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

TC Lethbridge – Neo-Psychedelic rock troupe missing for 23 years by Guy Hirst

September 4, 2015

TC Lethbridge - 2000 TC book by John Higgs

Made up of two long standing members of space rock pioneers Spiritualized (Doggen, Bales) and named after the radical archaeologist turned occultist T.C. Lethbridge, the band return with three re-issues of their self-released albums recorded in the early nineties: Moon Equipped, Mina and 2000 TC – released November 23rd 2014 via Iron Man Records.

T.C Lethbridge is Kevin Bales, Tony Doggen Foster and Flinton Chalk.

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

The re-issues promoted their first public performance in 23 years last November at Liverpool’s Cosmic Trigger Festival, a theatrical production and continuation of the Illuminatus Trilogy – a satirical story of drugs, sex, magic and conspiracy theories – which was originally adapted to stage by legendary English writer and director Ken Campbell.

T.C. Lethbridge’s performance at Cosmic Trigger was a tribute to the late-great psychedelic evangelist Brian Barritt (cohort of LSD advocate Timothy Leary) who appears in the Cosmic Trigger book and had recorded with the band at Avebury stone circle during the making of 2000TC. Barritt also features on the track “Bou Saada” on the album and Flinton Chalk had previously collaborated with Barritt exploring the trance-inducing frequencies of Neolithic burial tombs – a main theme that runs throughout their music. In Brian Barritt’s words the group are exploring “Automatic writing on a sacred landscape.”

You can explore their music by listening to 2000TC here:

Author John Higgs has written a biography of T.C Lethbridge entitled “2000TC – Standing on the verge of Getting It On” and 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.”

‘2000TC’ was recorded 1994 John Stewart Hall, Melbourne House, The Henge Shop, Avebury, 4 Track cassette, digitally remastered by John Davies 2014. You can buy 2000TC here

All re-issued TC Lethbridge albums can be found here

T.C. Lethbridge website: http://www.tclethbridge.com

– written by Guy Hirst 2015

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.)

The square root of the M25: Gimpo’s 25 Hour M25 Spin

December 5, 2014

A witness statement from Iron Man Records 2014.
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I didn’t get much sleep the night before, I had been working on the release of the new John Sinclair record “Mohawk.” By the time I climbed into the car and started the engine it was 10am. I drove to London and dropped the car in Brentford, West London. I picked up the keys. I had a 9 seater VW Splitter van on hire from DYC Touring and headed to Shepherd’s Bush. I wasn’t due to meet the band until 3pm so I had a bit of time to park up and make phone calls.

If I was applying for a job I’d probably tell you I’m a tour manager, a music manager, I can drive a splitter van and tow trailers, and I have a clean driving licence. I could tell you I’ve been running a record label called Iron Man Records for 18 years, I play in a couple of bands, I run a few websites, I work freelance and so on. In reality, I don’t apply for jobs, employers find their way to me on personal recommendation because no one else, in a right mind, will take their work on. The day was looking no different to any other. The phone was ringing.

I have to do many things on a daily basis just to keep things moving, some of it for money, some of it for free, some of it because I have no other choice and some of it for reasons of pure nonsense. Don’t ask me to explain.
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Gimpo was due to start the 25 hour M25 Spin at midday, so by now he should have completed a lap and be half way round the next one. The time was 2pm and my phone was lighting up with messages from people asking if I was on the Spin this year. No, I wasn’t on the Spin, I was driving a band called “Tenterhook” to Hereford for a gig at The Jailhouse. They needed a driver and had a small budget to work with. I had no money, and on that basis I was “available” to do the work. Gimpo was planning to do the M25 Spin solo this year. You can’t reason with someone like Gimpo. He thinks things up and goes and does them. No Discussion. No Explanation.

I had decided to leave him to it for now. For various reasons Tim, who usually drives the van for the whole 25 hour M25 Spin, was unable to make it this year. Sharon, who handles Navigation and supplies while Tim is at the wheel, was stuck in Guatemala with no money for a plane ticket. Todd, who looks after the website www.GimpoGimpo.com was in New Jersey, I already had several messages from him asking “What the fuck’s going on?”
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Did I know what was going on? Can anyone know what’s going on in Gimpo’s mind? I managed to speak to Tim, he had been in touch with the man himself. Gimpo had made a start, but had only got half way round. Tim was worried about progress. Gimpo hadn’t got very far and Tim had been questioning Gimpo at length. “Half a lap? What are you doing? Selling Ice Cream? Get a move on, there’s work to do” It seemed to me that Gimpo was having technical problems. Gimpo was driving his own car this year in an attempt to do the M25 Spin solo for the first time. This might all sound pretty good, but the reality was a little different.

The CD player was broken in Gimpo’s car and the radio doesn’t really do it these days. Gimpo had fixed up the video camera with cable ties, and had a stock of blank mini DV tapes at the ready. But, there were a few other issues that hadn’t been thought through. You cant drive and text can you? You cant drive and take pictures can you? You cant drive, take pictures, text, answer the phone, send emails or reply to requests can you? So what was Gimpo to do? He was already on the M25 spin. Solo. No support. And how was he going to document the event? He had stopped at Clacket Lane Services to discover this was going to be a long and complicated day. He had an iphone, with a SIM card, which gave him free internet access but the camera on his Nokia phone was better. For some reason the Nokia wouldn’t send emails so Todd wasn’t going to get any picture updates for the website.
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I rang Gimpo, as time was moving on, to find out what he was up to. Gimpo would not be stopped by anyone. Gimpo was doing the M25 spin and he would do it solo with or without anyone knowing about it. I had to go, it was nearly 3pm, the band needed to be in hereford for 6pm. I told Gimpo I would come and find him when I got back after the gig. He would have to go it alone till then.

3pm arrived and I found myself collecting a band, who are being managed by one of the few capable music management companies I know. They look after Madness, so no joke, they are going to do good things with this lot. The band are actually a singer and songwriter with a great voice who plays the guitar and goes under the name of “Tenterhook,” he’s 19. He works with some other musicians who play drums, guitar, bass and keys. The van was loaded and by 3.15pm we were on the road, to Hereford. The gig was just like any other I’ve been to. Headliners took for ever getting their soundcheck done, they didn’t really speak to anyone and then vanished. The lot I was with sound checked and agreed last details like set order, start and finish time, and made a start on the limited rider provided by the venue staff.

By now there was a long list of messages and emails asking what the fuck was going on? Where was Gimpo? Was he ok? What did I know? Had I heard anything? The Spin was on, nobody needed to know. Gimpo was at the wheel and with that thought in mind, it’s probably better not to know what’s going on.
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“Tenterhook” didn’t go onstage till much later than planned. The band had a good one, it was their first gig and the applause gave the band the endorsement they were hoping for.

Outside the band members gathered to load the van while people came out of the the venue to chat and find out who they were, and where they had come from. It was their first gig together.

On the way back to London the beers opened, and the talk poured over the gig and what had just gone on. The band knew how much work was ahead but it seemed like a good start to the process.

I dropped the band back at 5am and taxis were waiting to take people home from the meeting point. “Where are you going now, where are you staying?” came the inevitable question. I unloaded the gear and handed it to the exhausted band members. “Don’t ask, you don’t want know” was my reply. I could see there were a load of messages that had come in on my phone while I was driving back from Hereford. I dared not even look till the van was parked, the gear unloaded, and the band already gone.

The phone was full of madness. I called Gimpo and found him at Clacket Lane Services. He had just pulled in to try and send some pictures to Todd. No change there then. I suggested we meet at Cobham services, only 30 minutes further round, to talk through what was going on.
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I arrived at Cobham around 6am having dropped the splitter van back to DYC Touring on the way. The parking at Cobham is free for 2 hours then its £25 for up to 24 hours. As I despaired at the parking situation Gimpo arrived, “Don’t worry about parking Mark, lets book a meeting room for £8 the parking is free with that” I wasn’t about to try booking a meeting room at 6am on a sunday morning. Neither of us looked in any way believable and if we booked a meeting room and then vanished it may generate suspicion. We defaulted to the only option available, a cup of tea from Greggs and a meeting in the comfy chair area to work out what sort of plan might be possible under the circumstances.

Gimpo started emptying his pockets of leads, head phones, charger cables, car keys, phones and assorted other items. He explained the problem. “Ive got this iphone but you need two hands to work the camera. This Nokia has a better camera, and you can work it one handed, but I can’t get it to work. I can’t send emails to Todd.” I looked at both and tried to have a go at getting the Nokia to work. It was full of pictures, but no, the internet wasn’t working and I couldn’t work out how to get it to send and receive.

We finished the tea and returned to the vehicles. Gimpo spoke first. “Lets drop your car off on the A3, I know a place where Bill and Jimmy took a load of Journalists in the middle of the night. Ockham Common, It’s where we showed the money nailed to a piece of wood”. Back to reality, that sounded like a great idea even if no one would even remember or believe the basis upon which the suggestion had been made. I digress. I refused to pay £25 to park my car, that’s a waste of money isn’t it? I followed Gimpo back onto the M25 and just one stop further on we turned off onto the A3 and headed south for a few minutes. On the left is Ockham woods and there’s a car park with free parking. I parked my car and took what valuables I had with me. The early morning doggers looked on as Gimpo explained at length and in detail about his previous visits with Bill and Jimmy. I listened with interest as the story poured out and I transferred my stuff to Gimpo’s car. I didn’t have to time to think about the rest.
IMG_4156
In a few minutes Gimpo was back on the M25 and the Spin continued. Gimpo looked worn out but determined. This was his M25 spin, he was the artist here, and no one was going to stop him. This was his first solo M25 spin. The phone rang and Gimpo activated his hands free set, it was Tim. Tim sounded like he was checking in to be sure that nothing had gone wrong, Gimpo passed the phone across. “Hi Mark, is everything all right?” he asked. Tim and I chatted a while longer and I handed the phone back. Gimpo continued on with the story about the phone, versus camera, versus driving solo problem. And then Tim was gone, and the spin continued.

Next up was “Give Peas a Chance” Bridge, just north of J16 where the M25 crosses the M40. We headed North while Gimpo endlessly flipped from one radio station to the next, attempting to find anything worth listening to, whilst broadcasting his irritation at the fact the cd player was broken and he had no “modern music” to listen to.

Gimpo drove at a steady 56 miles an hour. “The price of bloody fuel these days Mark, it’s a rip off” He said. “The spin gets more and more expensive every year, the only thing I can do is drive at what the car manual says is the most economical speed. 56 miles an hour. It’s not a race.”

Gimpo turned off at J23, South Mimms, he wanted to get some fruit juice and have a driving break. He parked up and as we both walked into the services he spotted four “Beat The Street” double decker tour buses parked up. “That’ll be Elton John or some other shit I bet” he said. “Who do these people think they are?”
IMG_4159
Once inside I got a dissertation on the pros and cons of Krispi Kreme Donuts and Gimpo’s theory on who buys them, how, and why.
IMG_4166
Back outside Gimpo showed me how he had stuck his signs to the roof of the car with gaffer tape. Only the truck drivers or bus passengers would see. We got back in the car and Gimpo set to work labelling and loading the next tape to go in the video camera. We headed back onto the M25 and I got the full account of Spin Island, the only island on the M25. Gimpo wants to plant an Argentinian Flag on it. He says he’d like to buy it and give it to the owners of Stott Hall Farm, between J22 and J23 on the M62. The story goes they refused to sell up and move house when they built the M62 Motorway over the Pennines so by rights, they should have spin Island too. Gimpo says there’s a hot spring on Spin Island. That’s why they had to split the motorway to go around it.

Onwards through a couple of tunnels then it was up over the Queen Elisabeth Bridge. Traditionally the spin starts at midday on the Saturday, top dead centre on the Queen Elisabeth Bridge. Descending on the other side Gimpo only uses Toll booth number 23. Gimpo paid the toll and as the barrier went up it was almost exactly 9am.
IMG_4170
Next stop was Clacket Lane Services, “Doggers Delight!” Gimpo declared. “They put a rat trap in the hedge just there but the rat dug a hole underneath it.” More fruit juice and a quick driving break before moving on to Cobham and the lap was completed. Gimpo still couldn’t find anything to listen to on the radio. He switched it off in despair. “Where’s Tim?” he shouted, “He always has the music, we need Tim here to put the music on.”
IMG_4178
Gimpo explained he wanted to do the last lap by himself so he dropped me back to my car. A committed artist. I collected my car and followed Gimpo back onto the M25. Some things just can’t be explained. Gimpo is making the worlds longest road movie. He wants to know where the M25 goes. His plan is to drive round the M25 every year on the closest Saturday night/Sunday morning to 21 March each year for 25 years. Gimpo has 7 years left to completion.
IMG_4190
I looked across at the other drivers as they passed by on their way to nowhere, circling the nation’s capital. Another ruin of a world city. Gimpo was ahead at a steady 56mph, unmoved in his commitment to the work. Who would know who was in the car in front? An artist alone at work. An artist without a name or a country. An artist who has nothing in common with you. An artist filming the world’s longest road movie in an attempt to find out where the M25 goes. An artist with no gods and no masters. The M25, the London Orbital Motorway, 117 miles of open road where Gimpo is the artist. One man, just getting into it for himself.
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Mark – Iron Man Records. 2014

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

TC Lethbridge

November 5, 2014

TC Lethbridge are Doggen, Kev Bales and Flinton Chalk. Automatic writing in the sacred landscape. Established 1991.

T.C. Lethbridge - Band photo
T.C. Lethbridge – Band photo.

Daniel James, Kev Bales, Tony Doggen Foster, Flinton Chalk at John Stewart Hall, Yatesbury, Wessex, where most of the tracks for Mina and 2000TC were recorded.

Flint had a tape with him, rough mixes of 2000TC songs recorded in Avebury which he pulled out of a box of cassettes under the stairs. I was keen to hear it. I was a big fan of the Mina instrumentals. I don’t know what I had been expecting, but it wasn’t the overwhelming sense of purpose that burst out of the speakers. I was reminded of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, which I was not prepared for. There is one particular section of 2000TC that for me crystallises everything that Flint, Kev and Doggen were doing. It is at the end of the sixth track. Doggen’s playing becomes increasingly possessed by some musical spirit, the like of which I have never heard before. As the song progresses you get the strange sense that those musicians no longer exist, that they have been replaced. They have sunk a deep well and been swept away by the sound gushing out of them. This builds and builds and… stops, abruptly. The tape ran out. But back in that hall none of them noticed. They continued, utterly lost in what they were doing… To hear where they were when just before the tape ended is a cruel tease indeed. But it also points to those lost moments we can never recover, of three musicians in Avebury who had left their egos far behind and were producing, as Brian Barritt put it, “automatic writing in the sacred landscape.” – John Higgs

 

‘Moon Equipped’ – 250 Vinyl 1994 self released. Recorded 1992 on board Judith, a Dutch barge on Thames at Battersea Bridge on 4 Track cassette.
TC Lethbridge - Moon Equipped (Iron Man Records - 23rd Nov 2014)
TC Lethbridge – Moon Equipped (Iron Man Records – 23rd Nov 2014)

‘Mina’ – 500 CDs self released 2001, recorded John Stewart Hall, Yatesbury, Melbourne House, Avebury, 1993, 4 track cassette, released to mark 100 years since Lethbridge’s birth.
TC Lethbridge - Mina (Iron Man Records - 23rd Nov 2014)
TC Lethbridge – Mina (Iron Man Records – 23rd Nov 2014)

‘2000TC’, recorded 1994 John Stewart Hall, Melbourne House, The Henge Shop, Avebury, 4 Track cassette, digitally remastered by John Davies 2014.
TC Lethbridge - 2000 TC (Iron Man Records - 23rd Nov 2014)
TC Lethbridge – 2000 TC (Iron Man Records – 23rd Nov 2014)

Band Line up:

Formed 1991 (Laurel Canyon) named 1992 (Avebury).

Flinton Chalk – Vocs, Keys, Percussion, Engineer, Producer.

Tony ‘Doggen’ Foster – Guitars, Keys, Lead Vocs, Digital Remaster Engineer.

Kev Bales – Drums, Percussion, Vocs,

Daniel James – Bass on 1st album.

Next public performance:
The Cosmic Trigger Festival, Camp and Furnace, Liverpool, 22nd Nov 2014 around 10pm…..

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

The Full Cosmic Trigger Experience
Find The Others
Conferestival

Performance, Speakers, Art, Music Cinema, Rituals, Workshops, poetry, Quizzes, Stalls, Discordian Papal Ball.

Prof. Robert Temple, Robin Ince, Nina Conti, Youth, Adam Gorightly, Johnny “Dolphin” Allen, C.J. Stone, John Higgs, Dr. David Luke, Greg Sams, Jeff young, Liverpool Impropriety, TC Lethbridge, DJ Kin, Michael Brunstrom, Dr. David Bramwell, John Constable, Salena Godden, Jacqueline Genie, Adrian reynolds, Jamie Reid, Jimmy Cauty.

Camp and furnace, Liverpool L1 0BY

14:23-02:23 Sat 22nd november 2014 (Play and Ball)

11:23-23:23 Sun 23 Nov 2014 (Conferestival)

Tickets £69 (full weekend = play and ball and festival)

Phone The Everyman box office: 0151 709 4776 www.cosmictriggerplay.com

T.C. 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

A Festival of Detroit Artists’ Workshop People 1964-2014

November 1, 2014

A Festival of Detroit Artists' Workshop
“an autumn ecstasy in the contemporary arts”
Music, Poetry, Photography, Dance, films

A Festival of DAW People – 50th Anniversary 1964-2014

with the

Ron English Trio
John Dana
John Sinclair and His Blues Scholars
Leni Sinclair
George Tysh
Robin Eichele
Bill Harris
Ken Mikolowski

Sunday October 26th 2-5pm Mocad 4454 Woodward
Sunday November 2nd 2-4pm Scarab Club 217 Farnsworth
Sunday November 9th 2-4pm Scarab Club 217 Farnsworth
Monday November 10th 11.30am-1.30pm WSU Undergrad Library Community Room, 5150 Anthony Wayne Dr.

www.detroitartistsworkshop.org

Police Bastard Interview – Bald Cactus #31 – 2014

October 18, 2014

Andy at Bald Cactus has put together an interview with Police Bastard in issue #31. Here it is in full, you can email Andy and get a copy of the Fanzine for a £1 here
Police Bastard Interview - Bald Cactus #31 - 2014 (1)

Police Bastard Interview - Bald Cactus #31 - 2014 (2)
Police Bastard Interview - Bald Cactus #31 - 2014 (3)

Police Bastard – Music, T-shirts and other items of interest Buy here

More Police Bastard info here: Police Bastard, Twitter, Facebook

For all Police Bastard bookings: mark@ironmanrecords.co.uk

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

October 18, 2014

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

The Full Cosmic Trigger Experience
Find The Others
Conferestival

If you are interested in finding out more about Robert Anton Wilson, The writing (and living) of Illuminatus, the cult novel which launched a million conspiracy-freaks; Stumbling, via LSD and Aleister Crowley onto a 6500-year-old conversation with the planet Sirius; Dreaming up the formula, with Timothy Leary, of positive human evolution; Co-conspiring to create the Discordian religion, which worships Eris, the Goddess of Chaos and Confusion; Tantric sex, musical sing-alongs and mass initiations; Bob’s fellow Discordian being accused of being “the second Oswald” in JFK’s assassination; Mind-blowing visual effects, extraordinary musical soundscapes, and proper “Ken Campbell style” acting; The journey through Chapel Perilous, a dangerous occultist crossing point, from which one either emerges paranoid or agnostic. This might be for you…..

Performance, Speakers, Art, Music Cinema, Rituals, Workshops, Poetry, Quizzes, Stalls, Discordian Papal Ball.

Prof. Robert Temple, Robin Ince, Nina Conti, Youth, Adam Gorightly, Johnny “Dolphin” Allen, C.J. Stone, John Higgs, Dr. David Luke, Greg Sams, Jeff young, Liverpool Impropriety, T.C. Lethbridge, DJ Kin, Michael Brunstrom, Dr. David Bramwell, John Constable, Salena Godden, Jacqueline Genie, Adrian Reynolds, Jamie Reid, Jimmy Cauty.

Camp and Furnace, Liverpool L1 0BY

14:23-02:23 Sat 22nd november 2014 (Play and Ball)

11:23-23:23 Sun 23 Nov 2014 (Conferestival)

Tickets £69 (full weekend = play and ball and festival)

Phone The Everyman box office: 0151 709 4776

John Sinclair – NYC Tour Dates October 2014

October 17, 2014

John Sinclair - NYC Tour Dates October 2014

Oct 17 – 11pm West End Lounge

Oct 18 – 8pm Parkside Lounge

Oct 21 – 10pm Sidewalk Cafe

Oct 22 – 5pm Otto’s

Oct 23 – 10.30pm Sidewalk cafe

Oct 24 – Beast Of Bourbon

John Sinclair is best known as the Sixties “marijuana” activist who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for giving two joints to an undercover policewoman. He was eventually freed when John Lennon and Yoko Ono spoke out on his behalf.

Less understood is his role as the founder and chairman of the radical anti-war group, The White Panther Party, an offshoot of the Black Panthers. The Black Panther Party was a militant political organization formed after the brutal murders of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Robert Kennedy.

The Nixon Administration and the FBI launched a secret program called COINTELPRO to disrupt and ultimately destroy the Black Panthers and the Anti-War movement. As part of this program, John Sinclair was set up and imprisoned on marijuana charges. When the government could no longer justify denying him a bond over two joints, they falsely charged him with a Federal conspiracy to blow up a CIA station, in order to make him disappear.

You can find John Sinclair Books, CDs and other interesting stuff in the Iron Man Shop

 

The Full Cosmic Trigger Experience – Find The Others Conferestival 22-23rd November 2014

October 11, 2014

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

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

Performance, Speakers, Art, Music Cinema, Rituals, Workshops, poetry, Quizzes, Stalls, Discordian Papal Ball.

Prof. Robert Temple, Robin ince, Nina Conti, Youth, Adam Gorightly, Johnny “Dolphin” Allen, C.J. Stone, John Higgs, Dr. David Luke, Greg Sams, Jeff young, Liverpool Impropriety, TC Lethbridge, DJ Kin, Michael Brunstrom, Dr. david david Bramwell, John Constable, Salena Godden, Jacqueline Genie, Adrian reynolds, Jamie Reid, Jimmy Cauty.

Camp and furnace, Liverpool L1 0BY

14:23-02:23 Sat 22nd november 2014 (Play and Ball)

11:23-23:23 Sun 23 Nov 2014 (Conferestival)

Tickets £69 (full weekend = play and ball and festival)

Phone The Everyman box office: 0151 709 4776

More info: www.cosmictriggerplay.com

 

John Sinclair + The Founder Effect – Spiegeltent, Canary Wharf, London 17th Sept

August 24, 2014

John Sinclair at 12 Bar Club, London, Sunday 11th May 2014
John Sinclair and The Founder Effect perform songs from ‘Mohawk’ at Canary Wharf Spiegeltent, London

Download the Spiegeltent Leaflet PDF here

“John Sinclair – renegade poet, scholar and cultural revolutionary…..an Archetype of the 1960’s art, music and literary synthesis, still kicking with both feet on his trajectory for cultural transformation. Mohawk features ten tracks from his book of verse: always know: a book of monk. Beatnik poems, great odes and personal reflections of the Be-Bop jazz persuasion, all flowering together.”

Doors – 6.00pm
John Sinclair on stage 6.30pm – 7.45pm
Tickets available through SEE Tickets for £10 + Booking Fee

All Press Enquiries Sean Newsham: sean@mutante-inc.demon.co.uk
All Guest List requests to: Ben Conway ben@peterconwaymanagement.com

TUBE Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf DLR Canary Wharf or Heron Quays

LONDON BUSES D3, D7, D8, 135, 277

THAMES CLIPPERS Canary Wharf to
Central London in 23 minutes, 26 times a day. thamesclippers.com / 0870 781 5049

LONDON TRANSPORT INFORMATION tfl.gov.uk
John Sinclair at The Barbican 31st May 2014

John Sinclair and The Founder Effect at Barbican, London, 31st May 2014.

WHITE PANTHER: The Legacy Legacy of John Sinclair – a short film by CHARLES SHAW featuring JOHN SINCLAIR music by THELONIUS MONK

John Sinclair is best known as the Sixties “marijuana” activist who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for giving two joints to an undercover policewoman. He was eventually freed when John Lennon and Yoko Ono spoke out on his behalf.

Less understood is his role as the founder and chairman of the radical anti-war group, The White Panther Party, an offshoot of the Black Panthers. The Black Panther Party was a militant political organization formed after the brutal murders of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Robert Kennedy.

The Nixon Administration and the FBI launched a secret program called COINTELPRO to disrupt and ultimately destroy the Black Panthers and the Anti-War movement. As part of this program, John Sinclair was set up and imprisoned on marijuana charges. When the government could no longer justify denying him a bond over two joints, they falsely charged him with a Federal conspiracy to blow up a CIA station, in order to make him disappear.

You can find John Sinclair Books, CDs and other interesting stuff in the Iron Man Shop

John Sinclair + The Founder Effect – Spiegeltent, London 17th Sept poster

Ticket Link: http://www.seetickets.com/event/john-sinclair-and-the-founder-effect/spiegeltent-at-canary-wharf/810282

John Sinclair - Mohawk front cover

John Sinclair – “Mohawk” CD  March 2014 by Iron Man Records, Birmingham.

John Sinclair, the renegade poet, scholar and cultural revolutionary released his new album in March 2014. John, has been described as an Archetype of the 1960’s art, music and literary synthesis, and who today, is still kicking with both feet on his trajectory for cultural transformation. His new record features ten tracks from his book of verse: always know: a book of monk. Twenty poems planted firmly in a single-shot session, and carefully trimmed down to ten exhibits for this album. Beatnik poems, great odes and personal reflections of the Be-Bop jazz persuasion, all flowering together.

First conceived of in Detroit City, spring 1982, and developed throughout the 1980s with streaks of fresh edits leading right up to the session itself, John navigates some of these texts for the first time in over twenty years, free-styling his energized sincerity and attention to every word, transforming the text on the page into his unique unmistakable spoken word.

The music was written and arranged by Steve Fly who mirrored John’s poems in the music by initially combing the tempo of the original songs recorded by John ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie, Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker and Thelonious Monk.

Steve The Fly is a native of Stourbridge UK, now an Amsterdam resident who plays drums, spins vinyl, writes novels and literary and cultural commentary. He also maintains a flock of websites and works in various other art forms without visible restraint. His other music projects have included New Flesh, Garaj Mahal, Temple Dragon band, of course he is now full time with John Sinclair.

These songs are further utilized by John’s poetic method so that each title and the rhythm of his poetry can piggy-back upon the same song title, and rhythm, of an original composition set in history, for extra rooting. Steve put down drums, turntables, cello-bass, flute, and glockenspiel, shooting to play around the vocal lead lines and diverse expressions from John.

“to take the hair off
the sides of the head

& leave just a strip
along the top,
scalping pretense
for the baldness of statement

building a new music
on the bones of the old

— John Sinclair from the title track “Mohawk”

John Sinclair - Mohawk gatefold inner

The album was recorded diligently by Tim Egmond at Ei Studios, Amsterdam and passed along to Simon Reeves at Framework Studios, Birmingham for mastering.

Tim Egmond is a music producer, engineer and studio whizz, based in Amsterdam, who has worked with scores of international and locally based artists on a wide variety of projects.

Simon Reeves has completed many projects for Iron Man Records already and he has been described as one of Birmingham’s finest independent studio engineers who has worked with bands from Napalm Death to Police Bastard, and a host of other brutal metal and punk bands.

All artwork was cradled and visualized by the post-industrial imagination of CHU; The Black Country, tech savvy, rule-breaking, progressive wordsmith and thinker – an ardent advocate of aerosol painting and its vanguard for over 30 years with global public works and murals, 3D perspective illusions and many group shows, under his Walsall leather belt. CHU’s work has included projects with Banksy and Jamie Hewlett among many others, and he has been described as the ‘Escher of UK street art’ and founder of Graffiti Bastards.

John Sinclair - Mohawk back cover

The album is beautifully packaged in a double gatefold cd wallet with artwork by CHU in full colour and a ten page booklet. Mohawk illustrates the kind of care and attention a John Sinclair record deserves. After all, he kinda helped start this underground art explosion.

The words here poured forth after cannablissed talking-poet John Sinclair stared at the moon when jazz giant Thelonious Monk died in 1982. The luminous lunar loom inspired Sinclair to create a series of poems about early Monk, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie: “Lest we forget these are young men…bursting with the joy of discovery.” Sinclair lifts up the proverbial bandstand (per Monk’s mandate) with tales of the birth of bop at Monroe’s Uptown House and the jazz/Beat connection. Drummer/composer Steve Fly creates a hip-hopped be-bopped bed of rhythmic sound. (And the bonus track at the end has a Beatle on it!) – Michael Simmons

All Press Enquiries Sean Newsham: sean@mutante-inc.demon.co.uk

CHU talks about his artwork for John Sinclair – Mohawk here: http://www.schudio.co.uk/blog/2014/mohawk-by-john-sinclair/

John Sinclair – Mohawk CD released on Iron Man Records 24th March 2014 Buy It Here

Listen to: The John Sinclair Freedom Rally: John Sinclair Radio Show 526

ARTIST: John Sinclair
TITLE: Mohawk
LABEL: Iron Man Records
FORMAT: CD Double Gatefold Sleeve / Digital
RELEASE DATE: 24th March 2014
FILE UNDER: Rock
Cat No: IMB6022

Buy It Here from Cargo Distribution Direct: http://cargorecordsdirect.co.uk/products/john-sinclair-mohawk

Buy Books and Music by John Sinclair in the Iron Man Shop here: http://ironmanrecords.bigcartel.com

Visit John Sinclair: http://www.johnsinclair.us

Visit Steve Fly: http://acrillic.blogspot.co.uk

Visit Chu: http://www.schudio.co.uk
John Sinclair - Mohawk CD Gatefold back

Free The Weed 40 by John Sinclair

June 21, 2014

John Sinclair - 12 Bar Club, 11th May 2014

Highest greetings from the Mediterranean coast of Italy, where I’m visiting my friends Jerry Poynton and Helen Oliver Adelson, the great American painter, at their rustic place in the countryside outside of Tarquiia, Italy, just an hour north and west of Rome.

I flew in from Amsterdam through an incredible storm that cleared up just before we landed at Leonardo da Vinci airport, but now I’m relaxing in the bucolic serenity of the Etruscan countryside and enjoying the radio program (#553) I made at the 420 Café before leaving Amsterdam that’s posted on my internet radio station at www.RadioFreeAmsterdam.com.

Radio Free Amsterdam has been my leading passion in life for the past 10 years since Henk Botwinik, the late Larry Hayden and I collaborated at the Café Amnesia in Amsterdam to bring it into existence on November 22, 2004. The station has grown from our initial offering, The John Sinclair Radio Show, to two hours of daily programming of blues, jazz, R&B, gospel, soul and weirdness emanating from our website.

I left you last month with my radio station playing in my dream coffeeshop in Detroit and I’ve been wanting to write about Radio Free Amsterdam in my column here for quite some time—but first let’s enjoy our Official Opening Tokes and a word from our sponsor:

As all hedonists know, marijuana is a sensitizing agent that helps increase the user’s awareness of his or her physical being while also gently expanding the mental consciousness as well. Thus one FEELS more and is more AWARE of the sensations one is feeling.

A marijuana high may also promote feelings of general well-being which in turn stimulate the awareness of pleasant physical sensations that may pass through the mind and body while high.

Marijuana also helps the smoker focus on certain feelings and other aspects of reality to the exclusion of others, so that the smoker may TUNE IN to the important things and TUNE OUT of the less pleasant.

Something should also be said about the benevolent effects of marijuana ingestion on listening to music, especially the correct sort of music that really makes you high when you listen to it. And the better the smoke, the more finely and perfectly one may tune in to the sound and what the musicians are saying when they play.

To complete the circle, there must be mentioned the beneficial effect of such music on the act of making love and the circumstances surrounding it, and the synergism generated by the conjunction of good weed, good music and good loving.

In the immortal words of Clifton Chenier in his classic Specialty 78 called “Squeezebox Boogie”: “Put your legs up, baby….Yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.”

I know I’ve said this before, but when I was growing up in Flint, Michigan it was the music on the radio that opened our eyes and ears to a world beyond the puny one we had been given—a world where people sang about what was on our minds and expressed themselves in ways and sounds we had never imagined.

This music created the very air we breathed and the thought waves that animated our burgeoning intelligence. It was the perfect soundtrack for our lives, and we couldn’t live without it.

When I went on to college I was introduced to further extensions of the music I’d heard as a teenager and I loved it even more. I tuned in to jazz stations in Detroit and Chicago and heard music that vibrated throughout my being and stimulated my gradually opening mind to reach out for more and more knowledge and deeper and deeper wellsprings of feeling and emotion.

When I first started smoking weed early in 1962 I was amazed at how much better everything good was beginning to sound and feel. On my 21st birthday my friend and mentor, Tom Allen, who had turned me on to weed in the first place, gifted me with a small bag of pot he’d grown himself somewhere on the banks of the Flint River, and I was mentally propelled into new territory where I began to feel and understand the music I was listening to in a whole new way.

The life I enjoy now, more than 50 years later, started that day when I heard what Miles Davis & John Coltrane were really saying on their current recording called Someday My Prince Will Come. As I paid closer and closer attention to the music I began to understand that it all part of the same thing. Blues & jazz had developed together in the last days of the 19th century, both deeply rooted in the spiritual music of the rural African American church and the cultural matrix of West Africa and the Caribbean.

These intertwined roots and their many musical branches progressed together through the entirety of the 20th century and into the present era, making life worthwhile for millions of music lovers and establishing standards of emotional depth and breadth of intellection and individual artistic expression that will stand as long as there is music.

There’s no mistaking the extent to which these musics have been informed by the ingestion of marijuana and other recreational substances. Marijuana was popularized among musicians and listeners in the 1920s by jazz artists like Louis Armstrong, Mezz Mezzrow and their magic ilk, and the culture of weed smoking was spread through countless recordings by jazz and swing musicians of the 1930s until marijuana was criminalized by the federal government in 1937.

In the 1940s and ‘50s the smell of weed and its positive effect on the intellectual and emotional development of humans committed to artistic expression spread from jazz musicians throughout the artistic community, from poets and writers to painters and photographers to dancers and choreographers to actors and directors and and movie-makers.

The mass popularity of weed reached its early zenith in the sixties, when it was hard to find any segment of the musical and artistic community that had escaped its impact. Since then it’s permeated the culture at large until at last a majority of Americans are in favor of legalizing the sacrament once and for all.

When you tune in to Radio Free Amsterdam you’ll gain the benefit of this entire historical sweep and encounter hours upon hours of creative, pleasurable and swinging musical examples of the greatness of our music and its practitioners. Every week original blues programs by Bruce Pingree, Leslie Keros, Scott Barretta, Tom Morgan, Cary Wolfson, and Harry Duncan are joined with jazz programming by Steve The Fly, Tom Morgan, David Kunian and myself as well as my own idiosyncratic mixtures and the unrelenting weirdness of Caleb Selah to offer a listening experience you can’t really get anywhere else—and it all comes at absolutely no cost to the listener.

I put this music up on the RFA website—sponsored by the Hempshopper stores and Ceres Seed Company of Amsterdam—in order to keep the music alive in its original forms and introduce it to people of today. Our slogan is “Blues, Jazz & Reffer” and we keep it coming week after week. If you punch the button called “Listen Now” you can hear a continuous stream of one-hour programs that will keep your ears throbbing and your mind smiling around the clock.

Give us a listen and light up and be somebody, as the old-time vipers used to say. Free The Weed!

—Tarquinia, Italy
June 21, 2014

© 2014 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

Free The Weed 39 – by John Sinclair

May 25, 2014

John Sinclair at 12 Bar Club, London, Sunday 11th May 2014

Highest greetings from London, where it’s still a crime to smoke and possess cannabis products and the medical use of marijuana is not yet recognized by the forces of the Crown. Like the guy at Customs told me a couple of years ago when he seized my medically prescribed cannabis in its official Dutch medical container and refused my offer to present my Dutch prescription and my Michigan medical marijuana card: “This is just smuggling drugs to us.”

I’m in London to mark the release of my new album MOHAWK from Ironman Records and play a couple of little gigs with my drummer and comrade Steve The Fly, who produced the album for me in Amsterdam and is here with me for the month where we’re guests of Caleb Selah and The Fuck You Sound internet radio studios in the Blackheath sector of southeast London.

We’re in good hands here and our medical and recreational needs are being well attended, and that’s a very good thing. At the end of the month I’ll be enjoying the great honor of opening for Marshall Allen & The Sun Ra Arkestra at the Sun Ra Centennial concert at the Barbican Centre—one of the highest points of my performing arts career, now in its 50th year, and I’m very happy to be here.

But I have to confess that I’m looking forward to fulfilling my artistic duties here and moving on to my favorite roost, the beautiful city of Amsterdam, where my daily life is centered on the coffeeshop called the 420 Café located right in the center of the city. I’m the Poet In Residence at the 420 when I’m in town and I take my post there just about every afternoon, plug in my laptop, have a coffee and roll a joint, greet my friends, conduct my correspondence, record my radio shows and work on scheduling and posting the programs for my internet radio station, RadioFreeAmsterdam.com.

As a poet, writer, internet broadcaster and public intellectual fueled by art, information, marijuana and espresso, there’s no better place for me than the 420 Café to hang out and get my work done without interruption or discomfort. In my travels and in daily life, all I need to keep up with my work is a place with Wi-Fi to plug in and work my keyboard, and I’m usually hunched over my MacBook at a table in somebody’s kitchen as a guest in their home, but it’s far more satisfying for me to be able to take care of my little business in a public setting where I can quietly fit in to the flow of humanity around me and feel more like a human being myself.

Since I left New Orleans in 2003 to try to base myself in Amsterdam I haven’t had a home of my own, and after my first 60 years residing in a series of apartments and houses while I found my way in life, married, had children, remarried, gained more children and somehow got them all through the Detroit public schools, then moved to New Orleans and spent 12 years in residence there with my wife Penny, I was ready for something different.

A house fire in New Orleans in 2000 burnt up my most prized possessions, my music and book collections, and with the counseling of my Buddhist friends I learned to live without them. I set out for Amsterdam a couple of years later with “a suitcase stuffed with clothing / & a bag full of manuscripts / & hand-burnt CDs.” My wife was settled in Detroit attending to her aging mother while I went ahead to try to make a place for us across the Atlantic Ocean, but it turned out she didn’t like it there and decided to stay in Detroit. So I left the furniture and all my other possessions there with her and kept on with my quest to establish myself in a strange—but very comfortable—new place with very few material encumbrances.

After a lifetime as a tenant with familial responsibilities I was on my own in a foreign land without a housing budget or any visible means of support, suddenly dependent on my friends and sympathizers for a place to sleep and the means of survival. Twelve years in New Orleans living by my wits as a music writer, performer, community radio broadcaster and slash-&-burn barnstorming bard had produced barely enough remuneration to keep up with the rent, and I concluded that if I had to starve in New Orleans, I could just as well try to starve in Amsterdam where at the very least I wouldn’t have to be worrying about the police and nobody was armed.

So I starved for several years until I could get my footing, but the 420 Café has sustained me throughout my entire occupation of Amsterdam and provided me with a stable base from which to operate, ensure my survival, make new friends, and keep up with my self-imposed workload. They play music that you can listen to, my own tunes are on the playlist, the splendid staff of the 420 has furnished some of my closest friends, and I’m always made to feel more than welcome in the warm, comfortable environs of this old-school cannabis café.

The great thing about the cannabis café culture is that there’s one for everybody. There used to be 750 coffeeshops in Amsterdam, but even with the continual shrinkage mandated by the government over the past 20 years there are still more than 200 operating coffeeshops that cater to every stripe of the smoking community. Each has its own distinctive ambience, its own musical direction, its own menu of weed and hash, its own non-alcoholic drink specialties, and its own idiosyncratic clientele.

There are coffeeshops in far-flung neighborhoods for the local tokers, many varied spots in the Centrum for touring smokers of every origination, hard-rock coffeeshops, joints that play house music, rap, reggae, jazz and classic rock. If you’re a resident or a regular visitor, you choose your favorite hang and fall in whenever you want to. It’ll have the menu you want to pick from, the music you want to hear and the patrons you want to be with, or you move on to another place that looks like where you want to be at.

As a life-long daily marijuana smoker, this is my idea of civilization. In my old age I’ve managed to arrange my affairs so I can get to stay in Amsterdam for about half the year, traveling to London and around Europe to perform as requested and returning to the States to visit my daughters and granddaughters, do enough work to keep paying my way, and stay in touch with what my hundreds of friends in Detroit and New Orleans and all around the country are doing to make life more interesting all the time.

One of my brightest dreams remains to establish a coffeeshop like this in Detroit where the laws would now allow it, a place where registered marijuana patients could come, present their cards, take a seat at the table of their choice, have a coffee or a juice or a soft drink with their friends, and light up and be somebody while the music of Radio Free Amsterdam is played continuously as the appropriate soundtrack for the setting.

I’m out of space for this month but think about how great that will be when it finally happens. Free The Weed!

London
May 25, 2014
© 2014 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

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