Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Secret Garden Party



in the massive gardens of a private house near Huntingdon, John Majors' old constituency, is a yearly garden party with a difference. It now seems that the new play thing of the landed rich is to host your own festival. This one, however, is probably the best festival I have ever been to. Even the website is beautiful. The land encircles a lake where a specially built pirate galleon floated. One could take out a dinghy and drink in the bar there. The gardens, bridges and decorated trees (bananas, shoes, dolls) reminded me of that gorgeous garden near Tunbridge Wells, Groombridge, where The Draughtmans' Contract was filmed. The vegetation was lit up with green and purple lights. Seating consisted of velvet chesterfield sofa's, comfy armchairs and covered haystacks.
In one corner was 'boutique camping'; Bedouin tents, pastel painted summer houses, Wendy houses, teepee's, bell tents with air mattresses and of course private showers, actually not so private, as they were transparent pyramids. Rumour had it that these cost £650 for the weekend.
I 'tatted' there at the end and picked up abandoned wigs, a Moss Bros mohair dinner jacket, unused wellies strewn amongst the empty champagne bottles and half-eaten boxes of gourmet chocolates.
The atmosphere reminded me of the party at the mysterious chateau in the country from that magical French classic novel 'Le Grand Meaulnes'.
Everyone was dressed up: ball gowns, feathers and top hats were de rigeur and that's just the men! I spent my wages from Glade on a blue and white polka dot flamenco dress with red ribbon flounces. I briefly worried that I had wasted my money until I saw the reaction from the male half of the population: I received a marriage proposal from a Ghostbuster, a bed proposal from a 23 year old minor pop star and much more...to the extent that my old mate Ally, another Norf London girl, went straight out the next day and bought the same dress in purple.
Grace Jones played only her second British gig on Saturday night. She is Naomi Campbells' spiritual predecessor. At one point she lay down with her legs spread-eagled directly on front of the photographers, inviting them to shoot up her fanny. I stood well back, not wanting to participate for feminist reasons and also, knowing something of her volatility, frightened that she might start kicking us with her heavy stilettos.
The seedy male photographers however, cheerfully continued to snap away with their telephoto lenses obscenely directed. (Recently speaking to a member of her entourage, he admitted that they were all terrified of turning their backs on her (who could forget Russell Hartys' fate when he did the same thing). The audience were camply enthusiastic, including one lady with a large snake coiled around her neck. Others insisted on performing with her, dancing sexily and enacting lesbian tableaux with Grace. When pushed back by security, they took the opportunity to crowd surf, carried along by hundreds of arms.
Grace is proud of her arse and rightly so...encased in black fishnets, it had not dropped an inch, despite her advanced age. She changed costumes for every song, wearing a selection of sculptural hats. Her son by 80's video genius, Jean Paul Goude, played keyboards.
At the end of her set, candle-lit rice paper lanterns were released into the night sky and the pirate galleon was set on fire.
Secret Garden Party, however, is not really a music festival. The attraction, apart from the people and the gardens, lies in the art installations. My favourite was 'Sparkly nuts' by Abby which I called the mutant teddy bear tent. She had collected hundreds of soft toys which were mutilated and reconstructed, Jake and Dinos Chapman style, into obscene and disturbing combinations. She works as a secretary for an engineering firm during the week and asked her rather straight colleagues to donate toys. She was reluctant to explain what would happen to them though, merely saying "some of them will end up in good homes and some of them...won't! "
The effect finally was of a child's bedroom but perverted: twee flowery sofa's filled with cuddly toys with a difference: a bedside table which, when you looked more closely, contained a teddy bear sniffing a line of coke off a mirror; a chest of drawers with a grope room in which a fluffy rabbit gave a blow job to a panda.
The 'Sparkly nuts' tent ended up as a rave every night. There seemed to be several animal themed installations such as Zebra world, where artists dressed as zebras, did little concerts and running races and filmed stuff on the zeb cam. One man explained to me the difference between plushies and furries in the world of fetish: plushies use little stuffed toys in their sex play. Furries actually want to become animals, they dress up in furry animal costumes, believing that animals are better than humans because they are innocent. 
Further along, in another tent, three girls dressed as bananas, did karaoke. I saw another old friend, Andy, recently separated with his 5 year old in tow. She was dressed in 3 layered sets of pyjamas as Andy had forgotten to bring her any clothes and whose solution to this dilemma was to dive into Mothercare and buy a ten pack of pyjamas. 
A highlight of the festival for me was being picked to act in a version of Hamlet where the prince hoola-hooped while reciting the bard.
My only low moment was being blanked by The Wizard, dressed all in white with his dreadlocks nesting on top of his head in the shape of a Mandelbrot set, who had two girls on his arm (whilst nonetheless continuing to look greedily at every other woman there): one, the 'wicked' witch from the East who flew in on her broomstick, flashing her acid queen smile, for his 40th birthday party whilst yours truly submissively cooked downstairs (I thought I could smell pussy on him as he walked past, laughing to myself that the situation was like something out of a 70's Play for Today) and the other, "bug-eyed of Brixton" (as she has been named by Ms Puddleduck), whose charms remain a mystery to the casual onlooker. Why do they put up with it?
The Wizard was giving a talk on game theory which I couldn't attend but I did send a mate, Liverbird, who ended up heckling him! 
Mornings after at festivals: Liverbird noticed that her ballgown had a grassy muddy stain down the back, but could not remember what she had been doing. One member of crew woke up with an earring pierced through her nose, another mysterious nocturnal occurrence.
Huntingdon itself was again a bizarrely depressing English town. Seemingly built in the architecturally charmless 60's, it is in actuality the birthplace of the English revolutionary/dictator Oliver Cromwell. Every other person there was disabled or old. I've never seen so many crutches. I suppose the young have fled in horror.
I was there cooking for a burlesque café. It was sweltering work but not as bad for me as it was for the others who were cooking English fry ups in 90 degree heat. Strange to see hippies queuing for bacon butties. Kurt Cobain got so hot he left the tent and vomited. Cooking in that situation is like being in an army mess kitchen in the tropics. I was the only Londoner amongst mostly Mancunians who all live in the same building, the 'Yellow bricks' (in contrast to the mostly red-bricked buildings in that Victorian industrial town) also part of the Homes for Change scheme (locally known as flats for twats). 
A festival is probably the only place of employment where, when a member of staff was asked to come in to do an extra shift, it was regarded as a perfectly valid excuse when he replied that he couldn't possibly as he had just that moment dropped a pill and well people wouldn't want hugs with their sandwiches would they?
Sitting round chilling at the end of a long day we batted back and forth regional insults between the Welsh led by the boss, a beautiful Juno-esque lady with red dreads, who customarily had a two year old suckling on one of her ample creamy breasts, Liverbird, the mancs and myself, the only 'cockney'.
Big Issue jokes are popular in Manchester: 
Knock knock
Big Issue seller: Who's there?
Well, you can't be homeless then can you?
At one point I had to boot out two evil fairies from the café who decided to sit on the grass amongst the tables and hawk up gob and snot and smear their hands with it. The initial elegance of the event had started to descend into drug addled decadence and bad behaviour. Not everyone was glammed up either, one dread-locked woman wore seemingly the same bikini for a week, probably the best solution for a hot sticky festival. If only I had the figure for it!
The final day I cut my hand on a dodgy tin of sweetcorn and had to be taken to the hospital for 4 stitches. I then had to wait around for days to get my van repaired. It was dumped by the RAC, propped up Flintstone style with a log in place of its missing wheel,  next to the compost toilets. In the heat this grew progressively stinkier and more unpleasant, attracting more flies. We were sleeping in the back of the van.
I questioned the people who provided the toilets, The Natural Event Company, why it stank so much because compost toilets do not normally smell. These toilets were also overflowing by the second day. They explained that it was because the organisers had under-estimated how many people would come to the festival. In previous years it was only about 2 to 3000. This time it was 14,000, 4000 of whom were the artists' guests. The Natural Event Company are paid, literally, in terms of bums on seats and so it is rather advantageous for the organisers to under-count how many paying punters would arrive. "But they all shit don't they" said one guy "whether they pay or not". (Unless they suffer from the notorious festie constie, where you cannot go for the duration of the festival). Anyway, as a result, the pee was not pumped out of the toilets regularly enough and it is the urine, not the poo, that stinks. 


I told you they dress up...


Snake girl in the audience for Grace Jones...


My poor hand


The lake and the galleon


Chillin'...


Is he a furry?


Zebra world race


The pyramid showers...


Boutique camping summer houses being constructed...


One of the teepee's (don't they look like vagina's? Levi-Strauss has an explanation)


You could have a Kodak moment here...


Teddy snorts a line...

Rabbit doing something naughty in Sparkly Nuts. Note toytown porn on walls...

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Never cook at a rave: Glade


inSpiral Lounge, inSpiring!



...sitting on the hard shoulder of the M1. Brake caliper blown. We lost a wheel. It's a miracle we are alive. Why didn't I listen to the Brazilian murderer and replace the brake fluid?
Just finished cooking at Glade festival, an off-shoot from Glastonbury. God preserve me from dance festivals.
It's a thankless task being a cook at a techno event. Nobody eats. They are all on the E-plan diet. Well people start to eat by about Sunday afternoon when they have used up all their drugs. I have never seen so many people on ketamine. It's like Night of the Living Dead. My teenager and I sat in the beautiful white sculptural space of inSpiral Lounge, with nylon spectres floating like luminous jelly fish. We watched one man huddled in a foetal position on the floor, gurning in his private world. Another climbed an invisible staircase. A third staggered zombie style. I saw one woman fall over head first in the mud. She just stayed there like that, bum in the air. A k-hole they call it. It is growing in popularity. Why? It is so not a good look. You couldn't pull on it.
The other drug du jour is Nitrous Oxide or laughing gas. Balloons litter the grass. Teenagers sit in circles holding dispensers, sucking on balloons. I tried one. I felt ill as if I was emerging from general anaesthetic. It costs £2.50p a pop.
Costumes are extraordinary: restoration dandies, robocop, psychedelic robin hoods, flamenco dancers, plushies and of course every other person has dreadlocks. Another snapshot: people trying to row a dinghy across the grass.
My kitchen crew are diverse: a Kurt Cobain lookalike whose Israeli girlfriend worked for the Israeli mafioso who owns Camden lock. Her building and all her belongings were destroyed in the fire. She was compensated in cash by her boss, as was everyone else in the building, which housed staff. Strangely no one was killed. Everybody was 'out'. The boss had sought planning permission for a casino. The Israeli girl whispered about the fire: "Don't ask".
It got quite serious between Kurt and the Israeli girl, her parents wanted him to convert. Trouble is, Kurt said, I had nothing to convert from...
Also in kitchen crew were teenagers from North weezy, my neck of the woods...North West London. Post code gangs...
M, a mixed race kid from Harlesden told me about his mum, who is a tough single muvver.
"She even threatens people at work, yeah, if dey annoy her, yeah, she slices 'em up. Crip."

"Where does your mum work?" I enquire.

"Marks and Spencers."
Teenagers are not allowed at Glade, 13-18 years olds are banned. A good idea as the drug usage is so heavy. My teenager was kitchen crew, frying eggs in her ball gown.
One morning I heard shouting behind the kitchen where the bosses no-neck teenage monster is stood nervously.
"Don't go out there" warned the staff "a ketamine lecture".
"We care about you" I heard "You are 14 years old. These are adult drugs which are dangerous. Do not try them. You cannot navigate your class A's. Don't think that you can!".
Teenagers nowadays are surrounded by drugs. What does the responsible parent do? It's unrealistic to think that they are not going to try a bit of spliff. I've tried to be open and honest with my teenager about drugs and sex. In this way I hope that I can better track what is going on. But I would be distressed if she tried anything harder.
L, the flame-haired waitress, lives in Hebden Bridge, lesbian capital of the world, although she isn't. It's a hippy haven, the Glastonbury of the North.
The oldest member of the team is the strangely the one who looks the straightest but has caned it the most. She is a veritable walking encyclopaedia on drugs.
She explained that there were two reasons why the toilets were so bad at festivals:
  • the drugs
  • the sudden switch to high roughage vegetarian food.
I chatted also to an older woman who is severely 'lichenoid' that is, allergic to compound metals. It was initially diagnosed by her dentist and she has lost most of her teeth as a result of the lesions. She had to paint her mobile phone with enamel paint, but a bit rubbed off and she now has a huge seeping welt on her texting finger. She can't go in cars or planes. She is allergic to the modern world. Gold and silver are fine, it's the compound metals she can't handle and nowadays everything is made from cheap aluminium.
I drove to the local town of Basingstoke to do some shopping. For 30 minutes I drove around trying to find it. Then I realised that the industrial type buildings with air vents sticking out the back was Basingstoke. The pedestrianised High Street faces inwards, invisible to the outside world. There is a town hall styled like a downmarket Disneyland Main St. The shops are all chains. Fine dining is restricted to a MacDonalds, a Café Rouge and a pub chain. Walking through, I felt the hope drain out of me. It was the town planning equivalent of a Dementor.
from my iPhone.



This guy made his own robocop outfit...


Amazing installation which had different faces projected onto it...


Trippy...


Balloons ...


The Oxygen bar, 3 quid a go.


A typical punter...


I wonder what level 4 does...

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Super moot: Cannibalism


Drumming goddess from a Temple of the 64 Yoginis in India

My notes on the talk by Mogg Morton.

There is secrecy in magical orders but not so much in religion. Buddhism, for instance, is the opposite of esoteric - it's for the people. Although Brahmanism does have a caste system, anyone who has an education has access to esoteric Hinduism; there are no secrets.
Tantra is a culty thing. In 1980 I joined Amookos, the Arcane and Magical Order of the Knights of Shamballa,  a proto-hippy cult run by Dadaji. Dadaji once met Crowley who advised him, don't bother with O.T.O., just go to India instead. He took his advice and moved there. He died in 1992, acknowledged by the Indian Government.
Amookos traces itself back to fishermen. Founders of magical orders are often from humble backgrounds. The founder of Neo-Platonism was a dockworker in the 7th century.
There are 3 stages of development of Tantra:
1) Early: during the 6th/7th century: Kula-clan or family (not blood relations-you choose your family). They held extremist, in your face, rituals in graveyards involving sex orgies and scarlet women, dalkinis, who spend their time killing babies and drinking blood 'Kula fluid'. The hero must eat wild meat. He is bribed by the dalkinis offering their sexual fluids. There was a unique recipe for this potion for each clan. Only then can the hero get magical powers.
2) Kaula is a watered down version, more mellow and discreet. Secret societies meet at new or full moon in forests. This can be done internally also (via visualisation).
3) The final internal mentalistic approach to magical tradition was very mainstream. The inventors of Kundalini yoga 'tantra'. All Hindu practice is Tantric. Eight is a significant number in Hindu tradition.
There is a connection between Egypt and Tantrism,  the East/west tradition, the Typhonian approach to Thelema. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was originally called The society of Eight. Egyptian tradition improvised chaos magick. The Greek orphic ideas sound Indian.
In the Hindu alphabet there are 8 vowels: with them you can construct a mantra. With free-form vowel song, you can make up your own mantra. The 8 vowels represent Yoginis, females that are half human/half spirit. Magick is trafficking with that, not goddesses.
Puja is an offerings ritual. Sex and death are linked in Tantra along with the theme of cannibalism, of wild meat, of human flesh. Crowley talked of Jews eating babies, a blood libel, the ultimate meal you shouldn't eat. The cake of light has human flesh within it (blood and semen).
Ancient burial ritual involves eating of flesh, of the departed or a relative. Burials often entail kissing or eating near the dead body. In the bible, they eat the flesh of their enemies, drink their blood to make them stronger.
The best blood is the 'moon monthly' blood or the placenta. 
Cannibalism doesn't require anybody to be murdered. 
Tantric sex is controlled by women adepts. It also involves communion with disease entities (which you find in Voodoo). Diseases have special powers; you must make a pact with them. These diseases especially afflict children. Abortion is a good thing. An entity that causes abortion could have uses. Yogini's are tree or bird goddesses (often water fowl). They are from a folksy tradition and are not elite. These are martial women who are powerful and connected to the flow of blood. Like witches, who are probably their forebears, they possess the ability to fly. Their temples are always isolated and open to the sky. They never practice Yoga. Why? Because they existed before Yoga. 
The Yogini are female but in Tibetan Buddhism it has been translated into yogi, a male.
The incubi and the succubi, the old hag (a secret tradition in Hermeticism) over time have been moderated and turned into metaphors.
Sex in kauli rites is never conventional. It is oral more than penetrative:
"If you want to succeed you must suck seed". 
The primary mode of transference of knowledge is by fluid transfer, semen, blood. If you want to seduce someone, you must do it through food, feeding by hand. (For example, in India, trainers of elephants feed them a ball of food in the same shape as an embryo.) 
It is not a male dominated tradition but that has been hidden in recent books. 'Passionate enlightenment' by Miranda Shaw shows how women have been downplayed. The feminine, Shakti, is often a low-caste woman who has skills. 
The special relationship between humans and the bird kingdom still exists: look at the fear of Avian flu for instance. Birds are seen as carriers of disease. They are also associated with the soul or the self. The stork delivers babies. Water fowls are very important in Egyptian mythology. The swan or the goose can represent the soul also. 
One of the most powerful mantras, (something like) hum sow, means 'breathing', means 'swan'. In Tantra lungs are the wings of a waterfowl. 


They still exist...

Super moot: fée magick

I also met Steven J Ash, an interesting author on the occult. He talked of his recent book on fée magick. He went to visit Breakneck Hill in Croydon, a site for fée magick and other strange goings on. It's also talked about here as a megalithic portal.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Super Moot: Using popular culture for spells.

Elizabeth Maddison, a blonde pale elvish woman wearing a Saturday Night Fever white suit, gave this talk in a light fluttery tone. She has been doing witchcraft for ten years. She now views everything through a thelemic lens.
Imagery and visualisation are the basic building blocks of magic. One has to create an image that doesn't exist in real life. However by using imagery from popular culture one can achieve this. Films have massive CGI budgets, for example, a magician throwing fireballs from his fingertips. Sometimes magical energy is represented as sparkles, a softer magic.
She gives an example of doing a ceremony with her partner in which they try to locate someone but not let the person know they are looking for them. They do this using proactive psychometry, sympathetic magic. Her partner got a link and followed it but she couldn't and stepped back from the circle. He described an image from Stargate. Then he was being followed in the astral sense- he bounced out of the wormhole shouting "shut it down!". The films Startrek, Babylon 5, and Dune have lots of Stargates. 
She divides this into steps to make a spell:
1)Meditation state: In Afterlife, the exorcist helps souls who don't know that they are dead. He uses an image from Quantum Leap..a doorway.
Once one is in a meditation state, one needs an access point. 
In The Nightmare before Christmas there is a doorway to Christmas tree land. 
2)Concept: Another kind of magic: as a student one uses ways to 'studycheat'... rather like putting flowers under your pillow to attract a lover, one can put a textbook under the pillow to aid absorption of the data before an exam. 
In Buffy the vampire slayer, Willow, after some trauma, physically draws out magic from a pile of books. 
3)Script: Poetry can be the ritual, so can song lyrics or dialogue from scripts. They can also carry the whole weight of the original concept. Trigger words and phrases can be inserted such as "Babylon 5".
"I am and always will be your friend" from Star Trek is good for a wedding spell.
4)Mantras: repetitive words which are an aid to meditation. Hindu mantras are based on the names of Gods and Goddesses, the name chanted attracts those qualities to the chanter. You can also do this using fictional characters from popular culture, for instance saying "Buffy" or "Buffy Summers". (Sandy Robertson interjects here that Buffy is named Summers after the renegade Catholic priest Montague Summers). 
You can use mantras for changing things within yourself, such as banishing fear ..."I must not fear..."  the incantation from Dune. 
5)Dance and Drugs: the good thing about ritual dances is that they are easy to get into and out of... whereas with psychotropic drugs, once taken, you can't get off the ride.
6)Music: lyrics can get in the way, trying to follow the words, using the rational mind interrupts the trance, the abandonment to the rhythm and beat. 
Non dance based music, often early Christian, and listening to a more melody led music can lead to a different form of trance. The different concepts of tones and scales within Indian music means that the analytical parts of the brain do not kick in, therefore it's good for invoking/evoking. 
You can also use the shuffle setting on iTunes as a form of i-ching, a way to clarify what is going on. 
Another example of song lyrics to be used in spells: 
Reach for the stars
Climb every mountain higher
Reach for the stars
Follow your heart's desire
Reach for the stars
And when that rainbow's shining over you
That's when your dreams will all come true

Perfect for a magical spell...it's from Reach for the Stars by S-Club 7 (a mystical number to boot). 
To invoke the Priestess of Dance in the Gnostic mass, how about The Bangles 'Walk like an Egyptian'?
Archetypes of deities: What is a god form? It is astral dressing up. 


Super moot: Reverse Time Magic

Steve Wilson gave a talk on Reverse Time Magic, an explanation of how magic spells can work even before you have performed the spell. 
He initially observed this phenomenon when he was a member of The Companions of the Rainbow Bridge coven, a ceremonial ritual training group. They performed a gnostic mass and a specific room of a specific size was put aside for this with a congregation of about 20 people. They would hand out wine and cakes of light. Every week they would have a different deacon, once it was Ramsey Dukes, the occult writer and magician. 
Wilson started to feel the effects of the mass from about two hours prior. He found he could predict who the deacon was going to be. There were others instances of this; once a wealth magic spell was performed and the recipient received a check from his grandmother saying "I'm sending this because I thought that you could do with some money". However the check was sent even before the spell was made. So Wilson started to think about causality and Quantum Inseparability or QUIP. Two particles continue to effect each other, instantly. At CERN, when they observe the decay in a particle, the other particle decays as well. This is intentionality versus random nature. Stephen Hawking said "All matter can be contained in a pin head". Everything is connected because there is a field of quantum inseparability. Magic implies the unexpected. 
How to set up a reverse time magic incantation using either Wicca, Spellcraft or High ceremonial Magic:
First you face East. You make a statement of intent. Then you reverse something, like face west instead. When you are finished you face the other way. 
Remarks from the audience:
"Existence is continual."
"Theme of déjà vu. It's like a post-it note to the future."
At one point Crowley did an experiment with another magician to knock a vase off the mantelpiece but it didn't work until he became a hawk. 

The Ordo Templi Orientis Super Moot: Sandy Robertson


Arrived late missing the chat by Sandy Robertson, a man in his 50's with a long pony tail, wearing a suede fringed native Indian style jacket, in which he discussed writing The Aleister Crowley Scrapbook. Sandy used to be a music journalist for Sounds at around the same time I was working for the New Musical Express. We had a bitch about Tony Stewart who was the deputy editor at NME then editor at Sounds. Everybody hated and feared Tony Stewart who used to stare balefully at aspiring freelancers with his black eyes.
Sandy specialised in Industrial/Avant-garde music which brought us onto the subject of Throbbing Gristle and Genesis P. Orridge. I first met members of Throbbing Gristle when I was 16. I had run away from home to Muswell Hill and was staying with a friend. The upstairs tenants were TG members Chris and Cosey. They had just come back from the vernissage of their ground-breaking exhibition 'Prostitution' at the I.C.A. where Cosey displayed her used sanitary towels. Chris wore platform boots and glittery make-up. They seemed so exciting and dangerous, a new world to a 16 year old. After that, I used to see Genesis around the clubs. Once I met him when Throbbing Gristle were playing one of the Architectural Associations' amazing parties. Sadly for Genesis, his wife, Lady Jaye, has recently died, according to an obituary in The Guardian. Genesis has gone through extensive plastic surgery (breast implants etc) so that they would look similar...like mirror images of each other, a Platonian ideal. I always fancied him although he now looks like Danny LaRue.

We also discussed the occult writer Colin Wilson, who kindly wrote the introduction to Sandy's 'Scrapbook' in return for a case of Bordeaux. Wilson was living on Hampstead Heath in a tent when he wrote his break-through best-seller The Outsider. But Wilson did not form part of the Oxbridge writers elite and felt that true success eluded him as a result. Sandy Robertson's father used to make walking sticks for Wilson.
Crowley famously used a stretched dried rhino penis as a walking stick. Crowley influenced many writers and artists during his time, including Ian Fleming, who tried to enlist Crowley in the war effort, and Dennis Wheatley. More info about the use of occult against the Nazi's and the connection between Crowley and Winston Churchill here. But the more I hear about Crowley, the more I realise that he was a joker, a trickster, someone with a tremendous sense of humour rather than the most wicked man in the world.

Barbeque

Sardines:
...grilled with fresh mint on top.
Serve with vinho verde (but you can't get the proper stuff here, you can only get the new green resinous wine in Portugal, a world away from what they serve here).
New potato salad with chopped spring onions.


Vegetarian option: halloumi cheese either in kebab form on a skewer or placed within a red pepper shell and smeared with pesto. 



Procreation

I've given birth to a baby blogger...see links...aah isn't she cute?
I'm proliferating, spreading, soon I'll be all over the net like a rash...

Must tidy up flat and write up my notes about yogini's and cannibalism and using Buffy the vampire slayer to perform real magic

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Dinner

Fresh salmon en papillote (the easiest way to cook fish by far: sling it in some tin foil, bung it in the oven for 15-20 mins et voilà! Piece of piss!)
Mini baked potatoes with creme fraiche and crushed Maldon sea salt
Roasted cherry tomatoes and red peppers
Glass white wine (chardonnay)

Candles in the chandelier are lit

Watching the sky darken from pink to navy blue

Whilst listening to:
Goldfrapp 'Slippage' ...love the merry go round bit and slightly 60's movie vocals
Amy Winehouse "In my bed' ...nice Billie Holliday vocals on this

After a long hard day listening to lectures about tantric sex/popular culture and magick/reverse time magic in London Bridge

Missing element: you?

Friday, 11 July 2008

The Wizard's 40th birthday party


Selection of salsa's in a market restaurant, Mexico City.

For this I made:


Guacamole (made with only avocados, lemon/lime, chopped onion, salt. No garlic, you hear! You may add chili pepper if you want it spicy. Chopped coriander leaves .)

Salsa asado (tomatoes chopped not blended cos blending makes them look like vomit, onions, salt, lemon/lime, chopped coriander leaves, roasted chili peppers, after blackening, place in plastic bag, wait a few minutes then peel off shiny skin bit, remove seeds, chop).

Carottes rapées with lots of lemon juice, sprinkled with poppy seeds

Vegetarian nori nori sushi with avocado and cucumber, pickled ginger and wasabi

Rustic Greek salad with barrel-aged feta (roughly chopped cucumbers, fresh mint, black olives)

Red onion foccaccia

Rosemary (from his garden) foccaccia

Tabouleh (coucous, salted lemons, pine nuts, raisins)

Rondolets of French ficelle bread spread with green and black olive tapenade

Tomato and mozzarella salad (if you can get burrata all the better) with basil leaves/olive oil/balsamic vinegar

Bowls of marinated olives with lemon and garlic

Home-made hummus with paprika and roasted sesame seeds

For dipping: carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, strips of pitta bread, tortilla chips

Plate of cherry tomatoes with capers and anchovies

Fruit: Fruits of the forest berries sprinkled with brown sugar (controversial for the anti-sugar brigade who nonetheless are quite willing to snort/ingest chemical substances at the drop of a hat). Otherwise they are rather bitter.

I would have combined them with a pavlova if I had the time. I adore meringues.


It was quite amazing how much people ate at a party where everybody took loads of drugs.

Why did I cook for this man who had just dumped me? Was it masochism? I found out later his new girlfriend (an old girlfriend) was in his bed upstairs while I was downstairs cooking. I felt I was in a '60s movie, maybe 'Alfie'. I would have been the downtrodden homely one with the headscarf asking what he wanted for his tea while the exotic sex kitten was upstairs in a negligée.
I think, if I'm honest, that I got some kind of kick out of pretending to be his wife just for one evening...being his hostess. People did actually ask me if I was Mrs Wizard. Pathetically I was on verge of saying yes but thought he might find out and realise what a ridiculous fantasist I actually am.
I probably entertained stupid dreams that, if I cooked well enough, he'd recognise what he was missing...but sadly I'm not sure that the old adage that 'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach' is true. I think it's much lower down.

Salt

I'm a salt fascist. My favourite salt is from the Ile de Ré near La Rochelle in France. It's very expensive and very good. Fleur de sel; it tastes of violets. For more information on Fleur de sel click here.
In this country I buy Maldon sea salt. I like its structure; you can crumble the flakes easily between your fingers.
For cooking I use sel grise which I buy in bulk when I visit France.
Use good sea salt and you need less of it.
You cannot cook good food without salt. The public health scares over salt are not based on evidence (link). In fact too little salt is far more dangerous.
I have visited the Salar de Ayuni in Bolivia, the salt mines in Brazil, the salt cathedral in Colombia. At the latter, you can lick the walls. 



Curries

At my shift at Pogos cafe yesterday I made a coconut, cashew, and chickpea curry.
Grind up your spices in a pestle and mortar: I used what I could find:
a couple of cloves
garlic
ginger
sea salt
turmeric
paprika
cumin
coriander seeds
cardomon ( I grind them a little and then take out the husks)

I fry vegetable oil with a handful of mustard seeds, taking care not to burn them as they become bitter. Then a handful of chopped onions. The spices. Some red pepper. Chick peas (these were soaked. I normally cheat and use tinned because they are softer). Then coconut milk. A big scoop of smooth peanut butter. Fresh coriander. Then, last minute inspiration, a couple of handfuls of cashew nuts.  
I served it with brown basmati rice and a cucumber raitha.
Alot of people ordered it, so I bulked it out with cauliflower florets and more coconut milk/spices. I would have added some roasted chilli, but they don't like their food too spicy in this cafe.
So I like the fact that the main ingredients all start with 'c'. It looked creamy and rich and spicy and yellow. I loved its saffron colour with fresh coriander leaves chopped on top. The weather is rainy here this July so this was the perfect compromise of a light n fresh summer curry which warms you up.
Pogo Café is a vegan café and social centre in Hackney. Its latest newsletter says:
Once more we invite you  to come and brave the whores, addicts and worse still the kids whilst you sip on one of our range of exquisite teas or slurp a soya milkshake.
The head waitress is Dvd: "I find if I tell people that I'm a gay vegan Jew in the first 10 minutes, it sorts out the chaff from the wheat". 
One of the cooks is Cl who is German but from near the Polish border. So she's a specialist in cabbage. She recently split with her boyfriend and had the usual female reaction to splitting up thing of chopping her hair off. Except that she has been coiffed in that typical anarchist lezzer punk way of having a shaved head with bizarre strands left long. Why would anyone want to look like they've got ringworm?
The other is Ca who is Irish. She is almost entirely orange. Orange hair, and big orange freckles all over. She makes a mean pesto sauce.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Assassins and suicide bombers

This OTO member is a former civil servant.
The moot with no name again organised by David Barrett, writer of Secret societies and former intelligence agent and hosted by Steve Wilson, of OTO (Ordo Templi Orientis). The talk 'Assassins and the End of Time' was given by Boz Temple-Morris, a sweet little bloke and the inventor of Death cigarettes, who were eventually closed down by order of British courts.
Nothing is true, everything is permitted.
The etymyology of the word assassin: it's from hashshashin, that is "hashish user', which is also old Arabic for 'saint'. This was a term used by their enemies, because, like the incomprehension of Westerners today towards suicide bombers, their willingness to sacrifice themselves could only be understood if they were drugs' users. In fact they were esoterrorists! However Assassins were not allowed to commit suicide, preferring to approach the enemy in disguise, kill them with a dagger and then be killed at the hands of the enemy once discovered.
The founder of The Assassins, a Shia Muslim sect established in the 11th century, was Hassan-i Sabbah. They were heretics from the established Muslim faith and lived in a series of mountain top fortresses in Eastern Iraq/Iran. They ran an almost autonomous nation state with their own laws and coinage. When armies were sent against them, they would take out the leaders, not fight the army. This was an effective technique for while generals are more than willing to sacrifice their troops, they are not so keen on being assassinated themselves. So they stopped coming. This was at the time of the crusades and foreign correspondents were reporting on it. It was rumoured that Richard the Lionheart hired the Assassins to kill the King of Jerusalem. The Assassins were more interested in defeating rival Muslim factions than the Christians.
 Robert Anton Wilson was a big fan of these outlaw mystics. They also influenced the Ayatollah Khomeini who was a devotee and head of a secret society.
There were 3 schisms in Islam that led up to this:
1) The split between the Shia's and the Sunni's. Basically it was Iran versus the Arabs. Shia equals the state of Egypt
2)The second schism takes place when the Imam Jafar al Sadeq's eldest son Ismail (a man with mystic and esoteric leanings) dies before his father and the succession is wrestled away from his bloodline by his more conservative brother. The followers of Ismail break away to form a new Shia group, the Ismaili's. They later emerge at the head of an army and take Egypt, establishing the Fatimid Caliphate. Hasan i Sabah would have been preaching the Ismaili message in Iran and he takes the fortress of Alamut as centre of his operations.
3)The third schism was effectively a coup d'etat that happened within the Fatimid Caliphate. Nizar, son of the Imam, was murdered and his young brother took power. Hasan i Sabah, already in Iran, then broke away and called his group the "Nizari Ismaili's". It is the Nizari Ismaili's that we call the Assasssins. 
Hassan II, at the age of 35, in 1164 declared the End of Time, the abrogation of all law. During Ramadan, the min bar was pointed away from Mecca (the equivalent to an upside down cross) and there was a table filled with food and wine. (1) At noon, Hassan mounted a pulpit and announced:"Djinn, men, angels! I have received information that all law is dissolved, all form is inverted." He has decided that his people are ready for true mystical power: 7 cycles of time and time itself is being subverted here. There is a Kabbalistic cascade:
God
^
Matter
The community are being invited to travel up this path.The laws are being dispensed with.
The campaign of assassination kicks off. Sleepers, who would work undercover as close aides for years, would assassinate or leave warnings; such a leader would wake up and find a dagger under their pillow (the implication being that it is harder to place it under a pillow than to kill someone). There were many prominent victims. One story says that in an attempt to kill Saladin, a poisoned cake was placed upon his chest while sleeping, with a dagger in it reading, "You are in our power." Saladin, furious, tried to lay siege to the assassin Syrian stronghold Masyaf. The siege didn't work because there was water (wells) inside the fortress. Eventually Saladin fled. 
Even now, Al-Quaida have training handbooks explaining how to behave 'normally' in Western society, in enemy territory.(2)
All this was very similar to what happened to the Cathars in France. In the medieval times there were millennium movements. Frederic II declared "last days" "we are realised mystics". 
The Assassin culture was the earlier equivalent to the European renaissance. They worked with Aristotle and Plato. Within The Assassins there was Anarchy but no misbehaviour. People understood it. The Library at the Fortress of Alamat- was astonishing. The Fatimid Caliphate was a centre of learning. Kabbalist thought was exported wholesale into Spain...mystical Kabbalah really came from there. Ismailism was trying to encourage insurrection. .
 Then 1256, the assassin state falls, the Mongols destroyed Alamat. Orthodoxy establishes itself within The Assassins. The Ismaeli's diluted the entire Assassin culture and tamed the theology by claiming that Hassan was the Imam himself and part of the bloodline.
 12 years previously the Cathars fell at Montségur.

(1) Speaking of sacrilege, in 930 CE, the ka'aba, the black stone was stolen by Ismaili warriors who had pillaged Makkah (Mecca). The stone broke apart into several pieces. Silver nails were used to fasten the broken pieces to the stone. The Ismailis held Ka'aba for 22 years (until 952 CE) then sold it back to Arabs. As an antinomian event it was a success.

(2) Perhaps this is what the 9/11 suicide bombers were doing when they caroused with topless waitresses in Florida cocktail bars prior to their mission.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Stone of Destiny

Hanging out with a Thelemite reality show winner. After his victory he went to live in Northumberland, which I'd quite like to visit. He's apparently quite famous. Wants to steal the Stone of Destiny and place it in Jerusalem, thereby causing Armageddon. Have volunteered to help.

NO I don't have time to explain.


....oh allright then follow this link...http://jahtruth.net/liafail.htm

P.S. Have finally understood what Thelemite really means... it means selfish lazy inconsiderate fucking bastard. The adepts are generally men.

"Do what thou wilt--then do nothing else"

A. Your Duty to Self: describes the self as the center of the universe, with a call to learn about one's inner nature. Admonishes to develop every faculty in a balanced way, establish one's autonomy, and to devote to the service of one's own True Will.
B. Your Duty to Others: admonishes to eliminate the illusion of separateness between oneself and all others, to fight when necessary, to avoid interfering with the Wills of others, to enlighten others when needed, and to worship the divine nature of all other beings.
C. Your Duty to Mankind: admonishes that the Law of Thelema should be the sole basis of conduct. That the laws of the land should have the aim of securing the greatest liberty for all individuals. Crime is described as being a violation of one's True Will.
D. Your Duty to All Other Beings and Things: admonishes the application of the Law of Thelema to all problems and states that "It is a violation of the Law of Thelema to abuse the natural qualities of any animal or object by diverting it from its proper function" and "The Law of Thelema is to be applied unflinchingly to decide every question of conduct."

Or...these Thelemites are only doing A.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Gay Pride

Eros

Amy with samba dancer

More Amy's...

Bo Jo at Pride

Gay pride march in London 2008...leading the parade with Barking Bateria. The theme was myths and fairytales. I went as a slutty fairy. Band colours were black and red. (1) Just before kick off, Bo Jo (Boris Johnson, our newly crowned Mayor of London), no doubt in an attempt to rival Ken Livingstone's inclusivity credentials, arrived to give his blessing to the whole she-bang. 
At the start of the march, the actor Sir Ian Mckellen, better known as Gandalf, stood beaming at us as we thumped past him. Tourists and gay people thronged the route along Oxford Street, down to Piccadilly Circus, terminating in Trafalgar Square. Funniest moment for me were the three friendly rubber clad gimps in full face masks, no doubt melting in the heat, rattling their chains in time to the music. Couldn't get a picture and keep the beat though...
There are floats from gay ambulance drivers, gay National Health Service workers, gay police, gay firemen...
If there was any doubt that Amy Winehouse has made it as a popular culture icon, it was confirmed by the fact that I saw at least 8 men dressed as Amy's. The tall black beehive studded with cocktail umbrella's, skinny legs atop teetering heels, was shorthand for a certain shambolic nihilist glamour admired by the gay fraternity. (Close up as I was at Glastonbury, it was clear that her beehive was entirely fake. I guess they are now selling Amy hairpieces. Her look has become a joke shop outfit. In addition, my daughter's drum teacher who is friends with Amy's band, gossiped that she is a total mess, constantly forgetting lyrics).
There was, of course, the alternative event in Vauxhall, Gay Shame, the annual festival of masculine misery, which stated the following in its flyer:

On Gay P**de night 2008 it's time to make men pay. Collect your wad of nine bob notes on the door and spend them in the market place as Duckie turns consumers into real men.

Take part in over 30 stalls that test your masculinity.

fighting
fucking
football
boxing
boozing
betting

Effeminate homosexuals will be barred and women vaguely tolerated as designer Robin Whitmore turns The Coronet into an interactive nightclub-theatre with the aesthetics of a giant fucking mini-cab office: sticky, brown, stained, a bit pongy and distinctly lacking a feminine touch. 
Dress code: straight blokes, plumbers, fat darts players, dads, butch lesbians.
Patrons please note: No pink, no make up, no heels, no floral patterns, no humanity.

which sounded like a laugh, but at the end of the march, my hands full of blisters, I did not have the energy to attend...
We did busk a while in the back streets of Soho (London's gay quarter) until a fire started in the building above us and we were interrupted by the arrival of the fire brigade, whose uniformed bod's, skillful hose-work and masculine bravery, delighted the appreciative onlookers...


(1) Each samba band has their own colours: Rhythms of Resistance London, (other bands in the anarchist RoR franchise, which is spreading all over the world, from Torino and Amsterdam to Mexico City, wear different colours) wears pink and silver; London School of Samba: green and white; ect ect. Each samba school has different functions: RoR is political and does actions and demo's; Barking Bateria is the party band; London School of Samba (LSS) is the official British samba band, and does the Notting Hill Carnival; Paraiso is in it for the money; Rhythms of the City are technically superb but rather boring. Of course we all cross over and sometimes get together for huge marches. You cannot imagine the thrill of drumming with 60 other drummers! You also get your gig tarts, who just take their pick of juicy gigs with each band. The Samba scene is very incestuous: several marriages and samba babies have resulted...Barking Bateria, unfortunately before I joined, used to have, it is said, massive orgies in which everyone had it off with everyone else. There was one point at which the entire band had to get treatment for VD en masse. 
 

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Aftermath of the festival

A site specific work...

Filthy gorgeous!

Disposable culture...

Idiots put plastic bottles on fires...

The morning after the festival, we were dismayed by the sheer waste left behind...as described in a previous post. The attitude was very much "I'm here for a good time and fuck everyone else!" Very distant from the original premise of the festival... Still, if you want some free camping gear, stay till the day after and you can pick up perfectly intact tents, wellies, cooking gear by the dozen. There were an awful lot of those pop-up tents which are easy to erect and a nightmare to pack down again. I did take one abandoned pop-up tent and spent at least 40 minutes trying to fold it down into its bag. Gave up in the end... Maybe they need to be bio-degradable?
Went for a wander and as usual spent hours in my favourite stall...The Speaking Tree...a discount esoteric bookshop in Glastonbury town itself. I always spend a fortune there and this time bought Atlantis by Andrew Collins,  the aforementioned book on Glastonbury, An oral history of the music mud and magic, and The battle of the Beanfield by Andy Worthington which I was stunned to discover had a photograph of myself in it, playing at Stonehenge with the Kings Drummers. This book is about the attempt
"to establish the 12th annual free festival at Stonehenge. They never reached their destination. Eight miles form the Stones they were ambushed, assaulted and arrested with unprecedented brutality by a quasi-military police force of over 1,300 officer drawn form six counties and the MoD. That even has gone down in history as 'The battle of the Beanfield'."
I was also proud that my daughter spent most of her pocket money there too...I must have done something right with that girl.
When we returned to our bell tent, and this is a first for me at Glasto, somebody has nicked my wheelbarrow and rifled through our tent. They only stole the alcohol. The loss of the wheelbarrow meant that I had no way of getting my stuff back to the car, it was all too heavy.
I asked for help at the gate and they confirmed my impression that the type of people at the festival this year was very different. "Scousers!" they said. "You know, in previous years, if someone had a Scouse accent, we'd take their ticket off them and kick 'em out. Now they are back. And thefts have sky rocketed." 
Some of my best friends are Scousers so I don't know how true this is or if it's just prejudice but there was definitely a yobbo element. 

I've got lots of photographs to post up but it's a bloody nightmare with blogspot. I'll try later tonight...