The future prophesy reported to surround the highly weird book, Finnegans Wake (1939) can be evidenced here: Chapter 23, page 337. Sounds a lot like Boris Johnson to me, and my sentiment asking for buds, and order. John Bercow anyone. I am incorrigible too. Boris the LOONER, and Boris Johnson the loner. Spot on jim.
On hearing the sad news I have rushed this post. More memories will follow. I hope this goes some way to paying my respects. Much love, and my condolences to his closest family and friends.
Paul Krassner (11th April 1932–July 21st, 2019) passed the final acid test yesterday. After 87 years inside of his flesh puppet, the Zen Bastard has flown free into the infinite flux of non-beingness. Paul was one of my favourite American authors, activists and human beings, partly due to him publishing my first short story in 2003. I hung out with Paul and his wife Nancy, and Robert Anton Wilson in Palm Springs in 2000, and met him in San Francisco at the launch of “Murder At The Conspiracy Convention” and caught him in NYC at the Knitting Factory.
Paul was a great American, to mean somebody who consistently challenged authority, and themselves in equal measure, and held a high spirited optimistic outlook on life, love, art, war, and peace. In the Realist, 1959, Paul published Robert Anton Wilson’s first piece: Joyce and Taoism.
In December 2000 the DJ flew to Palm Springs to attend the Prophets Conference, and act as Robert Anton Wilson’s volunteer caretaker. Paul and Nancy showed up to see old Bob, who was in a wheelchair at that time. I was invited to join them and treated to an hour or so of a fly on the wall hallucination, it was pure comedy combined with some concerns about G.W Bush and the Butterly ballot. I bought a round of drinks and Bob had a Manhatten, which later, I regret may have led to a few more “fucks” in his presentation than usual. Paul and Nancy sat right at the front for his “Universe Contain’s A Maybe” performance, and I felt that Bob was really performing for Paul, who was roaring with laughter at Bob’s chorus of “Cocksucker” and “Motherfucker,” when describing fundamentalist faith-based organizations and individuals. You can watch the whole thing here: An example of Paul’s kindness and attention to detail is reflected by his effort to find me the following day to give me an article he had read in the New York Times about the emergence of multi-linguistic hip hop, something I had rambled on about the previous day. Paul also handed me “The Final Issue” of the Realist“. Wow, I was cheesing hard, and full of gratitude for the guy. Shortly after moving to San Francisco the writer got an email from Paul saying that he was collecting stories, or tales of altered states, for his book: Magic Mushrooms And Other Highs: From Toad Slime To Ecstacy. Later that year the writer recieved the delightful news that my story “As If True” would be published in 2003! What a beautiful cat. Man. He reminds me, great movements in art and literature are often self-fueled and stem from a voluntary will to push forward, regardless, not always driven by profit. Here’s paragraph from Paul introduction to Magic Mushrooms. Bless up.
“Meanwhile, psilocybin has made its way into mythology. Dr. Ian Edwards, head of education at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, claims not only that the bright color of magic mushrooms may have inspired the traditional red coat worn by Santa Claus, but they may also help Santa Claus to fly. He told the Daily Telegraph about a story originating in Lapland, where the people used to feed the hallucinogenic fungi to their herd of reindeer. They used to feed red and white fly-agaric mushrooms to their raindeer, then drink the animals¹ urine. Drinking the urine would give them a high similar to taking LSD. One of the results was that they thought they and their reindeer were flying through space, looking down on the world. speaking of which, you might want to lick the bottom right-hand corner of page 23. Go ahead, it¹s all right. No one will ever know. And you won¹t be indirectly providing any drug money for weapons to the terrorists, either. ”
When interviewing Bob at his home, I asked him about the Zen Bastard dedication to Paul at the beginning of the book: TSOG The Thing That Ate The Constitution. Bob replied.
RAW:… Paul Krassner – he dedicated the book to me, he sent me an e-mail along with the dedication long before the book was published and asked me if I found it satisfactory and wanted to change anything to make sure I’d be pleased by it. I was so delighted I dedicated my next book to him which is due out any day now, it’s called TSOG: The thing that ate the constitution and its dedicated to Paul Krassner – Zen Bastard. I originally wrote “Paul Krassner – “Zen bastard and all-around good guy” or something like that, and sent it to Paul, and Paul said “Zen Bastard is just what I want,” so some people might think I’m insulting him but that’s what he wants that’s his sense of humour so I let it stand, the book says – “To Paul Krassner – Zen Bastard.”
Paul featured in the documentary Maybe Logic: The Lives And Ideas Of Robert Anton Wilson. With his full interview on Bob included in the DVD extras. I caught up with him in San Francisco, at the top of Haight street, at a bookshop I forget the name of, which hosted his book release performance and readings from “Murder At The Conspiracy Convention” the book dedicated to Bob. After the rather poorly attended show I stepped up for a book signing, and he signed it “To fly agaric 23, from Paul Krassner, whose body was found washed up on a beach”. Alas, I lost this book on my travels, somebody has it somewhere. I inspired a laugh from Paul with my signing request.
The last time I saw Paul Krassner was at the Knitting Factory in New York, where he was not promoting a book but doing a straight-up, or to the left, stand-up set, once again to a rather small crowd. I caught Paul on his way to the toilet to tell him about my world piss project, he laughed again but not so hard, probably as he really needed to go and this weird Brit was in his way. I was alone at the gig, and so I was bowled over when this dude in a hat came over and asked me how I was doing, made polite conversation as he saw that I was surely from out of town. This turned out to be the late great Steve Ben Israel, of the legendary Living Theater and hundreds of other art, poetry, activism and Krassner-like, and inspired activities. I mentioned I was a DJ and Steve told me about his son, beatboxer and lyricist Baba Ben Isreal, who I crisscrossed pathways with in Amsterdam, years later. I kept in touch with Paul by email on and off, and he always responded in the positive. He gave me permission to republish his interview with Terence McKenna, for example, in our Maybe Logic Quarterly Magazine. Cheers Paul.
I cannot comment on his health condition, but I am sure he lost the ability to type at some point which he more recently gained back. 2 years ago he sent me a very moving article, that I think reflected his own situation, or feelings. “Bringing The Invisible To Life” May 3rd, 2017. http://nowiknow.com/bringing-the-invisible-to-life/ I wrote back:
“may the ink flow plenty and pages scroll on… to infinity and the pen swerve as you tease it keep up the good work’ love and love”
Another recent article sent from Paul, dated March 29th, was about Sara Silverman, and her “Last Laugh” podcast interview. And here’s one of his last published pieces, from Variety, 2018:
“The current FBI has swung a pendulum from 50 years ago, when the FBI was an enemy of progressive activists. An agent’s poison-pen memo attempted to smear Tom Hayden with the worst possible label they could invoke with fliers: Yep, an FBI informer. Others distributed a caricature depicting Black Panther leader Huey Newton “as a homosexual,” and ran a fake “Pick the Fag” contest, referring to Dave McReynolds as “Chief White Fag of the lily-white War Resisters League” and “the usual Queer Cats — like Sweet Dave Dellinger and Fruity Rennie Davis.” I was described as “a raving, unconfined nut.” I thanked the FBI for that title of my autobiography.
I recall Paul once landing on Facebook briefly, and leaving again pretty quick, he posted the same sentence over and over again if I remember correctly. A genius, who will be missed. Read him.
This blog has been pretty formal and usually my posting of something readymade, or linked to some media or other. Here I’ll simply describe my day so far, and two events that gave me, and with luck will give you, some hope. (or extra courage of hopelessness, however you prefer?)
Friday night I lost my phone! You know the feeling? For me, in light of the fact that my phone is an unlocked old school Nokia, the paranoia grew as time passed and I could not find it. What if….what if….I let a few people know it was lost. And I could feel my guts tighten.
Yesterday, less than 24 hours after it was lost, my partner received a phone call from a dude who had the phone, and gave me a time and an address to pick it up (Today, about 1 hour ago, in Amsterdam North). I felt my shoulders relax and my head clear. Thank &%6£ for that. Although not in my hand yet, I felt high as a kite knowing I was either getting kidnapped at gunpoint or getting my phone back. My blind faith had been restored.
This morning while on the bus to the pickup point, we stopped and as we paused I saw 2 young girls with trash tweezers, or whatever you call those things you pick up rubbish with. They were laughing and picking up cigarette butts and paper, ejecting the items into the trash can. One girl had 60’s style coloured beads in her hair, and this made me think of the hippie stereotype, and also of extinction rebellion and Greta Thunburg. The younger generation recognizing the only way to make the change is doing it yourself, and then finding the others. I felt my heart warm up a few degrees, and smiled all the way to my stop.
I walked to the apartment and rang the bell,
“Gudder mid dag, yow spreken wit steve…I break into English…I’m here to pick up the phone.”
The dude answered “Yes, hi” and he buzzed in the fly.
I walked up to a flight of steps and was greeted by a smiling young man, with my phone in his hand. I greeted him with smiles back, we shook hands.
“Wow, dude, that’s amazing, thank you so much, danku-vell, man.” I said.
“My aunt found it on the bus, and she brought it back here. I saw a message about returning the phone, so called back.”
“Wow, your aunt, is she here so I can thank her?”
“No, she’s at Church” he said.
And we chatted for a small while, I gave him a free album download card and told him to come visit me at work some time, and to please pass on my sincere thanks to his aunt for picking up the phone.
Man, I was skipping back to the bus, phone in hand, sun shining, and with a inner sensation best described as new hope. This was humanity. Strangers doing good deeds for others, without care for who or what they are. His Church going aunt was my hero, and so I was temporarily and still am in the chicane of religious rapture. Yes, what a good women, and what a good lad.
A new world is possible. We must fight hatred with kindness. Love all the people. Give thanks. Give away free milkshakes. Thanks.
p.s In other news, there is great cause for concern across Europe today, as the far right galvanizes support and proposes a new party which will probably have the words freedom and democracy in it. Remain vigilant.
My broadest respects and thanks to Gregory Arnott for the kind and brilliant review, and for sharing a part of his journey, alongside and within my works.
And thanks to Tom Jackson of RAWillumination for the BLOG POST.
Gregory Arnott reviews Fly’s ‘Tale of the Tribe’
By Gregory Arnott Special guest blogger
I was a latecomer to Maybe Logic Academy — I was there for its final hurrah in a semester that saw one of the classes I enrolled in cancelled and another with only two active students and an absentee teacher. I can’t even remember how I found out about it — something to do with how one can wander over the Internet while working a boring office job. Anyways, that was where I first heard about The Tale of the Tribe.
Later, after I had read more about the Tribe and had read TSOG where the most complete piece of information on the book was in print at the time, I was talking about it to my friend as we stood outside looking at the stars on a hot West Virginia night; Robert Anton Wilson was basically going to explain communication, the Internet, and what was going on. My friend laughed — “finally!” he exclaimed. Robert Anton Wilson had been dead at least five years.
To say that Wilson’s unfinished Tale felt like a loss is an understatement. In one issue of Alan Moore’s Tom Strong the perfect man finds his heart’s desire as an illusion conjured up by a malignant alien intelligence; a copy of Joyce’s sequel to Finnegans Wake, Finn Wakes Agen. In Steven Moore’s Somnium the protagonist in the protagonist’s novel finds himself in a library of unwritten novels. There’s something sublime about an unpublished work or some valuable manuscript lost to time; it has been easy for me to remain tantalized by the lost promise of the Tribe.
This is all a rather lengthy way to say I was excited when I saw the release of Steven “Fly” Pratt’s Fly On The Tale of the Tribe. Pratt’s book is slim but dense with information — it’s playful and thought provoking. Fly deals with the Current Situation and how Wilson’s ideas have endured into our young century; appropriately for one of the torchbearers of model agnosticism, the book is full of promise and puzzles. Like Higgs at the end of Stranger Than We Can Imagine, Pratt seems to bank on agnosticism as a solution to the increasingly chaotic information climate: but that’s beside the point as I believe Pratt is more interested in inspiration than pontification.
Much of the book is invitational — Pratt repeats throughout that it is critical to create one’s own “tale of the tribe.” One excellent example is given earlier in the book when Pratt points out that his and RAW’s cast of characters are all male — Pratt gives an example of a female “tribe” beginning with Ada Lovelace. Later in the book Fly lays out the schemes for two later tale of the tribe courses that could be reconstructed by the intrepid student. Pratt also gives a healthily circumspect view of Ezra Pound and his complicated life; at one point Pratt seems to decide upon using Ernest Fenollosa as the primary touchstone for Pound’s contribution to the tale of the tribe, ideogrammic language, as a deft sidestep when the fascist taint becomes too much with Pound. Of course Pratt makes sure to mention that Pound’s antisemitism was a phase that the poet regretted in later life. Everyone’s happy.
The most interesting ideas, for this reader, were the discussions of the hologrammic prose exemplified by Finnegans Wake and, this part really hooked me, Alan Moore’s Jerusalem. Fly is one of the few commentators I’ve seen who have given Moore his due: Jerusalem is a monumental masterpiece that will rank high among our race’s literary achievements if Providence is kind enough to ensure some sort of posterity. Fly is able to explicate how breathtaking the scope of the work is, as it encompasses art, magic, and the facets of our reality, and we seem to have similar tastes, go figure, since we both consider the chapter “Round the Bend” as the crowning achievement of the novel. (He even shares my love of Moore’s The Black Dossier!) In many ways “Round the Bend” serves as a magnificent realization of Tom Strong’s lost novel — it is a sequel or a continuation of Finnegans Wake. The whole of Jerusalem could be seen as something similar or as an essential commentary on Joyce’s goals but that would belie the empirical majesty of Moore’s work.
While talking about the epic Cosmic Trigger play produced and directed by Daisy Eris Campbell Fly waxes rhapsodical: “Co-create a Universe, a theatre of the mind where each and everyone of us can work on many levels of synchrony, consider set and setting, speech and place. Make the invisible visible.” Marching orders to make one’s head turn.
Pratt’s little book will give the reader a lot to think about and chew on — it is a text that is meant to send you into the hinterlands of language to find the foundations of our reality. I’ve brushed over a lot of Fly’s work in the book, partly for the sake of length and partly because I am still figuring out my thoughts and plans for the ideas he brings to the table. Suffice to say that this is an indispensable piece of scholarship for the RAW fan and an all around Important Book. RAW’s original book may have not been able to come to life but Fly proves that the tale of the tribe is still being told and is ready to be explored at any moment. Personally, I’m just grateful Fly made sure to include Moore in RAW’s canon. The book’s cover art is by, the Tenniel to RAW’s Carroll, Bobby Campbell whose illustrations implicitly make a connection between Fly and the green-skinned Mescalito. Pay attention.
As a postscript to the Maybe Logic story — it was through Maybe Logic that I found Tom’s blog so even when the initial attraction is in bits and pieces it can lead to something satisfying. The tale of the tribe isn’t over until the last monkey stops squawking.