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Other Voices & Outside Sources

An Arizona Wingnut in Maggie Thatcher’s Court

image by Christopher Hunt

Excerpt of Chronicle III of Hell Bottled Up: Chronicles of a Late Propaganda Minister [Far Gone Books, 2016]

by Todd Brendan Fahey

Ahhhh…tired, brain-dead, need stimuli badly–and not the kind that the University would ever sanction. I put out the feelers, and trusted my instincts regarding cost, quality, risk of deception… All the things potential drug-buyers must be aware of in advance.

There were twenty hours left in London, and they had to be good. Either a rabid gang bang, involving no less than twenty seniors at neighboring St. Mary’s Preparatory, or a high-speed helicopter cruise to Faroe Island, stuck between the Upper Hebrides and Iceland, or…

Through cigarette smoke, I saw a black beret rising slowly up the hotel stairs from the vantage point of my room. It was Felippe, which meant trouble of some rare and virulent form. And I knew, just out of simple goodwill–in the Christmas spirit–that I would buy whatever he was hawking  and consume it instantly, in large quantities, and remained dazed throughout the tortuous eleven-hour flight back to LAX.

He carried a duffle bag with a huge Masterlock around the zipper. I felt a little giddy. Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway played on a stereo nearby. The company was an odd mix: three guys in the program, but not terribly close friends…just that ‘hey, it’s the last night here, so let’s figure out what this guy is all about, anyway’-type crowd. Which was neither good nor bad. In fact, it presented a unique challenge in coping with three mere acquaintances with a head-steam of black microdot. Which was what Felippe was carrying.

“This stuff’s burning my fingers, man!” he complained. “Take all you need. Cheap. Only five pounds a hit.”

Put on a simple sliding American/British scale, that wasn’t cheap. In fact, it converted to $8 a hit, compared to an average of three bucks in the United States…for acid. LSD. Yes, that’s what we’re talking about. Haggling over a five-dollar difference for a drug that will make you instantly forget such things as Money and Responsibilities and Basic Reality for at least ten hours.

So we bought a paltry five hits and shooed Felippe off like a dungfly, and then moseyed on downstairs to a larger room shared by Sam and Barry and Charlie. Sam preferred Marlboro’s to LSD, so we counted him out, and divvied up five hits between myself, Charlie–a happy-go-lucky leather/rocker, with the hair of Buffalo Bill and the temperament of Robin Williams–and Barry, who was a bit harder to figure.

Our first meeting hadn’t gone well. After cracking something about welfare bums and Social Security fraud, in one of Professor Schwartz’ lectures, Barry remarked that his father was on constant kidney dialysis, and that their family unit would not have survived without Federal assistance. And I felt bad. Not because of my opinions or theories, but that I might have caused this young man to consider his dad a loafer, a cheat and a parasite. Which wasn’t my intent at all.

And now I had to make it up to this figure with long stringy hair, two-inch black-painted fingernails, and the capacity to lash out an essay before the start of a class–longhand–half­ scratched out…and set the course curve. I admired Barry, although I wouldn’t trade whole lives.

Charlie was clearly game. But Barry was nervous, so I asked him if he’d ever taken mushrooms.

“Twice,” he said.

“No freakouts? No random spurts of yelling or thoughts of instant reincarnation into an Albanian bladderwort as being a beautiful thing?” I probed, hoping he could handle it.

“Nope,” he said simply, looking at the five children’s aspirin-sized pellets being crushed into a fine powder by Charlie, as he gleamed at the mock petri dish, “it was fun.”

Get it on. Continue reading

FEAR AND MANIC VIBES AT THE LEVEE: TRUMP, BREXIT AND THE CRUMBLING ORDER

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illustration by David Dees

REGGAE NIGHT

I was at the levee, a seedy little dive in south Kansas City, MO when an ominous CNN news bulletin buzzed my iPhone to life. My eyes hovered down towards the screen, and I was instantly whacked into a rattled ball of nerves.

It was reggae night at the Levee and it also happened to be my birthday. The atmosphere was light and jovial. I enjoyed a Red Stripe with my friends and the band covered ‘Lively up yourself’. I was feeling good, at least until 11:01 p.m. CT.

“U.K. votes to leave the European Union. Results show Leave campaign winning with over 51% of the vote”, flashed across the screen.

Bam. As if a baseball bat swatted me across the mouth I felt stunned and confused. My stomach hit the floor and the room morphed into a post-apocalyptic scene. Smiling young people clutched beers and bobbed up and down along with the chick-chack of the reggae music. The chattering and laughter seemed almost distant, muffled in a grim haze. The news was so unexpected and shocking that I began twitching. My eyes darted around the room, and I struggled to maintain.

I snapped a screenshot of the bulletin. I tapped my friend on the shoulder and thrusted the phone into his face. He scanned it and fixed me with a wide-eyed stare. I showed the bulletin to another friend sitting on the other side of the table, and after reading it a second time, she looked at me and mouthed, “what… the… fuck”, accompanying each word with a tiny back and forth movement of the head.

The band finished a set and the people clapped and whooped. A skinny, middle aged white woman in a flowing gown ululated from the other side of the bar.

I b-lined to the door and went outside for some air. My buddy was already outside smoking a cigarette and we exchanged concerned looks. I stared down at the sidewalk. “Dude, this is big,” I muttered. He took a draw and reflected in silence. “This will give the Trump campaign a tailwind,” I added.

A group of people glided across the parking lot, chuckling and jabbering and sliding towards the Levee. My friend stabbed out a cigarette into an ashtray, coughed, and said, “it’s not that big of a deal, a tiny footnote… not a big deal.” His words registered like some kind of bleak incantation.

“A tiny footnote”, in history, presumably.

REPORT FROM THE ROCKIES

About an hour later I was standing on some smoky, dimly lit outdoor patio that seemed to exude a kind of slumping, third-world degeneracy. People chatted and the mood was positive, however I felt tense and trapped.

Moments later, I received a private Facebook message from a friend of mine who is a financial analyst in Denver. The message contained a screenshot of a page off cnbc.com with a headline, “US futures take a dive”, and a bunch of red arrows pointing down. “DOW FUT -730.00 (-4.07%), S&P FUT -106.75 (-5.07%)”, etc.

After looking over the thing, I was overcome with a stifling sense of fear and loathing. People were lined up outside of the Levee, and the reggae band was covering another upbeat Bob Marley song.

It was impossible to shake the notion that at that very moment, the world was shaking in the wake of a referendum that could potentially be a game changer for global affairs. At that moment, I realized how interconnected everything really was. Disastrously interconnected.

The world is not like it used to be. The digital age has proliferated an era of instantaneous repercussions to global events. From the way news is reported to the way geopolitical events, like the ‘Brexit’, ripple across financial markets; to the way trends and ideas bubble up and spill across boarders. Even across seas.

TRUMP

The next day, Donald Trump was in Scotland promoting a golf club. Trump promptly demonstrated his solidarity with the the Leave campaign, Tweeting, “Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take American back. No games!”

Despite the erroneous nature of his Tweet – The majority in Scotland voted to stay – Trump’s support for the Leave campaign and the ideology that accompanies it, is terribly upsetting for those of us dreading the now very real possibility of a Trump presidency. Continue reading

Nearly Dead in America

 

by Cesar Silva

Photo of Cesar Silva by Tyler Ash

  •   *   *   *

I ask myself everyday, what can I do to be great? I seek the answers…I listen to the wind whisper in my ear…but I hear silence; like the silence I experienced after I was shot 6 times with an AK-47 at the age of 15.

Another long night was coming to an end when my road dog Moreno and I where strolling around the city having one hell of an adventure. We were stealing, drinking, running from cops, and kicking it on the block. Life was simple, all we wanted was excitement and a couple dollars to get us some beers. It was about 1AM and the fog was creeping in fast, making it hard to see anything that was out of our reach. We decided to walk back to Kinston Ave, the block that we called home. With a screwdriver in one hand and a bandana in the other, we were off and Patrolling the bike path that connects the Projects to the rest of Culver City. There was no doubt in our minds that this walk was dangerous, but that didn’t deter us from taking the risk.

There had been various shoot-outs and walk-ups that had occurred in that creek, but we never thought it would happen to us. We were carelessly walking the path and clowning when two shadows appeared under the yellow streetlight; moving towards us fast. We instantly knew something was up, and began shouting at them to identify themselves. We had no options at that moment but to stand tall and yell out our neighborhood at them. They had no words for us…. Gunshots rang out.

I seen a barrage of gunfire headed straight for me, and then a bullet hit my leg. I turn around and start running, holding my head down, protecting it from getting blown up. My buddy runs in another direction and he was gone. I’m running as fast as I can, all I’m thinking is to keep my head down and sprint across to the other side of the creek. I can’t feel any pain as the adrenalin runs through my body and I begin tumbling down the side of the bike path, straight into the water below. I reach the bottom of that creek face down and hear gun shot’s still blasting off. I play dead, hoping that the gunners don’t come down to finish me off.

I lay motionless in the darkness of silence, floating in a foot of cold sewer water, scared and alone with no one around. I wait a few minutes to make sure that someone isn’t coming down to end me. After a few minutes I muster up the courage and strength to turn myself over and look into the sky. I gaze into the depth of the universe, pleading to god from the very bottom of my heart…”Don’t let me die tonight”. Continue reading

arsenoeroticism

 

I was intrigued recently when I stumbled upon a study conducted by the University of Texas at Arlington relating to gun owners across the US. It’s clear that the current studies on gun ownership, and the relationships they show regarding gun crime, depend on the political bent of the studies’ benefactors. But this one is different; it is without doubt an extensive study that takes into account all US states, but it is unconcerned with crime rates, and even with the weapons’ use as a weapon.

The results show that 68% of privately owned firearms in the USA have traces of semen and/or cervical mucus on them. It appears that the love of one’s weapon goes far beyond the myriad interpretations of the second amendment. The findings also show that on average, the semen samples are from three different people; and together with semen, faecal matter traces were also found, and again more than one source of the faeces were discovered.

Together with ejaculate and bodily excreter, that of a wide variety of food stuffs was present; it seems that gun owners are gentlemen, and before they and their pals indulge in a debauched evening of obscene sexual proclivity, they treat their weapons to a slap up meal, no expense spared. As mentioned, female gun ownership is also highly sexual; a not unsubstantial proportion of women would do with a rifle what they’d consider unthinkable with a man; and again, high quality food is a significant component. Also statistically significant is the number of same sex arsenal parties; men have sex with their guns with other men, and women with other women. Couples do indulge but with a far more lackadaisical approach; it’s a pistol in the posterior with a pizza rather than a three-course meal and a lubed-up shotgun. Continue reading

Media Killed the War Against War

 

by Arianne Dragoo

image1In his book, Propaganda, Edward L. Bernays wrote, “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” He goes on to add, “We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”

Does this frighten you? It should. As a society we find ourselves surrounded by enemy lines. Lines which move and shift like shadows governed by the sun. We live in an age of information but it is a House of Mirrors. Instead of being self-guided, we are herded as if to the slaughter. Why the misuse of information? Who is pulling the strings of Major Media? Why is Major Media willing to be manipulated?

Greed.

Since when did an individual or entity who, driven by greed, ever have the interests of others in mind?

I’ll wait.

And what makes our thoughts and opinions so damn valuable? I will allow the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, & Cultural Organization) answer just that, “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”

You may argue that the UN is an organization established to promote peace but the fact remains that whatever means used psychologically to promote peace can be used to promote and perpetuate conflict.

This doesn’t mean that all Media platforms are false. What this line of reasoning suggests is that we wisely choose where our stream of information is coming. Compare facts and information domestically and internationally in hopes of discovering sources devoid of agenda.

We live such chaotic lives, it’s a luxury to be able to coast through certain aspects of it. One aspect we cannot afford to coast pertains to information. Sure it’s easy to feast on what Major Media sets before us, but should it be trusted? Have they gathered and prepared the facts properly? Would you return to a restaurant that received a low health score before knowing that they addressed and corrected all violations? Or would you spin the roulette wheel? As a society we are doing the latter and it has led to outbreaks of instability and doubt. Seek a safe place to dine your mind. At first this suggestion seems daunting, but in time you will discover who to trust and find sources handling information respectfully and being propelled by truth.

In a speech titled, The President and the Press, John F. Kennedy spoke of “common responsibilities in the face of common danger” and the “requirements of direct concern both to the press and to the President”. Those requirements being, “first, to the need for a far greater public information; and, second, to the need for far greater official secrecy.”

JFK continues, “I am asking the members of the newspaper profession and the industry in this country to reexamine their own responsibilities”. He goes on to add, “I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people.”

“It means greater attention to improved understanding of the news as well as improved transmission. And it means, finally, that government at all levels, must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security”

And he concludes, “it is to the printing press–to the recorder of man’s deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news–that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent.”

Our current cycle repeats itself because he who controls minds controls war, and he who benefits from war will try and control minds

 

Hunter S. Thompson: The Champion of Fun

art by Nic Price

art by Nic Price

 

by Todd Brendan Fahey
originally appeared in the March 1991 issue of Fling

I remember very crisply my introduction to the cult of Hunter S. Thompson. Having already broasted the front side of my body under a thin ozone layer one warm August afternoon in Santa Barbara, I traded my beach chair for a friend’s towel so I could lie on my stomach and read from an orange and blue paperback, which had him laughing so hard he could barely hit off the joint we were trying to finish before the locals came begging around. Ralph Steadman’s insane sketching on the cover of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas had sucked me right into the rented fire-apple convertible, and into the giddy vortex where Dr. Thompson lives.

Later that afternoon, like any obsessive-compulsive personality, I drove to Earthling Bookshop and cleaned out their supply of Thompson works and began reading to the extent that I neglected basic human contact for as many weeks as it took to exhaust the six pieces of stone-madness. I became a True Believer, an historian, a collector — most likely a huge bore — emerging from literary hibernation and bringing Dr. Thompson with me to work, to parties . . . home to the folks for Thanksgiving. Dad was a bit miffed. He suffered through the introduction to The Great Shark Hunt, shaking his head spasmodically, and handed the book back to me, muttering, “Well, it isn’t James Michener.”

No. It is not. Hunter S. Thompson is a special breed, a variety of which will not likely be replicated in the near future.

Untitled

And so, when Herr Doktor’s agent informed me of an impending “nightclub act” at The Strand in Redondo Beach, I was genetically enthusiastic. I was also a bit apprehensive: the scattered reports emanating from similar gigs, from people I trusted, were not real . . . positive. The first ugly feedback came from a girlfriend of mine, who had gone to see the Doc do his “Gonzo thing” at UC Santa Barbara. The outlaw journalist, she said, staggered onto the stage and proceeded to suckle from a bottomless flagon of Wild Turkey, alternately raving and mumbling in a uniquely demented fashion until he was booed off the stage by a band of angry preps feeling cheated out of their twenty-dollar cash drain. The other, less reliable, report came from a tainted source and had something to do with Dr. Thompson, G. Gordon Liddy, a mound of white powder and a blow-up doll — but the story was too disturbing to want to verify, and so I’ll have to take my gentleman source at his word. Continue reading

THE PASSING OF THE GOAT: MUHAMMAD ALI

 

by Gary Stromberg

My heart weighs heavy, as I’m trying to get my head around the passing of Muhammad Ali, the single most important and influential man I’ve known. Ali and I were born in the same year, 1942, so I’ve lived on this planet the same amount of time as he has, up until now that is. While I don’t have the intellectual capacity nor the poetic ability to convey the real significance his stunning life had upon me, I can share a few memorable encounters I had with him.

The first, unfortunately, wasn’t very pleasant. In 1968 I was twenty-six years old and married to Chelsea Brown, a beautiful young African-American actress whose high-profile TV career was just taking off. She and I were having lunch at Universal Studios, where I had just landed a contract as an aspiring young filmmaker. We had just been seated, when into the commissary walked Ali, who at the time was in the midst of serving a 4-year suspension from boxing for refusing to join the army and fight in Viet Nam. All eyes were on him, as he passed through the crowded dining area. Suddenly he spotted my gorgeous wife and without asking, he pulled up a chair at our table. I was stunned that he chose to sit with us, but quickly understood that it was my wife that attracted him. The two of them exchanged greetings, then Chelsea looked over at me and said, “Mr. Ali, this is my husband, Gary.” I was beaming with excitement. He looked over at me and clenched his jaw in a way that told me he wasn’t at all happy to meet me. Ali was still seeing the world as black vs white, oppressed vs oppressor, and I obviously symbolized the latter to him. He curtly nodded to me, didn’t say a word and within seconds got up to leave. I was mortified. I didn’t even have the chance to tell him how much I admired him.

The next time we met was in 1974. I was hired to do the public relations for a big music festival in Kinshasa, Zaire in advance of the Muhammad Ali–George Foreman Rumble in the Jungle. The concert, which later became the Academy Award winning documentary When They Were Kings included an impressive list of African-American music artists, including James Brown, B.B. King, The Spinners, Bill Withers, The Crusaders and a host of other great performers.

While in Kinshasa, I got to visit the Ali training camp and although I had no direct contact with him, I got to observe the way he trained and more interestingly, the way he related to the local community. Ali was, to put it simply, adored beyond belief by his African brothers and sisters. Everywhere he went, chants of Ali Booma ye (Ali kill him) rang out. Being a fanatical boxing fan, I, like the rest of the boxing world was gravely concerned for his health in this fight. Taking on the indomitable Foreman seemed like an impossible and very dangerous undertaking, but observing how he was being worshipped by the people of Zaire, I had a sneaky suspicion he just might shock the world, which is exactly what he ended up doing. Continue reading

A Head of His Time: Donald Trump & the Battle of Aspen

 

We knew Donald Trump when he had hair, and not what he’s got on his head today. That can be taken many ways. But with Trump now the presumptive candidate for the GOP nomination to the office of President of the United States of America, this story must be told.

It was at a trendsetting Italian restaurant in Aspen, Colorado, where we got to know the arrogant miscreant. I worked  at this most well-attended eatery with a tight crew of well-seasoned culinary pros. I was a young ski bum, taking in the sun and the snow by day and cooking into the night.

In the late 1980s, Trump often came to Aspen, with his then-wife Ivana. It was Christmas and they were here to ski. That was the official word, anyway. I had seen him on the mountain. Ivana could ski, but not her husband.

2CAED7BB00000578-3246349-image-a-1_1443024435671Trump had his own fear-ridden agenda that particular year, and it wasn’t learning how to ski. His intention was to keep Ivana from discovering his mistress and next future ex-wife, Marla Maples, (also in town), from meeting on the slopes. Yet inexplicably it was he who invited her to tag along, and he put her up at a hotel. It wasn’t as if Ms. Maples had hijacked one of The Donald’s soon-to-be bankrupt airliners and flown here to personally confront Ivana. Trump set the whole thing up.

By day, he stalked the on-mountain sundeck at Bonnie’s restaurant in a black one-piece, pretending to be an expert skier, lying to anyone who would listen, about the runs he’d conquered. On his head at the time was a golden mane of unkempt and windblown hair. He wore it like a peacock’s tail. It was an era in skiing technology that Trump would soon regret, a time when helmets were rare. His ineptness on the snow was less than that of most green-run skiers.

All of Aspen could see that. So was his lack of class and inability to blend in at the dinner table. We knew that, too. And what happens in Aspen goes on onstage, in an undeniable spotlight.

In those days there existed, a true skiing aristocracy. George Hamilton was always in town, along with the counterculture Hollywood wildmen.

Jack Nicholson would come into the kitchen and order his steak au poivre personally. “Done to a turn,” he’d say, his eyebrows soaring behind his Ray Bans.

Hunter S. Thompson, the author of Fear and Loathing: on the Campaign Trail ’72, was indeed another welcome guest who often visited the back of the house. He would conspire for hours at the bar with Jimmy Buffett and Bill Murray to take over a nearby nightclub’s stage. In the dining room Sally Field had the Caesar, prepared and served table side by the owner; a great chef who had hosted New York’s fine arts and movie culture at the St. Regis Manhattan.

But this was Aspen in the eighties, where the biggest names in New York and L.A. blended seamlessly with world-class athletes and the local Gonzo freaks, filling the finest places for après ski and dinner. Continue reading

Muhammad Ali And Howard Cossel

That was always the difference between Muhammad Ali and the rest of us. He came, he saw, and if he didn’t entirely conquer – he came as close as anybody we are likely to see in the lifetime of this doomed generation. – Hunter S. Thompson

“After a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening,” Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman, told NBC News.

 

Last Tango In Vegas: Fear And Loathing In The Near Room

BY  from Rolling Stone, May 1978

When I’m gone, boxing will be nothing again. The fans with the cigars and the hats turned down’ll be there, but no more housewives and little men in the street and foreign presidents. It’s goin’ to be back to the fighter who comes to town, smells a flower, visits a hospital, blows a horn and says he’s in shape. Old hat. I was the onliest boxer in history people asked questions like a senator.

— Muhammad Ali, 1967

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Life had been good to Pat Patterson for so long that he’d almost forgotten what it was like to be anything but a free-riding, first-class passenger on a flight near the top of the world….

It is a long, long way from the frostbitten midnight streets around Chicago’s Clark and Division to the deep-rug hallways of the Park Lane Hotel on Central Park South in Manhattan….But Patterson had made that trip in high style, with stops along the way in London, Paris, Manila, Kinshasa, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and almost everywhere else in the world on that circuit where the menus list no prices and you need at least three pairs of $100 sunglasses just to cope with the TV lights every time you touch down at an airport for another frenzied press conference and then a ticker-tape parade along the route to the Presidential Palace and another princely reception.

That is Muhammad Ali’s world, an orbit so high, a circuit so fast and strong and with rarefied air so thin that only “The Champ,” “The Greatest,” and a few close friends have unlimited breathing rights. Anybody who can sell his act for $5 million an hour all over the world is working a vein somewhere between magic and madness….And now, on this warm winter night in Manhattan, Pat Patterson was not entirely sure which way the balance was tipping. The main shock had come three weeks ago in Las Vegas, when he’d been forced to sit passively at ringside and watch the man whose life he would gladly have given his own to protect, under any other circumstances, take a savage and wholly unexpected beating in front of 5000 screaming banshees at the Hilton Hotel and something like 60 million stunned spectators on national/network TV. The Champ was no longer The Champ: a young brute named Leon Spinks had settled that matter, and not even Muhammad seemed to know just exactly what that awful defeat would mean — — for himself or anyone else; not even for his new wife and children, or the handful of friends and advisers who’d been working that high white vein right beside him for so long that they acted and felt like his family.  
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