Issue Thirty      June 15th 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...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: An embarrassment of riches
I have received not one but two new books from Mick Farren this week, and am currently enjoying an orgy of reading. Not at all to my surprise, I have found much in his writing with which to agree, but one thing - in the introduction to Elvis died for somebody's sins, but not mine - I found a veritable gem, which encapsulates much of what I've been trying to write myself over the past few weeks.
I have been trying to explain why I feel that what we do here at Gonzo magazine (note the crafty little bit of rebranding) is important. I'm not trying to justify myself; I know that it's important, but have found it almost impossible to explain why. This week Mick Farren came to my rescue.
He writes:
"I'm not exactly sure when I made the connection between the Ghost Dancers and by a generation of rock'n'roll kids who wondered if they could change the world. Was it overweening vanity to compare the native American Ghost Dances of the late 19th century with the social, political, and metaphysical movements in the second half with the 20th? The parallel wholly depends on acceptance of the premise that both were generated by a sense of impending annihilation. Native Americans sensed clear and present danger of their entire way of life being erased by a brutally to alien culture. Twentieth-century you faced - and still face - the equally plain possibility of absolutely everything being fried to a crisp in a nuclear holocaust".
The Native American ghost dance movement of the late 19th Century was a mystical, and religious reaction to what the usurping European invaders had done and were doing to the remnants of Native American culture. Despite Jeff Nuttall's book Bomb Culture, and the fact that - like Mick wrote - every one of my generation felt it safe to sing "hope I die before I grow old", because we were convinced that it wasn't going to be an option. But I had never drawn a direct correlation.
When I talk to my stepdaughters, and to other young people in my family, they find it completely baffling. They are a generation who are broadly depoliticised, and whilst they all feel that 9-11 was only the start, and that major terrorist actions featuring weapons of mass destruction, either nuclear, biological, or chemical, are quite probably going to happen in the foreseeable future, none of them are filled with dread that life as they know it will come to an end. Because it probably won't.
Those of us who are older and wiser, more weary and paranoid, and especially those of us who are involved in the environmental movements have a very different view of the future. We are facing environmental collapse, and a Malthusian crisis of mammoth proportions. This much is broadly common knowledge. But what has it got to do with music?
This is where my third alter ego comes in. I have admitted to being in environmentalist. I assume that everybody reading this knows that I am a somewhat obsessive musicologist, but I'm also a Fortean. I don't believe in hocus-pocus for the sake of it, but I do believe in magic; magick as the idiot bastard son of art and science. My friend Richard Freeman once referred to art and science as being the twin cerebral children of the mind. Magick, especially when it is spelt with a K, is what happens when art and science fail to respect each other's boundaries and indulge in a drunken incestuous liaison. And like the fruit of any drunken incestuous liaison it is kept hidden and only whispered about in awestruck hushed voices.
Do I believe in mumbo-jumbo? Not as much as you would like to think, but I do believe that there are an awful lot of laws of physics that we just don't understand yet. And I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the areas that conventional science has only just begun to explore is the true nature of music. Like a sample on a Pop will eat Itself single once said "music is just organised noise". This is undoubtedly true. But why is it that some organised noise provokes a far more intense emotional reaction than others? Why is it that over half a century on, Little Richard's opening lines to Tutti-Frutti are quite possibly the greatest lines of poetry ever written? And why - even in my darkest moments - can Louie Louie quite literally change my world around? I think it's magic. Without going too far into the areas which more visionary artists than me (Pete Townshend for one) have been exploring for years, music is just organised noise, but some organised noise has the ability to effect your soul.
We are facing an uncertain future, and are living in strange and disturbing times. The music which has been a solace to mankind ever since our species first came to be, and quite possibly before, has become subverted. It is the soundtrack to cheap advertising, video games which take the place of real human interaction and activity, and fatuous television programming designed to provide bread and circuses the masses at the cheapest possible price.
As we face possible disaster, and certain change beyond any recognition, our natural reaction is to dance and sing as our ancestors did to keep away the demons of the dark, as the native Americans did a hundred and thirty years ago in the Ghost Dance, and as the young people of the 1960s did when faced with nuclear armageddon. But how can you do that to Pop Idol? If the only option that we have is to create - knowingly or unknowingly - the social magick which has always got our species through hard times before, then we need real music to do it with. In last week's Gonzo I wrote about my friend Roy Weard and his band That legendary Wooden Lion. What I forgot to mention was his organisation The Real Music Club. Well Gonzo Multimedia are a real music label, and this is a real music magazine.
Before the fiddlers have fled
Before they ask us to pay the bill
And while we still have the chance
Let's face the music and dance
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, in particular, my interests in music, politics and esoterica have come together, but the wierdest bit of the lot must be the quasi-lexilink caused by a tale of two Richards: Richard born with the surname STELLAR writing about his encounter with another Richard who assumed the surname STARR! Weird huh?

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.

Before Canterbury Sans Frontières was Canterbury Soundwaves a show which creator Matthew Watkins described as "exploring the so-called `Canterbury Sound`, its many roots, branches, twigs and accompanying mycelia in 28 episodes (November 2010 - January 2013). We, the little fellows hiding behind the scenes at Gonzo Web Radio are proud to announce that as well as Canterbury Sans Frontières episodes as they happen, all 28 of the back catalogue will also be hosted.

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

Check them out!


EPISODE ONE: Looking at the origins of the so-called "Canterbury Sound": first singles, first albums, early recordings, etc LISTEN


EPISODE TWO: Digging further into the Canterbury archives... A beautiful Matching Mole obscurity, a closer look at Mike Ratledge's keyboard style, something new from the Canterbury area, Caravan's finest hour (arguably), Planet Gong, Centipede, an unlikely Northumbrian folk-style cover of a Robert Wyatt song, and quite a lot of things from 1974. LISTEN


EPISODE THREE: An unexpected guest brings out the wilder side of Caravan, Terry Riley's influence explored, an African excursion, Soft Machine unleashing total sonic mayhem on a Dutch TV audience in 1967 and several Canterbury bands covering each other's material (among other things). LISTEN


EPISODE FOUR: Hugh Hopper's first and last recorded performances (separated by 46 years and both involving Daevid Allen), Sun Ra's influence considered, the audio from some recently discovered French TV footage of Kevin Ayers and Caravan live in Paris (1970 and 1973, respectively), a rare (and somewhat muffled) glimpse of Egg live in 1970, Peter Blegvad considering the noun form of the adjective "numinous" in the midst of a wonderful bit of National Health, Robert Wyatt live (sort of) in 2003(!), and a lo-fi recording of his Matching Mole classic "O Caroline" being sung mostly in Welsh. LISTEN


EPISODE FIVE: Hatfield live in '75, Gong backing a long-forgotten French poet, cameos from William Burroughs and Robert Wyatt's young son Sam, recent Canterburyish sounds from Helsinki, and a chat with contemporary local band Syd Arthur about their own music as well as their Canterbury influences and connections. LISTEN


EPISODE SIX: Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno attacks Canterbury with his direct inject anti-jazz ray gun!! Also, Nucleus, a couple of Caravan pieces from Dave Sinclair's early 70's hiatus, the Gong Global Family goes Japanese, the short-lived Soft Machine lineup involving Australian mystery drummer Phil Howard live in Germany 1971, and more sounds from the Canterbury of today. LISTEN


EPISODE SEVEN: Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Caravan's 'In theLand of Grey and Pink'. Also, Canterbury sounds from Belgium, something appropriately far-out from Gong's 'Mushroom Tapes', Kevin Ayers addressing the nation's schoolchildren in 1972, Matching Mole on French telly, two Beatles covers, two flavours of fruit jam, and a chunk of the Soft Machine's (almost) forgotten score to the 1969 London 'happening' SpacedLISTEN

STRANGE FRUIT: Episode 40 Part One
Date Published: 13th June 2013

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

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

Playlist for this episode Listen

STRANGE FRUIT: Episode 40 Part Two  Listen
For more news on Strange Fruit CLICK HERE
For more news on Canterbury Sans Frontières CLICK HERE
For the Gonzo Web Radio homepage CLICK HERE
I am very excited about this new venture. We shall also be hosting all the episodes of his previous Canterbury Soundwaves podcast. I don't know how long it will take to get them all up and in place, but we shall get there in the end.
THE WEEK THAT PAST: An exclusive (two actually) from Paul May
I had a brief chat with Paul May of the mighty Atkins/May Project the other day. Apparently (and I think we are the first people to write this) work on their as yet untitled third album, is going apace. Al came back from holiday and immediately started laying down vocals. Paul describes the new material: "It's sounding really good, some great tracks on this one, it's going great!!"

And the title? "We're debating at moment as we have some killer titles this time but we got an original CD logo being designed by Rodney Matthews and if it's super hot we might just call it AMP"

This is something I am really looking forward to. And the other exclusive? Last week Paul went to see Bon Jovi, and - as is his wont, these days - came back with a review for us...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Paul May goes to see Bon Jovi, 

When you decide to review a mega stadium band like Bon Jovi you pretty much put yourself on the line as any negative comments are almost sure to be received with a pinch of disdain from loyal fans! lol. However, I’m going to try and be as honest and objective as I can.

Firstly, Bon Jovi  have been out there rocking the rock/pop world with memorable songs with excellent hook lines for nigh on 30 years now and that’s a testimony to the band in itself. I even used their songs at my own wedding.

More recently, when I heard that Richie Sambora had left the band (apparently due to a lack of respect on Jon’s behalf) I must admit that I was a bit gutted to say the least, especially when the tickets paid for clocked in at around £100 a pop. I mean Bon Jovi without Richie??? It’s like imagining the Rolling Stones without Keith or U2 without the Edge or even Ant without Dec!! I think you get what I mean. So, from a  musician's and personal point of view I was looking to be impressed by their latest recruit Phil X. We’ll move on to that later.

The weather was perfect, which is a great thing to say in England for a change. The crowds started to pack the stadium around 7.30 onwards with the field area being pretty much full. The highest tiers of the stadium were also full and overall it must have been three quarters of it’s capacity. The crowd were expectant and I really pleased to say that the band started smack on time. Well done them. It says a lot of their professionalism.

The countdown came, the roar of the crowd went up and the band kicked off with a new track “That’s what the water made me”, quickly and cleverly followed by the classic “You give love a bad name” which instantly got the crowd excited followed then by the old favourite “Born to be my baby” (another singalong classic) and with no time to waste into “Raise your hands”. The crowd were hit with several singalong  anthems, one after another, which was a great distraction from the fact that Richie wasn’t present. They continued with the same formula for the next three songs, “Lost highway”, “Runaway”, “It’s my life” until bringing the tempo down a few levels with songs from their latest release “Because we can”.

After such a high energy start this seemed like a bit of a breather for them, and it was at this time I noticed just how hard Jon Bon Jovi had to work without his team mate Richie.

All the focus was completely on him, and there was no genuine rapport for him with the other band members. Let me mention the band; Tico is a remarkable drummer, power, timing, just a cool dude who is essential to this band. And David Bryan. David who you say? That’s the keyboard player! He actually is what you would call the glue of the band. He keeps it all together without overstating or over playing, also absolutely essential to Jovi.

We then come to the bass with Hugh McDonald who has been with the band (unofficially) since the departure of Alec Such in 1994. He doesn’t have a prolific role but does the job well and with no fuss.

We then have two guitarists in the form of Bobby Bandeira (who plays on a full-time basis with Southside Johnny and the Ashbury Dukes) who is a solid rhythm player and Phil X a Canadian born session player with a Who’s Who on his CV.

Without wanting to seem disrespectful to Phil X it was obvious that he was a hired hand. I couldn’t get to grips with the amount of “underplaying” it was too safe for a guitarist of his pedigree. It just seemed a little uninspired and lacked any balls and emotion that might have been given expected from Sambora. Regardless of the bitching in the press, I really do think Jon misses his partner in crime, especially on stage. But with all that said the crowd came to see Bon Jovi. Bon Jovi are a band, they are a team but there’s no doubt that Jon Bon Jovi is always going to be the
indispensable focal point of the band.
He is a true professional and has the charisma and looks to charm any crowd. (I could see his teeth shine from the back of the stadium! True!!! ) but seriously, I had to respect the amount of hard work he puts into a show and he pushed on through until he got the result he wanted! A well seasoned performer.

Back to the show; after several new tracks we get “Keep the faith” with other highlights in “Bed of roses” which the crowd loved and was one of the best songs of the evening. As the sun went down on the horizon you could see the effect of the actual staging as twilight came, which was very effective, with the full light show and the front end of a huge Buick Electra facing the audience. The crowd were even treated to “Rockin all over the world” and Bob Seger's “Old time rock n roll” mixed in with their finishing track “Bad medicine”

The band came back on stage to enormous adoration from their fans. They did another five tracks, the major highlights naturally being “Wanted dead or alive” “Have a nice day” and the timeless “Living on a prayer” which saw 30,000 people singing at the top of their voice and enjoying every moment!

They did a second on encore of “Always” again the stadium singing in unison and then finished with “Blood on blood” which I thought was a really odd choice after such an immense crowd reaction. Nevertheless the stadium loved the show. If you were a fan you would have totally loved it, they played for a little short of three hours and did give great value and entertainment for the money.

On the way out I listened to some of the comments of the punters and the majority were over the moon, however there were a few disgruntled people, but to honest everyone came to sing and have a good time and that’s what they did. I really do hope that Jon and Richie can sort out their issues so we can get to see the band as it was always intended.

Melodic pop rock at its best.
Atkins/May Project at Gonzo (USA)
Atkins/May Project at Gonzo (UK)
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The Gospel according to Bart
Once again, Bart Lancia has been on the ball this week. He sent me this rather poignant little story about David Crosby, who at the age of nearly 72, hopes for one last CSN&Y tour...

I am very fond of Bart, and am impressed that every week, come rain or come shine, he finds peculiar little stories for me, always with the human touch. Thank you my friend.
Remember, if you want more than your weekly fix of this newsletter you can check out the Gonzo Daily, which - as its name implies - does much the same as this newsletter but every day. It also features a daily poem from Thom the World Poet, and the occasional non-Gonzo rock music rambling from yours truly, plus book and gig reviews from our highly trained staff of social malcontents. And its FREE! You cannae say fairer than that!
Each week, some of you seem to recognise me. Yes, I am indeed that weird bloke off the telly who chases mythological animals. I have a day job as Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, and also the editor of the CFZ Blog Network, and publisher of a plethora of books about mystery animals.
THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Iain M Banks (1954-2013)
Iain Banks (16 February 1954 – 9 June 2013) was a Scottish author. He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks, including the initial of his adopted middle name Menzies

Banks at Wikipedia

Thom the World Poet pays tribute to Tom Sharpe (1928-2013)
Read him when young and in paperback-WOW!
Page-turning GONZO pre Hunter S Thompson
Growing up loving English satire sharpened my eyes for Blott and Wilt  w/absurdity worthy of Ionesco.
I did not know he was of Fascist stock,nor that Belsen newsreels changed him
I did not know the South African context -how his play forced exile and harassment
Revenge is deep in Sharpe-against order,obedience,authority and irrationality.
He drips sarcasm,with an innocent's guidebook to suburban hell-job,wife-"the full catastrophe"
For me,Tom Sharpe was the English Voltaire-taking Oliver Goldsmith and Bulldog Drummond  and making satiric mashups.
Wilt is a classic Candide.Take contemporary stupidity-add an Everyman figure /watch the reactions!
Quintessentially English in context and style,content and themes-Tom may have lived in Spain
but England was his mad dream.English minor Colleges with Boredom on the curriculum.
Suburban dullness and police abuse.Tom Sharpe bequeathed us Henry Wilt.
Now-what do we do with all this digging?TV claimed PORTERHOUE BLUE and RIOTOUS ASSEMBLY
A dull movie was made of BLOTT ON THE LANDSCAPE.He had not lost his point.2013 demands satire!
Resurrecting his characters and placing them in contemporary contexts might replace CATCH 22 /GOOD SOLDIER SCHWEIK
HENRY WILT YOSSARIAN-now THAT has a good ring to it!
He was a viciously funny satirical author, and will be sadly missed.

Our tribute to Tom Sharpe
Tom Sharpe at Wikipedia
he Guardian obituary
The Fury of the Mob b/w A Better Day Is Coming 
(ORC 006 7”)

The lovely Jaki Windmill tells me: "The Vinyl single has been delayed because of floods in Central Europe - where it's being pressed - so next promised date is at the end of this month."

Richard Freeman and I both vied with each other for appropriate puns as titles. Mine was "The Czech is in the post", and Richard "Water you Wading for?" You cannae say fairer than that!

All week I have been listening to the extraordinary new ambient album by Genre Peak. We wrote about it last week, but I cannot resist giving you a second bite at the cherry. You can download a track called Happiness from HERE


I went to see the premiere of Ken Loach’s new film, The Spirit of ’45 at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury. Half of my town was there.

In case you haven’t heard about it, it’s a celebration of the achievements of the 1945 Labour government, done as a series of interviews with people who had seen the pre-war world and knew what the alternative would be. It has taken me a couple of weeks to absorb its message.

This was a very different Labour government than those we have seen in recent times. In six dizzying, triumphant years the Labour Party laid the foundations of the welfare state.

It nationalised the coal mining and the steel industries. It created the National Health Service and British Rail. It began the process of decolonisation. It oversaw the return to full employment – finding jobs for all those demobbed soldiers – while rebuilding and improving our national infrastructure, building tens of thousands of council homes, and reconstructing whole cities and whole industries in the process.

Talk about austerity. This was a nation completely exhausted by war. It was broke. It was in pieces. And yet we managed to achieve all this, by sheer will and determination, in the spirit of hope, that we could build a better world than the one that had existed before.

That was the world that I grew up in. It was an optimistic world. It was a world in which we truly believed that each new generation would be better off – more secure, better educated, in better health – than the one before.

This was what was known as the post-war consensus. So all-pervasive was it that even Tory governments participated. In those days governments vied with each other, not about how much to cut our public services, as they do today, but over how many houses they had built, about how many jobs they had created, about how much they had spent on improving the quality of life for all sectors of the population.

All of this was done by government intervention, not by private industry. The glorification of the market began in 1979, with Thatcher.

It was Thatcher who sold off our nationalised industries, who attacked the trade unions, who deregulated the finance industry, who privatised our utilities, who sold off our housing stock. After that successive governments have vied with each other over who was more ruthlessly neo-liberal than the next. As Peter Mandelson said in 2002, “We are all Thatcherites now.”

And now look. The post-war consensus is broken, and private enterprise rules. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Our bills are going up while our wages are going down. State funding is no longer used to build houses, or to improve the quality of life for the population, but to bail out the banks and make sure that bankers keep their bonuses. Even the NHS is being made subject to “marketisation”, which is a euphemism for privatisation: people’s health being thrown out onto the overblown lottery that is the world Capitalist system.



Back-packing in Turkey
by Alan Dearling
Back in the late 1960s when I enjoyed hitch-hiking for the first time and went camping  with my best friend David over in Amsterdam, would I have believed that now well into my 60s  that I’d still be willing to go travelling the ‘harder way’?

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

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

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'). The same book that I reviewed has caused somewhat of a hoo hah in none other than the hallowed pages of The New York Times this week. Thank you to my lovely wife for finding this for me.

I thought it was a lovely book, and enjoyed it immensely, but the whole episode has 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..
Hawkwind have announced a North America tour in October, and space-rock starved Americans (and Canadians) have been getting excited by the news. Hawkwind will be supported by Boston band 'Perhaps'. A dates list appeared on Facebook and then vanished - but not before the list escaped into the wild, so to speak. 

The list included two gigs in Canada, several eastern seaboard ones (including New York), two in California, one in Phoenix, and a surprising trio of dates in Texas.

Even before the modern Internet age, the Hawkwind rumour mill was quite an active little beastie, and had long been capable of sometimes quite startling inaccuracies! Hawkwind  have now confirmed the tour list, however.

On this occasion, the initial list was geographically accurate, although the date order has now been shuffled a wee bit. Originally shown as opening in Montreal and closing in Dallas, the tour is currently set to open in Toronto and conclude in Houston.

Of course, further changes may well be made: for the most current information, visit


Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters Tour April 2014...

40 years ago this stunning and unique album was released. On learning that as a live show this concept album has never been performed in its entirety as a live show, so The Psychedelic Warlords will honor the great Bob Calvert by performing Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters for the first time ever to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

We will also be adding some of Bob's other less live played songs such as "Back on the Streets", "Lord of the Hornets", "Evil Rock" and more. 

In our opinion Bob was the best rock poet/lyricist ever! This show is gonna be a lot of fun for us and HW fans 
For more news and dates as they come in go to....
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 average week here at Gonzo as far as our Yes coverage is concerned. We started off with a vintage Jon Anderson interview about the Union album, we wished Alan White a happy birthday, we ran an interview with Chris Squire, news about a Steve Howe gig in the UK, and some Jon Anderson British tour dates and - probably the most exciting news - we posted the first new music from Jon Anderson's Zamran project. We also posted a review of Jon Anderson at the Byron Bay festival in Australia.
Finally, there was a brief mention of Rick Wakeman in a small piece on author Dan Wooding, and I would personally like to thank Mick for his help in setting up the Mick Abrahams interview and for his kind words when Buttons was hit by a car the other week. I feel very sorry for Chris Squire at the moment - I am just glad that when I went through my nasty divorce seventeen years ago, that Facebook wasn't invented then. Hang on in there dude, it will get better.

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! 
who form jigsaw pieces of community/needing to be
reliable in space and time/words being truth *that may not rhyme-
chanticleers of futures as yet unseen-for if the angels dare not dream
what is to become of us?Waking up takes life times/spider web and bitten
a signal from the living calls all of us to witness.In the Squares of Turkey and Egypt
-in the frozen streets of Moscow-we are walking/talking/listening
On the streets of Washington and Austin-we wing in
to be part of this continuing conversation.Future children are asking that we shine!
To be alive in our own time-means to respond!Whatever dream you have
to make a brighter future means only this-we are part of an "us"
with 7 billion facets-a mosaic of humanity /poetry that needs to be-
In Victorian times every well-bred Gentleman had a 'Cabinet of Curiosities'; a collection of peculiar odds and sods, usually housed in a finely made cabinet with a glass door. These could include anything from Natural History specimens to historical artefacts. There has always been something of the Victorian amateur naturalist about me, and I have a houseful of arcane objects; some completely worthless, others decidedly not, but all precious to me for the memories they hold..

I used to be a collector of rock and roll memorabilia, but most of my collection went into my solicitor's pocket during my divorce from my first wife, and I never had the stomach to build the collection up again. However, people send me pictures of interesting things such as these. 

GENTLE GIANT POSTER - original concert poster for their performance at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London on 16th March 1974 which also featured String Driven Thing. Folded and in very good condition.

Read on...

John Lennon was right.  The Beatles are bigger than Jesus Christ.  He was right in 1966 and he's even more right today.  Hell, you have a Pope that denounces his own religion by opening the gates of St. Peter to schnorrers and non-believers.  You have a new Superman movie where the Man-Of-Steel is being offered up as the God-Of-Man.  Devout Christians picket fallen hero funerals with signs saying GOD HATES F-GS.  And guess what - that burning cross is making a comeback. 
Thank you Jesus, for the Beatles.  
Last night at the Grammy Museum I was among the pilgrims who shed the restraints of both Towne Car and Mercedes Benz to tread the same ground and occupy the same space as Ringo.  Maybe not the best drummer in the world, but certainly the most formidable and beloved.  Ringo was the component of Beatle wit that you got immediately.  Ringo conceivably was the atomic nucleus that the other electrons orbited.  Until they brought Ringo into the band, they were a great band, but they weren't world famous.  When Ringo was taken from Rory Storm and the Hurricanes and brought into the Beatles, it was like the magic missing piece that enabled the machine to work.  Ringo to the Beatles is like a key to ignition.  
It wasn't always that I had such a fondness for him.  
In 1969 my mother worked for Walter Shenson at United Artists.  He produced A Hard Days Night. Mom was working the premiere of Peter Seller's and Ringo's movie "The Magic Christian". Knowing my zealot like connection to the Beatles, she arranged a press pass for me and positioned me at the curb with a crowd of other journalists.  I was 13 years old and already nearly 6'4" tall with all the grace of a gelded water buffalo.  I was holding the Abbey Road album in one hand, and clenched a Sharpie in the other.  Limo after limo dumped out A-listers and their entourages that I ignored while my eyes predicted what set of headlights would be the chariot that heralded Ringo.
Then, in a rush - He emerged.  Ringo.  A Beatle.  I stepped in his way and held out my album while flash bulbs popped and jittered shadows.  I'll never forget it.  In front of my Maker I offered myself as sacrifice.  And sacrificed I was, as Ringo looked up to me and said:
"What, are you bloody kidding me?"
And he was swept away.  The tide of paparazzi and steno pads following him like a rip tide that swept the effluence out to sea.  
I'm sure there's a term in psychotherapy where upon exploration, the cause for everything in life that distresses you can be identified.  A watershed moment where you draw some meaning and promise that holds the answer to sanity and resurrection.  That was it for me.  And as crestfallen as I was, I didn't need Sigmund Freud or Gabriel Byrne's analysis.  I had a Hollywood mother who put the whole thing in perspective:  
"Honey, he was mobbed.  He couldn't stop for you.  Now, eat something."
Years later during a lunch with an internationally known bass player who was a client of mine, I recounted the story.  "Richard luv - Ringo didn't play drums on Abbey Road.  It was all Paul.  He hated Abbey Road.  That's why your God denied you."  With a chuckle at my expense, he downed his third Courvoisier.  Fortunately, his beautiful wife was still semi-coherent.
Then last night I was again in his company.  This time not with a 12" vinyl album cover, but with an iPhone.  I was invited to attend a private reception for Ringo's exhibit at the Grammy Museum, Ringo: Peace and Love, and although there seemed to always be a crush of people around him, I devised a plan where the strategy could not fail.  I went to talk to his wife.
My mother seems to loom large in this story.  Ringo's wife actually worked with the old gal when she was making The Spy Who Loved Me.  Barbara Bach looked like she had not aged, and I interrupted what was probably a serious conversation.  I noticed Ringo monitoring my brief conversation with her.  He was two people away.  I was on auto-pilot, and I explained my connection to her as if I was pitching a sit-com in an elevator three floors from my destination. Now it was she who interrupted me, and brought me into her world.  She did remember mom, and then brought up some names from the 007 office who she still sees.  Delightful, and in the midst of our brief interchange - I had forgotten about Ringo, and focused on Mrs. Ringo. Beautiful, captivating and genuine. The perfect woman for a demiGod.
Do not miss this exhibit.  It's on through March 2014.  
John Lennon's oft misquoted "The Beatles are bigger than Jesus" quote would never have been uttered by Ringo.  He didn't have to.  Today it's just enough that he says "Peace and Love".   

This article first appeared yesterday on I was putting this issue to bed late last night when Richard IM'd me on Facebook. Would I like to print it? Is the Pope a Catholic? I replied. He took that as a 'yes' which is probably a good thing. Thanks Richard

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
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...
I saw Mick Abrahams in the autumn of 1977. Whilst the rest of the universe was punked up to the nines, he was a sales rep for one of the major guitar companies (Gibson, I think, but my memory fails me) and one night he played an intimate gig upstairs in Bill Greenhalgh's music shop in Exeter. Although the show was aimed at showing off the intricasies of the newest guitars in the range, I was overawed by his sweet, lyrical guitar playing. I went home, and the next day bought the two Blodwyn Pig LPs, and I have been a fan ever since.  Through the good offices of Rick Wakeman, I got to speak to Mick Abrahams....

JON: I didn’t know, until I listened to it again the other day, how good that first Blodwyn Pig album sounds 40 years on.

MICK: â€˜Ahead Rings Out’, yeah.  I saw Andy Johns doing an interview on TV (he was the guy who produced both of the Blodwyn Pig albums of course). But he died a couple of months back. I spoke with him before he died.   He was Glyn Johns’ brother – the guy who engineered the Stones.

JON:  He was a bloody good producer.

MICK: He was marvellous. 

JON:  It sounds like it was recorded yesterday.

MICK:  Still fresh isn’t it?  Re-release it and I will have some money out of it.  It is about time I had a decent pension. <laugh>

JON:  Because so much music from that era does sound dated, but your two albums don’t.

MICK: Really?

JON:  I think so.  One thing I’ve always wondered.  I’ve always been interested about how a whole generation of why white Englishmen got totally influenced by the music of a whole generation of poor black guys from about twenty years before.

MICK: Well you have to remember that we were all brought up in the trad jazz boom and blues to a degree slowly seeped into that, and then with question the rock and roll thing. I mean you couldn’t get me off all the black performers…. Let me rephrase that – you couldn’t get me to change my views on them.  I loved it, you know.  And Little Richard has always been my hero.  When that man sings it’s like … it does my brain in.  I can’t explain why, but there is an instinct that captures the imagination and I think it captured the imagination of all the guitar players , singer and keyboard players during that time and it went on from there.

JON:  Because when you started off Jethro Tull, it was a blues band wasn’t it.

MICK:  It really was, yes. It was more blues than Ian had obviously – which we found out later – intended.  It was a shame really because Anderson always thought he was in competition with me, and he wasn’t. But to get him to realise that would be like waiting for pigs to fly.

JON:  Well you never know, pigs might fly one day through genetic engineering.

MICK:  You never know

JON:  So was Blodwyn Pig the band – did you make Blodwyn Pig into the band you always wanted Jethro Tull to be?

MICK:  Yes, I did.

I never know what to make of tribute bands. On one hand, I suppose there is no difference between a band like The Bootleg Beatles who play the music of a particular band to an audience who will never get to see the originals, and The Amadeus Quartet who play the music of Mozart. On the other hand, when I was a young tyro learning to play the guitar, I did so in order to write and perform my own music, and generally lay my trip on the world at large. I always had a healthy distaste for 'cover bands' thinking of them as only a few points above pub comedians. This is a prejudice that has never really left me. I remember, about fifteen years ago, helping out in a mate's music shop, when a young man came in to buy a guitar. "What sort of band do you play in?" I asked in a mildly friendly manner. "Er, just an ordinary covers band" he replied, shamefaced. "Dear Boy, I never learned to play the guitar so I could be an ordinary anything" I pouted archly, and he left the shop without making a purchase. I have never known whether I should feel proud of myself or ashamed of that particular altercation.

Davey Curtis wrote to me this week. "Oi Downesy, I've just been to see a Pink Floyd tribute band and they were well good..." he gushed. "Hmmmm" I replied, and he sent me this...

Dear Jon,
Sorry for the delay in this review as I have just re-entered Earth's atmosphere...

"As near as damn it!" said one long term Floyd fan and I had to agree. 'Shine On' are as close to the real thing as you are ever gonna get. These chaps (and Ladies) have really done their homework and have nailed the entire Floyd sound down to a tee. Shut your eyes and you are transported back to the heady days of '79 and it's hard to believe it's not Gilmour standing up there on that stage in South Shields! Speaking of Gilmour, 'Shine On' must get his blessing because he loaned them a Pink Floyd inflatable pig a few years back for their gig in Newcastle city hall. Fancy that!

But it's not only the sound, they have gone the whole hog (groan) and gone and brought the light show too. Wahey!
Like a Floydy wet dream huge chunks of 'The Wall' along with classics like 'Arnold Layne', 'Learning to fly', 'Sorrow', 'Wish you Were Here' and 'High Hopes' were played absolutely flawlessly.
Then it was off to the 'Dark side of the Moon' performed in its entirety! 'Holy Mother' what more could you ask for? From me, and I'd say from the reaction of the crowd at the end of the night, nothing. The band played their socks off and it was a joy to behold.
If you get the chance to see them, go, and you won't believe your ears, or eyes for that matter.
Davey C
And then I realised that at Gonzo we have something of the sort ourselves. Meet Blue Floyd:

BLUE FLOYD are members of GOVT MULE,THE ALLMAN BROTHERS and the BLACK CROWES who come together to re work PINK FLOYD music in a blues format. BLUE FLOYD are becoming one of the highlights on the US “jam band” not only putting a unique spin on Floyd material but adding their own”jam” material as well.
I try to see myself as an internationalist. But it is difficult sometimes. Bizarrely, it is most difficult within music, because one is so used to rock music being sung in English (or at least American English) that when a record comes along that is not sung in English it tends to throw you somewhat.

However, the language barrier does not stop me enjoying African HeadchargeTinarawen, or Verdi, so I wonder why I have had so much of a problem with other non-English music.

I think that it is because the very genres of the above mentioned artistes are known for the language in which they are sung: one cannot imagine desert blues sung in mockney, or high opera sung in a mid-Atlantic twang. And I think that this actually bangs the nail right on the head with regards other types of music: If one is expecting to hear a piece of music sung in English, because the other music that you have heard from the genre always has been, and it is sung in - say - Italian, then it immediately wrong foots you.

There is a particular sub-genre of progressive rock which was spearheaded by Genesis on their early albums, which combines delicate though intricate guitar and keyboard patterns with soaring vocals, baroque orchestration and a flowery rhythm section.

If it is not sung by an alumnus of one of Britain's middle-ranking public schools it sounds completely wrong. And if it is sung in Italian, it just confuses you.

And this is completely wrong, because Unreal City are a fine little band, of whom I am truly rather fond. They deserve to go far. But they sing in Italian.
And why the hell shouldn't they? Why the hell should a young band from Italy, who make beautiful, intricate and joyous music succumb to the cultural imperialism of the Anglocentric music business. Especially, considering the fact that I am always complaining about the bland homogenity of the contemporary music industry: this is a band that I hope is really going to make waves.

For me, personally, the only real problem with the Italian lyrics is that I have no idea what they are actually singing about. But with music as good as this, it doesn't matter.

The opening track Dell'innocenza perduta which translates as Of Lost Innocence opens with a relentless piano riff mildly reminiscent of The Beatles, although the main body of the song with a tune to die for, is most reminiscent of early Genesis. That being said, Richard Freeman, who is sharing my study today opines that it sounds like a cross between Frank Zappa and Santana. I can see where he is coming from, but this glorious melange of sound is almost totally European in nature, and has none of the Santeria funk of Carlos and the boys.

The next song's title is actually in Latin, and even though I failed my Latin O Level many years ago, I can translate Atlantis (contributions of money) which considering my own personal situation at the moment is more than a little funny. Or ironic at least. The interplay between delicate mandolin and hooting synthesisers is excellent, and - as always - the musicianship is faultless.

It is with the next song that I realise something rather striking. This title is also in Latin. If you are to break the cultural deadlock of English on the music industry, to do it in a dead language only understood by claccisists and those of us who struggled through our GCEs forty years ago is a touch of real genius. Going Down (descent into Hell) does exactly what one would hope.

It is back to Italian for the next track which (I think) translates as Where light is more intense and for the first time on the album I really find that not knowing what the hell is happening is a real problem. The soundscape they produce is emotional and rich, and I would love to know what these joyous, but melancholic-tinged vocals are all about.

The most important thing about this band is that they really do have the grasp of composing and performing exquisite and very complex pieces of music; lovely melodies interlinked with passages of emotionally satisfying sound and fury.

The penultimate song is a paen to the Goddess Hecate, and the final song....well, I have no idea what it is about, because Google Translate let me down, but it opens with one of the most scary and atmospheric passages I have heard for many a year, before going into a brittle little song which leaves you feeling uneasy, but emotionally satisfied. This is certainly a band to watch. I urge you all to check them out, and I look forward to seeing what they do next.
It has been a strange week, but then again when isn't it at Casa Downes? I have been getting increasingly weary with all my obligations, and realised that I would have to cut down on what I do. After all, fifteen years ago I was told to put my feet up and never work again, for the good of my health.

Yesterday I resigned as editor of UFO Matrix. I have enjoyed the year I spent as editor and am proud of the four issues that I produced. However, it is time to move on, and editing Gonzo magazine each week as well as being the Director of the CFZ is enough for any man, especially a disabled bonkers one.

I would like to say that despite claims by other folk who should really know better my relationship with the owners of the magazine has always been a happy one, and that they have always paid me cheerfully and promptly. Nobody is owed anything from the four issues that I produced. Don't look for conspiracy theories, because there aren't any.

I have been working hard with my new assistant editor on all the different projects that I do, and I think that as he grows up Captain Frunobulax the Magnificent will assume more and more editorial duties...
His name, by the way, comes from the song Cheepnis from the album Roxy and Elsewhere by Frank Zappa, or at least the 'Frunobulax' bit does. The rest is entirely down to me.

One of my highlights of the last week was talking to the lovely Carol Hodge. I showcased her in an article I wrote months ago, and it is very gratifying to be able to announce that her first album as Ms Crystal Grenade, comes out through Gonzo in the autumn. For those of you not aware of this immensely talented young lady, she was last seen holding Steve Ignorant's hand on stage at the end of the Last Supper tour, and the music of her aforementioned alter ego has been described as: "Shakespeares Sister fighting Amanda Palmer and Tori Amos in a dimly lit Victorian pub. With hand deformities."

She is an immensely talented young lady, and I am very proud to be doing my bit to help her along. There will be an interview with her next week, so hold on to yer hats.

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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