The modern (or post-modern) memory is an assault victim, if not an amputee.

 

(excerpt from an unused section of my upcoming MONDO 2000 book)

R.U. Sirius

Consider the disconnect that all of us feel from ourselves in the past. A few decades back, neurology imagined memory as a sort of computer file from which we could search and call up precise replicas of our experiences if only we had sufficient abilities to remember. These days, it’s understood that memories are fluid, composed of the detritus of actual observed occurrences; impressions that may have been inaccurate in the first place and may have mutated over time; temporally scrambled memories (events that are conflated); and, for many, false memories. At the extreme of memories’ malleability, there are even people who intentionally or unintentionally implant memories in others with measurable success — an alien abduction (and, yes, perhaps an autopsy) is recollected under “hypnosis” or guided visualizations; childhood abuse is remembered under the guidance of a psychotherapist trying to locate a primal trauma to explain someone’s unease.

In fact, neurological evidence now suggests that childhood trauma may have less to do with who we are than last month’s ill treatment at the hands of a bank, law enforcement or an abusive relative. In fact, given the recent evidence, it has been conjectured by longevity nuts that humans who live 400-600 years will likely not remember their childhoods at all.

If memory, by nature, is so vague that one needs to act as one’s own detective to gather up the bits of one’s biographical life, the situation is rendered even more dire when living in mediated and populated times. To wit: we may see more people in an afternoon on a city street than were alive on planet earth at the start of agriculture. If you’d lived through the Civil War in 1861-‘65, your memories would probably have been more intense than those of a boomer hipster who avoided Vietnam to hang out in the counterculture, but they would likely be far fewer. Your human interactions would probably have taken place in your hometown and would have involved a few thousand people, and out on the battlefield with a few thousand more. If you were literate, you may have filled your mind up with ideas and characters from books – still, this leaves you with the possibility of an uncluttered and leisurely stroll down memory lane compared to what we contemporaries have experienced.

The modern – or if you prefer, postmodern memory – is, by comparison, an assault victim, if not an amputee. We have been filled up by a thousandfold more interactions and a millionfold more observations of fabricated, mediated realities — the memories of thousands of television shows and films, probably hundreds of thousands of songs, and the nearly infinite variations of content and interaction that have passed before our seemingly conscious minds online. Our memories are filled largely with the trivial — discards that don’t get discarded, but fade and are swallowed into the mashup that constructs our alleged selves. And none of this matters much. There is no absolute necessity for most of us to make a connection to a personal biographical narrative.   There is, in fact, as postmodernists and neurologists have told us, no central self — no little homunculus sitting at the seat of the nervous system or soul making the movie of our selves 24/7.

The sense of self, in fact, seems to be an epiphenomenon that arises out of distributed, disconnected thoughts and experiences that are only nominally and occasionally integrated and variously recombined dependent on the circumstance and the kind of effort it does or does not require. A different self then occurs every moment, albeit it’s a self with habits and attitudes very much like the one from the moment previous.

So it may be the better part of wisdom not to locate one’s life story, but rather – like the ancient Chinese Taoists, to go with the flow… in this time, the flow being entirely forwards, a flow of acceptance of speed and distraction, of involvements – frequently mediated — with the present and future, with past memories only valued in accordance with the statute of limitations and if under indictment.

Predictions for the Future

R.U. Sirius

 

Immediate Future 2017-2019

I predict that these predictions will be proved incorrect but it was fun to write them. All kinds of crazy shit will occur that no one could predict.

In 2018, the Democrats will win back the Senate. They may or may not win back the house.

If the Democrats win back the house, Trump will be impeached.

If Trump is impeached, many liberal/feminist pundits will express qualified praise for Mike Pence’s sexual morality.

“The internet” will continue to get its collective knickers in a twist (or is it panties in a bunch?) every day over something that some celebrity said that doesn’t matter a soggy fucking banana.

 

2020s

We will be in a state of constant crisis brought on by…

  • increasingly apocalyptic weather events
  • economic mini-collapses resulting from a) Wall Street bubbles, b) currency confusion due to digital/alternate currencies c) hackers finally cashing in their ownership of everyone’s data… largely in the service of global “cyberwarfare.”
  • Increasing international conflicts

This state of constant crisis will be greeted by a fair amount of cheery positive thinking, do-gooding and community activism. Good feelings about diversity will be cranked up to 11.

 

The far right will recede as a force in American politics. The anxiety about immigrants will also recede. There will be enough remaining dead-enders to distract and let us all feel superior.

A liberal/neoliberal centrism will maintain power in the US and be credited, correctly, with getting the lid back on enough to prevent total chaos.

The world will continue to be mostly owned by about a hundred people.

The multi-trillion dollar surveillance state will continue and grow and rarely be questioned.

US Foreign interventions will be limited, more frequent and seem, on the surface, pretty necessary as berserkers go ever-more berserk on a global scale. Resistance will be sparse and tepid. We will always seem on the verge of a big war.

 

 

There will be slow but certain improvements in our justice system and in its treatment of people of color.

There will be an inadequate universal guaranteed income that will, nonetheless, be less cruel and pinched than what is left of the welfare system.

The future will be much like Brave New World. A self-regarding, middlebrow, well behaved, quasi-liberal conformism will suffuse everything. It will be sharply satirized, mainly by British TV imports.

The margins around what’s ok in speech and creative work will continue to tighten.

 

 

The reputations of almost everybody who was interesting during the 20th Century, including those of many radical feminists, will fall before the expanding sex inquisition.

 

 

Sexuality will continue to evolve along the lines of a strange hybrid of prissiness combined with organized kink. Gender “non-conformism” will be the new gender conformism

The Apology will be the main social ritual of the society. It will be a source of gossip and social cohesion, giving 21st Century America a sort-of consensus narrative similar to the one that was once provided for by religion and alcoholism/drug addiction, i.e. sin and redemption.

 

At the end of the 2020s, we will be on the verge of prescription longevity medicine. It’ll be effective but have side effects. (By its nature, we’ll have to wait a real long fuckin’ time to find out how effective it is.)

Self-driving cars will not be mass market yet.

Psychiatrists will increasingly be allowed to prescribe psychedelic drugs and mind stimulants. They will be very effective.

Printable replacement organs will become increasingly available, mainly to the wealthy.

Proof of concept will be achieved for molecular machines that can make almost anything out of very little. Possible dangers and broad social chaos will stall its availability. The Pentagon will have a secret project that will have it weaponized and ready for use by the 2030s. It will be less lethal than conventional weapons.

We will have a major political figure who ends his or her talks by saying “Namaste.” (Jerry Brown will not live long enough to see this happen.)

 

The likelihood of a lot of cool and useful new toys/tools is largely dependent on the well-being and success of Elon Musk. Stand back! Give him some space!

Darren Aronofsky will film Illuminatus. It will be denounced as (Fill in the blank)ist by some but not all.

I Politician (The United Matrix of America) 1982

Satori D has really outdone himself with this psychotedelic video for the song I Politician recorded by Party Dogs in 1982 in Rochester New York. Also, proof that I was years ahead of the Wachowskis in the first use of “matrix” in a song.

R.U. Sirius

 

R.U. Sirius – Matt Sabo
Party Dogs were Ken Goffman aka R.U. Sirius Vocals
Hugh Edwards Bass
Patrick Lowery Drums
Matt Sabo Guitar

 

 

I’ve got a little think tank
I call it home
I ain’t too highly paid though
Just flesh and bone
I’ll put a little thingie out
On video cassette
And hope the Minister of Propaganda
Don’t get too upset

Still it all comes though
The United Matrix of America
Pagan rhythms out of Africa
Pagan shipments out of Kathmandu
From the Aztecs to the Ming
Genetic carnival on wings

We’ve got a little freak show
We call it “The Hunchback Squeaks”
And then I politician
I get on up and I speaks
“I got a lotta rage” he cries
“And lots of irony”
You’re baboons in a cage” he lies
“I’m going to set you free”

Still it all comes though
The United Matrix of America
Pagan rhythms out of Africa
Pagan shipments out of Kathmandu
From the Aztecs to the Ming
Genetic carnival on wings

Gotta get back to L.A. now
Got a media jones
Talking with the network boys
and taking out more loans
I get 3 minutes on NBC
Attack the ruling class
I’ve got 4 friends at NASA now
If I have to move my ass

Still it all comes though
The United Matrix of America
Pagan rhythms out of Africa
Pagan shipments out of Kathmandu
From the Aztecs to the Ming
Genetic carnival on wings

 

Recorded by Party Dogs 1982 at Blue Planet Enterprises in Rochester New York Video by Satori D 2017

Albert Hofmann – Everybody Has Cosmogonic Potency (1984)

“It was serendipity. I was looking for something. I did not find what I was looking for.
 I found something else. That’s the meaning of serendipity.”

From the first issue of High Frontiers, the magazine that became MONDO 2000, a great flashback interview with Dr. Albert Hoffman, who discovered LSD

Dr. Albert Hofmann, Swiss chemist, and discoverer of LSD, was in America last summer to celebrate and promote his book, LSD – My Problem Child. While here, he stopped by Shared Visions, where he was interviewed by Will Nofke, before an appreciative audience. As Will said in his introduction of Dr. Hofmann, he is a radiant being. Well into his seventies, he has maintained the good-natured flexibility and sense of humor of an enlightened man.

Will Nofke: Dr. Hofmann, you’ve said that it’s necessary to be well-prepared to use the substance known as LSD, and it seems that your life prepared you for the discovery of this particular substance which has been such a catalyst in so many lives. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about the process of that discovery. What lead to it ?

Albert Hoffman: It’s my belief that I was really prepared for this work. As you know, I was not searching to find a psychoactive compound. When I prepared this lysergic acid diethylamide, LSD, I had planned to get an analeptic compound with a circulatory stimulant activity, a stimulant for the heart and breathing. It turned out to be a psychic stimulant, instead. We made this kind of discovery not by chance. It was serendipity. I was looking for something. I did not find what I was looking for. I found something else. That’s the definition of serendipity.

W.N. Seems to be the definition of life itself.

A.H. Yes, maybe. Do you know who coined this word ?

W.N. No. I don’t.

A.H.- That was Horace Walpole in 1756, I believe. He had just read this fairy tale about the 3 princes of Serendip. Serendip is the ancient name for Salem. This was the story of some princes who went out on an expedition. They were searching for something they had planned to find, but then they did not find what they were looking for. But because they were open-minded and curious, they found other things which were all useful. After having read that story, he coined the word Serendipity.

W.N.- Could you tell us a little bit about how your discovery took place, because it is quite unusual ?

A.H.- Yes. I prepared this compound for the first time in 1938 with the intention to get an analeptic. I gave it, in the normal way, to our pharmacological department at Sandoz. There, compounds are tested in animals, and in isolated organs, but we did not find any extraordinary activity of this compound. And very strangely, quite unusually for me, 5 years later, I should, just once more, prepare this compound and make it available to our pharmacologists, and ask them to do broader, more extended testing, because I just had a feeling that there could be something more in this compound.

W.N.  You sensed something was there.

A.H. Yes. So, I just prepared this compound. I was working the afternoon of the 18th of April, ’43, and I was just at the final stage of this synthesis, which consists of the crystalization of a dilution in methanol, and the compound comes out in a pure state. I started to feel quite strange and I had a kind of daydream. I went out of the normal world, into a kind of other reality. I went home, laid down, and had a beautiful experience. Everything which I thought about, it was immediately before my eyes, just quite vivid and alive. Then these symptoms disappeared, and I thought, “Something has happened with me that is most unusual.” And I thought maybe I had used a solvent closely related to chloroform, which was known to be an intoxicant. I thought maybe the chloroform had caused this kind of inebriation, and I had reacted in such a strange way. The next day, I sniffed some of this compound (chloroform) and nothing happened. So, I thought that maybe some of this compound I had been working on, this diethylamide of lysergic acid, could have been the cause. I decided to get to the bottom of this problem and make a self-experiment with this compound. Being a cautious man, I started out with one-fourth of a milligram, which is unusually low, with the intention to increase, gradually, the amount. I then ingested this in the laboratory. Soon, after a half-an-hour, “Oh. That was the compound I had used. It came up very, very strong. It took me, and when I came home, I asked the laboratory assistant to accompany me. That was the famous bicycle ride. I rode the bicycle 6 kilometers, 4 miles home and, finally at home, I got into a very terrifying situation. All was so strange and I had the feeling maybe I have become insane now. Because I did not know if ever I would come back off this other reality, and that was very terrifying. At the climax of the experience, about 3 or 4 hours after I had ingested it, I had the feeling of being out of my body and I thought, “You may have died and you are now in another world, and you have made a big discovery, and now you cannot even enjoy it and use it, and you can never sell it to anybody, and you’ve left your family with 3 children.” It was really a terrible situation. But then, finally, I got the feeling that I would come back and then a beautiful, a joyful, a peaceful experience came and it was like a rebirth. After death, a rebirth. Then I enjoyed the stimulated fantasy, the array of colors and stimulated feeling of life, life coming again, and I was really happy, and it was a happiness which I had not experienced before. Finally, I slept, and the next morning I was a changed human being. I had the feeling I had died and been reborn. This was the beginning of my thinking about both these realities. Because I had left our everyday reality. I’d been in another reality, and that was the beginning of an insight into our world, which I never would have had without this experience. Read more “Albert Hofmann – Everybody Has Cosmogonic Potency (1984)”

Mama But Weer All In Chapel Perilous Now

 

Lyrical cycle by R.U. Sirius with a number of videos and songs attached

Imagine 2.0 (2015)

Unrecorded

Imagine there’s a song everybody sings and no one means
Imagine they sing it in Times Square every New Years Eve

….

Mama But Weer All in Chapel Perilous Now (2017)

 

 

Has your S M I Two L E turned into a scowl?
Does weaponized idiocracy have you throwing in the towel?
Could anybody in this pinched surveiled nation write another Howl?
I said mama but we’re all in Chapel Perilous now

Are the students at your college acting like Maoists?
Have you seen weird apparitions like neonazi Taoists?
Does it seem perfectly normal that the President’s a crazy clown?
I said mama but we’re all in Chapel Perilous now

Did you read RAW and not get the joke
Are you gorging on conspiracies until you choke
r.u. even more dogmatic after taking a toke
How we wish Bob was here to make everybody Pope

Is Operation Mindfuck now with Gog and Magog
And some witless little nerd boy who loves Pepe the Frog
If nothing is true and anything is allowed
I said mama but we’re all in Chapel Perilous now

……….

Merry Tweekster World Mutation Day/Sufi Sales (1987)

recorded by Merry Tweeksters (pre-MONDO Vanilli) Listen to Merry Tweekster World Mutation Day/Sufi Sales

It’s still a few days away
And the kiddies all look so gray
But they’ll be getting a bit of a spin-out
When they see the hippie trip-o-world flip out

On the frontiers of my neocortex
As I think bi-lobely and act globally
Who knows what glows Cher Noble
And who sees armageddon it on
But beyond the abyss we’re on vinegar and piss
As we leave Ronald Reagan and beyond
Merry Tweekster World Mutation Day
And it’s never gonna be the same

Merry Tweekster World Mutation Day
So let me introduce you to the one-and-only Sufi Sales
Merry Tweekster World Mutation Day
So let me introduce you to the one-and-only Sufi Sales
Merry Tweekster World Mutation Day
So let me introduce you to the one-and-only Sufi Sales
Merry Tweekster World Mutation Day
So let me introduce you to the one-and-only Sufi Sales

SUFI SALES

I’m Sufi Sales
Though no one seems to know it
I’m Sufi Sales
Though no one seems to care
And if it rains
I don’t believe I’ll go out
You’ll wait for me but I won’t make it there

Rolling along singing a song
And I don’t believe I’ll be for very long
Coming back home and sitting alone
And my Sadie comes in with an ice cream cone
Ice cream cone
Ice cream cone oh yeah

And it’s my day to be just this way
The loving I crave won’t make me a slave
I can lay down without a frown
Sufi Sales is back in town

(Watch out for laughter
Watch out for fun
Sufi Sales is back
Hun)

 

………..

 

On The Beam (1982/2016 remix)

Watch video by Phriendz. On The Beam by Party Dogs, Remix by Phriendz 2016

She’s so fine
On the beam
And she’s so high
On the beam
On the beam on the beam
All the time
In the world
Well if you try
You’re a lucky girl lucky girl

If you can feel it
You can dance forever
If you can deal with it
Live forever live forever
Everything
Will be ours
From the planet
To the stars to the stars

We’re getting on the beam
Things are just as they seem
Immortality in the age of the clever
Live forever live forever

On the beam
Live forever

 

…………….

White Babbits (2017)

Watch video for White Babbits  Music by Trevor Boink & Grace Schtick, Video by Satori D

based on White Rabbit by Grace Slick

One pill makes you smarter
And one pill makes you small
and the ones that mother gives you
ritalin or adderall
And your phallus Needs Viagra after all

and if you go fleecing babbits
cause the banks are gonna fall
tell ’em the hookah smoking anarchist
has got you by the balls
call alice — she’s totally appalled

White men on the radio
Get off on telling you who to hate
and your friend has joined the teabags
And your spending your weekends straight
And your phallus has a Cialis date

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the fat cat’s are aging backwards
And your friends are filled with dread
Remember what the lab rat said
Freeze your head
Freeze your head

…..

I Wanna Be Your Radio 1992

recorded by MONDO Vanilli

Listen to I Wanna Be Your Radio

I wanna steal your radio
Sacrifice your fingers to an electric fence
I torture you in future tense staccato
And come back home and rest in bed all day

I’ve got techniques for ecstasy
Keeping them under the hat stand
Let’s whip ’em out
And see if anything fits on your head

I wanna steal your radio
Capture you on a hard disc drive
Save you and make a million copies
Give one to each of my friends

I inverted the very color of being
But you — you weren’t there

I wanna be your radio
Sire wire fire and inspire you (cyber cyber)
Flick the switch that renders you insane
Come back home and rest in bed all day (cyber cyber)

I wanted to be Salvador Dali
I wanted to be dead and unreasonable
Let’s grieve in concentric circles
To make the night release your brain

I wanna be your radio
Now I wanna be your radio Read more “Mama But Weer All In Chapel Perilous Now”

Festival 23 — Wonderism, Fake News and the Neo-Discordian Revival

artwork by Chad Essley

 

Chaos as a Ray of Hope in an increasingly dumb world

by Michael Pinchera

The increasingly ugly state of affairs — politically, socially, emotionally, economically, intellectually — may be driving a growing interest in Discordianism, according to Ben Graham, author and co-organizer of the neo-Discordian Festival 23.

“The world just seems crazy and more chaotic than ever, so a pseudo-religion that embraces chaos as a guiding principle, maybe that makes more sense now,” Graham says.

At the very least, Discordianism undoubtedly offers an appealing alternative to the mainstream paths previously constructed by long-dead, desperate deity-seekers.

So, between the publication of his books on Texas psychedelia (A Gathering of Promises and Scatological Alchemy), Graham joined a group of eight to organize Festival 23, a three-day-long, outdoor camping event.

“It’s a Discordian-themed event, very influenced by the writings of Robert Anton Wilson and the Illuminatus! Trilogy and his various books, and also, before that, Principia Discordia by Kerry Wendell Thornley, worshipping Eris, the goddess of chaos,” he says. “And beyond that, just expanding it to a general idea of counterculture. All the stuff that fed into it and also the idea of where is the counterculture now and how can we kind of unite the past with what’s going on now to go forward into the future.”

The origins of what Graham identifies as a neo-Discordian Revival, go back to Daisy Eris Campbell, daughter of Ken Campbell (he put on a theatrical adaptation of Wilson’s Illuminatus! Trilogy in 1976), and her decision to put on a 2014 theatrical adaptation of Cosmic Trigger, Wilson’s nonfiction follow-up to the Illuminatus! Trilogy.

“She did that in Liverpool at sort of a mini-Discordian indoor festival, where all these people in Britain who thought maybe they were the only Discordians in the country came together,” Graham says.

The new relationships created around Daisy’s play led directly to the birth of Festival 23, the inaugural edition (2016) of which was held in a field near Sheffield, England, for approximately 500 Discordians. The theme that year was Festival 23: Convergence of Disco—“putting the disco back in Discordia, emphasizing the playful side of it,” Graham says.

“We had bands, we had talks, we had chaos magic workshops, we had tantric sex workshops, we had comedy poetry, we had a spirit animal fashion show. I hosted a conspiracy slam, which is like a poetry slam but you come up with your best conspiracy theories and there was a tinfoil crown for the wackiest theory,” Graham says excitedly. “Alan Moore didn’t come down in person—he doesn’t like ever leaving Northampton these days—but we had an exclusive, really in-depth interview filmed in his home that we showed in the cinema tent.”

artwork by Chad Essley

Read more “Festival 23 — Wonderism, Fake News and the Neo-Discordian Revival”

The Ghosts of Christmases Past (Virtual MONDO Schwag)

 

by Destiny

I had a dream last night. I’d woken up in the future, but it was a dystopian wasteland filled with hipsters and politicians fighting in a shimmering online battleground. Undead culture warriors shambled menacingly, chattering about rigged algorithms and “the media” to a roomful of monkeys.

And that’s when I started watching vintage Christmas videos on YouTube.

Next Stop: Nostaglia

It’s like a Twilight Zone episode where our bad future gets rolled back into a land of vintage electric trains. While there’s really nothing about Instant Maxwell House Coffee that screams “Christmas,” this nostalgic ad still takes me back to a more innocent time before special effects existed.

I want to believe they couldn’t find live actors, and were forced to improvise using nothing but clothespin dolls and a toy train set. And yet, there’s something oddly calming watching vintage videos, like we’re witnessing the past fading away in real-time.

Let’s see what else we can find…

Christmas Songs with David Cassidy

Just three weeks ago the world lost David Cassidy, who had been the coolest of the cool nearly half a century ago — a TV rock star for suburban kids in the 1970s too sheltered to join in the counterculture. Just one year before his death, he’d turned up on TV again, still singing in his own uniquely smarmy way at the age of 66, but this time the song was “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town” — an aged former teen star making one last grasp at glory.

Reportedly his last words were “So much wasted time.”


But click on a few links, and he’s young and dreamy again — like a real ghost of Christmas past, reminding you to seize your dreams while ye may — and engaging in some grade-A Hollywood hokum. In a special Christmas episode of The Partridge Family TV show, there’s a flashback imagining the 1870s — in which 21-year-old David Cassidy plays “Sheriff Swell” (dressed in a mod pastel blue), to approving choruses of pre-recorded laughter. So much wasted time indeed.

And yet if you watch that episode all the way to its heart-warming conclusion, there’s a surprisingly poignant rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” at the end, in which Cassidy and his lovable TV family poignantly remind us that we all can be together through the years — if the fates allow.

And then they follow it with a mod, up-tempo version of “Winter Wonderland” where David Cassidy is young and cheery — as though the ’70s never ended.

When Pee-Wee Did Christmas

Once upon a time, Saturday morning TV was filled with magical and badly-animated cartoons for children — and even Pee-Wee Herman got a show of his own. It was so popular, he convinced the network to fund a prime time special all his own.

Nearly three decades later, it’s a real treat to discover this rare glimpse of Pee Wee at the peak of his game — shortly before his 1991 arrest, the cancellation of his series, and a long slog to rebuild his career over the decades to come.

“Christmas is that time of year when everybody just acts different,” he says innocently, to an interviewer from Entertainment Tonight.

“People notice more things. They’re a little bit more sensitive and just friendlier around Christmas… More tuned in to, you know, fellow man.”

Spelling with Razors

Sometimes YouTube videos feel like they’re creating an alternate timeline. And some vintage videos are like visiting old friends for the holidays — keeping one last moment of good will and charity for those nearly-forgotten fads of yester-year.

For example, I still can’t see the word “Noel” without remembering that surreal TV ad I saw as a kid with Santa gracefully rides on a three-headed Noelco razor over snowy hills — because, as their announcer explains, “Even our name says Merry Christmas.”

Though I never knew snowmen had such rigid gender roles…

How To Use Boxtops

60 years ago somebody somewhere actually thought it was a good idea to purchase national advertising to broadcast footage of a patronizing white man explaining how to mail in boxtops.

And if you successfully completed the procedure, Ivory Snow would send you some horrifically ugly Christmas ornaments.

Somehow I find the stupidity of this ad to be oddly reassuring. Because it’s an irrefutable reminder of just how very far we’ve come.

And that always gives me a glimmer of hope.

My Favorite Christmas Video

If there’s any way to re-purpose this holiday for our dystopian times, it’s as a reminder to take the long view, and hang on to your hopes like the light of a candle flickering in a stranger’s window. Change happens when you’re not looking — as the years keep on rolling by. As our mediums slowly evolve. As we grapple with who we wanted to be, and with who we’ve become — while yesterday’s broadcast sensations become tomorrow’s troubled former child stars.

Yes we’re now living in a strange new future, where last century’s spectacles are now pirated videos on forgotten corners on YouTube… And just one more thing to share with our copyright-ignoring friends.

In 1958 Walt Disney animated an hour-long Christmas special, and nearly half a century, the whole thing has resurfaced online. So for as long as it lasts — before it melts away like Frosty’s Christmas snow — you can watch the entire thing online, including the special’s grand finale, where all the Disney characters tenderly gather around just to hear Jiminy Cricket singing a special version of “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

I do believe that faith and hope are good things — and in troubled times, that’s when we need them most.

And if it takes a cartoon cricket from the 1950s to remind us of that, then so be it.

White Babbits video (Grace Schtick on Vocals)

But what did the doorknob say?

video by Satori D

 

Video by Satori D
Music by Trevor Boink and Grace Schtick
lyrics by R.U. Sirius based on Grace Slick

One pill makes you smarter
And one pill makes you small
and the ones that mother gives you
ritalin or adderall
And your phallus Needs Viagra after all

and if you go fleecing babbits
cause the banks are gonna fall
tell ’em the hookah smoking anarchist
has got you by the balls
call alice — she’s totally appalled

White men on the radio
Get off on telling you who to hate
and your friend has joined the teabags
And your spending your weekends straight
And your phallus has a Cialis date

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the fat cat’s are aging backwards
And your friends are filled with dread
Remember what the lab rat said
Freeze your head
Freeze your head

Making Sense of the Butthole Surfers

artwork by Chad Essley

 

Unlikely Texas music historian Ben Graham talks San Antonio acid, 1960s psychedelic rock and writing Scatological Alchemy, his new book about the Butthole Surfers

By Michael Pinchera

In May 2015, Brighton, England-based author Ben Graham visited Texas for the first time. The impetus for the trip was to see the 13th Floor Elevators’ 50th anniversary reunion show at the Levitation festival in Austin — the first time in decades all living members of the influential Texas psych band would play together—yet it also acted as the U.S. launch of his book, A Gathering of Promises.

“I was a little bit embarrassed about that because A Gathering of Promises was all about the 13th Floor Elevators and the 1960s psychedelic scene around the Austin area. And I basically wrote that without ever having been to Texas,” he explains. “I felt a bit like one of those 19th-century explorers who writes entire books on Africa whilst in the comfort of their sort of drawing room at home.”

On paper, this is an incredible setting for a book launch party; in reality, the last-minute arrangements he’d made with Levitation festival organizers basically meant A Gathering of Promises would be available at the event’s merch table before any other outlet in the U.S. But he was given a pass to the three-day, outdoor music festival—covering it for a couple of publications—and was finally able to spend a week in Austin, an almost mythical place about which he’d been immersed on a time-traveling, research-and-interview level.

“The people I met there were super friendly, especially all the older guys who’d been around, all the musicians, just so happy and interested that this younger English guy had written a book about their music and their scene, and they were really happy to share their stories,” he says. “A lot of the people I interviewed or people who were just around in that scene were amazed that I’d captured it so well, certainly without having been there in the 60s, but I hadn’t been to Texas at all.”

Having entirely missed the 1960s, the closest that 40-something Graham had previously been to the Austin area was 1,800 miles away, decades earlier, during a six-month American Studies college program in New York.

“I went [to the Levitation festival] because I’d finished the book and thought I’d never get to see the 13th Floor Elevators live—even though I’d seen Roky Erickson play in the U.K. a couple of times,” he says, summarizing the rationale that started the narrative you’re reading.

13th Floor Elevators reunion

 

Recipe for a memorable Texas trip: Take one music journalist/fanboy, add an essential 1960s psychedelic band that’s reformed for one time only, add a tab of San Antonio acid and levitate. Wait a second…“San Antonio acid?” Since when is that a brand of prestige?

“I think that’s the way I described it to friends when I got home,” Graham says, indicating that in all likelihood, someone from San Antonio simply provided the substance. “You know, I’m an English guy, there’s an exoticism to the phrase that conjured up something a bit Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas to me: ‘Yeah, I had some San Antonio acid!’ I have no idea of the provenance—it may have been made in a lab in London.” Read more “Making Sense of the Butthole Surfers”