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?)
Issue Nineteen        March 30th 2013
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...
When I was in my mid teens, I discovered a band called Cockney Rebel and their maverick leader Steve Harley. The two Cockney Rebel albums still sound sublime today, and are amongst my favourite records ever.

I should really check with my younger step daughter, Olivia, about this, but I believe that - in the current vernacular - the correct phrase is that Steve Harley and I have a history.  From 1989 until 1994 (I think those dates are correct, but it was two long decades ago, and an awful lot of water has flowed under an awful lot of bridges since then, and in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter anyway) my first wife, Alison, and I ran Steve Harley's official fan club.  We published a quarterly magazine, went on tour with him, and generally had adventures of a cockney rebellish nature up and down the country.

I also oversaw the first reissues on CD of his first four classic albums from between 1973 and 1976; I wrote the liner notes, and chose the extra tracks with care.  I also acted as an unofficial press officer, sold the merchandise on tour, and even masterminded the track selection and order (and title, if my memory serves me well) of a compilation album called Make me Smile.
For various reasons, mostly due to the chicanery of erstwhile colleagues, we were ignominiously sacked after five years of pretty loyal service.  I wrote one of my rudest letters to Steve, and a bitter song called 'Letter to Stephen' which appeared on my 1995 CD The Case, and contained as many subtle (and not-so subtle) digs at Steve as I could manage.  I then did my best to forget all about him.

Six years later, in 2000, I was surprised - out of the blue - to receive an invitation from Steve via the person who was now running his fan club (not the people who had got me and Alison sacked; they had blotted their copybook soon after, and gone the way of all flesh) to go and see him at a gig in South London, and receive complimentary copies of his latest album, and the two most recent reissues.  I went to see him, shook his hand, enjoyed the show very much, and went home again.  I have had no contact with him or his organisation since, although a year or so later I had an e-mail from the wife of the person who had been responsible for having me sacked.  She apologised for her part in the affair, confirmed what I had always known, that it was mostly her husband's fault, and told me that neither her marriage nor her tenure running the fan club had lasted very long.  I accepted her apology (there was really no point in doing anything else ) and I refrained from telling her that I was not at all surprised by either of her items of news. We continued a chatty e-mail friendship for a year or so but it fizzled out.

So what's the point of this article?  It is simple.  It is just that Steve Harley has - tangentially, at least - come back into my life in the last couple of weeks, and as a result, there a couple of things I want to share with you.

First I got an email from a guy called Jed, from whom I hadn't heard in many years. Back in 1990, whilst on tour with Steve and the band, we had run out of copies of the fan club magazine that we published, and Jed - Bless him - who worked at a North London borough council, took me into his place of work one Saturday morning, and we defrauded said council of 500 copies of the 36pp magazine which we ran off, collated and stapled using council property. Sticking it to the man eh?
I have always been grateful to Jed, but - as I said - I hadn't had any contact with him for years. We exchanged some chatty emails during which he told me that last year (2012) Steve and his current band, together with orchestra and choir, had performed the first two albums in their entirety at the Birmingham Symphony Hall.

A quick scoot over to YouTube confirmed this, and I spent a happy few hours listening to one of my favourite brace of albums played live for the first time.

I checked out a review of the gig which read:
The 61-year-old singer was naturally nervous about the evening, especially as he received a standing ovation from the capacity audience as soon as he walked on stage. “We’d better deliver now,” he quipped as his eight-piece band, the Orchestra of the Swan and the Chamber Choir, launched into Hideaway, the first track from 1973′s debut LP, The Human Menagerie.
Not that Steve need have worried about delivering. The crowd was with him all the way and as he relaxed the show got better and better. He admitted he had to use autocue to remind him of the words of a couple of songs but, hey, he’d never performed some of the tracks, like Muriel the Actor, on stage before – and they were written 40 years ago.
The highlights of the first half, which featured all of The Human Menagerie, were Sebastian, a real showstopper with the 25-piece orchestra and Death Trip, with the musicians bringing the song to a grand crescendo. Also worth a mention is Spandau Ballet’s Steve Norman, guesting here as percussionist and saxophonist, and Harley’s long-term buddy Barry Wickens on violin who really went to town on Crazy Raver Just like Cockney Rebel found their feet on their second album,1974′s The Psychomodo, the Symphony Hall show went up a gear after the interval. Harley was relaxed and chatty and hit single Mr Soft had everyone singing along.
And then a few days later, totally by accident, I discovered that Harley had released a new CD back in 2010, and I had known nothing about it. I haven't been a total fan of his last few albums. I thought Poetic Justice (1996) was an absolute killer of a record; probably the best since The Best Years of Our Lives back in 1975.

But the follow up The Quality of Mercy (2005) wasn't at all to my taste. But I checked out the new album Stranger comes to Town on Spotify, and am happy to say that it is all pretty good, but that a few songs have real flashes of the old brilliance. Sadly in one recent interview cited in Wikipedia, he intimates that this might be his last record.

I bloody well hope not!
FEEDBACK: Bart Lancia does it again
I don't know how the man does it, but once again Bart has come up with news items of interest; and furthermore, they are news items that had completely passed me by. He was the first to tell me about Phil Ramone (see the obituary pages and he also sent me this:

An interesting account of an acoustic 'diary' from a former member of Kraftwerk

FEEDBACK: Down to the Lake I fear
Alun Thomas had this to say after reading my Greg Lake piece in last week's newsletter:

"Saw Greg Lake on his recent tour in Edinburgh and later in Glasgow. It was an interesting couple of nights. I first saw ELP in Glasgow in 1971 at Greens Playhouse, when promoting the first album. In Glasgow you stood on the backs of the chairs upstairs and bounced the circle by 6 feet. Many bands watching were fearful that this would crash down on top of those in the stalls, but it never happened.
Later in 1971 saw ELP in Londod, at the Theatre Royal. Keith Emerson, stuck his daggers into his Hammond Organ, during Rondo, and his keyboard packed in ! He had to finish track, and concert, on his moog.
The final time I saw ELP, was in Edinburgh, at the Edinburgh Empire. At that time the Empire was a Bingo Hall, and bands had to wait until the bingo was finished, before they could set up their gear. They were always late nights. Remember Yes getting on stage around 2am on the Sunday morning !
Anyway ELP weren't that late. During Keith Emerson fiddling with his Moog Stick, one member of the crowd decided it was time to go to the loo. Seeing this, Keith jumped off stage and chased him to the toilet. Sure all he wanted was a pee!
Fortunate enough to see Greg touring with Gary Moore, at the Playhouse in Edinburgh. Poorly attended gig though, which was a great shame. More recently, Greg toured with his band and revisited the old Empire, now upgraded and no longer a Bingo Hall any more. Now called the Festival Theatre.
Again a great night of music, but not a sell out...
Is good to see our heroes, but if I have a moan, it is the fact they don't come out after gigs to sign stuff and speak to fans. You could pay for a meet and greet, but was very pricey, and I feel a bit of a cheek !
Daevid Allen, from Gong popped out to see fans in Glasgow recently. No charge! Fully enjoyed seeing Greg again, only thing is, 'I believe..' isn't on CD. Sure book will be worth a read.

I am very much looking forward to the book myself, Alun, and I will post a review as soon as I have read it.
FEEDBACK: I have another query for you
Over the past thirty years or so I have noticed that some bands, instead of spelling the definite article 'THE' spell it 'THEE'. This is particularly prevalent amongst festival type bands or those with a magickal or esoteric bent: for example Thee Temple ov Psychic Youth, Thee Hypnotics and Thee Oh Cees.

Why? I assume it has some occult significance, but if so why do friends of mine who are interested in such things, have read The Lesser Key of Solomon (which I never have, despite owning a copy somewhere) and are generally involved in magick both holy and unholy, not know the answer?

Someone out there must know.
Within about half an hour I received an email from a member of my glorious  band of Gonzo legionaries, Phil Rogers who sent me this link to Wikipedia followed by a Temple Ov Psychick Youth (TOPY) newsletter from 1991. It read:
We Feel that language should be reclaimed by thee Individual... language controls not only what we say but what and how We think by our anipulation ov language...whether by thee cutup method, or our own creative use ov capitalization ov letters, phonetics and hyphens... what is really meant is example, be-LIE-f...another example is B-Earth...this "new" word now has a double meaning "Earth" and "birth" to be used either or both ways simultaneously..."OV designates thee sperm (or any orgasmic sexual fluid) in thee terminology ov thee TEMPLE" thee "K" ov psychick has thee same function as thee "K" ov MAGICK (please see MAGICK IN THEORY AND PRACTICE by A. C.) which is to designate it from ordinary magic...thee use of E has many meanings...I, he, she, we, me, and Everyone or Everybody...We is used when speaking for thee Tribe....
So, in other words it is a piece of esoterica that Genesis P.Orridge dreamed up for his own arty/occult purposes, and which other people have adopted, presumably either to show solidarity with TOPY or because they think it looks cool. I really should hunt out my copy of Magick in Theory and Practice which is somewhere up in the library, and read it up further.

However it (like some of my other more arcane books) is hidden away at the moment because my 83-year-old mother-in-law lives with us for several months at a time, and my library becomes her bedroom. She has a disturbing habit of unerringly making her way to the most unsuitable book on the shelves and then reading it voraciously. I had to remove The 120 Days of Sodom after I found her reading it, and I put that, and most of my Crowley writings, away safely.

Thank you very much, Phil. I am most grateful to you. And remember I still want to know why there is a version of (Remember) Walking in the Sand which has a spoken intro that goes:

"Once there was a land where the flowers always grew, even in September.. do you remember?"

Now, my memory is not what it was, and I haven't heard this song for well over thirty years, and the month in the intro might have been November or December I can't remember. If anyone knows anything, please let me know. This has been bugging me for decades. 
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: Phil Ramone (1934-2013)
Phil at Wikipedia

Our tribute to legendary producer Phil Ramone
A History of Drinking (Part One).

Here I am again. It’s nine o’clock on a Thursday evening, and I have a can of Fosters Export Premium Strength lager opened up beside me. I‘ve just taken my first glug.. Well it’s either that, or some dull program on ITV. I should be glad that there’s a choice this evening. Usually it’s both at the same time.
Why Fosters Export, you ask? Because it was on special offer. I keep an eye open for the bargains. It’s one of the banes of being an alcoholic and living opposite an off-license. I can always make it to the counter before closing time.
Am I an alcoholic? Well yes, if you believe my doctor. Last year she diagnosed me as an alcoholic depressive. And there’s nothing so certain to make you depressed and alcoholic than being diagnosed as an alcoholic depressive.
And I have, indeed, been having trouble with the drink of late. Mainly it’s that I just can’t afford it. Or rather: I can’t afford to go to the pub, which is where I always did my drinking in the past, and have been forced to sit indoors watching endless hours of cheap TV, while consuming whatever cheap beer I can lay my hands on. I should be so lucky. Last year I was even more broke and drinking cider instead, which was considerably more depressing, mainly because it stinks of piss and tastes like stale washing up water.
My doctor advised me to see an alcohol councilor, which I did. I sat in a bare room in an alcohol clinic three weeks in succession, while a burly sadist took great delight in telling me that I would never be able to drink again. I mean it. You could see the twinkle in her eye as she threw the words over to me in a barbed-wire package, enjoying every moment of my increasing discomfort as I tossed it about in my head trying to get a handle on what she meant.
“What do you mean ‘never’?” I asked.
“I mean never,” she repeated. “Never.”
“Never” is one of the most painful words in the English Language. Unlike many words - such as “wicked” or “bad” or “a piece of cake” - it does not imply its own opposite. “Never” never means “always”. It always means “never”.
Just try it. Try saying “never” to yourself. Never to have another cup of tea. Never to hold your loved one in your arms. Never to read a book. Never to see the face of an old friend again. And in the case of alcohol, that’s precisely what it has been: an old friend. A grumpy old sod at times, a little bit soft in the head, but with this innate capacity to make you laugh, even though you can’t say why. Solid but familiar. Reassuringly predictable.
Say “never” about something and it’s certain it’s the one thing you’ve always wanted the most. At that moment there was nothing I wanted more in all the world than a drink. Than a drink, that is, and to punch my tormentor in the face. I made do with the former - merely imagining the latter -  and as soon as I was out of her clutches, I vowed I would never go back there again. Only in this case that “never” had a hopeful ring about it.
Since then my doctor has refused to treat me. She says she can do nothing for me until I agree to counseling. I told her what the counselor had said. She said, “it sounds like you didn’t like what you were hearing.”
“You’re damn right I didn’t like it,“ I said.
And why should I like it? It’s not like she was offering me a party on the beach or a year’s supply of custard was it? She was telling me I would never drink again.
But I’ve been thinking about it. I mean, I’ve known alcoholics. I’ve known people who are not comfortable without a drink inside them. I’ve known people who start their day with a drink, and others who hide bottles of vodka beneath the bed. I’ve never hidden a bottle of vodka beneath the bed. I’ve never hidden anything from anyone. If someone asks me if I fancy a drink I say “yes!”
So I don’t start the day with a drink. I don’t hide bottles. I almost never drink spirits, and rarely take a drink before nine o’clock in the evening. Even then I try to get by on four cans. It’s a problem I know. Mainly it’s a problem of the expense. But does any of this mean that I’m an alcoholic? Not really. I’m an insomniac who has taken to self-medication using alcohol. I’d much rather the self-medication was done in company, with other self-medicating humans like myself, but there you go. You can’t have everything. As it is I have to make do with Newsnight, and with Trevor McDonald’s sycophantic oozings. Does Trevor McDonald self-medicate before immolating himself before the British public every evening, or is he just pleased to see the camera? We’ll never know.
I’ve always drunk, of course. It’s our western drug. At least it’s consistent. You always know what you’re getting and you always know what the effects will be. Regardless of the circumstances or how long you‘ve been drinking, you’ll always get drunk in the end. Merrily drunk or maudlin drunk, weasel drunk or rat-arsed, brain-dead or fired with mad imagination: drunk is drunk is drunk. It’s the complement - not the opposite - of being sober.
So that’s it. I’ve just finished my final can. It’s one o’clock in the morning. I’ve interspersed writing this column with bouts of boring TV. I know what they’ve been getting up to on Temptation Island, and how the British Curling team got on in their final; I’ve watched Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight and discovered that the world is just as miserable as I always thought; I’ve played a sort of mental backgammon with a variety of TV presenters, trying to predict their next lines. I’ve been over to the off-license for another can and bought another packet of nuts; I’ve dreamt my dreams and thought my thoughts and projected myself into the past time and time and time again. I’ve got drunk. I’ve written this column.
And where has it got me? It has served as consolation for the Night.
Sad, ain’t I?

An unreleased gem from Helen McCookerybook
I am very fond of Helen McCookerybook and her music, and am very chuffed to be able to bring you an unreleased gem from the McCookerybook archives. But first, check out her biography from the Gonzo webpage:
Helen McCookerybook, was born Helen McCallum and is now Dr Helen Reddington.  She was the bassist and vocalist with Brighton based punk band, The Chefs during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Helen later formed Helen And The Horns, before continuing her career as a solo artist, writer and lecturer. Her most recent album is ‘Suburban Pastoral’, released through Rough Trade in 2006.

She also published her first book, as Helen Reddington, ‘The Lost Women of Rock Music: Female Musicians of the Punk Era in July 2007’. The book features interviews with the Slits, Gina Birch, The Mo-dettes, Enid Williams (Girlschool), TheDolly Mixtures, Gaye Black (Adverts), Vi  Subversa (Poison Girls), Rhoda Dakar, Lucy O'Brien, Attila the Stockbroker, Caroline Coon, Geoff Travis and the late John Peel.

In 2006 Helen released her second solo album entitled ‘Poetry and Rhyme’, which also featured contributions from Martin Stephenson.  In 2009 she recorded a collaborative album with Martin Stephenson entitled ‘Hamilton Square’.
Helen wrote this on her blog the other day (and I am able to bring it to you through the good offices of those jolly nice people at Google News Alerts):
I have been rummaging in the drawers (oo-er madam!) and I found the song 'Paradise Lost' which I wrote for a song-cycle called 'Herms', which was about the seven new deadly sins. It is about greedy bankers and although I wrote it twenty years ago, it is just as relevant now, I think.
And here, because it seems relevant to the lyrics of Helen's magnificent song, is a picture I was sent this week by my old friend Matthew Williams. You may have heard of Matthew: He is the only person in the world legally entitled to call himself a 'Crop Circle Maker', because he is the only person in the world ever to have been convicted of criminal damage to a farmer's property caused by making one.
GPS: You will need them to make sure you get where you are going
GPS is a progressive rock group formed in 2006 by John Payne (vocals, bass, guitar),Guthrie Govan (guitars) and Jay Schellen (drums, percussion). These three had been working together in Asia, specifically on an album to have been called Architect of Time, when the fourth member of Asia, Geoff Downes, joined a reunion of the band's classic line-up, dissolving the then current line-up. Payne, Govan and Schellen announced the formation of a new band in February 2006 to be called 'One'. However, after discovering another rock act with the same name, the band changed its name to GPS, from the initials of the three founders.
They described the project as “a meeting of musical minds” and the instrumentation, featuring a mixture of well-crafted songs and peerless virtuosity made the band many new friends overnight, and not just from within the Asia camp either. 
All the tracks are credited to Payne/Schellen/Govan, and keyboards on the album and subsequent tour were played by Ryo Okumoto of Spock's Beard. The band performed live in September/October 2006 and on two Japanese dates in late 2007.
In 2006, GPS stunned audiences with their debut album "Window To The Soul". In 2007 GPS toured the UK and Japan to great acclaim. Presented here are 2 full concerts from the Japanese tours: one with the full band, the other an acoustic show by John Payne and Guthrie Govan. Also included are bonus interviews and an "in-store" acoustic performance.
This is smashing 21st Century progressive rock from a band consisting of some of the greatest contemporary masters of their art. By turns melodic and smooth, or elegantly brutal, the music on this long overdue DVD package is an excellent primer for those people new to the music of these four remarkable men.
More please….
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 has been another busy week for the Yes camp, and for the various Yes alumni in their various solo projects. I don't know how they manage things, but I suspect that they take turns on doing interviews week by week. Because this week we have only one interview from Steve Howe, none from Chris Squire or most of the others, and no less than three from Alan White which can be found HERE, HERE and over HERE

There is more news on the saga of Rick Wakeman's Gloucester shows.
And we also posted a nice news snippet about Billy Sherwood this week. Apparently his production skills are needed to "fix" the latest album by a well known metal act.

Another review of one of the shows on the current tour has surfaced, and I still feel that the jury is out on the question of  whether the new line-up will convince the fanbase that they are the bona fide wearers of the Yes crown, or whether the fact that neither Rick Wakeman or Jon Anderson is involved, is just too big a blow. I don't know about you, but I am finding this all immensely fascinating, and cannot wait to see what happens next.

Watch this space!
One life for Wikipedia inquiries (WIKILEAKS)
One life for GOOGLE
One life for Myspace evolving to Facebook
One life for YOUTUBE
HBO and Game Of Thrones
How many video clips does one haircut make?
Watch antique MTV/Comedy Channel
One life for HULU/another for HULU plus
And do not even mention apps
and their capacity to distract
We have such little lives
Fill them!Quick!with Internet
So we never have to use our own minds!
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 which came from our old mate Graham Inglis.

An unusual page surfaced in the 1988 Hawkwind tour programme, where gig-goers were invited to "spot the hawk" -



As a memory refresher, it might help if we recap on just who was in the band, in the early 1988 pre-Chadwick days!  Dave Brock's fellow-Hawks back then were Huw Lloyd-Langton, Harvey Bainbridge, and Alan Davey. Danny Thompson was the drummer, starting his fourth and final year.


For anyone who decides to have a go at guessing, in the comments area below, is the prize a free holiday for two in the Caribbean? Er, no. Sadly not.


Alan was the Bassist/Synth player, vocalist and front man for Hawkwind for 22 years between 1984-2006. Many Hawkwind fans have said he gave the band new life and energy and kept them going strong thru the '80s and '90s and into the 21st Century with his on-stage presence and 'BIG BASS SOUND!!'

Alan Davey's currently in the middle of a tour (see here for the dates) but Gonzo's Graham Inglis managed to electronically catch him, via emails, and ask him a few things about his recent album, his future work, and even Twitter.

Part One
art Two
Introducing the one and only TANGERINE DREAM

Tangerine Dream are German-based purveyors of imaginative electronic music.  There have been numerous line-ups since the band's formation in September 1967, although Edgar Froese has remained at the head of affairs throughout.  Tangerine Dream’s impressive live reputation dates back to the early seventies.  Their shows tended to be completely improvised and from these live improvisations came several of the band's early successful albums including ‘Phaedra’, ‘Zeit’ and ‘Ricochet’.  In 1977 the band released a double live album recorded in America on Richard Branson's fledgling Virgin label, entitled ‘Encore’.

During the eighties and nineties, the band moved successfully into film soundtrack work, which was a genre the members had tentatively worked on in the late seventies. Tangerine Dream continues in the present, led by founder member Edgar Froese, celebrating their fortieth anniversary in 2007.


Back in the early part of 1978, I was living in a fairly crappy boarding house on the outskirts of Bracknell in Berkshire. I had no money, and earned a pittance as a not very efficient clerk in the office of a firm of builders' merchants. My wages just about covered my board and lodging, the weekly music papers and my train fares to and from work. Anything else I had I spent on books. One of my favourite purchases was the first two volumes of an encyclopaedia of rock music that I have long since lost. I couldn't afford to buy the records, but I read the book voraciously, and much of my knowledge of rock music came from there. But, with many of the bands concerned, it is only now that I am getting around to hearing them for the first time.
So, when a dude called Chuck Flood, who is a reader of these hallowed pages, wrote to me and asked me if I had heard of It's a Beautiful Day, I could answer truthfully, that of course I had. I also knew that they featured the talents of electric violinist David LaFlamme and his wife Linda. I knew that the LaFlammes had split up in the early 1970s, and that the band continued with David at the helm.
Over the years I had heard bits and pieces, and had earmarked them as worthy of future study. But I had never done anything about it. But then, a few months ago, Chuck Flood wrote to me asking whether I would like to write a feature about the band, who are - I believe - playing in the UK this summer. Yes, I said, of course. And then promptly forgot about it.
A few weeks later a DVD entitled The David LaFlamme Story arrived in the post. I wrote to Chuck, thanking him, put the DVD at the top of my 'DVDs I gotta Watch Pile', and once again forgot about it.
This evening, with a bowl of rice and mussels on my knee, and an unruly orange kitten rushing about my feet, I sat down to watch it. And golly, it was a revelation!
This music is a gorgeous synergistic mishmash of jazz, rock, folk, Indian classical music, and psychedelic whatever. In fact it is nigh on impossible to categorise.  The original band were scenesters along side the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, and really deserved to have reached the heights of stardom that the others did. The documentary cleverly mixes film of the band back in the day, with contemporary footage of the 2012 lineup of the band playing the same things.
Listening to some of the original recordings, like I am doing as I type, one thing is very noticeable. The band have matured gracefully like a fine wine, and my initial impression is that the sound of the band as they are today is richer and fuller than it was back during the late 1960s.
Something that confused me a little  was an interview with Linda B LaFlamme, about how the couple met back in 1973,  when the credits at the end of the film showed her as the co-author of the signature song White Bird. Peculiarly she also told how she had preferred heavier music at the time and cordially disliked White Bird. This confused me, until I remembered the useful bit of information I had got from the Encyclopaedia of Rock Music all those years ago, and realised that not only had David and Linda split up back at the end of the 1960s, but that - shades of Henry the 8th I am - he had gone on to marry a second woman called Linda. Confusing huh?
But golly she can sing. The harmonic nuances of their twin voices are extraordinary. To hear them, or better still see them on stage, you can tell quite how much love there is between them. In fact, you can say that about the whole band - they share private glances and smiles on stage, and you can tell that - to use a currently fashionable phrase - there is indeed a lot of love up there on the stage.
The DVD also features cameo appearances by Barry Melton from Country Joe and the Fish and Peter Albin from Big Brother and the Holding Company, and again it is easy to tell how much regard they have for David LaFlamme. He is obviously a man of whom a lot of people are very fond.
One ex bandmate who is referred to in passing, but is not named, and is certainly not in the film is Bobby Beausoleil, David's bandmate from a pre It's a Beautiful Day band called The Orkustra. Bobby joined the Manson Family, was convicted of the unpleasant murder of Bobby Hinman, and has been in prison for over 40 years with little chance of ever being released.
But fascinating as the story is, it is the music that stands up on its own, which is - of course - the most important thing. And by goodness it is good. It explores realms that are seldom reached within the pop music canon, but - unusually for experimental music - there are great tunes, emotive words, and you can dance to it. Even I could probably dance to it, and I can hardly walk these days. Check them out on Spotify, buy this lovely DVD, and go to see them live. I know I shall!

A wonderful book

Harriet is one of those horribly intelligent and accomplished young ladies who are beginning to populate various parts of the CFZ. At the age when I - for one - spent most of my time fishing, or playing with toy soldiers, she has written her first novel, and jolly good it is too. She has taken the super-hero genre, and populated it with characters that really seem alive. Their super-powers are almost a distraction from their everyday lives.

She has created a book full of engaging and intelligently written characters, who behave like real people and not like the two-dimensional caricatures that so often populate books in this genre. Harriet is most certainly a talent to watch, and I look forward to, when in 10 years time she has won some famous literary prize, being able to say that not only was I one of the first people to notice her burgeoning talent, but that we were the first publishing house to get one of her books onto the market.

She came to see us yesterday, and a splendid time was had by all... did we mention that she was only 12 when she wrote the book?

Check her out on Amazon...

And so, once again,  another week, and another newsletter comes to a close. We have had a very happy week with a visit from Lars Thomas, the eminent Danish Zoologist, who has been a friend of ours for years, and his two sons Joe and Chris. Yesterday, we invited a whole slew of my adopted nieces and nephews (including Harriet, see left, and Dave B-P who does the Gonzo podcasts, and the house was full of happy teenage laughter for the first time in many decades.
However, I have spent much of this week being the host with the most, and I will be the first to admit that I have been rather neglecting my normal duties.

Things were compounded by the fact that Chris mislaid his passport, and so we had to deal with Consuls and other things, which involved a visit to Plymouth where, during my explanation of the story of Sir Francis Drake, Joe (14) almost asphyxiated himself with filthy-minded laughter at the words 'Plymouth Hoe'. Lars' wife (Chris and Joe's mama) died last year, and I am sure that everyone reading this would agree with me that giving this darling family a nice holiday was far more important than keeping up with my correspondence, or writing deathless prose.

So please forgive me if you have written to me over the past seven days and have not yet received a reply. I have been rushed off my feet with stuff, and the next few weeks are going to be even more hectic. Nevertheless, I do try to keep on top of my correspondence, and I always get there in the end. Honest!

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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