Announcement

Collapse

Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

Academic question for Mike (and maybe others)

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Academic question for Mike (and maybe others)

    Hi Mike,

    I wonder if I could bother yourself and, perhaps, some of your readers for some information please? I'm a mature student studying at the University of Greenwich for the third year of my BA in Humanities after completing an HND in Professional Writing. My plan is to become a full-time writer, especially in the area of novel writing.

    I've opted to do a 10,000 word dissertation as part of my degree and am searching around for research material. I won't bore you with the full proposal but I am writing a paper on Free and Alternative Festivals 1970-1992 with particular emphasis on the acts involved, the fans and how their spirit was affected by Romanticism, Modernism etc.

    I'm going to draft some specific queries but could I take this chance to invite some comment from yourself and other forum members regarding festivals and festival people please?

    I'm trying to piece together some of the spirit behind the creativity of the early days to about 1981 (i.e. Ladbroke Grove etc.). What were people reading and writing? How did they see themselves? What do you (and your readers) remember about the great Free Festivals and their offshoots? Does anyone remember organisers / movers and shakers? Any good research information / newsclipping etc. available on the internet or via Amazon? All comments welcome (feel free to Private Message me).

    General festival memories are also welcome. Please stick to the 'alternative' events as the commercial events (i.e. Glastonbury post-1980 etc.) aren't of huge interest.

    Personally, I am a long-term Hawkwind fan and the first time I saw them was at the Rainbow when you appeared with Bob Calvert etc. I only got into the band, though, because I was already a seasoned Elric/Hawkmoon fan (at age 15!) after meeting you at 'Forbidden Planet c.1979.

    Thanks in advance to any or all that write.

    Love, Light & Peace,

    Jimski
    What part of 'Get out of town, Freak' don't you understand?

  • #2
    Welcome man, and sorry not to be able to help ....

    Comment


    • #3
      No probs - greetings to you.
      What part of 'Get out of town, Freak' don't you understand?

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm pretty terrible at remembering names but I'd be glad to help in any way I can. There's a fair account of some of that stuff in both Mother London and King of the City, which is only barely fictionalised, if at all.

        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

        Comment


        • #5
          Possible useful contacts here

          http://www.ukrockfestivals.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            Hawkfest 2007

            Hi Jimski,

            if it's not too late for your dissertation, you might get some interesting memories at the 2007 Hawkfest, Hawkwind's own (not free but probably alternative!) festival.

            Details at http://hawkwind.com/up_.htm

            All the best

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the updates – I’ve had a read but my academic work and duties at the University Library (shades of Pratchett, eh?) have kept me from replying. I’ve been using the festie website as a starting point for some of my research – but thanks anyway. And the Hawkfest? – as an uber-Hawkfan I’ll be there (as I always am).

              Now – to the serious bit. Thanks for the interest MM, it’s most welcome. I’m not so much after specific events or dates but more an idea of the atmosphere of the era, particularly from a writer’s point of view. I want to try and link the ‘counterculture’ and artistic movements of the era to historical counterparts.

              It seems to me that many of the movers and shakers of the time were literate, free-thinking individuals who influenced others to be the same. Hawkwind, for example, drew on yourself, Calvert, Zelazny and Hesse for inspiration – this level of artistic crossover is still very rare, even decades after it first occurred.

              The work of the writers involved can be classed as reactionary, condemning and exploring changes in society and imploring the audience to consider the way that society around was (is?) shifting about us – a message that can be linked back to both Modernist writers such as Huxley and the Romantics of the 19th Century.

              Portraying such (often) bleak messages in a surreal multi-media environment is something that can be linked back to illustrious company such as Blake – it presents a very powerful and memorable experience to the audience. The fact that it was often presented at free festivals that hark back to the traditions of medieval England, the Diggers, etc. where the land was being reclaimed by the people and a simpler life being extolled makes it even more unique and makes extracting the thinking behind the era ever more confusing for those who weren’t involved.

              What I’m really after is some idea of how literacy filtered through to the artists and the masses. What was the thinking that was going on? I’ve read biogs of various characters (Mick Farren, Dave Brock, yourself etc.) and am going through the tortuous process of collating information but there’s nothing like comments from the people involved themselves – this includes any forum members who wish to contribute.

              Rather than ask you specific questions I’ve pasted my dissertation proposal below and invite any comments that you feel relevant.

              Thanks in advance for any assistance.

              Love, Light, Peace,

              Jimski

              The proposal:

              Strange Trips and Pipe Dreams: the artistic & social origins & influences of British Alternative Festival music 1970 - 1992

              “For over twenty years, alternative music festivals were a phenomenon with links to artistic, social and political cultures within British society. The participants were often collectively disassociated or disaffected individuals, lacking representation within mainstream culture and conventional politics, who strove to undertake lifestyles that the majority could neither share nor understand.

              It is the purpose of this dissertation, through a mixture of research, witness interviews and informed comment, to try and analyse contributors to and participants of the culture, how it evolved and what the forces were that both drove and originated within its existence.

              In producing this work, I hope to demonstrate that, whilst the movement had its own agenda and presentation, it borrowed much from other artistic cultures and that these factors combined to produce a series of unique events and outlooks that were shared and are often cherished by those who experienced them.

              In order to put the movement into context, it is necessary to examine how the surrounding social environment changed – from the strike-ridden 1970s through the Conservative years to the media-orientated 1990s – and that the movement was a social experience of its time, driven by the past and creating roots for similar future trends.”

              What part of 'Get out of town, Freak' don't you understand?

              Comment


              • #8
                I think of 'the sixties' (which I know isn't your brief but it's where things started) as having primarily an economic base. If you accept that wealth spread increasingly from capital to labour between 1920-1970, you can see how the optimism of a broadening middle class fueled the romanticism of the sixties. The 70s, when the wealth was being retaken by business and so on, sensed this change (strikes and so on were the result in my view) but people no longer had the power they had gradually become used to. I always did think it was economic, but didn't expect such an effective grab-back of wealth (using the apparatus of consumerist capitalism among other things). It was noticeable, through the late 70s and 80s how those of us who actually were not marginalised, but were treated as and felt central to the culture, WERE marginalised. There are a lot of indicators, especially as we discovered that the moral language of liberal humanism was no longer effective. A simple indication of this, for instance, was if you wrote a letter to a major newspaper. I'd say that if I wrote a letter it would almost always get published up until, say, 1980. After 1980 I found that I could no longer automatically assume that my voice would be listened to. I might be a little unusual, in that I was always at home in several 'cultures', having been brought up in a family whose class and cultural experience was wider than most. I had, for instance, entertained ideas of standing as an MP and had worked for Liberal Party HQ as well as the Labour Party and was active in mainstream politics in various ways, but I'd also worked as a journalist and as a musician, eventually choosing to concentrate on fiction, which I thought was probably my metier, so my experience really was a lot broader than many. It was certainly no problem for me to start working with bands and my career isn't that different to Dave Brock's for instance -- beginning with an enthusiasm for Delta Blues and developing from there. I also worked on 'underground' magazines, such as Frendz and had a Cornelius comic running in IT, while, of course, New Worlds was seen more in the underground camp than the sf camp and had been described on its 1967 relaunch as being part of a group of magazines including New Scientist, New Statesman and New Society (wonder how NuLabor thought of their name...?). My friends were as likely to be columnists for the Sunday Times as they were to be rock musicians or sf writers. This WAS a more common phenomenon then, I must say, and the UK still has more blurred borders than the US or even France, in my experience.
                But the blurring is nothing like as evident as it used to be, sadly. Punk seemed to me to be a response to threatened idealism. This could be why, famously, the only bands to be acceptable to the emergent punks were Hawkwind and Motorhead in the UK and Devo (who also claimed influence by Hawkwind) in the US. I certainly got on well with a lot of punk performers and regularly bought stuff at Rough Trade, for instance, and celebrated the great Stiff phenomenon of the mid-to-late 70s. To my mind those were the last great days of rock and roll.

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks very much for the information - there's a lot there that I can digest and reference and it's greatly appreciated.

                  I'm using your work in another of my modules for the final year of my degree and have a further query related to both subjects. It seems that a lot of the Science Fiction / Fantasy writers that emerged from the freedoms of the 60's seem to use their work to explore themes that relate to the individual in the context of society rather than the nature of society or the individual themselves.

                  In later years, with the rise of Cyberpunk and the other technological themes that came with the spead of technology, this mode of writing seems to have declined, but thankfully not disappeared. How has the literacy of the reading public changed in your career? What effect has Hollywood had on the reading public in general?

                  I mention this because of the obvious Elric link, that George Lucas (apparently) refuses to consider shooting any work that doesn't follow the classic monomyth, because I'm about to embark on a writing career myself but largely because many of my generation (and I'm middle-aged myself)are simply ignorant of the genre outside of film / dvd. It's incredible to think that there are peole of my age who haven't read a book since they left school.

                  Thanks again for your previous comments - they've been duly noted and I'll be cogitating them at my leisure.

                  Cordially,

                  Jimski
                  What part of 'Get out of town, Freak' don't you understand?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A good many of the people I've known have rarely read a book or, indeed, a newspaper. Others almost never read fiction. I haven't noticed a decline. When I was a kid there seemed about as many real readers (i.e. those who read widely and looked for books to suit them, rather than reading the super-popular books of their day -- equivalents if you like of Harry Potter). Kids who play games, for instance, will often read as cheerfully as they play -- but it's still a relatively small percentage of the public who regularly visit bookstores and libraries and read habitually. My best friend read very little, for instance, but the William books by Richmal Crompton. Great books, too, but it seemed this was the 'brand' he trusted. I think you can 'brand' authors or books pretty much as you can 'brand' consumer goods -- probably the Potter phenomenon is a good example. Some of those readers go on to find more books to their taste, some stick pretty much with the same brand and will have the books and 'marketing' goods which go with them. Certainly branding has become more conscious and sophisticated, but it's always existed.
                    I think American sf always dealt with the individual opposed to the mainstream -- indeed, you could say this is a central theme in American sf -- but then so did 1984. It's about the easiest plot you can run! 'New Wave' sf (a term we rejected, by the way, but which has become useful to describe a general movement) was mostly about internal, sometimes symbolic, processes -- 'inner space, not outer space'. The individual's imposition (sometimes) of their own vision on the world. The individual's trying out of various roles to find the most effective persona for living in an increasingly complex society. Ballard's books like The Drowned World were almost classic Freudian/Jungian fantasies and Ballard drew considerably on surrealist and symbolist theory, as well as French existentialism. French existentialism is also what inspired me. I reserved psychological theory for structuring the Elric stories, choosing coherent imagery and so on, to give the stories 'dream logic'. Until Ballard, most British disaster fiction had dealt with the middle class protagonists attempt to preserve order, I think. We dismissed it at the time as the 'tea and chocolate digestive' form of disaster fiction...

                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Growing up landlocked in the Midwest, the phenomenon of the festival was distant and exotic. It was reproduced in smaller concerts. Iin Toledo it was at the Toledo Sports Arena--"The Sports Pit"--which had a few famous concerts: the one that Alice Cooper ran away from (causing a riot, or was it that he ran away from the riot?), and the Yes concert mentioned in "our Song" from 90102 (I think that's the album title), in which the temperature was way up in the 90s and most of the audience was on strong hallucinogens--something clicked, the band was in absolutely top form, and supposedly it was one of the best concerts Yes ever put on. That's the urban legend in Toledo. Friends attended, but I wasn’t there.

                      Point is, for us the festival vibe-ethos-scene was, so to speak, an import. Not only at the rock concert, but it was created in the high school smoking areas, out in the woods, and so on. It also became a commodity, and you could go to the mall and buy it packaged in different forms: a recording, a poster, clothing, even a "wild" psychedelic novel by Michael Moorcock....

                      I was rather surprised, then, when I went to grad school and there were all these poets who were into the Beats, William S. Burroughs, and Hunter Thompson--and this was the counterculture? In my little nook, it was Todd Rudgren, Frank Zappa, Donovan, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, The Who, Michael Moorcock, New Worlds, Stanley Kubrick . . . even Robert E. Howard and Herman Melville (the communitarian world of the whale ship was in its own way a celebration of rock festival values....)

                      Are you going to use Youtube? There are lots of Hawkwind concert videos, as well as many others in the festival stream. Another great resource is the film Message to Love, about the Isle of Wight Festival. The cynicism that was one aspect of the whole phenomenon is exposed rather starkly. The fans abusing the rock stars, the rock stars claiming they are "in it for the music". The promoter sweating it out. When Emerson, Lake and Palmer take the stage, it’s sort of a triumph of self-indulgent nihilism--these are the new badboys, and they aren't anybody's sweetheart.... In that performance I see the crisis point between the '60s rock festival and the 70s corporate arena rock that replaces it.

                      Why, I wonder, was this film kept in the vault for so many years?
                      Last edited by nalpak retrac; 01-14-2007, 06:45 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I remember doing a Windsor gig where we were full of peace and love and under the stage Hells Angel Hawkwind friends were raping a young girl. I suppose this image meant a lot to me since my obsession was always what lay under images of a benign world -- Warlord of the Air, Gloriana and Pyat among others. This, too, was a traditional focus for the likes of Pohl and Kornbluth, Dick and so on -- the group of writers now represented almost entirely by Dick who were published mostly in GALAXY magazine. I grew up with the Beats, of course, remembering when Howl came out and so on. Around that time I also casually and briefly met Kerouac and Ginsberg in France. I knew almost nothing about them. A few years later, hitch-hiking from Uppsala to Paris, I read On the Road, which I didn't find especially stimulating. By and large, with the exception of Burroughs, who I think was a genuine original, I didn't find the Beats that interesting and watching Ginsbergh's decline (I was at that last Albert Hall gig, as well as the earlier one -- though I was actually on stage at the second, only in the audience at the first -- and thought Ginsbergh and Macca absolutely embarrassing). Iain Sinclair and I are constantly trying to draw public attention to various artists who are for various reasons marginalised. Frequently our references to these people are cut from our pieces in the regular press. A few years ago Iain was asked to write a piece for The Independent about the lesser known writers he enjoyed. He wrote the piece and was phoned by a sub-editor asking if they could cut out all these names of authors because 'nobody's heard of them'. This seemed to sum it up for both of us. The Savoy pantheon, by the way, might be of interest. They are a genuine alternative who aren't even mentioned by people who, say, write about marginal comics! That's another phenomenon -- the books and features about 'unknown' cultural figures which frequently only draw on a familiar pantheon of people who are scarcely marginalised at all.

                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Oh my, a very esoteric subject, there, Jimski, and as I was in high school in SE Texas in 1981, the availability of "Free and Alternative Festivals" at the time was rather limited in my corner of the universe.

                          It does intrigue me, though, to hear what was going on in more enlightened areas of the planet at the time. I'm going to watch the discussion on this thread with great interest. Good luck with the degree work.
                          "My candle's burning at both ends, it will not last the night;
                          But ah my foes and oh, my friends, it gives a lovely light" - Edna St Vincent Millay

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I remember a young man talking to me a few years ago. "My dad says the sixties weren't any different or special," he said. I laughed. "Then he definitely wasn't there," I said. I wish everyone could have had the pleasure I had of living in Ladbroke Grove during those heady times.

                            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                            The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                            Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                            The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                            Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, I was just a little feller in the 60s, with much older brothers and an older sister who did get to experience that time in a slightly more adult flavor.

                              One great thing, though, I could get on my bike at age 5, disappear at 7 in the morning into the woods, and not turn up til sunset and my Mom wouldn't have the National Guard dredging the swamps for the body. It was actually a good time to be a kid, as well. Plus, I got to inherit some wonderful albums as they grew up and moved away.

                              Sad, really, that the true innocence of childhood is nearly a lost commodity these days.
                              "My candle's burning at both ends, it will not last the night;
                              But ah my foes and oh, my friends, it gives a lovely light" - Edna St Vincent Millay

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X