Monday, 9 January 2017

When your number is up

I got through this life by sometimes (when lost) simply paying attention to patterns to steer  me, and that includes what Jung called synchronicities (i.e. coincidences that seem to carry some kind of significance or meaning, over and above ‘mere coincidence’).

I don’t intend to go into a discussion of this right here, rather note a recent cluster of ‘significance’ as an example.

The two members of the KLF recently announced that they will create some kind of event in August 2017 (23 years after burning a million pounds in a strange media event).    I turn to John Higgs’ wonderful book about the whole strange story - The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds -
and enjoy it all over again.

That reminds me that I bought a limited edition of a book from Mr. Higgs at the Cosmic Trigger play event in Liverpool in 2014 - Standing on the Verge of Getting It On - so I dig it out, as it seems related to the wonderful social history of the period he  included in the first book.     I have copy 43 out of a limited edition of 111.   I didn’t ask him, at the time, what significance that number had.

As I read through, an extraordinary man called Brian Barritt walks in on one of the musicians who is reading “Cosmic Trigger” and he says “I appear on page 111 of that book”. 
[This is not true of current editions, where you find Brian on page 115, or 116 – although there is a reference on page 111 of the old New Falcon edition to John Lilly mentioning ‘angels’  (Cosmic  Coincidence Control Centre) – and page 111 of the most recent release,from Hilaritas Press has material about cabalistic numerology and communication with Higher Intelligence.]

So I dig out my signed copy of Brian’s book – The Road of Excess - that I bought from him through the mail and feel surprised to see he lived at number 111 of a street in London.
Which triggered memories of studying online with Robert Anton Wilson (hereafter ‘Bob’) who was, among other things, a Joycean scholar, and we did some work on Finnegans Wake, in which the number 111 appears quite frequently.  Bob seemed to think of it as indicating Renewal and Creativity.   Joyce links it to Anna Livia Plurabelle (the feminine influence in the book), who also represents the River Liffey.  The book not only contains a myriad of puns (the river of life, for instance) but also offers a series of coded materials (possibly drawn from Cabbalism) and numerology, ALP = 111.   [the Hebrew A or aleph=ALP=111]

Other variations with the same value include APL (apple?), LAP, PAL, etc.

Again, I don’t want to side-track into all of that material here and now.

I don’t know a lot of numerology, so decide to Google it, and found that people consider 111 as an ‘angelic’ number.   Given that Cosmic Trigger covers a period when Leary and Wilson thought they were getting messages from ‘alien beings’ or higher intelligence, or their Holy guardian Angel (or something)  I perceive some kind of connection.

And in that same research, I saw a reminder of the odd fact that Robert Anton Wilson died on the 11th January, 2007 (11/1 in the UK, or 1/11 in the USA, as a palindrome it works both ways).  Even odder, given that I only just noticed this (a heads up from DJ Fly Agaric) Bob managed to die on the 101st birthday of Albert Hofmann (inventor, discoverer of LSD, who was still alive and well, at the time, as I described in a post on our shared blog).   As we are now approaching the tenth anniversary of Bob’s death, that makes it Uncle Albert’s 111th birthday on Wednesday!

These things go on, and although some seem done consciously (like creating 111 copies of a book), I start to perceive particular significance when unrelated areas also get drawn into the net.  For instance, my hobby is magic, and a few weeks ago I ordered a DVD about close-up magic called (I kid you not) “LAP” and am right now awaiting delivery.   [Update:  11/01/2017   Of course, this DVD arrived today, just after I posted to our group blog.]

Steve (DJ Fly) took this a step further, when he turned to Finnegans Wake (which always gets published, in all editions, with the same page numbering):

If the page numbers are significant then dates can be determined from them. The first time I saw this type of correlation is of page 111 of the Wake with Robert Anton Wilson's death on January 11th.

...peraw raw raw reeraw puteters out of Now Sealand in spignt of the patchpurple of the massacre, a dual a duel to die to day, goddam and biggod, sticks and stanks, of most of the Jacobiters...

That not only contains references to RAW (another nickname for Robert Anton Wilson), "to die to day", but also to RAW patatows (a pretend currency we invented to amuse him).

Here’s Bob himself:

"This 1:11 business turns out to be more curious than we realize at first, even if we note that it is connected with Bloom's son, who died at age 11 days, Shakespeare's son Hamnet who died at 11 years and the 22 (2x11) letters in the Hebrew alphabet or the 22 words in the first sentence of Ulysses. If ALP and APL invoke all this, the LAP, a further permutation, invokes the LAP where a Freemason wears his apron, as in Aleister Crowley's BOOK OF LIES, Chapter 54, in which some Freemasons guess that the lost Mason Word is AMO, whose number is 111, and some guess that it is LAP which also has the number 111. (By Cabala, AMO=A which is 1, M which is 40, and O which is 70, 1+40+70=111, while LAP=L or 30, A or 1, and P or 80, and 30+1+80=111.) William York Tindall, a Joyce scholar who likes to count, has noted that many long sentences in FW have 111 clauses. Anna Livia Plurabelle's untitled "mamafesta" in Chapter Five has 111 alternative titles; when sad, she is described as "wan wan wan"; in Chapter 8, she has 111 children. Most books on Cabala hint at transcendental meanings in the fact that the Hebrew A or aleph=ALP=111 when spelled in full as aleph-lamek-pe."    

from Wilson's book Coincidance  (a new edition of which I find myself helping to proof-read right now).

Here's another little piece of the jigsaw.   Julian Cope appears in both the Higgs books mentioned above, and has done the definitive work on stone circles, megaliths, etc.  The Modern Antiquarian.

So imagine my surprise, in my Google trawl, when I came across this:
 ...echo in the conjunction of archaeoacoustic research focused on megalithic tombs and the frequency of the number 111 in Finnegans Wake: ‘the majik wavus has elfun anon meshes’ (FW 203.31): the magic wave has 11+1 meshes.

...‘the ride onerable’ (FW 328.13) – three ones – of ALP’s gematric value, 111 Hz is also a natural resonance frequency identified for Neolithic tombs and chambers in Ireland and Britain, which cluster mostly within the ‘myrioheartzed’ (FW 331.23) range of 110-112 Hz (Mills 2014: 66-67). In the context of ‘chambermade music’ (FW 184.4) this frequency has consciousness-altering effects: at 110-112 Hz the patterns of activity over the prefrontal cortex abruptly shift, resulting in a relative deactivation of the language centre, with regular exposure to resonant sound at that frequency ‘turning on’ an area of the brain that relates to mood, empathy and social behaviour.

All of which, as ever, leaves me puzzled.  What I may take from it comes from pages I would normally ignore (I don’t have a lot of respect for much of the New Age stuff online).  If the frequent appearance of 111 in your life has to do with Manifestation and Prosperity, then it seems a good idea to stay optimistic and positive – so as to manifest the good stuff…  A reasonable message, after the horrific year just passed.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Another think coming

Having survived the loss of many of my peer group in 2016, I still don't have much of a plan for getting through 2017.

Noticing that the KLF guys plan an event for 23 August 2017 gives me some sort of target - 23 years on from when they burned a million pounds, and deleted their back catalogue.  Actually, they seem to have reverted to the incarnation before the KLF, the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (sic) - or JAMs.

Now for those of you who already have no idea what I am talking about, I can't recommend highly enough John Higgs' book "The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds"

This book enthralls me every time I read it, not only because it seems so well-informed, and has such a lucid style (for such an enigmatic subject), but because I remain a fan of everything that John Higgs has written (that I can get my hands on), and of Robert Anton Wilson (who I studied with online), and  the Illuminatus! trilogy (which I first read in the 1970s, and contains the first references to the JAMs).  I got my copy of volume one (back in the days when they got published separately) at the same bookshop (Compendium) that Ken Campbell got his, which inspired him to create a stage show out of all three volumes, starting in Liverpool at the Liverpool School of Language, Music, Dream and Pun, and ending up in the National Theatre in London (where I witnessed the whole series of five plays in one day - something like ten hours).   Recently, Daisy Eris Campbell (who may have been conceived backstage of that show) has staged another of Robert Anton Wilson's books - Cosmic Trigger - again in Liverpool, and again coming to London, soon.

Too much for one paragraph?

Well, I will use this blog the way John Steinbeck used the left-hand pages of his ledgers, as a place to warm-up, make notes, write letters, etc - while actually writing his novel on the right hand pages.

Apart from anything else, Robert Anton Wilson encouraged optimism, and having dragged myself through 2016 I feel the need to renew my reckless cheerfulness.

Ten Good Reasons to Get Out of Bed in the Morning.  Originally published in OUI Magazine, 1977.
  (audio version).

Sunday, 1 January 2017

All the more reason...

I am a fan of Print-on-Demand, and have dabbled with everything from Lulu publishing to one-off books of Wikipedia compilations, Blog to Book variations, and collecting a bunch of PDF articles into a portable book.

I like a paper copy of a book, instead of simply a digital one.

Having said that, I just saw Facebook compilations which seem pretty high-priced to me.  Do people really want coffee table books of their own FB interactions?

All the more reason to finish an autobiography I can sell for a tenner!

Writing it down

I can lie awake at night, savouring memories, and creating anecdotes, but have fallen back into the traditional writer's problem, of not actually getting the damned things written down.

I dug out the draft I created a couple of years ago, and enjoyed parts of it, but there is so much more to capture.

I may have to invent a game plan for overcoming the block - like writing at least one anecdote for each period of my life; or 300 words a day; or writing in longhand (notebook); or something I have not thought of yet.

I did do the NaNoWriMo project 6 times, which involved writing 1666 words every day for a month, and managed it, so I have little excuse. That commitment worked.  One year, I even ignored the rule about it being a fiction challenge, and tried to use the same tactic for the autobiography, and somehow it didn't work - well, it was cheating, I guess!

I quite like the conspiracy thriller I wrote in November 2012 - The Columbus Caper - so perhaps I should just go back and edit the fiction, and leave the personal story until I spontaneously feel like pursuing it again.

I gave myself a format to follow, I remember (after reading a bunch of these kind of novels).

Quite the opposite of a new year's resolution.   New Year indecision.

Yeah, yeah, the title changed...

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Autógrafo o autobiografía

I can't believe we lost Carrie Fisher and her mother in two days.

In however small a part, I contributed to some scenes with Carrie (as Jabba).

This year, we lost David Bowie (who I worked with on Labyrinth).  Previously we lost Bob Hoskins in 2014 (who I worked with on Roger Rabbit).

And we all lost Jim Henson in 1990.

Although I can still go out and sign autographs, for people who consider that some kind of Olympic torch connection ( I was in the same room as these people), for me it works the other way.

I feel I have to get down my stories before I go.

So I will be concentrating on the autobiography this year, and see if I can complete (at least) the first edition.

Oh, and I plan to improve my Spanish (as a project) which explains the title of the blog entry.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Wishful Drinking

Just after I decided to leave Facebook for a while, I heard that Carrie Fisher had died, but I didn't want to go back and find the cascade of tributes and all that - as it might draw me back into my FB addiction, so I have decided to put this up here, to remember how hilariously funny and self-deprecating she could be.

Peace Out.     RIP.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Backwards and Forwards in Time

Giving up Facebook is a bit like giving up smoking, or rather (as it is probably temporary) like fasting – you suddenly have a couple of extra hours per day, to do something else with, that used to be filled by smoking or eating.

When I first got onto the internet (1999) I soon started on a website, which grew and sprawled for years, with experimental pages, biographical content, idea pages, etc.   I supplemented that sprawl with a blog, as the more linear form seemed right for a kind of diary.   I started one, but after 9/11 I restarted the blog, and it continued for years, although it faded.   I still raid it for content occasionally.   Language ‘is’ avirus.  (2001 – 2015)

As my job with the library involved learning and teaching computers and online stuff, I had to explore other platforms (I generally use Blogger) so I put an e-learning blog on Word Press.

I also put up a librarian blog (2008 – 2015), when trying to convince the management that the library should have a blog.  Anon the Librarian’s unattributed ideas remained ‘personal opinion’ while the Council ummed and ah’d about how safe such a project would be.

I was lucky enough to become part of a fascinating online community and study group in 2004, and we began a collaborative student blog (in addition to creating magazines) which still continues: Only Maybe (2004 - 2016)

Of course, in 2004, Facebook also started up, and slowly took over my online writing, and interactions, but I find it very ephemeral and far harder to search for old content.  

These blogs remain full of material, links, and ideas from over the last few years, so I plan to dig through them a bit, as well as using my spare time to get some more writing done.   I saw Will Self on tv, and he uses a typewriter (the same as the one I have in the cupboard) to avoid the distraction of the web.   Of course, one could simply disconnect the WiFi, but perhaps the temptation is too much.  I noticed he also never learned to type, but two-fingers on a typewriter looks incredibly slow.  I think I may still need my word processor, and Scrivener.

Then there is a blog where I can stash my stuff about magic, juggling, hypnotism, etc – called Intelligence Increase.    (2006 – 2014)

Each of those may lead you to other places online.  I am all over the place!

This blog, that you are reading now, supports my writing projects.  I have completed NaNoWriMo six times (writing a 50,000 word novel in a month).   I started on an autobiography, but it stalled when I started working on an archive for NoFit State Circus, which took up all my mental space.  I even followed through on a couple of those bad novels (no re-writing, as yet) to see how easy it would be to actually produce a paperback book, using print-on-demand through Lulu.  I also put up a couple of other experiments, a book by a friend who died young, my mum's unpublished book on the use of the voice, etc.

Anyway, I commissioned a cover for the autobiography, and that is ready to go; I have 50,000 words written, and some research already done; I even have a title.  I just have to sit down, and finish the damned thing.