving or cocaine carelessness. I’m not demanding anyone spend two years in the gulag, or goes head to head with Vladimir Putin, but there’s even more to Pussy Riot than their unbelievable courage and their clear demonstration that Putin’s Russia is a cultural police state and the Orthodox Church is in on the deal. They highlight the degree to which rockers in the west have sidelined themselves from the cultural and political struggles all round them. Pussy riot do the time, while too many of our so-called rebel rockers don’t even consider the crime, and only ever use their voices and the powers of communication at their disposal for self-aggrandizement and moving product. â€“ Mick Farren
This is rapidly becoming a family affair. My lovely wife Corinna writes bits and bobs, proofs and basically sub edits this magazine each week, and she probably doesn't get the credit that she deserves. Now my lovely step-daughter, both a vet with a love for chickens and a rock and roll chick par excellence, has joined the fold. Because this week she went to see Bruce Springsteen. In passing, I asked for a review, and a few days later one arrived. Anyone who can start a review of a Bruce Springsteen concert by complaining about the cost of cheese, is alright by me!
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Wrecking Ball Tour 2013
Saturday 15th June, Wembley Stadium, London
There are some things about Bruce Springsteen concerts that are exactly like other concerts. For instance: the one hour queue out of Wembley, and the eye-wateringly overpriced burger vans (£1.00 for a slice of cheese?!).

But, I have to say, that is about as far as it goes.

I’ve been to a few Springsteen concerts before, and always suppress a smile when people tell me that: “It’s all the same show again and again, you know.” Springsteen has been recording music for four decades, and like all veteran artists he has years and years of material to draw on. Of course, if you’re used to attending shows by Lady Gaga or Robbie Williams, then of course you’re more likely to see the same routine peddled time and again.

One of the bonuses of Bruce Springsteen concerts is that, amongst the crowd-pleasing regulars such as ‘Born To Run’ and ‘Out In The Street’, you will also find gems like ‘Trapped’, ‘Loose Ends’ and ‘Save My Love’.

Ninety minutes to two hours is the accepted industry standard for the duration of a set list.
U2 – two hours; Rihanna – around 100 minutes; Roger Waters – well, pretty much the duration of The Wall. But Bruce Springsteen and his E-Street Band, most of them now in their sixties, are renowned for turning in three or four hours at a time. This one clocked in at around three hours and fifteen minutes. Springsteen himself, now 63 years old, will still run up and down the stage non-stop, and this time he even climbed onto the piano… I hope I’m that fit when I reach his age. I’m certainly not now.

This was the first time I’ve been to Wembley. The queues in were reasonable, the drinks prices unreasonable, and the weather fortunately sympathetic. From my position about a quarter of the way back from the stage, just left of centre (in a non-political context), I was afforded a good view and plenty of dancing space.

The show was due to begin at 7pm and Bruce came on stage at about 7.20pm. I had speculated that ‘My Love Will Not Let You Down’ could launch the set, but of course I was completely wrong. In the event, ‘Land Of Hope And Dreams’ opened the show for the third time in the last four shows. The choral melody earned the chants of the crowd, but it didn’t seem to inject quite as much as energy as other openers I’ve witnessed such as ‘Badlands’ and ‘We Take Care Of Our Own’.

Making only its eighth appearance on the tour – and greeted with enthusiasm by the 70,000-strong crowd – ‘Jackson Cage’ was followed by the unmistakable opening chords of ‘Radio Nowhere’. This is the beauty of Bruce Springsteen’s vast catalogue of songs. You can have classic material from The River (1980), follow it up with the opening track from Magic (2008) and from the roars of the crowd you wouldn’t know almost three decades separated the two.

Then the requests began – there were countless signs being waved around the stadium and Bruce collected a few, eventually picking the rare ‘Save My Love’ as the first request.

You could be forgiven for thinking that ‘Rosalita’ would be the oldest song played that night in terms of release date. It wasn’t, quite, but more on that in a minute. Lifted from Springsteen’s second album, released in 1973, it still never fails to get people dancing; not to mention singing along to classic lines such as: “Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.” And that includes the teenagers in the crowd. Hell, this song was recorded OVER A DECADE before I was born… and I’m pushing thirty.

The harmonica made its first appearance of the night during a charming rendition of ‘This Hard Land’, and then a rarity followed. ‘Lost In The Flood’ was played a few times on the American leg of 2012’s tour, but in 2013 had only popped up once (in Melbourne, Australia, back in March).
To say I was gobsmacked to see the sign to one of my favourites being held up is an understatement. I never thought I would live to hear ‘Lost In The Flood’ live. I’m not overly sentimental, but Roy Bittan’s absolutely beautiful opening piano almost brought tears to my eyes. I urge anyone not familiar with the song to give it a listen, in the knowledge that listening to it on Greetings… (the 1973 album which it nestled at the centre of) just doesn’t compare. Sorry.

A staple combination of the tour – the titular ‘Wrecking Ball’ moving straight into the foot-stomping rhythm of ‘Death To My Hometown’ – provided a chance to get over it before the final request was taken in the shape of a very impressive sign featuring a heart next to some souvlaki. For those of you good at word puzzles, you will already be expecting ‘Hungry Heart’, one of Bruce’s more well-known tunes. He didn’t have to sing much of it himself, though: the audience did that for him. He held the microphone up over the stadium (not that he needed to) and that superb opening line rang out flawlessly: “I got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack; I went out for a ride and I never went back.”

And then: the big event of the night. The European leg of the Wrecking Ball tour has seen several entire albums played. Copenhagen and Padova enjoyed a full run-through of Born To Run; Munich and Milan got Born In The USA. Lucky Stockholm was treated to both, as well as Springsteen’s classic 1978 album, Darkness On The Edge Of Town.

Last night, when Bruce announced that the band was going to play Darkness in its entirety, the cheers that went up must have been audible all over London. The album celebrated its 35th birthday earlier this month, so it was a fitting choice.

Boom! The opening riff to ‘Badlands’ had everyone punching the air, and everyone singing. There go those teenagers again. Don’t they realise this song is as old as their parents? Ask a Springsteen fan what their favourite line is, and the chances are they’ll give you, from ‘Badlands’: “It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.” It’s certainly one of my favourites.

Through ‘Adam Raised A Cain’ into the haunting melody of ‘Something In The Night’, the crowd responded really well to a superb performance of what is considered the best Springsteen album by much of his fanbase. My husband Gavin has always maintained (unprompted by me, I should add) that Springsteen is a vastly underrated guitarist. If you don’t believe him, go listen to the solo on ‘Candy’s Room’. It was even more immense live: that battered Telecaster took even more of a hammering.

From the hot and heavy drumbeat of ‘Candy’s Room’, the band went onto the next track on the album: the jewel in Darkness’ crown, ‘Racing In The Street’. People were crying, and not just because they’re crazy fangirls… because it is a beautiful and iconic song, perfectly written and finished with a gorgeous piano solo. This is the second time I have seen it played live, and on both occasions the entire venue has fallen silent, completely mesmerised.

After that, possibly the highlight of the show, the crowd sang along to the anthemic chorus of ‘The Promised Land’ with enthusiasm. Through ‘Factory’ and the popular ‘Streets of Fire’, Darkness progressed to its heady climax: ‘Prove It All Night’, of course the subject of a now legendary 1978 performance, followed by the title track, ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’. Going back to ‘Prove It’, there was surely not a person in the stadium not spellbound by the expert guitar playing of Nils Lofgren (follows me on Twitter, everyone, just wanted to throw that in there… ahem). He was spinning around in circles ON ONE FOOT while blasting out about a million notes per second. That man is a genius. Guitar must have bled a bit afterwards.


How can you follow that? Well, does Bruce Springsteen do gospel music? Yep. ‘Shackled And Drawn’ is an upbeat, sing-along track from last year’s Wrecking Ball album, and Cindy Mizelle’s powerful voice makes it. 
And does Bruce Springsteen do gimmicks? Well, that’s beyond the scope of this review, but he has been inviting women up on stage for ‘Dancing In The Dark’ for years now and a more recent addition to list of concert traditions has been born out of ‘Waitin’ On A Sunny Day’. It’s a regular, and now you can be certain that The Boss will pull a child from the golden circle to come up and sing along a chorus or two with him. The little boy last night did great – grand job, kid!

‘Sunny Day’ is the third track from the 9/11 album, 2002’s The Rising. The thirteenth track is the title, ‘The Rising’, and it’s always good live. The anthem got the crowd swaying and singing along with the infectious ‘la la la la la la la la’ (that description makes it sound a bit rubbish, you’ll have to listen to the chorus to appreciate its true catchiness).

Closing the main set was the rock song, ‘Light Of Day’, and then the encore began with an acoustic guitar and the promise that: “Thirty seconds from now, everybody in this place is gonna be dancing!” Bruce started strumming and then the crowd began to sing along to ‘Pay Me My Money Down’, which went on for almost nine minutes and culminated in half the band dancing in a line at the front of the stage. All good fun!

Springsteen’s biggest hit, ‘Born To Run’ is always played but last night it turned up a little earlier than I had expected. It got the crowd going though, as always, and progressed nicely into ‘Bobby Jean’, another big crowd-pleaser. The light had faded by this point, which was fitting given that ‘Dancing In The Dark’ was making the first of what must be many appearances on the UK tour this summer. While the first girl on stage ran straight over to dance with Stevie Van Zandt, Bruce found and held up a sign that read: ‘You can have $1 if you dance with my mum’. He laughed as he pulled off the dollar bill taped to the sign and duly invited the lucky lady up onto the stage. I don’t know what he did with the dollar bill. Maybe he used it to buy a slice of cheese off one of those expensive burger vans.

The evening was drawing to a close now, and it was time to finish the encore. An emotional rendition of ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out’ acted as a fitting tribute to the members of the E-Street Band who are no longer with us; especially ‘The Big Man’ Clarence Clemons, who passed away in 2011. As Bruce sang and the crowd cheered, classic photos of Clemons shone over the stadium. Clemons’ nephew Jake has done a brilliant job as the band’s new saxophonist, and the fans have really taken to him well.

Some of you may remember the scandal that followed Hard Rock Calling last year, when organisers at Hyde Park pulled the plug on Springsteen and Paul MacCartney as they sang ‘Twist And Shout’ together – because it broke the noise curfew. I for one was a little surprised that the E Street Band decided to return to HRC in 2013, but hopefully it means they have forgiven them for such a sacrilegious act. I used to live in London. I would much rather have been kept awake by Bruce Springsteen than the alternative: sirens, glass smashing and inebriated partygoers falling into gutters. That’s just me though.

After ‘Tenth Avenue’ finished, the whole band lined up at the front of the stage to wave to the crowds. Then, to a backdrop of whistles and cries of ‘Brooooooooooooooooce’, Springsteen asked, tongue firmly in cheek: “Should we do it? The plug might be pulled sometime throughout this song, I don’t know!” A glorious extended version of ‘Twist And Shout’ followed. I dance to just about everything anyway (hey, I didn’t say I danced well), but even those concertgoers around me who had been doing little more than bobbing up and down a bit throughout the show were dancing to this. You know, elbowing each other and everything.

I’ve always loved the way Bruce celebrates every member of his band individually at the end of a show, and the farewell incited rapturous applause and cheers so deafening they must have heard it down in Guildford. As the band left the stage at the end of the set, there was one more surprise in store.

Springsteen himself remained on stage, accompanied by just his harmonica and his acoustic guitar, and it was obvious that something very special was about to occur. I had guessed what it was by that point, but I’ll keep you in suspense for a few seconds more. First, a wee bit of history.

Bruce Springsteen’s first ever visit to England was in November 1975. It was the E Street Band’s first ever gig outside the States. The very first song they played was the first track on the iconic Born To Run: ‘Thunder Road’.

Now, almost forty years later, the stadium erupted then fell silent as the first line of that very song was sung, in beautiful slowed down acoustic. It’s one of my favourites – hell, it’s one of everyone’s favourites – and as Bruce stopped singing for one line the audience picked it up flawlessly: “Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night; you ain’t a beauty but hey, you’re alright.” The tears were coming again, and as the final line of this wonderful song echoed out over the stadium, the whole audience came together in one of those perfect moments of live music to sing it together as one: “It’s a town full of losers, and we’re pulling out of here to win.”

Bruce thanked the audience for coming out and their support of the band, and gracefully left the stage, closing what must have been one of the best Springsteen concerts of recent years.

This afternoon I’ve read quite a few reports that the sound at Wembley was bad and people were struggling to hear. I have to say that I experienced no such problems from where I was watching, despite my tinnitus, so I can’t honestly comment on that.

My feet got covered in wine (the guy standing behind apologised about twenty times, but kept spilling his drink all over me) and it took us an age to get out but, as always, it was all worth it.

I was at Hyde Park in 2009, which has been labelled one of Springsteen’s best (further to that, it was released on DVD). I have been trying to decide whether or not Wembley 2013 trumped that, and I have to say it’s very close. Hearing Darkness from beginning to end was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the closing performance of ‘Thunder Road’ was moving to say the least. My personal highlight was ‘Lost In The Flood’, which will stay with me for a long time. The haunting piano, combined with the scorching guitar and lyrics that mean something different every time you listen to them, makes for a fantastic piece of music and just goes to show that a song first recorded in 1973 has just as much resonance today as it did forty years ago.

Roll on Coventry, I’ll see you there!
The pictures, by the way, are from Shosh's friend Maggie (Twitter username @City_Of_Night).
I am very grateful to both of you.
Last year, the mighty Michael Des Barres appeared with Bruce Springsteen and others at a charity event for 'Little Kids Rock', to honour his and Springsteen's friend Miami Steve Van Zandt who works tirelessly for the charity. Afterwards he wrote to me one of the most emotionally charged emails that I have ever received from him.

"An incredible night in my life..My rock and roll life. so moving,so rich with lineage and friendship. Springsteen's speech was Kerouac good about his friend of 47 years. The incomparable John the Baptist of Rock, Steve Van Zandt..These precious children who will benefit from this show with a guitar in their hands because these artists showed up for them.Life changing..In the inevitable gift bag at the end of the night,back in the hotel,I pulled out some hand written letters of gratitude from little kids who want to rock....So let's teach our children that Elvis,Chuck and Little Richard still live on, under the boardwalk and on the city streets..."

And then he finished up by saying - in one sentence - what I have been trying to say every week since I started doing this magazine, the whole Raison d'être for why I do it:

"Music transcends everything..Passion and a good heart will save our souls. With three chords, a few friends and a song or two..."

Right on Michael!



I’m 59 years old. That’s six years to my retirement.

Age creeps up on you. One day you’re trundling along in that indeterminate phase between youth and contented middle age, and the next you are contemplating your pension.

That is, if I’m allowed a pension. They will probably have abolished pensions by then, in order to pay more bonuses for bankers.

Age does have its compensations, however.

I’ve needed glasses to read for many years. More recently I’ve needed glasses all the time. The disadvantage of this is that it means that I’m showing my age. The advantage is that when I take my glasses off the whole world dissolves into a soft blur of colour. Everything begins to look like an Impressionist painting.

When I was younger and had perfect vision, I would always be quick to focus in on signs of imperfection. These days I notice the imperfection far less and I am much more inclined to see the world’s beauty and to want to celebrate it.

I was talking to one of my neighbours the other day. He’d read a story of mine defending student protest. He looked me up and down with a puzzled look. “Well you dress smartly,” he said. “You don’t look like an anarchist.”

He might have added: “Aren’t you too old to hold such views?”

To which I would have replied, “look at Tony Benn. He’s 87 years old and he’s still fighting for the cause.”

I’d hate to think that age would dull my radical edge, or take away my capacity for critical thought.

I still believe that the world has to change if we are to continue to survive as a species. And I still want to be one of the people helping to make that change.

So if you ask me, do I support protesters everywhere in their struggle to make a better world, my answer would be yes. But if you ask, will I be out there on the streets with them protesting, I’d have to say, it depends on what time it is.

I get tired and crabby after dark. It’s my age you know.



Back-packing in Turkey
by Alan Dearling
I owe Alan Dearling an apology. It's a pity, because he is a nice chap. Furthermore, he does a lot of important work with his organisation Enabler Publications who offer books and a free range of resource information on:
Last week I meant to post the following article about his recent sojourn backpacking around Turkey. It is such a quintessentially alternative sort of thing to do that I felt that it really belonged in these pages.

So I posted it, and completely messed up the links. I hope I have better luck this week. Enjoy...
Back in the late 1960s when I enjoyed hitch-hiking for the first time and went camping  with my best friend David over in Amsterdam, would I have believed that now well into my 60s  that I’d still be willing to go travelling the ‘harder way’?

A first week in Kalkan on the Med No matter. I am indeed still willing and half-reasonably able. Seven years ago I bought a small one-bedroom, but nicely situated little rooftop apartment in Kalkan on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. That has been a mixed blessing. With my neighbours I share  a  decently sized swimming pool and private garden area, but find myself tearing out my hair  over the in-fighting over communal bills between the seven apartments of different sizes (one to three or four bedrooms) most of which are let out to tourists for the majority of the  season from 1st May to the end of October. I don’t rent mine out.

Kalkan has grown beyond all recognition from the small harbour town it was in the ‘60s. Up  until 1923 most of its inhabitants were Greeks, but they left during a population exchange  following the Greco-Turkish War. A few of the old, abandoned Greek houses are still  standing on the edges of Kalkan’s Old Town. In addition to the fairly up-market harbour area,  it is now an ever-developing, sprawling town. It lies on the edge of the bay, surrounded by the towering inland mountains.

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..

Friday 5th July, Holmfirth, Picturedrome
Saturday 6th July, Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope
Friday 16th August, Falmouth, Princes Pavilion
Friday 23rd August, Bournemouth, O2 Academy
Saturday 24th August, London, Shepherds Bush Empire
Warrior On The Edge Of Time
North American Tour 2013
***Tickets on sale now***
Monday 7th October, Toronto, ON, Mod Club
Tuesday 8th October, Montreal, QC
United States Of America
Thursday 10th October, Boston MA, Wilbur Theater
Friday 11th October, Philadelphia PA, Union Transfer
Saturday 12th October, Washington DC, Rock 'n' Roll Hotel
Sunday 13th October, New York City NY, Gramercy Theater
Tuesday 15th October, Cleveland OH, Beachland Ballroom
Wednesday 16th October, Chicago IL, Empty Bottle
Friday 18th October, San Francisco CA, Regency Theater
Saturday 19th October, Los Angeles CA, House Of Blues
Sunday 20th October, Phoenix AZ, Mesa Arts Center
Tuesday 22nd October, Denver CO, Gothic Theater
Thursday 24th October, Austin TX, Mohawk
Friday 25th October, Dallas  TX, Granada Theater 
Saturday 26th October, Houston TX, Fitzgeralds
Sunday 3rd November, Bristol, O2 Academy
Wednesday 6th November, Wolverhampton, Wulfren Hall, 
Thursday 7th November, Glasgow, ABC
Friday 8th November, Sheffield, O2 Academy
Saturday 9th November, Liverpool, O2 Academy
These dates are correct as of the time we publish, but I would use them as no more than a guide. Check out the Hawkwind website for the latest changes
As part of the upcoming "25 Years On" Robert Calvert anniversary, his son Nick has been placing some interesting archive audio on his Soundcloud site, including some radio interviews and music.

The 1978 (Hawklords era) interview with Bob Calvert on Capital Radio is entertaining. As befits a professional wordsmith, he has some good turns of phrase, and one that's particularly striking is when he's talking about Hawkwind's lineup changes in 1976-1977...

"A disagreement has been reached between certain members of the band," Calvert comments.

Uh-huh. Thank goodness they got there in the end, then.

The items are available for free but donations to Macmillan Cancer Support are requested.

There's a chat between Dave Brock and Bob Calvert, recorded for the Tommy Vance radio show, in which Calvert's enthusiastically telling us what he thinks of the commercial music industry and Brock's hard-pushed to get a word in edgeways!

There's also a song discovery: "Day of the Quake," which is done in the general recording style of "Tapes from the Cellar" but includes spacey sounds from what presumably is his Wasp synth.

Nick Calvert's reportedly stated that he's "going to drip-feed out new things, a song, photos, every few weeks."
Earth calling. Earth Calling. Earth Calling. Krssh static. Earth Calling....
It's OK I haven't gone mad, maybe slightly insane, but that's OK.
Thursday I ventured down into the Underworld in Hades, or Camden, one of the two, was very nice, to witness, or experience LIVE, The Psychedelic Warlords performing the 40 year old classic 'Space Ritual'.
When the album came out I was too young to go. Sure I have seen Nik Turner playing some of it, but this was the full blown show of the entire classic double album performed as close as they could.
Earth calling. Earth calling...
Did the denizens from planet Earth travelling into outer space answer the message? We will never know as suddenly the band launched into the mighty 'Born to go'.
I was home, this was fantastic. They carried on through the entire album. Julian from Hoaxwind did a great job doing the Michael Moorcock poetry.
Two hours or so later it was time to go. We couldn't do that. So an encore of Urban Guerilla and a lengthy rendition of Shouldn't do that was the finisher with a slight nod to the Silver Machine.
I am still waiting to land. Sheer joy of the like we may never see again.
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
It was a very quiet as far as Yes coverage was concerned. We posted an interview with Geoff Downes (no relation), and the second part of Rick Wakeman's Base Sessions. We posted a really rather cool interpretation of Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow, and several articles about Rick's Gloucester concerts which you can read HERE and HERE as well as a story about an upcoming speaking engagement for him in Taunton.
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! 

But guess what. This week in the Yes Circular we have two exclusive gig reviews COMPLETE with exclusive pictures. Yay!!!
What can you spend £20 on these days? How about sitting less than three metres away from one of the world’s greatest guitarists. My wife Susan and I went to see Steve Howe at the Artrix Theatre in Bromsgrove on Saturday 15 June.
As you must know he has been performing for FIVE decades with bands like Yes, Asia, GTR, ABWH, Tomorrow, and his own Trio and considerable Solo output. His inspirations are Chet Atkins, Wes Montgomery and Julian Bream among many others. He was voted best guitarist by ‘Guitar Player’ for five consecutive years (1977-1981); he has always been my very favourite guitarist.
It has been a few years since I last saw him and he seemed to be a bit grumpy that night but what a change this evening as he exchanged banter with the audience and joked throughout the set. Age does not diminish his desire to be ever more creative. He makes playing a guitar look like an effortless exercise and I am always mesmerised at how he manages to do what he does. I mean, I pluck away at my own guitar for pleasure but Howe does things that simply don’t seem anatomically possible. I can only look on with admiration and found myself at one stage literally gawping at the whirring fingers on the fret board open mouthed…

He played through a lot of numbers including Solitaire from Yes's Fly From Here, Part & Parcel from Motif, Clap, Mood For A Day, To Be Over, J’s Theme (from Natural Timbre), Pyramidology, Corkscrew, Beginnings, RAM, Devon Blue and the brilliant ‘Sketches in the Sun’ from the GTR album.

To many, he just looks like an old man with Dumbledore hair but do not be deceived. The spirit in this human form is indomitable and the older he gets the better he seems to become.

In 1970, Howe retreated to a farm in Devon to record with YES and it was Devon that he spoke fondly of during the performance ‘Not south Devon’ he opined, referring in words I cannot remember exactly to the good part of Devon – the North!

It was a pleasure to meet him after the gig when he signed some material and posed for a photograph with Susan and me. He asked ‘did you enjoy the show’? to which I replied ‘Yes, and evidently you did too’ and he said ‘Actually, yes I did’ and smiled.

I have seen Steve Howe play numerous times and it was clear to me that his ‘mood for a day’ was a joyous one which transferred itself to the audience. We drove home with big smiles on our faces – his work was done and it was £20 very well spent.
I saw the Yes 3 album tour in April in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Wonderful!!! I loved Geoff doing his best Tony Kaye on "A Venture" and, of course, his best Wakeman on CTTE and "Awaken"!! And who else should be in the audience but Patrick Moraz, who resides in Central Florida?? 
He signed quite a few autographs and I got my picture with him and the rest of the band. I misfired when I joked with Chris that I would hope for a Relayer/Drama/90125 tour but that they could skip "Tormato"...Chris muttered..."Oh, I sort of liked that album"....:-( Sorry Chris...Indeed, it has its moments!  
All the best from Florida
who form jigsaw pieces of community/needing to be
reliable in space and time/words being truth *that may not rhyme-
chanticleers of futures as yet unseen-for if the angels dare not dream
what is to become of us?Waking up takes life times/spider web and bitten
a signal from the living calls all of us to witness.In the Squares of Turkey and Egypt
-in the frozen streets of Moscow-we are walking/talking/listening
On the streets of Washington and Austin-we wing in
to be part of this continuing conversation.Future children are asking that we shine!
To be alive in our own time-means to respond!Whatever dream you have
to make a brighter future means only this-we are part of an "us"
with 7 billion facets-a mosaic of humanity /poetry that needs to be-
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 Robert Wyatt gold disc. 

Read on...

As a multi-million selling recording artist with an equally impressive Olivier Award-winning acting career, Barbara Dickson OBE, has firmly established herself as one of the most enduring and popular entertainers in Britain today.

Born in Dunfermline, Scotland, Barbara showed an early interest in music. By the tender age of five she had already started studying piano and by twelve had also taken up the guitar. She developed a love of folk music whilst at school, and began to perform at her local folk club. At seventeen she moved to Edinburgh, combining a job in the Civil Service with evening spots performing in local pubs and clubs. 

In 1968, Barbara was offered a three week engagement at the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark, and when she was refused leave from her job she resigned, deciding that it was ‘now or never’ to try her luck as a professional singer.

The late ‘60s and early ‘70s saw her gradually ‘paying her dues’ on the Scottish folk scene, building a reputation and working with the likes of Archie Fisher, Billy Connolly, Gerry Rafferty and Rab Noakes. Her first album, ‘The Fate o’ Charlie’, a collection of Jacobite songs recorded with Archie and John McKinnon, was released on Bill Leader’s Trailer Records label in 1969. She then went on to record three well-received folk albums for Decca Records in the early ‘70s.

On the advice of Scottish performing legend Hamish Imlach, Barbara next began to look for opportunities south of the border in the booming folk scene of the North of England and she was soon well-established there.

It was in Liverpool that she became re-acquainted with musician and playwright Willy Russell. Their friendship led to Barbara being offered the singing role in his 1974 musical ‘John, Paul, George, Ringo… and Bert’, staged at the Everyman Theatre. Barbara was on stage throughout the entire performance, singing the songs of the Beatles at the piano. The show became a huge critical success and went on to enjoy a long run at the Lyric Theatre in London.

In the West End, the show was co-produced by Robert Stigwood, who signed Barbara to his small stable of artistes at RSO Records, which also included The Bee Gees and Cream

In 1976 she had her first hit single with ‘Answer Me’, produced by fellow Scot, Junior Campbell and later that year she appeared on ‘The Two Ronnies’ having been spotted in the theatre by Terry Hughes, their then producer at the BBC. This led to a guest residency on the show, which was drawing in regular Saturday night audiences in excess of 15 million viewers.

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber had also been impressed by Barbara’s performance in ‘John, Paul, George, Ringo…and Bert’, and invited her to sing ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’ on the original cast recording of their new musical ‘Evita’. Released as a single, the song went on to become her second hit single in 1977.

In 1980 ‘Caravan Song’ from the film ‘Caravans’ was released. Although it was to prove much less of a chart success than her other hit singles, it is still Barbara’s most requested song wherever she plays.

‘January, February’, released the same year, provided another Top 20 recording, with the accompanying LP, ‘The Barbara Dickson Album’, produced by Alan Tarney, giving Barbara her first gold album.

In 1982 ‘All for a Song’, her first compilation album, shot into the UK charts at No.9, based on sales in Scotland alone. It was her first platinum-selling album and went on to spend 38 weeks in the charts.

Barbara then accepted the leading role of Mrs. Johnstone in Willy Russell’s new musical ‘Blood Brothers’, which opened in Liverpool at the Playhouse Theatre in January 1983. The show, which marked her debut as an actress, transferred to London’s Lyric Theatre and she was named ‘Best Actress in a Musical’ at the 1984 Society of West End Theatre Awards.

In tandem with her stage work, Barbara was also building a considerable reputation as a concert artiste, with lengthy sold out tours which took her to every major town and city in the UK, culminating in shows at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

In 1985 the duet ‘I Know Him So Well’ recorded with Elaine Paige and taken from the new musical ‘Chess’, written by Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice, was released. It went on to become a Top Ten hit around the world and sold over 900,000 copies. Barbara’s subsequent ‘Gold’ album, released later that year, was certified Platinum.

Further hits followed, but in the 1990s Barbara began to move away from the pop scene and back towards acoustic and folk music. This resulted in the 1992 album ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’ a selection of the songs of Bob Dylan and 1994’s ‘Parcel of Rogues’ featuring folk music from the British Isles.  1995 saw the release of ‘Dark End of the Street’, which combined traditional music with tracks by favourite songwriters including Randy Newman, Sandy Denny and Jackson Browne.

During the 90s, Barbara also began to diversify more and more into acting, with major roles on TV including ‘Taggart’, Kay Mellor’s award-winning ‘Band of Gold’ and ‘The Missing Postman’, directed by Alan Dossor.

For many years, Barbara and ‘Blood Brothers’ director Chris Bond had talked of working together again for the theatre and finally in 1996 this culminated in ‘The Seven Ages of Woman’, a musical walk through the life of ‘everywoman’. The show toured the UK twice, in the process earning Barbara some of the best reviews of her career as well as the 1997 Liverpool Echo ‘Best Actress in Theatre’ Award.

In 1999 Barbara was delighted to return to the theatre again in the new musical ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’, based on the life of the infamous 1960’s pools winner, Viv Nicholson. Her role as Viv won her the ‘Best Actress in a Musical’ at the 2000 Laurence Olivier Awards in London.

In 2004 she released her first studio album for eight years, ‘Full Circle’. Produced by Troy Donockley, it was widely acclaimed as a long-awaited return to her musical roots with The Daily Telegraph noting: “it is no exaggeration to describe Barbara as a great singer. She stood out a mile among the Scottish folk singers of her generation, and she has consistently shown her class when performing for a wider public. This is Dickson at her most engaging.”

Her follow-up CD, ‘Nothing’s Gonna Change My World’, released by Universal in the autumn of 2006, took its title from ‘Across the Universe’, the Beatles classic included amongst a specially commissioned selection of the songs Lennon, McCartney and Harrison. The album was arranged by Troy and produced by Chris Hughes.

In 2007 Barbara was invited to guest on Channel 4’s long-running quiz show ‘Countdown’ and she returned to television again the following year with a leading guest role in the BBC drama series ‘Doctors’.

2008 was to prove a busy year for Barbara. Her latest CD, ‘Time and Tide’, was released, featuring the new direction which has become a feature of her music, blending together old and new songs with a distinctive atmosphere prevailing throughout. The varied song choice included ‘Lady Franklin’s Lament’, ‘Goin’ Back’ and ‘Palm Sunday’, which marked her first writing collaboration with Troy, who again produced the album.

‘Into the Light’, Barbara’s first ever live DVD was also released to coincide with ‘Time and Tide’, and featured some of her best-loved hits, tracks from the new album and other favourites she has made her own through the years.

Barbara was then invited to perform ‘The Sky Above the Roof’ for ‘O Thou Transcendent’, award-winning film director Tony Palmer’s film about the life of composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, described by ‘The Observer’ as “a mesmerising masterpiece".

On BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise’ in April 2008, Barbara performed a new arrangement of the beautiful hymn ‘My Song is Love Unknown’.

In the summer of 2008 she played live at the Stonehaven Folk Festival, her first festival appearance since 1973 and an experience which she enjoyed immensely. In August that year she and Troy performed ‘Smile’ in front of an audience of 9000 people at the ‘Liverpool Unites’ concert at the city’s Echo Arena, helping to raise funds for the charity set up by the parents of murdered schoolboy Rhys Jones.

In September 2008 Barbara performed live in Ireland. Her sell-out concert in front of a capacity crowd at Dublin’s National Concert Hall marked her first concert in the city for 21 years and following the warm welcome she and her band received, plans are being drawn up for a return to Ireland for further dates in the near future.

In December 2008 Barbara was invited to record her first Christmas special for BBC Radio Scotland, produced by her old friend Rab Noakes.

A lengthy UK tour at the start of 2009 was followed by invitations to perform at the prestigious International Eisteddfod Festival in Llangollen, as well as the Brampton Live and the Linlithgow Folk Festivals.

Barbara’s long-awaited autobiography, ‘A Shirt Box Full of Songs,’ was published by Hachette Scotland in October 2009. To tie in with its release Barbara undertook a major promotional tour with appearances on TV and radio and at book festivals across the UK to talk about her life and career.

Following a 26-date national concert tour between February and March 2010, Barbara began work on her new studio album, 'The Magical West', for the Greentrax label, which will follow on from her recent musical collaboration with Troy Donockley, including some newly-written tracks of her own and songs from her ‘shirt box’ which she has always wanted to record. The album is due for release in late 2010.

Barbara has also recently presented a new series called ‘Scotland on Song with Barbara Dickson’ for BBC Radio Scotland, featuring music from the acoustic/roots/ folk scene in Scotland with guests performing live in the studio each week. A new series is planned for later this year.

Married with three sons, Barbara lives in Lincolnshire. She has been made an Honorary Doctor of Music by Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen as well as a Fellow of Liverpool’s John Moores University and a Companion of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts bestowed by Sir Paul McCartney. In 2002, HM the Queen’s Jubilee Year, Barbara was conferred with an O.B.E. for her services to music and drama.

Barbara continues to do what she loves best - performing live for her loyal audience. “Singing live is really the kernel of what I do," she explains, “Finally, after all these years I'm now in a position where I'm entirely responsible for what I sing - and I'm happier than ever!”

She is currently working on an album of songs by the late Gerry Rafferty, and this week she was kind enough to send us a sneak preview of the album, which is one of the most beautiful things I have heard all year.

Check it out...
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.
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
Hayley Stevens: Scepticism
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
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...

Keith Christmas recorded his first album 'Stimulus' back in 1969 when he also played the acoustic guitar on David Bowie's first album 'Space Oddity' and appeared at the first Glastonbury Festival. Throughout the seventies he recorded four more albums 'Fable of the Wings', 'Pigmy', Brighter Day' and 'Stories From the Human Zoo' while touring with and supporting acts like The Who, King Crimson, Ten Years After, Frank Zappa and Roxy Music. He stopped playing through the 80s but formed the blues band 'Weatherman' in 1991 with some friends and an album of the same name was released in 1992. In 1996 he suddenly started to write a different kind of acoustic material which almost immediately led to the release of a new album 'Love Beyond Deals' on HTD records. He has continued writing since then and has been described by a major festival promoter as 'a songwriter at the peak of his powers'. The other day I rang him up.
JON: I think that your new live album is really good.

KEITH: Thank you
JON: How often do you put out studio albums these days?
KEITH: KEITH:  Well the trouble is, I am a slow writer and since I  moved to Devon 18 months ago I haven’t written a single song because we’ve taken on this huge renovation project with this house. Well I like it here, and my wife likes it here, but I’m afraid I am a slow writer, and I’ve got diverted by the work I need to do on this house.

JON: The songs on the album, how far do they go back?
KEITH:  Some go right back to the 1970s.  “Travelling Down”, “Forest and the Shore”, “Poem”, and “Evensong”; those are all from 1969, ’70, ’71 era. I put a few in just for my old fans who like to hear some of the old stuff. And some of them are only 6 months old/a year old.

Read on...

This week I received a charming letter...
Hello, my name is Scott Vanya.

I am a friend of Thom The World Poet and he suggested I submit poetry and information regarding the work I am doing covering, via online audio and video archives, the  poetry open mic scene in Austin, TX, USA. The project and accompanying website is called "Open Mics Austin".

The other larger, less personal project is streaming audio as well as recording audio/video of the poetry open mics shows in the Austin area.

I currently have over 20 shows available online (aprox. 3 hours per show) in both audio and video format which are available for listening, viewing, and download.

The two landing pages for both endeavors are:
Open Mics Austin (website)

With live Archive Media Players respectively at:

Scott Vanya's Archive Media Player
Open Mics Austin Archive Media Player

You are welcome to use any and all material at either location and I pray you and/or your listeners find it beneficial, useful and even pleasurable.

Keep in touch.

-Love only.

Scott Vanya
It has actually been rather a nice week 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. 
Nothing much has gone wrong, and various things have actually gone right, and at the end of another week it is almost unprecedented that I have nothing much to complain about.  I received a pre-release copy of the long awaited opera about genetic engineering featuring Corky Laing of Mountain fame. Bloody hell it is good. Completely bonkers but very good. Corky plays like a demon, and the music sounds like a peculiar amalgam of contemporary hard rock, with echoes of The Beach Boys, but with the whole thing being produced by someone like Dr Dre. It is a very multi-layered record, and I am not going to write about it properly until I have had time to assimilate it properly, and as I am fairly bonkers myself at the moment this may take some time.

There is still likely to be a monthly magazine in both digital and hard copy formats at some point, as soon as I have managed to attract around me more like-minded souls who want to contribute. 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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Gonzo Daily/Weekly,
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