Monday, 15 April 2019

Moving On

Moving On



Back in 1973, the money Pete had saved from working in wintertime jobs was running low and he was beginning to depend increasingly on Baggins buying him lunch. His comic book dealership was a no-go. 
He made a few attempts at finding work around the Glastonbury area but the only thing he could get was a bit of labouring at a farm a few miles out of town. That one ended disastrously as Pete walked across a field of long grass carrying a bucket of creosote and walked straight into a concealed river. Bad luck and dyspraxia dogged his steps through life it seemed. As a child he had spent an above average amount of time in the casualty department of the local hospital as a result of falling off of bicycles, roller skates, fences etc. and out of trees. He was developing an assortment of scar tissue on his legs and head particularly. His parents had both also suffered various accidents in their lives. His dad had lost parts of his fingers and thumb and his mother had suffered a hand injury in an accident with a cutting machine. Of course, in those days no-one knew the term "dyspraxia" or suspected that such things might have a hereditary component. Pete also didn't yet realise that he was having occasional petit mal fits. 
Sandy was keeping him going as a fool-boyfriend but was making no secret of the fact that there were others. She styled herself as a poet and called Pete "the green eyed child". She spoke with an affectation of poetic words like "thee" and "thy" and "thine", words which sounded so perfect in her Somerset accent. For she was a local girl from Compton Dundon.
Pete and Baggins had been sleeping in a shed behind the Macrobiotic café for a while. One night Pete thought a cat was trying to get into his sleeping bag but when he woke up properly he wasn't sure whether there had ever been a real cat and the edge between dream and reality seemed a bit blurry. He thought he had picked the cat up and violently thrown it away from him but he couldn't have done. The position in which he lay and the geometry of the shed, together with how tightly zipped up he was in his sleeping bag all made the thing impossible. Baggins had just gone out of the shed and when he came back he was non-committal about the status of any feline presence. Puzzling over it he began to wonder if Baggins had been the cat. 
Over a period of several weeks Pete and Baggins slept in various locations. On the ley line which crossed Chalice Hill. In the groundsman's hut on Glastonbury football field. Also at the various hippy squats outside of town.
Pete was finding that he was popular amongst the hippy people there and he couldn't quite figure out why, since he seemed to have little in common with most of them. The women kept giving him lots of hugs and kisses and telling him "Oh, little Wiz, you're so funny!" Wiz didn't understand why he was being favourited but he didn't mind. Baggins was working on a local peat cutting site at Avalon Marshes in the Somerset Levels. The Levels are a boggy area and peat cutting had been a local industry for thousands of years. The peat was used for fuel, an alternative to coal. The Romans burned peat to boil sea water and thus extract the salt.
Pete was getting more into the character of Wiz, his persona from the book. As Wiz he wore a tail coat and a bow tie, twirled a walking cane, danced and sang at almost any opportunity.  The fictional persona and Pete/Wiz’s real life began to blend and crossover. Pete could often be found wandering up the Tor to Saint Michael’s Tower singing old skiffle songs or bits of Chuck Berry numbers or The Incredible String Band’s “Juggler’s Song”. Seeing him capering on the Tor a friend gave him a printed card which turned out to be an invitation to the “Cosmic Caper’s Club Reunion - Glastonbury Tor New Year’s Eve 1992-1993”. It fitted perfectly with the story Baggins and Pete were writing and Pete preserved it for the next 20 years and actually went to the reunion. But that’s another episode.
Baggins introduced Pete to a new friend Geoff Gilbertson. Geoff eventually became known in the Glastonbury area as a bit of an expert on the occult and ancient legends after he co-authored with Anthony Roberts a book called “The Dark Gods”. However, Geoff himself was possessed of a much lighter personality than his book would suggest. He wanted to be a comedian but his ideas on comedy were a bit retro-Cambridge footlights. He thought it would be funny to do “stereo Malcolm Muggeridges” (two people simultaneously pretending to be 1960s TV presenter Malcolm Muggeridge) or “stereo Harold Wilsons”. He thought it was hilarious to walk around on top of Glastonbury Tor saying the words “trip trip vibe” over and over. Geoff wasn’t the only one who thought that hippyspeak was funny. Pete and Baggins and a whole group of their friends continually took the mickey out of expressions like “far out” and “cool it” and the tendency which some hippies had of calling men “cats” and women “chicks”. Sandy collapsed in hilarity when she heard one guy referred to as a “spade cat”.
 Geoff was in a band which wanted to call itself “Shadowfax” but, upon hearing that there already was a band of that name, Geoff wanted to combine the idea with Pete and Baggins’s “Bok” to make “Shadowbok” or possibly “Shadowbox”. Pete wasn’t very happy about a new person coming into the thing and changing it into something else. Geoff claimed to be the same age as Pete and Baggins (20 and 19 respectively) but Geoff’s receding hairline and old fashioned sense of humour made Pete think that he was at least ten years older than either of them. In fact Geoff was 23 in that year, 1973. Pete would continue to doubt Geoff’s word for years to come, believing that Geoff was “obviously older” and their friendship was always strained as a result. Nevertheless, Geoff found the writings of Baggins and Pete very interesting as they intersected with some of his own ideas about occult conspiracy. 
Life continued to be a little surreal some of the time and a lot surreal the rest of the time. People were getting thin. There wan’t much food to go round. In the squat the menu usually consisted of a “mulligan stew” each day. That is to say, a stew made from whatever people could find. The ingredients invariably included stinging nettles and wild cabbage, combined with supermarket food which was past its sell-by date and salvaged from the skip behind the Nisa in the High Street. They also had “ha’penny cakes” from Jayne’s Bakery, a baker’s shop in the High Street. In Jayne’s they would put all the cakes from yesterday into a glass cabinet on the counter and sell them for two a penny. 
Pete and Sandy went up to Morden to Pete’s mum’s house where Pete was able to pick up some fresh clothes. Then they travelled south west again to Windsor to meet up with some other friends, Jools and Dave at the Windsor Festival. Pete was dressed up to the nines in a black shirt, white satin tie, navy blue corduroy frock coat, blue jeans, baseball boots and a hippy headband. 
Sandy began snogging and giggling with Jools in a tent and Pete decided he'd had enough of all that. He picked up his things and went off on his own to wander. He danced a bit when Hawkwind were playing, waving his hands around in the "Horns of Asmodeus" form from Doctor Strange comics, sat down with some people who invited him to have food with them (a strange mixture of brown rice, eggs and baked beans cooked together in a sooty pot over a log fire), watched as some people were arrested for smoking cannabis and watched again as the police van which took them away was rocked violently back and forth by about ten or eleven long haired freaks taking up positions on either side of the van. The police officers within looking bewildered at the realisation that Royal Windsor was, apparently, in a state of insurrection.
The lateral rocking of the van ceased when one of the freaks suddenly realised, and informed the others, that the arrested people inside the van were bearing the brunt of the violent motion.
Pete made a few pretend magick passes with his hands at them with his hands in the "Horns of Asmodeus" form and wandered away.
Over the next few months Pete travelled back and forth between Surrey and Glastonbury, doing bits of work for different employers, meeting new friends and writing with Baggins. In the winter Baggins was back with his mum and dad in Southend-on-Sea and Pete was a Christmas postman in Sutton, Surrey, where grew up.
On the Christmas post Pete was earning better money than he ever had before and had taken to drinking Pernod, smoking Sobranie black Russian cigarettes and listening to lots of Hawkwind while perched at the typewriter writing stories about a new character called Michael Kristen. Both Pete and Baggins had moved on from the collaborative book and were now engaged in their own separate writing projects. Baggins was writing a new thing called "Amber" and was sending Pete regular instalments. Baggins had also developed a new interest in calligraphy, an art-form in which Pete couldn't share because he suffered from hand cramps if he tried writing much more than a few words with a pen.
Baggins had a girlfriend now, Sue, who lived in London with her mum in Balcombe Street. Pete met her a few times but felt uncomfortable with the way she flirted with him. He felt that he would be betraying his friend Baggins if he responded by flirting back.
Pete wrote a Jerry Cornelius story, using the famous character created by Michael Moorcock. In Pete's version Jerry is the son of a famous inventor who is also called Jeremiah. The father is a well respected scientist and the son a dissolute rake. The father, Jeremiah, invents a time machine and the son, Jerry, steals it to go joy riding through history. On one of these joyrides Jerry meets and takes a dislike to the Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand of Austro Hungaria. Jerry assassinates the Arch Duke and drunkenly crashes back into the present to discover that the whole world has changed drastically because of his actions. There have been two world wars which didn't happen on the original timeline and, worst of all, Jerry's grandfather never met Jerry's grandmother. As a result, Jerry's father never existed and never invented the time machine. Jerry himself only continues to exist because his personal timeline comes from a causality in which his father and the machine did exist. 
Trying to fix the problem Jerry needs to get the time machine working again. To this end he enlists the help of an unusual cast of characters including Miss Brunner, Bishop Beesley, Colonel Pyat, 'Shaky' Mo Collier etc. 
Travelling back to 1914, Jerry succeeds in preventing himself from killing Franz Ferdinand. However, it is too late. History splinters into multiple contradictory timelines in which reality is losing energy and spiralling down, down through the slippery slope of entropy to the heat death of the multiverse. 
In vain those who are aware of the situation create a "Time Centre" from which they attempt to monitor the process and find a way to fix things. From various futures "meta-temporal investigators" are sent to discover the exact nature of the catastrophe. The various timelines contradict each other as to the nature of the event which actually started the whole thing but there is general agreement that Jerry is important and needed if they are ever to find a way out of the mess. He seems to be in every equation. He is ubiquitous. A spanner in the works, a fly in the ointment and, perhaps, a saviour?
Pete didn't publish his Cornelius story, preferring to concentrate on characters of his own invention. As 1973 turned into 1974 he contemplated what the summer might bring. He was going to be 21 in August and 21 used to mean something. In 1970 the law had changed and the government had decided that a person should become an adult at 18 but Pete had been looking forward to becoming adult at 21 and he grumpily felt that the government had stolen 3 years of his childhood. There was an argument to be made that 21 was a significant number, three times seven, the number of cards in the Major Tarot (not counting card zero) or the number of shillings in a guinea. Of course, these were numerological worries and did not have sufficient force to stand against the might of rationality and decimalisation.
To Pete the Tarot cards, the I Ching yarrow stalks, the numerology and the astrology all meant something important. He believed that there were other worlds and unseen forces moving events in the world. He performed an astral travelling exercise which involved staring hard at the Magician card from the Tarot, then visualising the card with his eyes closed, then with his eyes open until eventually he would astral travel through the card and explore the astral plane. 
It sort of worked, in the sense that he had a sort of vision, perhaps the result of drinking a lot of Pernod and thinking too hard. He saw a milky white six-pointed star of David come rushing towards him out of thin air.
He relaxed and pondered upon the vision. It was magic. It had actually worked, although perhaps not in the way he'd expected. It was a step on his path to becoming a wizard.
Throwing the I-Ching yarrow stalks told him that he was on a good path but needed to link up with like minded people. So with that thought in mind he began looking in newspaper ads and thinking in terms of communities and religious groups he might join up with. He was thinking in terms of becoming a monk or a priest but the stumbling block to that was that he believed in all of the different religions. He had formed the opinion that truth was divided between the various faiths and teachings and that it would be necessary to study all of them at once in order to make the connections and piece the jigsaw of it together. Where was he going to find a religion which accepted all other religions and philosophies equally and would agree to take him as a monk?
By the end of February he had agreed to take a job as caretaker of a disused launderette in the Archway area of North London, very near to Highgate Cemetery. A Brian Epstein lookalike character called Mike was prepared to pay Pete the sum of £5 per week to live in the old Launderette and convert the place into a community information centre for North London. 
It was going to be a long job because the building was big and there was no money to fund the transformation. Mike would only pay £5 each week and Pete was obligated to pay 50p of that as rent to Student Community Housing, who actually owned the building. Now, of course, £5 was a lot more money in 1974 than it is in 2053 and Pete was able to survive on it by living a very spartan lifestyle. He had a strong principle against signing on for the dole. He had never done so and was determined that he never would. His objection to the "welfare state" was that he had never agreed to be part of it and he resented the government including him in without his permission.
Pete put the word around that there was a new information centre starting up and gave the address as a possible "crash pad" for anyone who had nowhere else to stay. Several people came and stayed for varying lengths of time. Trouble broke out one night when a homophobic guy was staying in the same large room as two gay men. Pete heard the noise and ran downstairs to find the homophobe threatening the couple with a broken bottle. Pete got in between them and began talking the aggressive guy down but there still a scuffle and Pete looked around attempting to figure out which of the men was cut. Someone was cut, he realised, because he had a splash of blood on his shirt. Then it dawned on him that the blood was his own. He had to separate the straight guy and the gay couple into different rooms and then finish bandaging the deep cut on his own hand.
Pete was, by this time, a familiar figure around the Archway and Highgate area, wandering about in a velvet jacket, velvet flares and bare feet, sitting crosslegged on Parliament Hill Fields rolling his own cigarettes and reading alternately from the Tao Te Ching or science fiction paperbacks.
One day, when Pete was visiting his mother in Morden, Sandy turned up. It was a bit of a surprise since he was only there for a quick visit and had told no-one that he was going there that day. Nevertheless, a few minutes after he had arrived and said hello to his mum, Sandy was there ringing the doorbell.
According to Sandy it was simply good luck that she had come on the same day that Pete was there. Pete was naive enough to accept that at face value and took the view that the bok was flowing with synchronicity and serendipity and the energy was in their favour.
Sandy had been living with a couple in Edmonton, North London, a few short miles from Pete's disused launderette in Dartmouth Park Hill. Pete invited her to come and live with him at the launderette and she accepted. He had walked straight back into the role of fool boyfriend again.
The launderette was supposed to become "North - the North London Information Centre", but wasn't much closer to achieving that goal. The idea was based on various existing information centres: "BIT" in West London, "EAST" in East London, "M.A.G.I.C." in Manchester (Manchester Alternative General Information Centre) and the Glastonbury Information Centre for instance. Pete and Baggins had often served as the staff for the Glastonbury one. 
These various information centres were part of an anarchist philosophy which was around in those days and went variously by the names of "The Alternative Society" or "The Freak Scene". The idea was non-violent revolution. Instead of overthrowing the government people would simply make the government irrelevant by creating all of our own services from the grass roots upward. We would have our own transport system (car sharing), our own schools (extended family teaching system), our own media (underground press), our own medical system (folklore and spiritual based), our own currency (ranging from barter and goods in kind to alternative money printing), our own housing system (squatting and alternative building methods such as The Tipi People's), our own technology (environmental power generation, water turbines, wind turbines, wave turbines etc.) and so on and so forth. People envisaged all of these services developing to the extent that the "Aquarian Age" alternative society would flourish and be sustainable while the old fashioned "Age of Pisces" form of "top down" oppressive government would simply fade away through lack of use.
A worrying factor within this was Mike who paid Pete's £5 per week wage. Whenever Mike came around he talked of plans he had to set up camps where young people would come for a festival and be "perverted" by him. At first Pete thought Mike was joking but, the more often he said similar things, the more serious he appeared to be.
Mike seemed unhappy that Pete now had Sandy living with him. They had to put up with continual sarcasm from Mike about them spending their nights in what he called "religious ecstasy". 
Sometimes Mike would rant on and on about various perversions he'd heard of and also took great delight in describing the crucifixion of Christ in the most revolting and dirty terms he could think of. Fortunately Mike only came round once a week and didn't stay long.
Sandy began telling Pete about the religious group she had joined. She managed to convince him that the group she had been attending might be just very thing Pete had been looking for. A group which accepted all of the different religions as one. She told him that there was even a paper called "Fragments of an Unknown Teaching" written by the group's leader. Of this idea fitted in with Pete's own belief that all of the religions and philosophies in the world were fragments of a greater truth.
Sandy took Pete to meet Orman, one of the group's leaders, at his home in Dalston. On the way there Sandy told Pete various bits of information. The leader of the group was called Leo. Orman was the son of Leo. They believed in all the religions. Leo had obtained his wisdom by sitting under a tree just like the Buddha. The group used Tarot cards and had healing through the aura. They studied Ancient Egypt. They believed in Love, Honour and Respect. Orman had silver healing power but Leo was on gold power which was higher.
They arrived at Dalston and found Orman's house. 
Orman was a man of about 30 who's haircut and clothing suggested "off duty police constable". He welcomed them in and Sandy introduced Pete. Orman made a gesture like a karate chop in Pete's direction and Pete just stared at the outstretched hand, wondering what the karate-like gesture was supposed to mean.
After a pause Orman said "Oh, so you don't wanna shake my hand. Okay. Be like that then" and he looked at Sandy reproachfully.
Pete said, "Oh, sorry! I didn't realise it was a handshake! I wondered what you were doing for moment there."
Orman relented and shook Pete's hand but it was awkward because Orman's facial expression still showed that he was affecting to be upset, while Pete, on the other side of it, was still confused by the strange karate-like movement and was reflecting to himself that in all the 20 years Pete had been alive this was the first time anyone had ever wanted to shake his hand.
They went into a room with esoteric symbols on the walls and examples of tarot cards on the shelf. Orman told them that the tarot cards had been personally painted by Tagir. Pete noticed that Orman said the name "Tagir" in precisely the tone of voice which people usually reserved for name dropping that they had met Picasso or David Hockney or some other famous artist. The name "Tagir" was unknown to Pete.
"Let me ask you a question" said Orman, "What is your...  thing?"
Pete looked a little puzzled.
"Everyone's got a "thing"" explained Orman, "What's your thing?"
"Oh! I see" answered Pete, "Well I believe that all the different religions and philosophies like Buddhism and Christianity and Hare Krishna and Taoism and all the others all have a bit of truth in them and that it's all like a great big jigsaw which we need to put together correctly in order to see the real truth."
Orman nodded slowly. "Well, y'see, in the Emin Society we believe that too. So why don't you come and do it our way?"
"Alright" agreed Pete, "What do I need to do?"
Orman said he would arrange for Pete to attend an introductory group and asked if he could come round to see where Sandy and Pete were living.  Pete readily agreed to this and suggested the very next day. Then, as Pete and Sandy were getting up to leave Orman said he wanted Sandy to stay behind so that he could have a private word with her. He offered Pete a five pound note and said "Get a taxi home". Pete refused, not wanting accept charity. Orman insisted and Pete felt very uncomfortable about it. 
He was eventually persuaded to accept the five pound note. Then Orman told him to get a haircut. Pete didn't want to and said there wasn't any reason to have short hair and, besides, barber's shops were a waste of money.
"Well, I've just given you a fiver" said Orman, making Pete feel that he shouldn't accepted the money. Sandy was giggling and Pete had a strange feeling as if he had missed something. As the years of his life went by he would become more and more used to these feelings and eventually would identify them as petit mal episodes. 
Pete went out the door feeling a bit weird about the whole thing. He started walking home and he had no intention of getting a taxi. Ludicrous expense! Along the way however, as he was walking back from Dalston to Archway, Pete decided that it would be fun to have the haircut so he went into a barber's shop and got a "short back and sides".
He returned to the launderette in Dartmouth Park Hill proudly sporting his new haircut and Sandy turned up later on in the evening with the confirmation that Orman would be coming round on the afternoon of the next day. This was perfect timing because Baggins was arriving from Southend at approximately the same time.
The next day Pete and Sandy were wondering who would arrive first, Jim Baggins or Orman. It turned out to be a photo finish. When the doorbell rang Pete went downstairs to answer the door and there was Baggins. No sooner had Baggins stepped inside than Orman turned up and shook hands with first Baggins and then Pete, informing Baggins that he had "a good firm handshake" and pointedly saying nothing about Pete's handshake.
The three of them went upstairs where Sandy was waiting. Then some of Sandy's friends from the Emin group turned up. Apparently she had invited them.
They all sat around in the large room and Orman spoke to the group as if it was a meeting he'd already planned. Then after his introductory lecture he asked Baggins to go with him to the adjoining kitchen to have a private word.
The rest of the assembled group all sat there wondering why Baggins was singled out for this special treatment. It was very strange because Baggins knew nothing whatsoever about the Emin Society which Orman was representing. As far as Pete or anyone else knew Orman was there to talk to Pete and to see what sort of environment he and Sandy were living in. Baggins, on the other hand,  was only there to visit and didn't know what was going on with this strange man giving a lecture. 
When Orman and Baggins returned Baggins had a sort of "well, this is an odd turn of events" expression on his face and Orman was ready to go, taking Sandy's various friends with him.
Pete reminded Orman that he was expecting to be told of an introductory group he could attend and Orman acted surprised and a little confused saying, "Oh, you want to join up do you?" and he thought for a moment and gave Pete an address to go to at a date and time for the next meeting.
Then Orman left and Pete asked Baggins what had been said in the "private chat" but Baggins brushed the question aside mumbling something about being "not sure really".  Of course Pete suspected that Orman had got Baggins and himself mixed up but that seemed a bit far fetched so Pete didn't feel there was any clear explanation.
Pete showed Baggins around the rest of the building and they began planning what they were to do while Baggins was in London.
Baggins was keen to visit a nearby Islamic meeting place called "The Beshara Centre" which was run by Sufis. Pete had never heard of Sufis but Baggins knew that Pete had a great interest in Zen Buddhism and also in medieval court jesters. Thus, Baggins set to work explaining Sufism and whirling dervishes in terms he thought would appeal to Pete. He described Sufis as being "a bit like Zen Jesters who teach wisdom through paradoxical stories."
The next day when they went to the Beshara Centre Pete angered the person they spoke to there by asking about the "jesting" form of wisdom. The Sufi they were speaking to became very angry saying "What? You think we're all clowns and fools?" 
Pete and Baggins were asked to leave and trudged down the road with Baggins blaming Pete and Pete replying "Well that's what you told me they were..."
Pete began to attend meetings of an Emin group called "The Red Circle" which was run by a man calling himself Tristan and a woman who went by the name of Elena. Sandy explained that the Emin people all went by special Emin names. There was a poster which said "It begins by changing your name". Sandy said that very soon Pete would be invited to change his name too. It was important to choose a name which would be a positive and inspiring sort of word like "hope" or "patience" or "care" or perhaps "star" or "Earth-heart". Sandy's Emin name was Acorn and, at first, Pete couldn't see what was inspiring about that but Sandy explained about great oaks sprouting from small acorns and how it was the seed of better things.
Tristan was a bit of a blow hard and Pete didn't like him. Tristan strutted as if he thought himself cock of the walk and when Pete mentioned Taoism and the Tao Te Ching Tristan pooh-poohed it saying "Oh, so we all have to be Chinese to learn the wisdom do we?" Pete was not liking the Emin and wouldn't have stayed except  to please Sandy.
Pete adopted the Emin name "Jerry" to be like Jerry Cornelius. When Orman visited the group he appeared to be unable to get Jerry's name right, persistently calling him "Terry".
There were ranks within the Emin. They were called "First Establishment", "Second Establishment", "Third Establishment", "Silver Beacon" and "Gold Rod". Tristan was on his third establishment, Orman was on silver and Leo was on gold. Pete was issued with some of the Emin writings to familiarise him with Emin ways of thinking and he began to learn the basics of the thing.
Over the next few months he learned that there were 32 steps to First Establishment, 18 steps to Second Establishment, 9 steps to Third Establishment. He found that some of the Emin lessons were from Gurdjieff and Ouspensky groups, in particular Ouspensky's book on the tarot and Gurdjieff's teaching on the 3 brains, the 3 centres and the "Ray of Creation". However, whereas Gurdjieff had 3 centres which each contained 3 centres of their own, making 9 in all, the Emin's version stopped at 5 centres and the pentagram. Then they added 2 more centres, vaguely describing them as "higher" and then another 2 at a later date were added so that they eventually wound up with 9 by a completely different method which contradicted Gurdjieff's way.
The Emin people described their ideas as "groundwork" and Leo taught that the way of the Emin "at root" was really "laws, laws, laws". Everyone had to learn about the Law of Two, The Law of Three, The Law of Four, The Law of Five. Pete was told that "there is no law of six" but that "instead it jumps to seven and is really a Law of Five and Two".
There were lots of other laws and ideas to learn and the students at the groups were all told that studying the laws and doing the groundwork would connect them to the basic principles upon which creation as built and then they would begin to process the forces of creation. In time, these forces would give the power to heal and be clairvoyant.
At that time there were said to be 80 Emin members in all. Many of them adopted a very conventional appearance for the 20th Century or so-called "modern times", the men having short hair and conservative styles in clothing. The clothing of the women varied from conservative styles to hippy Pre-Raphaelitism. Leo had grown up during those years when short hair was in vogue and, because of World War One and trench warfare, was linked to masculinity. He claimed that cutting his hair very short changed the sort of "force" he was getting. It was a kind of reversal of the Samson and Delilah story.
Pete was allowed to attend a special meeting where all 80 members would be together in the same church hall at the same time as each other. The event took place in Saint Saviour's Church Hall, Eton Road, Hampstead. Pete met Leo for the first time and approached him in the same manner that he had learned from his first meeting with Orman. Pete swung his hand down in a sudden arc with the fingers stretched out straight like a karate chop and shook hands with Leo. Leo hesitated just for a moment before shaking Pete's hand and then looked directly into Pete's eyes as he shook his hand and said "All.. Right..."
Most of the Emin members were paying a subscription to come to meetings but since Pete was only making £5 per week as a caretaker at the launderette he was allowed to come for nothing. The deal was "pay as much as you can" which initially meant nothing at all. The problem would arise in later years when Pete had much better wages in various jobs but was still paying as much as he could to the Emin, ensuring that he would remain in poverty no matter how hard he worked for his living.


Glastonbury

Remember this is all still in draft version.

At this stage I'm switching to third person narrative.

Glastonbury



It was 1972. A pub near Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, England. Evening time. The pub filled with "hippy types" or, in the parlance of those days, "a bunch of freaks". Men with beards and long hair. Women with long hair and ankle length dresses. Several people wearing cloaks and a couple of them had brought walking staves made from twisted tree branches. 
They sat at the tables talking and laughing about magic or flying saucers, time travel or "that time they were too stoned to find the house where they were squatting". They smoked roll-ups and drank strong Somerset cider. This pub was The Rifleman's Arms, one of the few pubs in the Glastonbury area which would allow "hippies" onto the premises. All through the town a visitor could see pubs, cafés and restaurants which displayed "no hippies" signs in their windows or on their doors. Like prejudiced towns of olden times, when the signs would've read "no dogs, blacks or Irish", but these 1972 exclusions were directed at long-haired, bedraggled travellers of the "New Age". 
A few places were different though. The Rifleman's Arms, a couple of other pubs such as The Lamb Inn and some of the local shops were cool and would let the eccentric travellers in. There was even a vegetarian macrobiotic café where the New Agers gathered during the daytime.
Glastonbury had become a magnet for anyone who was interested in the magical and mystical. The church tower on top of the pointy hill, the abbey ruins, the local place names containing historical and mythological references to Avalon and the Grail combined to produce a feeling of "this is it" and "this is where it's really happening". Many houses in the area had been bought by psychics and mediums, authors, musicians and members of non-conformist religions. 
In the Rifleman's that night was a young lad with unshaved bum fluff on his chin and a Canadian Air Force surplus jacket on his back, blue jeans on his legs and baseball boots on his feet, looking around himself at the other customers and feeling isolated from them. He didn't quite "get" how they could all be so relaxed and free & easy with each other. Pete was a teenager who had always felt tense and self-conscious in the presence of others, relaxing only when alone with a good book or a comic.
A friendly face at the table was a stocky guy who was choosing to go by the name of "Gimli". There were many around Glastonbury who had adopted names from fantasy novels. There was a Legolas, a Baggins, a Treebeard, a Redbeard, an Aragorn, a Gnomie, a Tinkerbell and several Gandalfs. There was also a Jesus and several others who clearly thought they were Jesus but hadn't chosen to use that name. 
Gimli was getting up to buy another pint of cider. "I'll get you a drink" he said to Pete, "What're you 'aving?" 
Pete reacted nervously. "Oh. No thanks. I don't drink alcohol."
"Don't drink?" Gimli was aghast. "Everybody drinks."
"I don't" replied Pete, with a shrug and an apologetic grin.
"What. Given it up?"
"No. No. Not that." Pete shook his head, "I never started in the first place. I don't smoke either."
"Are you sure you're in the right place?" chuckled Gimli, "How can you sit in a pub and not drink something?"
Pete thought for a moment. "I'll see if I can get something non-alcoholic" he said, getting up and walking with Gimli to the bar. At the bar he asked for and, after a moment of raised eyebrows received, a pint of milk in a pint glass. A minute or so later he was back at the table sipping at the milk while other stared, laughed and joked about "The Milky Bar Kid".
As the next few weeks went by Pete got to know a lot of the travellers and "freaks". He found that he had to keep explaining why he didn't drink or smoke or take drugs. It wasn't easy, surrounded by hedonists, to explain that he preferred his brain to work as nature had intended. Of course they would argue that perhaps nature had intended the brain to function filled with alcohol and strange substances. Pete was skeptical and felt that he would never be quite the same as the others there.
He made a friend, Jim Baggins, another teenage introvert, and the two decided to collaborate on a fantasy and science fiction novel about a new messiah coming to Earth in a space ship. The book was set 20 years in the future, in 1992. 
Pete had begun writing bits about a wizard. He seemed a bit obsessed by the idea of magic and the romantic image of wizards. He claimed "I shall study wizardry for the next 40 or 50 years and then, when I am old, I shall be a great wizard!!!" Baggins decided that Pete's nickname should be "Wiz".
Then Pete met a woman and fell in love. Wendy was 29, 10 years older than Pete. She was dark haired, pretty, flirty and Pete's first romantic infatuation. They went everywhere together around Glastonbury. Taking long walks kissing and cuddling to the Chalice Well and up to the top of Glastonbury Tor, talking about the magic and ancient legends.
Flattered by the attention she was getting from this 19 year old, Wendy began to manipulate his feelings. 
Wendy sometimes lived in John Mandolin’s flat in Bristol. John was a 30-something computer programmer and mandolin player who visited Glastonbury occasionally. Wendy had an occasional relationship with John but gave John’s address to Pete to come and visit her there. When he did she returned his intense gaze with a smile and said “Ooh, he’s here again,” as she turned to ask John to make some tea.
John didn’t seem to mind Wendy receiving a male caller at his, John’s, flat. He dutifully went into the kitchen to make the tea. Pete was beginning to be aware of the power Wendy seemed to have over men. 
At the same time, the sympathy card was in play. Wendy was a hypochondriac. Every little ache or pain she imagined to be life threatening. Pete was gullible and soon Wendy had Pete agreeing to work to look after her and take her to various faith healers and psychics.
He got a job on a construction site in the next town over from Glastonbury got up early each morning to walk the 2 miles to the job. It wasn't easy. He was living in a tent amongst the tents of other "freaks" in a disused, abandoned apple orchard just outside of Glastonbury town. People had moved there when the hostel at the Methodist Church had closed down. Getting up to go to work after sleeping on the cold hard ground in a tent was tough, especially with no breakfast. Nevertheless he did it for the first 3 days.
The third day, the Wednesday, was different.
Pete woke up that morning and slid out of his sleeping bag. He put on his baseball boots. He already had his other clothes on. It was a very cold morning. Of course no one else was about as Pete crawled out of the tent. It was only just after dawn. Wendy was away visiting a friend in Bristol.
The ground was hard with frost. There was no time to build a camp fire and make any breakfast. Food would just have to wait until later. He huddled in his lightweight airforce surplus jacket and walked across the campsite toward the footpath. 
There was someone there. Laying on the ground. Head on the ground, feet on the barbed wire fence. She had long dark hair which framed her face. Her feet on the barbed wire, her blue jeans snagged on the barbs. Her face was bluish. Blue around the cheeks. The eyes closed.
"Frostbite" thought Pete. "She must be suffering from frostbite. Hence the blue colour. Perhaps she was climbing over the fence and fell. Knocked unconscious. Frostbite. Don't move her. She might have a damaged spine. Phone an ambulance."
There was a Saint John's Ambulance telephone box on nearby Windmill Hill so Pete hurried along the footpath in that direction. The path led down to the road at Wick Hollow and then a properly paved road led up again on the other side. Reaching the Saint John's Ambulance Brigade box he phoned through and agreed to wait by the box until the ambulance arrived. These old boxes were a bit like police telephone boxes and were of approximately the same vintage.
He waited for a long while, beginning to worry about the possibility of being late for work, then the ambulance turned up and he led the two ambulance men up the little path from Wick Hollow to the camp site.
When they got there Pete showed the men where the girl was laying. There was also a middle aged woman walking a dog along the same footpath. She watched as the ambulance men examined the position the girl was laying in. Meanwhile Pete hurried of to work feeling good that he had done his good deed for the day.
He arrived at work in plenty of time after all and began his day's labouring duties on the construction site. They were building a new swimming pool for Strode College. 
At lunch time the site manager had a quiet word with Pete, telling him that the other men didn't like him because he had long hair and seemed a bit hippyish. The manager said "Look, I can't sack you just because the other men don't like you but it's going to get a bit difficult. So if you could just decide to leave I'll give you a good reference". Pete thought about it for a while and agreed.
And so it was that Pete was on his way back along the road from Street town to Glastonbury town a few hours earlier than he had expected. Along the way, near Wirral Hill, Pete met Dave, a local alcoholic, who told him that the police were at the campsite. "And they're looking for you" said Dave, studying Pete's face for a reaction.
Pete, puzzled said, "Looking for me? Why?"
"About that girl who hanged herself. They're questioning everybody and they're looking for you."
"What girl who hanged herself?"
"Up at the campsite"
"I didn't know anyone had hanged themselves. When I left for work this morning there was only an unconscious girl with frostbite".
"Well she's hanged now and the police are looking for you".
"OK. I'd better go and see what they want" Pete concluded and continued walking toward Glastonbury.
Eventually, arriving at the campsite, Pete found that it was indeed true and that were detectives looking for clues all over the site. He introduced and identified himself and, after some brief confusion, was taken to Glastonbury Police Station in Benedict Street to be questioned.
It wasn't a particularly gruelling interview. One of the police officers was very reasonable while the other one made a very weak passing suggestion that there might be foul play involved. Even he knew that it wasn't very likely and quickly gave up that idea.
The campers of Wick Hollow never actually found out the full details of what had happened but this is what Pete was able to piece together from things various different people had said:
A young woman had arrived at the Wick Hollow site on the previous evening, had pitched a large and rather posh looking tent, bigger than everybody else's and had not been seen again that evening. At some time during the night she had got up and hanged herself from a tree by some some form of cord. The cord had broken and her lifeless body had fallen onto the barbed wire fence landing in the position in which Pete had found her the next morning. The blue about her face was not "frostbite" but strangulation. The cord around her throat was not visible to Pete because her long hair had fallen across her throat, covering the cord and rendering it not visible. No-one knew her name nor why she wanted to kill herself. A tragic story had ended and no-one even knew what it had been about.
Life continued in Glastonbury. Pete and Baggins continued to write. Pete and Wendy continued their romance. The campers all moved to a new hostel which had been opened in buildings adjoining the police station in Benedict Street and which was being run by church people and volunteers. Suddenly everyone enjoyed new washing facilities and a low price café.
There was a strong feeling of the thinness of reality around Glastonbury and the possibility of fact and fiction crossing over. Life seemed sometimes made of dream stuff.
Once, on top of Glastonbury Tor, Wiz met two young men arguing about the ethics of changing the timeline. One claimed to belong to the “Observer” faction and the other to the “Controller” faction. They spoke in a very realistic and matter-of-fact way about their various time travel experiences. 
Later that evening Wiz encountered the same two men in the Rifleman’s Arms pub. They were continuing their debate. It seemed that they were either genuine time travellers or very well rehearsed Situationists of the Guy Debord type. 
There was an awareness beginning amongst some artists that the study of ley lines, Sacred Geometry, Earth Mysteries and Psychogeography could be useful to a phenomenological understanding of “the spectacle” within society. Glastonbury being a nodal point in a conceptual network of dreamlike myth, tethered to the landscape.
Another person working on the study of Sacred Geometry was an American with a lion’s mane of red hair and rejoicing in the name of “Lenny the Dome”.
Lenny rented a shop from Gino and Nancy Schiraldi, who also owned the vegetarian macrobiotic café which was run by Kris and Aline. 
Kris and Aline had a very special fashion sense all their own. Eight years in the future they would've been instantly recognisable as "New Romantics" but those future people of the 1980s were clones and posers. Kris and Aline were the originals they were all cloned from.
Their café served rice and vegetables, veggie burgers and all sorts of dishes which had a clean health feeling about them. They played music in the café a lot. Often Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Pete bought a lot of blank cardboard badges in W. H. Smith and Son and wrote slogans on them. Things like “No Hippies” and “I’m a Beatnik”. He put all of these badges in a box on the counter of the macrobiotic café and encouraged people to take a badge for free and wear it. He succeeded in getting a lot of the “hippies” or “freaks” to wear these badges and felt that he had struck a blow against the unfairness of the shop keepers. It was all a bit silly, he later realised, but it had given him a feeling of purpose at the time.
Pete himself had always been able to get served in any of the the shops and cafés anyway. He supposed that he must be rather “straight” looking.
The café was at the back of the Lamb Inn car park. Behind the café was the New Glastonbury Community Information Centre. Behind that was a garden. Behind that was the shop Lenny rented in Benedict Street.
Lenny called the shop “Earthstar Dome Galleries” and adopted the motto: “Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground”. He had a design for building geodesic domes. These domes were based on the ideas of Buckminster Fuller and took the form of interlocking six-pointed Stars of David, made out of scaffolding. The Earthstar Dome Galleries had a series of displays up to interest potential customers. There were drawings and also small models of the domes made from toothpicks and rubber bands.
Lenny had a commission from a theatre company called “The Welfare State” which was intending to come to Glastonbury and perform an interactive extravaganza called “The Trials of Lancelot Quail” on Tor Fair Field. 
Pete, Baggins and a group of others volunteered to help erect the full size version of the dome and position it in alignment with the ley line on the Fair Field.
When the dome was completed a camera crew from the BBC television programme “Nationwide” came and interviewed Lenny about it. Lenny explained to the camera that he had been given the idea by “a holy man”. At this Pete laughed, thinking that there was no relationship between “holy” things and engineering. Pete instantly regretted the laugh as the scowl which Lenny shot in his direction informed Pete silently that there was nothing funny about sacred engineering.
The Welfare State Theatre Company came. They erected several tents and lit a bonfire. The people of the town were permitted to wander around the Fair Field, witnessing several performances which occurred simultaneously at locations only a short distance from each other. The Tor Fair Field was lit by lanterns but retained areas of spooky darkness and the whole event had the atmosphere and feel of Halloween combined with the circus and the fun fair. Lancelot Quail was a Pierrot-like clown hero facing a series of challenges.
The work, so far as Pete could understand it, was intended to demonstrate that theatre must engage with social and geopolitical reality even when working with mythological characters and fantastical scenes. The Welfare State company performed at several locations in addition to Glastonbury, following the path of the Ley Line through Somerset and Devon, straight on to Cornwall and disappearing into a Royal Navy submarine the HMS Andrew off the coast of Land’s End.
Pete and Baggins came away from the Tor Fair Field in a happy daze of surrealism and wonder. The performance had made a deep impression upon both of them. As their writing activities progressed Baggins and Pete "Wiz" put their own selves, or a caricature of their own selves, into the book as comic relief from the main melodramatic plot. The fictional characters "Wiz and Jim" became a little double act sometimes functioning as the chorus or jesters in the drama, while the main hero Jehohanan gathered about him the 12 astrological disciples to struggle against the evil antichrist figure who would gain control of the Midgard Serpent "Kundal" sleeping beneath Glastonbury Tor.
When Baggins, who was only 18, returned to his parents' home later in the year he and Wiz continued to write, sending newly drafted chapters to each other by post. Pete had told Baggins about his deep love for Wendy but Baggins was dismissive, referring to the romance as an “infatuation”.
One of the local travellers was an older man named John Redbeard. He usually slept in the garden shed behind the macrobiotic café. Pete had drawn a pencil sketch of him and the red-bearded one had given his verdict that the drawing was superficially accurate but had failed to capture the soul.
John showed Pete the skin ailment which he had on his shins. The skin was extremely flaked and Pete felt quite distressed looking at it. “Go on, touch it” said John. But Pete wouldn’t. A couple of weeks later everyone heard the news that John had died of tuberculosis.
Wendy had some friends in Bath and Pete went with her to live with them briefly. Her friends were amused to be hosting "Peter and Wendy" and joked about visiting Neverland.
Though still together the relationship between them was becoming very strained. Pete was religious and didn't believe in sex before marriage. Wendy pretended to agree with his views but became morose and disgruntled about things. She played a trick on Pete, insisting that they go into a Chinese restaurant and order a meal even though, as far as he knew, neither of them had sufficient money to pay. Wendy insisted that she did have money. Then, as they were ordering, she admitted that she didn't have any and said it would be alright because Pete would pay. 
Realising that Wendy was playing a trick Pete got up from the table and apologised to the waiter. Wendy followed as Pete walked out of the restaurant and they argued. Wendy seemed to have somehow convinced herself that Pete secretly had some money or was able to somehow get some. Pete began to realise that Wendy wasn't entirely in touch with reality.
They decided to leave Bath and go to Pete's Mum's house. They hitch hiked from Bath to Surrey, getting stranded for what seemed like centuries in the "Slough of Despond" where the Mars bar factory was, and stayed a few weeks at Pete's mum's house in Morden. 
Wendy was becoming an increasingly troublesome partner. On the pretext that the family dog shouldn't be cooped up in the little suburban house, Wendy opened the front door and encouraged the dog to go running free out in the street.
The dog, which had only ever been down the road on a lead, was confused by the unexpected freedom and ran in front of a car. The result was a several cracked ribs and a very sick dog for a few weeks. Wendy thought he should either be put down or "set free".
Pete got a job in a South London factory and moved with Wendy to a rented flat in Wimbledon. He wasn't happy with Wendy but felt a sense of obligation to her "illness".
After some time Wendy managed to persuade Pete to relent on his "no sex before marriage" policy and they tried making love but it was a miserable calamity of premature release and apologies. Wendy's attitude to the physical side of romance was to lecture Pete about all the bad things husbands did to their wives and all the bad things men had been guilty of down through history and then to lay back and expect Pete to do something.
Pete became less and less attracted to Wendy and yet still they were living together as a couple. Wendy became an increasingly obvious hypochondriac. Pete worked in the factory and came home in the evening to find that Wendy had been chain smoking all day. The ashtrays filled with filter-tipped stub after stub. Wendy apparently doing nothing else except getting into arguments with the landlady. Pete came home, began washing the dishes and preparing an evening meal. Wendy stood in the doorway glaring at him and issued her verbal challenge "I suppose you expect ME to do that?" 
"No" replied Pete, "I like to cook".
"Cooking's not very MANLY though is it?" She sneered.
"Oh, don't be silly, of course it is. Everywhere you go men work in restaurants. Some of the finest chefs in the world are men. And my dad was a brilliant cook. My dad was a cook in the Canadian army."
"I thought it was the woman's job to cook and clean the house" said Wendy, now not sure if they were having the argument after all.
"No. Not in this day and age. We're in the 1970s not the 1950s. It's equality these days." Declared Pete.
Another time Pete and Wendy were out walking an a rainy evening and Wendy asked him "Can you see them?" 
"See what?"
"Them! Look!" said Wendy, pointing at the pavement.
"It's just a wet pavement" said Pete.
"Can't you see them? The worms!" said Wendy.
"No." replied Pete. "What worms?"
"There are worms all over the pavement!" insisted Wendy.
"There aren't any worms" replied Pete, exasperated.
After some argument on the subject Wendy told Pete that she had been "spiked with acid" when she lived in Glastonbury and had been having flashbacks ever since. She had to explain to Pete what a "flashback" was. He had read a few books and magazine articles about LSD and Timothy Leary's belief that it helped a person to connect to God but he didn't have any personal experience of "tripping". He had read about "bad trips" so he knew that sometimes hallucinogens drove people mad. He worried about Wendy's state of mind but had no idea what to do about it.
The situation became progressively worse. Wendy resented being left alone in flat while Pete was out at work but she was too lazy and hypochondriac to look for work or to clean the place up. Every evening she looked for excuses to start an argument and resented the time he spent writing. "You love that book you're writing more than you love me" she whined "And why don't you ever introduce me to your friends from work?"
"I don't have any friends from work" replied Pete, "Everyone at work is really horrible".
"Well why do you go there then?"
"To earn a living and pay the rent, obviously" said Pete and added "Why are you always trying to start an argument all the time?"
"Well why don't you hit me then?" demanded Wendy.
"I don't want to hit you. Why would I want to hit you? I'm a pacifist. You know perfectly well I'm a pacifist."
The next evening Pete came home to find that Wendy had thrown his manuscript away. Distraught he attempted suicide in a silly and naive way by taking a small handful of aspirins. When he didn't die he went to work the next day feeling ill and told some of the other men in the workplace what he had done. They advised him to drink salt water to make himself sick and he spent the rest of the day wandering around South Wimbledon feeling as though he was half in and half out of the world.
It turned out that the book could be saved. He only had to get Baggins's carbon copy sent from Southend-on-Sea. He was careful to keep the carbon copy at his mum's house out of Wendy's clutches. He told Wendy that he was moving back to his mum's house. He explained that the rent on the flat was paid up to the end of the month and after that she was on her own. She could either get a job and pay her own rent or find someone else to sponge off of.
For the next few months Pete lived at his mum's house, worked in various jobs and wrote more chapters for the book project. Between them Baggins and Pete had got tens of thousands of words written. Jehohanan came to Earth at Stonehenge in a saucer ship piloted by elves. The elves had always been extraterrestrials and they had chosen Jehohanan many centuries before when he was a minstrel at the court of King Arthur. The elves lived in a different kind of time-space which is why Jehohanan had aged little in the intervening centuries. The 12 astrological disciples travelled around England in Jeremiah Treyne's travelling show. Treyne, one of the 12 himself, was the archetypal mustachioed, top-hatted ring master character. The whole story was built of theories of ley-lines, astrology, messianic kaballah, Arthurian legends and listening to a lot of Donovan and Pink Floyd etc.
After a winter of various jobs in warehouses and factories the Spring of 1973 rolled around and the two writers were headed back to Glastonbury for the Summer.
Pete had a plan for a way of making a living. As a comic book collector he had been very much inspired by the Comic Convention at the Waverley Hotel a couple of years before and he remembered the dealers' tables, a row of trestle tables from which dealers of comic books and science fiction paperbacks had sold their wares. He also remembered fondly his favourite comic shop "Dark They Were and Golden Eyed" run by Bram Stokes and Diane.
He decided to become a dealer. He had over 2000 comics in a cupboard at his mum's house and also a large collection of science fiction books. He planned that he would sell the most valuable ones to Bram and Diane and then take a couple of suitcases full of the remainder with him to Glastonbury. Once there he would sell comics to the hippies and local people and build up sufficient capital to rent a shop somewhere and run a business.
So it was that when Pete and Baggins met up again in Glastonbury Pete had with him two suitcases full of comics. Baggins introduced Pete to various other long-haired friends from Southend-on-Sea including his brother John, a lad named Nigel who insisted on being called “Rigel”, a lad called Alby Stone (or “Albion”) and a shorter-haired chap who was a self professed “teddy boy” and called himself “Tank”.
Pete’s business plan was already failing, however. Bram Stokes had paid only small amounts  for the Fantastic Four number one, the early Spider-Man, Hulk, Avengers, Journey into Mystery, etc. etc. and the folk of Glastonbury were a bit reluctant to buy any of his wares either. Optimistic as he was he was nevertheless beginning to realise that he didn't have what it takes to be a success as a comic book dealer. 
During that summer a lot of writing got done. Baggins had his typewriter shipped from Southend and he installed it in the New Glastonbury Community Information Centre in the back of the café. At the same time important events were happening in Glastonbury. The Glastonbury Assembly Rooms had been locked up and unavailable for public use for many years. The "hippies", calling themselves "The New Glastonbury Community" were able to gain access to the building and a squat began. 
Eventually the squatting of the Assembly Rooms led to the building being returned back into public use again. Baggins was there and several of his chums from Southend-on-Sea. Pete was there too and amazed at the constant flow of new people through the town. British, Irish, Swedish, Americans, Canadians, nearly all with pre-World War One long hair. Multi-coloured, flared trousers, loons, velvet jackets, cloaks, headbands, beads, tie-dye shirts, Pre-Raphaelite dresses and William Morris designs or Klimt or Mucha and Arty-Crafty Anarchism and Tarot Cards.
Pete himself had a pack of Tarot Cards in a velvet pouch on his belt and an army surplus shoulder bag inscribed with signs and symbols of various different religions and philosophies. Inside the bag was his I-Ching and some paper and pencils for drawing. He wrote an article for Torc magazine demonstrating a relationship between the Tarot and the I-Ching. This was in response to Baggins’ article in the previous issue in which Baggins had shown a relationship between the Tarot and the Kabballistic Tree of Life.
After the point had been made about the need to re-open the Assembly Rooms the squatters moved to a couple of houses a few miles outside town, up the road at Havyatt. They were a mixed bunch of hippies and rock fans and fantasy role-playing poets. Marie-Louise and Gazelle, two young women from Sweden became the international wing of the bokster movement. Many nights were spent telling traveller's tales by candle light on bare floorboards and discussing mystic philosophy. 
"It all breaks down to energy in the end, man" said someone. 
"The opposite is also true" said someone else.
"God is within you" said a third.
"Is that the same as Buddha nature?" wondered Wiz.
By this time Pete was going by the nickname Baggins had given him "Wiz" full time and was becoming more and more involved in the fantasy role play of wizardry and time travel. Baggins and Wiz invented a new fashion called "boksters" and they put it into the book so that the fictional characters of Wiz and Baggins in the imaginary future world of 1992 were now members of a bokster movement of "cosmic capering", living on luck and happenstance. This was ironic for Wiz, who was actually having pretty bad luck with a new girlfriend called Sandy who blatantly cheated on him all the time and caused him a lot of anguish and tears.
But the fantasy continued. They were time travelling beatniks from the 1950s. They were boksters from the future world of the 1990s, where everyone had videophones and electronic devices which could carry a thousand books and be fitted into a jacket pocket. They were Victorian gentlemen newly arrived from a parallel universe by airship. Tea drinking was an important ritual and the tea was known to boksters as “Boddhidharma’s Eyelids”. They were searching for a mysterious artifact known as "The Garnawoggle". A two-dimensional, one-sided artifact which was supposed to be able to switch a person onto a different time track where the probability was more in one's favour. Wiz was cast in the mould of Groucho Marx and Baggins in the style of W. C. Fields.
The word "bokster" was derived from "bok" the Romani word for luck. "Kushti bok" means "Good luck" in Romani but the words "bok" and "bokushi" mean river, stream or creek in Choctaw North American. "Bok" also means "book" in Swedish and "hip" in Bohemian Czech. Baggins declared that "the BOK was flowing" and this became the motto of the imaginary Bokster movement in Pete and Baggins' fantasy of a future 1990s. The boksters would wear top hats, hold mad tea parties and help to defeat evil antichrists. Bok was also the name of a fantasy author/illustrator from the old "Weird Tales" magazine and the name of a gargoyle demon in an episode of Doctor Who. The spelling of the word conveyed phonetically the comforting impression that things would "be okay".
Baggins and Wiz weren't the only ones living a fantasy life. The Glastonbury area had quite few residents who believed themselves to be magicians, wizards, witches or people of power. Perhaps some of them actually were. 
Pat and Tina Benham published a local magazine “Torc” which contained articles and poetry about the significance of Glastonbury in the New Age. Baggins and Pete both contributed.
Pete had begun to do an act in a pub, the Lamb Inn. He wore a vintage tailcoat and an orange flowery bow-tie and mimed to a record on the juke box, playing the monster characters in "The Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett and Crypt Kickers and people would buy him drinks and food for entertaining them. Local girls tried to chat him up after he'd done his act and Pete just walked away from them, disinterested. Baggins got angry saying, "Why are you walking away, Wiz? You could've had those girls. They were making eyes at you." 
"M'not interested" mumbled Pete. 
The funfair came to Tor Fair Field. Pete was offered a job on the ghost train because of the Monster Mash act he had been doing in the pub. The fun fair people backed down on that offer almost immediately and instead offered him a few quid to take a spanner and tighten up the bolts on the supporting structure of stand where they had the dodgem cars. He accepted, did the work and, at the end of it, was only only paid 50p instead of the promised “few quid”. When he complained that 50p was much less than he had been promised the dodgem car man snatched back the 50p piece and Pete got nothing.
Later on, wandering around town at a loose end, Pete  met Juggsy who told him that the fairground people were out for his, Pete’s, blood. Juggsy said he didn’t know why but that Pete had better lie low for a while. Pete, being autistically fearless, did no such thing. However, nothing came of it and he wasn’t beaten up by any enraged funfair people.
Pete's girlfriend Sandy continued to hurt him, on one occasion having noisy sex in a large marquee tent in the middle of a Somerset field with a man she had only just met and she did so in the full awareness that Pete was also in the very same tent trying to get to sleep. Pete was not yet aware of his own asexual nature. Years in the future he would come to define himself as happily a-sexual. However, in these more youthful days of 1973 he was just approaching his 20th birthday and still under the deluded impression of love and romance as a path strewn with poetry and flower petals leading to a lifelong relationship with his ladylove. As such he was emotionally torn apart by her cruelty and left the tent to roam across the dark night fields of Somerset screaming his torment at the moon silvered clouds.
Yes, Pete was different to other boys. Slightly autistic and slightly mad, driven by imagination and philosophical reasoning more determinedly than any sexual libido could or would ever drive him.
The writing continued. Baggins had his typewriter shipped from Essex and he set it up in the information centre in the back room of the macrobiotic café. He and Wiz sat in there writing all day and giving information to any visitors who happened to poke their heads around the door to ask about the Tor and King Arthur and ley lines and whatnot. 
Pete's habits changed slightly. From being a non-drinking, non-smoking, non-drug-using vegetarian he tried alcohol (wasn't very impressed with it) tried cannabis (didn't like it at all) tried tobacco (became addicted to rolling his own cigarettes).
Pete and Sandy bumped into Wendy and her new boyfriend. Wendy made a futile attempt at winning Pete back in spite of the fact that her new other half was standing right there.
Sandy introduced Pete to some of the odd friends she knew in the area, including a filthy tramp-like man of about 40 who claimed to be a Hell's Angel (but rode a bicycle) and went by the name of "Tex". According to Sandy, Tex was a heroine addict and a drug dealer from his little caravan up the Wells Road. The satanic tattoos on Tex's arms showed that he had sold his soul to the goat creature and, oddly, Tex himself looked a bit like an old goat in threadbare trousers and with about a dozen necklaces of beads and medallions hanging around his neck.
Tex imagined himself in constant magical warfare against a rival magician called Scorpio. People in the area told stories of times when Tex and Scorpio had stood against each other casting spells to test each other's strength. Some of the people telling those stories seemed to believe it was all true. It was easy to see how thin was the veneer of civilisation on the hippy scene around Glastonbury and how easily they became medieval or even stone age peasants terrifying each other with tall tales of witchcraft.
Another of Sandy’s friends was Cath, a middle-aged woman who lived on Windmill Hill and was a scandal in the area for having once run away with a hippy man who called himself Jesus. He had a group of disciples and told Cath that she was his spiritual mother Mary. Cath stepped into that role easily because she sometimes saw visions and believed that these glimpses of another kind of reality had meaning.
Humans are, and always have been, storytelling creatures. All our theories of how the world works are, in fact, deconstructible narratives which borrow elements of some earlier mythos to build the newer version. Holy Grails and Maltese Falcons pass in the forms of sign and signifier from story to story and even the "Big Bang Theory" can be easily deconstructed as an example of the human mind's fumbling attempts to make sense of a complexity which remains forever beyond and beyond and beyond.
In the world of the book which Pete and Baggins were writing there was an evil anti-christ figure was called "Molladridinaur", a name which Wiz had made up intending it to sound a bit like "minotaur" and a bit like "dreadnaught" and to convey the idea of an evil reverse guru. A guru of Mammon and commerce. The story relied heavily on mythology and Saint John's dream of the final battle with The Beast 666. To Wiz and Baggins it was a representation of their fears of being hypnotised and brainwashed by one of the many pseudo-religious cults which flourished in the 1970s and came to Glastonbury looking for recruits.
Pete wrote a comic verse about it: "I'm a door-to-door High Lama, Selling instant pleasant karma, And I'll also sell you dharma, 'cause I'm such a roguish charmer".
It was ironic and yet wholly consistent with Pete's bad luck that, less than a year later, he would himself become hypnotised and brainwashed into just such a pseudo-religious cult as he feared, led by a real life Molladridinaur-like "roguish charmer". When that happened he would remain under that cult's control for six and a half years and would then spend another few years having to de-programme himself from their homophobic version of "New Age" Gurdjieff philosophy.
During those years Pete fell out of contact with Baggins and later came to believe that Baggins had callously let go of him, uncaringly allowing Pete to be led away by the brainwashers. This view was perhaps unfair to Baggins, who was probably scared stiff of getting brainwashed by them himself.
In 1980, when Pete did finally get away from the "Emin" cult, he returned nostalgically to Glastonbury, made contact with some people he remembered from the old days and was eventually able to explain to Baggins what had happened and where he had been for the last 6 or 7 years.
By this time Pete had learned by bitter experience that he wasn't the sharpest spoon in the crockery drawer and that he would stand a better chance of surviving in the world if he adopted a policy of "never trust anyone - ever".

Monday, 28 October 2013

Chapter 15A The Discussion


speculativism
Member
All the flouride info is quite interesting. I don't remember Railio mentioning flouride but he certainly drew our attention to censorship, contradictory propaganda and contradictory teachings. Railio mentioned "D-notices" quite often. These were censorship of the press by UK government. Another topic he returned to often was contradictory medical advice. They tell you to put butter on a burnt finger, then ten years later butter is the worst thing for a burn and you should run it under a cold tap. These were bits of Railio's home-spun wisdom. He mentioned needing to get letters from doctors, lawyers and the Archbishop of Canterbury before he could get to see some restricted books such as the Emerald Tablets or the Grimoires. He seemed to think that there was a contradiction in saying there were no flying saucers if men were now going to the moon in them. To Railio it seemed that if we could build spaceships then flying saucers must be real. His thoughts were often at that sort of simplistic level. Omen (Railio's son) was worse. Omen repeated the same sort of simple-minded ideas as his dad but couldn't pronounce some of the words correctly so, in Omen's version, the French saying "Honi soit qui mal y pense" was "Onny solly mally ponce" and Omen's version of the word "homunculi" was "homm-a-Queue-lie".
Anyway, flouride. As I say, I find the subject interesting. On the other hand, though, I've been drinking tap water in England all through my life and I don't suffer from thyroid problems or the inability to make up my own mind about things (at least, not since I got away from the Mine). I'm 59 years old, I still have hair and teeth, I still have my tonsils and my appendix, I can still run up a flight of stairs or calculate numbers in my head. The reason I'm in such good health is I don't go to doctors or dentists, I don't eat meat, fish or dairy, I don't smoke, take drugs or drink alcohol and I avoid coffee, so-called "energy drinks" or other things loaded with excessive caffeine and I also avoid excessively sugary things. I eat lots of fruit and veg, grains, pulses etc. I have never driven a car in my life and don't wish to. Car drivers are destroying the planet. They are also unhealthy through the effect of lack of exercise. That effect combines with stress and road rage.
I'm not worried about flouride but I'm enraged by the hypocrisy of people calling themselves environmentalists or lovers of the planet and then driving around in a car. Anyhoo... There's a report on flouride which has been going the rounds. Originally commissioned by the Christian Science Monitor and then, apparently, censored and not published.
speculativism
Member
None so blind...
There's not much purpose in replying to what NM said because she or he (it isn't always possible to guess someone's gender on the web) just did her/his usual thing of misinterpreting what I'd said and then criticising what (s)he thought it was. I know from past experience of about 17 years of web debating on many many issues that once somebody starts doing that thing of every so slightly misinterpreting what you've said and then arguing against what they think you said that there's nothing to be gained from trying to explain what you actually said, because it's right there on the page in front of them and they still managed to see something different... Well, no matter what I say that person will continue to see whatever meaning (s)he wishes to see.
Just remembered tomorrow is dustbin day. I'd better go and put the bins out. NM will probably want to root around in them to prove nothing is ever completely crap (and I never said it was completely).
speculativism
Member
I thought it might be appropriate to post 3 religious ideas which have meant a great deal to me over the years.
Firstly, the reputed philosophy of Pelagius in Europe in the Middle Ages. Now, I say "reputed" philosophy because the thing I most like from Pelagius is something which he actually denied saying. Roman Papal authority called him a heretic for saying it and he denied he ever had said it, but it's a great philosophy anyway, whether he said it or not, someone somewhere must have said it and I agree with it wholeheartedly. So what was it that Pelagius was supposed to have said which caused all the fuss?
He's supposed to have gone around saying that it didn't matter so much whether the miracle stories in the bible were actually true, as long as you were a good, kind person and lived a good life of virtue, kindness and charity. The goodness and kindness were the important part, not the stories or the miracles. I read that years ago and it made perfect sense to me. It still does. Regardless of whether Pelagius actually said or not I believe it still stands as an important guideline to life.
The second thing is from C. S. Lewis's series of children's books "The Chronicles of Narnia", in the volume called "The Last Battle" there is a religion which worships Tash, the god of all things vile and horrid. Emeth, a worshipper of Tash, believes Tash to be a good god and does good works in his name.
Aslan is the the opposite of Tash and represents good. However there are some who do wickedness claiming it to be in Aslan's name. At the end these wicked ones are rejected by Aslan but Emeth, who was good is accepted by Aslan, even though Emeth thought himself to be a worshipper of Tash. Aslan explains that all good works are always for Aslan, even if done by someone who doesn't know it is Aslan and thinks it is Tash. "No service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him".
The 3rd idea which I wanted to post here is from Matthew 7:16: "By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?" I believe this is very important. If a religion claims to be 99 different types of wonderful but actually does no good works in the world, it isn't good. If a philosophy describes itself as nothing very important at all but actually helps a lot of people back from starvation and homelessness, then it's good. It really is just like identifying trees by their fruit. You get apples on an apple tree and oranges on an orange tree. You get good works in the world from good people. You get lies, dissociation and mind-bending from lying, dissociative mind-benders. It's just the fruit of the tree.

(Copyright Peter-David Smith, Exeter, Devon 2013)

Chapter 14A The Discussion


speculativism
Member
Look, here's the thing: Any philosophy or teaching is either something good and of value to the world and the planet and humanity or is a nothingness and crap and worthless. Either way it's of no use if it's locked up in a hidden box somewhere. Get it out of the box and expose it to the light of day and then the world can see whether it's good and of value or nothingness and crap. Locked away somewhere it's no use to anyone.
"In the G-Mine Vine writings, he established platforms of reasoning and logic which were based on the observation of natural processes" What platforms of reasoning and logic? Can you describe even one platform of reasoning and logic which was thus established? The term "platform" suggests something to stand on, a solid position from which to look at other things. Descartes' Cogito Ergo Sum is such a platform. Empirical practice may be considered another such platform. Other established "platforms" may include inductive and deductive reasoning or various forms of dialectic such as the Platonic-Socratic Dialectic or Hegel's Historicism. The validity of these platforms may, however, be open to question from an Existential view. Can you describe even one "platform" of reasoning and logic produced by Railio to add to those already extant?
"Railio's skill and presence also increased dramatically during the Nineties. So much so that he was able to teach specific, detailed lessons on the natural, occult phenomena associated with human life." Occult means hidden. If explained in detail the occult would no longer be occult, it would be science. What was revealed?
"In some cases he did this by creating new words which could contain the concepts necessary for understanding. These new words were created by applying the alpha-curio-bet which we all learned in the early days, but the elevated result was astounding."The "Alpha-Curio-Bet" was a paper produced by Railio in the early days of the Mine. The basis of the Alpha-curio-bet or Alphacuriobet was to attribute meaning to each of the 26 letters of the English alphabet, in a manner similar to the Kabbalah interpretation of Hebrew. Usually in English linguistics the smallest unit of signification would be the syllable, however the signification of individual letters can be found in early written language.
To compare traditional meanings of the alphabet (which is a word derived from the first 2 letters alph and beth): The letters in ancient languages such as Phoenician, Aramaic, Greek and Latin are the ancestors of the English alphabet and the meanings usually attributed to each one of the letters are: A=Ox (Alf or Aleph), B=House (bet or beth), C=Camel (Gimel), D=Door (Dalet), E=Window (He) also a name of God in Hebrew and part of the Tetragrammaton, F=Hook (Vau or Waw) also part of the Tetragrammaton, G=Camel (Gimel), H=Wall (Heth) (Heh) (The Eight), I=Hand (Yodh) a name of God and part of the Tetragrammaton, J=Hand (Yodh) a name of God and part of the Tetragrammaton, K=Palm of the Hand (Kaph) meaning "like" or "similar to", L=Crook or Goad (for driving oxen and other animals) (to be driven somewhere and wanted for a purpose), M=Water (Mem), N=Serpent (Nun), O=Eye (Ayin), P=Mouth (Pe), Q=Eye of a Needle - Threading (Qoph), R=Head (Resh) (Rav, Rabbi), S=Tooth (Shin) (Pronoun), T=Mark or cut or wound (Tav) (400 in Gematria), Th=Wheel (Chakra in Sanskrit) (Theta in Greek) (Teth), U=Hook (Vau or Waw)), V=Hook (Vau or Waw), W=Hook (Vau or Waw), X=Fish (Samekh or Semka), Y=Hook (Vau or Waw), Z=Weapon (but also genital) (Zayin).
By comparison, in Railio's version he gives "A" the meaning of "ancient and original aspect" as well as the "brain in the spinal column" instead of the traditional meaning of "Ox". "B" is given "blood aspect", "C" is given to mean "Emotion", "D" is given to mean "diminishment", "E" - "the brain in the head" and "blueshift aspects of things", "F" "feeling" and "fineness", "G" - pinpointing a level, "H" - "Human aspect", "I" - "Sun level", "J" - Daydreaming, "K" - "Saturnian", "L" - "Low" or "Slow", "M" - "Maternal aspect", "N" - "Marking a passage of force", "O" - "Planetary level" (in the Ray of Creation), "P" - "Martian", "Q" - "Special", "R" - "Rota, Tarot, Rotation" and "Repetition", "S" - "Put upon", "T" - "A sense of gain", "U" - "Moon level", "V" - "Dispair, depression", "W" - "Wet, humid", "X" - "Solar", "Y" - "Pinpoint, cosmic", "Z" - "Cosmic birth and creation track".
In addition, letters a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h and i were said in Railio's version to be the alphabet of the sun, letters j,k,l,m,n and o the alphabet of the planet, letters p,q,r,s,t and u the alphabet of the moon and letters v,w,x,y and z were the alphabet of time. These ideas said to the audience in a tone of voice like a conjurer announcing his tricks and the audience absolutely lapping it up, scribbling hurried notes so as to spend every waking moment from then on working out what it all means. I know, I was one of those idiots lapping it up and taking copious notes. I was able to write this from memory today without consulting any books or notes, even though I haven't thought about most of this stuff for years I worked on it so much all those years ago that it comes just flooding back very easily. H=Wall (Heth) (Heh) The laughter of the flying spaghetti monster as it hits the wall.
One of the big problems with a made-up system like the alphacuriobet (and the alphacuriobeta... don't ask...) is that they completely fail to explain why "T" can mean "gain" when the word "gain" doesn't contain the letter "T", or why "emotion" doesn't contain the letter "C" if "C" is supposed to mean emotion. When an Mine person tries to ask his or her usher about it they are met with that trick of saying "Ahhhh, that's another mystery" and hurrying away as if busy.
"In the 2nd Crete Seminar for example, Railio produced lessons on the spirit and soul, based on early teachings about the vowels 'I', 'O', and 'U'. In the G-Mine Vine Master Class, he vividly explained how humans 'metabolize' the Unseen Worlds." You can't "metabolise" the unseen worlds. The unseen worlds are worlds of the imagination and dreams. They come from within, not from without. They are already metabolised in the chemistry of the brain.
"The explanation was based on what we know about viruses, but Railio took the process up several levels in the Astral Light and taught about Viritics." That's actually pataphysics. If you want to know more about it look at the work of the guy Railio is ripping off, namely Alfred Jarry.
Surrealism is great, as art. However if you hijack surrealism to use as a way of enslaving people, that's not so great.
"The power of Railio's presence during these later meetings was palpable and stunning." Like I said before, somebody was secretly putting something in the tea.
speculativism
Member
The Nova Gang
In addition to ripping off Alfred Jarry's Pataphysics Railio was also using William Burroughs' concept of language as a virus, as related in "The Ticket That Exploded". Language, obviously, is the one main vector by which one person's inner world is transmitted to another person. That's your viritic vector. But it doesn't metabolise INTO you from Railio it de-metabolises out from your own inner world which Railio is seeking to colonise and enslave. Read Orwell's "1984" for how the fascist controls you through changing the language, making it impossible for you to think any thought which isn't what he wants you to think. Read Railio's own paper "How to Think". Orwell gives us the concept of "Newspeak" by which virus the Ministry of Truth re-writes what you can know of reality, coining new words as needed and scrapping old words which would've allowed you to think freely. A revolutionary realises: "First control the radio station". Gill Scott Heron had it right "The Revolution will not be Televised". Language is used to neuro-programme your brain to determine what concepts you can or can't understand. It isn't always about breaking heads, it's also about breaking hearts and minds. Language is the key (oh yea, baby, the key!!). This means all (honey, I tell you ALL) forms of language, including written, spoken, body language, images, sculpture, movies and all the semiotic forms possible. Railio wouldn't tell you he was getting this stuff from Jarry and Burroughs because he didn't want you know.


(Copyright Peter-David Smith, Exeter, Devon 2013)