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 Fifteen        March 9th 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.
Google Plus
Google Plus
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 seem to start off every week by saying that it has been a particularly strange week. This is probably because my life is particularly strange full stop! This week the Downes household, and - by implication the Gonzo Publishing Empire was changed forever by the advent of a small bundle of orange fur. I say 'small' advisedly because he is only seven months old and is already bigger than our other cat, Poppy.

He is going to be enormous, and I have a sneaking suspicion that he is going to be one of those animals that continually gets into mischief. He has already knocked things off shelves, fallen off things, escaped four times, terrorised the dog, and been bitten by one of Corinna's pet rats.

But, yes. My publishing empire has an orange cat again!

But despite what Leo, and the previous incumbent Spider, think, this is not a newsletter purely about orange cats.

I have spent much of this last week thinking about the counterculture. Introducing our new columnist C.J.Stone last week, I described him as:
"one of those truly rare things in the second decade of the 21st Century - someone who writes about the Counter Culture; because there still is a counter culture in the UK. You just have to look quite hard for it."
Pretty well as soon as I wrote this I started asking myself the question 'What is the Counter Culture?' and over the last week, try as I may, I have not been able to give myself a satisfactory answer.

46 years ago, in 1967, it was far easier to define. It was 'us and them'; the straights versus the freaks. 36 years ago in 1977 when I was first involved in things alternative, it was pretty easy as a young punk rocker to know who and where you were. The enemy (or at least the people one perceived as the enemy) were easy to recognise. But fast forward to the present day...

The British Prime Minister claims to be a fan of The Smiths. Paganism is claimed to be the fastest growing religion in the UK, half the people you know are vegetarian, and in many ways the battle has been won. But of course it hasn't. Society is more fragmented than ever, the education system seems to be more about league tables than learning, rampant consumerism is completely out of control, and it sometimes seems to me that one of the most revolutionary acts that one can do is to make sure that your children are more interested in books than computer games.

So, what is the Counter Culture? I'm still not sure, but I am pretty certain that I am part of it.

FEEDBACK: The continuing search for that Shangri-Las song
I owe an apology to Gonzo Weekly reader Phil Rogers, who was actually the first person to find the Buddha sampler Buddha in Mind, but I churlishly, (and completely unintentionally) left him off the article I wrote about it last week.

And there is still a challenge: why 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. 

The Weirdest news of the week comes from Bart Lancia (of course)
Tony Iomni of Black Sabbath is writing the Armenian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. Bart, my dear friend, that is just ridiculous! Read all about it...

Bart also sent me an interesting interview with Greg Lake in which he says: "This sort of thrashing away on a chord and just screaming abuse through a microphone doesn't constitute art to me". Oh dear. I think Mr Lake would disapprove of a goodly chunk of my record collection. But it is an interesting interview.

I want to make this the only weekly magazine in the world that gets just as excited over Greg Lake talking about an ELP reunion as it does over the fact that Andy T has put out his first record for decades.

Watch this space.
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: Alvin Lee (1944-2013)
Alvin Lee (born Graham Alvin Barnes, 19 December 1944 – 6 March 2013) was an English rock guitarist and singer. He was best known as the lead guitarist and singer with blues-rock band Ten Years After.

THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Alvin Lee (1944-2013)
Alvin Lee at Rock's Back Pages
Judy Dyble remembers her friend Alvin Lee

The Origins of the Stonehenge Free Festival (Part Two)

Timothy Leary had famously said: “Turn on, Tune In, Drop Out!” at a press conference in New York on September the 19th 1966. No one quite knew what he meant by it. It was one of those sound-bite statements that seemed to promise a lot more than it actually said. At the time of the start of the free festival movement in the UK, Timothy Leary was on the run in Algeria, having been declared “the most dangerous man on the planet.” That gives you some idea of the mood at the time. Leary was a college professor who had taken LSD and become a sort of impromptu guru for the whole of the counter-cultural movement. Hippies interpreted the “Drop Out” part to mean excluding themselves from the limitations of the capitalist jobs’ market and trying to find something more creative to do with their lives. They were squatting properties and attempting to live for free in London. They were experimenting with lifestyle options. Some of them wanted to get “back to nature”, to live on the land in a simple and direct way once more.

The slogan for the Windsor Free Festival, first held in Windsor Great Park over the August Bank Holiday 1972, on land which had once been common land, but which had been seized by the Crown, was “Pay No Rent.” That says everything. It was an assault on property and inherited wealth, while being an assertion of the people’s historic common-law rights and an attempt to live outside of the constraints of the capitalist economy, all at the same time. Later, when the festival became banned and began it’s wanderings about the country looking for a new site, it was renamed The People’s Free Festival, a name which was also adopted by the Stonehenge festival organisers, who were essentially the same people. Eventually the two festivals merged into one.
Bill Dwyer at Windsor
The man behind Windsor was Bill “Ubi” Dwyer. “Ubi” was short for Ubique, a telescoped word made up of two contradictory words: “Unique” and “Ubiquitous”. Think about that. It tells you something about what was going on in Ubi’s head at the time. It’s actually a very profound thought.

The story goes that Ubi had had a vision at one of the Hyde Park concerts. He was on acid. He’d “seen” this great gathering of people at Windsor Great Park, on Crown Land, and had understood all the implications, both spiritual and political. He thought it was a vision from God. He was a sort of freelance anarchist and acid smuggler who had landed a job in the civil service. He used a civil service Photostat machine and civil service stationary and stamps to publicise his event. He sent a letter to the Queen, which was responded to in the usual polite but officious manner. It said that the Queen would be unable to attend the event as she would be in Balmoral at the time. Ubi took this to be an acknowledgement of the legal status of his festival.

The festival continued at Windsor over three consecutive years, until August 1974, when it was violently broken up by the police. Such was the outcry from newspapers at the over-the-top actions of the police in attacking what were perceived to be peace-loving hippies, that free festivals were virtually left alone for a decade after that.

Windsor was followed by Watchfield in1975, a not-very-good festival which nevertheless has the distinction of being the only free festival ever to have been partially – if reluctantly - sanctioned by the government: Watchfield being a disused World War II airport which had been donated for use by the festival by the Labour Government of the time.

Phil Russell aka Wally Hope at Stonehenge 1974
Penny Rimbaud
Crass logo
It was in the middle of all of this that Phil Russell, aka Wally Hope, had his vision.

Phil was a middle-class hippie of independent means, who, like Andrew Kerr and Ubi Dwyer before him, had seen the revolutionary spiritual potential of the idea of a human gathering. He too had had a vision. He was less political than Bill, but more of a Situationist than Andrew. There was a pranksterish element to his designs. He hooked up with some hippies who had a commune in Epping Forest. One of them was Jeremy Ratter, later to become famous as Penny Rimbaud, the drummer with the anarcho-punk band Crass. It was Penny who turned Wally Hope into an icon when he wrote a pamphlet about him which was given away with one of Crass’ LPs. The pamphlet was called The Last of the Hippies and introduced the punk generation to the revolutionary anarchist ideals of the earlier hippie movement, of which Wally Hope had been a part.

The first Stonehenge free festival took place at the Summer Solstice 1974, between the second and the third Windsor festivals. It was a relatively small scale affair, consisting of maybe six or seven hundred people, and one band, called Zorch. These early free festivals were less like pop-concerts and more like experiments in out door communal living. There were geodesic domes built of sticks gathered on site where people met together to discuss their various ideas about the possibilities of “the new culture”, as the movement was being described. There were lots of meetings. Phil was central to these. He was full of extravagant slogans and weird magical conceits. When he’d made a particularly poetic point he would pause dramatically and gesture to the sky. “Look,” he’d say: “that cloud agrees with me!” And then they’d all look up and see some bright cloud formation which did, indeed, in those heady, strange moments, full of drugs and revelation, appear to underline his point.

Later, the festival over, he and whole bunch of Wallies stayed on to squat the site. They were all called Wally. This was another of the conceits, that they all bore the same name. There was Phil Wally, Arthur Wally, Chris Wally, Wally Egypt, Wally Moon, Sir Wally Raleigh, and Wally Woof the Dog. Everyone was Wally. As Wally Hope put it, in the 1974 Windsor Newsletter: "I look to the revolution to rename every citizen with one sound and the composite name of all citizens to be the analogue of the deepest terrestrial vibration so that when we are all called we will all hear."

In a way, they were one of the first of the tribal groups to appear in this period. They went along with the Merry Pranksters and the Diggers in the USA, and the Hyde Park Dwarves, who Phil had had some brief fraternisation with. They were like the White Panthers, but less overtly political. It was much more of a game for them. They were young and innocent, full of ideals and dreams, just kicking about in the park, having a great time while changing the world at the same time.

The Department of the Environment attempted to evict them from their squat and they were taken to court in August. The court found against them and ordered them to move, but Phil came out and announced to the press: "These legal arguments are like a cannon ball bouncing backwards and forwards in blancmange. We won, because we hold Stonehenge in our hearts. We are not squatters, we are men of God. We want to plant a Garden of Eden with apricots and cherries, where there will be guitars instead of guns and the Sun will be our nuclear bomb.” That just gives you a flavour of Phil’s rhetoric. After that they went back to Stonehenge, hopped the fence, and began a new squat on a new piece of land and the process had to start all over again.

Not much more than a year after this, having worked with increased diligence on the organisation of the second festival, Phil Russell was dead. He’d been arrested and sectioned just before the festival was due to start. While in psychiatric care he’d been pumped full of debilitating drugs. It was said that he compared himself to Christ and that his favourite book was Aldous Huxley’s Island, which is a utopian fantasy about a perfect society. Those were the reasons given for his incarceration. After the festival was over, he was released again. He was suddenly “cured”. But the drugs had done him irreparable harm and he was later found dead - choked on his own vomit - on the kitchen floor of his parent’s home. It was assumed that he had killed himself.
We won’t continue this story here. It’s an old story, and it has been repeated many times. The circumstances surrounding Phil Russell’s death are a mystery and it’s impossible to say exactly what happened. There are many theories surrounding his death, some of them very plausible. Unfortunately the time is long passed when we can either prove or disprove these theories.

We can say this, however: that his was probably not the first human sacrifice to be associated with Stonehenge.

Some Interesting Links

Ten Thousand Days: Memories of a Free Festival
"So what is a free festival? It's a party. It's a camping trip. It's a social gathering. It's a spiritual occasion. It's a celebration. It's a political protest. It's a rally...."
Free festival - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Free festivals are a combination of music, arts and cultural activities for which, often, no admission is charged, but involvement is preferred.
Free festivals; UK Free Parties and Free Festivals 1990-1994
Posts about Free festival written by freepartypeople
Welcome to Funtopia, a site dedicated to the work of Mick Farren, legendary British counterculture radical, sci-fi/horror author, cultural journalist, critic, and rock 'n' roller...
From Universal Bond to Public Free-For-All
It is 100 years since the first recorded Druid ceremony at Stonehenge. In this special section on Stonehenge in the 20th century, Ronald Hutton finds that as modern groups step back from the summer solstice, ancient Druids may yet find their place

More on Stonehenge by CJ Stone

There Is Something About Stonehenge
There’s something about Stonehenge. It’s buried in the soil around here. It’s carved into the stones. It’s marked out in the landscape. It’s in the air you breathe.
Prediction magazine: Stonehenge and Civilisation
I took my son to Stonehenge to watch the midsummer sunrise. It was the first time that he had seen the monument close up....
Off The Grails
IT'S my quest to find the Holy Grail. I was in Amesbury in Wiltshire for the Spring Equinox, on my way to Stonehenge to meet King Arthur.
Tales of Ordinary Magic 1
So she launched into this story, about the time she lived in Salisbury and went to Stonehenge for the solstice. This was in 1964, she said. It was very different in those days.
The Trials of Arthur: The Life & Times of a Modern Day King
How many days have gone by since this monument was raised? The stones are our grandfathers. They belong to no one and they belong to everyone. No one has the right to claim them as their own.
Is Arthur Pendragon the Reincarnation Of King Arthur?
King Arthur is this ex-biker, ex-soldier, ex-builder who had a brainstorm back in the eighties and decided he was King Arthur, after which he donned a white frock and a circlet, and has been causing various kinds of trouble ever since.
CJ Stone interview; The Big Hand
The Trials of Arthur tells the story of how a biker and ex-squaddie decided that he was King Arthur and that his quest was to free Stonehenge from the government’s exclusion zone
Stonehenge Summer Solstice
So - where were we? Ah yes. In a field in Wiltshire just off the A344 about a mile or a mile and a half from Stonehenge, having just escaped death
The Trials of Arthur: Revised Edition
Arthur Pendragon, CJ Stone, Ronald Hutton: Price $3.22
The Trials of Arthur: Revised Edition paperback
Arthur Pendragon, CJ Stone, Ronald Hutton: Price £12.99

I don't know whether Gong ever played at the Stonehenge Festival  but their anarchic playfulness would have made them perfect candidates. In the summer term of 1974 schoolboys who each week avidly read the three broadsheet music papers, were excited to find out that an LP (for those of you born after 1990, this was a 12 inch vinyl disc, which contained up to ¾ hours of music) by a band called Gong was retailing at only 50p (about a quarter of the price of an ordinary LP. Schoolboys across the country (including me) went out to by it, regardless of the fact we had never heard of them.So we all went home that evening after school clutching a peculiar LP called Camembert Electrique which had a dragon, several pixies, a reverence to lady parts which you only got if you had read the Kama Sutra (which I had, although it was to be some years before I was to put what I had learnt into action), and yes, a flying saucer. From talking to my peers at the time, most boys listened to it once and decided that the mixture of silly noises and cosmic frippery was know were near as entertaining as the latest Status Quo record, and never played it again. I however fell in love with it and my life was never the same. 

In these degenerate days when popular music is basically just a device to sell TV talent shows, one forgets that only a few short decades ago, an entire generation believed that music was going to change the world, and that somehow one could facilitate this global metamorphosis by sitting in muddy fields smoking suspiciously long cigarettes.

And just in case you think that I am being snide about all this, I was one of those young people, and I truly believed in it all. In fact, if I am brutally honest with you, I’m not sure that I still don’t.

The rock festival culture that had been developing for several years reached its apotheosis in popular consciousness with Woodstock, held over three days in August 1969 in upstate New York. Despite the fact that only a few months later, the Rolling Stones sponsored Altamont festival in California had been an unmitigated disaster, and the mass media had declared the scene to be over didn’t stop a whole slew of idealistic young promoters across the world wanting to emulate what they perceived had happened at Woodstock.
One of the most successful of the first generation of European rock festivals was Kralingen Music Festival. Held less than a year after Woodstock its line-up was a stellar mix of the upper echelons of both British and American rock royalty including Tyrannosaurus Rex, The Byrds, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, and the headlining Pink Floyd.
The festival was filmed for a movie, usually known as Stamping Ground, which amongst other things featured a very young Al Stewart performing a very assured Zero She FliesJefferson Airplane at the height of their magickal powers performing a medley of White Rabbit/The Ballad of You and Me and Pooniel, and, of course Pink Floyd doing a monumentally groovy Saucerful of Secrets which for my money is better than the more well known live version from Umagumma.
But quite a lot of music was recorded that wasn’t in the film, and people purchasing this very very cool 2CD 1DVD set will also be the proud owner of more live material from Pink Floyd, (Set your controls..) and some immeasurably rare artefacts from folk such as Tyrannosaurus Rex, Dr John, Family and The Byrds in their most under-rated incarnation that happens to be my favourite. There are also some songs from far more obscure (undeservedly so) artists like The Flock (who’s second album Dinosaur Swamps has one of my favourite covers of all time) and East of Eden.
What a collection! This is so much more than just a bunch of exquisitely chosen and played vignettes. This is a real slice of history, and is of immense socio-cultural importance.
And who is putting this album out? Gonzo, of course.



The other day I heard from Renaissance's management

World-renowned progressive rock pioneers Renaissance will be making their first concert appearances since the tragic November 20th passing of principle composer/guitarist Michael Dunford. Lead vocalist and lyricist Annie Haslam will continue to lead a new, revitalized Renaissance that looks forward to a future that will honor their 40 golden years of achievements. These shows will feature a mix of repertoire from their classic albums as well as the title track from their recently completed new studio album Grandine il Vento. Guitarist /vocalist Ryche Chlanda (Nektar and Fireballet) was recently chosen as Dunford’s replacement. Annie Haslam commented: “We feel Ryche is the right musician to carry on with Michael's legacy.”

In addition to their continued touring schedule, the band had completed recording their first new studio album in twelve years shortly before Dunford’s passing. Grandine il Vento was recorded at Studio X in Ridgewood NJ, USA, June - September 2012. It was produced by band member Rave Tesar, and co-produced by Ms. Haslam. 
Grandine il Vento features band mainstays Annie Haslam on Lead/ Backing Vocals and Michael Dunford  on Acoustic Guitars/ Backing Vocals joined by Rave Tesar on Piano/Keyboards, David J. Keyes on Bass Guitar/String Bass/ Backing Vocals, Jason Hart/Keyboards/ Backing Vocals and Frank Pagano on Drums/Percussion/Backing Vocals. All the music was composed and arranged by Michael Dunford (except ‘Blood Silver Like Moonlight’ was arranged by Rave Tesar) with all lyrics by Annie Haslam.
After completing their North American tour of 2011, Renaissance released Turn of the Cards and Scheherazade and Other Stories Live 2011,  a 2CD/DVD package on their own label; Symphonic Rock Recordings, which is distributed by RED; the independent arm of Sony Music.
Ms. Haslam is known for her five octave vocal range; which when combined with the group’s progressive symphonic sounds still takes audiences on the same magical journey as it has for over forty years.
Annie Haslam, Michael Dunford and company first took the helm from former Yardbirds members, Keith Relf and Jim McCarty in 1971 and soon had established Renaissance as a world class recording and touring act, able to sell out venues like New York’s Carnegie Hall and The Royal Albert Hall in London.  They would go on to release over a dozen albums before eventually parting ways in the mid-80’s. However, Annie and Michael would continue to write new material together and in 2001 reunited the band to record a new studio album, tour the following year, and release a live album. After another sabbatical, a new incarnation was introduced to the world through a series of amazing live shows, captured for posterity on Turn of the Cards and Scheherazade and Other Stories Live 2011.
Renaissance’s current lineup consists of Annie Haslam with five world-class musicians whose considerable talents maintain the group’s high standards of musicianship and creativity that provides the foundation for their seminal fusion of rock, avant-garde experimentation and classical composition. Keyboardist Rave Tesar and bassist/vocalist David J. Keyes are veterans of prior incarnations of Renaissance as well as Haslam’s solo band and recordings.  Keyboardist/Vocalist Jason Hart has recorded and performed extensively with Rufus Wainwright, Duncan Sheik, Antony and the Johnsons, and Keren Ann among others, and drummer Frank Pagano has worked with artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen and the Smashing Pumpkins. Guitarist/vocalist Ryche Chlanda completes the line-up.

Renaissance Spring Tour Dates:

We also have a nice interview with Ryche..
Clare Dunford, Michael's widow recently wrote an open letter to Renaissance fans...
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
Bart Lancia (bless him) kicks off the week with a review of Yes doing their three album show in LA. Rolling Stone aren't particularly impressed, saying "Interestingly, this incarnation doesn't quite feel like Yes with a new vocalist. Instead, it sounds like a Yes tribute band with some of the original instrumentalists as guests". Hmmmm.

Another review is a little more positive, and an interview with Jon Davison does tend to stress what a big fan of the band he is.
We posted a rather nifty interview with Chris Squire from a bass player magazine, and an interesting interview with Geoff Downes from a couple of years ago as he rejoined the band. But it remains to be seen 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!

We live between INSTAGRAM, Photoshop and Auto-Tune
Controversy rages over faked memoirs, faux documentaries,staged "reality"TV
It matters when the food we eat is labelled ORGANIC and is Monsantoed
Less when mock celebrities endorse another worthless product
Manufactured authenticity makes for controversy at art auctions 
Less when STARBUCKS claims "authentic""artisan"coffee blends /jeans sold "pre-ripped"
Plato asked for no truth from theater or poetry in his Republic
Fictional reportage from Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, Ian McEwen, James Frey do not diminish Oprah Winfrey's reputation(even with retractions)
Golden Grain rice banned for its manufactured nature. Stem cell research limited via religious objections.Old as myths and stories-Daniel Defoe's mock"Moll Flanders/Robinson Crusoe"
German Expressionism challenged by a "New Objectivity"ending in a filmed "Grand Hotel"
CCCTV clips released as entertainment.Blooper reels .Diaries/memoirs of witnesses.
"Aha! The AUTHENTIC!" I said - rising from my toilet seat! "FAKE REAL is real too!
Costume jewelery worn at Balls, Beyonce's Inauguration singing to recorded voice, house brands and plain label supermarket items.Let us just pretend to be real.It is so much easier
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 massively rare poster for Pink Floyd's Christmas on Earth (1967)

If you want more information about the event click here

Published on Feb 24, 2013

Edit of an as yet unreleased track The Sisterhood of Ruralists composed by Judy Dyble and Alistair Murphy about the magic of four artists and their work-Catherine Hyde, Jackie Morris, Hannah Willow and Tamsin Abbott. Taken from the forthcoming Judy Dyble album 'Flow and Change.scheduled for release in 2013.


Vocals -Judy Dyble

Musicians - Alistair Murphy, Mark Fletcher, Pat Mastelotto,

Jeremy Salmon, Steve Bingham, Brenda Stewart, Lucy Mitchell, ;.

Strings arranged by Phil Toms

Video created by Paul & Jane Merrick

Check it Out!


Whichever way you look at it, Daevid Allen is one of the most interesting and enigmatic characters in music. An Australian, he was working in a Melbourne book shop when he discovered the writings of the ‘Beat Generation’, and his life was never the same again. He travelled to Europe in search of the Beatnik ‘nirvana’ in 1960, and found himself in a Paris hotel, living in a room that had only very recently before been vacated by poet Allen Ginsberg and his life partner, fellow poet Peter Orlovsky. Here he met Terry Riley who introduced the young Allen to the world of free jazz, and the notorious William Burroughs.
“[he] was looking for a jazz band to play while he performed dramatic versions of (his cut-up book) The Ticket That Exploded with Ian Somerville and Brion Gysin. My room was right next door to Brion’s—he was doing interesting tape loops similar to Terry Riley, who was around, too. Burroughs invited me up to his room and said, ‘Well Dave, there’s two ways that I can communicate this information to you. One way will take 30 years and the other will take five minutes. Which way you do want it?’ Anticipating instant sodomy, I said, ‘I think I’ll take the 30 years.’ He was happy with that and told me, ‘I’ve got this job and I want you to play.’ We put on the show and there was the weirdest collection of people in the audience. Burroughs had one scene with nuns shooting each other up with huge syringes. Terry Riley came, and we ended up playing together outside in the street with motorscooter motors, electric guitar and poetry. It was wild.”
Armed with these revolutionary new ideas, he travelled across the channel to England where he formed The Daevid Allen Trio featuring his landlord’s 16 year old son Robert Wyatt on drums. A few years later in 1966 they formed the legendary Soft Machine with Kevin Ayers and Mike Ratledge.
After a European Tour in 1967, Allen was refused entry to the UK because of a visa irregularity, and moved back to France, where he became involved in the famous student insurrection of 1968. He then moved to Deya, Majorca where he, and partner Gilly Smyth began to assemble a loose-knit collection of musicians who began recording under the name Gong. One of these musicians was Didier Malherbe (latter dubbed Bloomdido Bad-De Grass by Daevid), a tremendously gifted saxophonist and flautist, who Daevid claimed to have found living in a cave on the estate of poet Robert Graves. The rest is history.
Daevid, both with and without various versions of Gong, has produced a peerless body of work encompassing folk, jazz, rock and prog (often all of these things and more at once), and his musicianship and compositional skills are legendary.
His partner on these legendary recordings is Mark Kramer (known usually by his surname), who is almost equally as legendary as Daevid but in a completely different genre. He was a member of New York Gong and a band called Bongwater and toured with many famous acts (usually playing bass guitar) including The Fugs and The Butthole Surfers.
In the late 1980s he was sound co-ordinator on Penn and Teller’s Broadway shows, and later formed a band with Penn Jilette. He started his own Shimmy Disc records, and in 1992 Kramer sold his Noise New York recording studio and moved just across the Hudson River, where he'd found a house going into foreclosure with a state-of-the-art 24-track recording studio built in. He dubbed the studio Noise New Jersey, and continued to produce recordings. One of his albums that year was Who’s Afraid with Daevid Allen, and three years later the duo followed it up with another album, Hit Men.
Unsurprisingly when one considers that these records are a collaboration between two artistes for which the words ‘idiosyncratic’ is an understatement, the music they made together is impossible to categorise, and even more impossible to describe.
Just go out and buy them. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Trust me, I’m a cryptozoologist. 

The Baker Gurvitz Army came into existence in 1974 when former Gun and Three man Army members Paul and Adrian Gurvitz joined forces with legendary drummer Ginger Baker. The Baker Gurvitz Army was the first real musical project for Ginger Baker since the short-lived band Salt in 1972 and Ginger Baker’s Airforce some two years prior to that. The band released their first album, the self titled 'Baker Gurvitz Army' in late 1974, and the album sold well enough to break in to the American charts.

The band went on to record two further studio albums; 'Elysian Encounter' in 1975 and 'Hearts On Fire' in 1976.The Baker Gurvitz Army also featured vocalist Snips who had previously been with British band Sharks and keyboardist Peter Lemer, formerly of Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia and Seventh Wave.


Italy was always a country that embraced progressive rock music more than other countries. I have never actually known why, but as they - as a nation - are also responsible for some of the world's most delicious wine and cheese, not to mention Michaelangelo, The Renaissance, Giovanni Guaresechi and Garibaldi biscuits (I'm not sure of the last one) they are obviously a nation with good taste.

So, why am I talking about Italy? It's simple. This morning I got accosted by a charming young lady. When I say accosted I mean that she sent me a Facebook IM thing, to tell me about her band. This happens quite a lot, but on this occasion the band are really rather good.

For one thing, the band are called Unreal City which is a very cool name because it references T.S.Eliot's The Wasteland, which in turn references Baudelaire, which is - in turn - no bad thing. As so many of the bands who send me stuff are called things like Godvomit or YogSagit the Unwholesome to have a band with peerless literary antecedents is rather refreshing.

Read on...
And so not only has another interesting week limped to a close, but I have finished another newsletter. I really can't believe that we have now done sixteen of them.

I have approached several other writers of whose work I am fond, and asked them to contribute to future issues of this periodical. If any of you good people reading this would like to contribute, if you feel that you have something to say that is vaguely on topic and want a forum in which to say it, then drop me an email. Please don't be shy. I am looking forward to receiving all your brilliant ideas. I have lots more plans for this magazine, and - bizarrely - none of them will involve going over my weekly budget of twenty-five quid.

I would like to dedicate this week's issue to the memory of Prudence Osborne, mother of my friend and colleague Matthew, and his sister Charlotte. She died quite suddenly early this morning at a nursing home in Torrington. She was a gentle and kind lady, and will be missed by all who knew her.

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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