Issue Twenty-Nine       June 8th 2013
This is the nearest that you are ever going to get to a posh weekend colour supplement from the Gonzo Daily team. Each week we shall go through the best bits of the week before, and if there aren't any we shall make some up, or simply make our excuses and leave (you can tell the editor once did contract work at the News of the World can't ya?)
Social media stuff that I am really too old to understand, (my stepdaughter spent much of last Christmas trying to explain Twitter to me) but I am assuming that at least some of our readers are younger and hipper than I am.
Google Plus
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...
Each week this publication does get more like a bona fide magazine, and each week we get closer to the anarchic but sophisticated journal of letters, sounds and ideas that I have been wanting to publish for the past thirty something years. This week's offering with prose from Mick Farren and C.J.Stone (two of my favourite writers, and I am not saying that just because they write here for nothing) and interviews with some of my favourite artists, is probably the nearest to the ideal that we have achieved yet.

But this is how it should be. We should be endlessly striving to get better, both as people and as publications. Because, on the day that we stop doing that, there really is no point in continuing.

If I sound mildly addled it is because I am under the influence of drugs: one cigarette and a mug of Lemsip to be precise. I have caught one of those irritating summer colds that always threatens to break out into a full blown sneezing fit, but actually never gets worse than a mild headache, sore throat and tickly cough. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
Over the past few weeks I have been telling you about the revitalised Gonzo Web radio, and the new shows which we are hosting. I have a whole slew of shows ready to go up, but technical problems this week have got in the way. However, for your delectation here is episode three of Canterbury Sans Frontières and here is This Episode's Playlist
I am very impressed by the diligence of Canterbury Sans Frontières main man Matthew Watkins. I am always impressed by people whose enthusiasm takes them to realms that other people not only don't usually visit, but often have never even heard of. Matthew (pictured right, inside a mushroom faerie ring somewhere in Sussex) is one of these people.

I think that the photograph of him looking somewhat like Dr Dee inside a faerie circle, is highly appropriate, because at its best (and who ever said that Gonzo was not the best?) music is truly magickal. Music has been part of human magickal tradition since the dawn of our species, and probably before, and much of the music that we cover in these pages is truly invocatory.

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Blurring boundaries.
During this last week, not for the first time, there have been spillovers into the Gonzo blogs from my other lives as a Fortean (more strictly a Fortean Zoologist), and as a Conservationist. 
Actually, I don't see any great difference between my various roles. There is a magickal element in much of the music that we cover that sits quite comfortably with me as a Fortean, and as a Conservationist I don't just want to return to a time when the English countryside was a calmer, healthier and happier place, but also to a time when music was important - not just as a soundtrack to our day to day activities, but as an integral part of our lives. I feel very sad for young people who not only are unlikely to ever see a swarm of marsh fritillaries, like I did as a boy, but whose experience of music is mostly of homogenised, pre-packaged pap aimed at promoting a series of fatuous TV talent shows. Britain has indeed got talent, but you see pretty little of it on TV.

But it is time for me to get off my soap box. However, I make no apologies for repeatedly writing about the badger cull, for example, as I have done HERE, HERE and HERE. It may well be the most effective way of dealing with bTB but it is certainly not the most humane or the most ethical. Kudos to Queen guitarist Brian May for all he is doing.  

I agree with everything that the mighty Mick Farren had to say when I interviewed him last week. The human race is, indeed, behaving like a virus. Our society, and - as far as I can see - most of the other societies in the world, is becoming progressively less ethical and more brutal. As I wrote last week:
On the journey up to Brighton I was discussing a whole slew of things with Dave, including my perennial worry that the team of people who help me run the annual Weird Weekend in North Devon gets smaller each year, and the list of people who help financially is rapidly diminishing. Costs get higher, and the milk of human kindness is beginning to curdle. Dave said, (and I am afraid that I have to agree with him) that it is because we are in a recession. People are more worried about money, and therefore become more selfish in their quest of it. My attitude is exactly the opposite; when society is in trouble, this is precisely when we need people to be community oriented, and where crazy-passionate nonsense is most important. But I am in a minority, and this is why we need the Deviants and their ilk now, more than ever.
...and I meant every word. As well as a lamentable lack of ethics, our shared society is getting more and more shallow, as (if I may quote a song I sang nearly 20 years ago)
Now style over content is the way they measure worth/and a grinning fool has just become the most powerful man on earth
...and our music business is acting as a microcosm of society, which I suppose - in a strange way - it always did. 

We have the absolute moral right to demand ethical behavioural and intellectual substance from those who are in power over us, and to find music and musicians of ethical, emotional and intellectual substance. This is what I try to do here. Just remember one thing (before I finally do get off my soapbox, and get back to the subject of Gonzo Web Radio...


That is all!
I have the first trenche of the archives of Canterbury Soundwaves ready to go up as soon as the technical issues are sorted, and also three or four entire shows of Neil Nixon's massively entertaining Strange Fruit radio show. So keep your fingers crossed, and let's hope that we get these issues sorted very soon.
For more news on Strange Fruit CLICK HERE
For more news on Canterbury Sans Frontières CLICK HERE
For the Gonzo Web Radio homepage CLICK HERE
I am very excited about this new venture. We shall also be hosting all the episodes of his previous Canterbury Soundwaves podcast. I don't know how long it will take to get them all up and in place, but we shall get there in the end.

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

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

Although this newsletter also goes out in a plain text version for those of you who do not trust image intensive thingys in your browser, I promise that as long as it is technically feasible (which will be for the forseeable future) the text only mailout will continue. However, I strongly advise that for you to get the best out of this rapidly evolving publication, that you really should see it in all its picture-led glory.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Dave McMann went to Stratford to see Mark Thomas previewing his show for the Edinburgh Festival
Well, sat in the front row, about three feet away from Mark as he did a solo 90 minute slot of one of the politically correct/incorrect without malice things I have ever seen. He talked about his young daughter, who wanted a dog, as they have a cat, he said 'no', but she got a neighbourhoodcampaign going, petitions from everyone, including her school were signed and he gave in. Then his son was late for school and his English teacher said that was disgusting. So the kid pointed out how she was wrong as it was tardiness etc!.

Next up was 'stickering books' in shops, though rightly he said never to do that in independent bookshops. Also, inserting little notes, such as page 32 'she dies at the end'.

Then Thatcher porn. Mark and an artist, forgot her name, wanted to do a thing about Thatcher. So he would buy magazines, also get a receipt, which amazed the shopkeepers. They would 'edit' it with Thatcher's head on the models, then they would edit in Wally. Then they would find prices of what's in the background and tag them, such as tea towels, kettles etc. His wife saw the results and was shocked at the price of the fridge. However, the clever part was, they would re-seal the now edited magazines and put them back on the shelves!

Lots of stuff about the police, the arms trade etc. A brilliant gig from a totally aware and very friendly guy.

A guy in the audience had to use the toilet, so when he left, a plan was hatched. It's his birthday in a couple of weeks, so a card was found and everyone signed it so he will get a card and think 'who is this from'. Hehe.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The Gospel according to Bart
Once again, Bart Lancia has been on the ball this week. He was the first person to send me the news of the death of Joey Covington...
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: Joey Covington (1945-2013)
The drummer with Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane has died.

Joey at Wikipedia
ur tribute to Joey
More on Joey's death
THOSE WE HAVE LOST:  Tom Sharpe (1928-2013)
He was a viciously funny satirical author, and will be sadly missed.

Our tribute to Tom Sharpe
Tom Sharpe at Wikipedia
he Guardian obituary

Martin Birke was one of the first artists that I interviewed when I started writing The Gonzo Daily all those months ago. Now his band, Genre Peak has a new ambient album imminent, and so, on the last day of May, I spoke to him again....

JON: Tell me about the new album

MARTIN: â€˜9 Microspheres’….Basically in 2009 after I had finished Genre Peak’s second album “Preternatural”, which was big production, big electronic, big 24 track with percussion and bass and everything, I talked to my friend Steve about doing an ambient album because I said I needed a break from the constant programming and just the whole ordeal of doing a big, big  vocal album. So I just gotten a new Pro Tools LE studio system for my house, so as part of learning it – you know learning the engineering of it – we got together and basically started doing these ambient pieces. 

Steve is a former student of Robert Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists that I think happened around 1985,  and Steve is also a really talented  guitar synth artist and he can generate these incredible environments and loops with a midi guitar and what’s really nice about the guitar synth is that there is something about the midi tracking on strings that gives you more control and a lot more organic sound over the strings than you would with a normal keyboard synthesiser, so Steve being very good at what he does just kinda started recording these pieces and he would layer loops on loop s and it would be very ethereal and calming. 

And  we’d put on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 and we would watch that with the volume turned down and we basically recorded for about a week watching various Kubrick  movies with the volume turned down, and we  found it really inspiring, you know, Kubrick being the master that he was.  And so each piece started to have its own unique sound to it.  Granted they are all kinda on the dark side, but each piece sounded quite different from the last and after about – I think we did about just under two weeks of tracking - I picked about ten of the tracks that I really liked and just kind of cut them, shortened them, played with them, added effects here and there, reverb sounds, clicks and groans and stuff like that and it just really turned out to be very great and magical and I was really proud of it.  So we released it under a different name and these were different mixes from the new album, and we released in 2009 on iTunes and that was that.  

We didn’t have a CD pressing, we didn’t really promote it and that was that.  But over the years I was looking back on it thinking “Wow these are really solid ambient tracks, I really like this and this was some of the most fun favourite stuff I’ve ever done”.  So I think about last year I told Steve let’s give this a proper release maybe Rob will release it through his label.  So I first went to my old German label which is an ambient label and they liked it but for some reason didn’t want to release so struck out there.  So I sent Rob a couple of tracks and said, “Look,  I know ambient music is really hard to promote and it’s even harder to sell, not a lot of people are into it, you know. Unless the hard core Brian Eno fans out there”. But we had the songs remixed and we had them mastered very properly.  It’s one of the loudest masters I’ve ever heard. At 20 dBs it is huge. There’s this huge headroom, I think it is because there is no drums or symbols or anything fucking up the headroom. So Rob said OK let’s do it as a digital release, which I was very surprised and I was like “Wow really?”  Nobody wanted to touch this stuff, but Rob is a good guy. A real patron of music. 

So I talked to my friend Dan and he designed the  artwork on the digital booklet and then we decided that we wanted to do a small CD pressing just to have a physical copy to hand out at shows, and to send out to magazines, you know, just on a small basis. And so we pressed up a couple of hundred, and they turned out really nice and it was very cost-effective. And we just got the CDs about two weeks ago and they’re up for sale on the Genre Peak website right now. And I think the digital release through Gonzo will probably  hit stores …. around July I think.

JON: I thought it was the end of June, but I can check.

MARTIN:  But, you know, sometimes it takes a while for the stores to get it. That’s just the way distribution goes.  But anyway it should be out digitally very soon. And that’s basically how it came together. And we decided to make it a Genre Peak album just to go along with the rest of the Genre Peak and showing that the idea of Genre Peak is no two albums sound the same so I thought that  by putting out an ambient album that would be a nice twist to – a nice contrast to – the rock and electronical stuff we have done in the past.

JON: Was this your first go at ambient music?

MARTIN:  Seriously, yes.  I had been in bands in the ‘90s.  I was in a band called Sandbox Trio where we toured Germany and we did kind of improvised ambient always with some type of mild rhythm to it.  This is the first time I said I don’t want any percussion on this record – no drums at all. It was really fun for me to find alternate sounds that would take the place of percussion sounds, like we would sample a fence being scraped by a stick,  put a big reverb on it and place it in the background, you know, all washed out. Record scratches I would stretch out really long and reverse them and put them really far back in the background. I have these back-rigged bells that were very silent and had this kind of "zzzzzzp" sound on the second track called ‘Lunar’ , which is like my favourite track, and it was really kind of fun doing sound design so yes this will probably be the first time that I really,  seriously did something purely ambient, because I am a drummer before I am anything else as a musician so doing something without drums was really fun. 

Read on...
Have a sneak preview of this exciting new album from Genre Peak. You can download a track called Happiness from HERE


In 1996 I went looking for King Arthur.

Not the historical Arthur, you understand. No, a modern day Arthur: a biker, a druid and an eco-warrior, living here in the UK, who was making a name for himself at the time by going around calling himself King Arthur.

I wanted to write a book about him.

I spent the better part of the year on my quest to find him. I was driving from my home town in Kent, the county of the Saxons, westwards into the Celtic lands, to the two great Stone circles at Avebury and Stonehenge, and to Glastonbury in Somerset, following the A303, always with some specific instruction to meet him at such and such a place, at such and such a time, usually passed on to me by Steve Andrews, the friend who had originally told me about Arthur, and every time I got to wherever it was, he wouldn’t be there. Something would have happened to hold him up. Or he just went somewhere else instead. We were like two satellites whirling about in the night sky on two separate orbits, skimming quite close to each other at times, but never quite meeting.

I got to go to a lot of druid ceremonies in this time. I stood around in circles in fields in the early morning while the mists were rising, listening to incantations and chants and mysterious-sounding prayers. I watched as people did things with flowers and goblets of mead and bits of bread and knives and swords. I said, “hail!” to this and “hail!” to that. I watched as people divided the circle into quarters and summoned up the spirits of the four directions. I said “Hail,” to the East, and “Whatcha” to the South, and “Hiya,” to the West and “Howdy” to the North. I listened as people likened the four quarters to the four elements. The East was Air, the South was Fire, the West was Water, the North was Earth. I joined in as we did the “I-A-O” as a long-drawn-out chant, the vowel sounds blending into each other, and travelling around the circle with a life of their own. The chant would rise and fall around the circle, lift into the air a little, like a spacecraft about to take off, before falling into silence again. I didn’t know what any of it was for really. It felt like I was in Church, only someone had forgot to put the heating on. Or the roof, come to that. It was often very cold.

You may wonder why I was doing this? Why was I going to all this trouble? Whenever I described my quest to anybody, the response was almost immediate. “He thinks he’s King Arthur you say? So where are you meeting him then? In a lunatic asylum?”

I was doing it all on the say-so of my friend Steve, who was – is -- by his own admission, something of an eccentric.

Steve believes in all sorts of things that other people don’t believe in. He believes in the presence of ETs amongst us. He believes that a vast, all encompassing alien conspiracy is overwhelming our world. He believes in gods and demons and angels and aliens, and crop circles and hidden technologies and great forces at work on our planet. He used to be a scientologist. He’s tried every kind of belief system you can imagine. He’s been on a quest all his life, to find out the truth behind the appearance of things. He has a taste for the unusual and the arcane and lists amongst his friends people who think they are aliens, people who think they are gods, and people who think they are gurus.

So why not a person who thinks he’s King Arthur too? Maybe King Arthur is just another one of these weird people that Steve has a taste for. But, then, maybe that doesn’t matter either.


There are two countries here. I am exploring both of them at the same time. There is the country of Britain, with all it’s hills and valleys and mountains and forests; its cities and its towns; its cathedrals and its temples; its rivers, its lakes, its seas, its coasts; its housing estates, its motorways, its factories, its shopping centres. And then there is another country which is imposed on that: the country of the mind. And in this country, well everything is true. If a belief exists, it’s true. It’s true because people believe it. In the country of the mind beliefs are the structures. They are like the houses and the buildings, the roads and the railway lines of the mind. They are manmade, but they occupy the mind, in the same way that roads and houses are manmade but occupy the world.

Beliefs are real because people make them real. Those housing estates and motorways and factories and shopping centres existed in the country of the mind before they existed in reality. They exist in the form they exist because the mind has conceived of them as such. The cathedrals and temples and mosques and churches exist because a belief has made them exist. The belief comes before the building. The building is made as an expression of the belief.

The word “belief” is from the Old English “be-lefan” to allow. That’s a very permissive thought. We allow thoughts their own kind of reality. However, there are different grades of belief. If a person holds a belief we know is false, we call that a delusion. If a person holds a belief with great certainty, we call that a conviction. Having a conviction about something does not make it true. Sometimes a conviction can be a delusion, but if the person holding the belief attempts to impose it on the rest of us, then this is a very dangerous kind of belief. Wars have been fought over this kind of belief and millions of people have died. Thus do beliefs have a direct effect upon our world.

There are larger and smaller beliefs, important ones and unimportant ones. There are profound beliefs and strategic beliefs, and absurd beliefs and ugly ones. There are beliefs that stir us to action, and beliefs that hold us in check. There are beliefs that confuse us and beliefs that clarify. Enlightened beliefs and archaic beliefs. Measurable beliefs and immeasurable ones. A belief in science. A belief in technology. A belief in the government. A belief in God. A belief in reincarnation. A belief in fairies. Which one of these beliefs is “true”? Perhaps they are all true and not true at the same time?

Read on...



This is a hold up. Everybody remain exactly as you are. This is a hold up. My companions and I want you all to relax. Can you do that? Can you relax? It won’t be easy but if you can, try to stay calm and you will not be harmed. This is a hold up. We know you are afraid, but control your fear and this process will be simple and painless. This is a hold up. Make no sudden movements. Please do not speak or ask questions. Just breathe. Slowly. Breathe with me. Now. Breathe with me. In and slowly out. Shall we try it again? Breathe with me. In and slowly out. In and slowly out. The great danger in a situation like this is a breakdown of control and a loss of fundamental common sense that will all too easily inflate into hysteria and chaos. Breathe with me. In and slowly out. In and slowly out. 

This is a hold up. You do not know me and I would hardly expect you to feel a commonality or kinship. As you can clearly see I am holding a pistol. My face is covered by a rubber mask. The mask is that of the cartoon character Porky Pig, and also serves to  muffle my voice. That’s what you will tell the police and the TV crews once we have gone. He wore a Porky Pig mask, his voice was muffled, and he had a pistol. My companions are armed with automatic weapons and are all wearing masks of well-known Warner Brothers cartoon characters. That’s what you will tell the police and the TV crews once we have gone. They were armed with automatic weapons and wearing masks of well-known Warner Brothers cartoon characters. Porky Pig is the mortal enemy of Bugs Bunny.

This is a hold up. I think we all understand that by now. Accordingly I want all of you bank employees to take one step back and keep you hands in plain sight. As I just told these good customers, this is a hold up, but we don’t want to hurt any of you. I want you all to remain calm. You too should breathe with me. In and slowly out. In and slowly out. This is a hold up and it would be unfortunate if one of you should be motivated to be a hero. Heroism is a complex condition and should not be undertaken lightly or without careful reflection and a clear evaluation of the outcome. An urge to sound an alarm is deserving of similar deliberation. Be assured we will shoot anyone who sounds an alarm. 

As I continue to repeat, this is a hold up. Maybe we should give some thought to exactly what that means. We are about to remove as much currency as we possibly can from this bank. We will not allow ourselves to be impeded in this endeavour. On this point we are very serious. Deadly serious. So I beg you not – in any way – to assume otherwise. Before making any potentially disastrous decision I would council you all to think carefully. I do not wish to insult or denigrate you, but you are nothing more than the poorly paid employees of a mammoth international corporation. Do you really imagine a mammoth international corporation will be moved to anything beyond a token gratitude if you risk your life to protect what they believe is their property? At best they will send flowers to your funeral in compensation for your life. As I hope I have already made clear, we will shoot anyone who sounds an alarm. Better that you breathe with me. In and slowly out. In and slowly out.
This is a hold up. As bank robbers we subscribe to the philosophy of the great Willie Sutton. "You can't rob a bank on charm and personality. More is achieved with charm, personality, and a gun.” When we arrived you were all going about your lawful business. Now we are going about ours – although our business can hardly be considered lawful. This would not seem a foundation for any affinity or affiliation, but the connection between us goes deeper than any of you might suspect. I can see from your expressions that some of you are having trouble believing or accepting this. How can there be any connection between we the robbers and you the honest citizens? Perhaps you should go on breathing slowly and calmly and just consider where we are.

This is a hold up and we are all in the bank that is being held up. We are all together in this purpose designed temple dedicated to the worship of materialism and the display of corporate power. Sunlight streams through Venetian blinds and reflects from polished desks. Cameras swivel slow and knowing, seeing and recording all. Do I need to hazard a guess how the majority of you feel about banks and bankers? You read your newspapers and watch your televisions. Do I need to reference Woody Guthrie’s comparisons between robbery with six-guns and robbery with fountain pens. Are there any among you who aren’t at least partially aware of the malfeasance and criminality of these international bankers?

The magnitude of their transgressions surely exceeds that of a simple hold up. Indeed, they outstrip anything that might be perpetrated by a common thief. They have stolen homes and farms and businesses from their rightful owners. They have happily laundered the profits of cocaine cartels. They have played elaborate shell games with the life savings of the poor. They have provided shelters for the rich to avoid their contributions to civilization. They have invented impenetrable arithmetic to profit from the failures and losses of their customers and clients. They have invented words like “derivative”, “hedge”, and “leverage” to mask their fraudulent excesses. In the extremities of their greed they reach for sums so huge that they are abstractions, sums that could not be spent in multiple luxurious lifetimes. They have turned workable national  economies into profligate and rigged casinos.
Like I said, we are removing the currency from this bank. This is a hold up. To remove currency is the primary function of a hold up. While there can be no dispute the currency we intend to remove has been stored on these premises, its actual ownership might well be debatable. The bankers in their tall and towering corporate architecture will immediately claim ownership of this currency. But, in this, they are nothing more than opportunists. They hoard it. They accumulate it. They guard it. They fix the interest rates that it will accrue. They count it and they enclose it with alarms and time locks. They protect it with steel and ferro-concrete, but do they own it? That is the crucial question. Do they own this currency? Surely this currency belongs to the their depositors, to their customers? At best the elevated corporate bankers have stewardship over this currency rather than owning it. And that stewardship is now notorious for its quantum chicanery, rash speculation, reckless gambling, monumental deceits, and an all encompassing and total lack of principle and responsibility.
But wait. Do not let your attention wander. This is still a hold up. The process continues, and you must continue to breathe with me. In and slowly out. In and slowly out. Do not be blinded to the mortal danger that still hangs over all of us as my companions move among you removing the money. It is still vital that you remain calm and obedient. Breathe with me. In and slowly out. In and slowly out. I would like you to believe that we are exacting forcible reparations for the grand larceny and damage done by the bankers of this world. My hypocrisy will not extend so far as to lay noble claim to any Robin Hood motivation. What we take we keep.

I may also not be able to convince you that we are all on the same side or that we are merely taking back what should always have been ours. To be brutally honest, I am really only suggesting these ideas to you to keep your minds occupied while the robbery is in progress. This is a hold up. No more no less. We are not revolutionaries. We are criminals. And, as criminals we are good capitalists at heart. We are not unlike the bankers we are in the process of robbing. We look to profit from our audacity and are happy to profit at the expense of others. We have no intention of sharing our loot with the deprived and deserving. The money that my companions have almost finished collecting will largely be squandered on the fast gratification of the most debased whim and impulse – sex, drugs, flashy clothes, gaudy jewellery, fast cars, luxury durables. Doubtless some of us will ultimately be incarcerated for this job or another. But that is the chance they take. That is where we differ from the bankers in their towers. They resent that concept of any form of retribution.      
But now our work here is done. We take our money and we take our leave of you. Your behaviour has been exemplary and no one has been harmed. Let us keep it that way as we depart. This has been a hold up. Like Elvis we have left the building.
This week we posted the following Mick Farren related stories:

Doyens of the Underground Press release new books
ick Farren at Rock's Back Pages
Recently  I wrote about the Gonzo release of The Dutch Woodstock, a film of one of the great European Rock Festivals. This week this dropped into my e-mail inbox:
The Dutch Woodstock at Gonzo (USA)
The Dutch Woodstock at Gonzo (UK)
I recently wrote a piece about an excellent anthology of prose about progressive rock music (I have to admit that I am not a fan of the unlovely abbreviation 'Prog'). This got me thinking, and I would like to remind people that there are all sorts of progressive goodies available on the Gonzo Multimedia family of labels, including music by such luminaries as Yes, Van Der Graaf Generator, Gentle Giant, Gong and a score of others. Check out the Gonzo sites:
(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..
Things are pretty quiet on the Hawkwind front this week, but news on the forum that Chris Tait (Brock's wife) is involved in creating a Hawkwind vegetarian cookery book has intrigued a few fans.  Details are sketchy at present - for instance, it's not yet known if fish / seafood is included or not.

Back in the Charts Again!

The Warrior re-release briefly bobbled into the British Top Forty album chart, making #37 last week, somewhat unusual territory for Hawkwind these days. Of course, good positions in specialist charts are much more common. For instance, the current #1 on Amazon's psychedelic rock chart is.... the Warrior box-set.  And at #6 is the digipack version!  Space Ritual is at #30, Doremi is breathing down its neck at #33, In Search of Space makes #38, and the vinyl Warrior set is currently sitting at #71.

So don't say that Hawkwind aren't a chart band!

This week we posted the following Hawkwind related stories:

Unboxing Warrior at the Edge of Time
New music from Nik Turner
Hawkwind festival was a storming success
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 was a fairly quiet week amongst Yes and their various alumni, but we still managed to run some interesting stories. There was an interesting interview with Geoff Downes (no relation) about his relationship with Steve Howe, and a classic interview with Jon Anderson, Chris Squire and Trevor Rabin. We also unearthed an interesting interview with Greg Lake about his memories of ELP touring with Yes., and an interview with Chris Squire entitled `For Bass Players Only`. 
But the most interesting item of the week is undoubtedly the news that Yes are promoting their own festival - called, somewhat predictably, The Yestival. That is something I would like to attend, but my chances of leaving North Devon that weekend are slim in the extreme.

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! 
Pause,O followers of Ptolemy or Plato!
Mechanistic universes died with Newtonian physics.
To assume immutable laws(like Maxwell's Law) in 2013 is as obsolete as grandfather clocks
In 1957,Hugh Everett posited  many possible worlds-all contingent upon energy actualization.
Mary Douglas in "Purity &Danger"pointed out possibilities of linguistic ambiguity
Richard Feynman in 1965 posited that in quantum theory,a wave could operate as a particle
Here we come to the Robert Frost fork in roads-witness(descriptor)or experience?
Richard Linklator's SLACKER devotes his whole first scene to this conundrum
We change our world AND OUR VISION OF IT via engagement
Description alone in 2013 is inadequate.Move over Galileo and Descartes!
New Calcatores research notions of spacetime on space stations and in anti-gravity situations
Lee Smolin asks us to be open to our personal experiences of what is space and time
Quantification is experiential,not intrinsic.Implying consistent results is projection.
Hadron Colliders test the actual behavior of  particles.We need to experience WHAT REALLY IS-
and here is where poetry comes in-to inform,assert,make metaphors,similes-
to link our observations to parallel situations.Black Swan Theories await us
Waves,particles,people,string theory-all change as we change.ALL CHANGE!
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 these. 




PINK FLOYD - UK quad poster (30'x40') for 'The Wall' with artwork by Gerald Scarfe. Folded and in very good condition.

Read on...

EXCLUSIVE: Judy Dyble goes through her new album track by track
Judy Dyble has become one of my favourite artists of recent years. Her last album Talking With Strangers is absolutely magnificent, and her soon-to-be released album Flow and Change is - if anything - even better. This week we have a real exclusive for you - I had a long conversation with her, going through the new album track by track and playing snippets of each of the new songs.

Check it out...
On the third weekend of August every year for the past fourteen years we have had the weirdest weekend you can imagine. The Weird Weekend is the largest yearly gathering of mystery animal investigators in the English-speaking world. Now in its fourteenth year, the convention attracts speakers and visitors from all over the world and showcases the findings of investigators into strange phenomena.
Cryptozoologists, parapsychologists, ufologists, and folklorists are descending on Woolfardisworthy Community Centre to share their findings and insights. Unlike other events, the Weird Weekend will also include workshops giving tips to budding paranormal investigators, and even a programme of special events for children. The Weird Weekend is the only fortean conference in the world that is truly a family event, although those veterans of previous events should be reassured that it is still as anarchically silly as ever!
The event is raising money for the Centre for Fortean Zoology, the world’s only full time, professional cryptozoological organisation. The profit from food and beverages goes to a selection of village charities, mostly working with children.
How do you fancy spending three days of high strangeness, good food and great beer, together with the cream of British Fortean researchers in the middle of the glorious Devon countryside? By the way, I am sorry to have to say this, but as this is a fundraising event, tickets are non-refundable, although you are free to resell them should you be unable to attend.
Oll Lewis:
The Murder of the Elephant Man
Lars Thomas: The Natural History of Trolls
Judge Smith: Life after Death
Jon Downes/Richard Freeman: Intro to Cryptozoology
Nick Wadham: You will believe in fairies; you will, you will!
Tony Whitehead (RSPB): Starslime
Hayley Stevens: Scepticism
Glen Vaudrey : Mystery animals of Staffordshire
Darren Naish: Adventures from the world of tetrapod zoology
Richard Freeman: Expedition repoort Sumatra 2013
Sarah Boit: Orbs from a photographer's perspective
London Cryptozoology club: Bigfoot
Shaun Histead-Todd: Pre Columbian civilisations in america
Ronan Coghlan: Amphibians from Outer Space
Jon Downes: Keynote Speech
Speaker's Dinner at the Community Centre
Tickets are only £20 in advance
This painting of yours truly arrived on Facebook this evening. It is by Thomas Finley, one of the artists who is exhibiting at this year's event, and I am truly overwhelmed...
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...
JON. Crowdfunding is becoming an integral part of the 21st Century music business model. Why did you decide to go this route?

DAVE: Even when I recorded my first solo album, Veil of Gossamer back in 2003/4, the music industry was already undergoing some seismic shifts, with the then-standard model (artist signing to label - label paying for the recording and promotion of album - artist eventually recouping the 'loan' from the label years later) beginning to crumble. In hindsight there were good and bad things about the old way of doing things. At least money was made available to actually record, manufacture, release, and promote an album, even though the deals were usually stacked very much in favour of the record label.
Now, there are very few record labels left that are prepared to commit to funding anything that is not mainstream pop. With illegal downloading, the dominance of iTunes, Amazon and the like, and the general economic situation, everyone's margins are being squeezed. So crowdfunding seemed to me like the logical next step. 

With Iona we have built up a loyal following over the years, and many fans have become friends and it has been great to see those early followers of the band's music now bringing their children to gigs. So I loved the idea that the people who have supported us over the years by buying our music could actually be more involved in the creation of my next album by means of crowdfunding. In the past we've taken pre-orders for the last few Iona albums, which we've used to fund the recordings, and this seems a logical next step.

At the time of writing there is just over a week to run on the Indiegogo campaign, and over £12,000 of my £15,000 goal has been raised! This is more than I could have expected to get from a record label and it would be great to actually get to the goal - not least because it would release another £750 as Indiegogo give back 5% of the 9% they take if you reach our goal. This would, for example pay for some amazing artwork from Ed Unitski.
JON: How much of the new album has been written in advance?
DAVE: I've written about 2/3rds of it at this point. Some tracks are more or less finished, pending the replacement of my programmed drums, bass and string parts, whilst some are still 'work in progress'. Usually I have an idea of what I want to say in the piece (musically and / or lyrically) - then it's just a case of honing that until I'm happy with it. I have loads more track ideas than will fit on one album, so it will be a case of choosing which to use.
JON: From the excerpts that can be heard on the indie go go promo video, it seems that this is very complex and technically sophisticated music. Just hearing it with sequenced percussion makes one itch to hear the finished thing. Who will be playing on the album?
DAVE: I hope that what comes across more than anything is that the music sounds exciting and exhilarating but also emotive. There are places where the music is fairly complex, but I hope these parts make people feel excited and thrilled. The kind of feeling you might get on a roller coaster (but without feeling sick lol!). I remember when I was 13 first hearing The Mahavishnu Orchestra on the radio. It might have been Radio Luxembourg and it was from a live concert. I'd never heard anything like it - incredible virtuosity and energy, but it also made total musical sense. I was so excited that I managed to record some of it on an old tape recorder and even though it was quite late, I literally ran to my friend's house a half mile away to tell him about it! I'd love people to have something like that experience listening to the album. 
There are also parts of the album that are much slower and more simple - I always like to have these contrasts in the music I write. In fact, one of my aims has been to try and have a guitar solo that only has one note, but that note just cuts the heart like a knife. I remember a June Tabor track on which Martin Simpson's entry is this one acoustic slide guitar note and it's just amazing in its emotional impact. So I have a track I'm working on that has (almost) a one note solo. Not sure yet whether it will be on the album - depends how it turns out, but it would certainly be a big contrast to another track on the album, which is a hell for leather fast electric guitar solo over a very fast drums and bass groove.
I already have some contributions from other musicians - my very good friend and former bandmate Troy Donockley (Nightwish / The Bad Shepherds) on uilleann pipes and low whistles, Frank van Essen from Iona on viola - and he will be recording some string ensembles on several tracks as well as some electric violin, Martin Nolan from Iona also on uilleann pipes on one track, Joanne Hogg from Iona (vocals), bassist Simon Goulding (Robbie Williams etc, etc) on one track, Gabriel Alonso playing various orchestral percussion (tympani, gongs, crotales etc) on several tracks. But the drum kit parts and the rest of the bass parts will be done by the explosive combination of Collin Leijenaar (Neal Morse Band / Affector etc) and Randy George (Neal Morse Band / Morse, Portnoy and George etc). Both of these are virtuoso musicians, steeped in the modern progressive rock genre who will be perfect for the music. I'm also hoping to have Todd Reynolds from New York play some solo violin. He's an incredible musician. Although the majority of the music will be instrumental, there will be some significant vocal sections here and there and there will be several great vocalists, including Sally Moulds, the daughter of Kerry Minnear from the '70's band Gentle Giant, plus others to be confirmed.
JON: Will the various musicians have a compositional input or will they be playing prewritten parts.
DAVE: The music is all written by me, so they will be playing from my demos and charts, but I'm always open to other musicians ideas and creativity. I've chosen these musicians because I want them to bring their own style and feel to the music. That's when the magic happens! However, I will be collaborating with a lyricist on a few tracks as that's not my strong point. I have lyrical themes for some of the tracks but need someone who is able to interpret them in a more poetic way than I can!
JON: Once you have this project out of the way, what will you be doing next?
DAVE: This will take up a lot of time as I'll also be doing the promotion, fulfilling all the campaign perks (including at least 7 solo house concerts) etc! But it would be great to do some band gigs with the material from this album and from 'Veil of Gossamer' if it could be economically viable. Aside from that, there are more Iona UK gigs planned for later this year and we're looking at planning another USA tour for 2014. I've also been commissioned to write the music for a new children's animated series called 'Boy and The Dinosaur', which should go into production in the autumn, so it's going to be a busy time! 
to check out the campaign and please share with others you think might be interested. It would be great to share this journey with you!"
Dave (also see Dave's Facebook page -

Stravinsky premiered `The Rites of Spring` 100 years ago on the 29th May 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. It caused a riot. To celebrate the centennial of this event, Mr Averell, aka Dutch performance artist René van Commenée, telephoned up two of his friends and erstwhile collaborators, Don Preston, keyboard player of the original 'Mothers of Invention', and a well-known jazz and rock artiste in his own right, and Mike Garson, the legendary pianist possibly best known for his work with David Bowie. This is what happened.

Have a listen...

Many years ago when the world was young, or at least when I was in my early thirties, my first wife and I used to run the fan club for a mercurial dude called Steve Harley. Our relationship with him lasted about five years, and during those years we accompanied him on a number of British tours. A fixture on the earliest and best of these tours was a lanky dude called Roy Weard who had long blonde hair and wild staring eyes and manned the soundboard. He was very kind to me and Alison, and although first he, and then I left the Harley camp I never forgot him.
I knew vaguely that he was a musician of some repute as well as a legendary sound guy, but apart from a couple of low fi things on YouTube I had never heard any of his music. Then, to my great delight, the other week when Dave B-P and I were in Brighton, I found my old mate Roy behind the mixing desk.

We got talking, swapped addresses, and he promised to send me a copy of his latest album. In preparation for this, I raided his website:
This website is a musical history of Roy Weard. Roy was the founder member of Wooden Lion a band that played the Windsor and Watchfield free festivals in the 70s. He later went went on to sing, write and record with both Dogwatch' and ' Roy Weard and Last Post'. In 2006, Roy, together with The Cardinal Biggles, synth wizard from the original Wooden Lion, and Steve Bensusan, guitar virtuoso from the Last Post began to put That Legendary Wooden Lion together. This band gigged through to the end of 2011 but broke up the following year. A new line up of the band is now gigging.
The album arrived in the post yesterday, and today - when I had finished doing the daily blogs, and my various correspondence - I sat down in my favourite armchair. Immediately two small kittens crawled into my lap and fell asleep, so I had to talk Mother through the intricacies of working the hi-fi. But she managed it and I slumped back to enjoy the album.

I don't know what I was expecting, but what I got was a very sonically interesting mix of electronica, strummed 12 string guitars, and intermittently some powerful riffing. The album is bookended by my two favourite tracks, which are quite possibly the strangest. On the closing one, in particular the electronic avant-soundscapes and the harmonics of the 12 string guitars mesh together into something gloriously strange.

This band are well into Gonzo territory, so expect an interview with them very soon. 
For the first time in what seems like weeks I am in the position of NOT beginning this column with a complaint about what an awful week it has been. In fact, it has been rather a nice week on the whole. On Monday we took the momentous decision not to send Prudence for her orthopaedic operation.

I had been worrying all weekend about Prudence's operation. It is our busiest time of the year and there are people in and out of the house all the time. We are also going to be away for an unavoidable family occasion in a few weeks. All in all it will be impossible to keep Prudence still, unexcited, and unable to climb the stairs or the furniture until after the summer. At the moment she does not seem to be in any distress, and we have regretfully decided to see if we can postpone her surgery until the autumn when the house will be quieter, there will be no children playing in the street outside, and generally we will have a fighting chance of managing to keep her rested to the degree necessary of allowing her post operative recovery.

The next piece of news I really wasn't expecting. Last Saturday afternoon Corinna went out to Hartland with our friend and housekeeper Helen, and came back not just with the little orange ball of fluff that I wasn't expecting for another ten days, but also with aforesaid orange ball of fluff's sister. We now have one elderly cat, one two year old boarder, and two kittens.

The kittens are not sure what to make of Prudence. When they see her on her feet, they hiss and spit and arch their backs. However when Prudence was lying on her back in bed on the first night, all they could see was a row of nipples, and being babies they soon latched on (despite the fact that Pru has no milk to give). They spent the whole night cuddled up together, but when they came downstairs the next morning morning, the hissing and spitting resumed. I will keep you posted.

The orange one is called Captain Frunobulax the Magnificent, and the black one Lilith. When we first decided to get a kitten Corinna forbade me to call it a stupid name (my last two cats were 'Chastikos the Deciever', and 'Helios 7'), and I saw this as a challenge to my creativity. Anyway Frunobulax is Frank Zappa's stupid name, not mine!

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

We are living in disturbing and strange times, but ultimately they are very interesting ones, and continuing to chronicle the Gonzoverse is an immensely rewarding thing to do. Thank you for reading.

Until next week,

Jon Downes
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