I started mail networking in the fall of 1978 when I was 25. I’d gotten a list of names & addresses from my friend Cathy Gayhardt wch I later realized had been at least partially provided to her by “Blaster” Al Ackerman. I started by sending my 1st Mike Film Form Letter to the people I thought had the most imaginative names. These included Anna Banana (the editor of the great “Vile” magazine), & Cosey Fanni Tutti (a member of “Throbbing Gristle” whose “Second Annual Report” I wasn’t to hear until 2 yrs later). By a decade later, I was corresponding w/ 1,400 people. But long before then, certainly by 1984, such massive correspondence had gotten to be a huge bureaucratic challenge. I’d send out as much as 20 mailings a day & was keeping track of the often changing names & addresses of the people I was corresponding w/. In 1984, as a result of going to England & France for a mnth, partially for the 8th International Neoist Apartment festival, my ability to keep up w/ the correspondence began to fall permanently into arrears.
This was a very exciting time. The sheer quantity of outreach, the senses of purpose, the lifestyle experiments, these were phenomenal. I wasn’t much interested in the “Mail Art”, wch was often just a matter of sending out thoughtless objects for maximal presence in catalogs, as I was in finding other like-minded individuals – esp tricksters. Some of us used many different names & even different addresses & other strategies in order to keep our identities shape-shifting.
It was probably in 1985, while I was still in the thick of this networking, that Trevor Blake, the editor of this bk, & I 1st contacted each other. He sent me the 1st issue of his magazine “Surreal Estates” & I sent him the 3rd issue of my “DDC#040.002″ magazine. By early 1986, I had an interview in “SE” #6. Not long thereafter, “OVO” replaced “Surreal Estates” & by issue #2 I had some Mike Film in it. #7 had a bisected picture thing I contributed & #12 had my ‘resumé’ & an altered version of my “Lidznap” acct. It’s this latter that’s made it into this compilation from earlier issues.
All this fervent networking was beginning to bubble out of the underground into larger circulation & higher visibility. The Book of the SubGenius (1983) was, perhaps, the 1st of these to be of personal importance to me b/c of my inclusion in it. Remarkably, Rev. Ivan Stang made sure that even the most minor contributors, such as myself, got a royalty check. Such was his astounding integrity & the feeling of community & collaboration. “Re/Search” magazine put out its 1st “special book issue” in 1982 focussed on William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, & Throbbing Gristle – followed in 1983 by their “Industrial Culture Handbook”. Despite, or b/c of, the controversial content of such publications, they were widely distributed & eagerly sought after by many people of similar mindset &, as such, had some commercial success.
In the meantime, publications like my “DDC#040.002″, Trevor’s “OVO”, Bruce Andrews & Charles Bernstein’s “L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E”, cris cheek’s “RAWZ”, Julien Blaine”s “DOC(K)S”, Rick Sugden’s “HOMEX”, Sheila Gostick & co’s “End Paper”, Judith A. Hoffberg’s “umbrella”, Alan Davies’ “A HUNDRED POSTERS”, the Church of the SubGenius’ “Stark Fist of Removal”, Donna Kossy’s “False Positive”, Linda Frye Burnham’s “High Performance”, Mike Gunderloy’s “Factsheet Five”, John Foster’s “OP”, Monty Cantsin’s “SMILE”, Nenad Bogdanovic’s “Total”, John M. Bennett’s “Lost & Found Times”, Rev. Crowbar’s “Popular Reality”, AMK’s “Hare/Hunter/Field”, Manfred Vançi Stirnemann’s “Work in Progress”, “Light Times”, Katherine Nichols’ “A. C. Gazette”, John Rininger’s “Phosphorusflourish”, Joel Biroco’s “KAOS”, Rupert Wondolowski & Alfred Merchlinsky’s “Shattered Wig Review”, Lloyd Dunn’s “PhotoStatic”, Stephen Perkins’ “Box of Water”, Chris Winkler’s “(S)CRAP”, the San Francisco Cinematheque’s “Cinematograph”, Mlacolm Dickson & Lorna Waite’s “Variant”, Michel Lefebvre’s “SOUS LE MANTEAU”, Michael Amnasan’s “ottotole”, & many, many other (a)periodicals were keeping discourse very lively indeed.
What had previously been underground became increasingly available thru bks that radically broke new ground: Adam Parfrey’s Apocalypse Culture (1987), Rev. Ivan Stang’s High Weirdness by Mail (1988), Stewart Home’s The Assault on Culture (1988), Bob Black & Adam Parfrey’s Rants and Incendiary Tracts (1989). One of the publications I’d looked forward to the most was “SEMIOTEXT[E] USA” (1987). I’d been reading ‘SEMIOTEXT[E]” since the 1970s & had always found it to be stunning in its intellectual brilliance. Alas, despite its size & thoroughness, by the time it came out I felt a sense of denouement – as if it had nothing new to teach me – for me, it was already dated. A German friend of mine, Florian Cramer, sd the same thing about the preceding “German Issue”. Of course, that wdn’t've been the case for people less saturated in the underground than myself.
But, of course, not every underground publisher had the desire or the wherewithal to put out a bk & get it distributed. Many of us held onto the notion that interpersonal networking was the most important & continued to mainly put out small publications that were mostly intended to be traded w/ other such publishers. The PERSONAL vs the COMMERCIAL. While publications like Re/Search’s “Incredibly Strange Film” were initially exciting, for people like me, at least, they only represented a faux cutting edge. Any truly incredibly strange film, such as my own, wdn’t be included b/c they’re not dumb enuf, they’re not LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) enuf. To a few of us, w/ little or no commercial aspirations, what was most important was finding & communicating w/ the secluded obscure people who seemed to be trying to free themselves from an oppressive society thru following their imagination w/o becoming herders of (sub-)pop-culture sheep. People who took their egalitarianism seriously.
Now, decades later, the ‘landscape’ of underground communication has changed considerably. Many of us who wd’ve previously used the mails now use the internet. But much of the thrill is gone, for me at least. Instead of getting a tape in the mail, I get Facebook announcements. People ‘friend’ each other more for the quantity of connections than for their quality – just like much of Mail Art, but NOT the mail I participated in. Print-On-Demand has, fortunately, come into existence & it’s financially more feasible for someone like Trevor Blake to put bks out w/o having to cater to sensationalist marketing to make the substantial investment back. As such, now we have oVo 20 JUVEN(a/i)LIA: a bk that wd fit in nicely from an information standpoint w/ the aforementioned bks from the 1980s w/ at least a few people that wdn’t've previously made the editorial cut but who were, nonetheless, highly active.
One of Blake’s strengths is his sincere & long-term communication w/ a variety of very vigorous people – many of whom were important to my own correspondence too. Alas, I have to say that his weaknesses are in design imagination & in proofreading. In my 2pp article alone he & his spellcheck added something like 40+ errors. Back to that later. In general, this bk is a vital addition to further bringing to light underground culture – mostly in the us@.
Trevor’s “Public Domain” & “Disclaimer” present an editorial anti-copyright position: “Dedicators recognize that, once placed in the public domain, the Work may be freely reproduced, distributed, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and in any way, including by methods that have not yet been invented or conceived.” & such an approach is very much in keeping w/ the more radical proponents of freedom of information. The idea is pretty much that the creators of the works propose to pirate whatever’s out there for their own purposes & feel like it’s only fair to reciprocate in kind. Personally, I prefer non-commercial use w/ attribution. If someone’s going to make money off me, I prefer that they share it w/ me. Respectful friendship rather than exploitation.
The 1st paragraph of Blake’s intro claims that “All text and art appearing here was first published in OVO with the exception of the work of Thom Metzger and the work of Ernest Mann.” Alas, that’s inaccurate in my case. My “Lidznap” was published in its correct & complete form in my bk entitled How to Write a Resumé – Volume II: Making a Good First Impression (1st edition: Apathy Press, 1989 – see reviews of the 2nd edition here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2558817.How_to_Write_a_Resum_Volume_II_Making_a_Good_First_Impression_2nd_edition ) – 2 yrs before the OVO #12 that an abridged version later appeared in.
Blake’s intro goes on to mention some of the other publications that I’ve also mentioned above: Re/Search, Factsheet Five, & Apocalypse Culture. As Trevor explains: “OVO is a public record of my interests and inquiries. OVO is where I’ve taught myself how to write, edit and publish. Themed issues of OVO follow what I work to be less ignorant about. Contributors to OVO have nearly always been friends first.” There’s the emphasis on the personal again. His intro concludes w/: “Read with regularity outside your area of interests. Nothing will point out your own ignorance better than attentiveness to those who disagree with you, nothing makes what you know make sense like learning something unrelated to what you know. Take as many chances [as] you are willing to take lumps for. But most of all, get busy.” & it’s this philosophy that makes OVO highly worth reading.
There’s a drawing by Mike Diana at the end of this intro. For those of you not familiar w/ his work I strongly recommend the fantastic VHS release “affliction” edited by underground movie stalwart Mark Hejnar. Mike Diana got burned by the police state more than most of us. Here’s his contributor’s bio: “Mike Diana was born in Geneva New York in 1969. He started drawing at a young age. He is the first artist to receive a criminal conviction for obscenity in the United States. Based on drawings Mike made at the same time as his drawings for OVO, Mike was forbidden from any contact with children under 18, compelled to undergo psychological testing and enroll in a journalistic ethics course, pay a $3,000 fine and perform more than one thousand hours of community service. He was also ordered to cease drawing for personal use. To insure that Mike was not drawing, police were allowed to inspect his house at any time without warning or warrant. He escaped to New York City in 1996.”
Many of the ideas presented here have been far more important to many of us than may often meet the eye. Take Hakim Bey’s statement: “We might now contemplate aesthetic actions which possess some of the resonance of terrorism (or “cruelty,” as Artaud put it) aimed at the destruction of abstractions rather than people, at liberation rather than power, pleasure rather than profit, joy rather than fear. “Poetic Terrorism.” Our chosen images have the potency of darkness – but all images are masks, & behind these masks lie energies we can turn toward light & pleasure.” Well put!
I found Johhny Brainwash’s “Holding Games for Ransom” (published April 2008) to be interesting. It explains an alternative economic model for gamers & others akin to what are now kickstarts. Alternative economic thinking has always been important for people in the underground for various probably obvious reasons: not everyone in the world is by nature likely to ‘succeed’ in the economic conditions of the society they’re born into. “It takes money to make money”, as the saying goes, so if you’re born relatively poor you’re not as likely to ‘work yr way to the top’ as proponents of capitalism might have you believe. If you’re rich enuf to go to a rich university long enuf to get a PhD you’re much more likely to be shit out of the system straight into a position of privilege where it’s taken for granted that you deserve to be regardless of yr actual level of accomplishment.
Since poor people are much more likely to be more desperate than rich people are generally likely to understand, it’s no wonder that people wd seek out an economic system wherein their actual qualities & abilities have some value rather than the often unfair values assigned to them by people in power. Barter is very important. Hence we have “Indie Currency” as outlined in Klint Finley’s “The New Currency War” (OVO 18 Money(April 2008)). For an earlier article on the same subject, see Rita Rodentia’s “Money Schmoney – Alternative Currencies” (Street Rat-Bag #3, October 2000). I learned at least one unexpected thing from Finley’s article: “Pay Pal, eventually burdened with legal problems, banned the use of PayPal for gambling, pornography, and several other uses in 2004.”
Gerry Reith & Thom Metzger were both people I corresponded &/or traded w/. Reith, perhaps isolated more than most in Sheridan, Wyoming, committed suicide. Metzger & I didn’t correspond for long. I think I always figured that it had something to do w/ him becoming a somewhat ‘successful’ novelist. Therefore, it was interesting for me to see things by them in here that I may not’ve been previously familiar w/. However, part of what Reith wrote & what Blake writes later is something that I very much don’t identify w/. Reith 1st: “As anarchists: leafleting, speaking, proselytizing, agitating anarchists, we are continually trying to smooth over the inherent contradictions of trying to motivate people to act while disavowing any responsibility for their choice of action(s).” Blake quoting George Walford: “‘The overwhelming majority of those who have encountered anarchism have shown very clearly that they do not want to do what anarchists want them to do. They prefer to do what they are doing now. We have no reason to expect the others, when they meet anarchism, to respond differently. Can your anarchism accept this? Or do you feel bound to impose (however gently and rationally) your ideas of what it is good for them to do?’”
Now, I’m an anarchist & the reason why I consider myself to be an anarchist is very simple: I don’t accept rule from others & don’t want to impose rule on others either. Etymologically, it seems simple: “an” = without, “archy” means rule by. This is generally taken to mean ‘rule by someone other than yrself’ since it’s somewhat taken for granted that as an anarchist you think for yrself & take responsibility for yrself. Perhaps something like “esy-o-idios-archy” might be better or just plain “idioarchy” meaning “rule of yrself by yrself”. It seems that potentially etymologically applicable words like autarchy & monarchy are already laden w/ more dictatorial meanings. Anyway, my point here is that one of the things that I like about anarchy is that anyone self-declaring as an anarchist is hypothetically not going to proselytize b/c that wd mean trying to lead someone else & wd, therefore, be antithetical to “w/o rule”. Personally, I detest proselytizing & have no desire to “impose (however gently and rationally) [my] ideas”. So, WHAT THE FUCK?! I don’t even ask my friends whether they’re anarchists much of the time. If they try to proselytize to me chances are they won’t stay friends w/ me for long. I’d just find them too annoying. As such, I find this emphasis on proselytizing above to be very suspect.
Mike Gunderloy’s “The Meta-Network, or, A Battle with Footnotes” was one of the highlights of this “OVO” for me. Gunderloy’s Factsheet Five was the best meta-networking tool I’ve ever encountered & Gunderloy’s ability to write capsule reviews of hundreds or thousands of publications every mnth always struck me as qualifying him to be called “a human encyclopedia” – a compliment I rarely give out. His humorous approach in making this text have the footnotes quickly overwhelm the main text makes it even more enjoyable to me & smacks of parody of academia.
Anonymous’ “23 Sperm Stories 23″ starts off like a dry scientific explanation of sperm & related reproductive elements. However, many people have emphasized the #23 as some sort of significantly recurring # – often w/ occult meaning. As such, the title’s a bit of a giveaway that something other than the dry beginning, wch might just be cut’n'paste from undisclosed sources, might appear – as indeed it does about 6 pages in:
“Reports of alien abduction often include claims of the harvesting of or depositing of sperm. The Christian religion claims that when a sperm cell enters another kind of cell, a soul is created. Casteneda (a 20th Century novelist), claimed that sperm went to the recipient’s brain, causing a pleasant sensation. Bardon (a 20th Century occultist) claimed that retaining sperm in a special container called a condenser could allow the manipulation of energy and magnetic fluid. The Temple of Psychic Youth claimed that placing sperm on paper while concentrating on a desired goal would make that desired goal occur.”
“A majority of the world’s economy, technological progress, art and culture are centered on extracting sperm from one or more human and putting it inside of or in proximity to one or more humans or images. The second most active engine of the world’s economy, technological effort, art and culture is the prevention of these activities. The entire history of humanity can be explained as the dynamics of these two forces.”
For me, this is overemphasis.
“In 1999 a subject in Prague tricked a human into donating sperm to a local sperm bank with the claim this was part of a medical process. The subject actually used the sperm to create two new humans, which the donor human was then required by [law? - word apparently missing here] to financially support”.
I find this last story a bit unbelievable in its current state. I found nothing about it online but I didn’t look very hard either. If the story’s anything but an urban myth I suspect that there’s alot more to it than in this telling. According to this same article, “No human has ever been generated without sperm; sperm is the agent of all life”. According to Wikipedia: “Parthenogenesis (play /ˌpærθənoʊˈdʒɛnəsɪs/) is a form of asexual reproduction where growth and development of embryos occur without fertilization. In plants, parthenogenesis means development of an embryo from an unfertilized egg cell, and is a component process of apomixis.” Even the article itself refutes its claim re sperm: “Scientists at the Reproductive Genetics Institute in Chicago created a means of creating new humans without sperm in 2002.” & “clearly the need to reproduce with sperm is an option and not a requirement.” The point is that while I found “23 Sperm Stories 23″ to be dubious in its logic at times, I still think it’s very interesting.
I found Feral Faun’s “Thoughts on Experimentation” to be somewhat representative of a general thrust of OVO: “I consider the past ten years of my life to be a constant process of experimentation”. This leads me to PM’s “Liberating Wednesday”: “So far people have tried to liberate countries, but the results aren’t very convincing. So why not try to liberate a day of the week?” Great idea! This, in turn, reminds me of Ernest Mann’s “I am wasting less of my time (LIFE) watching, listening to and reading THOUGHT LEADERS, ie, TV, movies, radio, music, newspapers, magazines, and novels.” Wch takes me to Karen Eliot’s (misspelled throughout OVO as “Elliot”) “Operation Negation”: “From 1990 until an undetermined point thereafter there will be an employment of the negation of all forms of work (and play).” In other words, all of these people are trying to look at their life & to experiment w/ it in a liberating way.
Ernest Mann, whose “Little Free Press” publications I once rc’vd frequently, was definitely dedicated to freeing himself: “I spent 22 years of my TIME (life) working as a Wage Slave. [..] I don’t want to do that anymore.” I found this memorial to him online ( http://www.oocities.org/msrrtnewsletter/may96.html#mann ):
“While half mast flags in April marked the death of U.S. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, our thoughts instead were on [a] real people’s hero, Ernest Mann. The 69-year-old editor of what must have been the longest running zine in existence, Little Free Press, was bludgeoned to death in March by his teenage grandson who then took his own life. The two had been living together in a Little Falls, Minnesota, trailer court. Formerly a successful real estate investor, Mann (a.k.a. Larry Johnson), “dropped out” in 1969 to live a contemplative life and promote his quixotic “Priceless Economic System.” Described as “definitely the most idealistic, and arguably the most naive set of pamphlets” (High weirdness by mail, Stang, 1988), Little Free Press has been part crusade, and part autobiography about squirrel trapping, raft building, and grandson raising. Mann first received regional attention in 1978 when Minneapolis Tribune columnist Larry Batson wrote about his quest to promote freedom. By the time the national media noticed him (“A Thoreau of the city,” Christian Science Monitor, May 16, 1990, p.13), he was already widely known throughout the zine network. Mike Gunderloy’s September 1982 edition of Factsheet Five (#4) reviewed Little Free Press #41. Thirteen and a half years later, Mann was still at it, pumping out issue #138 and visualizing “peace on Earth and goodwill.” We were not alone in corresponding with Ernest and wish we hadn’t procrastinated with plans to interview him. Profoundly human, an enjoyer of books and simple pleasures, an anarchist and atheist who never ceased his one-person utopian experiment, he will be missed.”
Walter Alter’s yet-another person in OVO that I corresponded w/ in the ’80s. While I more or less completely disagree w/ his statements such as: “Meeting the necessities of biological survival is a piece of cake; an amoeba can do it.” “Technology is inherently democratizing.” “By visually representing and revealing the interconnectivity of events within a phase and, by extension, of all phases within our universe, technology becomes the most humanitarian of all human endeavors.” “When television is discussed it is always within the parameter of a single screen, much like cinema.” reading his article here made me want to listen to his “Air Bag!” tape that he’d sent me. Alas, I cdn’t find it but in the process of looking I was reminded of just how amazing the hundreds of tapes that I once traded for were. As for cinema being a single screen medium? I’d say: no more or less so than tv. There’re many instances of people experimenting w/ multiple projections. Take, eg, my own:
“Multiple Projections: 1978 to 2009″:
Trevor’s reviews are particularly useful for pointing people in the direction of obscure publications. The 1st of these here is about Mark Mothersbaugh’s 1975 bk entitled My Struggle published in 1978 in an edition of 100. While Blake mentions that “These small thick books have red covers to make them look the same as Chairman Mao’s Book of Quotations”, he fails to mention that “My Struggle” is the English translation of Hitler’s famous autobiography “Mein Kampf”. Also reviewed is a documentary called The Skin Horse “by and about disabled people and their sex lives.” Trevor notes that “Channel 4 (formerly Central Television) commissioned the 1982 film but does not sell it. No one sells it, not legally.” &, again, we have a central concern here for probably many of the OVO contributors: seek out & study obscure & obscured info.
After Trevor’s reviews come his interviews. I have a particular affection for interviews – esp w/ people that mainstream media might find unworthy. As I write in my essay entitled “On the Importance of Personal Archives” (not in OVO): “I’d rather live life fully with friends than vicariously thru the icons. Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous? How about Lifestyles of the Eccentric & Imaginative? Of the Intelligent & Visionary? Of the Friendly & Accessible? These may include the rich & famous but certainly aren’t excluded to them.” Blake’s 1st interview here is w/ a bulimic. Another subject of interest to me. In 1989 I made a movie called “Barfroom” that’s a parody of bulimics made w/ 2 ex-bulimic friends of mine. Another interview is w/ my old friend, long since lost touch w/, Yael Ruth Dragwyla. She discusses “varieties of non-physical travel”. I made a super-8mm film of her in 1986 performing ritual magick.
Perhaps most germane to the theme of underground publishing is Trevor’s interview w/ V. Vale, the co-editor of Re/Search. Vale’s philosophizing provides another good summary of a thread running thru the intentions & experiences of many underground publishers: “A lot of people just become criminals or whatever, or drug addicts, or they just can’t cope for a lot of good reasons. Society gives us plenty of reasons but it also provides the narcotics in the form of television and actual narcotics so that we can “adapt,” shall we say. And so yes, it’s definitely a struggle against mind control, against conditioning, against banal information. We were born with the birthright of curiosity and there’s nothing more natural than to be curious, but of course this faculty is extinguished early in life. It seems like society does everything it can to either extinguish this faculty or to channel it along channels of consumption rather than something creative on your own, something creative and original and obsessive and unique on your own.” BRAVO!!
Alas, at some point I have to critique the treatment that my own article, “Lidznap” rc’vd. Perhaps I shd preface this by explaining that from 1969 on I’ve used meticulously calculated d liberate d viations from conventional writing for encryption purposes, for abbreviation, for ambiguity, & for many other reasons. These d viations are always intended to expand the meaning of my text in a way that conventional writing wdn’t – & are rarely mistakes. The mistakes come along when editors & their machines ‘correct’ my writing – esp my puns, wch are often numerous & highly charged. Hence if I call myself a “psychopathfinder”, eg, some spell check program might ‘correct’ that as a ‘nonexistent’ word. Of course, neologisms have to begin somewhere & I’m an active force in birthing them. Explanations of my systems wd require too much space here. The reader is directed to the “Dos & Dont’s of Dating” & “l;a;n;g;u;a;g;e” chapters of my bk entitled footnotes ( see reviews of that here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2349153.footnotes ).
The original article wd’ve been sent to Trevor around 1987. It’s about an event & a project from 1979. The project involved a phone # that cd be called for somewhat unpredictable results. This phone # spelled TESTES-3. A reporter named Franz Lidz, whose early life has been represented in the Dianne Keaton movie Unstrung Heroes ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unstrung_Heroes ), expressed an interest in writing an article about TESTES-3, wch was operated anonymously. He wrote one article before he found out who we were & one after we led him on a wild ride. “Lidznap” is about that wild ride. My original begins w/ the title, followed by this subtitle: “Two Ironic Endings” followed by the section headed “Preface”. That’s followed by a photocopy of Lidz’s 1st article entitled: “For a Good Time Call TESTES-3 – Underground Telephone Network”. That’s followed by page 1 of the 2nd part of my text entitled “Lidznap” wch is followed by 2 relevant photos & the end of my article. Finishing the whole thing is a copy of Lidz’s 2nd article, entitled: “VD-RADIO Goes On The Air”.
When this was 1st published in OVO #12, it was called “Lidznap: Two Ironic Endings” & Lidz’s 2 articles were removed. Only a cropped version of one of the 2 original photos was left in. Trevor retyped my original, rather than photocopying it & cutting it into a form that wd fit his layout. In this original process, this sentence:
“Given that we considered anonymity to be essential to our functioning as mysterious catalysts & given that we wanted to put emphasis on TESTES-3 as a communally produced participatory phenomenon we reacted cautiously to his request in a way that we thought to be consistent with our principles.”
“Given that we considered anonymity to be essential to our functioning communally produced participatory phenomenon we reacted cautiously to his request in a way that we thought to be consistent with our principles.”
Over a quarter of the sentence is missing: “as mysterious catalysts & given that we wanted to put emphasis on TESTES-3 as a”. Why? B/c in the original that’s an entire line & when Trevor was transcribing his eyes jumped from the preceding line to the following one & missed it altogether! That one mistake alone is enuf to make me cringe but there are many, MANY more. Any mistakes Trevor made in his original typing are then repeated & further compounded by the singularly ‘stupid’ & inflexible spell check program he must use. IMO spell checks shd be disabled in any text program used by any reasonably literate person. They’re mainly designed to be helpful for covering up the mistakes of the barely literate – like college students. Text programs will accept the wrong word if it’s spelled correctly, they’ll also ‘correct’ the types of meaningful d viations that I specialize in.
Hence, if one writes “CD” as an abbreviation for “Compact Disc” it might become “Cd”. If one writes “than” instead of the intended “then” it’ll stay that way. If one writes “4″ as a phonetic abbreviation of “for”, it might get changed. If a proper name is misspelled, it’ll never notice. If one creates a d liberate contraction, it might get changed: “awhile” might become “a while”. The list is endless. tOGGLE cASE is not permitted. Words like “typewriter” & “lawnmower” were once written as “type writer” & “lawn mower” until the 2 words became commonly enuf associated w/ each other to become one word. The intermediary stage is “type-writer” & “lawn-mower”. I often prefer to recognize these contractions as likely to occur in the future & to make them happen NOW. Hence, I write “alotof” instead of “a lot of” b/c “a lot of” is sd so often that it’s basically blended into one word in common speech even tho it’s not usually written that way. THIS IS NOT A MISTAKE ON MY PART but a spell check program will react to it as if it is.
Then there are things like the word “basically” that I’ve just used. This isn’t underlined as a possible mistake in the program I’m typing this in. However, the word “publically” is underlined as a mistake. So what’s the rule? When I was a kid, a rule was that when a word ending in “l” was having “ing” added to it, the “l” was to be doubled. Reading older bks will routinely present this spelling: “travelling”. These days, that’s considered ‘wrong’ & it’s to be spelled “traveling” – no more doubling of the “l”. My point here is that while I actually pay attn to many of these rules & try to either consciously d viate from them or to stay consistent, what’s considered ‘correct’ is actually a mess of irregularities that have no actual grammatical consistency.
I also d liberately do things like put punctuation outside of quotation marks. Yes, yes, I ‘know’ that this isn’t the conventional procedure. I cd give a shit. The people who teach/enforce these conventional procedures are generally doing so by rote, I’m actually thinking about the language. Fancy that! In general, I use punctuation as I imagine myself saying something. Therefore, if I imagine myself pausing, I’ll use a comma (“,”). If I imagine myself not pausing I’ll leave the comma out. SO, in my original article, I wrote “or “line” as we called it”. Trevor ‘corrected’ this by writing it as “or “line,” as we called it” adding punctuation that I didn’t want in there. Not only did he add the comma, he also put it w/in the quotation marks (” “) wch I wd’ve never done. To me, in my much more consistent & logical grammatical world than that enforced by convention, the word “line” shd stay isolated w/in the quotation marks & the comma shd come as a pause after it. Sentence #2 begins: “It was run anonymously” & Trevor changed that to “It was operated anonymously”. & so forth & so on – over 40 changes in toto. “John’s camera flashes added to their already substantially disoriented vision” becomes “John’s camera flashes added to their already substantially distorted vision”. Here “disoriented” is far more accurate b/c Franz was wearing prism glasses that I made that reversed his left-right, etc..
A common problem w/ editors who feel the need to to standardize their visual presentation is that the editors then have to retype all text into their computers. Unless the retyping is done very carefully, wch it rarely is, the result is a mess. Given that I’m a highly literate & careful person, it’s always painful for me to see something credited to me so full of mistakes that I seem very sloppy indeed. Esp given that my d viations are often symbolic, the actual meanings of my article become distorted. Take, eg, this bit from my original: “They’re coming to take me away, hoho, heehee, haha..” – in Trevor’s retyping this becomes “they’re coming to take me away, hoho, heehee, haha…”. 2 seemingly minor changes have been made: the beginning “T” has been made lower case – hence no longer showing that this is the 1st line of a verse of the song; the ellipsis at the end has been changed from having 2 dots (“..”) to the more conventional 3 dots (“…”). In my number symbolism I recognize the conventional 3 dot ellipsis as a symbol of the so-called “Holy Trinity” used, again conventionally, as a symbol of infinity. It’s Christian. I’m an ATHEIST & I detest Christinanity (pun intended, as usual – another word that wd be ‘corrected’ by a spell check program) – as such, I use 2 dots as my symbol of the fade-out &/or infinity. Once again, it’s d liberate! Reading thru this “oVo”, I find a near continual parade of typos. Some people probably don’t care – but to someone like myself, these typos can significantly change the meaning of a text.
Ah, much of what I feel I shd write next is even more difficult. I like Trevor & think that this issue, & others before it, have a significant enuf place in the history of the us@ underground to be worth reading. Still, there’re parts I find myself substantially critical of that I’ll address here. Trevor Blake’s “Trajectory Through Anarchism”, in particular. In this, Trevor traces his development as an anarchist & a post-anarchist starting w/ age 16 & ending w/: “Whatever I am, I an [sic] definitely not an anarchist.”
One phrase that runs thru the article is “imp of the perverse” used as a positive term: “The same imp of the perverse that led me to read about anarchism pricks up his ears when he hears a friend say how concerned he is that another friend is reading Ayn Rand.” “I call up the imp of the perverse to see what other forbidden ideas might be out there.” “2005: The imp of the perverse continues to slip books into my hand”. I can relate to Trevor’s usage of the “imp of the perverse” as meaning his tendency to seek out ‘forbidden’ knowledge. I’ve been calling myself a “blatant pervert” for much the same reason for a long time. However, it might interest readers who don’t already know this, that this phrase probably originated in Edgar Allan Poe’s story of the same name that 1st appeared in Graham’s Magazine in July, 1845, & that Poe says this about it:
“We stand upon the brink of a precipice. We peer into the abyss – we grow sick and dizzy. Our first impulse is to shrink from the danger. Unaccountably we remain. By slow degrees our sickness and dizziness and horror become merged in a cloud of unnameable feeling. By gradations, still more imperceptible, this cloud assumes shape, as did the vapor from the bottle out of which arose the genius in the Arabian Nights. But out this our cloud upon the precipice’s edge, there grows into palpability, a shape, far more terrible than any genius or demon of a tale, and yet it is but a thought, although a fearful one, and one which chills the very marrow of our bones with the fierceness of the delight of its horror. It is merely the idea of what would be our sensations during the sweeping precipitancy of a fall from such a height. And this fall – this rushing annihilation – for the very reason that it involves that one most ghastly and loathsome of all the most ghastly and loathsome images of death and suffering which have ever presented themselves to our imagination – for this very cause do we now the most vividly desire to do it.”
As I mentioned earlier in this review, I find the idea of proselytizing for anarchy to be self-contradictory. Of course, people are self-contradictory all the time. But there’s so much written here about anarchy that I find inaccurate that I want to counterbalance it. This, even tho I’ve often sd things to the effect of “Sometimes I’m an anarchist. If other people say I’m not an anarchist &/or if the common notion of anarchy were to become too oppressive, no biggie, then I’m not an anarchist. 1st & foremost, I’m me.” In other words, let’s not get too attached to labels or let them get too attached to us. To my mind, one of the worst things that can happen to anarchism is for it to become a popular movement that people ‘join’ – not b/c it’s what they feel inside, but b/c they’re conformists & being an anarchist is part & parcel of whatever subculture they’re part of.
Trevor emphasizes his correspondence w/ George Walford, who I’ve never heard of:
“1993: From a letter by George Walford: “You remark the scarcity of ‘real live human being stories’ in anarchist literature. Very perceptive. But it’s not an accident. Anarchism is not about people as we meet them, it’s about abstruse principles and theories (and, even more, about the resistance these encounter). The real human stories appear in the literature at the other end of the range, in the popular romances, thrillers love-songs and — perhaps most of all — in tabloid newspaper stories, which go to extreme lengths to personalize (humanize) political events.”
Whew! Not only do I find Walford to be astoundingly un-self-consciously pompous, I also find his claims to be as far from my own personal experience as they can get. A “scarcity of ‘real live human being stories’ in anarchist literature”? It’s hard for me to imagine how any reader of anarchist literature cd find this to be the case. Arguably the most famous & widely read anarchist bk in English might be Emma Goldman’s Living My Life wch is, of course, an autobiography. Or what about Alexander Berkman’s Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist?
To continue w/ Walford:
“The dilemma of orthodox anarchism cannot be escaped by ‘practical living anarchy’ within present society. We cannot live without taking part in society, paying taxes and supporting capitalism by our consumption, and orthodox anarchism condemns all of this. The attempt to live the anarchist life is a living demonstration of the arid, empty, abstract unreality of orthodox anarchism; it cannot be put into practice, it is virtually nothing but theory.”
Again, I have to strongly disagree. 1st, it IS possible to avoid “paying taxes and supporting capitalism by our consumption” but if one’s born into a capitalist country, it’s certainly hard to do w/in that context. But, for me, that’s besides the point. It’s important to at least be conscious of the ramifications of one’s tax-paying & of one’s consumption. There’s a big difference between the guy who owns the factory that uses slave labor & the person who refuses to buy his product b/c he knows of these conditions. I prefer to be among the latter. I know that trees are destroyed to create bks but I still love & collect & read bks anyway. I have no aspirations to be ‘pure’ or ‘perfect’ but that doesn’t make me any less of an anarchist.
Trevor asks: “Where are the older anarchists in a movement that started in the 19th Century?” Well, he’s 13 yrs younger than me, so I’m one of those “older anarchists” & I’ve met a few older than myself. If one were to go to Barcelona, eg, one wd find much more continuity than one’s likely to find in the us@. Any study of us@ anarchist history will reveal a heavy suppression that led to many deportations & imprisonings. I’ve seen at least one documentary on the Wobblies where the few survivors expressed astonishment that anyone even knew who they were any more. It’s probably safe to say that from 1930 to 1970 this suppression thinned out the number of anarchists extensively. After the Spanish Civil War, members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade didn’t necessarily come back to the US b/c they were either criminalized or just disgusted by the US’s official non-opposition to the rise of Franco. The great player-piano composer, Conlon Nancarrow, eg, moved to Mexico instead. In 1969 or 1970 when I came across the term “anarchist” & realized that that’s what I was, I’d either never met anyone else who’d ever heard of anarchy or might’ve met ONE other such person once. It wasn’t until 6 yrs later that I met another one. Obviously, things have changed – largely as a result of the popularization of anarchy in punk culture.
Trevor goes on to ask: “And what has anarchism done… ever?” Wow! Such a question amazes me. Anarchist agitating is certainly centrally linked to such things as the 8 hr work day & the 40 hr work wk. Ever heard of “Food Not Bombs”?! It’s a pretty widespread free food program that most big cities, & quite a few small ones, have by now. In Pittsburgh, “Book ‘Em”, a bks-to-prisoners program run by volunteers, was founded by anarchists; “Free Ride”, a bikes project that teaches people how to build & repair bicycles & makes the opportunity available for kids to get a free bike by going thru a similar learning program, was founded by anarchists; “The Big Idea” is the local anarchist info & coffee shop. There are anarchist medics for protests where people take the risk of being attacked by police. There were anarchist volunteers who worked in New Orleans after Katrina. All of these things are typical & all of them are trying to improve society at the level that they can work at w/o having to create hierarchies.
More Walford replying to Blake: “‘Just as …’ in which you blame the personal inadequacies of individual anarchists for the failure of anarchy.” Does Blake do this? If so, I agree w/ Walford that “That does not stand up any better than blaming individual supporters of capitalism for the failures of that system.” I have no expectations of ANY human to be somehow ‘perfect’. However, there’s a higher probability that someone who at least tries to live by a philosophy of Mutual Aid is less likely to fuck me over than someone who believes that Dog Eat Dog is the only way to get what you want. Blaming individuals is a waste of time if one expects individuals to be some sort of ultimate representative of any philosophy. I don’t represent anarchism, I represent myself.
Walford: “Not only can anarchy not be practiced under the state, it can’t even be thought out as an independent social system, in any concrete way, without running into contradictions that, appearing in practice, would wreck the whole world.” Really? What a blowhard! I want to know more about Walford so I look him up online & find that he was a socialist. How many times do anarchists have to point out that Nazism was National Socialism & that Mussolini was a socialist before he created Fascism?! Statements like “anarchy not be practiced under the state” are based on the idea that anarchists are trying to set up a different type of ‘state’ “under the state” & that this won’t work. As an anarchist, I’m simply trying to live as close to my own personal principles as I can. I have no expectations whatsoever that my own individual anarchism is going to be able to function w/ absolute purist integrity w/in any particular social conditions. There will always be factors beyond my control & things that I disagree w/ & that’s just fine. In some respects, such a view of anarchism is ‘moderate’ more than it is ‘left’ or ‘right’ ‘wing’ b/c I think that the more people who live stable & satisfied lives the better off we’ll all be. In other words, I prefer to foster social conditions in wch interpersonal animosity doesn’t reach homicidal proportions. IMO, ANY system is likely to create bad conditions for SOMEONE so I prefer to choose NO SYSTEM AT ALL.
Blake: “1994: I define anarchism as the belief that it is possible and desirable to maintain the world’s population at the current standard of living without government and without a period of transition from the present to an anarchist world.” I, personally, DON’T define anarchism in that way, I just hope it’s more conducive to non-warring social conditions than most social philosophies. HOWEVER, I don’t think that there’s such a thing as an “anarchist world” nor do I want such a thing. I don’t want everyone in the world to be anarchists – just those who want to be.
Trevor’s “The Bonus Army” was one of the most interesting articles for me. It taught me about something that I knew nothing about AND it brought up a familiar historical figure who’s always fascinating: General Smedley Butler: “Butler went on to write the book War is a Racket.” I’d like to read that.
From pp98-100, there’s Blake’s article entitled “Multiple Name Identities”. This is a subject dear to me & one that I have alotof direct experience w/. I’ve always found the term “Multiple Names” to be misleading. I prefer “Collective Identities”. Both refer to the deliberate use of one name by multiple people, often for a common purpose. Blake’s article tells of such names previously unknown to me & claims a few things that I think are inaccurate.
Blake mentions Nicholas Bourbaki, Kenneth Robeson, Stefan Brockhoff, David Agnew, & Van den Budenmayer – none of whom have I ever heard of. THANK YOU TREVOR! To these I might add Ern Malley, an Australian hoax poet identity created by 2 poets who hated modernist poetry in order to parody such poetry & prank a particular editor. Trevor also mentions the children’s bk entitled The Little Engine Who Could & that: “The story is attributed to Watty Piper, which was the house name of publisher Platt & Munk. Many men and women wrote under the name Watty Piper.” To wch I add that this is somewhat common in kid’s bks insofar as publishers create series that they perpetuate far beyond the lifespans of individual authors. Hence we have Hardy Boys stories written by “Franklin W. Dixon” & Tom Swift stories written by “Victor Appleton”, etc..
Blake: “Since 1968, films which the director wishes to distance themselves from are attributed to Alan Smithee.” Many, if not all of these are porn & it’s not just the directors who use the name. People largely use it so they don’t ruin their otherwise more aboveboard professional careers. I made my own movie “Teenagers from Inner Space” under the name Alan Smithee in order to deliberately associate myself w/ the other Smithees.
Blake: “Rrose Sélavy was an artist and model in the 1920s, associated with a number of dadaists.” Trevor shd’ve researched this one a little bit better. Here’s what’s basically common knowledge in the art world as presented on Wikipedia:
“Rrose Sélavy, or Rose Sélavy, was one of the pseudonyms of artist Marcel Duchamp. The name, a pun, sounds like the French phrase “Eros, c’est la vie”, which translates to English as “eros, that’s life”. It has also been read as “arroser la vie” (“to make a toast to life”).”
The collective identities that Blake writes about that I know the most about are those of Monty Cantsin, Karen Eliot, & Luther Blissett. I’ve been all 3 of them at some time or another. Blake spells “Monty” “Monte” at times & “Eliot” “Elliot” at all times so I call attn to those errors. He also presents David Zacks’ version of the origin of Monty Cantsin wch is probably mostly accurate but one shd keep in mind that Zack was a diabetic who was often too much of a space cadet to be always keenly aware of what was going on around him. “Blaster” Al Ackerman’s somewhat different history for such things is helpful for getting a more general feel.
Blake writes: “Stewart Home has written about Karen Elliot, who appeared in 1985: ‘Karen Elliot is a name that refers to an individual human being who can be anyone.’” What Blake seems to fail to understand here is that Home was simply rewriting earlier texts done under the name of someone else explaining Monty Cantsin. This text did not entirely originate w/ Home. Parts of it may’ve been written by him, other parts definitely by others. Essentially, such texts are written by the collective identity that they’re written under. Hence, attribution to Home is both inaccurate in terms of ‘actual’ authorship & in terms of the spirit of the collective identity.
“Stewart Home, in turn, has seen publications under his own name that he did not write.” [..] “including “Anarchism is Stupid: How Luther Blissett Hoaxed Bakunin’s Idiot Children,” “Communism or Masochism? An Appeal to All Revolutionaries Concerning the Rubber Slave Larry O’Hara,” and “An Open Letter to My Avant-Garde Chums by Stewart Home.”" Ha ha! There’s more to this than meets the eye, eh! EG: “Anamorphosis: Stewart Home, Searchlight and the plot to destroy civilization” is credited to “Larry O’Hara” (w/ the quotes around the name), who’s a critic of Home’s, but it was actually Home “who contributes to and edited the pamphlet” (according to Home here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3901990-anamorphosis ). In other words, these faux creditings are part of a prankish interplay of political argument.
All in all, Blake’s article is remarkably thorough. I’d add a few more names: Emmett Grogan ( I highly recommend his bk Ringolevio – a Life Played for Keeps. See its listing on GoodReads here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1069602.Ringolevio ), Bob Jones (who may or may not be a fiction of Stewart’s), David A. Bannister, Jesus Christ, & Shakespeare. Now I don’t really claim that Shakespeare was a collective identity but there have been suggestions to that effect & there is a bk by Ralph L. Tweedale entitled Wasn’t Shakespeare Someone Else? that questions whether Shakespeare was a pen name.
Finally, on this subject, I tell a tale about a university professor friend of mine & of an action undertaken inspired by the Monty Cantsin collective identity. This friend, who I’ll call Monty, was hired to teach English or some such at a university. On the 1st day of class, he had a friend appear as him & teach the class, On the 2nd day of class he had another friend do the same thing. By the 3rd day of class. he actually finally appeared to teach the class. By then, the students didn’t believe him anymore. At least he got them to question more.
&, NOW for the most difficult of Trevor’s articles to critique: “Co-Remoting with the Thunderous”, his article about me. It’s difficult to critique b/c it’s extremely flattering in some ways & lardy knows I’ve had more than enuf hate directed at me to last more than a lifetime so such positivity is much appreciated – but it’s also not necessarily always accurate & it’s probably a little too filled w/ fantasy to be a portrait of a mere human who’s turning into an old man as he writes & who’s slated for mortality along w/ the rest of the meatbags.
The title, “Co-Remoting with the Thunderous”, is a truncated quote from the last line of the 1st edition of my bk Telepathy Receptivity Training (see it on Good Reads here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2598123-telepathy-receptivity-training ). The full phrase is “Dilating with the physical, co-remoting with the thunderous” & I very much like that Trevor used the latter part as his article’s title. All of the phrases in TRT are language thought of by me while half-asleep, usually when waking up. As such, they’re strongly evocative for me w/o being overdominated by conscious intention. That gives such a phrase an interpretive flexibility & Trevor’s use of it plays right into that.
One thing that immediately tickles me about Blake’s article is that he deliberately overuses the name “tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE” in its full form in sentences where the tOGGLE cASE is disruptive. When I originally conceived of the name (or the answer to the question: ‘What’s yr name?’) in 1975, I wrote it lower case so that when it wd appear in sentences it wd cause a sortof cognitive dissonance. EG: We were sitting there & tentatively, a convenience walked into the room. For someone who doesn’t know that “tentatively, a convenience” is a person’s name (originally conceived of as a collective identity by the by), that sentence wd be saying that “tentatively, a convenience walked into the room” – ie: “a convenience” wd be some sort of ambulatory thing capable of walking in a rm? ‘What sort of convenience?’, one might ask, etc.. Trevor’s use of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE seems to play right into that deliberate disorientation possibility.
Blake’s article reveals a truly substantial level of knowledge about some aspects of my ‘work’/play & makes a few mistakes too. Unlike almost everyone else in the world, one thing that Blake understandingly hones in on is my obsession w/ context. The article begins: “There is no context for the man whose name is tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE.” [..] “One of the many publications by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE was titled DDC#040.0 – dewey decimal classification number 0 (generalities) 4 (not used) 0 (no subject) 0 (miscellany)… just as a book with this dewey decimal classification number would stand apart from all other books, so does tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE stand entirely apart from all other people.” Thank you, Trevor – & when I was younger that might’ve been more accurate than it is now as I hurriedly type this before I have to rush off to work.
Trevor writes: “Re/Search magazine requested a photograph of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE’s tattoos for their ‘Modern Primitive’ issue, but the photographs were not used. tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE does not fit the profile for a modern primitive. tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE has not modified tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE’s body to attach it more firmly to a tribal past – tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE has propelled it forward to a sixth-finger future.” Thank you for writing that Trevor! It’s particularly perspicacious in a way that few, or no, other writers about myself & my projects have ever succeeded w/! For those for whom the sixth-finger reference makes no sense: I was once interviewed for a BalTimOre newspaper & I sd: “Normality is what cuts off your sixth finger & your tail” by wch I meant that normality suppresses extraordinary characteristics that might be useful but that are ‘abnormal’. 6 fingers, eg, wd be great for finger-picking for guitarists. The newspaper changed the quote to: “Normality is what cuts off your sixth finger & you fail”. Re/Search quoted me correctly in the back of their “Modern Primitives” issue. Thank you, V. Vale.
I don’t know why my foto was excluded from the Re/Search “Modern Primitives” issue. I sent a foto of my head getting its 3D brain tattoo. A drawing of a brain was inked on there 1st & the tattooist was following that. It may’ve looked like it was faked. It wasn’t. In my experience, I’m usually just a little bit off from what people are looking for when they’re looking for trend-setters. I try to sabotage trends in advance, I like to do things that I know are too complex & ‘uncool’ for conformists to want to have anything to do w/ them. “Modern Primitives”, despite how great so much of the body modification in it is, spawned a slew of cheap imitations. Piercings & tattoos suddenly became ever-so-much ‘hipper’. What a shame. I’ve still never met anyone else w/ a 3D tattoo like mine, tho.
So much of what Trevor Blake writes about here is stuff that I have long stories about. There’s certainly much more to the 6 fingers biz. Trevor notes that I’ve “appeared in public wearing a shirt that reveals [my] chest. It is not a normal chest, but one with six small sow-like teats.” The story behind that is that my fashion model friend (who I haven’t seen in decades – are you out there somewhere?), Eugenie Vincent, did an ad for jeans where she had a 6 titted chest modeled after her own breasts made, maybe by the same person who made the original Planet of the Apes masks or some such, & then she wore it over her own bare chest while in a doggie position overlooking a set of Rome. This was supposed to be a reference to the legend of the she-wolf who suckled Romulus & Remus – the mythical founders of Rome. As it turned out, the 6 tits & her position on all fours proved controversial & the ad either wasn’t used at all or it was only used in limited environments. Then Eugenie was kind enuf to give the faux teats to me & I sewed them onto a similarly colored short-sleeve sweat shirt that I used in performances in 1986.
Trevor explains that I “fashioned a suit of clothes made from zippers, which can be unzipped into a single. long strip.” Not quite, but close. I made pants in 1984 & a jacket in 1988 & the jacket’s arms can be unzipped as a long zipper. In 1989, on my 36th birthday, I washed these clothes & dried them & recorded the process so that I cd make an audio piece called “Drying Clothes Made Entirely of Zippers” wch was then used as part of “The Cassette Mythos Audio Alchemy CD/K7″. For decades I’ve heard “Man, you could make alotof money selling those!” to wch I usually explain that I prefer to be the only one wearing them. 20 yrs or so later I’ve heard of artists making dresses using only zippers but I’ve still never seen a jacket or pants. They’re much harder to sew & I did it by hand.
Trevor also writes that I “made a frightening suit of long-hair wigs of many colors and fashions, and shoulder bags of giant globes”. Regarding the former: the wigs are all pretty similar, I call it my “Hir Sute” or “Hair Suit”. Regarding the latter, it was actually my friend John Sheehan, under the name of Monty Cantsin, who took a moon globe & turned it into “NEOIST T.OREISTER Luggage” for me. It delights me that Trevor references things such as my 12 moustaches haircut or my use of false eyelashes as displaced facial ornamentation.
But, I have to disagree w/ his “Forbidden only by economic circumstance from actual genetic engineering” insofar as I’m quite happy w/ the genetic cards I’ve been dealt.
Trevor mentions that “One film shows tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE in a dog mask, walking on the hands and knees through the streets of London serving as a guide dog for his blind companion.” That film can now be witnessed on YouTube ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM92UGWzMPM ).
Over the decades I’ve sent thousands of things to over 1,400 people thru the mail & I don’t know of anyone other than Trevor Blake to ever so thoroughly compile the info in these into an article. THANK YOU. Despite the various mistakes, this is still truer to the spirit of my activities than most other articles. Importantly, Trevor writes:
“The most common mistake made by those attempting to classify tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE is that he is an ‘artist,’ tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE understands art and has created art , but he is not an artist. tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE has used paint, film, video, sound and words in his research, but the process of the research and the results are science. tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE’s attention to detail, tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE’s willingness to carry out the research far beyond any hope of personal gain or safety, and the quality of his documentation, give credence to the title tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE gives tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: mad scientist.”
Furthermore, he writes: “No fringe group will accept tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE – neither will any reputable institution. tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE has petitioned the international museum of the extreme, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, to exhibit tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE. So far, they have refused.” Well.. considering that I’m a Saint in the Church of the SubGenius, I think it’s more a matter of as long as I’m a member of a group they stay lunatic fringe. As for Ripley’s? I approached them in the late 1970s & we actually had some dialog. They were friendly & open. Why my being put on display never happened I don’t remember anymore. It’s possible I just didn’t pursue it enuf. I remember some Ripley’s representative being open enuf to ask me about logistical requirements.
“for the most part tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE has invented (that is, created from discarded or stolen items) the majority of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE’s life support systems.” Actually, I’ve worked – banal tho that is. What hasn’t been banal is convincing people to employ me, eg, in 1987 when I had my head shaved & w/ a 3D brain tattoo on it. Things have changed alot since then & it’s been people like me who’ve changed it. As for “tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE seems exceptionally unable to assimilate into normal society”? Well, for better or worse, I’ve spent my whole life being what a friend of mine calls a “Daffy Diplomat”. In other words, while “normal society” & I aren’t likely to ever mate, I have to interface w/ it all the time. I get pd to do things for other people, I pay the bills, that sort of thing. Other than that, I certainly don’t want to “assimilate”! “Normal society” is a tomb for the imagination.
As for my ‘bad reputation’ as a person prone to “violent tantrums and theft” & “indifference to others and cruelty”? Nah, I’m one of the most honest people I’ve ever known & I’m hardly indifferent or cruel. In fact, if I were ever even remotely as cruel as most people have been to me the world wd have to look out. Finally, Blake writes: “after an unsuccessful experiment in creating a book and record store (called NORMALS), tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE has left Baltimore”. Normal’s is actually quite successful as a store & has existed now for 22 yrs. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.normals.com/
All in all, typos or no, this is an excellent bk. Blake’s strong point is his personality as a seeker & oVo is his Lost & Found.