planet gong news



artwork System 7 : Phoenix available now Sun 23 Dec '07

The wonderful new System 7 album Phoenix is now available from the bazaar.

The album, inspired by the manga graphic novel series "Phoenix" by Tezuka Osamu - one of the founding fathers of Japanese manga culture, features musical collaboratorations from Jam el Mar (of Jam and Spoon), Son Kite, Eat Static, Slack Baba, daevid allen and Mito from the Japanese band Clammbon. The music portrays, in a variety of ways, travel through time and space, life, death and rebirth, with each track inspired by characters or images from the books. Also highly recommended is his series on the life of the Buddha which also spans 10 or 11 volumes. Both the Phoenix and the Buddha series are available in English.



Gongishness in Print Thr 20 Dec '07

The Nov/Dec issue of UK's 'Rock 'n' Reel' has a cover mounted CD to celebrate 17 years of the existence of Voiceprint, inside are a some pages of history come promo written at Voiceprint. The CD features 'Magick Brother' from the first BMO CD, 'Studio Rehearsal Tapes - daevid allen and Euterpe. There are other tracks from Hawkwind, Robert Wyatt, Bill Bruford and Fish.

There is an article on daevid in a forthcoming issue of 'Dazed and Confused', a UK based magazine of - "Art, fashion, film, music and ideas". Down here in Glastonburied it's a choice of 'Country Wife', or 'Nuage Monthly', so I've not actually seen a copy yet.

Also in the pipeline is an article on Space Rock releases to appear in a future issue of 'Record Collector'. It is being written by the knowledgeable and Gong-friendly Mr Ian Abrahams. I bet you find you know, and perhaps own several of the featured releases.



Suze the Blues Farewell Double CD-R Fri 14 Dec '07
Available direct from Kif Kif is a double CD-R taken from a good quality cassette recording of an impromptu jam set by members of the original 1976 Here & Now band and friends at Suze's fare-theewell gathering earlier in the year. It's a limited edition of just 200 copies and all the profits will be donated to the funeral costs.


"I don't want to fuck a fairy" - daevid & Trypswytch review Fri 14 Dec '07

Stefanie Petrik's review..."I don't want to fuck a fairy." he gasped, laughing, his eyes strong and trying to link with mine as I pushed through the crowd. "It'd be too small!" he laughed at his own joke, his wife, clearly not laughing."

daevid's FOOT&MOUTHNOTE... "Stokers Siding is a mini mountain village on the flank of Australia's formidable Mt Warning. Here the land was stolen from the local aboriginal tribes by unconscious anglo forebears who gave the brutal short back & sides to the intricately beautiful & subtly structured sub tropical rainforest in order to superimpose dairy cows, pastures & Devonshire Tea." more...



Tim Blake - UK gigs w/Hawks Tue 11 Dec '07
Tim is right now in the UK to help out some old mates bring you one of the best space-rock experiences known to man as he joins Hawkwind on their December dates (starting tomorrow, the 12th, in Wolverhampton). All the details are in the gig section. Don't delay in getting tickets if you want to go as I'm told they are on the way to selling out some of the venues.


Josh Pollock and daevid allen on stage in Brazil 2007 Brazil updated Thr 29 Nov '07

According to an e-mail from daevid the recent Gong Family shows in Brasil were a huge sold out success (one was to 2000 people), and the whole trip was apparently tremendous fun, "Everything is going magnificently well with Fabio shining as first class submarine captain". The Gong vibe certainly seems to live, breathe and probably samba with gusto over there.

There are a few photographs in the "daevid allen no Brazil" forum section of soundchaser.com.br [defunct], on page 8. There may be more somewhere on that site, but unfortunately with totally no Portuguese I have no idea where they might be, maybe you can find them. The ones I did find are by Fernando E. Aznar and are very good.

Photograph by Fernando E. Aznar : Josh Pollock, I believe Fred Barley on drums, and a rather dapper looking alien in Brazil

There may be more news and pictures of the Brazilian gigs on Fabio Golfetti's website in due course.



Couple of Gongish Links Thr 08 Nov '07
daevid allen : Good Morning! interview by John Kelman, senior editor of All About Jazz


A small Halloween diversion Mon 29 Oct '07
'Songcarvers' : combining music and pumpkin carving (link courtesy of Dr Wolf). The good Dr is currently chez TB & Frenchie in Britanny en route with his home from Ireland to Spain, after getting an MOT for it. Nice to know that he is with Uncon friends, even if it can't be in the UK, as we approach the anniversary of the event. Fabulous pumpkins by the way - have a look! [contains traces of rabbit guitar, Toilet Paper Museum, and other sorcery].


BMO2 "...and we're down to the dozens" Mon 29 Oct '07
Well it's actually down to less than "the dozens" for the big-eyed BMO CD from Brainville which will undoubtedly be the first of the BMO series to run out. I'm told that there are less than 20 copies of 'Live in the UK' by Brainville left. BMO 001CD, the '77 Euterpe rehearsal is not too far behind being history as well, but should last perhaps another couple of months depending on demand.


Brainville 3 / University of Errors - Available for April-May Adventures updated Sun 28 Oct '07

The Brainville 3 (yes that's their offical name now) - who of course are daveid allen, Hugh Hopper and Chris Cutler, are available for gigs in the second half of April 2008. Concerts in Italy, Germany and I think France have already been pencilled in but they are on the lookout for further enjoyable (and hopefully profitable) adventures in Europe and the UK. If you are interested or can help please contact Hugh via his web-site hugh-hopper.com

As daevid is planning a European trip in April/May for some Brainville dates, and Warren the UofE drummer will be over with another band, we would only be a handful of dates away from being able to get Josh Pollock and Michael Clare over as well and have some University of Error gigs - that would be fun. Any interest of helpful ideas contact me at GAS - lets build something.

Another bit of UofE news is that Michael Clare is now going to Brazil for the Gong Global Family gigs - Ohhh I'd like to be there.



daevid allen Brazil Trip updated Thr 25 Oct '07

daevid will soon be heading off to Brazil where he will be playing as DAEVID ALLEN/GONG GLOBAL FAMILY. This umbrella will include the University of Errors, who will be daevid and Josh Pollock with Fred Barley guesting on drums + The Invisible Opera Co. of Tibet, or Invisibops, who will be daevid and Josh joined by Fabio Golfetti, Gabriel and Fred Barley.

This unique trip has been organised by Fabio, who many of you may remember from the Glissando Orchestra at the Unconvention - he was the one who you didn't recognise. So far there are 2 confirmed dates dates, with hopefully 2 more to be confirmed in the next couple of days. And as Fabio tells me there will also be..."interviews, radio sessions, studio session for jamming, whatever daevid would enjoy...".



Tim Blake - Waterfalls Part2 Mon 22 Oct '07
The second section of the legendary Waterfalls In Space tape, "From Outta Space", is now available for download via Tim's website. I have no doubt it is every bit as sparklingly wonderful as the first part - essential.


The Great Van Robbery - All Space Ritual's gear stolen Tue 16 Oct '07

Unbelievably crap I know, but yep, everything was pinched - the lot, instruments, amps, flight cases, clothes, personal belongings - everything, and right at the beginning of their tour. Here are links to a list of what was taken. Have a look - then ears to the ground and keep them peeled please.

There is a page listing all the stolen gear.

This information has been in the Planet Gong Forum since the dirty deed was done, but more eyes need to see it, just to believe the scale of the theft and to perhaps help re-gain some of the gear.

Despite of this massive blow Space Ritual's tour continues and according to all the reports I've heard is totally stunning. So if your contacts in the underworld can't help get their gear back you could always support the cause by making it along to a gig.

As Brian Zero posted in the Forum after seeing them in Exeter - "This is the third time that I have seen them and they have really found their feet. Great playing indeed. We were treated to 'Reefer Madness' and a song I haven't heard in decades, 'Steppenwolf', how good was it to hear this one and such a good version, Nik was really sinister too. 'Brainstorm', how I always remember it, lots of dry ice and strobes, and a version of 'Master of the Universe' which was as faithful to In Search of Space as you are ever going to get! We were treated to probably 3/4 of the new album 'Otherworld', which I have to say really is a must have - absolutely great new songs"



Violeta de Outono releases updated Mon 15 Oct '07
With daevid heading for Brazil I was prompted to continue the "Ooh! Look what I just found" theme struck with the re-discovery of the 'Book of Am', with a small host of Voileta de Outono releases that I had overlooked. Voileta de Outono are Fabio Golfetti's main band who within a twinkle turn into the Brazilian Invisible Opera Co. of Tibet - and very good, very well played psychedelic Gong/Floydian it is too.


Book of AM / Glastonbury Fayre DVD/CD Boxset Wed 03 Oct '07

A bit of office/stock room re-organisation has brought to light these two fantastic releases that I had completely forgotten about - mad I know, but there you have it, well I never said I was a businessman.

The totally incredible psychedelic illuminated manuscript double LP 'Book of Am' was released at just about the worst possible time for me last year, slap-bang in the middle of the deepest Gong Unconvention planning and work. Consequently, apart fulfilling most of the pre-orders, the rest of the stock was carefully stacked on a shelf in a dark stock cupboard and has not seen the light of day for over a year!

Only 250 copies of this beauty were released for general distribution worldwide and I ordered 50, just 20 of which are now available through the bazaar. They are not cheap and due to their sheer weight they are not cheap to post either, but they are very beautiful indeed, and very rewarding listening and reading, something you could treasure forever.

The second 'forgotten' discovery is the DVD/double CD boxset of 'Gastonbury Fayre' which was released a couple of months ago, maybe more. This is a nice looking, shiney LP sized box with a DVD of the original Glastonbury Fayre film, two remastered CDs and a big reproduction of one of the original triple LP's booklets.



Tim's 'Gong in the '70s' Fri 28 Sep '07
'Gong in the '70s' is now available as a 320kps mp3 download via Tim Blake's website, and, he says, sounds pretty dam fine. You can also download most of Tim's solo albums and the wonderful 23 minute 'Waterfalls in Space' extract, more of which I do hope will appear sometime in the future.


It's a… Baby! updated Thr 27 Sep '07

Kala is inducted into the family upon receiving her first wooly hat

Or as daevid put it:-
KALA KOALA born wed 26 september 07 03.42AM
A TINY HUGE GODDESS IS BORN!!!
we are all in love!!!

daevid and Gilli's son Orlando and partner Navi had a little baby girl on the night of 26th at about 3.45 a.m. Despite a long labour which ended up with a Cesarean birth everybody is now fine and dandy. The baby has dark hair, like her mother, is hale and hearty, and is called Kala. I'm sure she carefully chose to join clan Allen and was fully aware of the adventurous and surprising life she will be undoubtedly be leading, at least I do hope so. Welcome Kala.

Being somewhat attached to the physical realm as we all tend to be, it makes a nice change to announce an arrival rather than a departure.



New Archive Posts updated Wed 26 Sep '07
A tidy up of the old confuser usually reveals interesting bits and pieces that I meant to post on the site but somehow overlooked or never got round to doing. Here are some jewels from the depths of the hard drive - more very soon:-

Marc Blanc Interview Marc talks about the Bananamoon Band and early Gong. Translated from French, from the 'Je ne fume pas des Bananes' CD booklet.
Lars Fahlin Interview daevid talks in 2002 about 'Zero To Infinity' and alot more besides - well you try and stop him.

While I was working at the lyrics section I thought might as well start working on a few more albums. Squirrelling around un-earthed more lyrics on the computer already to post, plus I typed in some more…but I am absolutely totally open to receive any that you either have on your computers, or care to work out for everybody, type up, and e-mail to me. I used to have such long fingers - help save what is left of them and help complete the lyric library…library…library (that's the echo of my voice fading away as it sometimes seems as if I'm calling for help in an empty room here)…never mind, don't worry.



daevid allen at Le Pavillon du Hay in 2006 Angel's Nest updated Sun 16 Sep '07
Thanks to a Forum posting by Hi-T Moonweed for this - If you are familiar with Google Earth type in these co-ordinates - 48º14'39.35" N 3º21'59.11" E to zoom in from deepest space, dare I say like a Flying Teapot, onto Le Pavillon du Hay, the communal home of Gong in the early 70's and the magick forest which surrounds it, and of course where Angel's Egg was conceived and recorded. Can anyone find the co-odinates of some other Gong landmarks such as Middle Farm in Whitney or the Bananamoon Observatory in Deya? [photo : daevid allen outside Le Pavillon du Hay, Autumn 2006]


daevid allen, by Rudy and Anthony Shaw Wed 12 Sep '07

Rudy

'Nina Simone told me that she did not like psychedelic rock-music played by white people with one notable exception. That was a weird band called GONG. She really loved Magic Brother Mystic Sister and the albums that followed. She was not a completist, but sometimes on tour she would play daevid allen's "Now Is the Happiest Time Of Your Life" over and over (she really loved "Poet For Sale") and from time to time she would sit by the piano and make her very own versions of "Only Make Love If You Want To" and ask me to put in some fills. My guitar never really fitted in, but it opened my eyes and ears. For some odd reason the strongest woman amongst women never had the nerve to perform these tunes in public.'

Anthony Shaw

The story of daevid allen is the tale of a life lead in tenacious adherence to ideals of what are often considered 'hippie visionary', but are also a reflection of a desire to go beyond goals of personal glory or financial success: "I've always had a very particular conception of music. In my point of view, there is no reason for making so-called 'popular music' simply for personal glory or financial reasons. That is not enough of a motivation for me, I need higher aspirations. I need to feel that my music helps society and the human race in general to move forward." This has lead sometimes to loss of copyright revenue in return for retention of artistic integrity.

The result of this scant disregard for material accretion may be a further incentive for him to pursue such an active performance schedule, but from conversation you feel is more the source of energy for an ever-expanding orbit of creativity. Here is an artist whose productive years span most of the later twentieth century, but whose capacity for subsuming new forms, while retaining his own whimsical surreal style, seems bound to continue unabated well into the next.

In recent conversation he alluded to the possibility of release of work commenced in Japan with former colleagues Hugh Hopper and Chris Cutler under typically teasing title BRAINVILLE. One can only speculate how this man's continued work will continue to outcircle the distant orbits of his accomplishments to date.'



Here & Now - Coaxed Out From Oxford Fri 07 Sep '07

"Coaxed Out From Oxford", one time Here & Now gig sales tape way back in the early '80s, tidied up and dusted down for our digital delight, is now available to pre-order in the bazaar. The original release date of 24th September has been moved back to the 22nd October to accommodate the distributor's requirements, but that date will not move again. The release, at a very good price I may add, is limited to just 1000 copies and will be in rather splendid colourful didgi-pak with liner notes by Keith the Bass.

After a very productive and often thunderously creative rehearsal in Glastonbury over the past 3 days many H&N plans are afoot. One is to record a new album with the new line of Keith and Steffe, and Merv and Joie of Eat Static, Autumn recording dates have been penciled in - and to this end the band's share of the income from 'Coaxed Out' will go towards making this a reality. A new album also makes the desire and possibility to gig much stronger - feelers are out, not just for the UK, but also for Europe and even North America (!) - contacts and progress have been made. So the basic message is - if you want a new Here & Now album, and from what I heard of the new material - trust me you do, and the possibility of them gigging at the end of your road - wherever that road may be - buy "Coxed Out of Oxford". Simple really and dam exciting, creating what we want by having what we want.

I don't know whether this little tale is really true or apocryphal: On Wednesday Keith and I were sitting in the GAS office, him fiddling around with the Here & Now My Space page (well worth a visit), and me doing something else on the other computer (accounts probably!), when the phone rang. It was a Welsh type Gong/Here&Now-ster, who said he'd been watching Matthew Wright on UK TV, who announced a new slot in his magazine-type programme called "It's the Little Things". He then when on to say something along the lines of, "This is named after a song by a great band called Here & Now", and then something else about the eccentric or unique nature Gong. We know Matthew is a big Hawk-fan, and sometime backing vocalist for them, and he has in fact brought a couple'o bits and pieces from the bazaar in the past, but if what was reported by our Welsh friend is true - it's odd, that's all I can say, very odd.



Old Friends Fri 07 Sep '07

One of the joys of running GAS and being a relatively stable point in the Gong universe, (physically if not mentally), is that eventually old friends drop by and say hello. There are few from Gong's long and rich life that have not yet done so. Even the least 'visible' have made contact over the years and I am able to put them in touch with daevid and Gilli. Last month I received e-mails from two of 'mislaid' beings (although I'm sure they always knew where they were), drummer Mac Poole and Tomas Lipps, aka artist Tom Fu.

Mac was pointed out that he is in fact the Gong drummer in the 1972 archive French TV footage, not Laurie Allan as had been erroneously posted. He didn't say what he was up to these days, but he's still on the Planet, which is good. Apparently the complete footage of both the '72 and '71 French TV Gong films can be found on Youtube - go hunt it down, it's good.

Mac Poole with Gong in 1972 Tom Fu
Mac Poole with Gong in 1972 Tom Fu going to pot

Tom Fu, one of Soft Machine's original roadies, provided much of the artwork of 'Angel's Egg'. He is now a stone-mason/stone artist of note and can be found at The Stone Foundation (who hold a yearly symposium in Deya of all places - "Yes Captain the temporal synchronization engines are now fully interlaced with the main perceptual matrix - and the kettle is on."). Tom told me was that he also drew the cover for the Kevin Ayers' album 'Shooting At The Moon', which I had not realised before. Sure enough the similarity in style between that cover and the inside of 'Angel's Egg' is obvious.



photo Suze da Blooze Farewell updated Wed 05 Sep '07

Suze Allport, aka Suze da Blooze, a vital and vibrant part of the early Here & Now and Planet Gong bands and travelling family has died on Sunday 19th after a long illness. She was an integral part of the music and energy of all those Free Tours in the 70's, as any of you who experienced it, or have ever tuned into the vibration will know. Love, healing and joyful memories to all who were close.

"a beautiful, brave soul she was - she never shrank from any test or experience, but embraced it all in her own inimical way…
She was with us through thick and thin in those halcyon early days, she kept the faith with us, and was a source of love and inspiration to us all…
Had a good weep and a long look back, and now feel resigned to her passing - all too soon, too soon… Bless you Suze, go well, as you did in life… Keith the Bass

The funeral and final gathering were held on 1st September in Herefordshire. It was a most moving and celebratory event attended by over 150 family and friends. She was laid to rest in a cardboard coffin decorated with hand painted flowers, and the original Here & Now band of Kif-Kif, Twink, Keith and Steffe pulled out the stops at the wake to celebrate Suze's life and herald her return home.



Moonweed Free! Thr 30 Aug '07
Tim Blake's period of home incarceration officially came to end on Tuesday 28th - a Full Moon day of course (how does that stuff always happen?) - he is now a free man once more. After so many months out of circulation he is naturally keen and eager to get out there and work, play and generally perform, and I would imagine that after such a period at home and in his studio his 'chops' are in very fine fettle. He can be contacted via his website.


Tim Blake - 'Waterfalls In Space' updated Thr 23 Aug '07

Part of the legendary Tim Blake/Jean-Philippe Rykiel 'Waterfalls in Space' tape is available for download at Tim's download page. His other albums are also available there as legitimate downloads.

Waterfalls in Space is well re-mastering from the source tapes and is as clean as whistle, there is no old cassette copy or pirated download that can hold a candle to it. If you have any love or admiration for what Tim and JP are all about, or the history of synths in general, I think you will adore it. The price is about 3 quid, it's around 24 minutes long and worth every penny.



Steve Hillage Q & A Session Wed 15 Aug '07
Here's a link to a Steve question and answer session from last December's Beatmag. So if you want to know what he goes for when the munchies strike, what football team he supports as well the answers to some rather more musical questions this is the place.


Sound of the Cities - Web Mag Tue 14 Aug '07
The second edition of the Sound of the Cities web-mag is now available online and is packed with all sorts of fascinating goodies, top of the list for us folk here being a recent interview with daevid. Go have a look I think you will be very pleasantly surprised by all that you find there.


GONG - RARE EARLY 70'S FILM ONLINE Wed 04 Jul '07

Loads of French television archives are available on-line and thanks to an eagle-eyed Gongster who recently contacted me I can point you at some extremely rare Gong film footage. Ambiance au festival pop du Bataclan [free] | Gong et Total Issue | Gong, The Who, Mormos, Poco

The most readily accessible Gong footage is in the 1972 programme as it is the first item and starts only a minute or so into the free sample provided. I have known about the existence of this film for some time and we believe there is more in existence somewhere. It was shot on 26 April 1972 at Nanterre University and the Gong band is daevid, Gilli, Didier, Christian Tristch, and with Mac Poole on drums (not Laurie Allan as I mistakenly wrote before).

You will recognise the music as being the same as the Glastonbury Fayre '71 opener. It's interesting to see a fetchingly face-painted Bloom deftly providing back-up rhythms to Laurie Allan, as he uses drumsticks on a pair of Morrocan pottery drums. After the pounding drums/rhythmic-gliss/space-whisper section daevid, in his best stripey flares, springs into action in a manner which would not be out of place fronting Acid Mother's Gong now - who said things weren't like they used to be?

The footage in the 1971 programme, which is a completely new to all of us, is filmed in crisp, sharp colour and features the same line-up as the 1972 film, but with Rachid Hourai on drums! This makes these images incredibly rare, there are very few photographs of Rachid even in the GAS archives. Unfortunately the Gong film is near the end of the free sample so fades out before the end. Apparently the live Gong footage is followed by an interview with daevid, but you have to use the buy or 'hire' option provided and download the complete programme to see that.

There is a powerful risk-taking urgency and a wonderful primal source energy in the early Gong music and it's great to actually be able to see this in action. For convenience we have in recent years fallen into habit of calling the later 'Trilogy' band, "classic" Gong, which I've always felt does a disservice to what went before, and of course afterwards - every era of Gong has at times been "classic". One could argue that as the mid/late-seventies band has become more frozen our memories or record collections that the 'true', vibrant and creatively changing Gong spirit, as represented by the adventurous pathways individual members have taken since 1975, has become obscured. Perhaps something was inevitably pickled by Virgin's big budget expenditure and the comodification of that creative ideal physical form, in vinyl? Ah,the old Catch-22.



Brainville - Luc's photographs Wed 20 Jun '07
Here are some very fine photographs of the awesome and mighty Chris Cutler backed by some passing musicians, (a Mr D. Allen, Mr H. Hopper and Mr D. Malherbe - I think), in the band known as Brainville at Le Triton on June 8th.


Hari Hari the 'Wicked' man Wed 20 Jun '07

Rob 'Wicked' left the physical world behind in his sleep last night. He was the owner of that unique and very special place we had lovingly come to call the 'Gong Pub', The Fawcett Inn in Southsea. He was a true friend and supporter of the entire Gong family and had been so forever. There have been so many memorable free gigs at the Fawcett over the years, he put himself on the line for us all again and again and there was nothing he wouldn't do to help if he possibly could. Deep love and support to Jackie and all Rob's family and his hundreds of friends. He was special and had one of the biggest hearts.

I am so glad to have been there at the Fawcett with daevid and Mark Robson at the gig at the end of May to see Rob so happy and positive with Jackie in the newly re-vamped and focused Fawcett after a difficult couple of years. Rob was also such a supporter of the whole Stonehenge/Solstice/Festival ethos, he never missed going to the stones, where he would have been going, well, today. Maybe he should have been known as Rob 'Wiccan', though he did have a wicked sense of humor. So sad for all left behind - but Rob, what a gracefully timed departure from the stage mate - one love. I can hear his chuckle now.



'GIVING IS GOOD' - CHARITY CD FEATURING MOONIES, NIK T and DAEVID updated Thr 18 Jan '07

Now here's a great way to begin the year. Dave Sheppard of the 'Triple Cuppa' gigs in deepest Kent has released a CD, 100% of the proceeds of which are being donated to the global charity the 'Meningitis Trust'.

It features live recordings from the 'Garden Party at Rawlinson End' on 19th Aug last year, with 6 tracks from Nik Turner's Galaktikos, 3 from Kangaroo Moon and a specially recorded gig intro by daevid sent over from Australia - sort of his first 'virtual' gig. The CD is strictly limited to 500 copies only. It's available from Dave - price: £10 plus £1 p+p (mainland UK) - ring +44 (0)1303 863474 for more details.



Hadouk Honoured Sun 10 Jun '07

Looks as if Didier is about to try and get a tune out of the award - he probably could. Thanks to Luc Pilmeyer I can pass on the happy news that Didier Malherbe and the Hadouk Trio have received a prestigious music award in France, the 'Victoire du Jazz' as'Artists of the Year'. The ceremony was also broadcast on the FR3 TV channel.

The music business is so very bizarre. Hadouk's last album 'Utopies' sold over 16,000 copies in France last year and the band get this great acknowledgement from their peers. However because the album has no worldwide distribution to speak of it has sold 150 copies in the entire rest of the planet (about half of those via this website, the rest in Canada probably), and the band couldn't get arrested in the UK let alone sell out a gig. Very odd. Still we love them and so apparently do France.



KURT VONNEGUT Sun 15 Apr 2007

© 2003 In These Times

Knowing What's Nice
by Kurt Vonnegut
November 6, 2003

Author's note: I'm working on a novel, If God Were Alive Today, about a fictitious man, Gil Berman, 36 years my junior, who cracks jokes or whatever in front of college audiences from time to time, something I myself have done. Here are excerpts from some of what I myself said onstage at the University of Wisconsin in Madison on the evening of September 22, 2003, as we touch off the last chunks and drops and whiffs of fossil fuels.

K.V.
September 24, 2003
Sagaponack, New York

It must be kind of spooky to be a student or teacher in a university as great as this one, with its libraries and laboratories and lecture halls, while knowing it is within the borders of a nation where wisdom, reason, knowledge and truth no longer apply.

I realize that some of you may have come in hopes of hearing tips on how to become a professional writer. I say to you, "If you really want to hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be a homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts. But do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college."

But actually, to practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it. Dance on your way out of here. Sing on your way out of here. Write a love poem when you get home. Draw a picture of your bed or roommate.

And hey, listen: A sappy woman sent me a letter a few years back. She knew I was sappy, too, which is to say a lifelong northern Democrat in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt mode, a friend of the working stiffs. She was about to have a baby, not mine, and wished to know if it was a bad thing to bring such a sweet and innocent creature into a world as bad as this one is. I replied that what made being alive almost worthwhile for me, besides music, was all the saints I met, who could be anywhere. By saints I meant people who behaved decently in a strikingly indecent society. Perhaps some of you are or will become saints for her child to meet.

And now I want to tell you about my late Uncle Alex. He was my father's kid brother, a childless graduate of Harvard who was an honest life insurance salesman in Indianapolis. He was well-read and wise. And his principal complaint about other human beings was that they so seldom noticed it when they were happy. So when we were drinking lemonade under an apple tree in the summer, say, and talking lazily about this and that, almost buzzing like honeybees, Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, ''If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.''

So I do the same now, and so do my kids and grandkids. And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."

That's one favor I've asked of you.

Now I've got another one, a show of hands. How many of you have had a teacher at any point in your entire education who made you happier to be alive, prouder to be alive than you had previously believed possible? Now please say the name of that teacher out loud to someone sitting or standing near you.

OK? All done? "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."

I'll be 81 on November 11. What's it like to be this old? I can't parallel park worth a damn anymore. Please don't watch when I try to do it. But no matter how bad things may get for me, the music will still be wonderful. My epitaph, should I ever need one, God forbid: "The only proof he ever needed of the existence of God was music."

You and the police are entitled to know, since I am going to spend the night near you, that I am both a Humanist and a Luddite. I may hold a Black Mass in the parking garage of the Best Western Hotel, if I can find a neo-conservative baby to sacrifice.

Do you know what a Humanist is? I am honorary president of the American Humanist Association, having succeeded the late, great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in that functionless capacity. We Humanists try to behave well without any expectation of rewards or punishments in an afterlife. We serve as best we can the only abstraction with which we have any real familiarity, which is our community.

We had a memorial services for Isaac a few years back, and at one point I said, "Isaac is up in Heaven now." It was the funniest thing I could have said to a group of Humanists. I rolled them in the aisles. It was several minutes before order could be restored. And if I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say, "Kurt is up in Heaven now." That's my favorite joke.

Do you know what a Luddite is? That's a person who doesn't like newfangled contraptions. Contraptions like nuclear submarines armed with Poseidon missiles that have H-bombs in their warheads, and like computers that cheat you out of becoming. Bill Gates says, ''Wait till you can see what your computer can become.'' But it's you who should be doing the becoming. What you can become is the miracle you were born to work - not the damn fool computer.

Now you know what a Humanist and a Luddite are. Do you know what a Twerp is? When I was in high school in Indianapolis 65 years ago, a Twerp was a guy who stuck a set of false teeth up his rear end and bit the buttons off the back seats of taxicabs. (And a Snarf was a guy who sniffed the seats of girls' bicycles.)

And I consider anybody a Twerp who hasn't read the greatest American short story, which is "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," by Ambrose Bierce. It isn't remotely political. It is a flawless example of American genius, like "Sophisticated Lady" by Duke Ellington or the Franklin stove. "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," by Ambrose Bierce.

I consider anybody a Twerp who hasn't read Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville. There can never be a better book than that one on the strengths and vulnerabilities inherent in our form of government.

Want a taste of that great book? He says, and he said it 168 years ago, that in no country other than ours has love of money taken stronger hold on the affections of men. OK?

And many of you, if not most, have surely at least dipped into that great book. But I can hardly call you Twerps, or even Snarfs, if you have never even heard of the next book I want to celebrate. Practically nobody has, since it is basically a medical text: The Mask of Sanity, first published in 1941 and written by the late Dr. Hervey Cleckley, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia.

Some people are born deaf, some are born blind or whatever, and this book is about congenitally defective human beings of a sort who are making this whole country and many other parts of the planet go completely haywire nowadays. These are people born without consciences. They know full well the pain their actions may cause others to feel but do not care. They cannot care. They came into this world with a screw loose, and now they're taking charge of everything. They appear to be great leaders because they are so decisive. Do this! Do that! What makes them so decisive is that they do not care and cannot care what happens next.

Now then, there's a good news and there's a bad news tonight. The bad news is that the Martians have landed in New York City, and are staying at the Waldorf. The good news is that they only eat homeless man, women and children of all colors, and they pee gasoline.

But seriously, if you read the supermarket tabloids you know that for the past 10 years a team of Martian anthropologists has been studying our country, the only country worth a damn on the whole planet - forget Brazil and Argentina. Well, they went back home last week because they knew how really awful global warming is about to be. Their space ship wasn't a flying saucer. It was more of a flying soup tureen. And they're little, only six inches high, but they aren't green. They're mauve.

By way of farewell, their little mauve leader said there were two things about American culture no Martian could ever understand. "What is it," she said in that teeny-weeny, tanny-wanny, toney-woney little voice of hers, "what can it possibly be about blow jobs and golf?"

That is stuff from a novel I've been working on for the past five years, about a standup comedian at the end of the world. It is about making jokes while we are killing all the fish in the ocean, and touching off the last chunks or drops or whiffs of fossil fuel. But it will not let itself be finished.

Its working title - or actually non-working title - is If God Were Alive Today. And hey, listen: It is time we thanked God that we are in a country where even the poor people are overweight. But the Bush diet could change that.

And about the novel I can never finish, If God Were Alive Today: The hero, the standup comedian on Doomsday, not only denounces our addiction to fossil fuels, with the pushers in the White House. Because of overpopulation, he is also against sexual intercourse. His name is Gil Berman, and he says to audiences like this one, "I am a flaming neuter. I am as celibate as at least 50 percent of the heterosexual Roman Catholic clergy. Celibacy is not a root canal, and it is so cheap and convenient. Talk about safe sex! You don't have to do or say anything afterwards, because there is no afterwards."

Gil Berman goes on: "When my tantrum, which is what I call my TV set, waves boobs in my face, and tells me that everybody but me is going to get laid tonight, and this is a national emergency, so I've got to rush out and buy pills or a car or a folding gymnasium I can hide under my bed, I laugh like a hyena. I know and you know there are millions upon millions of good Americans, present company not excepted, who aren't going to get laid tonight."

"And we neuter vote! And I look forward to a day when the President of the United States, no less, who probably isn't going to get laid that night either, decrees a National Neuter Pride Day. And out of our closets we'll come. And we will go marching up main streets all over this great land of ours, shoulders squared, chins held high, and laughing like hyenas."

What about God, if He were alive today? Gil Berman says, "God would have to be an Athiest, because the excrement has hit the air-conditioning big time, big time."

© 2003 In These Times



JAPANESE MINI LP CDS updated Sat 31 Mar '07

The first four Steve Hillage Japanese mini LP, or paper sleeve CDs are now out and about, I believe the official release date is Mon 26th. You can also find 'promo' sets of all four CDS in little laminated boxes illustrated with the Fish Rising cover. I'm sure they will be as 'impossibly' perfect and dinky as only the Japanese can achieve. I have no plans to stock them in the bazaar as it has always proved impossible to find a UK distributor who can supply these releases at anything like reasonable price.

The second four Steve Japanese paper sleeve CDs have a release date of 30th May. Also just out in that format is the Xitintoday album, and yes they miniaturised the booklet, twice in fact, once to scale with the replica LP and again bigger so you could actually read it - bizzare or what?



STEVE HILLAGE ONLINE 'FREAKZONE' INTERVIEW Sun 25 Mar '07
An interview with Steve was broadcast on Stuart Maccone's, BBC Radio 6 'Freakzone' radio show in the early evening on Sunday 25th. The programme is available to 'listen again' to for 6 days.


GONG - RARE EARLY 70'S FILM ONLINE Sun 25 Mar '07

Loads of French television archives are available on-line and thanks to an eagle-eyed Gongster who recently contacted me I can point you at some extremely rare Gong film footage. The link - ina.fr/archivespourtous/ - will open a page on the French web-site where you will see in the centre two small images. These are samples of an early 70's half-hour rock music programme called 'Pop Deux'.

The most readily accessible Gong footage is in the 1972 programme as it is the first item and starts only a minute or so into the free sample provided. I have known about the existence of this film for some time and we believe there is more in existence somewhere. It was shot on 26 April 1972 at Nanterre University and the Gong band is daevid, Gilli, Didier, Christian Tristch, and with Laurie Allan on drums, Pip Pyle having left by this time.

You will recognise the music as being the same as the Glastonbury Fayre '71 opener. It's interesting to see a fetchingly face-painted Bloom deftly providing back-up rhythms to Laurie Allan, as he uses drumsticks on a pair of Morrocan pottery drums. After the pounding drums/rhythmic-gliss/space-whisper section daevid, in his best stripey flares, springs into action in a manner which would not be out of place fronting Acid Mother's Gong now - who said things weren't like they used to be?

The footage in the 1971 programme, which is a completely new to all of us, is filmed in crisp, sharp colour and features the same line-up as the 1972 film, but with Rachid Hourai on drums! This makes these images incredibly rare, there are very few photographs of Rachid even in the GAS archives. Unfortunately the Gong film is near the end of the free sample so fades out before the end. Apparently the live Gong footage is followed by an interview with daevid, but you have to use the buy or 'hire' option provided and download the complete programme to see that.

There is a powerful risk-taking urgency and a wonderful primal source energy in the early Gong music and it's great to actually be able to see this in action. For convenience we have in recent years fallen into habit of calling the later 'Trilogy' band, "classic" Gong, which I've always felt does a disservice to what went before, and of course afterwards - every era of Gong has at times been "classic". One could argue that as the mid/late-seventies band has become more frozen our memories or record collections that the 'true', vibrant and creatively changing Gong spirit, as represented by the adventurous pathways individual members have taken since 1975, has become obscured. Perhaps something was inevitably pickled by Virgin's big budget expenditure and the comodification of that creative ideal physical form, in vinyl? Ah,the old Catch-22.



SYSTEM 7 GIG POSTER BY DAEVID Tue 13 Mar '07

Now here's a interesting and rather unique combination. daevid was commissioned by Dewi, the promoter, to produce a gig poster for the Sunday May 6th 'Bindi Slippage' event in Talybont, near Bangor, N. Wales featuring System 7 and much more in benefit of the Colin Reid Countryside Trust.

You can see a larger version of the poster, which has fetching and remarkably lifelike alien renditions of Steve and Miquette in the top right-hand corner, via the daevid commissions bazaar page.



KHAN - SPACE SHANTY LTD. VINYL Tue 13 Mar '07

A limited edition 180gm vinyl pressing of the 1972 album 'Space Shanty' by Khan, featuring of course Steve Hillage in his pre-Gong 'daze', is to be released before the end of March. The pressing, which is on the Tapestry label who have the highest of reputations for this kind of re-issue work, is limited to 1000 copies and will be in the full original gatefold sleeve.

As they are not cheap to stock (or to mail) I only have a limited number of copies on order which I expect in about a week. If you are interested drop me an e-mail.



GONG UNCONVENTION RECORDING UPDATE updated Thr 01 Mar '07

As many of you have been asking here is an update of the progress of the mixing, editing, mastering of various live recordings and films from the glorious Gong Unconvention in Amsterdam last October. As you can see it is a monster project involving so many people across the globe, many of whom are doing it for the love - a bit like the event itself in fact. I hope it turns out as good and uplifting.

Gong : the audio has been mixed by Harry Williamson and Gilli in Australia. I believe the basic film editing is happening in the UK, after which it will be shipped to Australia. Peter Hartl, who designed the 'Dreaming a Dream' and Gong 'You Re-mixed' CD covers among others, is working on DVD covers, booklets and menu visuals in Austria.

Mothergong : the audio mix has been fully completed by Harry and Gilli Smyth in Oz. There are no plans to release a complete DVD of the Mothergong performance although a track may appear on a 'bonus' DVD of 'other bands' material and specially filmed interviews that will possibly accompany a release of the Gong set.

Steve Hillage Band : Steve will be mixing a track for inclusion on the 'bonus' DVD and is hoping to mix and release the full set with some additional bonus archive material on DVD later in the year.

House of Thandoy the Thandoys have the multitracks of their set and are doing whatever it is that Thandoys do in the winter. I would imagine we would see at least a CD from them sometime. University of Errors : the audio mix and the film editing has all been completed in Australia by Harry Williamson with help and input from Michael Clare, who spent two weeks in Oz, and with visiting input from daevid.

Kangaroo Moon : the audio is being initially mixed by the band themselves in UK, after which it will be sent to Australia to be edited together with a least one or two filmed section, perhaps their entire set.

Acid Mothers Gong : the audio of the drums is being mixed by Yoshida in Japan. What happens after that I'm not sure, perhaps back to Australia for the Williamson touch.

Zorch : there is some talk of audio and visuals being worked on.

Tim Blake & Jean-Philippe Rykiel : I understand that Tim is being sent the multi-track master to work on. Hopefully he will decide it is good enough to release.

I have no firm news on any of the other sets except to tell you that they were all recorded and most of them filmed. I would imagine that at the very least a track from most of them will be inculded on the 'bonus' DVD. There are no release dates for any of these projects yet - you will find out when I do.



PIP - 6 MONTHS TODAY Wed 28 Feb '07
Today it is exactly 6 months since we lost Pip, he died on 28th August. There is a lovely little memorial folder of photographs and other bits and pieces from the funeral and wake on the Calyx web-site. Pip Pyle RIP - A Souvenir Portfolio. It's still hard to believe he has gone.


STEVE HILLAGE REMASTERED CDS IN STOCK updated Mon 26 Feb '07
The second and final batch of wonderful, definitive and be-bonus tracked Steve Hillage remastered CDs, 'Green', 'Live Herald', 'Open' and 'For To Next' are now in stock at GAS, and in good supply, so there will no danger of the bonkers distributor induced delay that occurred with first batch after our initial modest stock had gone.


JACKIE JUNO CD & EXHIBITION Fri 02 Feb '07

You can now buy Jackie's 'Osmosis' album, previously only available on tape, on CD. It's available direct from Jackie and Brian Abbott's website where there are some samples to enjoy.

Jackie's paintings also feature in a joint exhibtion, 'The Moon and Water', with the photographs of Vikky Minett. It's at Birdwood House, High St, Totnes and runs from 19th - 24th Feb, open 10am-6pm. Prints, cards and CDs will also be available so I guess Jackie will be there in person some (half?) of the time if you want to go and say hello.



HERETIX ALBUM LAUNCH Fri 02 Feb '07
After over a year in the making of our album 'Temple of the Moon Goddess', we are putting on two evening events in the Devon area to launch the CD; and raise awareness and funds for Friends of the Earth's Climate Change campaign. We hope you can make it to one of the evenings. Please let anyone know who you think would enjoy the events. They are over the March/April full moon weekend. E-mail us if you would like more information. Best wishes, Jackie and Brian [aka Heretix] brianabbott.info


THE 'SOUND OF THE CITIES' PROJECT Thr 01 Feb '07

Daevid has joined an fascinating worldwide Electronic Music Project set up by Henry Stag & the 'Gallery 24' called 'Sound of Cities'. I can't hope do full justice to the full scope of the project here and now, but do go and have a good nose around their web-site to get a fuller picture. Here is an extract from Henry's press release which gives a taste of what it's all about and what is to come.

For each of the cites we are using at least one building - "Gallery" as the input, or lets say as a huge microphone which is relaying the city's vibrations.

Through selection of frequencies we are going to filter out the occurrences from "inside the house" as it were, or the yard etc., and leave only the sounds that are coming from the "bowels" or heart of the city.

These frequencies will then be transferred directly to midi data. At the same moment this data (midi stream) will be transmitted to the Artist who is creatively manipulating it (with the synthesizer, sampler etc.). These audio streams, or lets better say presets, are then fed to the server or to the Mixer for your own manipulations and listening.

As well as daevid artists and musicians such as Francois Bayle, Dieter Moebius, Faust's Hans Joachim Irmler have signed up to take part in what promises to be a unique and ever changing endeavour. One of the ideas behind the project is to bring the younger generation from the Electronic Music scene (Click'n Cut, Dance, Modern Electronic Music etc.), with some of the the Pioneers of Electronic Music.

The official launch is scheduled for May 2007. I'll keep you posted on developments.



THOM - PRAYER WHEELS Wed 31 Jan '07
"It has been a long time
since I wrote a poem.
Time flies faster and I get slower
The weight of others sore oppresses
What can words do to stop an avalanche?.."
Busy bee thoughts seek sweet honied arguments
while Buddhist Prayer Wheels spin
and Prayer Flags flap
and millions of meditators sit in forest stillness
Religions gather for their many gods-
seek communion via conversions
Political resistors sing in prisons
Cultural evolutionaries daub and dance and dare
Everyone is kinetic even when they sit and stare
at sunrises, sunsets, Fool Moons, beaches, mountains, air
We are all connected. There is no escape from prayer.
Secular atomists become molecular arguments
Spin madly around empty cores
Dialogues open up with decadents
Conversations with criminals
Elegies for those who left us
Faerie wings for impossible dreams
and fantasies for eccentricities
as we allow all manner of manifestations
to become our affirmations..
Write, draw, dance, sing!
Every moment, creating-
secular prayer wheels
spinning!







		
		
		
		
		
A THOM IC - Jan 28, 2007


MAJOR BLIP & CAPTAIN COCK-UP updated Wed 31 Jan '07

Please don't forget - inspite of vanishing web-sites and the like, you are always connected to the good Planet Gong if you wish to tune in - 9.00 p.m. GMT

Apologies for disappearing so abruptly on Monday and for the unsusally long time of four days. There was a major non-local server crash which had all sorts of repercussion for the local server. They had to complete overdue installation of new hard-drives and new operating systems, and some shortcomings in their back-up system were also revealed along the way. I'm encouraged to believe by those who know that all sorts of new software with seemingly random combinations of letters in their name have been installed which will lead to a brighter, faster and more stable technological future for us all. I bet they say that to all the boys - here's hoping though. There may still be the odd wonky-looking bit on the site, we will tidy these up as we can.

All this happened just a few days after I myself had upgraded to a new operating system which I was still struggling to get used to. And with technical wiz, (temporary) European exile, Dr Wolf out of the immediate loop in his van/home on route to Spain the planets seem to have aligned against us being accessible.

Any other reasons? These and more I guess... To experience the reality of a few Planetgong-less days? "You don't know what you've got till it's gone" as the old song goes.

An unusually gloomy Monday and Tuesday (did anyone else experience that?) which saw me fully embrace and explore the concept and associated emotions of having to possibly stop GAS and the site altogether due to what I perceived as the crushing economic 'realities' affecting our current position. I had to go way past the usual stopping points of why I do this and reach some core reasons. This is not the time or place to go into these, but they can be summed up by a little variation on the title of Gilli's Gong herstory - in order of importance to me, 'Spirito, Politico, Historico, Economico'

Anyway it all enabled a general re-evaluation to take place and gave time for the realisation that an operational sea-change in needed to continue to exist in the desired and I believe required manner and to move forward. To this end while we were away a couple of back-burner projects were given a burst of energy and will hopefully shortly see the light of day.

May you all be transmuting the lead-lined pitfalls of this particularly odd period into gold lined worm-holes to new dimensions faster than I seem able.



BLOOMIN' SUPPLIES! Fri 19 Jan '07
Due to a new UK distribution deal supplies of Didier 'Bloomdido' Malherbe's Hadouk Trio releases are finally coming on stream. Already in stock in the bazaar is the trio's excellent last CD 'Utopies', with the 'Hadouk Now' and 'Shamanimal' CDs hopefully hot(ish) in it's heels. These are therefore now available to pre-order. I also hope be able to stock the Hadouk DVD, although that has yet to be confirmed.


STEVE HILLAGE 'INDEPENDENT' INTERVIEW + MORE updated Thr 18 Jan '07

To publicise the release of the first four re-mastered Steve Hillage albums there was a short but entertaining interview with the man himself in Saturday's Independent newspaper.

Other things to look out for are:- Features in Classic Rock (07.02), Beat Mag.net (Dec - Feb)

Confirmed Reviews: Record Collector, Classic Rock, Birmingham Post, Mojo (Feb), Q, Uncut Lead Review + Q&A (Feb), DJ (17.01), Drummer (Feb), Sunday Times Culture Reissue Of The Week (14.01).

Confirmed Reviews Web: Yahoo! Launchcast, Get Ready To Rock.com, Subba Cultcha.com



'GIVING IS GOOD' - CHARITY CD FEATURING MOONIES, NIK T & DAEVID updated Thr 18 Jan '07

Now here's a great way to begin the year. Dave Sheppard of the 'Triple Cuppa' gigs in deepest Kent has released a CD, 100% of the proceeds of which are being donated to the global charity the 'Meningitis Trust'.

It features live recordings from the 'Garden Party at Rawlinson End' on 19th Aug last year, with 6 tracks from Nik Turner's Galaktikos, 3 from Kangaroo Moon and a specially recorded gig intro by daevid sent over from Australia - sort of his first 'virtual' gig. The CD is strictly limited to 500 copies only. It's available from Dave - price: £10 plus £1 p+p (mainland UK) - ring +44 (0)1303 863474 for more details.



DAEVID'S BIRTHDAY Sun 14 Jan '07
daevid had a most leisurely and gently celebratory week-end long 69th birthday in Byron Bay, Australia (his actual birthday was Saturday 13th). Mark Robson and Elliet from Kangeroo Moon are staying with him right now, so a little gigette was the order of the day in a local garden with daevid contributing a couple of tunes to the general merry and music making making. Hard to credit the old reprobate is now sailing into his 70th year (this time round of course) - may it be a joyous and fruitful one.


'PLANET FOR $ALE' CD Wed 03 Jan '07

'Planet for $ale' Music composed/produced by Nigel Mazlyn Jones. Original art Pete Loveday. Includes remixes by Steve Hillage, Banco de Gaia and Guy Evans of Van der Graaf Generator. Produced by Dr Keith Halden.

In 1998, Dr Keith Halden created for BBC 2 Scotland, a powerful visual montage based on the words of the song 'Planet for $ale' by songwriter/composer, Nigel Mazlyn Jones. The song is a series of questions - "Planet for $ale in need of renovation, who'll give us two pence for a dead old globe" and "Why are the rich so bloody greedy, Why are governments so corrupt right to the core?" … and answers - "It needs a change of thinking, if we"re to go on living, bringing up our children on this planet green and blue, yes it needs a change of living, to keep the garden beautiful, we're only the caretakers, and we're only passing through"

Shortly available only through Nigel's website