Saturday, July 31, 2004

Yes.And.So.What. (Posting 666)

My first blog was called Thinking Allowed, and it ended on October 3rd 2001 - I decided I had to start afresh because my response to 9.11 may have appeared 'inappropriate' - and I suddenly realised that this was a WORLDWIDE publishing scheme.

One lunatic who thought I was out-of-order could be enough - if my words (and images of Buddhist Monks calmly burning themselves alive as a comment on the suffering caused by the Vietnam War - PLEASE DON'T FOLLOW THAT LINK IF REALITY UPSETS YOU - GO BACK TO YOUR HORROR MOVIE KICKS (that ain't no Photoshop image) - just words, seemed inappropriate.

I thought, and still think, it is inappropriate to take innocents out with kamikaze tactics (I agree! I agree!) However, I think it is inappropriate to kill innocents in (supposedly) defending their freedom, too. And I gotta defend the right of individuals (the undivided) to sacrifice themselves dramatically to make a strong point.

There was also a 'private' blog - (the spiders of the Web still found the postings, but it wasn't listed with 'current blogs') - called "Spooking The Herd" - that I shared with a close mate of mine, but we let it lapse for now. Who wants to be in the list of 'most recent blog postings' now that you are jostling for position with "Hot Wet Pussy"? I am hardly surprised that Blogs (so easy to set up) now attract this kind of business, but it's not a Top Ten place I want to compete for!

This particular blog is passing the 666th posting (well over 100 thousand words) (as if that matters). You can see that if you check out the Toby's Blog Profile link.

When I was a kid in the UK we used to dial 999 to reach the Emergency Services (on the old dial phones that took a lot of time, but I guess it was intended to avoid mistakes) - now the UK accepts 911 as well (for the tourists in panic mode) - but I always think that appears to be a slightly unfortunate coincidence (unless the terrorists really did have a warped sense of humour - 9.11 (?) fnord)

Anyway - don't shoot me - This particular posting is 666 (+ or - 7) and I'd just like to say that just because "Ronald Wilson Reagan" has a 666 name (count the letters) doesn't mean that he and Maggie ("ain't gonna work on Maggie's Farm no more" - sang Bob in 1965, a little ahead of the time - how spooky 'IS' that?) - were EVIL or nothing.

After all, she may have just chosen that image as a (fairly stupid) attempt to ingratiate herself with my generation, and piggy-back on Bob's fame - I am fairly sure Madonna did - "And Madonna, she still has not showed" (1966)

Blah blah - so anyway - I figured I might start an "unrelated anecdotes" page - because this linear, self-referential autobiography I call a website is just too difficult to complete.

If we are in a bar/pub/room and we are talking, you can trigger off all kinds of stories, from the polished pebbles which roll off the tongue without much change in the phrasing - the kind of repetitious (but polished) stuff that amuses strangers, and bores partners (who have heard the routine many times before) - to ones that I am recalling for the first time since they happened (the ones that interest me most). They don't easily form part of a linear narrative, so as I recall them (now) I will write them down - and they may become polished a little in the writing (to simulate the inspiration of Irish/Spanish bar talk) - but that's it.

They can be part of my "name-drop" page that I always threaten to write and never do. The day David Bowie blagged a fag off me; rolling joints for John Martyn; that sort of stuff.

Over and Out. Transmission Ends.

Friday, July 30, 2004

It was only ever a maybe...

Well, I didn't publish anything about this, because I never really had any faith in it - but now that it's certainly off, I can speak.

For a while there I half-believed that this Star Wars thing was going to get me to Japan at the end of August. Took a week's leave, in case. Learned a bit of Japanese, in case.

Fortunately I never let it go from 'possibly' to 'probably', so I am not very disappointed - perhaps the people I mentioned it to will be more let down on my behalf. I told them my Pessimist is never let down, just proven right or pleasantly surprised...

And anyway, I have Paris to look forward to (Hooray!) working with someone I know, and like and trust (Hooray!)

Thursday, July 29, 2004

I just heard from Tom, and so wrote to Bill (his dad) - one of my mates from the 60s, who always did set me a model of being bold, and still delights me by turning up unexpectedly, whisking me away on adventures, and then vanishing off to post reports from all over the planet. All power to their whole family -and to Jay and Bill, I wish it was a better photo!

any picture I can get my hand on...

Borrow This Book

For those of you who are not up to speed, and think I am a juggler, or a film puppeteer (same people who think Bob Dylan is a protest singer) - I now work in a library. I am proud of a library that offers books like "Steal This Book" by Abbie Hoffman.

It's a new edition, but it is as subversive as it ever was - and means more when you realise that we didn't have an Internet back in the 60s, so naughty suggestions (how to steal from your place of work), useful tips (how to grow grass plants), sensitive areas (self-defence techniques to use when grabbed by policemen) and straight dangerous info (how to make a Molotov Cocktail) were not freely available anywhere. With jokes!

Some of it just doesn't seem to have dated. "Avoid all needle drugs, the only dope worth shooting is George W Bush" (well, he said Nixon...)

Excellent stuff for the younger generation who often seem to think we were all just a bunch of weekend hippies fluffing around in beads, waiting to turn into Yuppies.....

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

This picture won't stick. It belongs to the Shaman/Showman story below, but it keeps disappearing.

any picture I can get my hand on...

Timothy Leary's Last Trip

Julie works weird shifts now - but it suits her!

i sit here, knowing she is doing Emergency Services Duty for my local environment - bless her! - while i kill a bottle of red wine (having got the library service through another day, on the computer level, at least) - she'll be home after midnight, to take calls through the night until 8.30 - and deal with them well... as best as is possible with the (always too limited) resources.

i am sitting here, and just watched the DVD I bought online - "Timothy Leary's Last Trip" - one great Irishman busting taboos (and boy, is death still a taboo in our modern culture). He was always good at pushing society's buttons.    Joy to you, wherever you are, man!

i sit here, publishing on Internet, the mode he knew was the way we were going...

i sit here.

i have threads - my great mate Graham has sat on the original Further bus; i saw Kesey touring the UK, and if the show i saw in Swansea was not inspired (we all dressed up and got there, to meet a lot of disorientated Americans) then i know it was just that they were "Stuck Inside of Swansea, with the Memphis Blues Again" (listen, it took me two days to hitch out of Ohio in 1972 - i understand); Tzi Whizz employed me for a while, and got me back into puppets and fun with the show Abrakadabra - then she lost a lot of weight (Marsha Marshmallow) and ran off to work with the Hog Farm and Wavy Gravy; my best time and parties (so far) have been with NoFit State Circus - the greatest crew a guy could wish for - still pushing the envelope as i write - have you seen their UFO tent? - man, all those people who gave their hours, days, weeks, months and years - all those people.  Un-fucking-believable. We appear dangerous, maybe - we're really harmless - good hearts are the thing. i don't care if you drink or smoke - i don't care if you don't - i don't really care if you eat fish or meat (although I grew up as an ovo-lacto-vegetarian), i don't care if you're a vegan. We've managed to hang out together when we all have had different values on these things. You should go to a party where everyone forgives and accepts each other.  you have no idea.


i gotta nuther DVD to watch, while my partner deals with the rough side of life, with grace, and charm, and wit - i love her, and i forget to tell her enough - if you see her, say hello - we'll be going back to the country for a while in August. Gotta say hello to nature, yet again.

Greetings to all sentient beings - and if you ain't sentient yet, Dubya, don't fret, you will be eventually... (it may be a rough ride for a while, when consciousness hits - but you CAN change)


Showman/Shaman - there are lots of kinds of magic

This one's for Pop, now I realise that his 100th is coming up. Richard Rudgley is doing a 'Pagan's' programme on UK TV - and showed the Bronze Age magician's hats (that's what they recently decided to describe them as) - with dots representing the stars, and Sun Moon cycles, etc.

No surprise to me - look at this card (above, click to enlarge) that my dad sent to me in the 50s, with a picture of his magician puppet.

Glove puppets don't have a floor (think about it) so they don't need trapdoors. This character used to appear slowly - tip of his pointed hat first - he would rise through the 'floor'. In this picture his wand has a 'christmas tree bauble' attached, but my favourite wand had a ring of wire. After he had been onstage a while he would cross his arms, and the wire tip of the wand would drop out of sight. With his other hand, my dad would dip the wire ring in bubble mixture - next time the magician waved his wand - bubbles! Simple but effective in a live show.

And that 'no-floor' business had other advantages. An empty pot inverted on a little platform (sticking out the back, from the top edge of the stage frame) could have an ice-cream (the 50s dream) secretly loaded into it. He had built a little lift to rise up through this mini-trapdoor, with a peg to hold it in the 'up' position.

You wonder why I became a juggler? It was my dad who encouraged ambidexterity. I watched my showman/shaman dad do this: have the magician appear mysteriously through the stage floor - do a little intro - show the pot empty - magician crosses his arms - puppeteer slides up the ice-cream lift with the other hand, and pegs it in place - then grabs the bubble mixture and dips the tip of the wand - all the while animating, and talking through, the magician.

OK - nearly there - wave the wand - "Ooooh! bubbles!" Lift the previously empty pot to reveal ice-cream for child volunteer. (Applause point)

And, of course, my dad had done the study - he had been a Theosophist, etc. That hat is not a coincidence...but this description was only confirmed in the last couple of years.
"The wizards of early Europe wore hats of gold intricately embellished with astrological symbols that helped them to predict the movement of the sun and stars." The show I am talking about was what Panto was doing in the 1950s.

New Flash

From previous experience I would suggest not to go to bed angry. Likewise it does not seem to me a good idea to go to bed drunk (sober up before going to bed - my tip for not getting hangovers).

I am so delighted to exchange a few (printed) words with Robert Anton Wilson. If you don't know who I am talking about, I am not going to explain. If you do, I don't need to.

Makes me laugh, makes me think, makes me want to get up in the morning and get on with my day - what more could anyone ask of anyone else?

So - he's 72, got post-polio syndrome, still more lively than a lot of my local friends. It made me think...58 years can't be described as old.  Well....but...I lost my best (peer group male) friend 10 years ago, this Halloween.

Suddenly I realised that, if my dad had got a bit of life extension, he would have made it to 100 times around the Sun this August....  'Birthday' doesn't explain very well, if you don't agree on the calendar. I like the Spanish - cumpleaƱos - complete years. Geddit? When (as we say) you 'are' 1 year old, you have completed one year (what I call once round the sun).

I have completed 58 circuits...58 complete years, and some...

It's only numerology (and the Gregorian Calendar) but I might have to make a little ritual gesture 100 years after my dad arrived on the planet...I guess.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Hey people - don't attack Google - that's like book-burning

I got angry now.

The people doing DOS attacks on Google are really stupid, or fucking crazy (or even full of shit). (I don't know for sure where they come on the Carlin/Leary Assessment Grid.

Forget that the Google people are accidentally making money for offering a great you resent your favourite musician making lots of money?  I don't mind Bob making a load of cash by touring all the time and playing live... He was here for me a few weeks ago...

Don't burn down the library, guys - that always lets the bad guys get a few centuries of oppression going. Nothing they like better than to cut off information resources.

If you don't like Google having a monopoly - invent something even BETTER!

We gotta design our way out of this...don't confront any bad guys head on, and turn into them...

Of course, I am a paranoid, so I assume this is actually the work of 'agents provocateurs' - please don't tell me that it's anarchists, cynics, nihilists, or other unbelievers - I might have to withdraw my membership...           :-(

Aha - Excellent

The Council investigated and have obviously decided that Blogs (even with Comments) are not Chat Rooms, so I can post directly into the blog again, and add comments to other people's. Phew.

It's 4 p.m. and I didn't go to lunch yet, so I feel OK to take five minutes for myself. Even if I go to 'lunch' I am going to miss my afternoon coffee break.

What I wanted to do was copy here something I put in my Academy journal - for wider access:

NLP, Magick and Jokes
What more could you want?

I came across this site recently, called 23nlpeople, and particularly enjoyed the interviews, both the straight anti-psychiatry one, Austin Unplugged, and the magick one
"23 Initiates: An Interview with Andrew Austin " by Dale A. Hildebrandt Copyright 2002. Equal Knocks Magazine. The Journal of Illuminism.

I like someone who posts both praise from other people, and unpopular reviews of self. It indicates a fine sense of self-mockery, and supreme confidence, too (of course).

"Some great articles Andy. Our very own Oliver Sacks of NLP, The Man who mistook his wife for a tin foil hat :-) You should put all these together in a book." Adam Sargant Psycbiatric Nurse, NLP Master Practitioner.

"Following my investigation, I have some very serious concerns from a management perspective about your conduct while performing your duties…[therefore I am]… giving you one week's notice to end your employment…" Heather Bowman, Area Manager, Stonham Housing Association.

"…I thought you seemed motivated by a humane and compassionate attitude and one of genuine listening for the meaning behind the language of 'delusion'…I wish there had been a nurse like you in the hospitals I was in." K. N., patient.

"I have never known anything like it in my life. You are a disgrace, do you always behave in such a unprofessional manner?" Sharon Griffin, ex-manager, who really, really does need a high enema.

All power to him..

Oh, yeh, and he has an excellent links page about magic (without the 'k') and NLP, which will go straight onto my magic links page, as soon as I get home (I can do the blog from work, but I can't start editing my website (!)

Monday, July 26, 2004

I'll try not to get too obscure, but this is a note to myself

Going into the Academy reminded me that (back when I was thinking about Leary's Eight Circuit(System) Model - I ended up in a hovel with no books for a while...and in order to reconstruct what I could remember, without notes, I decided to make my own 24 card Tarot Deck (Leary described three aspects of each of the 8 systems).

I had noticed that in the various writings on the subject, that the 5th and 6th circuits were sometimes reversed - I wasn't sure if that was from looking at texts from different time-periods, or one of those games (like Crowley changing the position of two of the traditional cards) - so I settled for what seemed right to me. I could understand the Neurogenetic Circuit being parallel with the 2nd circuit, and the Metaprogramming circuit being parallel to the 3rd circuit...but most of the texts have them the other way around - and no, without my old pile of books I can't tell you which said what (sigh) - and yes, that made sense, too! (depending on the ingenuity of the person...)

If you don't know ANYTHING about what I am referring to, then I am not going to start now (at 2 a.m.), but ANYWAY, over a few weeks I made up my cards, using only what I could find in my bought materials. Actually, one or two images came from books, so rather than tear them up I went and photocopied them - otherwise everything came from magazines lying around.

Now I should dig them out, and have another look.

They're just a grid, OK - a map - don't fret if it all sounds crazy. I also like the map that astrologers evolved over the centuries, but I don't have any strong belief about us actually being influenced by the planets - it's just a rather beautiful integrated metaphorical language system.

Ah, G'night - it's far too late for this stuff....

Sunday, July 25, 2004

It cheered me up

Anyone who knows me knows I am a fan of Robert Anton Wilson's writings (well, of his 'being' actually - but what do I know). He makes me laugh, and he makes me think - what more can you ask?

I don't know many other people who enjoy his stuff so much (that was one of the joys of meeting up with my son again - that he seemed to know what I was talking about!)

Anyway - the DeepLeaf Productions gang have started an online forum - the Maybe Logic Academy, and I joined - and signed up for one of the courses. A place to babble with like-minded people.

It cheers me up.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Indirect Transmission

When I am at work I can no longer post directly to Blogger - the Council blocks it as a 'Chat Room' .

This is an email post. I was walking along today when I saw one of Robert Anton Wilson's 24 clones (one who was comfortable walking). I caught his eye, and he caught mine, but neither of us flickered.

This sounds a bit like one of John Cage's Indeterminate stories. The album is just about to be re-released (and I have pre-ordered it - having only heard it once, many years ago, when I was in The States).

If you have no idea what I am talking about, you can find the text and some sort of explanation online. This is a great site - you can actually play with the material...He would tell each of 90 anecdotes so that they lasted one minute (faster for long stories, slower for short).

And here's an older review

I clicked the online link for a random sample, and got story 23 (I kid you not)

When   I   got   the   letter   from   Jack   Arends
asking   me   to   lecture   at   the   Teachers   
                 I   wrote   back   and   said   I'd
 be   glad   to,
                          that   all   he   had   to
do   was   let   me   know   the   date.

                          He   did.

                 I   then   said   to   David   Tudor,

       'The   lecture   is   so   soon   that   I   
don't   think   I'll   be   able   to   get   all
ninety   stories   written,
                 in   which   case,
                        now   and   then,
                              I'll   just   keep   my
 trap   shut.'

                                 He   said,

                        'That'll   be   a    relief.'

Friday, July 23, 2004

History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake...

Pretty horrible viewing. I saw an hour of television tonight - Robert Brown was beaten up and tortured for two days when he was an illiterate 19 year-old, until forced to confess to murder. Banged up for 25 years, his only options were to plead guilty to manslaughter (only 10 years) or stick to his story. 25 years, and 74 different prisons (he was a bit 'difficult' to be proclaiming his innocence) he is now finally out, and just had a few months with his mum before she died.

Now all he wants is that policeman, Jack Butler, be put in jail. I agree with him, but it looks as though it isn't going to happen.

Miscarriage of Justice doesn't come close -

I flip channels, and there is a programme about the 'Bangkok Hilton'- and the person on the screen is someone I used to know - Andy Hauke. Yeh, he pleaded guilty to smuggling heroin. If he hadn't done that he would have got the death sentence. I think (if I got it right) he ended up with 50 years. Then the King of Bangkok was feeling a bit jolly on his birthday and did a sort of amnesty, and reduced it to 25 years. (!) The British Home Office don't make much effort to get him back here.

I am not defending heroin, and Andy admits that is what he was doing (for financial reasons). But when I was growing up in the 60s the UK was a very civilized place - heroin addiction was considered an illness (as alcoholism is slowly being recognised on a massively bigger scale) and you got your prescription from the doctor. There were a few hundred junkies back then, getting good quality gear, and not hanging out with gangsters. Then 'they' made it illegal (not an illness) and now we have thousands all across the UK, sharing needles, stealing and hustling, and (yes) getting arrested for smuggling in (judicially) backward countries. Ah, progress.

I am past anger - it's the middle of the night, but the stupidity and fundamentalist bullshit goes on and on, and it's a nightmare.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

I might have to start that old Lyric of the Day page up again...

Back in 2002/3, I had a lyric of the day page, which ran for a's been up there, sleeping in the internet ocean, unlinked, for some time....

Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died.
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside.
And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn,
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keepin' on like a bird that flew,
Tangled up in blue.

So now I'm goin' back again,
I got to get to her somehow.
All the people we used to know
They're an illusion to me now.
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenter's wives.
Don't know how it all got started,
I don't know what they're doin' with their lives.
But me, I'm still on the road
Headin' for another joint
We always did feel the same,
We just saw it from a different point of view,
Tangled up in blue.

Copyright © 1974 Ram's Horn Music (Thanks Bob)

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I am still testing emailing to the blog - this is just a joke by the way

"If a man talks in a forest, when there are no women around to hear him, is he still wrong?"

Men are from Earth.
Women are from Earth.
Deal with it!

As Uncle Tony says in one of his postcards. Highly recommended. Support your local anarchist - go to Any Old Icon. They've gotta be worth a fiver of anyone's money. Oh, and buy his book, too. Why not? None of us have got pension plans...

Sorry if that link was buried in my maze of pages - old friends persist, when circumstances continue to change - no peace for the wicked.

And while I am at it - here's a scratch list of my hero links - men now, women coming soon...

Monday, July 19, 2004

It's a laugh, innit?

Just been watching "Intolerable Cruelty". I have a real soft spot for the Coen Brothers. And George Clooney goes from strength to strength for me (the hair gel in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" - here, checking his teeth in reflective surfaces) for his self-mockery.

In case you are wondering, I am aware of the vanity of my last post (and I can't even remember that missing adjective accurately). Any family members know that I don't take my self seriously, and that all my stories are told against myself.

Still, a couple of years ago, one of the porters at the library said I looked like Billy Bob Thornton, and I said "Who?" He pointed to the poster for "A Simple Plan" (a movie I still haven't seen) and I said "Yeh, right..." I figured it was just the heavy eyebrows, and the big glasses held together with tape.

Later I flew to Hawaii (doesn't that sound cool?) with a brief windfall, and after the long flight, to the first change, I was walking through LA airport and a guy who had been on the same flight did the diffident approach as we headed to the carousel "Hey, I hate to bother you, but I've been dying to ask you right through the flight, are you Billy Bob Thornton?" he said - although why he thought Billy Bob would be flying in the cheap seats I have no idea - "No" I said (grateful that I at least knew who that was now, thanks to Danny the porter) "but I wish I was!"

Of course, I should maybe have just given him an autograph. Why not?

Having said that - I noticed two of the Philpott clan on the credits tonight.

I still read the credits right through. Not just for the buried gags - but because my mum used to teach actors, and I learned to wait for the minor characters to roll by - just for a quick whoop and a yell.

Now I have a couple of minor credits of my own - but I am amazed that people find them so impressive. They were just gigs to me - good ones, I am not being sarcastic - but they go back 20 years, so I was well paid for about 6 years, and then went back to poor when I paid off the taxman in 1987. C'est la vie, ya know.

Lucky to have had my moments. My 15 minutes of infamy.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

The Hat Fair

Continuing my theme of finding friends and self in the library archives (similar to putting friend's names into Google), I remembered that Gerard Benson came up to me once at a street festival, and said "Did you see the article I wrote about the Hat Fair? I gave you a mention. Sorry, the sub-editor took out the adjective - I originally called you 'Toby, the magical acrobatic juggler'..."

Being just a street urchin at the time I was astounded, and flattered, and went to look it up for my scrapbook (now long lost), then forgot about it for 30 years.

Now here it is again. I wish I could write that well.

the song going through my head today

Temporary Like Achilles --- Bob

Copyright © 1966; renewed 1994 Dwarf Music


"If your friend is already dead, and being eaten by vultures, I think it's okay to feed some bits of your friend to one of the vultures, to teach him to do some tricks. But ONLY if you're serious about adopting the vulture."

(excerpt from Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey (aka Jack Handy)

While looking for the source I came across Crooked Cucumber If you go there, you may find me rummaging through the bins, but it's a digression.

Here's one page of Deep Thoughts

Another one here

Still, his lawyer isn't happy about publishing on the web so watch your back.

I don't really know him, and I guess he isn't big in the UK as we don't get Saturday Night Live - so I'll leave you to Google away on your own.

"The first thing was, I learned to forgive myself. Then I told myself, 'Go ahead, do whatever you want, it's ok by me.'"

© ® ™ Jack Handey (in case he is joking)

It's good for you - good for your brain - another fine link over at Pentablog

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Who Are Those Guys?

Funny this - I just saw a hilarious trio at Glastonbury (never did catch their name) - who used a miniature drum kit (but played shithot music), and then I am walking down Queen Street in Cardiff, and come across these two guys...sorry, I didn't get anyone's name, but contact me if it's you, or you know who these guys are....

Sorry, but my karma just ran over your dogma

I am fascinated by the way phrases evolve and become part of the language.
Sixties button badges (the pedestrian's bumper stickers) had slogans/cliches (just like the advertisers)  and some of them were pretty witty...
Still, Google got all confused:
people have that phrase every which way....
While searching, I came across The Frumious Bandersnatch. Probably worth a little more exploring. They had the phrase on World's Greatest Truisms...probably a weird use of the word truism....anyway...
Just as Cool Quotes have at least one very uncool quote...
Glass Ceiling
The phrase it attributed to Rita Mae Brown here

Friday, July 16, 2004

Hey, I said it may only be of interest to me...

I just looked in the Retrostats (you have access on the Home page, too) and found this mix of visitors's languages (well, it impresses me) although I think it may mean 'hits' not separate visitors:

English 1462
German 295
Danish 109
French 72
Dutch 52
Hebrew 34
Unknown 19
Spanish 13
Chinese 6
Hungarian 5
Portuguese 4
Swedish 3
Japanese 3
Italian 3
Norwegian 3
Finnish 2
Malay 1
Russian 1
Czech 1
Turkish 1
Interlingue 1
Croatian 1

Thursday, July 15, 2004

OK OK Flanagan and Allan were sentimental at times...

BBC Comedy Guide

The Crazy Gang was a collection of zany comedians: three double acts - Jimmy Nervo and Teddy Knox, Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen, and Charlie Naughton and Jimmy Gold - and, perhaps the most comical of them all, 'Monsewer' Eddie Gray, a slapstick maestro and comedy juggler of the first order. The acts had enjoyed individual successes but together they were a comedy phenomenon, packing theatres and appearing in a number of films, starting in 1938 with Okay For Sound (director Marcel Varney). 'Crazy' was the right word for them: their antics combined verbal gymnastics with farce and elaborate physical comedy, and it all seemed totally unstructured - lunatic stream-of-consciousness complemented by custard pies. Off stage too they developed an infamous reputation as practical jokers, and played many pranks on one another and fellow guest stars; hoaxes that ranged from the harmless to the cruel and, on some occasions, the downright dangerous. The team remained hugely popular for many years, Flanagan in particular being adored by the British public.

They are sometimes compared to the Marx Brothers - and that may have been true about the live shows that the Marxes used to prepare material for filming. I would think the parallel is closer to Hellzapoppin'.

Before they fade away...

Well, before they fade (and I know they weren't PC, their jokes - it's a long time ago)

the only image of Eddy I could find on the web

I'll have to find some hard copy to scan. Anyway, I once met Eddy's brother in Battersea Park. I was doing a show with (probably) The Raree Show - and he took me aside afterwards (me, a self-taught juggler) and showed me more possibilities to work on than I could even imagine. Not just showing-off hard stuff, but good solid gags, safe funny moves - the stuff audiences like, not the stuff that impresses other jugglers, necessarily. He gave me the right mix of skill and crowd-pleasing to maximise the impact of my minimal talent and/or experience.

I worked on the material from that ten minutes in the park for the next year or two. Meetings With Remarkable Men has nothing on this....

Before it fades away....

...the last post on the blog (showing) was about Music Hall, and there was a link which may have escaped your attention - to an article about Vaudeville, which I thought was excellent.

In the UK, in the 1940s and 50s, The Crazy Gang were Britain's favourite comics. Of course, a lot of it is corny now, and dated humour BUT they were a group of double acts who had joined together, and there was only one solo performer in the group, but perhaps not of the group...

Monsewer Eddie Gray.

I am going to lift a quote:

COPYRIGHT 2002 The New York Observer
COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

Vaudeville was the "Theatre of the Absurd" before its time. When Sir John Betjeman was poet laureate of England, he was invited by a London newspaper to have lunch with the person he would most like to meet. He wisely chose "Monsewer" Eddie Gray, who was known as "the black swan of music hall." "Monsewer" Eddie spoke Cockney and mangled French and wore a ridiculous, glued-on curled mustache. "Madame and masseurs," he would confidently announce. "How are you, all right? Enjoyin' yourself? I'll soon put a stop to that."

I guess you had to be there. He was a juggler, though they didn't mention it in that rather more general article (though there are several gems if you go visit), and it does sound as though M. Gray could have been funny doing anything - like Tommy Cooper. (OK, OK - local UK references - I have no idea whether people in other countries have even heard of these guys).

You have your own comedy heroes. Or, if you're in Bulgaria, you get Norman Wisdom.
(Nothing against Norman, let it be said, one of the classic music hall pratfall artists of his day). If only he didn't sing (but that's just me) oh and the sentiment (oh just me again?) which turns up in Chaplin and may just be a working class element that eludes me (ooh eludes!)

I don't like sentiment, it's like emotions for people who don't really feel them. The nazis made sentimental movies. yer know. Anyway...

I like Buster Keaton because in his feature films he often starts out rich and stupid and naive, and through the film develops his daring, and ingenuity, and self-confidence - and ends up with a (perhaps poor) sensible and happy and empowered life.

Initiation myths, not tooth fairies (sentiment). Growing up, not winning the lottery.

And I like W.C.Fields, not because he is good to look at (Gaaaah! with finger twiddle) but because of his unremitting passive aggressive approach to the world. There is no sentiment in the other people's characters at all - they all seem to want something from him (except daughters, some times). Fields doesn't appear sentimental either, but he may be the kind of drunk who drinks because of the shattered dreams of a romantic spirit. Curious that people think of drunks as insensitive, when it is often hypersensitivity that drives them to numb the input.

(mumble) But I digress....

Amazin, isn't it? Laurel and Hardy are Dic and Doc, or Fat and Thin, or anyone you like...These films went around the world. What we on earth call universal.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

That explains it...

This is very spooky - but spot on - from the CTheory site.

George Bush really IS Chance the Gardener from Being There, elected by that very cadre that carry the coffin towards the (23) could I have missed it?

Ron Steigler: Mr. Gardner, uh, my editors and I have been wondering if you would consider writing a book for us, something about your um, political philosophy, what do you say?
Chance the Gardener: I can't write.
Ron Steigler: Heh, heh, of course not, who can nowadays? Listen, I have trouble writing a postcard to my children. Look uhh, we can give you a six figure advance, I've provide you with the very best ghost-writer, proof-readers...
Chance the Gardener: I can't read.
Ron Steigler: Of course you can't! No one has the time! We, we glance at things, we watch television...
Chance the Gardener: I like to watch TV.
Ron Steigler: Oh, oh, oh sure you do. No one reads!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

We have some good times...

I forgot to say thanks for the haircut...

auto photo at night

A Muse and A Maze - your friends

As I doubt that many people find the page where I link to magical stuff (well, it's supposed to be a little bit secret) - I thought I would put a couple of the more amazing 'related arts' links here for your entertainment...

I recently read Ian Rowland's book on 'cold reading' and it was great (though I remain theoretical).

I love the puzzle cards he makes (Wow - ReFlexions and Flinks) (but haven't invested in one yet).

He also has a couple of 'impossible objects' or PPOs (Permanent Paranormal Objects) - a topological area that fascinates me.

And finally, why not look at his excellent and intriguing set of links , but be warned - you may be gone for some time!

Finally, I'd like to say thanks to him, for the link to Val Andrews' Book Test, which I ordered from Val - and it is truly simple and devious. To find this you will need to go to his Magicians Only page. Sorry, can't help with the password, but it really shouldn't be difficult if you have ANY magical knowledge at all. Let's face it, I don't claim much - member of the London Society of Magicians Junior Section for a few years - dropped all magic to try to concentrate on the education my mum wanted me to acquire - then dropped out of school - and used a few simple, strong tricks in my street show. Used to hang out with Jake (and pick his brains) at Davenports (when it was opposite the British Museum) and Alan Alan at his shop down the road.

But seriously though, Bob....

It cheered me up to come across the Playboy Interview with Dylan, back in – oh, 1966.

Good jokes, of course, and funny locutions. More importantly – I like his refusal to answer a question until he has examined the underlying assumptions and implications of the question.

This is way before NLP, but long after General Semantics had analysed the way language hypnotises us – although people like R.D.Laing were already challenging the boorish assumptions of ‘everyday thought’ and ‘common sense’ – and back then it was considered flippant and smart-ass and rebellious whereas I read it as trying to answer the question (and its assumptions) accurately….

But then I’m a wise-ass, too.

And there's a definitive collection of interview material here.

The sun came out...

You know I am in trouble when I start to talk about the weather.

My inner landscape, with all its strange flora and fauna, is not a jungle I want to invite people into today - in there it is gloomy and overcast...

so "Have a Nice Day!"

"Cheer up, it may never happen!"

"You use 13 muscles to smile, and 53 muscles to frown!"

And if that doesn't make you feel like strangling me, and putting me out of my misery, then I don't know what will.

I am off now, to get a job as a clown for MacDonalds....

Sunday, July 11, 2004

It seems this desire to hack your hair off is catching...and (Monday morning now) it's FREEZING on the back of my neck - that's just the way the British weather is at the moment.... Posted by Hello

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Aloha to Aileen and everyone in Hawaii

I forgot to say I saw Aileen being hilarious on the outside stage at Glastonbury - didn't get to say hello as I didn't get picked out of the audience for ritual humiliation (someone else got lucky, as you can see) - big hi to her, and to everyone else I met in Hawaii - a couple of years ago... look at that sky!

Slovenia is on the agenda for 2005

I saw Mr Jules again tonight, for a 'business meeting'. He has taken on the fairly thankless task of organising a European Juggling Convention in Slovenia for 2005.

I am up for it, even if I am a lapsed juggler. I enjoyed the adventures that juggling led me into (including ending up running an unorthodox convention of my own in Spain in 1986). There's no money in it. No up-front money to lubricate the negotiations, and no profit at the end as a reward.

You don't have to be crazy to work here, but if you aren't crazy, you must be plain stupid...

Anyway, there he is, trying to make it work, more or less on his own - and I will certainly do what I can to help. The best I can offer these days is to be an anchor man (same address, same email, same webpage, still here a year later...)

I will keep you up-to-date with what I know, but it's a sub-culture thing. Unless you think a creative european youth culture is something we should invest our time and money in (as I do).

All contributions of ideas, money, connections, etc very welcome.

No idea too crazy...

As Jules' publicity says "No gig to far, no fee too big".

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The pond has fish, and the waterfall is running...(this was taken on a dull day) Posted by Hello

You hvae to raed tihs, serously jsut raed it

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrgde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny imropetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit plcae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wtihuot a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

I 'lifted' this (subject line and all) from this other blog - thanks to The Phil for finding it (or writing it).

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Sleepy Head

I do seem to have been dozy recently. I have a dozen theories, of course. It's the summer, and I should be in a hammock; I have done a 9-5 job for the last six years (first time in my life) but the body clock is still nocturnal; Since Julie went onto Atkins, I have been feeding myself, so maybe my nutritional balance is getting a bit 'bachelor'; I am approaching 60, so perhaps I am expecting too much from an ageing system; after Glastonbury (ten days of more or less waking and sleeping as I felt like it) my system doesn't like the clock-time regime; for whatever reason I am in retreat from social involvement, and always edging towards my 'day-dream' mode of internal exploration; etc.

Yawn, yawn....

Perhaps it's the drugs? The coffee isn't strong enough? There is a lingering effect of smoking? I mean, I didn't even drink much at all in Glastonbury...I drink more at home, what with all the visitors and birthdays, etc - fizzy drinks for grown-ups...

Of course, it all goes back to the siesta - when I was in Spain, I used to have a lunchtime drink on purpose, to induce the snooze function that goes with this hot, humid weather.

Yawn, yawn....

uh-oh I deleted a post when I thought I was adding to it...

Anyway, thanks to S23 for the positive thought about car-sharing in The Bay Area.

That kind of local car pool is slightly different from the 'to work and back' thing which Cardiff Council is trying to organise - just because they have increased the workforce at County Hall without increasing the parking facilities. A bodge, in other words...

Still, if people in the USA can do this, there is hope for us all...I guess...

Monday, July 05, 2004

fame and fortune fuck you up...

I hate to do spoilers, but that is the punchline to OZ:A Rock and Roll Movie. I just thought I'd spell it out here, in case you saw the 'clean' version for TV.

I have watched the additional material, but haven't got around to watching the DVD movie, yet (waiting for my partner to be available).

I noticed, however, that Lyne Helms seems to have left the planet, as the new release I just bought from Family Box Office has a dedication to her. (sigh) I assume it was she that was working with Aboriginal people on arts projects (?) that I found in Google.

This was Lyne, back in the days when I was playing Gloria, the friendly gorilla...

Rest In Peace

Saturday, July 03, 2004


Just one of the beautiful 'buried' gags in Jacques Tati's "Playtime" (must be seen on a BIG screen). Posted by Hello

Friday, July 02, 2004

...but polio may not be a virus...

In The Ecologist this month there is a long article linking Polio to DDT and other toxic pesticides, rather than to a virus.

It makes me grateful all over again to my parents. My dad was a Food Reform type, which is why I grew up as a vegetarian (even though it was my mother who actually did all the work of upbringing).

I was also allowed to not drink cow’s milk (long before the fashion for food allergy explanations of illness – lacto intolerance, etc) even though it was ‘compulsory’ in schools. No doubt the government was continuing with its plan to keep the population healthy (started during WW11) and not just promoting dairy farming for profit fnord; I was also allowed to not have any of the inoculations ‘against’ polio (see above), whooping cough, and so on. It does seem now that they were either ineffective or positively likely to give you polio, etc. I never understood the hysteria this generated. I remember people calling it ‘irresponsible’ to not inoculate children. My only counter used to be “well, if all your own children have been inoculated I am the only one who can end up ill”.
Nowadays the counter to that is not that my parents were putting me at risk; or that they were putting other people’s children at risk; it would be to do with the cost of looking after me if I did fall ill.

But hey - I am lucky I didn't get polio on my fruitarian diet - given that it was fruit they were most intensively spraying...

Here's a starting point

And this one says that being breastfed helped me; as did not having my tonsils out....

MFU (not the Man From Uncle)

I have started reading the copy I got recently, and am enjoying it. I don't have any deep desire to know who HC is (who wrote it) - as it might be Hagbard Celine, but it might not.....

More to the point, having heard it was originally published online, I Googled it, and ended up here, which was most enlightening....

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Untrimmed picture, but it gives you the scale

Glastonbury Unplugged - no Photoshop, yet...
Related Posts with Thumbnails