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Issue (life begins at) Forty    August 25th 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
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So what is this all about?

It is simple; my name is Jon and I am the editor of the Gonzo Multimedia daily online magazine. Now there is a weekly newsletter, once again edited by me and my trusty orange cat from a dilapidated ex-potato shed  in rural Devonshire. 

You subscribed to it by opting in on the website. I hope that you all stay to join in the fun, but if it is not to your liking it is just as easy to unsubscribe again. But what a long, strange trip it is gonna be...

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The 2013 Weird Weekend
Well, after weeks of effort, and more teenage drama than a particularly unbelievable episode of Hollyoaks, it is over. The Weird Weekend is done and dusted for another year.  It went rather well yesterday. With only one notable exception, everyone behaved perfectly. There were between 70-90 people in each talk, all the available food got eaten, various books were sold, and a small child got lodged in the Tunnel of Goats. I even began to enjoy myself on several occasions.

In fact the Weird Weekend itself was remarkably hassle-free. All the speakers were excellent (special commendation must go to Judge  Smith who came out of left field and was the undoubted star of the weekend), and  everyone turned up when and how they were supposed to. Nothing got broken, the damage was minimal and everyone had a good time. But there was an awful lot of drama amongst the younger members of the community. Hearts were being broken left, right and centre and it was more like a teenage soap opera than a cryptozoological convention.

So many people pleaded with me not to finish the event that at the last minute I changed my mind and decided that my Augusts would not be the same without them. So the event will continue. I had a health scare on Sunday and I thought I was having a heart attack on stage. I wasn't; it was a mixture of the heat, the stress and lack of sleep, but it reminded me of dear old Mick Farren. I had planned to retire from doing our annual convention mostly because of my health problems. But I have always aspired in many ways to be like Mick. Farren died on stage doing what he had always done; he died "with his boots on" and was a crazy-passionate anarchist to the last. I think you can draw your own inferences from this.
Your beloved editor holds forth
Gonzo reader Carl Portman writes:
Iron Maiden,
‘If you’re gonna die, die with your boots on’…
All the greats go on stage don’t they? Tommy Cooper, Eric Morecambe and Sid James to name but three.
Viva Jon Downes!
Judge signs a book for JoJo (12)
The Tunnel of Goats
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Jamie's big chopper
You probably won't believe where I went last night. My dear niece Jessica the Elder (which sounds like she is some medieval despot from somewhere in the Holy Roman Empire) has recently become a representative for the Jamie Oliver cookware range, and she had her first sales party last night. Jessica the Younger (who sounds like an early Christian martyr) went along to buy ice-cream-sundae glasses, and Ronan Coghlan (an eccentric and ridiculously learned elderly Irish academic)  and I went along to heckle and make facetious comments. I think I showed great restraint when faced with a cooking utensil named "Jamie's big chopper", and ended up spending over thirty quid.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The People's Songs debate continued
Some weeks ago in these pages I was less than complimentary about The People's Songs by Stuart Maconie. I wrote:
On another subject, I am currently reading Stuart Maconie's 'The People's Music', which is a book I have looked forward to for a long time. I have to say that my first impressions are disappointing. Although there are some excellent snippets of pub quiz trivia (for example, the two most played songs on the radio in the UK both contain the word 'fandango', and the first British record to use the words 'Rock and Roll' was by The Goons) there are more mistakes than I would have liked (Adem is a bloke not a band), and whereas I was hoping for a level of cultural analysis like that found in Jonothon Green's books 'Days in the Life' and 'All Dressed Up' it just isn't there. What cultural analysis there is - to my mind, at least - is trite and shallow. The book is enjoyable enough but ultimately pointless. I have, however, only read the first half.Maybe my opinion will change by the end. I hope so, because I like Stuart Maconie's writing, and had hoped for finer things.
The next day I went on to write:

Well, I finished reading 'The People's Music' by Stuart Maconie last night. When I posted about it yesterday, several people accused me of being unfair. But although some of the later chapters are better, the book is still a big disappointment. It is just so lightweight. It reads like a series of columns in a popular magazine. And the mistakes are unforgivable (Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull did not play the first Glastonbury. It was Ian A Anderson, an acoustic singer songwriter and a completely different dude). Other statements remain unsubstantiated. For example it is fairly well accepted that John Lennon went off in a huff after George Harrison refused to let Yoko appear at the Concert for Bangladesh. However, Maconie says that his non-appearance was because of his unwillingness to cut short a holiday. If this is true, it is actually quite a major thing for Lennon scholars. But where did he get it from?

I really wanted this book to be good. But it isn't. Maconie is a fine writer, and I suspect that an editor somewhere took a hatchet to his prose and dumbed it down outrageously. That, dear readers, is a sign of the times.

I felt rather bad about this. Not only do I usually rather like the output of Stuart Maconie, but he is - by all accounts - a very nice chap. Then within days of me being rude about his latest book, he went out and championed our very own Judy Dyble on his radio show.

But now it appears I am not alone. A lady from the North of England writes:
Had to respond to this write up.
I couldn’t finish the book myself.  It felt like the various entries were intended for Word magazine, which went under recently and which Maconie contributed to, but I felt patronised to, which may have been the editors’ fault.  I liked his ‘Cider With Roadies’ (autobiography) and ‘Pies & Prejudice’ (about the North of England)better.  Couldn’t get on with ‘Adventures On The High Teas’ (about the South of England).
‘Thank You For The Days’ by Mark Radcliffe was better – he links particular songs to times in his life and I feel closer to this as I have family in Lancashire.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Alan Dearling writes
Hi Jon
Glad you have narrowly survived the Weird Weekend! Here's a snippet about Steve Hillage that seems appropriate:
I imagine that Steve had mixed emotions when he returned to the university to play gigs in the late 70s.
Steve and myself were both students at the University of Kent 1969-72. We weren't close mates, but were aware of each other. Steve seemed perpetually stoned, wandering around the wind-swept campus in Wizard's garb. He was already a musician - I think still occasionally playing with Egg. I was more into writing for INcant and Fuss, the university newspapers, running a short-lived alternative paper, Zone, and getting involved on the periphery of the free radio station and more heavily involved in the politics and organisation of the campus.
This was the time of great music and student protest. We had our own sit-in and occupied a section of the campus, renaming the establishment, FUKC - Free University of Kent at Canterbury (or F*** UKC!). The roll call of bands was superb. In no particular order, we had the Who, Hawkwind, Dr Strangely Strange, Led Zep, the early Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack with Christine Perfect, Quintessence, Family, Babe Ruth and many, many local bands, Caravan and Spirogyra - Steve often jammed with them.
At the time we had no idea that we were living through the 'Canterbury Scene'.
luv n' respect
Alan (Dearling)

Steve Hillage first came to prominence as a member of the multi-national rock band Gong.  Steve appeared on successful albums such as Angels Egg,You and his final album with the band Shamal.  Steve recorded his first solo album in 1975 entitled Fish Rising.  This album was recorded whilst still a member of Gong.  Shortly after however, Steve and his partner Miquette Giraudy left Gong embarking on a career that continues to this day under the name System Seven.

In 1976 Steve recorded the album â€œL” with Todd Rundgren producing.  The album was a huge success and Steve subsequently formed the Steve Hillage Band which included former Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker and future Camel bassist Colin Bass.  The band made its live debut at the Hyde Park concert staged by Queen in September 1976.  Following the live debut the band played toured extensively during 1979. This DVD captures a stunning performance by this great line-up of the band.

The track listing of this fabulous performance from the first Steve Hillage Band includes: Salmon Song, Hurdy Gurdy Man, Solar Musick Suite, Lunar Musick Suite, It`s All Too Much, (Lunar Musick Suite)/ It's All Too Much II, Aftaglid Pt. I, Elecktrick Gypsies, Not Fade Away.

The CD comes with a bonus DVD which also includes an exclusive interview filmed at Steve and Miquette’s studio in London in January 2007 where Steve and Miquette discuss the Steve Hillage Band, and also the recording of their albums.   

Tracks: Disc 1 , 1. Salmon Song , 2. Unzipping The Zype , 3. Hurdy Gurdy Man , 4. 1988 Activator , 5. Unidentified (flying being) , 6. It's All Too Much , 7. Radio , 8. Light in the Sky , 9. Interview 2006. Disc 2 , 1. BONUS DVD - Salmon Song , 2. Unzipping the Zype , 3. Hurdy Gurdy Man , 4. 1988 Activator , 5. Unidentified (flying being) , 6. It's All Too Much , 7. Radio , 8. Light in the Sky , 9. Interview 2006.
There is only one new show for you this week, jam-packed with all sorts of groovy stuff.. There are also some exciting things afoot with another entirely new station being added to Gonzo Web Radio, and a total revamp of the radio index.

Canterbury Soundwaves #24
Date Published: 14th August 2013

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. 

EPISODE TWENTY-FOUR: A tribute to keyboardist and composer Alan Gowen, including his work with National Health, Soft Heap, Soft Head, various Gilgamesh lineups and collaborations with Hugh Hopper and others. Also, more orchestrated Kevin Ayers live from '72, more Gong live in the Canterbury area in summer 2000, Caravan trying out a new tune on BBC radio in late '68, another recently surfaced audience recording of Soft Machine on the '68 tour of the USA, Robert Wyatt discussing one of the tracks from 1997's  Shleep, and evidence of a significant Soft Machine influence on the early Henry Cow.

Playlist for this episode


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

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  Ludicrously off-topic, but very Gonzo
Carl Portman writes:

Here's a photograph of me, Ricky Gervais and a tax inspector doing dwarf air guitar at a recent party. I think we were playing to Rush. As you can see from the 'pile of cash' on the floor, we managed to earn the princely sum of two dollars.
Rock on...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The Gospel according to Bart
Once again my favourite roving reporter has sent me things of interest beginning with the news of an exciting new David Bowie remix.  In February, Sony commissioned a remix of David Bowie's 1977 track "Sound and Vision" for an Xperia Z smartphone ad campaign. The stripped-down version (created by remixer Sonjay Prabhakar, and featuring only  Bowie's vocal, Roy Young's piano, and Mary Hopkin's backing vocals) lasted only 58 seconds, but it generated quite a buzz from Bowie fans, who pined to hear the full cut. And now they'll get their chance: On October 7th, Parlophone Records will release an extended version of the remix as a digital download.  His website claims: "By stripping away much of the original instrumentation. . . the song takes on a new reflective resonance." 

Read on...

He also sent me news of how a band called Phish (of whom, I have to admit, that I have only vaguely heard) are hoping to perform the entirety of the classic Genesis album, 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway', with Peter Gabriel this samhain. That would be something to see.

Read on...

Finally news about a Gonzo artist; Richie Havens. The famous folk singer who opened the Woodstock Festival back in 1969 has had his ashes buried there. It seems highly appropriate.

Read on...
The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The most peculiar news of the week
A dentist who bought one of John Lennon's rotten teeth at auction for nearly £20,000 now wants to use it to create a clone of the assassinated musician.

Dentist Michael Zuk, 51, from Alberta in Canada, who bought the Beatle’s molar by telephone bid at an auction two years ago, announced his plan on BBC radio this morning.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live breakfast: 'Many people have thought about cloning famous people and I think John Lennon should be at the top of the heap.'

Read on...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: What's been did and what's been hid
I am growing up in public, as it were. The Gonzo Weekly has been going for nine 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?

Please pass this magazine around as far and wide as you can. And encourage as many people as you can to subscribe. Remember it is free, and will remain so. However, I want as many subscribers as possible to move on to the next stage of the party. There might well be cake.

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

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

Please tell your friends, colleagues and family about The Gonzo Weekly, and try to persuade them to subscribe. The more subscribers we get, the bigger and better and more effective the whole thing will be.
Remember, if you want more than your weekly fix of this newsletter you can check out the Gonzo Daily, which - as its name implies - does much the same as this newsletter but every day. It also features a daily poem from Thom the World Poet, and the occasional non-Gonzo rock music rambling from yours truly, plus book and gig reviews from our highly trained staff of social malcontents. And its FREE! You cannae say fairer than that!
Each week, some of you seem to recognise me. Yes, I am indeed that weird bloke off the telly who chases mythological animals. I have a day job as Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, and also the editor of the CFZ Blog Network, and publisher of a plethora of books about mystery animals.
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THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Allen Lanier (1946-2013)
Allen Lanier, original member of Blue Oyster Cult has died.

Eric Bloom wrote:

My great friend Allen Lanier has passed. I'll miss the guy even though we hadn't spoken in awhile. He was so talented as a musician and a thinker. He read voraciously, all kinds of things, especially comparative religion. We drove for years together, shared rooms in the early days. We partied, laughed, played. All BOC fans and band members will mourn his death. Ultimately smoking finally got to him. He had been hospitalized with C.O.P.D. It was Allen who heard some old college band tapes of mine and suggested I get a shot as the singer in 1968. A lot of great memories, over 40 years worth. Maybe he's playing a tune with Jim Carroll right now.

Allen at Wikipedia
COVER STORY: A conversation with John Ellis
John Ellis is one of those guys of whom I have been aware for many years. The first punk single that I ever heard was 'We Vibrate' by The Vibrators and I immediately thought "I wanna bit of that!". He has had a long and varied career as this biography pinched from his website shows:
Early days:
  • Studied Graphic Design at Middlesex University.
  • Film librarian for the British Film Institute.
  • Tree Surgeon.
  • Professional illustrator.
  • Formed the legendary BAZOOKA JOE.Band members included Adam Ant. First Sex Pistols gig was as support to Bazooka Joe.
  • Formed THE VIBRATORS. Extensive recording and touring.
  • Released 2 solo singles, BABIES IN JARS and HIT MAN. Tracks now available on MICROGROOVE vinyl EP.
  • Played guitar in Jean-Jacques Burnel’s Euroband for UK tour.
  • Formed RAPID EYE MOVEMENT featuring HOT GOSSIP dancers and electronics. Supported Jean-Jacques Burnel’s Euroband on UK tour.
  • Joined PETER GABRIEL band  for “China” tour and played on Gabriel’s 4th solo album.
  • Stood in for Hugh Cornwell for 2 shows by THE STRANGLERS at the Rainbow Theatre. Album from gig released.
  • Worked with German duo ISLO MOB on album and single.
  • Started working with PETER HAMMILL eventually doing many tours and recording on 7 albums.
  • Rejoined THE VIBRATORS for more recording and touring.
  • Recorded 2 albums under the name of PURPLE HELMETS with Jean-Jacques Burnel and Dave Greenfield of THE STRANGLERS.
  • Played additional guitar on THE STRANGLERS tour.
  • Joined THE STRANGLERS as full time member. Extensive touring and recording over 10 years.
  • Press officer for M11 Link Road campaign.
  • Started recording series of electronic instrumental albums as soundtracks for Art exhibitions. Released by Voiceprint.
  • Worked on JUDGE SMITH’S “CURLYS AIRSHIP” project over 5 year period.
  • Left THE STRANGLERS to work in Internet business.
  • Experimental projects with American accordionist MICHAEL WARD-BERGEMAN.
  • Guitarist on “Jimi Hendrix Welsh National Anthem” hoax. Massive coverage.
  • Occasional session work and soundtrack composition.
  • Started teaching guitar.
  • More sessions for JUDGE SMITH.
  • Started doing live solo work using looping technology and laptop.
  • Created CHANOYU RECORDS to release solo work.
  • Worked in Europe doing live soundtrack improvisation, Masterclasses etc.
  • Formed DREAM DETECTIVES with German artist MOI. MOSER to create multi-media projects and performances.
  • Became one of THE AMAZINGS, delivering group guitar tuition.
  • Currently developing a multi-media guitar tuition project.
With a pedigree like that, this was a man that I had to meet. I arranged a series of interviews which fell through for one reason or another, but on the day before my 54th birthday, I sat down with a small ginger cat on my knee, and a cup of tea in my hand and gave him a ring.

Listen to our conversation HERE

CHANOYU RECORDS announce the new album by UK guitarist/composer JOHN ELLIS. Known and respected for his work with major UK acts including THE STRANGLERS, PETER GABRIEL, PETER HAMMILL, THE VIBRATORS and many more, Ellis has been writing and recording original instrumental music for many years. SLY GUITAR is an album of guitar instrumentals. Ellis refers to it as “Modern Guitar Music” but in the sleeve notes of the Digipak, he references his early influences such as The Shadows, The Spotnicks and other masters of “twang”. The CD consists mostly of studio constructions, but 3 tracks showcase his live looping performances that he describes as “Multi-tasking to the max”.

Tracks: 1. Levitation , 2. Infanta , 3. Pedalo , 4. I Remember Futurism , 5. Psycho Cooler , 6. Farud Gets Electricity , 7. The Bowl maker of Lhasa , 8. Futuro , 9. Don't be misled by your eyes , 10. Crow on a dying dog , 11. Echoplexing , 12. Flies , 13. March of the Kitchen Taps , 14. Sly Guitar .

Galahad have released a track written by late bassist Neil Pepper, with proceeds from sales to be given directly to his family.

He died of cancer two years ago next month. In his memory, the band have repaired the cassette recording of Outerlife, which also features The Pineapple Thief’s Bruce Soord.

Galahad frontman Stu Nicholson says: “Outerlife was recorded around 1997 with Bruce on guest vocals. Unfortunately only a cassette version exists but the sound quality is not too shabby.

“It costs a mimum of 45p – a bargain, really – and all proceeds will go to Neil’s wife Jojo and their three young children Rosie, Poppy and Finn. Plus, of course, you’ll be helping keep Neil’s memory alive.”

Judge Smith is best known as a singer, songwriter and performer. However, for many years he has been researching the contentious subject of life after death. He is, of course, not alone in this. My greatest hero, the late Gerand Durrell once wrote: â€œNothing except possibly love and death are of importance, & even the importance of death is somewhat ephemeral, as no one has yet faxed back a reliable report.”

What impressed me particularly about Judge's work is the way that he is not coming from a religious perspective. In his writings he does not state whether or not he has any religious convictions, but, as you can read below, simply leaves the Almighty out of the equation.

He appeared at the 2013 Weird Weekend, and you can see his talk HERE
I a
m going to try to make it a sensible book about something that attracts nonsense like a magnet. With any luck, I might also be able to make it a sane book about a subject that, at first glance, appears to be completely nuts. Wish me luck.
Everyone knows the Big Questions of Existence. At some time or another, everyone has asked themselves, or heard someone else asking, “Is there a God?”, or “What is the Meaning of Life?”, or “Is there Life after Death?” This supposedly simple, sensible and sane book that I am going to write, will, I hope, go some way to help some people find their own answers to the last of these questions.
But why should anyone want to investigate Life after Death? Many people are not the slightest bit interested in the subject. They are fully engaged in investigating Life before Death, and are happy to let the Hereafter look after itself. Poking around this murky and uncertain question seems morbid and unnecessary to them. Life is something that is going on now, and they want to enjoy it and make the most of it for as long as they can.
I see nothing wrong with this point of view, and in many ways, I find their attitude really admirable. I can offer people like this no reasons why they should want to investigate Life After Death, and I would be most unwilling to try to change their minds on the subject.
This book is not for them (although I suspect that eventually everyone does get rather interested in Life After Death, even if it only engages their attention the night before their open heart surgery, or at the moment they see the truck heading towards them on the wrong side of the road.)
Many other people put their faith in religious teachings of various kinds. Almost every religion teaches a belief in an afterlife of some description, and these beliefs can completely satisfy the followers of that particular religion about the whole subject. I have no interest in challenging anyone’s religious beliefs.
But this book is not for them either.
However, there are a large number of people for whom this particular Big Question of Existence exerts a powerful attraction. For one reason or another, you would really like to know whether there is Life After Death or not. The loss of a loved one, scientific curiosity, or just your sheer bloody-minded reluctance to think like everyone else, are all equally potent motivations for investigating the subject.
And this book is for you.
So here I go. Feel free to interrupt me.
This is a perfectly sensible and concrete question, because it should have a definite ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer. Either we die and cease to exist in any form, or we die, but continue to survive in some way.
Fortunately, of all the Big Questions of Existence, this is the only one that is open to practical investigation and personal discovery. Trying to discover the Meaning of Life, or whether or not there is a God, leads inevitably to endless argument and speculation, and a great shortage of hard evidence. On the other hand, I believe there is no reason why anyone with good sense and a degree of persistence should not be able to find out the truth about Life After Death for themselves.
However, there is one very important principle that needs to be established, before we go any further:
Over the course of centuries, the concept of Life After Death has become strongly linked, in the minds of most people, with religious faith of some kind. Our ingrained mental images and narratives of an Afterlife are mostly religious in origin.
However, if we want to think about this subject clearly, I think it is vital to understand that the ‘Big Question’ about Life After Death and the ‘Big Question’ about the Existence Of God are not necessarily linked.
  • Religions may include a belief in Life After Death, but the concept of Life After Death need not include any religious belief.
  • It is quite possible to imagine a universe presided over by a loving, omnipotent God where there is no Life After Death, and it is equally possible to imagine that Life After Death might be a scientific fact in a completely Godless universe.
  • Questions about Life After Death can be investigated and answered without coming to any conclusions about God.  
In 2008, The International Social Survey Program (ISSP Research Group, 2012) conducted a massive survey about Religion in forty countries, mostly developed nations of the Western world. A total of 59,986 people were asked ‘Do you believe in Life After Death?’. The number of people who responded to this question positively, varied quite widely from country to country, but overall, 27.68% of people replied ‘Yes, definitely.’, while another 25.28% of people answered ‘Yes, probably’. Together these two groups made-up 52.96% of those questioned.
So it appears that a belief in an Afterlife may be held by only slightly more than half of us in the West. However, if we look at the planet as a whole, it is probable that a far larger majority of people believe in Life After Death. Today, most human beings still follow one of the great religions of the world, and all of these teach a doctrine of Survival, in one form or another.
For those who do not have any belief in Survival, we are living in a more-or-less ‘dead-end universe’. If you do not believe in an Afterlife, you have to deal in some way with a scary idea: the realisation that you are actually going to cease to exist: entirely, and completely, and permanently, cease to exist. Philosophers struggle to create systems of thought to help a thinking individual function in such a ‘full-stop’ universe, and for many people their efforts are a life-saver.
People of this persuasion are popularly referred to as ‘Rationalists’ or ‘Materialists’ (although I think that neither of these names is very accurate) and it must be said that most Rationalists and Materialists deal with the prospect of extinction very well. In fact, with few exceptions, people in general do not run screaming down the street, or cower beneath the stairs, in fear of the Grim Reaper. We all say things like, ‘I’m afraid of dying, but I’m not afraid of death.’ An occasional cold shiver of impending mortality, when we wake up in the night, is often the extent of our terrors. We tend to accept the inevitability of death with little more than a sad shrug. Anyone who has seen the elderly or the terminally-ill at the end of their lives will know that very few seem to be in panic, or even particularly worried, about the approach of Death.
You may well have reached a mature and philosophical acceptance of ultimate extinction. But suppose you were to discover that your personality, your mind and your whole identity, actually survived Death. I suggest that your attitude to life would change radically. Those who have made this discovery describe the sensation as being like feeling a firm rock beneath your foot after swimming in deep water for a long time. You may not have been tired, or been in danger of drowning, and yet, suddenly, there’s something solid to rest on. The relief is profound.
This is the first part of a trilogy that I am publishing through Fortean Words..

Buy it at
uy it at

Judge Smith was a founder member of Van Der Graaf Generator in 1967 along with Peter Hammill. Judge however left before the band’s first album.  Judge went on to front his own band before opting for a solo career which has continued today. He has also maintained links with Van Der Graaf Generator and some of his co written songs have appeared on both Van Der Graaf Generator albums and also albums by Peter Hammill.

Strangely in the late seventies and early eighties Judge was co writer of songs on the British TV comedy programme Not The Nine O’ Clock News something that actually earned Judge a Gold Disc and at one point the Not The Nine O' Clock News album was outselling ABBA In the British Charts.

Continuing his solo career Judge came up with the concept of the “Songstory” which is in effect a concept album which includes a narrative and music.

Judge's most recent Songstory" is Orfeas and up to date re telling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.


The Parish Music Box is a British band although in reality the band is a front for song writers Andy Knapp and Clive McDaid. Although working together for some time the duo did not release their full length debut album until 2009 after being discovered on MySpace. The style is an acoustic one with country influences. For the debut album the duo are joined by other musicians in order to play and more fully represent the sound of their debut album Paradise Is Pocket-Sized. In May and June of 2009 they were named “Caffe Nero Artist of the Month”

The Parish Music Box is a British band, although in reality it is a front for song writers Andy Knapp and Clive McDaid. Although working together for some time, the duo did not release their full length debut album until 2009, after being discovered on MySpace.  Their style is an acoustic with country influences.

For the debut album ‘Paradise Is Pocket-Sized’, the duo is joined by other musicians in order to play and more fully represent the sound.   In May and June of 2009 they were named “Caffe Nero Artist of the Month”



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...


(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..
EXCLUSIVE: Hawkwind review - O2 Academy Bournemouth, Boscombe

By my reckoning, last night was the 10th time Hawkwind have played at this particular venue.

It's had a few name-changes, though - from the regal Victoriana of "Boscombe Grand Theatre," through the Silly Sixties phase of "Starkers Royal Arcade Ballrooms" and now the corporate sponsor statement that the building now is "O2 Academy Bournemouth," which reflects the new ownership chain's deal with the O2 phone network.

And, incidently, the renamings show how Boscombe has been gobbled up by its big neighbour and is now a suburb of Bournemouth.

Anyhow, my hotel was in Bournemouth and I didn't notice any Boscombe independence posters as I crossed the line (wherever it was).

The interior of the hall is a nice mixture of old and new, but I didn't have much time to check it out before support act Hipiersonik kicked off.

Read on...

The Court Circular tells interested readers about the comings and goings of members of The Royal Family. However, readers of this periodical seem interested in the comings and goings of Yes and of various alumni of this magnificent and long-standing band. Give the people what they want, I say

It has been another jam-packed week in Yesland, with a whole slew of new stories, beginning with an interview with Alan White, who really has come out from behind the anonymity of his drum kit in the past few weeks. Next up we have a very interesting interview with Oliver Wakeman in which he contrasts the different keyboard playing styles of his predecessors in the band. Then we have an interview with Chris Squire, followed by a story about a new prog rock cruise featuring Jon Anderson.
But there's more. There is an interview with legendary bassist Tony Levin, who - amongst many other things - played with ABWH, and a story about Rick Wakeman and the Muppets (sort of). Whilst on the subject of Rick Wakeman, we posted interviews he conducted with Brian May and with Tony Iommi. Not bad for one week eh?
I am probably getting a bit OCD about all of this, but I find the Yes soap opera of sound to be absolutely enthralling, and I for one can't wait to see what happens next! 
it kissed thee (violently!
left plague upon thy powered wig
Your pig skin bleeds with insects who hide
and breed a fear of scratching.We have lived
all our little lives with cockroach and rat
we do not question why our habitat
Makes fox and goat redundant,when we
are ruled by tiny dictator fleas
Scratch that!

In Victorian times every well-bred Gentleman had a 'Cabinet of Curiosities'; a collection of peculiar odds and sods, usually housed in a finely made cabinet with a glass door. These could include anything from Natural History specimens to historical artefacts. There has always been something of the Victorian amateur naturalist about me, and I have a houseful of arcane objects; some completely worthless, others decidedly not, but all precious to me for the memories they hold..

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

This is a very rare poster featuring Captain Beefheart and The Doors...

Read on...

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...
Kev Rowland
It is always interesting to find a band that makes others such as Credo to appear incredibly active when it comes to releasing albums. These guys started their career in the Seventies, releasing some singles etc., but not actually releasing a proper album until after they reformed in 2008. Now here we are only five years after that and they are back with their second. So, when the comment is made that these guys sound as if they should be back in the Seventies then there is a lot of truth contained within, as they were! Truly, this album firmly belongs squarely within the Italian progressive rock movement as we have plenty of Hammond organ and mellotrons to go with the rest of the keyboards, and an approach that certainly does sound as if it belongs from forty years ago. 
But, there are a few things that make it stand out as being part of the current scene and much of that can be laid at the feet of bassist Giuseppe Terribile who provides an incredibly fluid and warm sound to the bottom end. It is his bass that really pins all of the others together, whether it is a dramatic piano/keyboard solo or some plaintive guitar, it is the bass the makes it whole. Marin Grice may only be a guest on this album, but his use of flute and sax on different numbers need to be commented on as each time it is dramatic and totally changes the punch of the song.
There are times when it is reflective, but for the most part this is progressive rock that while hearkening back in many ways to a time gone by, is also driving forward with a passion. Harmony vocals and strong melodies just strengthen the proposition, that this is an Italian prog album that needs investigation.
I can just imagine the conversation, can’t you? It probably went something like “I know it’s a debut, so let’s base it on the First Crusade, okay? Let’s approach the Italian progressive form from the fusion end, ensure we include plenty of KBB-style violin work, and we’ll get in loads of guests to add dramatic bits and pieces including VDGG’s David Jackson.

They won’t know what’s hit them!” Albums and groups tend not to come out of left field like this very often these days, so it is always a very pleasant surprise when they do, as there is no way that a band recording their debut after only being together for a few years should sound as polished and convincing as this.
Mattia Liberati (keyboards) and Flavio Gonnellini (guitar), were already members of the funk/jazz-rock trio The Big Chill when they decided to do something different, but they have brought their jazz influences with them (Mattia also brought loads of keyboards and I think he used all of them somewhere, listing Hammond B3, Mellotron M400, Fender Rhodes Mk II, MiniMoog, MiniMoog Voyager, Korg MS20, Elka Synthex, Jen SX1000, Clavia Nord Stage Revision B).
I have always been a fan of Italian Progressive Rock, and these guys have certainly brought together influences such as PFM, with the incredible violin jazz prog of KBB to create something that has multiple layers and incredible depth. Igor Leone has a wonderful voice, and breaks through when he needs to, lifting above everything with clear diction and great control. But what really makes this album work so well is the blending together of some many different ideas and instruments into something that is incredibly complex, yet is always extremely easy to listen to. This is not being clever just for its’ own sake, but is all about making music that is easy to understand and leaves the listener with a smile on their face. Prog doesn’t get much better than this.
This American band were formed in the early Seventies, and were led by guitarist/keyboardist/sax player Robert Williams, while the rest of the line-up was multi-instrumentalist James Larner, keyboardist Mark Knox, drummer Jim Miller, bassist Paul Klotzbier and Jeff McMullen on lead vocals/guitars. This album is a reissue of their debut, which came out in 1973 with the title ‘On The Gulf’, along with two additional songs recorded in concert in 1980 (although the line-up had changed dramatically by then).

If this album had come out just a few years earlier I am sure that these guys would be household names by now, but the tide was already shifting by 1973 and this album would have be seen to be a little dated even then.
This is something that really belongs at the end of the Sixties, with psychedelia having a huge impact on the overall sound. The use of saxophone combined with the guitar does give the music a somewhat fusion sound but for the most part doesn’t really belong in that genre (the problem with trying to pigeonhole music is that music isn’t a pigeon, so often doesn’t fit where people think it might – cue long discussion on what is progressive music anyway). But, whatever genre it may or may not belong to, the important question is it any good?  Well, it is definitely dated not only musically but also in the arrangements and production, but is something that I really enjoyed playing. The guys obviously spent a lot of time together and this comes off with the interaction, and the use of different ideas such as vibraphone on “Law and Crime” which gives the song a very different feel with the (dated) drums driving it along while Jeff provides good strong vocals.
It is an effective album, definitely belonging to a bygone era, but is still something that while not essential is certainly worth hearing.
SLOE GIN  A Matter of Time (BLACK WIDOW)
There is nothing dramatically unusual about a band being a trio, but I have to confess that I haven’t come across a line-up quite like this before, with Enio Nicolini (from The Black) on bass, Giuseppe Miccoli on drums and Eugenio Mucci (Requiem) providing vocals. Yep, you read that correctly, the only instrument providing melody is the bass. Now, Enio is a great bassist, and he does the best he can to take the lead, but to these ears it doesn’t really work. There are times when he tries to take the guys into a doom/stoner area but there isn’t enough force and power even when he plays chords instead of single notes. There isn’t enough going on musically to really keep the listener interested and singer Eugenio has to rely on treating virtually all of his vocals to have any sort of impact.
It didn’t take me long to wonder how many songs was it until the end of the album, as it felt that I was undertaking some sort of penance by having to play it.
There is a reason why you don’t come across bands with just a rhythm section, and if you are brave/ daft enough to play this you will understand exactly what that is.  

A few issues ago I posted an article about the late Gary Windo. Apparently it had several errors in it, so here is a revised version that has been edited by his widow Pam.
Gary Windo was one of those people who never achieved the full recognition due to him. At least, not while he was alive. A highly original musician with an instantly recognizable style, Windo was involved in the Seventies with various musicians of the Canterbury scene. Most notable was his work with Robert Wyatt on the albums Rock Bottom (1974) and Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard (1975), and with Hugh Hopper on 1984 (1973) and Hoppertunity Box (1976). 

Windo was born in 1941 into a musical family in Brighton, and began playing music at an early age. He learned to play drums at six, guitar at 12, and saxophone at 17. After sailing the world in the Merchant Navy, he settled in New York in 1962, studying tenor sax and music theory with Wayne Marsh and Lennie Tristano. A long period of apprenticeship, both on- and off-stage, followed during the Sixties, until he moved back to England in 1969.

In March 1970, he took part in the all-star jam session at Graham Bond’s Sun Festival at The Roundhouse, with Jack Bruce, Mitch Mitchell, and Brian Auger. Later that year he was invited to join Keith Tippett's 50-piece orchestra, Centipede, and then Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath. In 1971, he and Robert Wyatt formed Symbiosis, a prog-rock jamming band featuring Mongezi Feza, Nick Evans and Roy Babbington.

After playing pub gigs with guitarist Ray Russell's heavy-rock trio The Running Man, Windo recruited Russell for his own Gary Windo Quartet, which also featured Mongezi Feza on trumpet and Alan Rushton on drums. In 1973, he and Robert Wyatt formed the jazz quartet WMWM with pianist Dave MacRae and bassist Ron Matthewson. Windo was about to become a member of Wyatt's new Matching Mole group when Wyatt had his accident and the project was shelved. However, Windo appeared on Wyatt’s subsequent albums, Rock Bottom and Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard.

Meanwhile, Windo continued to tour with the Brotherhood of Breath and the occasional Centipede performance.  He also formed Gary Windo & Friends, with his wife Pam Windo on piano, guitarist Richard Brunton, and the rhythm section of Bill MacCormick, Nick Mason, and Laurie Allan. This line-up was for a one-off gig at Maidstone College of Art in November 1975, but was the precursor to Windo's Steam Radio Tapes project, recorded between 1976 and 1978 in Pink Floyd’s studio Britannia Row, but never released. Among the participants, along with the aforementioned, were Julie Tippetts, Robert Wyatt, Mike Hugg, Steve Hillage and Hugh Hopper.

In May 1976, Windo played on Hopper's album Hoppertunity Box, and joined him in Carla Bley's band, in time for the European Tour 1977, and the album that followed.  In 1979, the Windos emigrated to America, where he continued playing with Carla Bley, notably on Musique Mécanique, as well as various related projects - Michael Mantler's More Movies, Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports. He also recorded the album Loaded Vinyl in Carla Bley’s studio, with Pam Windo and CBB members Steve Swallow and D. Sharpe, but again it remained unreleased. He also appeared on Daevid Allen's New York Gong album, About Time.

Windo spent the subsequent years in America doing copious session work, touring as special guest with rock’n’roll band NRBQ, and with the Psychedelic Furs. He played with Pam Windo & The Shades, and went on to record what would be his first released solo album, Dogface (1982). Between 1984 and 1988, he led his own rock quartet, the Gary Windo Band, with Knox Chandler on guitar, Jack Robinson on bass, and Steve Moses or Jamie Russell on drums. This album, Deep Water, originally released on Island records in 1987, was the result. An unsung classic, I am very proud to be part of the team that has finally made this peerless record available again.
My assistant editor Captain Frunobulax the Magnificent and I have had a nice quiet week, basically recovering from all the events of the Weird Weekend. My plans for retirement have been thwarted, but I am damn well going to do as little as possible for a few days!
Thursday was my 54th birthday, and I spent a nice quiet day at home with Corinna and the animals. Many people would probably have been surprised if they had been a fly on the wall. (Well, I'm SURE that they would have been surprised if they had suddenly been transformed - like a New Age Gregor Samsa - into a fly on the wall, but you know what I mean). When there are people around I am sociable; I drink, I smoke, I party. But now that the biggest weekend of the year has gone for another 11 months and three weeks, I spent my birthday dozing in the chair, reading P.G.Wodehouse, eating low sugar curry and playing with the kittens. I also chatted to Judge Smith about various projects and continued listening to 'The disappearance of the girl` by Phildel, which really is an extraordinary album. If you don't know about this young lady and her singular story, then look her up. You won't be disappointed.

Amongst other things for my birthday I have received many books, a bottle of brandy, and a Victorian smoking cap. And (within reason) I can choose what I have for tea. Life doesn't get much better than this. Amongst the aforementioned books are the final items I need to complete my collection of all of P.G.Wodehouse's Blandings Castle stories, so this winter I will have an orgy of Pelican-related reading to which I can look forward to.

The best and most brilliant present I have ever received came from my darling stepdaughter Shosh who gave me a plastic bust of Fidel Castro wearing a party beer can hat. Nothing can compete with that! Also Dave B-P and Jess the Elder turned up and gave me a magnificent model chicken! I am one lucky chap

Things are actually going rather well at the moment, and the next wave of Gonzo grooviness is imminent. As you know, I already do various podcasts for Gonzo Web Radio and I am toying with the idea of expanding this to something special, and doing a series of podcasts featuring music unavailable elsewhere, especially for subscribers to this magazine. 

Remember that it doesn't cost anything to subscribe, and that in doing so you are joining an elite, and rapidly expanding group of music fans who believe that we are not being given the music or the cultural coverage that we deserve. 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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