Too busy living to blog or watch TV, plus a teeny bit about Solfest 2010


Hello Good People who evidently still read this blog…

I keep trying to give up this blog for good but it’s up there in cyberspace without me, just like the millions of  photographs of teenagers on Facebook,  who may at some time, rue the day they allowed photos of, and  information about themselves, to be handed over to various companies and intelligence agencies who rule the net. My blog will outlive my initial enthusiasm for bi-weekly blogging ,and like many a dead rock star’s music, will probably outlive me.

I did go to Solfest this year , and I guess that by the number of hits on the day it ended, many will have to checked in to see if I have done a review like I have done the three previous years.

In a word  “no”, and I’m not really going to. It is still the greatest UK hippie festival that I have experienced this millennium,although a few less punters this year and slightly more zealous security. Well actually, I mean specifically one guy. A young security steward who wore large sunglasses day or night , wore a “security hat”, and obviously took his job extremely seriously. He questioned and scrutinised people at the gates of Solfest as if they were non-EU citizens of “Asian” origin trying to get through passport control at Heathrow. It was only one enthusiastic Nazi  in the whole organisation, but one too many, plus he never seemed to go off duty. Maybe he dreams of being head of all security services one day…in which case, don’t work at a hippie festival, run by hippies.

Backstage the air of hippiedom was also occasionally marred by the odd territorial argument over which loo one could use .One group of people in particular, got hysterical if other members of crew used “their” portaloo and shouted to me “don’t fill our loo up or we can’t use it”, which I found mildly insulting. There was also by the end of the weekend, a row over who could have access to my nearest water supply. Various people started to attach their own personal pipes,to the general standpipe going directly to their tent or caravan, leaving no access to water for the humble camper without extra water-pipe fixtures, and a trickle of water to all trying to get their direct private supply, due to low pressure. It was exemplary of the follies and injustices of  Capitalism, which I hoped to get away from completely during my stay at Solfest. I am hoping that the hippie spirit of sharing resources over and above stupid claims to exclusive access to basic amenities will return next year in the backstage area.

I have not written a review of Solfest, why ? Because I am not often here.

I’ve turned my back on blogging, Myspace, Facebook, hotmail, Googlemail, all mainstream TV news, most TV programmes, and most Radio programmes. I do still use youtube quite a lot, especially if I want to hear music from the other side of the world. I mainly watch TV if I have visitors who want to watch it or if I am just too tired or ill to think of anything else I can do. I read newspapers if I find them lying on the tube, and yet without the internet or the media intruding in my life as much, I am not suffering from any withdrawal symptoms. Quite the opposite, I actually talk to real people face-to-face,  go to real places, and don’t feel like my life is over because my hair is dull or I don’t have a car, or I don’t know what David deCameron said today, and I haven’t suffered any more patriotic military propaganda passing for news on a daily basis.

However I will entwine this rant against second hand communication and experiences with a bit of music from Solfest.

In spite of my previous negative comments, Solfest  is still friendly, creative, and the happiest weekend of the year for me. I always meet great people, have long rambling conversations, dance to loud music even though I feel I am too old to do so, laugh at the inventiveness of fancy dress costumes, discover new  music, see amazing landscapes, feel hopeful that there is a little bit of the year that is not cynical and under surveillance but is creative and flourishing. I love going up north, can’t cope with southern festivals ever since my first Solfest. Ironically it has now become a yearly gathering point for people I know from London, Brighton and South Wales.

Every ageing hippie seems to have their favourite yearly festival, the one where they will see their old friends again and maybe have a little smoke even if they gave up on New Year’s day 2000, laugh like teenagers again, and show their kids how to power generators by pedalling like crazy, how to make things out of wood, and basically introduce them to various degrees of alternative living.

Some of my favourite musicians at Solfest 2010.

Here is John Fairhurst playing sitar music on the guitar. I saw him on the main stage on Saturday, strumming hard and fast, blending slide guitar with flamenco and ragas, very impressive. Unfortunately there is no footage of him playing at Solfest, so here he is playing in 2008 at an album launch party.

John Fairhurst , a sublime creative guitarist. Here he  starts quietly and gradually builds up momentum, then later explodes into a raucous manifestation of  many guitar genres peeping out from one another to say a brief  hello. Are you following me? Good, if not, don’t read any more, have a cup of tea instead.

My favourite Drystone stage act at Solfest was Richard Barry and The Chaps from Manchester. Maybe I am biased, I met Richard at a residential songwriting workshop in 1999. His sense of humour, charm and excellent musicianship make him always worth catching. Yet again, there is no Solfest footage his performance. It was pouring down with rain when he started but he still gathered a crowd, and then the sun came out!

Richard Barry and The Chaps – Please Don’t Ration My Fags.

I spent a lot more time in the Dance Tent than I intended to, especially on Saturday night where I danced to Eat Static, now a solo act, but still doing “his”/ “their” thing, and this guy DJ Adsorb who did an interesting set. Well I enjoyed it but I am frankly not an expert in dance music at all!  I’m more of an acoustic guitar person myself. I just liked Adsorb’s set because there was plenty of variety.

Now maybe it’s because I have never taken the right drugs , or possibly because I haven’t taken the correct amount of drugs, or more likely because I don’t even know by what  acronyms the drugs I’d have to take, and ask for,  from someone  two decades or more younger than me, leads me to find the brain-shaking tones of “doofff-doofff-doofff-da-da-dooff-dooff-doofff etc…” looped for an hour, and somehow so loud that they obliterate any other sounds in the mix…..B.O.R.I.N.G..

However this Solfest having spent much time talking to DJs in the Chill-Out tent who had taken the correct drugs, with their abbreviated names, in the right amounts, to like every type of  Dance Music,  I was  re-assured  that what I was referring to, was music that was  “relentless”.

You can actually pretend to like it, then when in the company of those you truly trust, complain that in fact it was “relentless” possibly shaking your head to demonstrate just how relentless it was.

So now I can blend in with people who know and appreciate all types of dance music by saying  ” God, that was  relentless!” and show the punishment I endured with a little  downwards shake of the head.

But as you can tell I don’t pretend to be anyone but the anonymous person I am pretending to be.

I cannot find much footage of Solfest 2010 itself!

But here is some footage from the Dance tent, I don’t know which DJ this is but I am sure someone will tell me, it could very well be DJ Adsorb, this is then contrasted with the Dogs in Space ( Chill-Out) tent, where you will see a few seconds of an amazing trio driven by the jazz beats of the Van Der Graaf Generator drummer: Guy Evans, along with psychedelic guitarist, Nigel Mazlyn Jones and flautist/guitarist Jim Nield. I caught the end of their set and they created a sound as colourful and ambient as the décor and lightshow of the Dogs in Space tent itself, shame there are only a few seconds of this available to show. I thoroughly enjoyed their mesmerizing set of jazz drumming and psychedelia.

The Damned played but I didn’t go to see them, the youtube clips are pretty poor quality soundwise.

Another act who played twice in the Dogs in Space tent and performed in cafés all over the site were the excellent Marley Chingus, from Liverpool,played rich bebop jazz covers as well as their own compositions, their long-haired and bearded trumpet player was particularly outstanding although all of them are very highly skilled musicians. Again no footage of them at Solfest but here they are with one of their own compositions, no trumpet player but a great sax player instead.

Marley Chingus -Neolithic Chant.

Well I’m off now to make some tea and maybe listen to some music. In the meantime I asked a DJ who came to visit my place last night what his favourite Gong tune was. He told me this one because of the electronics in it, the synths were played  by Tim Blake. It’s a fantabulous track beginning with synths, echo and tabla and building up nicely into a freeform jazz jam with psychedelic lead guitar, slide “glissando” guitar, with other sounds and many instruments thrown in for good measure.

So, I’ll leave you with the brilliant and mind-awakening : Gong – A Sprinkling of Clouds (1974)


Love and Peace to all of you

and remember hippies are cool, superficial people are… well …superficial

Born2rant

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The Dave Russell Interviews reborn ( Notting Hill Arts- 1967-72)


Hello Good People who read this blog

If you go back in time to my earlier entries you will find some interesting stories about Notting Hill in the 60s and 70s and also Anti-Media activities in the 80s , bits about the gigs before Club Dog etc….

However I have been having problems with technology and the Dave Russell interviews being repeatedly deleted .

Therefore I have re-issued part one of this interview on Youtube. It’s the first time I have ever done anything like this so don’t expect miracles!

Enjoy ! and to read onthe background to the things mentioned in this interview go back to my previous post called

Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell – Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Gong and more…(Episode One)

This was written back in the winter of 2007 and the weather today is about the same.

here is part two of the interview for more information go to my previous post

(Episode two) Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell -Psychedelic rock bands, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Ralph McTell, Davy Graham, lightshows, poets, and drug-taking in a crypt

Part two

Part Three

of the interview below please see this post for more details:

(Episode Three) Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell – Jazz, Psychedelic Rock Bands, Poetry, Frestonia, Release and Pete Brown’s Battered Ornaments

The final part

read more on

(Episode Four) Dave Russell – Notting Hill 1967-1972 The Free School, Destruction in Art Symposium, Friends/Frendz magazine and the Rural Retreat

Love and peace

Born2rant

(Episode Four) Dave Russell – Notting Hill 1967-1972 The Free School, Destruction in Art Symposium, Friends/Frendz magazine and the Rural Retreat


(Episode Four) Notting Hill 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell – More about the Crypt ( arts and community centre), The Free School, Destruction in Art Symposium, Friends/Frendz magazine and the Rural Retreat

*I mention “Friends magazine” but it seems that they also spelt it “Frendz magazine”. For more info on the magazine including examples of articles go to this link: http://www.ibiblio.org/mal/MO/philm/friends/

Hello good people who read this blog. After an interlude of some time finally here we are …

Here is the final part of the Dave Russell interview about the Arts and Community Centre ( the Crypt) and beyond:

The Free School
In his interview I asked Dave about the Free School which is often associated with Pink Floyd ( who played at the Crypt too) . He said it had moved about a bit and referred me to another site. So I “borrowed” this map on Tom Vague’s site ( see links to “History Talk”). Dave said that he had done lots of archiving of materials and had helped Tom with the map so I am hoping it is ok to borrow it for my site. You will see on this map the location of the Free School changes as well as some of the other important sites ( and there were more not included on this map) double-click on the image to enlarge.

mapofportobello.jpg

from http://www.portobellofilmfestival.com/talkpics/talk-vague02.html

Destruction in Art
Dave mentions the destruction in Art Symposium who encouraged the smashing up of things. Here is another reference to it from Wikipedia complete with 1966 poster.

“The Destruction in Art Symposium (DIAS) was a gathering of a diverse group of international artists, poets, and scientists to London, from 9th11th September, 1966. Included in this number were representatives of the counter-cultural underground who were there to speak on the theme of destruction in art.”dias_poster.jpg

The Honorary Committee, led by Gustav Metzger, attracted the attention of both the international media and international art community to the symposium.

Michael Moorcock, Friends magazine, and Hawkwind

I asked Dave about these in the interview .Here is a second clip of the fantastic BBC4 Hawkwind documentary which was one of my main inspirations for writing this entire blog.It reminded me of a time long gone of artistic and creative revolution in London. The clip starts with sci-fi writer Michael Moorcock talking about happenings in Notting Hill ( or Ladbroke Grove) and documents further alternative strands in the area , plus Hawkwind and drugs.

Hawkwind Documentary

Flyers and Iain Jacobs

Iain Jacobs now an established photgrapher in Spain has contributed greatly to my research. He was one of the organisers of the Arts and Community Centre. He was 19 when he first joined their ranks. He also performed in The People Band and designed some of the flyers for the centre which migrated to various venues but was mostly at The Crypt , Lancaster Road.

He has very kindly sent me a quantity of flyers to help document this in my blog. I would very much have liked to have interviewed Carlyle Reedy , orginally from the U.S. ,who was the founder and main organiser of the Arts and Community Centre Notting Hill .At present she is not available but I am sure in time I will meet her and hopefully she can help me to document more.

Thanks again to Iain Jacobs for supplying me with the following documents:(click on them to enlarge)

accnh_brochure_cover.jpg

This is the brochure cover to the A.C.C.N.H.

accnh_brochure_inside.jpg Inside of Brochure

accnh_poster_01.jpg

The Continuous Music Ensemble poster

crypt_poster_01cardewamm.jpg

Cornelius Cardew Poster

crypt_poster_05third-ear-band-etc.jpg

The Third Ear Band

Some General Posters for the Arts and Community Centre Notting Hill:

crypt_poster_02general.jpgcrypt_poster_06.jpg

Poster for the Exploding Galaxy

crypt_poster_08cartoon.jpg

more info on The Exploding Galaxy
I found this on the “disinformation” website in relation to Genesis P-Orridge:
This would be around 1969

“After a near-death experience left him determined to follow his notion of becoming a beatnik writer, the young P-Orridge’s instinct for finding other “genetic terrorists” like himself led him to the psycho-therapeutic bootcamp of the Exploding Galaxy/Transmedia commune (which also included filmmaker Derek Jarman). Members were required to sleep in a different location every night, to take meals at different times during the day, and to act out assigned roles and attitudes, often in costume and with unerring earnestness, going so far as to have atypical sexual encounters (in character!) or risk getting badly beaten up if a situation warranted it.

The commune’s anarchistic spirit and insistence on life as art and art as life inspired the performance art events of COUM (pronounced “coom”) Transmissions. Staged primarily by P-Orridge and part time pin-up model Cosey Fanni Tutti (born Christine Carol Newby, 1951), COUM’s outrageous “happenings” were parallel to the work of Viennese Actionist Otto Muehl and Hermann Nitsch’s Orgies Mysteries Theater. COUM’s shamanic improvisations involving enemas, blood, roses, wire, feathers, sexual intercourse, milk, urine, licking up vomit, crucifixion, maggots and self-mutilation were often not conceptualized until the very moment of the performances, if at all. “Quoted from http://www.disinfo.com/archive/pages/article/id1246/pg1/index.html

It all sounds like an average Saturday night out to me! ( my attempt at humour) I don’t think anything quite that extreme went on at the Crypt in Notting Hill!

The Poetry Workshop

crypt_poster_04poetry-workshop.jpg

Jazz gigs at The Ladbroke Hotel

lh_poster_01.jpg lh_poster_00sounds.jpg

The People Band ( was in previous entry but I like this poster a lot!)

crypt_poster_07.jpg

Well that’s all for now….I hope to bring you more of something soon!

Have a good weekend and be creative without dollar/euro/pound signs in your cartoon eyes .

DAVE RUSSELL ( the man I interviewed and Notting Hill resident since the sixties)

Before I go one last vid. This is Dave Russell with ” Hades W10″ also known as “Nobody gets off at this bus stop” (The people in the background are quite interesting and entertaining …he usually gets a much better response than this!) after that he plays another one of his own songs “Crackdown Tribunal”. Dave is an intellectual creative rebel well-versed in folk, blues, jazz, punk and poetry. He has recorded countless albums of his songs as well as covering the rawest blues songs and setting music to William Blake and other  poetry. He has covered some Madonna songs which are so riotous that you’d think they were written by Dylan, Robert Johnson or John Lydon.

He revels in  words as well as music and has written two novels and a book of poetry. He plays all the acoustic clubs in London that are any good and avoids the soul-less ones looking for pretty pop stars.

At present he has no website or myspace although I hope one day this will happen.

(p.s. he is also a really nice bloke and my friend who has been very tolerant of me over the years)

see also

Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell – Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Gong and more…(Episode One)

(Episode two) Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell -Psychedelic rock bands, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Ralph McTell, Davy Graham, lightshows, poets, and drug-taking in a crypt

(Episode Three) Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell – Jazz, Psychedelic Rock Bands, Poetry, Frestonia, Release and Pete Brown’s Battered Ornaments


Coming Soon..more of the Crypt in Notting Hill


Hello Good people who read this blog.

Happy New Year

I am still wrestling with my internet connection but I hope to bring you the next part of the Dave Russell interview and more stories of The Arts and Community Centre Notting Hill otherwise known as “The Crypt” of the Methodist Church in Lancaster Road and other tales of Notting Hill in the late sixties early seventies very soon.

I also have been put in touch with Iain Jacobs who also helped to run the Crypt and was in the “ People Band“(see poster below) which from hearing their album sound similar to bits of jazz from Gong who played in the same venues. As Dave put it ” There was a lot of intermingling!”.

I have received flyers today both from Iain Jacobs and from Michael Dog for my blog . Thank you!

They will appear keep coming back!

Here’s a taster a poster for The People Band at the Crypt in Notting Hill ( not to be confused with the one nearly 20 years later in Deptford!) It’s so nice that people are getting in touch and volunteering their stories. I am still trying to understand various types of computer/internet technology however if you put your cursor over this poster a tool should appear to let you enlarge it and see it in detail. Just click on the poster when it appears in a separate box and then when it goes to a full screen window click again to enlarge further. Some of my other pictures and posters also have this facility.

crypt_poster_07.jpg

Poster courtesy of Iain Jacobs.

Hope to be able to bring you all this soon…

In the Meantime…

Some “Pot Head Pixies ” Genius from Gong!

If you enjoyed that go see my updated post called

“Gong Live Now and Then”

See you soon

Love and Peace

Born2rant

Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell – Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Gong and more…(Episode One)


Quintessence FlyerInterview with Dave Russell on the Arts and Community Centre Notting Hill in the 60s and 70s( Part One)

I first met my good friend Dave Russell in 1993 at “Bunjies” in Litchfield Street, off Charing Cross Road.
We both used to perform there regularly in their legendary folk cellar.
When I ran my own acoustic and poetry club I once billed Dave in the press as “The Godfather of Acoustic Punk” and the name has stuck. As well as being a singer-songwriter, poet and novellist, he is as you will hear an intellectual with a wide knowledge of the arts. Dave has been living in Notting Hill since 1964 and was friends with people who ran various arts events at the time.
I interviewed him to ask him about a particular club in Notting Hill in the crypt of a Methodist Church where bands like Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Gong and many more performed as well as being a place for anarchic artists, poets, writers, actors, dancers and people with radical new ideas.
I have edited the 37 minute interview for obvious reasons !
For technical reasons you will be able to hear the interview in little episodes ( I hope!)
So this should be episode one of my interview with Dave Russell
(it all sounds a bit like Radio 4!) I hope this works or I’ll have to annoy people in the wordpress forums once again!

Dave Russell interview -Episode One

Here is The People Show 1967 related to The People Band as described by Dave ( at the end is a teeny bit of Pink Floyd)

Pink Floyd in 1967 (introduced by a “square” with no imagination and definitely only smoking tobacco)

This is Quintessence in 1971 playing at Glastonbury


For those of you outside the UK and only know “Notting Hill” the film . In the Post-War years Notting Hill was a run down area of West London known for cheap housing and where imigrants settled mainly from the Caribbean. Notting Hill used to be full of slums back in the fifties, sixties, seventies and that is how all the musicians, writers, artists and intellectuals got to live here mostly by squatting or living in Housing Co-ops etc….

Love and peace Born2rant

For more stuff than the little bit I am writing about please visit the Terrascope Link I added in the side-bar

see also

(Episode two) Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell -Psychedelic rock bands, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Ralph McTell, Davy Graham, lightshows, poets, and drug-taking in a crypt

(Episode Three) Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell – Jazz, Psychedelic Rock Bands, Poetry, Frestonia, Release and Pete Brown’s Battered Ornaments

(Episode Four) Dave Russell – Notting Hill 1967-1972 The Free School, Destruction in Art Symposium, Friends/Frendz magazine and the Rural Retreat