The only way to support a revolution…..

December 23, 2016

Looking back on this year, Iron Man Records has had an interesting one. Three recurring themes emerged.

“The only way to support a revolution is to make your own” — Abbie Hoffman, Woodstock Nation.

“Reality is not enough; we need nonsense too. Drifting into a world of fantasy is not an escape from reality but a significant education about the nature of life.” Edmund Miller, Lewis Carroll Observed

“It’s dangerous to understand new things too quickly” — Josiah Warren, True Civilization

Make of that what you will. Some of the significant things that happened this year included:

Seth Faergolzia of Dufus brought his new band Multibird to Europe on Tour.

John Sinclair published a book called It’s All Good: A John Sinclair Reader.  Stories of tragedy and triumph that will take you on a trip through the Wonder Years with music lyrics and poetry. Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone attempted to find out how to live a psychedelic life with the poet and activist John Sinclair as BBC Music’s My Generation celebrated the 1960s.

Dr Marshmallow Cubicle – Occupy was released on Iron Man Records, 23rd April, 2016.

In the early hours of 10th April 2016, Howard Marks died peacefully in his sleep. Iron Man Records had the pleasure of meeting, working with and listening to Howard Marks. He really was exactly as you would hope: A truly decent bloke, funny, humble and just Mr Nice. His life and work will live on…..“You might control a lot of things Drugs Tsar, but you’ll never control my mind…..” Howard Marks from the song Let Me Grow More Weed he recorded with P.A.I.N

Robert Anton Wilson meets Steve “Fly Agaric” Pratt was released on Iron Man Records, 23rd June, 2016

The entire Iron Man Records music catalogue was made available on Bandcamp. To start with all releases are £5 or you can Stream the releases and listen for free. All Releases are available on most of the download and streaming platforms already but for those of you who want an alternative to Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, Google, Youtube, Facebook and all the other main providers, Bandcamp seems good.

Some people wonder what on earth I do for a living. Well, I earn money working as a Tour Manager and I spend all of it keeping Iron Man Records going. I spend the rest of my time trying to stay sane, despite serious provocation from people who are totally convinced or totally stupid, and often both at the same time. Have a read and make up your own mind: Back In Five Years  and My life is a pile of receipts in a deserted restaurant on a cross channel ferry

Simon Reeves at Framework Studio spent three days recording Oliver Senton reading Cosmic Trigger 1 by Robert Anton Wilson for a forthcoming audio book. Iron Man Records somehow managed to neglect it’s responsibilities to The Cosmic Trigger play but was happy to help see Oliver Senton looked after during these recordings.

Test pressings arrived for John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth Ambient which includes a beautiful recording of Howard Marks’ last lost words called War On Drugs with an ambient soundscape masterpiece from Youth…and also Police Bastard – Confined. Both records will be released in 2017.

But these things wouldn’t have happened without the money burning antics of Iron Man Records Patrons and people like you supporting the madness and getting involved.

Iron Man Records has ambitious plans to make a big impact in 2017. And with Patrons helping out, I feel positive we can make a big change. I guarantee there will be no funding appplications, no idiotic culture bids, no creative consultants, no government, business or arts advice types involved. Just you, me, musicians, madness and music.

If you want to contribute, have a look in the shop before you go: http://ironmanrecords.bigcartel.com

Thanks again for all your support and have a fun Christmas.

Cheers Mark

TC Lethbridge – 2000TC – Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On


March 7, 2016

TC Lethbridge - 2000 TC book by John Higgs

Long, long ago in in the deep forgotten past, three musicians came together in an ancient landscape and made music that drifted away, seemingly lost for all time.

This was in Wiltshire around 1992, to be more precise.
2000 TC Standing on the verge of getting it on

The band was TC Lethbridge. It contained Doggen and Kev Bales from Spiritualized/Brain Donor and the artist Flinton Chalk. The band did not last long – they imploded before they had even played their first gig. But something happened to these musicians as they practiced, wrote and recorded in the Neolithic village of Avebury in the early nineties. They were marked by the experience.

The album they were recording as they fell apart was a project that always required closure. Two decades needed to pass before the politics and damaged relationships created by the band’s collapse could allow this to happen. In 2014 that album, 2000TC by TC Lethbridge, was finally mixed by the band from the original tapes and released on Iron Man Records.

T.C. Lethbridge - Band photo

One of those fascinated by the legend of this lost album was the author John Higgs. The Quietus has said that Higgs’ last book The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds “might well be the best music book of the 2010s”. In The Guardian Dorian Lynskey described it as “like Adam Curtis brainstorming with Thomas Pynchon”, and Alexis Petridis called it “a thing of endlessly fascinating, utterly demented genius.” Alan Moore has said that Higgs’ next book Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century, to be published in August 2015, is “an illuminating work of massive insight, I cannot recommend this magnificent work too highly.”

Such was the lure of the TC Lethbridge story that Higgs set about writing another book, 2000TC: Standing on the Verge of Getting It On, “in order to understand the drive, integrity and ambition of the young musicians in that Avebury hall”. This makes TC Lethbridge the only band to have a biography written about them before they had even gigged. In keeping with the unobtainable, mythic nature of the band, Higgs published this book in a limited run of only 111 copies. It is not for sale and there are no plans to make it available in any other format.

The book was published to mark an event that was for a long time considered unthinkable: TC Lethbridge played their first gig over the night on November 22-23rd 2014, at the Robert Anton Wilson festival and Cosmic Trigger play in Liverpool, hours after being presented with copies of this book.

This, then, is the story of TC Lethbridge up until that point. They are now an active live band whose three albums – the once-lost 2000TC, their first album Moon Equipped and their instrumental CD Mina – have all been made digitally available.

If this is their past, then what is their future? Perhaps that is a myth that has yet to be written.

TC Lethbridge - 2000 TC, Mina and Moon Equipped released 23rd November 2014 on Iron Man Records

John Sinclair – It’s All Good: A John Sinclair Reader

February 18, 2016

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It’s All Good: A John Sinclair Reader

Writer/Poet John Sinclair takes readers on a journey through time through music lyrics, poetry and stories from songwriters themselves. It’s All Good features stories of tragedy and triumph, musical and poetic inspiration that takes readers on a trip through the Wonder Years.

John Sinclair has been many things to many people—founder of the Detroit Artists Workshop and the White Panther Party, manager of the storied MC-5, producer of the legendary Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festivals and of records by artists from Deacon John to Sun Ra, political prisoner and implacable opponent of the marijuana laws since 1965, popular radio broadcaster at WDET and WWOZ and originator of the live coverage of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, pioneer of podcasting and proprietor of his own internet radio station at Radio Free Amsterdam for the past ten years.

But first and always John Sinclair is a poet and journalist with 50 years of the written and spoken word behind him. His work in adapting the blues and jazz idioms to verse forms with musical accompaniment is without parallel, and he’s produced more than 20 albums of his music & verse creations.

IT’S ALL GOOD collects 25 of Sinclair’s poems and 25 prose writings into one handy compendium of selections from his books of poetry Fattening Frogs For Snakes—Delta Blues Suite, always know: a book of monk, and Song of Praise—Homage to John Coltrane, plus excerpts from his underground classic Guitar Army and features on Jack Kerouac, Dr. John, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sun Ra, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Irma Thomas, and the Wild Indians of Mardi Gras.

IT’S ALL GOOD is accompanied by a free album download of Sinclair’s poetry & music collaborations corresponding to the poems in the book and featuring accompaniment by Wayne Kramer, Jeff Grand, Mark Ritsema, Charles Moore, Lyman Woodard ,Tom Worrell, Afrissippi , Ed Moss & the Society Jazz Orchestra and others.

Buy It’s All Good: A John Sinclair Reader

Product Details
Copyright The John Sinclair Foundation (Standard Copyright Licence)
Publisher Horner Books
Published 16 September 2015
Language English
Pages 416
Binding Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink Black & white
Weight 0.27 kg
Dimensions (centimetres) 15.24 wide x 22.86 tall

John Sinclair – Tour Dates New Orleans 2016

February 11, 2016

JohnSinclair_420Cafe_Frenchy

Fri. Feb. 12    7:30 p.m.     Piano Poetry Paint @ Frenchy Gallery (8314 Oak St.) with Tom Worrell, Lionel Batiste & Frenchy

Sat. Feb 13         3 p.m.     Louisiana Music Factory with the Carlo Ditta Trio (421 Frenchmen St.)

Mon. Feb 15      7 p.m.       Reading from “IT’S ALL GOOD” at Frenchy Gallery

Tue. Feb 16       7 p.m.       Reading from “IT’S ALL GOOD” at Frenchy Gallery

Wed. Feb 17      7 p.m.       Reading from “IT’S ALL GOOD” at Frenchy Gallery

Thu. Feb 18       7 p.m.       Reading from “IT’S ALL GOOD” at Frenchy Gallery

Fri. Feb 19         7 p.m.       Reading from “IT’S ALL GOOD” at Frenchy Gallery

Sun. Feb. 28    10 p.m.       d.b.a. with the Carlo Ditta Trio (618 Frenchmen St.)

Mon. Mar. 7     10 p.m.     Hi-Ho Lounge (2239 St. Claude), Instant Opus Improvised Series

Wed. Mar. 9       9 p.m.       Little Gem Saloon with the Carlo Ditta Trio  (445 S. Rampart St.)

Track John Sinclair on SongKick and get updates for shows as they are announced

Buy John Sinclair Books, Music and more here

John Higgs – “Stranger than we can imagine: Making Sense of The Twentieth Century” Book Launch

August 19, 2015

Friday 28th Aug 2015 - An evening with John Higgs and Guests

Friday 28th Aug 2015

An evening with John Higgs and Guests

Heavenly Social presents an evening with John Higgs and Guests

To celebrate the publication of his new book

Stranger Than We Can Imagine:

Making Sense of The Twentieth Century

Friday 28th August

7pm-1am

Free

The Social, 5 Little Portland Street, W1W 7JD

Nearest Tube Oxford Circus

The Social.com

The Story of TC Lethbridge – 2000 TC: Standing on the verge of getting it on by John Higgs

January 8, 2015

Automatic writing in the sacred landscape. Established 1991.
TC Lethbridge - 2000 TC (Iron Man Records - 23rd Nov 2014)

TC Lethbridge – 2000 TC (Released by Iron Man Records – 23rd November 2014)

If you spend too much time in a state of mind which prevents normal perception, behaviour, or social interaction you might end up running a record label. Living life in a completely deluded state, generating massive debt for no apparent reason can be difficult to keep going for more than 17 years at a time but, it seems by some terrible mistake I’ve made it look relatively easy. But anyway, enough of that, I want to explain something.

I went to a meeting last year year, the back room of a pub, The George in Southwark actually. The pub is just a few minutes walk from The Shard in London. Gimpo worked on The Shard and if I was going to park anywhere, parking at the foot of the Shard endorsed his work. I’ve spent time, 25 hours at a time, in a van going round the M25 with Gimpo, and believe me, it’s an experience to be had. I was with Steve Fly, a writer, musician and someone who plays drums for the Detroit Poet, John Sinclair who used to manage MC5 and was a founder member of the White Panthers. Steve and John released Mohawk through Iron Man Records in March and I was interested to accompany Steve to the meeting. I wanted to listen in, and if necessary, endorse him as a potential Music Director for The Cosmic Trigger, a new stage play by Daisy Eris Campbell. Daisy is the daughter of Ken Campbell who staged the Illuminatus! in 1976. I was 5 years old when all of that was going on.

The meeting was interesting as I had never met Daisy before and had no idea what to expect. Michelle the production manager, who was sat opposite, seemed to be keen to find the right people to take on the task ahead and no one was thinking any of this was going to be easy. A lot of hard work was ahead. If Bill Drummond had gone out to get Araldite in 1976, never to return…I was sure that this new stage adaptation of Robert Anton Wilson’s book The Cosmic Trigger was not going to be any easier for anyone.

Robert Anton Wilson was an American author novelist, psychologist, essayist, editor, playwright, poet, futurist, civil libertarian and self-described agnostic mystic. I discovered Robert Anton Wilson by way of a band called The KLF and the various aliases from The Timelords, The Jams, The Justified Ancients of MU MU, to 2K and K Foundation. Magic Temple of Discordian Promotions gave me many of Robert Anton Wilson’s books as a present which I’ve read and sometimes re-read. Magick was also a big KLF fan and seemed to know more than me so we soon became good friends. Both Robert Anton Wilson and the discussions I had about his work with Magick gave me inspiration when organising gigs for bands in Birmingham, when signing on and eating the food in my housemate’s cupboard was about all I had. The last posting that Robert Anton Wilson put on his website said: “I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying.” The whole concept of keeping the lasagne flying made sure I didn’t get any ideas like getting a job or doing anything sensible with my time. In fact, I only stopped organising gigs because the venue I worked at, The Old Railway, was scheduled to be bulldozed. But that’s an aside, someone else was at the meeting who I knew of but had never met. Flinton Chalk was sat across from me, he was the one who sold the old car to Jimmy Cauty which ended up being used in KLF music videos and was renamed Ford Timelord. Flinton had bought the car from a film studio and spent time with friends dressing up as a nun and driving around doing donuts in muddy fields in the middle of the night. You might be wondering where on earth all this is going. You see, as John Higgs will tell you, if you happen to run a record label and read his book The Brandy Of The Damned “This is the problem with doing weird things. If you behave like a reasonable person, then the world will be reasonable back. If you step outside of the norm, however, and act in freaky ways, then the world will match you step for step. ”

And this is how I ended up talking with Flinton about the car, dressing up as a transvestite pirate nun, Jimmy Cauty, KLF, Julian Cope, Tall Hats, Stones Circles, and his time living in Avebury. I used to live in Wiltshire so I know that part of the world pretty well. Judging by the number of times I had driven through Avebury late at night in the early 1990’s its a wonder I didn’t run Flinton down. Somehow we got on to 111hz which can wait for another time, and then to a serious story about his trip to Mothers Jam on Fyfield down near Avebury. A stone tried to dematerialise Flinton and Julian Cope on one of their outings to collect photos and detail for The Modern Antiquarian. Flinton also told me about his band TC Lethbridge, named after Thomas Charles Lethbridge, who was an English archaeologist, parapsychologist, and explorer.

Having spent every last penny for the last 17 years on a record label that few people have any interest in, or understanding of, I was in no mood to consider working with another band and certainly not one that hadn’t played a gig, or had been missing for 23 years with three unreleased albums. But, I have done many things over the years, sometimes for money, sometimes for free, and sometimes because insanity is a far more rational approach to a complex situation than trying to think things through properly. And that’s how I ended up agreeing to help TC Lethbridge until they found someone more suitable.

Sat next to me, Steve Fly had just been appointed Music Director for The Cosmic Trigger so the work was done. I didn’t get out of the building until I had also agreed to do whatever I could to help The Cosmic Trigger. What had started out in my mind as a meeting to endorse Steve and “listen in and learn,” ended up as “You don’t listen and you never learn.” And so it began. TC Lethbridge had found themselves a record label.

I drove back to Birmingham wondering if I would ever learn anything ever. But that was then, so here’s to the now.

John Higgs is the Author of ‘The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned A Million Pounds’ and ‘I Have America Surrounded: The Life of Timothy Leary’. John Also writes fiction (as JMR Higgs) including The Brandy of the Damned and The First Church on the Moon.

I’ve read John’s book on Timothy Leary and also his book on the KLF and The Brandy of The Damned. All of them are well worth the read, you can make your own mind up which one to read first but, before you consider any of those, I want to tell you about his latest work.
TC Lethbridge - 2000 TC book by John Higgs
John Higgs has written a book called 2000 TC: Standing on the Verge of Getting It On. The book is not for sale, it will be one of a private edition of 111 copies. Don’t ask. The answer will blow the right side of your brain.

2000 TC was written to mark The Cosmic Trigger play and festival performance in Liverpool. It is the story of TC Lethbridge, who played their first gig after the play, 23 years after they formed. TC Lethbridge are Doggen and Kev Bales, of Spiritualized and Julian Cope/Brain Donor, and Flinton Chalk, who you’ll find more about in John’s KLF book (pages 116-117).

2000 TC Standing on the verge of getting it on

2000 TC is an album recorded by TC Lethbridge in Avebury 20 years ago. It was remastered by the same person who remastered the recent Led Zeppelin reissues. Don’t ask about that either, that’s another story altogether. Flinton met me backstage at The Barbican on 31st May after John Sinclair had performed with The Founder Effect supporting Marshall Allen and The Sun Ra Arkestra. The gig was to celebrate 100 years since the birth of Sun Ra and it was a suitable venue to hand over the 2000 TC master. The album was released on November 23rd by Iron Man Records along with an album called Moon Equipped and another called Mina. The band have been missing for 23 years and now they are back with a gig as part of The Cosmic Trigger, a book by John Higgs, and three albums on Iron Man Records.

I should mention that Thomas Charles Lethbridge was born 23rd March 1901 and passed away on 30th September 1971. You may be interested to know that 30th September 1971 is my birthday. Let me be clear: I am not the reincarnation of TC Lethbridge. If I had come up with a good reason not to work with the band of the same name, it still wouldn’t have stopped anything. It appears from birth, despite my protesting, I have been destined to know TC Lethbridge and release the records by a band of the same name. You cant make this stuff up, no one would believe it. Give the music a listen, you might like it.

The voice on the 2000 TC track Bou Saada is that of Brian Barritt. He makes an appearance in the book Cosmic Trigger, when Timothy Leary tells Robert Anton Wilson that he needs to talk to Brian if they are to both understand Aleister Crowley.

John Higgs said “Spending a few months writing a biography of a band who have yet to show their faces in public was not the most career-minded way to spend my time, but it had to be done. This is a story about people who’ve had some form of visionary or incomprehensible experience, and about how they can only move on and process what happened to them through a creative act. It is about the impact an uncompleted artistic project can have on a life. It also functions as a jigsaw piece, connecting the story in my Timothy Leary book to the one I tell in The KLF.

So, yeah, it had to be written.

No doubt it will be made more widely available at some point, in some format, in some way, should the band keep gigging and putting themselves about. But until then – more about the band here, and catch them Saturday if you can.”

All three TC Lethbridge albums – Moon Equipped, Mina, and 2000 TC were released on 23rd November 2014 on Iron Man Records. Note: Any money generated from sales of these TC Lethbridge albums will be used to finance a vinyl and CD release of each record in future.

If you are interested in reviewing the 2000 TC book or reviewing any TC Lethbridge album get in touch

John Higgs spoke in Liverpool on the Sunday after Robin Ince and made an attempt to make sense of the preceeding days. Unfortunately I didn’t get there, I had to finish a few things and then pop out for a bit. I needed to get some Araldite.

Find out more about the band here:

TC Lethbridge website: http://www.tclethbridge.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TCLethbridgeMusic

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TC_Lethbridge

Iron Man Records - TC Lethbridge A5

Sun Ra Memories by John Sinclair

December 6, 2014

John Sinclair at The Barbican 31st May 2014

My first real exposure to the music and legend of Sun Ra came in the fall of 1964, when drummer Roger Blank passed through Detroit with a jazz trio I can’t remember the name of.

We put him up for a few days in our stronghold at the Detroit Artists Workshop Cooperative Housing Project, and I watched Roger open his suitcase and pull out what were obviously his most prized possessions: two weird LPs on the El Saturn label with garish outer space art on the covers and names like Supersonic Jazz and Jazz in Silhouette.

I had read about the avant-garde Chicago pianist and bandleader in downbeat and other jazz magazines, but his music was still so far underground that few people outside the band’s immediate orbit had ever heard it.

By this time the apocryphal Jazz by Sun Ra album on Transition Records was long out of print, and only The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra (Savoy, 1961) was currently available.

I knew the Arkestra had moved to New York City and taken the creative music community by storm, but its music was still pretty much only a thing of legend and not something you could put on your turntable and listen to at will.

Blank regaled us with tales of Sun Ra and his fantastic Arkestra—how they all lived together in a tiny apartment at 48 E. 3rd Street on the lower east side of New York City, where at least a dozen grown men crammed into a three-room pad and rose each day for the mandatory noon rehearsal.

John Sinclair at The Barbican 31st May 2014

They might go for months without an actual gig, working religiously on mastering the uniquely imaginative compositions and arrangements created for them by their leader with no hope of more than a musical reward.

By 1964 Sun Ra and his long-time partner in Chicago, Alton Abraham, had launched their own label, El Saturn Records, but the fledgling company seemed to distribute its products strictly on a hand-to-hand basis.

Seeing two of them now, popping out of Roger Blank’s suitcase in Detroit, sent thrills coursing throughout my being—they were so rare it was like the answer to a prayer.

Soon Sun Ra would release two startling albums—The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volumes 1 & 2—on the new avant-garde jazz label ESP-Disk, which finally brought his music to the attention of the jazz world at large.

On a trip to New York City in the fall of 1966 after I’d been released from a 6-month prison sentence at the Detroit House of Correction, I made a pilgrimage to 48 E. 3rd and spent some time with Sun Ra and the Arkestra, even managing to interview the enigmatic composer for our underground paper in Detroit, the Warren-Forest Sun.

One evening I showed up at the pad with my tiny Opel sedan just in time to serve as the major transport for the Arkestra’s gig that night at the Jazz Arts Society of New Jersey in Newark, where they ended up playing for just about as many people as were in the band—about 15.

In the spring of 1967 I arranged for the Arkestra to make its first Detroit appearance at the Community Arts Auditorium on the Wayne State University campus, a 600-seat venue. They shared the bill with the MC-5 and the Magic Veil Light Show and played to maybe 100 people.

John Sinclair at The Barbican 31st May 2014

The gate receipts were so miniscule that one of the members of our Detroit commune, Emil Bacilla, ended up driving the Arkestra back to New York City in his Volkswagen bus because we were unable to pay the band’s transportation costs.

During my tenure (1967-69) as manager of the MC-5, I shared with the band my unbridled enthusiasm for Sun Ra’s musical message and his cosmic space philosophy. In 1968 the MC-5 developed a piece called “Starship,” a wild space odyssey in the amplified-guitar-and-rock-drums idiom into which the singer Rob Tyner incorporated Sun Ra’s poem, “There / is a place / where the sun shines / eternally….”

“Starship” made it onto the 5’s first album for Elektra Records, with Sun Ra sharing composer’s credit with the MC-5.

In the spring of 1969 I arranged for Sun Ra and the Arkestra to come out to Michigan for a month-long residency. We rented the house next door to our commune at 1510 Hill Street in Ann Arbor for them and presented the Arkestra in concert with the MC-5 at several area venues, including Detroit’s Grande Ballroom, the Ann Arbor Armory, and as headliners at the First Detroit Rock & Roll Revival festival at the Michigan State Fairgrounds, where they headlined with Chuck Berry and the MC-5 in a bill designed to showcase the past, present and future of the music.

When I had the opportunity to select the artists for the 1972 Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival, I scheduled Sun Ra & the Arkestra to close the first night’s show, following performances by the Seigel-Schwall Blues Band, the Contemporary Jazz Quintet (CJQ), Junior Walker & the All-Stars and Howlin’ Wolf.

Sun Ra completely wowed the crowd of 12,000 with the Arkestra’s spectacular presentation of space-age improvisational music, brilliant costumery and frenzied choreography. On the Atlantic Records 1972 Festival album, the audience can be heard chanting “Sun Ra! Sun Ra! Sun Ra!” for several minutes following the end of the Arkestra’s performance.

Sun Ra’s 1973 appearance was more highly anticipated than ever before. Now he was incorporating his philosophical disquisitions into the stage show itself, casting his views into verse and presenting them via a three-part vocal chorale to stunning effect.

John Sinclair at The Barbican 31st May 2014

A new suite based on the previous year’s smash success, “Space Is the Place,” had been prepared to introduce Ra’s concept of an “Outer Space Employment Agency” which would put the idled workers of post-industrial America back into a productive mode outside the tired orbit of Earth.

The Arkestra was again a big hit at the 1973 Festival, and they were scheduled to return for the 1974 event when hassles with the Ann Arbor city government impelled us to move the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival to Windsor, Ontario, just across the river from downtown Detroit.

I was trying to shepherd the Arkestra through Canadian customs when I was singled out and deported back to Detroit on the basis of a marijuana conviction 10 years previously.

I went back to my room in the Shelby Hotel and watched myself talking to a television news reporter covering my deportation proceedings.

This experience marked a major turning point in my life when I considered that the farthest-out group of characters I had ever seen in America was allowed entry to Canada, while I was turned back as “too far out.”

“You’ve gone too far,” I said to myself. “It’s time to turn back now.”

That fall I retired from political activism and the rock & roll scene to take up less grueling pursuits, working as an alternative journalist and editor for a couple of years and then opening a small community arts consulting business focused on providing program development and grant-writing services to indigenous jazz artists and organizations.

This led to the establishment of the Detroit Jazz Center in 1979, and by the end of 1980 the Jazz Center was presented with the opportunity to bring in Sun Ra and the Omniverse Jet-Set Arkestra for a week-long residency in downtown Detroit.

Rick Steiger, an aspiring young saxophonist and bandleader (Kuumba, the Sun Messengers, the Sun Sounds Orchestra) from the east side and a regular participant in the Jazz Center’s various activities, came to me with an attractive proposal: He had just inherited a couple of thousand dollars from a dearly departed relative, and he wanted to use this windfall to finance a trip to the Motor City by Sun Ra & the Arkestra.

John Sinclair at The Barbican 31st May 2014

He would engage the band for the week between Christmas and New Year’s; we would lodge them at the Jazz Center, present the Arkestra in a series of concerts in our after-hours performance space called the Jazz Gallery, and host daily workshops with the band where local musicians could meet, hang out, study and play with the members of the Arkestra.

After a full week of nightly concerts which were carefully taped for posterity, culminating in three shows on New Year’s Eve, Sun Ra ended his residency at 6:00 am January 1, 1981 by sending band representative Danny “Pekoe” Thompson down to the studio where I was packing up the results of our live recording sessions.

Pekoe asked if we’d like to co-produce an album from the tapes with them, and I was curious as to what that would involve. When he mentioned that they would want us to pay for issuing the record, I explained that there was nothing in the Jazz Center’s pitiful budget for such a project.

“Oh, man,” he sighed, “Sun Ra says just reach down in that oil money and pull some out—they won’t miss it.”

And there it was: for something like 15 years, while I had sacrificed all available funds, energy, and even my reputation at times to present the Arkestra in Michigan as often as possible, Sun Ra had taken me for an heir to the Sinclair Oil Company fortune!

I saw Sun Ra after that many times over the years and never failed to recall that shocking conversation. I would continue to appreciate the music and performances of the Arkestra as long as Ra lived, but the avid idealism which had driven me to pursue these great feats of derring-do would never again return.

John Sinclair at The Barbican 31st May 2014

From “Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth” in IT’S ALL GOOD: A JOHN SINCLAIR READER (London: Headpress, 2009) © 2009, 2014 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.)

TC Lethbridge – 2000 TC Standing on the verge of getting it on by John Higgs

November 21, 2014

Automatic writing in the sacred landscape. Established 1991.
TC Lethbridge - 2000 TC (Iron Man Records - 23rd Nov 2014)

TC Lethbridge – 2000 TC (Released by Iron Man Records – 23rd November 2014)

If you spend too much time in a state of mind which prevents normal perception, behaviour, or social interaction you might end up running a record label. Living life in a completely deluded state, generating massive debt for no apparent reason can be difficult to keep going for more than 17 years at a time but, it seems by some terrible mistake I’ve made it look relatively easy. But anyway, enough of that, I want to explain something in the hope that you might understand it better than me.

I went to a meeting earlier this year, the back room of a pub, The George in Southwark actually. The pub is just a few minutes walk from The Shard in London. Gimpo worked on The Shard and if I was going to park anywhere, parking at the foot of the Shard endorsed his work. I’ve spent time, 25 hours at a time, in a van going round the M25 with Gimpo, and believe me, it’s an experience to be had. I was with Steve Fly, a writer, musician and someone who plays drums for the Detroit Poet, John Sinclair who used to manage MC5 and was a founder member of the White Panthers. Steve and John released Mohawk through Iron Man Records in March and I was interested to accompany Steve to the meeting. I wanted to listen in, and if necessary, endorse him as a potential Music Director for The Cosmic Trigger, a new stage play by Daisy Eris Campbell. Daisy is the daughter of Ken Campbell who staged the Illuminatus! in 1976. I was 5 years old when all of that was going on.

The Full Cosmic Trigger Experience 22nd/23rd November 2014

The meeting was interesting as I had never met Daisy before and had no idea what to expect. Michelle the production manager, who was opposite, seemed to be keen to find the right people to take on the task ahead and no one was thinking any of this was going to be easy. A lot of hard work was ahead. If Bill Drummond had gone out to get Araldite in 1976, never to return…I was sure that this new stage adaptation of Robert Anton Wilson’s book The Cosmic Trigger was not going to be any easier for anyone.

Robert Anton Wilson was an American author novelist, psychologist, essayist, editor, playwright, poet, futurist, civil libertarian and self-described agnostic mystic. I discovered Robert Anton Wilson by way of a band called The KLF and the various aliases from The Timelords, The Jams, The Justified Ancients of MU MU, to 2K and K Foundation. Magic Temple of Discordian Promotions gave me many of Robert Anton Wilson’s books as a present which I’ve read and sometimes re-read. Magick was also a big KLF fan and seemed to know more than me so we soon became good friends. Both Robert Anton Wilson and the discussions I had about his work with Magick gave me inspiration when organising gigs for bands in Birmingham, when signing on and eating the food in my housemate’s cupboard was about all I had. The last posting that Robert Anton Wilson put on his website said: “I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying.” The whole concept of keeping the lasagne flying made sure I didn’t get any ideas like getting a job or doing anything sensible with my time. In fact, I only stopped organising gigs because the venue I worked at, The Old Railway, was scheduled to be bulldozed. But that’s an aside, someone else was at the meeting who I knew of but had never met. Flinton Chalk was sat across from me, he was the one who sold the old car to Jimmy Cauty which ended up being used in KLF music videos and was renamed Ford Timelord. Flinton had bought the car from a film studio and spent time with friends dressing up as a nun and driving around doing donuts in muddy fields in the middle of the night. You might be wondering where on earth all this is going. You see, as John Higgs will tell you, if you happen to run a record label and read his book The Brandy Of The Damned “This is the problem with doing weird things. If you behave like a reasonable person, then the world will be reasonable back. If you step outside of the norm, however, and act in freaky ways, then the world will match you step for step. ”

And this is how I ended up talking with Flinton about the car, dressing up as a transvestite pirate nun, Jimmy Cauty, KLF, Julian Cope, Tall Hats, Stones Circles, and his time living in Avebury. I used to live in Wiltshire so I know that part of the world pretty well. Judging by the number of times I had driven through Avebury late at night in the early 1990’s its a wonder I didn’t run Flinton down. Somehow we got on to 111hz which can wait for another time, and then to a serious story about his trip to Mothers Jam on Fyfield down near Avebury. A stone tried to dematerialise Flinton and Julian Cope on one of their outings to collect photos and detail for The Modern Antiquarian. Flinton also told me about his band TC Lethbridge, named after Thomas Charles Lethbridge, who was an English archaeologist, parapsychologist, and explorer.

Having spent every last penny for the last 17 years on a record label that few people have any interest in, or understanding of,  I was in no mood to consider working with another band and certainly not one that hadn’t played a gig, or had been missing for 23 years with three unreleased albums. But, I have done many things over the years, sometimes for money, sometimes for free, and sometimes because insanity is a far more rational approach to a complex situation than trying to think things through properly. And that’s how I ended up agreeing to help TC Lethbridge until they found someone more suitable.

Sat next to me, Steve Fly had just been appointed Music Director for The Cosmic Trigger so the work was done. I didn’t get out of the building until I had also agreed to do whatever I could to help The Cosmic Trigger. What had started out in my mind as a meeting to endorse Steve and  “listen in and learn,” ended up as “You don’t listen and you never learn.” And so it began. TC Lethbridge had found themselves a record label.

I drove back to Birmingham wondering if I would ever learn anything ever. But that was then, so here’s to the now.

John Higgs is the Author of ‘The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned A Million Pounds’ and ‘I Have America Surrounded: The Life of Timothy Leary’. John Also writes fiction (as JMR Higgs) including The Brandy of the Damned and The First Church on the Moon.

I’ve read John’s book on Timothy Leary and also his book on the KLF and The Brandy of The Damned. All of them are well worth the read, you can make your own mind up which one to read first but, before you consider any of those, I want to tell you about his latest work.
TC Lethbridge - 2000 TC book by John Higgs
John Higgs has written a book called 2000 TC: Standing on the Verge of Getting It On. The book is not for sale, it will be one of a private edition of 111 copies. Don’t ask. The answer will blow the right side of your brain.

2000 TC was written to mark The Cosmic Trigger play and festival performance in Liverpool. It is the story of TC Lethbridge, who will be playing their first gig after the play on Saturday – 23 years after they formed. TC Lethbridge are Doggen and Kev Bales, of Spiritualized and Julian Cope/Brain Donor, and Flinton Chalk, who you’ll find more about in John’s KLF book (pages 116-117).

2000 TC Standing on the verge of getting it on

2000 TC is an album recorded by TC Lethbridge in Avebury 20 years ago. It was remastered by the same person who remastered the recent Led Zeppelin reissues. Don’t ask about that either, that’s another story altogether. Flinton met me backstage at The Barbican on 31st May after John Sinclair had performed with The Founder Effect supporting Marshall Allen and The Sun Ra Arkestra. The gig was to celebrate 100 years since the birth of Sun Ra and it was a suitable venue to hand over the 2000 TC master. The album is being released on November 23rd by Iron Man Records along with an album called Moon Equipped and another called Mina. The band have been missing for 23 years and now they are back with a gig as part of The Cosmic Trigger, a book by John Higgs, and three albums on Iron Man Records.

I should mention that Thomas Charles Lethbridge was born 23rd March 1901 and passed away on 30th September 1971. You may be interested to know that 30th September 1971 is my birthday. Let me be clear: I am not the reincarnation of TC Lethbridge. If I had come up with a good reason not to work with the band of the same name, it still wouldn’t have stopped anything. It appears from birth, despite my protesting, I have been destined to know TC Lethbridge and release the records by a band of the same name. You cant make this stuff up, no one would believe it. Give the music a listen, you might like it.

The voice on the 2000 TC track Bou Saada is that of Brian Barritt. He makes an appearance in the book Cosmic Trigger, when Timothy Leary tells Robert Anton Wilson that he needs to talk to Brian if they are to both understand Aleister Crowley.

John  Higgs said “Spending a few months writing a biography of a band who have yet to show their faces in public was not the most career-minded way to spend my time, but it had to be done. This is a story about people who’ve had some form of visionary or incomprehensible experience, and about how they can only move on and process what happened to them through a creative act. It is about the impact an uncompleted artistic project can have on a life. It also functions as a jigsaw piece, connecting the story in my Timothy Leary book to the one I tell in The KLF.

So, yeah, it had to be written.

No doubt it will be made more widely available at some point, in some format, in some way, should the band keep gigging and putting themselves about. But until then – more about the band here, and catch them Saturday if you can.”

All three TC Lethbridge albums – Moon Equipped, Mina, and 2000 TC will be released on 23rd November 2014 on Iron Man Records. Note: Any money generated from sales of these TC Lethbridge albums will be used to finance a vinyl and CD release of each record in future.

If you are interested in reviewing the 2000 TC book or reviewing any TC Lethbridge album get in touch

John Higgs will be speaking in Liverpool on the Sunday after Robin Ince and will then host a panel that will attempt to make sense of the preceeding days. Someone has to do it and if anyone stands a chance, it’s John. I hope the weekend is fun but unfortunately I wont be there, I just need to finish this and then pop out for a bit. I need to get some Araldite.

Find out more about the band here:

TC Lethbridge website: http://www.tclethbridge.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TCLethbridgeMusic

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TC_Lethbridge

Iron Man Records - TC Lethbridge A5

The Bitcoin Revolution By Steven Hager

January 19, 2014

Bitcoin is rapidly transforming the financial landscape with a peer-to-peer solution for wealth transfer. It has already shown capacity to absorb tremendous resources and withstand crisis sell-offs. Read this short ebook to understand why you should invest in this revolutionary computer art meets cryptography concept. I came late to Bitcoin and have zero understanding of the technical complexities of cryptography, but I do realize Bitcoin is open source and completely transparent and completely non-predatory in design, a real departure from our banking industry. Any assets moved into Bitcoin virtually disappear from the public record at this point and do not become taxable events until they are brought back into the system. Bitcoin has numerous benefits to offer and represents a real threat to our current corrupt money system. The media has been relentlessly negative on bitcoins for a reason: they threaten the status quo. This text serves as a manifesto for the rise of a Bitcoin nation. Feel free to contact Steven’s blog http://stevenhager420.wordpress.com

Read it here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/395304

About Steven Hager: “I started out writing black comedy, but I’m best known as the first reporter to document hip hop and the instigator of the film Beat Street. I also founded the Cannabis Cup, organized the first 420 ceremonies outside of Marin County, and launched the hemp movement with Jack Herer while writing some landmark conspiracy articles.”

Interview with Steven Hager here: https://www.smashwords.com/interview/stevenhager420

Iron Man Records – Online Shop

January 28, 2013

Iron Man Records - shop a5 advert 150 dpi

The Iron Man shop sells Punk, Dub, Rock, Metal, Acoustic and Alternative music on CD, Vinyl, DVD, and Video. The shop also stocks books, comic books and rare or hard to find items.

I only sell what I listen to, I like, and I recommend. Every item is brand new and undamaged, no second hand or damaged goods.

Try it, you might like what you find. http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Iron-Man-Shop

Iron Man Records – Online Shop

January 21, 2013

Iron Man Records - shop a5 advert 150 dpi
The Iron Man shop sells Punk, Dub, Rock, Metal, Acoustic and Alternative music on CD, Vinyl, DVD, and Video. The shop also stocks books, comic books and rare or hard to find items.

I only sell what I listen to, I like, and I recommend. Every item is brand new and undamaged, no second hand or damaged goods.

Try it, you might like what you find. http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Iron-Man-Shop

Iron Man Records – Online Shop

January 14, 2013

Iron Man Records - shop a5 advert 150 dpi

The Iron Man shop sells Punk, Dub, Rock, Metal, Acoustic and Alternative music on CD, Vinyl, DVD, and Video. The shop also stocks books, comic books and rare or hard to find items.

I only sell what I listen to, I like, and I recommend. Every item is brand new and undamaged, no second hand or damaged goods.

Try it, you might like what you find. http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Iron-Man-Shop

Cypherpunks Freedom and the Future of the Internet – Julian Assange with Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Muller-Maguhn and Jeremie Zimmermann

December 5, 2012

Cypherpunks Freedom and the Future of the Internet - Julian Assange with Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Muller-Maguhn and Jeremie Zimmermann
“Cypherpunks is gripping, vital reading, explaining clearly the way in which corporate and government control of the internet poses a fundamental threat to our freedom and democracy.” — Oliver Stone

“Obligatory reading for everyone interested in the reality of our freedoms.” — Slavoj Zizek

“The power of this book is that it breaks a silence. It marks an insurrection of subjugated knowledge that is, above all, a warning to all.” — John Pilger

Buy Cypherpunks Freedom and the Future of the Internet here: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Iron-Man-Shop

Cypherpunks are activists who advocate the widespread use of strong cryptography (writing in code) as a route to progressive change. Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of and visionary behind WikiLeaks, has been a leading voice in the cypherpunk movement since its inception in the 1980s.

Now, in what is sure to be a wave-making new book, Assange brings together a small group of cutting-edge thinkers and activists from the front line of the battle for cyber-space to discuss whether electronic communications will emancipate or enslave us. Among the topics addressed are:

Do Facebook and Google constitute “the greatest surveillance machine that ever existed,” perpetually tracking our location, our contacts and our lives?

Far from being victims of that surveillance, are most of us willing collaborators?

Are there legitimate forms of surveillance, for instance in relation to the “Four Horsemen of the Infopocalypse” (money laundering, drugs, terrorism and pornography)?

And do we have the ability, through conscious action and technological savvy, to resist this tide and secure a world where freedom is something which the Internet helps bring about?

The harassment of WikiLeaks and other Internet activists, together with attempts to introduce anti-file sharing legislation such as SOPA and ACTA, indicate that the politics of the Internet have reached a crossroads. In one direction lies a future that guarantees, in the watchwords of the cypherpunks, “privacy for the weak and transparency for the powerful”; in the other lies an Internet that allows government and large corporations to discover ever more about internet users while hiding their own activities. Assange and his co-discussants unpick the complex issues surrounding this crucial choice with clarity and engaging enthusiasm.

Publication November 2012 • 192 pages
Paperback ISBN 978-1-939293-00-8 • Ebook ISBN 978-1-939293-01-5

Julian Assange is the editor in chief of WikiLeaks. An original contributor to the cypherpunk mailing list, Assange is the author of numerous software projects in line with the cypherpunk philosophy, including the Rubberhose encryption system and the original code for WikiLeaks. An ‘ethical hacker’ in his teens, and subsequently an activist and internet service provider to Australia during the 1990s, he is the co-author (with Sulette Dreyfus) of Underground, a history of the international hacker movement. “Julian is currently a refugee under the protection of the government of Ecuador, and lives in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”

Jacob Appelbaum is a staff research scientist at the University of Washington, and a developer and advocate for the Tor Project, which is an online anonymity system for everyday people to fight against surveillance and against internet censorship.

Andy Müller-Maguhn is a long time member of, and former spokesman for, the Chaos Computer Club in Germany. A specialist on surveillance he runs a company called Cryptophone, which markets secure voice communication devices to commercial clients.

Jérémie Zimmermann is the co-founder and spokesperson for the citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net, the most prominent European organization defending anonymity rights online and promoting awareness of regulatory attacks on online freedoms.

AN EXCHANGE FROM CYPHERPUNKS:

JULIAN:
I want to look at what I see as a difference between a US cypherpunk perspective and the European perspective, which I think is quite interesting. The US Second Amendment is the right to bear arms. Just recently I was watching some footage that a friend shot in the US on the right to bear arms, and above a firearms store it says ‘Democracy, Locked and Loaded,’ and that’s the way that you ensure that you don’t have totalitarian regimes – that people are armed and if they are pissed off enough, then they simply take their arms and they retake control by force. Whether that argument is still valid now is actually an interesting one because of the difference in the types of arms that have occurred over the past 30 years. So, we can look back to this declaration that code-making, providing secret cryptographic codes that the government couldn’t spy on, was in fact a munition, and this big war that we fought in the 1990s to try and make cryptography available to everyone, which we largely won.

JAKE:
In the West?

JULIAN:
In the West we largely won and it’s in every browser – it is now perhaps being back-doored and subverted in different kinds of ways. The notion is that you cannot trust a government to implement the policies that it says that it is implementing, and so we must provide the underlying tools, cryptographic tools that we control, as a sort of use of force, in that if the ciphers are good no matter how hard it tries a government cannot break into your communications directly. Maybe it can put a bug in your house or whatever.

JAKE:
Force of authority is derived from violence. One must acknowledge with cryptography no amount of violence will ever solve the math problem.

JULIAN:
Exactly.

JAKE:
And this is the important key. It doesn’t mean you can’t be tortured, it doesn’t mean that they can’t try and bug your house or subvert it some way but it means that if they find an encrypted message it doesn’t matter if they have the force of the authority behind everything that they do, they cannot solve that math problem. This is the thing though that is totally non-obvious to people that are non-technical and it has to be driven home. If we could solve all of those math problems, it would be a different story and, of course, the government will be able to solve those math problems if anyone could.

JULIAN:
But it’s just a fact. It just happens to be a fact about reality, such as that you can build atomic bombs, that there are math problems that you can create that even the strongest state cannot directly break. I think that was tremendously appealing to Californian libertarians and others who believed in this sort of ‘democracy locked and loaded,’ and here was a very intellectual way of doing it – of a couple of individuals with cryptography standing up to the full power of the strongest suit of power in the world. And we’re still doing that a little bit, but I wonder, I have a view that the likely outcome is that those are really tremendously big economic forces and tremendously big political forces, like Jérémie was saying, and that the natural efficiencies of these technologies compared to the number of human beings will mean that slowly we will end up in a global totalitarian surveillance society. By totalitarian I mean a total surveillance, and that perhaps there’ll just be the last free living people – and these last free living people are those who understand how to use this cryptography to defend against this complete, total surveillance, and some people who are completely off-grid, neo-Luddites that have gone into the cave, or traditional tribes-people. And these traditional people have none of the efficiencies of a modern economy so their ability to act is very small. Are we headed for that sort of scenario?

JÉRÉMIE:
First of all, if you look at it from a market perspective, I’m convinced that there is a market in privacy that has been mostly left unexplored, so maybe there will be an economic drive for companies to develop tools that will give users the individual ability to control their data and communication. Maybe this is one way that we can solve that problem. I’m not sure it can work alone, but this may happen and we may not know it yet. Also it is interesting to see that what you’re describing is the power of the hackers, in a way – ‘hackers’ in the primary sense of the term, not a criminal. A hacker is a technology enthusiast, is somebody who likes to understand how technology works, not to be trapped into technology but to make it work better. I suppose that when you were five or seven you had a screwdriver and tried to open devices to understand what it was like inside. So, this is what being a hacker is, and hackers built the Internet for many reasons, also because it was fun, and they have developed it and have given the Internet to everybody else. Companies like Google and Facebook saw the opportunity to build business models based on capturing users’ personal data. But still we see a form of power in the hands of hackers and what is my primary interest these days is that we see these hackers gaining power, even in the political arenas. In the US there has been these SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) legislations – violent copyright legislation that basically gives Hollywood the power to order any Internet company to restrict access and to censor the internet.

JULIAN:
And banking blockades like the one we’re suffering from.

JÉRÉMIE:
Exactly. What happened to WikiLeaks from the banking companies was becoming the standard method to fight the evil copyright pirates that killed Hollywood and so on. And we witnessed this tremendous uproar from civil society on the Internet – and not only in the US, it couldn’t have worked if it was only US citizens who rose up against SOPA and PIPA. It was people all around the world that participated, and hackers were at the core of it and were providing tools to the others to help participate in the public debate.

Buy Cypherpunks Freedom and the Future of the Internet here: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Iron-Man-Shop

Cypherpunks Freedom and the Future of the Internet – Julian Assange with Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Muller-Maguhn and Jeremie Zimmermann

December 5, 2012

Cypherpunks Freedom and the Future of the Internet - Julian Assange with Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Muller-Maguhn and Jeremie Zimmermann
“Cypherpunks is gripping, vital reading, explaining clearly the way in which corporate and government control of the internet poses a fundamental threat to our freedom and democracy.” — Oliver Stone

“Obligatory reading for everyone interested in the reality of our freedoms.” — Slavoj Zizek

“The power of this book is that it breaks a silence. It marks an insurrection of subjugated knowledge that is, above all, a warning to all.” — John Pilger

Buy Cypherpunks Freedom and the Future of the Internet here: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Iron-Man-Shop

Cypherpunks are activists who advocate the widespread use of strong cryptography (writing in code) as a route to progressive change. Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of and visionary behind WikiLeaks, has been a leading voice in the cypherpunk movement since its inception in the 1980s.

Now, in what is sure to be a wave-making new book, Assange brings together a small group of cutting-edge thinkers and activists from the front line of the battle for cyber-space to discuss whether electronic communications will emancipate or enslave us. Among the topics addressed are:

Do Facebook and Google constitute “the greatest surveillance machine that ever existed,” perpetually tracking our location, our contacts and our lives?

Far from being victims of that surveillance, are most of us willing collaborators?

Are there legitimate forms of surveillance, for instance in relation to the “Four Horsemen of the Infopocalypse” (money laundering, drugs, terrorism and pornography)?

And do we have the ability, through conscious action and technological savvy, to resist this tide and secure a world where freedom is something which the Internet helps bring about?

The harassment of WikiLeaks and other Internet activists, together with attempts to introduce anti-file sharing legislation such as SOPA and ACTA, indicate that the politics of the Internet have reached a crossroads. In one direction lies a future that guarantees, in the watchwords of the cypherpunks, “privacy for the weak and transparency for the powerful”; in the other lies an Internet that allows government and large corporations to discover ever more about internet users while hiding their own activities. Assange and his co-discussants unpick the complex issues surrounding this crucial choice with clarity and engaging enthusiasm.

Publication November 2012 • 192 pages
Paperback ISBN 978-1-939293-00-8 • Ebook ISBN 978-1-939293-01-5

Julian Assange is the editor in chief of WikiLeaks. An original contributor to the cypherpunk mailing list, Assange is the author of numerous software projects in line with the cypherpunk philosophy, including the Rubberhose encryption system and the original code for WikiLeaks. An ‘ethical hacker’ in his teens, and subsequently an activist and internet service provider to Australia during the 1990s, he is the co-author (with Sulette Dreyfus) of Underground, a history of the international hacker movement. “Julian is currently a refugee under the protection of the government of Ecuador, and lives in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”

Jacob Appelbaum is a staff research scientist at the University of Washington, and a developer and advocate for the Tor Project, which is an online anonymity system for everyday people to fight against surveillance and against internet censorship.

Andy Müller-Maguhn is a long time member of, and former spokesman for, the Chaos Computer Club in Germany. A specialist on surveillance he runs a company called Cryptophone, which markets secure voice communication devices to commercial clients.

Jérémie Zimmermann is the co-founder and spokesperson for the citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net, the most prominent European organization defending anonymity rights online and promoting awareness of regulatory attacks on online freedoms.

AN EXCHANGE FROM CYPHERPUNKS:

JULIAN:
I want to look at what I see as a difference between a US cypherpunk perspective and the European perspective, which I think is quite interesting. The US Second Amendment is the right to bear arms. Just recently I was watching some footage that a friend shot in the US on the right to bear arms, and above a firearms store it says ‘Democracy, Locked and Loaded,’ and that’s the way that you ensure that you don’t have totalitarian regimes – that people are armed and if they are pissed off enough, then they simply take their arms and they retake control by force. Whether that argument is still valid now is actually an interesting one because of the difference in the types of arms that have occurred over the past 30 years. So, we can look back to this declaration that code-making, providing secret cryptographic codes that the government couldn’t spy on, was in fact a munition, and this big war that we fought in the 1990s to try and make cryptography available to everyone, which we largely won.

JAKE:
In the West?

JULIAN:
In the West we largely won and it’s in every browser – it is now perhaps being back-doored and subverted in different kinds of ways. The notion is that you cannot trust a government to implement the policies that it says that it is implementing, and so we must provide the underlying tools, cryptographic tools that we control, as a sort of use of force, in that if the ciphers are good no matter how hard it tries a government cannot break into your communications directly. Maybe it can put a bug in your house or whatever.

JAKE:
Force of authority is derived from violence. One must acknowledge with cryptography no amount of violence will ever solve the math problem.

JULIAN:
Exactly.

JAKE:
And this is the important key. It doesn’t mean you can’t be tortured, it doesn’t mean that they can’t try and bug your house or subvert it some way but it means that if they find an encrypted message it doesn’t matter if they have the force of the authority behind everything that they do, they cannot solve that math problem. This is the thing though that is totally non-obvious to people that are non-technical and it has to be driven home. If we could solve all of those math problems, it would be a different story and, of course, the government will be able to solve those math problems if anyone could.

JULIAN:
But it’s just a fact. It just happens to be a fact about reality, such as that you can build atomic bombs, that there are math problems that you can create that even the strongest state cannot directly break. I think that was tremendously appealing to Californian libertarians and others who believed in this sort of ‘democracy locked and loaded,’ and here was a very intellectual way of doing it – of a couple of individuals with cryptography standing up to the full power of the strongest suit of power in the world. And we’re still doing that a little bit, but I wonder, I have a view that the likely outcome is that those are really tremendously big economic forces and tremendously big political forces, like Jérémie was saying, and that the natural efficiencies of these technologies compared to the number of human beings will mean that slowly we will end up in a global totalitarian surveillance society. By totalitarian I mean a total surveillance, and that perhaps there’ll just be the last free living people – and these last free living people are those who understand how to use this cryptography to defend against this complete, total surveillance, and some people who are completely off-grid, neo-Luddites that have gone into the cave, or traditional tribes-people. And these traditional people have none of the efficiencies of a modern economy so their ability to act is very small. Are we headed for that sort of scenario?

JÉRÉMIE:
First of all, if you look at it from a market perspective, I’m convinced that there is a market in privacy that has been mostly left unexplored, so maybe there will be an economic drive for companies to develop tools that will give users the individual ability to control their data and communication. Maybe this is one way that we can solve that problem. I’m not sure it can work alone, but this may happen and we may not know it yet. Also it is interesting to see that what you’re describing is the power of the hackers, in a way – ‘hackers’ in the primary sense of the term, not a criminal. A hacker is a technology enthusiast, is somebody who likes to understand how technology works, not to be trapped into technology but to make it work better. I suppose that when you were five or seven you had a screwdriver and tried to open devices to understand what it was like inside. So, this is what being a hacker is, and hackers built the Internet for many reasons, also because it was fun, and they have developed it and have given the Internet to everybody else. Companies like Google and Facebook saw the opportunity to build business models based on capturing users’ personal data. But still we see a form of power in the hands of hackers and what is my primary interest these days is that we see these hackers gaining power, even in the political arenas. In the US there has been these SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) legislations – violent copyright legislation that basically gives Hollywood the power to order any Internet company to restrict access and to censor the internet.

JULIAN:
And banking blockades like the one we’re suffering from.

JÉRÉMIE:
Exactly. What happened to WikiLeaks from the banking companies was becoming the standard method to fight the evil copyright pirates that killed Hollywood and so on. And we witnessed this tremendous uproar from civil society on the Internet – and not only in the US, it couldn’t have worked if it was only US citizens who rose up against SOPA and PIPA. It was people all around the world that participated, and hackers were at the core of it and were providing tools to the others to help participate in the public debate.

Buy Cypherpunks Freedom and the Future of the Internet here: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Iron-Man-Shop

Nightingales gigs October, November, December 2010

October 8, 2010

SATURDAY 16 OCTOBER
PALACE,  Zwinglistr. 3, Blumenbergplatz
ST GALLEN, CH www.palace.sg
with Christy & Emily
http://www.palace.sg/tickets/77058/

SUNDAY 17 OCTOBER
CLUB MANUFAKTUR, Hammerschlag 8
SCHORNDORF, DE www.club-manufaktur.de
with Christy & Emily
http://www.club-manufaktur.de/tickets.11.0.html?&id=2528

MONDAY 18 OCTOBER
HIRSCHENECK KONZERTKELLAR, Lindenberg 23
BASEL, CH  www.hirscheneck.ch

FRIDAY 29 OCTOBER
THE LECTERN, 5 Pelham Terrace, Lewes Road
BRIGHTON, UK
Spinning Chilli present John Peel Night www.myspace.com/spinningchilli
with the I, Ludicrous, Fallen Leaves & others
http://www.wegottickets.com/event/88547

SATURDAY 30 OCTOBER
BUFFALO BAR, 259 Upper Street, N1
LONDON, UK
Guided Missile Halloween Party www.myspace.com/guidedmissile
with the Cravats
http://www.wegottickets.com/event/91732

SUNDAY 31 OCTOBER
THE OLD WHARF, 21 Oxford Street, Digbeth
BIRMINGHAM, UK
with The Courtesy Group and Black Carrot
www.myspace.com/thecuratesegg
*£1 off admission with flyer (download at the curate’s egg myspace)

+

MONDAY 1 NOVEMBER
Live session on Marc Riley’s BBC 6 Music radio show
First song at 19.00hrs exactly
Listen on DAB digital radio, TV (Sky 0120, Freeview 707, Free Sat 708, Virgin 909) or online at
www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00c72y1
Plus the group will record an extra song to be broadcast later in the evening on the Gideon Coe show

+

THIS HAPPENED, THEN THIS
Nightingales Lyrics 2006-2010 with illustrations by Christine Edwards
Available at Nightingales shows or mail order from bigprint@hotmail.com  (write for details)
£7 (+ £1 postage + £1 extra if paid via paypal)
‘This Happened, Then This’ book features forty original lyrics by the Nightingales’ singer Robert Lloyd
The lyrics are taken from the group’s four most recent albums –
‘Out Of True’ (2006), ‘What’s Not To Love?’ (2007), ‘Insult To Injury’ (2009) and the yet to be released ‘The Lost Plot’
The words are illustrated by Christine Edwards (one half of the wonderful Christy & Emily and semi regular Nightingales guitarist)

WELL DONE, UNDERDOG! – The Lyrics Of Robert Lloyd, Volume 1
Available now at Nightingales shows or mail order from bigprint@hotmail.com (write for details) or www.lulu.com/leethacker
£6 (+ £1 postage + £1 extra if paid via paypal)
‘Well Done, Underdog!’ is a Lloyd approved ‘bootleg’ book published by Raw Shark Books and put together by graphic novelist Lee Thacker, who also illustrates the book
It contains (pretty accurate) versions of all of Lloyd’s lyrics from the earliest Nightingales records –
the ‘Idiot Strength’, ‘Use Your Loaf’, Paraffin Brain’ and ‘Urban Ospreys’ 45s, the Cherry Red Peel Session EP and the ‘Pigs On Purpose’ album

www.thenightingales.org.uk
www.myspace.com/nightingalesmusic

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