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This is quite simply the best magazine you will ever find that is edited by a mad bloke (and his orange kitten), and produced from a tumbledown potato shed on the outskirts of a tiny village that nobody's heard of in North Devon. The fact that it is published with Gonzo Multimedia - probably the grooviest record company in the known universe - is merely an added bonus.
THE GONZO WEEKLY
all the gonzo news that’s fit to print
Issue Fifty-Six December 14th
I PROMISED THIS WOULD BECOME A MAGAZINE AND I ALWAYS TRY TO KEEP MY PROMISES
NAMING THOSE RESPONSIBLE
This issue was put together by me and Captain Frunobulax the Magnificent, (who is, in case you didn't know, an insane orange kitten on the verge of adulthood) ably assisted by:

Corinna Downes, (Sub Editor, and my lovely wife)
Graham Inglis, (Columnist, Staff writer, Hawkwind nut)
Bart Lancia, (My favourite roving reporter)
Thom the World Poet, (Bard in residence)
C.J.Stone, (Columnist, commentator and all round good egg)
Kev Rowland, (Reviewer)
Lesley Madigan, Photographer par excellence
Douglas Harr, (Staff writer, columnist)
Dave McMann, (He ain't nothing but a) Newshound-dog
Orrin Hare, (Sybarite and literary bon viveur)
and Peter McAdam (McDada in residence)
 
THIS WEEK WE BRING YOU JON ANDERSON, CHRIS SQUIRE, TREVOR HORN, ADAM WAKEMAN, NANO GUITAR, L-VOAG, THE HOMOSEXUALS, PARADISE 9, RED'S COOL, ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN, ASHES OF ARES, BROKEN HOPE, PAM WINDO, GARY WINDO, THE KINKS, THE RESIDENTS, JACK WHITE, IGGY POP, STRANGE FRUIT, GONG, QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE, JOEY MOLLAND, ALAN DAVEY, ROB AYLING, HAWKWIND, YES,  THE NINE HENRYS, HUNTER THOMPSON,  THE WEIRD WEEKEND, CYRILLE VERDEAUX, CLEARLIGHT, CAROL HODGE, CRYSTAL GRENADE, PERCY JONES, CLEPSYDRA, NAPOLEON, JOHN ALLISON, JUDY DYBLE, XNA, PUSSY RIOT, THE FACES, ROD STEWART, RONNIE WOOD, RICHARD COUGHLAN, CARAVAN, LLOYD PYE, GEORGE HARRISON, THE BEATLES, JOHN LILLY, MR DIBS, RICK WAKEMAN, THE GREEN VIOLINIST
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?)
WHO GONZO? WHY GONZO? WHAT GONZO?
What? You don't know who Hunter Thompson is/was/might have been/will be? Without Hunter Thompson there would be no Gonzo Multimedia. It would have been completely different and that would have been an unforgivable pity. So here is:
C.J.Stone suggested that as well as explaining Gonzo to those wot don't understand, we should do a weekly quote from the great man himself. So here goes:

“Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives... and to the "good life", whatever it is and wherever it happens to be. â€ 
                                 Hunter S. Thompson
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.
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
Twitter
Website
Website
Google Plus
Google Plus
Email
Email
Pinterest
Pinterest
LinkedIn
LinkedIn
SO WHAT IS ALL THIS ABOUT, ALFIE?
It is simple; my name is Jon and I'm the editor of the Gonzo Multimedia daily online bloggything. Now there is a weekly magazine, once again edited by me and a small orange kitten from a dilapidated ex-potato shed  in rural Devonshire, to which you subscribed 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 easy to unsubscribe again. But what a long, strange trip it is gonna be...

I keep on thinking that I ought to have some sort of a mission statement in each issue, but it is more than a little difficult to do one. Basically, (if you don't mind me sounding more like a wishy washy old hippy than my haircut in the photograph above would imply) I think that books and music are immensely important. I look around and see that we are living in a world where the things that I think are important are valued less and less by society as a whole; a world where asinine gameshows and so-called reality TV (which is actually a complete oxymoron, but don't get me started) are of more importance to most people than anything of cultural or spiritual value.

I am also very disappointed by much of what the contemporary music press puts out, and I decided many years ago, that probably the only way I could read the things that I want to read, would be to publish them myself. So this is what I have been doing for much of my life. I am also naive enough to think that music and art can change the world, and as the world is in desperate need of change, I am gonna do my best to help.
MORE LIKE A MAGAZINE: And so we approach the end of another year
I am not a fan of this time of year. In fact I remember, a few years ago, going to see one of my nephews in his school production of A Christmas Carol, and by about half way through I felt sorry for Scrooge and wanted to punch Tiny Tim in the face!

But this is the time of year when you take stock of things, and looking back over the last year I am really rather proud of what this magazine has achieved, and what it continues to achieve. 

Each issue we add at least one new section: this time we have started book reviews, a letters page, and a look at what's been on The Gonzo Daily over the past week, and we also welcome a new regular columnist - my old mate Orrin Hare, who will bring his peculiarly skewed world view to bear on various things of interest, and I think will be a valuable asset to the magazine.

Thank you again for your support. Once again we have survived another week!

God Bless us Every One,
THE THREE COMMANDMENTS OF GONZO WEEKLY:

1. Art is as important as science and more important than money
2. There is life after (beyond and before) Pop Idol
3. Music can and sometimes does change the world

If you think those three ideas are stupid then you should probably give up reading this magazine now. Otherwise... enjoy
As is the rest of this magazine, this is mostly about music, and the bits of contemporary culture that I find interesting, but it also has a smattering of actual NEWS, especially if there are ethical questions that effect us all, or one of those put in authority over us does something spectacularly inane. The nearest that this section will ever come to politics is laughing at politicians.
  • KINKY MUSICAL A stage musical telling the early life story of Kinks frontman Ray Davies is set to open at London's Hampstead Theatre next year. "Sunny Afternoon" will feature the band's hits, penned by Davies, and a script by award-winning playwright Joe Penhall. The show will also chart the band's rise to stardom during the 1960s and is named after their 1966 hit single. Read on..
  • EYEBALL TO EYEBALL A group of film makers is currently putting together a feature length documentary film about The Residents called “Theory of Obscurity: a film about The Residents“. Read on...
  • ROCKET MAN Jack White has revealed he has an ambition to play the first ever vinyl record in outer space. The former White Stripes man was speaking to astronaut Buzz Aldrin in a feature for Interview Magazine and told Aldrin, who was the second ever man to walk on the moon, that he is working on a "secret project" to get one of the songs on his Third Man Records label to be the "first vinyl record played in outer space". Asked how he planned to do it, White said he was planning "to launch a balloon that carries a vinyl record player. And figure out a way to drop the needle with all that turbulence up there and ensure that it will still play". Read on...
  • LET'S DO IT THE FRENCH WAY  Big surprise here: Iggy Pop’s record label isn’t interested in an album of French pop songs recorded by the perpetually shirtless Stooges frontman. Not that it’s stopping him, as the Guardian reports that he’ll self-release Après through digital retailers. â€œWhat has a record company ever done for me but humiliate and torment and drag me down?” he said.
THE LAST WEEK AT GONZO DAILY
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Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The new Clepsydra video
Much though I dislike it as a medium, Facebook is rapidly becoming the best tool in the earnest young (or frivolous middle aged) music journalist's toolkit. I was actually chatting to someone about the recent CFZ expedition to Tasmania when Andy Thommen of Clepsydra popped up.

Had I seen their new video? he asked. I replied in the negative, not because I wouldn't have been interested in seeing the aforementioned video but because I didn't know that such a thing existed. So he pointed me in this direction.

It is the work of Sandor Kwiatkowski, who was - apparently - a schoolfriend of the band. He was also the bloke who designed the covers of the first three Clepsydra albums, and the cover of The Chandrasekhar Incident - the album by Zenit, the other band that Andy (until recently) played bass for.

He is also working on some animations which will be shown during the band's forthcoming 2014 reunion tour.

And the final piece of good news from the Clepsydra camp this week, should be told in Andy's own words: "We're going to play at Loreley - Night Of the Prog 2014... I mean L-O-R-E-L-E-Y ... wow!"
 
The 9th Night of the Prog Festival will take place on July 18th and 19th 2014.
 
PRE-ORDER AT GONZO (UK)
PRE-ORDER AT GONZO (USA)
PECULIAR STORY OF THE WEEK:  Senseless Census (via Dave McMann)

French bureaucrats gathering information for the national census may need to go back to history class after they sent a letter to Napoleon. Official census body Insee addressed a letter to the late French emperor – and were told to forward their request to Saint Peter. Insee is now facing questions about the accuracy of their work as Napoleon has been dead for nearly 200 years.

 
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The Best of Clearlight
To celebrate the recent release of The Best of Clearlight, Cyrille has been kind enough to go through it for us track by track:
1. Clearlight Symphony part 1 (1974)
 
In the original vinyl, Virgin decided to put on side A, the original side B for marketing reasons (original side B was the side where Hillage, Blake and Malherbe were playing). 
Now, the order is right and part 1 is the real beginning of the Symphony.
 
 2. Clearlight Symphony part 2  
 
Recorded at the cult White Noise studios under Tim Blake's supervision, it was my first experience of recording in a real multi-track studio and I appreciated it so much that I knew I would do that for the rest of my life. A recording studio (even home numeric recording studio such as the one I used for my latest work on impressionism) is a fantastic space for creativity and I will never be tired of it. 
 
3. Chanson (from Forever Blowing Bubbles, 1975)
 
This song is a music composed by both Joel Dugrenot (ex -bassist of Zao) and myself. Violonist David Cross (King Crimson) plays a great part on this tune and The Northettes (from Hatfield and the North) are doing background choirs. Guitarist Jean Claude d'Agostini (RIP) set the song on fire with his chorus, and the Greek citizen Chris Stapinopoulos plays drums. A great example of European cooperation.
 
 4. Without Words (from Forever Blowing Bubbles)
 
No need for words, as says the title...just for listening.
 
 5. The Key (Les Contes du Singe Fou, 1976)
 6. Soliloque (Les Contes du Singe Fou)
 
Originally, this album was the #3 scheduled to be released by Virgin by contract,  and this time I wanted  to do a cosmic opera with a singwe, to alternate styles. The problem is that Richard Branson decided to  prematurely end  my contract because of my impossibility to live permanently in London as he was requesting. My wife was 6 months pregnant at this time and didn't want to go to live in London and that caused the end of my English adventure! Richard doesn't like it when people don't obey his wishes, obviously. But I did manage to find a small French label, Isadora, willing to pay for the recording, and Joel Dugrenot helped me to record it in a little Parisian studio. I wrote spiritual lyrics in order to try to be useful also on a philosophical level. 
 
 7. Novanna (Delired Camaleon Family, 1976)
 
This album is not specifically a "Clearlight" album, but mostly 3 days of improvisations in a recording studio with the idea of making a soundtrack for a Pierre Clementi's movie very "psychedelic" with guitarist Yvan Coiquette. I invited some friends to play on it, and he also invited some friends and we ended with a packed recording studio, each recording a track on the spot. Totally "here and now".  Unfortunately, we had only one day to mix all these tracks together, so it has a special charm; different from my other productions.
 
 8. Spirale D'amour (from Clearlight Visions, 1977)
 
This album is the first that I have produced from A to Z, including the choice of the studio, the musicians, the musical compositions, etc. Didier Lockwood had just quit with Magma and I could hire him to play his violin. I asked Didier to come to play flute and sax and I am proud to say that this album has been selected among the all time 100 best prog albums, according to the billboard guide for progressive music
 
9. Trance Pire (Tribal Hybrid Concept, 1994)
 
During the 15 years between 1980 to 1994, I went to India, studied yoga and made mostly new age music under my name. During these years, the music evolved tremendously, in came the computers, internet, the samples, etc, giving an opportunity for poor musicians to continue to work at home even without a producer or a label. I had a friend, Pascal Menetrey (RIP) who had everything I needed in his house to make a new album based on samples of natural sounds, ethnic chants or instruments, and this is how THC was born. Probably a Guinness Book Record for the number of samples used in a single album; several hundreds. So I call it a tribal progressive album, because this is exactly what it is.
 
10. Elf Dance, Solar Transfusion, 1998
 
At this time, I had the luck to have a friend, Patrick Meynier, loan me a 24 track that could fit in my bedroom, and I could take all the time I needed to record all the keyboards and sample drums tracks of this Solar Transfusion album. When they had been recorded, Patrick booked a studio and we recorded his wife, Genevieve (violin) and some other live instruments on my tracks. I call it a house progressive album.
 
11. Renoir. Impressionist Symphony, 2013)
 
Originally, this album comes from the idea of making a new album to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of the Clearlight Symphony, and I asked Steve Hillage, Didier Mallherbe and Tim Blake to redo the winning team of 1974.  This track is just a preview of the future album and will be improved in its final version. For instance, other instrumentalists have been recorded since. This album will be released at the beginning of next year, 2014.
CLEARLIGHT AT GONZO (UK)
CLEARLIGHT AT GONZO (USA)
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Alan Davey is certainly on a very strange trip
Last week we covered Alan Davey's announcement that he had a new album out. It is called Al Chemical's Lysergic Orchestra Vol 2 and he was kind enough to send me an advance copy. It is based on, and inspired by, his travels through Death Valley, and whilst it has been thirty years since I inflicted psychedelic chemicals on my central nervous system, my synapses are still fried enough to totally get this collection of brutal, and sometimes surprisingly beautiful, noise.

I've not been to Death Valley, but I have travelled around the Nevada and Utah deserts enough in my time to get the gist of what he is on about, and this music encapsulates the red sandstone weirdness of the Southwestern Desert perfectly. This is one of the most evocatively Fortean records I have heard in many a year, and I am particularly impressed by the way that the sounds of 'real' instruments like bass guitar, trumpet, guitars, and banjo (although I am not convinced that some of these weren't actually sampled) meshes in with the found sounds and abstract landscapes of the sequencer programmes. This is a Gloriously Surrealchemical soundtrack to a film that Alejandro Jodorowsky can only dream of having written.

More please Alan.
ALAN DAVEY AT GONZO (USA)
ALAN DAVEY AT GONZO (UK)
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  John Allison rewrites the sixties
I am very fond of the web comics (or should that be webcomics? I'm never too sure) of John Allison, who has over the last decade plus been responsible for Bobbins, Scary go Round, Giant Days and Bad Machinery, all set in the (allegedly) fictional northern town of Tackleford. He also has a canny taste in music so I seriously recommend that you check him out. You will not be disappointed.

http://www.scarygoround.com/

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  Carol launches her grenade
I am very pleased to say that according to everyone I have spoken to, the launch party for Carol Hodge aka Miss Crystal Grenade's debut album went swimmingly. But there remain various questions that a hard working alumnus of The News of the Screws has to ask...
For example, what was in those scrolls? Is it true that the divine Miss G wore a crab in her hair? And what is 'tiffin'?

The British public deserve to be told these things. Miss Grenade also hangs out with well-known anarchists, and is obviously planning to subvert our young people with crab-in-the-hair related chicanery. Watch this space...
CRYSTAL GRENADE AT GONZO (UK)
CRYSTAL GRENADE AT GONZO (USA)
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Judy plays live again!
JUDY DYBLE, WM JAZZ CLUB AT THE WATER MARGIN, O2, SUNDAY
Words and Pics by Lesley-Ann Jones

'I'm quite jolly really', joked Judy as she spun her melancholy magic, drawing us back into 'fields of barley and of rye, that clothe the world and meet the sky ...' ... as Tennyson evoked it in 'The Lady of Shalott', and of whom she has so often reminded me. Judy's dream world is a damasked, tapestried, velvet place, part Arthurian fantasy, part Pre-Raphaelite re-creation; dusky, dimmed and with whitened willows, a winding, web-tangled realm. The original voice of Fairport Convention, she treads boldly over the past with songs such as the pre-war American ditty 'If I Had A Ribbon Bow' - Fairport's first-ever single, no less - and gives her fresh, new songs a gently aged and folky feel. 'Black Dog Dreams', 'Crowbaby' and 'Featherdancing', about Judy and her sisters when they were little, were my favourites. 

Judy's special, thought-provoking music is a contemplation of what it means to be human; an awareness of life receding; a reminder of the heartlessness at the heart of existence. She was away from the scene for forty years, incredibly. Since her comeback in 2004, and her born-again success - thanks largely to the accomplished multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Alistair Murphy - she has released five albums. Her latest, this year's 'Flow and Change', is haunting, and has the vital aftertaste: an emotional resonance that lingers long after the last note lands on the ear. 

www.judydyble.com
Lesley-Ann Jones is the author of 'Freddie Mercury The Definitive Biography' and 'Ride A White Swan: The Lives & Death of Marc Bolan' (both published by Hodder & Stoughton).  www.lesleyannjones.com
JUDY DYBLE AT GONZO (USA)
JUDY DYBLE AT GONZO (UK)
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: XNA
Yesterday I received a very welcome package from the United States. It was my hard copy of the excellent debut album by XNA that I have been raving about for the last couple of weeks, and I would like to thank their singer David very much for expediting it. In recent years one has heard a lot about the decline of CD sales in favour of downloads. I have always thought that a lot of this isn't about the convenience of downloading MP3s but because the CD itself is a fairly unlovely object, and furthermore one that is far harder to fetishise than vinyl used to be.

But the XNA album is something else - one of the nicest packages I have seen in a long time, with the CD itself encased in a 5"x5" hardback book, lavishly illustrated with all the song words. This is a gorgeous artifact in itself, and furthermore one which complements the sublime music perfectly. Packages like this raise the bar for us all: lavish packaging was de rigueur in the mid-1970s, but is something which has sadly fallen away over the years. I would like to think that with the advent of XNA it was back.

ALSO...
I received this letter from XNA HQ:

Hey, All,
Just thought we'd share the great news that Paperlate Radio out of The Netherlands has nominated our debut "When We Changed You" for Best Album of 2013!
 
The praise heaped upon us from them has certainly got us blushing, and we're grateful for the support!
 
You can hear Paperlate's interview with David covering a lot of info on the album and the band here:
 
We're also blown away by the acclaim given us by GONZO MAGAZINE UK--you can hear that interview here:
 
Order the deluxe cd-book, or download (mp3 or FLAC) with full artwork (not available anywhere else) at our shop:
 
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  The Gospel according to Bart
My favourite roving reporter has sent me three stories this week. The first concerns poor beleaguered Pussy Riot - as he says, it is good to see some movement at last. It finally seems like the politicians are beginning to see sense.

For those of us of a certain age, The Faces were a joyful, exuberant celebration of laddishness, and now - according to Rod Stewart - they may be back in 2015, I hope so, I would hate that band's last stand to be with Mick Hucknall on lead vocals.

And finally, Lloyd Price, who Bart says quite rightly is "more than just some country singer",  looks back over his long and interesting career.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Gonzo Web Radio
We have new episodes of Canterbury Sans Frontières and Strange Fruit and there are some other exciting things afoot with another entirely new station being added to Gonzo Web Radio, and a total revamp of the radio index. Many apologies that there are no thumbnails of the radio shows this week either in Gonzo Weekly or on the website. We will fix this as soon as we can.

Watch this space.

CANTERBURY SANS FRONTIÈRES: Episode Ten
Date Published: 14th December 2013

We at Gonzo Web Radio are very proud to bring you Canterbury Sans Frontières - a podcast dedicated to the music of the 'Canterbury Scene' and more. Creator Matthew Watkins writes: 

As with Canterbury Soundwaves, a new three-hour episode will be released with each full moon.I decided to wind down Canterbury Soundwaves so that I didn't end up (i) repeating myself, (ii) scraping the bottom of the Canterbury barrel, or (iii) becoming increasingly tangential. This new podcast broadens the musical remit, so it'll be about one-third 'Canterbury sound', together with progressive/psychedelic/experimental music from the Canterbury of today, the remainder being a mix of music from various times and places which I feel to be in a similar spirit of creative adventurousness. I'll be doing a lot less talking, and the programme will be less expository – so no interviews, barely-listenable bootlegs, etc.

I also plan to include guest one-hour mixes from various musicians from the current music scene in Canterbury (Episode 2 features a mix from Neil Sullivan from Lapis Lazuli).

And for those of you who wonder what Matthew was referring to when he writes about Canterbury Soundwaves we have brought you all the back catalogue of that as well. Those wacky guys at Gonzo, eh?

ISSUE TEN: More from Robert Wyatt's recently released archival album '68, Caravan and Sun Ra from that same year, Brainville from '99, Kevin Ayers, Matching Mole, Cinematic Orchestra, full-on spacerock from Hawkwind counterbalanced by some contemplative jazz/poetry from Annette Peacock, and an Ethio-Jamaican sonic adventure.

Also an hour of live acoustic and semi-acoustic music from a woodland concert series in a secret location near Canterbury earlier this year (including Daevid Allen, Circulus and a partially reconstructed Penguin Cafe Orchestra along with local favourites Lapis Lazuli and Arlet).

p.s. It was only after posting this episode that I heard the news of Richard Coughlan's passing. So it's appropriate that it begins with "Place of My Own" off the first Caravan LP. Expect more Caravan next month. RIP RC.

Playlist for this episode

L
isten to this episode

STRANGE FRUIT: Episode 49 Part One
Date Published: 12th December 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 Neil Nixon 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

L
isten to this episode

STRANGE FRUIT: Episode 49 Part Two
Date Published: 12th December 2013

Listen to this episode

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

What's been did and what's been hid
I am growing up in public, as it were. The Gonzo Weekly has been going for very nearly a year 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 jon@eclipse.co.uk. The more the merrier.

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

Please tell your friends, colleagues and family about The Gonzo Weekly, and try to persuade them to subscribe. The more subscribers we get, the bigger and better and more effective the whole thing will be.
Remember, if you want more than your weekly fix of this newsletter you can check out the Gonzo Daily, which - as its name implies - does much the same as this newsletter but every day. It also features a daily poem from Thom the World Poet, and the occasional non-Gonzo rock music rambling from yours truly, plus book and gig reviews from our highly trained staff of social malcontents. And its FREE! You cannae say fairer than that!
Each week, some of you seem to recognise me. Yes, I am indeed that weird bloke off the telly who chases mythological animals. I have a day job as Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, and also the editor of the CFZ Blog Network, and publisher of a plethora of books about mystery animals.
GONZO RELEASES FOR DECEMBER 2013
1. Gong: Live in Sheffield
 
Many people believed that the idea of Gong without Daevid was like the Rolling Stones without Keith Richards. However, they had already played a stint as Paragong in 1973 while Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth took a 6 week break so they regrouped as Gong with guitarist Steve Hillage at the helm. The band recorded a new album, but Hillage left before its release. Gilli Smyth and Tim Blake had left at around the same time as Daevid, so the rump of Gong now featuring Didier Malherbe aka Bloomdido Bad de Grasse, Mike Howlett on bass and noted French percussionist Piere Moerlen.

 
2. Quicksilver Messenger Service: Live in Hawaii
 
By 1970. the band were working and recording largely in Hawaii. The next two albums, Just for Love and What About Me?, are sometimes called the Hawaiian albums because they were recorded mostly in a studio in that state, and both have a similar Hawaiian motif to their cover designs. This excellent live album captures a changing band at the peak of their game. A real treat for psychedelic music fans.

3. Joey Molland: Return to Memphis

Joey Molland, who had written the vast majority of Badfinger's later output, remains an immensely under-rated and very talented songwriter, whose career has been blighted by the appalling catalogue of disasters which had overtaken his band, But now he is back with a fantastic new album: “ I did the record in Memphis and so it’s called Return to Memphis. I started out loving Memphis music …Elvis and all that. A lot of great rockers came from there. So I opted to go down there and make a record and it was a great experience.”
 
4. The best of Clearlight

In 1975 Virgin Records released the first album of Cyrille Verdeaux compositions titled CLEARLIGHT SYMPHONY. Clearlight became the first French progressive rock band signed to a major British record label. Gathering accolades for its unique compositions and keyboard stylings, the music spanned from classical romanticism to lush experimentation. Primarily psychedelic, but also serving as a forerunner of new age music, the album's musical style manages to blend seemingly contrary elements: the symphonic rock concept is flexible enough to permit extensive jamming in both rock and jazz fusion styles.
BACK ISSUES OF THIS PERIODICAL
Most of the back issues have now been archived on a dedicated Blogger site. Please use the navigation tree on the right of the page. However, please be aware that there are still a few formatting issues, and the magazine may not look as nice in blogger as we would have liked.

If, however, you are using the MailChimp archive, (below) please be warned: Magazines from #11-41  contain the cartoon at the bottom of the stressed out guy with the computer  Apparently someone has accused the public domain images site I got it from of hosting malware, and even though there was none found there by Google, the fact that I used an image from the site (perfectly legally) flagged our whole newsletter up as possibly containing malware. This should only effect people using Google Chrome, and I would strongly suggest that you click the 'proceed anyway' tab, and view the newsletter as you had originally planned...

Newsletter #36  Newsletter #35  Newsletter #34  Newsletter #33 Newsletter #32  Newsletter #31  Newsletter #30  Newsletter #29 Newsletter #28  Newsletter #27  Newsletter #26  Newsletter #25  Newsletter #24  Newsletter #23  Newsletter #22  Newsletter #21 Newsletter #20  Newsletter #19  Newsletter #18  Newsletter #17 Newsletter #16  Newsletter #15  Newsletter #14  Newsletter #13 Newsletter #12  Newsletter #11  Newsletter #10  Newsletter #9 Newsletter #8  Newsletter #7  Newsletter #6  Newsletter #5 Newsletter #4  Newsletter #3  Newsletter #2  Newsletter #1
THOSE WE HAVE LOST:  Richard Coughlan (1947-2013)
Richard Coughlan was an English musician, best known as the drummer and percussionist of the Canterbury scene progressive rock band Caravan. He was one of the founding members of Caravan in 1968 and remained with the band until his death. AllMusic called Coughlan "one of art rock's longest tenured musicians"

Richard at Wikipedia
THOSE WE HAVE LOST:  Lloyd Pye (1946-2013)
And so another old friend has gone. Lloyd Pye has died of cancer at the young age of 66. I was very fond of Lloyd and we were mates for just over 14 years. I first met him in mesquite, Nevada at a UFO conference in August 1999. He and I were amongst the only sane people there. After three or four days of being told how The Queen was a blood drinking lizard, how JFK had been assassinated by aliens and how the New World Order were communicating with us through the miracle of fridge magnets I had really had enough. Then up came this quietly spoken 'Southern Gentleman' in his early fifties who had in his possession a 900 year old skull that he believed was partly alien. I didn't agree with him, and still don't. But he was so humble, self effacing and respectful that I couldn't help like him. A few days later I heard him tell an uproariously funny story about a turkey that he had known in his youth on a Louisiana farmstead; the audience (including me) were in stitches, but he retained his quiet, gentlemanly demeanour all the way through. He gave me a copy of his book Everything You Know Is Wrong. It was beautifully written, and his thesis meticulously argued, and although I didn't believe a word of it, I was touched by his sincerity. Over the years we have met up many times both in the USA and in Britain, and, yes, I became close enough to him to count him as a friend. I have always looked forward to our next encounter. 

I am not crying for him. Either there is a life after death, or there is nothing (and I am not going to hazard a guess which). Either way Lloyd will be OK. But I am crying for me, and for all the other people whose lives have been touched by this dear, sweet gentle man, and who will no longer have the joy of his quiet philosophical company.

For those of you who have may not have heard of him I recommend his website http://www.lloydpye.com/ so you can make up your own mind about his life's work and the enigmatic 'Starchild' skull.
THERE IS NOW A GONZO WEEKLY SHOP
Now, I don't know whether this is a good idea, a bad idea, or just an idea, but - as I believe you know - this magazine is put out each week on a budget of £25, and is free. It will remain free, but I would like to be able to generate some income so I can pay our contributing writers. So, 'why not flog Gonzo Weekly T Shirts?' I thought. 'Why not', I answered... 
http://www.zazzle.co.uk/gonzoweekly
FRONT COVER STORY: Pam Windo interview

Pamela Windo was born in Brighton, England, in 1942. She left school at 16 to travel, first to Paris and Berlin, then to North Africa, where she lived with the family of a Tunisian student she had fallen in love with in London. While there, she worked in the U.S. Embassy, and as a radio operator on the construction of a dam.

Back in England, after a first marriage and divorce, and with two young sons, she married childhood friend Gary Windo, a gifted saxophone player who’d just come back from New York, and who encouraged her to play piano. Soon, she found herself alongside musicians like Soft Machine’s Robert Wyatt, Brotherhood of Breath’s Louis Moholo, and Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, with whom she recorded and played her first gig. When the couple emigrated to Woodstock, New York, Windo joined the Gary Windo Quartet with bass player Steve Swallow. She went on to form a band of her own, Pam Windo & the Shades, and after a showcase at the Whisky-a-Go-Go in L.A., was signed by Albert Grossman.

 

PicBearsville1980

In 1987, Windo bowed out of the music scene and began to write, and was first published in New York City’s Village Voice. With a novel in mind, she went to Morocco where she lived, travelled, and wrote for the next seven years. During her stay, she taught English to the children of the governor of Tiznit, became a member of the Moroccan-American Circle headed by Ambassador Marc Ginsberg, and worked as location assistant for Martin Scorsese’s Kundun, shot in Ouarzazate.

On returning to the United States, Windo wrote several books and magazine articles about her travels in Morocco, as well as giving presentations at New York University, and The American Museum of Natural History in New York. As a publicist for tourism, she was chosen by the Moroccan Ambassador to the United Nations to present Morocco to the United Nations community.

In 2004, twelve years after Gary Windo’s untimely death, a retrospective collaborative CD titled Anglo-American was chosen by the BBC as Jazz Album of the Week. Another retrospective CD— a series of free-improvisation tracks recorded during the couple’s years together — was released in 2007.

Windo recently completed a new book, Him through Me, a memoir about her late husband and their life in music. She now lives and writes in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This week I 'phoned her up. Listen to our conversation here...

PAM AND/OR GARY WINDO AT GONZO (UK)
PAM AND/OR GARY WINDO AT GONZO (USA)
EXCLUSIVE: Percy Jones interview

Brand X was another one of those bands who were beloved of other musicians, and the more discerning of critics, but which despite everything never had the commercial success that it deserved.

They were a jazz fusion band active 1975–1980. Noted members included Phil Collins (drums), Percy Jones (bass), John Goodsall (guitar) and Robin Lumley (keyboards). Not long after jazz/rock fusion greats Brand X put out their 1980 album, "Do They Hurt?", the band members went their separate ways (until their comeback in 1992 which only featured Goodsall and Jones).

Jones’ utterly idiosyncratic bass playing defined the sound of Brand X as much as Phil Collins’ drumming, and the band would not have been anywhere near as interesting without him. He also appeared on classic Brian Eno LPs as Another Green World and Before and After Science and with his own band Tunnels..

This week I telephoned him for a chat. Listen to our conversation here.

PERCY JONES/BRAND X AT GONZO (USA)
PERCY JONES/BRAND X AT GONZO (USA)
John Lilly: psychedelic scientist

There’s an interesting video on YouTube. It’s called “The Scientist: John C. Lilly.”

It is the recording of a TV programme which must have come out some time in the late 80s. The programme is called “Thinking Allowed.” It has a very simple format. A psychologist interviewer called Jeffrey Mishlove is sitting face-to-face with his subject - in this case, Dr. Lilly, the “Scientist” of the title – and asking him questions.

Dr. Lilly presents an odd spectacle. He is dressed in a wide-collared safari suit of some brown, shiny material, and has a coonskin cap on his head, of the kind thatDavy Crockett wore. He has sharp, angular features and a little beard and is wearing an earring in each ear. It’s hard to say how old he is in the video. He is sprightly and perceptive-looking with a warm, sceptical smile. He could be anywhere from his 50s to his 80s. In fact, he is 73.

You wonder if the costume is deliberately chosen. Dr. Lilly has often been described as a pioneer. You can see him as a sort of psychic frontiersman. Like Davy Crockett, he set out to explore the outer reaches of a brand new continent. His writings are like the reports-back of an adventurer in the New World. He is describing new flora and fauna, mapping new territories, meeting new cultures, learning new languages, facing new dangers, crossing new barriers, in a pioneering effort to give us some glimpses of what this strange new continent is like.

The programme is hard to follow as Dr. Lilly speaks in a barely comprehensible drawl. Fortunately there is a transcript available, so you can watch the programme, and read the words at the same time. It is worth doing this as it makes for a good introduction to Dr. Lilly’s world view.

His most famous statement – which he repeats in the interview, and throughout his writings – is as follows:

“In the province of the mind what one believes to be true, either is true or becomes true within certain limits. These limits are to be found experimentally and experientially. When so found these limits turn out to be further beliefs to be transcended. In the province of the mind there are no limits. However, in the province of the body there are definite limits not to be transcended.”

So that is the place that Dr. Lilly is exploring: the inner continent he refers to as “the province of the mind”.

Read on...

NOW AVAILABLE FROM GONZO MULTIMEDIA

"Stone writes with intelligence, wit and sensitivity."
Times Literary Supplement

"Wry, acute, and sometimes hellishly entertaining essays in squalor and rebellion."
Herald


"The best guide to the Underground since Charon ferried dead souls across the Styx."
Independent on Sunday

 
C J STONE AT GONZO (UK)
C J STONE AT GONZO (USA)
SOME OTHER BOOKS BY C.J.STONE

Housing Benefit Hill: 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Housing-Benefit-Hill-Other-Places/dp/190259343X

 
 
 
  • Hardcover: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Omnibus Press (17 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780383061
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780383064
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 16.8 x 4.6 cm
One of the undoubted icons of cryptozoology is the late, lamented Ivan T Sanderson (1911-1973). Like many Forteans of my generation I have read many of his books in search of enlightenment, a good yarn, or sometimes both. I have always been particularly impressed by his 1956 book 'Follow the Whale', because - by a very simple artifice - he makes one totally re-evaluate one's world view. This will probably not mean anything much to the Google Earth generation, but for those of us brought up on the standard Mercator projection, where a lot of the world was coloured a reassuring pink, and Britain, (more strictly, Greenwich) is damn splat there in the centre of the map, it was devastating.

For each chapter dealing with whaling in a different part of the world (for example Nantucket) he simply produced a map of the world centred not on London, but on the place which the chapter was dealing with. This was a simple but extraordinarily disorientating idea. Over the past 24 hours or so, I have come across something bizarrely similar: I have dozens (if not hundreds) of books about The Beatles, and they all tell much the same story. This is probably because the two central characters in the book are Messrs Lennon and McCartney. At stupid o'clock this morning I finished reading Graeme Thomson's excellent 'George Harrison: Behind The Locked Door' in which he does an Ivan T Sanderson on us. He tells an old familiar story, but makes it almost completely unrecognisable. Because while the story of The Beatles is told from the point of view of their sulky, spiritual, and immensely complex guitarist, John and Paul are relegated to being bit players.

Something else completely laudable about this book is that - unlike so many of its peers - it does not devote more time to one particular part of its subject's life than another. The Beatles years take up (I am estimating, and cannot be bothered to check, because I want this review to be my subjective impressions) less than a third of the book, for example, and the events surrounding the disastrous 'Dark Horse' US tour are examined in just as much (maybe more) detail. 

As always, I find myself disagreeing with the author on musical matters. I have always been rather fond of the 'Dark Horse' album, and I think the follow-up 'Extra Texture' (despite the horrible cover) is a magnificent album that I would recommend to anyone. However, I do agree with him that 'Electronic Sound' is a goddamn awful noise. And whilst on the subject of this piece of experimental nonsense, I had heard that there were copyright issues regarding the record, but was not aware of the depths of George's perfidy until reading the book.

In fact, for someone who was so spiritual he could be a sneaky bastard, making free with other people's tunes and wives with equal abandon, and reading this book I realised how little I actually knew about the man who was my favourite Beatle. But it was always thus (for me at least).

When John Lennon died, I found that I already knew (and owned most of) pretty well everything that he officially released, and a heck of a lot that wasn't. There were a few odds and sods of avant garde oddness that I hadn't heard, but they were few and far between. When Harrison died, I did much the same thing and found that there were whole swathes of his catalogue I had not heard. This wasn't just the obscure stuff like the music he wrote for some of the Handmade Films output, but a whole album - 'Gone Troppo' - had slipped under my personal radar!

So I suppose one cannot be surprised that the minutiae of the life of such a private man remained hidden for so many years. I was mildly disappointed to find that the allegations made by Carol Bedford in her book Waiting for the Beatles were not corroborated, except in the broadest way with accounts of George's incessant womanising. Whether this means that the author decided that her allegations were spurious, or whether he just thought that 372 pages was well enough I don't know, but I will be asking him about this when and if I manage to interview him.

This book reiterates the story that I had always believed that John Lennon threw a hissyfit when George refused to allow Yoko on the bill for the Concert for Bangladesh, hence his non-appearance. But several other books, including the absolutely excellent Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s say something completely different; that Lennon "couldn't be bothered to get into the whole showbiz trip" again, so refused to play. I know that in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter - what matters is  that there were only two Beatles on stage that day. But this is something that has niggled me. One is used to cheapo cheapo cut and paste biographies making elemental mistakes, but here we have two excellent and well-researched tomes which contradict each other. Another question for Mr Thompson methinks.

This is an absolutely excellent, very revealing, and sometimes very sad book about a remarkable man, who led a remarkable life, all through which he was on a spiritual quest. But having read this book I realise he was on another, totally different quest: a quest not to be a Beatle anymore.
HAWKWIND NEWS
(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..
Hawkwind have announced a gig date in Drammen, Norway, on 11th January. They have played in Norway before (2005) and British fans contemplating buying a ticket will have to run the gauntlet of phrases like "Velg antall billetter pr. billettkategori" on the website.  What's the
Norwegian for "Have you got a Rizla," one wonders...

A five-minute interview has been posted on YouTube, with Mr Dibs of Hawkwind backstage after their Planet Rockstock show a few days ago, and he's asked how he came to be in the band...

"I was a fan at 17, I came up through roadying... did ten years' service, humping heavy boxes, until the time came!" he recalls. He then explains what happened next, in his transition to being Hawkwind's bass player. He also reveals why he's called Mr Dibs, and gives some background on the activities and preparations of the stage-dancers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT6fPvEFPy8
 

Hawkwind Warriors roll into Southampton
Hawkwind: The Brook, Southampton, Friday 6 December.

 

This was my third Brook attendance (and second Hawkwind show there) and it really is one of the nicest venues I've been to - despite being so small, and having a postage-stamp stage. The layout's good; and there are balcony stools and tables for those who stake an early claim. Anyone then going off to the bar might find their seat's been poached, though!

 

Hawkwind kicked off with the 2013 usual: "The Awakening" and then the old space-rock staple "Master of the Universe," before doing "Steppenwolf"... where one can see Mr Dibs is enjoying doing vocal duties for the I am a wolf-man declarations.

 



Hawkwind at Southampton 'The Brook' - December 2013

Hawkwind at 'The Brook' Southampton - December 2013

Experiencing battery 'issues' with my camera, I decided to just enjoy the show, and had moved to within a few feet of the band by this time. There were no crowd control barriers separating the audience from the stage, thankfully, so I had a good view over a few heads in front.

 

Being on the left (as we view the stage) I saw Niall Hone and Mr Dibs repeatedly alternate bass duties during the show - and Mr Dibs also did some lead guitar work during the mid-way "Warrior on the Edge of Time" portion of the set - this show being presumably one of the last in the "Warrior 2013" sequence of gigs - at least, for the UK. They'll be taking the show to North America in March, however.



Mr Dibs of Hawkwind

Mr Dibs detunes for a few sound effects during some Warrior lead guitar




 













A surprise inclusion was "The Only Ones"- a semi-acoustic number from the 1978 Hawklords era.  A tribute to Huw Lloyd-Langton followed - he died a year ago now - and Mr Dibs passed a bottle of rum down into the audience, that we might drink to his memory. I wonder how far it circulated - one day, bands will put a tracking tag on such things, and be able to monitor its progress via the Galileo version of GPS, the commercial version of which will be accurate to around one centimetre.

Read on...

A Very Earthly Connection

Rick Wakeman Live At The Maltings captures the caped wizard at his finest in a show taped in 1976 in Farnham, England.  It’s available now as an individual disk, or better yet as part of the “Video Vault” collection.  The concert was in support of Rick’s progressive rock masterpiece from 1976, No Earthly Connection.  

 

photoNoEarthlyConnectionThis thematic album one reviewer described as a “metaphysical exploration of the musical essence of mankind’s soul” divided listeners in the day, coming on the heels of Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table yet without the orchestra and choir from those releases.  For this listener, and many prog fans, the more stripped down approach to this ensemble, the focus on Ashley Holt as the lead singer, and addition of a horn section comprised of Martyn Shields (trumpet, flugelhorn, french horn) and Reg Brooks (trombone, bass trombone) lent a kind of funk and soul to this very progressive release.  Rick employs his usual array of keys, some of his best Moog leads, lots of clavinet, electric harpsichord and a host of studio recording techniques to add a space-age sheen to the sound.  

 

This was also the debut of Tony Fernandez (drums) and John Dunsterville (guitar), who both added tightness and drive to the work.

 

As performed live, captured on this DVD, the tracks from No Earthly Connection are spectacular.  While it would have been wonderful to see the whole album played live, the three core tracks are included on the video.  It’s worth the price of the release, or the whole box set, to see great shots capturing Rick hitting all the notes, Ashley belting out his lines in runs that finally seemed meant just for him, and everyone caught up in making the show a display of immense talents.  On the older tracks from Journey and Arthur the horns really add to the mix such that it’s hard to miss the full orchestral treatment afforded the two prior tours.

Read on...

RICK WAKEMAN AT GONZO (UK)
RICK WAKEMAN AT GONZO (USA)
THE YES CIRCULAR - TIME AND A WORD
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
This is more like it. There are quite a few stories from Yes and its various alumni this week. We start off with a slightly dodgy sounding story about a team of high powered Political Strategists working to get Yes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Somehow this seems totally alien to what I believe rock and roll to be all about. Can you imagine the MC5 doing something like that? Then we have the story of how Jon Anderson met Chris Squire.Golly. Then we have an article from a Christian magazine about Rick Wakeman, and an interesting piece about Trevor Horn.
Next up is news of a Canadian tour scheduled for next year by Yes, followed soon after with an amusing faux pas by a Canadian newspaper who reports on the forthcoming tour but uses a picture of the wrong lineup of the band. But I suppose Benoit David is Canadian, so it might just have been wishful thinking.Next is an article about forthcoming solo shows by Jon Anderson, an interview with Chris Squire, and  another article on the forthcoming Canadian tour

The next interview has Rick Wakeman interviewing his son Adam, and finally, a radio show featuring Jon Anderson. Good eh?

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! 
MORE DETAILS OF YES AT GONZO (UK)
MORE DETAILS OF YES AT GONZO (USA)
IN OUR LITTLE GOOGLE EARTH
WITH OUR BORDERS,FENCES&WALLS
Eye look at antidotes to fear-find wings of birds and snow
Neither obey the littleness of weapons/birds suffer as trophies
and that bird upon your plate did not consent to captivities
And snow and rain and wind and sun are impervious to everyone
Even chemtrails fail to coerce a snow that falls so universal
it is almost like another start -upon the art of co-existence
that Syria and Egypt and Israel all fall/under the spell of all
Wherever we are,we will talk about the weather
It will be with us even when we are gone.Right now,it is snowing in Egypt
Open all prisons!Set free your future liberation!
Strange Days Indeed
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.

But people send me lots of pictures of interesting, and, may I say, peculiar things....
Greetings,  wassail and all that seasonal congeniality.  Corinna here, and I am going to deliver a quiet aside here ... I seem to have somehow been recruited into providing a weekly curiosity for said cabinet.  It was more of a ‘slipped-in-whilst-not-looking’ kind of recruitment rather than the more obvious press-gang method of being hit over the head with a cosh, before being dragged out of the local pub, but - being an obliging soul - I have just shrugged my shoulders and got on with it for the past couple of weeks.  Sssssh I don’t think Jon realises I am aware of his hoodwinking activities.  Anyway, to be perfectly honest, I got fed up (very quickly) with looking through Ebay and such like for peculiar listings so was rather excited – yes, excited….me …. wow that is a sight you don’t see very often.  I am more of a quiet, non-excitable person, and it usually takes a lot for me to jump in the air, with a quick click of the heels and a rip-roaring cry of ‘Huzzah’, but I must have been brighter than usual on Monday morning.  I must have had a good dream during the night.  Damn I wish I could remember those rather than just the weird ones.
 
Anyway,  when I opened my emails and found the following I read it, digested it and then pressed the delete button.  A nano-second – and you will get that pun later if you continue reading this diatribe – I thought to myself, ‘Hang on…..I know where I could use that,’ and I promptly retrieved it from my folder, somewhat bluntly called ‘Trash’.  I mean, a lot of emails aren’t really ‘trash’ are they?  Some are just emails that may have been very informative etc., but you just don’t want to keep them, but I think ‘trash’ is too harsh a word.  There is not really a lot of difference between the words ‘trash’ and ‘junk’ at the end of the day.  Perhaps they should rename ‘trash’ to something less harsh like ‘good stuff, but don’t want anymore’ and keep ‘junk’ for spam and all the other dross. 
 
To get to the matter in hand, ie opening the door of the cabinet of curiosities and reaching one’s hand in to the second shelf,  right-hand side (facing it that is, otherwise it will be left-hand side), behind that white piece of coral (I think that is what it is, but my eyesight is not so good these days) I recommend a visit to http://curious.com/     It does have some fascinating tales to tell, and videos to watch.  I cannot remember why or how I stumbled upon it, but that is the nature of the internet I guess.  You look up something, and find yourself going on a journey of discovery.  Hours later you come across a site like this, and find yourself watching a video about something you would never have thought yourself wanting to watch,  with the added bonus that you actually learn something interesting.  The fact that whatever it was that you were looking for has been conveniently lost somewhere in the darkest, quivering recesses of your grey matter is delightfully ignored when you realise that you have learnt something – whether or not it is actually completely useless to your everyday comings and goings. 
 
Anyway I now get a daily update of curios from these good people and the one below seemed fairly topical, and is what I was so excited about when I read it, due to being able to a) not trawl down the E-bay listings, and b) not get lost for a couple of hours searching for something, and then find myself forgetting all about it but finding a really good book to read on Amazon instead, thus having to go back to square one in the early hours of the next morning:
 
Guitars are sensitive, and guitarists have long been frustrated by the difficulties of carrying their instruments on a plane or into extreme weather conditions. Enter the nano guitar and Dustin Carr, a Cornell University researcher back in the 1990s. He holds the notable distinction of creating the world’s smallest guitar. It's only ten micrometers long--20 times smaller than a human hair! The nano guitar can actually be played using an atomic force microscope to pluck the strings, which are only about 100 atoms thick. On the down side the sounds produced are inaudible to the human ear. And yes, Spinal Tap fans, he already tried turning the amp up to 11.
 
You can read more about this at good old http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nano_guitar
if you are so inclined.  Or you can just ignore it – whatever rocks your boat.  But just think how you can astound folks at parties, weddings, or your best buddy whilst chatting at the bar in your local with snippets of information like this. You could even be the person who helps your team to win the pub quiz with such facts.   Great Stuff.  
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION TIME

Just in case you are interested, here is yer beloved Editor at iTunes

Bipolar, Jon Downes Lost Weekend, Jon Downes Hard Sports - EP, Jon Downes The Man from Dystopia, Jon Downes

Check it out now...
IT’S WAR BOYS! 

A Secret (& Brief) History of HOMOSEXUALS

 
Rock ‘n’ Roll, it has been said, is all about announcing yourself.  So, what do you call a man whose entire recorded output has been kept so determinedly anonymous that even his pseudonyms have pseudonyms, who ignored not only the garish fame-carrot – dangled in front of all pop-related endeavor – but also even the more prosaic making-a-living-potato, yet who was so relentlessly productive that in four years in the early 1980s he released more material than some ENTIRE MUSICAL GENRES?  You call him Xentos ‘Fray’ Bentos, or Xentos Jones, or Major Amos, or Amos De'ath, or Dave Marsh, or L.Voag, or Harman e Phraysier, or Pete The Drummer, or Dr Shagnasty, or even Jim Welton (plus a mysterious and equally anonymous band of music-making squatters), that’s who! 
 
It all began in 1977, when the punk group The Rejects changed their name to The Homosexuals and those remaining members who hadn’t immediately quit in horror spent the next few years squatting and playing as few gigs as possible.  They released one 7" single ("Hearts in Exile/Soft South Africans" in 1978) and a couple of EPs during the punk era (“Bigger Than the Number ... Yet Missing the Dot” in 1978 and “The Homosexuals” in 1979), and never recorded a proper album (although a compilation LP ("The Homosexuals' Record") limped out in 1984, long after it was all over), but all of it is excellent: a delicate DIY art-punk, halfway to New Wave, which whistled simultaneously over the head and under the radar of mainstream music culture, vanishing with scarcely a ripple.

Anyway, while all this excitement wasn’t going on, the bass player of The Homosexuals, who we shall from this moment on refer to simply as Jim Welton, was quietly bubbling away with his own project: the creation of the largest and most bewildering oil slick of anonymous music imaginable!

His first solo release, "The Way Out", released on his own record label, "It's War, Boys", was a New Wave/Post Punk classic of studio-as-instrument, recorded at the Surrey Sound (used by really-real groups like The Police and Roxy Music) and released on vinyl in 1979 to an uncomprehending and frankly undeserving world (it’s now reissued on Alcohol Records).  It’s The Bible (or at least, the foyer) rendered into fascinating and oddly listenable experiments by maniacs obsessed with crazed dub production tricks and cheesy pop.  And anti-fame anonymity.  And it’s brilliant, drawing a big cheerful purple crayon line between pissing about and The Residents. 


Meanwhile, in the following year, The Homosexuals – including our man Welton ­– fired what might be the opening salvo in this attempt to tie biographers and record collectors in knots, by releasing their next album under SIX DIFFERENT PSEUDONYMS.  “Ici La Bas” featured six songs, credited variously to sax-The Master/guitar J.V.Sang, Ici La Bas, Yanto Novitch, Dirty Mary Brown & the Mysteries, The Prolific Urdos, and drums-The Master/guitar-vos J.V.Sang/flute-Alex Smart.  The strategy had now been set!

The next three years saw Welton mutate his way through dozens of pseudonyms, including L.Voag (12" LP "The Way Out" and 7" EP "Move", both from 1979), Narky Brillans (one cassette "Goes Into Orbo" from 1981, reissued on 12" vinyl in 2010 by War Extension), The Just Measurers (one 12" LP "Flagellation" from 1983), Nancy Sesay and The Melodaires (one legendary 7" from 1982 and "Featuring The Treacle Singers", according to the sleeve), and the various "Amos" records and others featuring Sara (Sara Fancy/Sara Hop-Hop) on vocals, including Amos & Crew (one cassette "True Tears" from 1982, which was “recorded in Tokyo ... on Mr Shiotas old four track cassette in Mr Kitamuras kitchen in sporadic three day binge”, according to the tape insert), Amos & Superslicks (on the Spanish 12” “Domestic Sampler UMYU” from 1982), Sara Goes Pop (a double 7" "Sara Goes Pop" from 1982), The Fear Merchants (one cassette "Mental" from 1982, also featuring Milk From Cheltenham’s Lepke Buchwalter), Amos & Sara (two cassettes "… Invite To 'Endless Latino'" and "… Sing The Private World Of Amos", plus the 12" "Go Home Soldier", all from 1983).

Then there were the various records featuring Lepke Buchwalter (also, obviously, a pseudonym), including Vic Serf & The Villains (one cassette "Rok Y Roll" from 1980), Modern Shit (a single cassette "Will Make You Sick" distributed privately in the early 1980s, reissued as "Will Make You Ill" in 2008 by Alga Marghen), Milk From Cheltenham (one 12" "Triptych Of Poisoners" on red, blue or black vinyl from 1983, reissued on CD in 2005 by Alga Marghen) and Gus Coma (one cassette "Colour Him Coma" from 1983, using parts of recordings by Milk From Cheltenham and The Just Measurers, and reissued on CD in 2011).

He also – somehow – found time to guest on loads of other obscure recordings, many on The Homosexuals founder Bruno Wizard's Black Noise label, under names like Sir Alick And The Phraser (a 7" single "In Search Of The Perfect Baby/Nursery Chymes" from 1980) and George Harrasment (one 12" "Masai Sleep Walking" from 1983), and also popped up on albums by Bing Selfish and The Hostiapaths, etc etc.
Welton emerged into the digital era in the company of Lepke Buchwalter as Die Trip Computer Die (four albums, "Stadium Death" from 1999, reissued now on Alcohol Records, "We Are Your Friends" from 2000, "Die Like A Rock" from 2006 and "Angry Dan Presents: Stop Killing Jelly Trousers" in 2011, plus at least three infinitely obscure privately circulated CDRs, “Blind Puppies”, Shorter Circuits” and “All Shag Ringo” with no official release dates).  Oh, and he did a super-bizarre weekly radio show on London’s Resonance 104.4FM for a bit, called “The Harmon e Phraysier Show”.  But only for a bit.

Get the idea?  And that's just a partial list – and, of course, just so far!  Now, I know what you’re saying:

SO, ORRIN, WHERE THE FUCK DO I BEGIN??

Five recommendolistens, to get you started:
  1. L. Voag: “No Way Out” [1979] – All of the stuff by The Homosexuals is recommended and now available on CD, but for Welton, “No Way Out” is where it all starts to get really interesting.  A whole new universe of sound, from bop-along pop, to delicate horn-drenched classical vignettes, to Nurse With Wound-ish dark experiments (often all in the same track), this is, along with the “Nancy Sesay” material, the first, finest and most fully realized object to mirage its way out of Welton’s imagination.  If you can’t hang with this, then there’s no real point trying to cling on when things start getting REALLY lo-fi and weird.
  2. Nancy Sesay and The Melodaires: “C’est Fab” [1982] – Wire magazine put this three-song EP in their list of “100 Records That Set The World On Fire (While No One Was Listening)” at number 69.  Peerless.  Just dial up the title track on youtube and do yourself a favour.
  3. The Fear Merchants: “Mental” [1982] – I’ve heard this described as an opera about mental illness.  Which it, I suppose, is.  Featuring Amos, Sara and a plethora of other determinedly anonymous musicians, it has creepy (and appallingly played) strings and sounds like something the Goons would have recorded if you infected them with viral schizophrenia, locked them all in Broadmoor for five years and then lobbed in a four-track tape recorder, a broken sax and a violin.
  4. Sara Goes Pop: “Sara Goes Pop” [1982] –15 minutes of shambolic charm whose eight tiny, twisted pop vignettes were originally, somehow, spread over four sides of vinyl.
  5. Amos and Sara: “... Sing The Private World of Amos” [1982] – The very definition of lo-fi D.I.Y.  Silly voices, jokily ambitious hyper-melodic basslines and the usual ragged paint-can & milk-bottle percussion scribble out eighteen ragged songs crammed with more ideas than anybody could wiggle a banjo at.
Many of these albums have now been reissued on CD, mostly on the Italian label Alga Marghen.  And a lot of it is on youtube, if you want a listen.  Of course, as with anything good, if you really want it, you’ll have to seek it out.

A half-hour film about Welton called "The Way Out: A Portrait Of Xentos Jones" was released in 2003, directed by Luke Fowler and Kosten Koper.  You can watch it online at http://vimeo.com/48432298, although it's unlikely to illuminate much of anything ... only appropriate given the tenebrous qualities of its subject. 

It begins with a quote from Chekhov: "True talents always seek obscurity". 

Well ... not EVERY talent.  But – certainly – some.

Why do you make music?  What do you do it for?  Something to ponder, as this stuff is wriggling your ossicles.

INTRODUCING THE NINE HENRYS
There are nine Henrys, purported to be the world’s first cloned cartoon character. They live in a strange lo-fi domestic surrealist world peopled by talking rock buns and elephants on wobbly stilts. They mooch around in their minimalist universe suffering from an existential crisis with some genetically modified humour thrown in. 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...

The Weird Weekend is the largest yearly gathering of mystery animal investigators in the English-speaking world. Now in its fifteenth 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.

BUY TICKETS AT A SPECIAL ADVANCE PRICE
the running order (so far) for the 2014 event
GREGG FROM PARADISE 9 WRITES:
Just checked out your interview with Jaki. Nicely done and a respectful touch I thought. I'll add a link in our next newsletter if I may.

The gigs went really well, and great to be playing with Nik Turner and ICU again. Nik joined us on our London show for the last few numbers which was fab, and it nearly the third anniversary of Judge Trev's passing, was great to hear ICU playing out the skins! News from P9 Central is that we are getting together a digital radio mix of the title track and releasing this as a digital single, along with single video release. When I have more details, it'd be great if you could
get that out for us.

Anyhows, hope all is good with you there in Devon.

Cheers!

Gregg
 
THE WORLD OF KEV
Kev Rowland
REDS’ COOL          Bad Story                      (MBM)
I have heard quite a bit of Russian music over the years, although admittedly most of that has been progressive music of one form or another, and it all contains a certain flavour that lets one know exactly where it has come from. But, if I was asked to pick a country based solely on the sound of this album and nothing else then I would have probably gone for the States, with the UK being second choice but pretty convinced that it was the former as it has some classy vocals that I associate more with America. But, these guys state that they are “a Russian hard rock band from St. Petersburg. We play classic hard rock with modern interpretation, turning to blues and art rock.” Classic hard rock hits the nail on the 
head, and although the vocals aren’t as bluesy as the master that is Paul Rodgers, this bands reminds me a lot of Seventies’ Bad Company, and that has to be a good thing in anyone’s book.

If someone were to ask me to pick faults with this I would say that I am not a fan of the band name, and the artwork for the album is awful and makes me think more of Dogs D’Amour than classic hard rock, but after that I would start to struggle, as this is just so damn listenable. Put it on, settle back, and just start to smile. I note that Michael Wagener mixed and mastered this and he has polished this to perfection. Also, they have been touring with Black Star Riders (ex-Thin Lizzy for those who missed their amazing album) and are soon to be out with UFO so they are getting in front of appreciative audiences. If you want classic hard rock with plenty of balls, just a hint of blues, and class and verve then this is for you. https://www.facebook.com/RedsCoolRockBand
 
ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN     Drive          (INSIDE OUT)
Although the name may not be immediately recognisable to all, Anneke has incredibly strong credentials in the music scene having fronted The Gathering for 13 years. It was as long ago as 2007 that she decided that it was time for her to do somethjing a little different and with her new band Agua de Annique she established herself as a solo artist, releasing several albums to critical and popular acclaim. She also found time to collaborate with some of her long-time friends and musical peers, lending her honey-sweet, yet powerful voice to the likes of Anathema (‘Falling Deeper’), Devin Townsend (‘Addicted!’, ‘Epicloud’) and fellow Dutchmen Within Temptation (‘Black Symphony’). Her last album, 
‘Everything is Changing’ was the first to be released solely under her own name and  was nominated for two Edison awards – Holland’s most prestigious music prize – in the categories ‘Best Female Artist’ and ‘Best Album’. It turned out to be a major success, so it was interesting to be faced with the new album to see what this one was like.Although I have some albums by The Gathering, I hadn’t caught up with Anneke’s solo work and the first time I played this I really wasn’t too sure. While her vocals are as pure and clear as ever, with a wonderful melodic lilt and catch, wasn’t this just a little too commercial? Now, for one reason or another (mostly my disorganisation combined with a business trip to the US), it has taken me a while to get to writing about this album so I have been playing it quite a lot more than I usually would, and I am really glad that I did as my view has changed considerably.
 
Whereas before I felt it was too commercial and designed for radio play, now it feels much more like the perfect marriage of rock and pop with some progressive elements. This is not something that can just easily be dismissed, and if Kate Bush was to release an album with some symphonic metal elements then it may just come across like this. Anneke’s vocals are just wonderful, and she knows how to hit notes and stay on them, riding the melodic wave and while she allows her touring band to have plenty of impact she is very much the centre of proceedings. It is hard to pick a favourite, as the more I have played this the better it has got and whatever is playing is the one I like best. Definitely worth investigating. 
ASHES OF ARES          Ashes of Ares           (NUCLEAR BLAST)
It is always interesting when well-known musicians get together to form a new band, and while it is a given that they can all play, do they have enough musical ideas to set the new band apart from their own past? This trio comprises Matt Barlow (vocals – ex Iced Earth), Freddie Vidales (guitar/ bass - ex Iced Earth) and Van Williams (drums - ex Nevermore). Now, there is a pretty solid case to say that Matt’s best work has been with Iced Earth, and vice versa, but he hasn’t been setting the world alight with his most recent works, so it was with great interest that I put this on the player. Ten songs later I did just what any self-respecting metalhead would do – went to the fridge to get
more beer, turned the player up just that little bit more, and settled back to go through it again.

This is one of those albums that grabs the listener by both the balls and the ears and brings them in immediately. Whatever you want from a traditional metal album then I can pretty much guarantee that it is here. The band say that during the recording they felt influenced by more classic band such as Iron Maiden and Saxon, but also by more extreme bands like Behemoth and Machine Head. While I can hear all of these, there is also a healthy dose of classic Nineties Iced Earth as one could well expect. We end up with a melodic, extremely well crafted metal album, with strong riffs, great rhythm section, lyrical guitar solos and stunning vocals. Come on guys, how on earth could you wish for anything more than this? 5 solid gold stars all the way – this one is a keeper..
BROKEN HOPE       Omen of Disease          (CENTURY MEDIA)
 Broken Hope first came to prominence in the death metal scene in the Nineties, when they released four albums on Metal Blade. Feeling that they didn’t get enough support from the label they moved on and released a final album in 1999 before calling it a day a few years later. Over the years a reunion was mooted, but then in 2010 singer Joe Ptacek took his own life. Prior to this he had been having discussions with founder Jeremy Wagner (rhythm guitar) and bassist Shaun Glass about finally getting the band back together, and the guys decided that maybe it was time to just that. Of course they now needed a new singer, so in stepped Damian Leski (Gorgasm) while also recruited were Mike Miczek (drums) and Chuck Wepfer (lead guitar).
 
So what we have now is a group that is 25 years in the making, and consequently playing music that sounds as if it comes straight from the Eighties. Fans of classic Cannibal Corpse may get a kick out of this, but for all it’s promise it just doesn’t do it for me. Damian has an incredible singing style, but the music is just too clean and not brutal or technical enough to really set them apart. It is not a bad album, far from it in fact, but it is not a great one either. I am sure that there will be many old fans of the band who will be pleased to see that some of them are back together and operating under the name again, but whether this is enough to see them gain any ones I have my doubts. But, with the support of Century Media behind them maybe their tie has finally come – it’s just that on the sole basis of this, I doubt it.  

The Green Violinist 
More Thrill and Never Ending Blessings 

This is one of my favourite Gonzo albums...
Can you hear the elves in the wood or can you even see them? The Green Violinist start their new album "More thrill and never-ending blessings" dreamy, playfully and like in a fairytale. From there, the music goes on quietly flowing and full of wonderful harmonies. The songs will catch your attention.

Vincent Dufresne, leader and songwriter of the band, admits he was inspired by the painting of famous artist Marc Chagall "The Green Violinist".

He managed to catch the spirit of the picture in an incredible way and to transfer it into the music. The result is a wonderful collection of Neoprog-songs containing its fair share of acoustic moments (guitar, piano and obviously violins).

But the range goes further including electronic, almost trance-like songs that take you into another world. 

Check it out (USA)
C
heck it out (UK)
THE BEST LAID PLANS...
It has been a strange but rather nice week here in the potato shed where Captain Frunobulax and I go about our daily business. This week the household was increased by one.
Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my lobster. That's a line you don't hear every day, but yesterday we took receipt of a half-grown blue lobster from New Guinea, who is now  ensconced in a tank where Corinna's cane toads used to be (they are now in the kitchen underneath the Vietnamese stick insects).

He is a delightful and rather inquisitive little fellow (definitely a male because of the red stripes on his claws) and he has been diligently exploring his new home, and eating bits of shredded fish. Apparently he will also be fond of cucumber, which is peculiar because I can imagine that the cucumber count in New Guinea rivers is practically zero. However, some years ago when I had a tankful of smuggled Puerto Rico forest snails, they liked both cucumbers and dandelions, neither of which are found anywhere near PR. Weird huh?

If you want to see lobster/old lady interaction (Mama is entranced by him) look here.
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