28 May 2007

Angel Techin'/The Seven Ages Of Rawk

13 Jumada Al-'Awwal - Year 1428

I've started on my first official Maybe Logic Academy (and my first ever) on-line course last week. The course is based on the book, Angel Tech, written by Antero Alli and first published back in the "dark days", 1985. The course deals with the concept of the "8-circuit brain" theory, developed by Timothy Leary (supposedly after seeing an ancient illustrated Hindu manuscript he received from a Tantric adept, who visited Leary at Millbrook in 1963) and Robert Anton Wilson in the early-to-mid 70s.

Alli first developed his take on the 8 circuits in the late 70s and early 80s. Having a theatrical/paratheatrical interest, Alli seemed to feel that the Leary and Wilson approaches, while valuable, were geared toward the head/mind only and not much to do with the body. This seemed to cause a lot of "Space Cases" and "Kundalini Krack-Ups" to emerge from those experimenting with the circuits (especially the 'upper four').

He developed some physical rituals for some of the circuits--as well as other exercises to engage and integrate each circuit on it's own and in conjunction with other circuits--his theory being that each one from the "lower four" supports (makes possible) each from the upper. Each of the lower circuits must be integrated and stabilised before access to the upper circuits can begin. To confuse things a bit, he also states that each circuit is operating independantly all the time--we just don't have the ability to experience them all at once, so one circuit will dominate some of the time, then another, then another, etc.

The first week of the course was spent mainly in discussion--each of the participants was asked to define "intelligence" and then how to increase same. The answers varied a bit, but there did seem to be quite a few overlaps in the definitions, as well as in the method of increasing intelligence. We were than asked to "access our inner idiot" and list each circuit and how well we thought we understood and had intergrated and projected each. Finally, we had to write out what each one meant to us--what we thought each one represented to ourselves. Looking at mine--I definitely had some "Cosmic Schmuck" moments while thinking of my own answers--ah well, that seems to be the whole point. Finding definitions and replacing them over time.

This week we're getting into the "nitty-gritty" of the course, as it were. Antero has assigned some tasks to demonstrate Circuits 1 and 5. Some seem fairly easy, some not so (for me anyway)--but it'll be a good challenge and I'm looking forward to the rest of the course over the next six weeks. Ever onward!!

I suppose maybe you've caught the Seven Ages Of Rock programme on BBC2 the past couple of weeks. I've watched the first two--and while the archivists have done a credible job finding and dusting off rarely-seen film clips and Charles Shaar Murray lends a bit of "talking-head" credibility (though he did gaffe a couple of times during the first programme--like stating that Jim Morrison had died before Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin)--I dunno--it seems a bit...hollow. I realise that one would have create a sixty-plus hour docu to really cover all of the bases, but I imagine there would be a middle ground where the facts would be researched and a near-complete picture would be formed. Still, taken as pure entertainment, it ain't that bad.

The first episode centred around Hendrix - who I surmised was supposed to represent the epitome of rock's blues influence. It seemed a bit strange - as Hendrix's mutant psychedelic blues and elaborate studio creations bore little resemblance to the old masters' styles. Much like Hendrix's lyrical hero, Bob Dylan, who had transcended the narrow confines of folk to emerge with "a whole new thing"--Hendrix appeared tied to the blues by an ever-thinning thread. The classic Monterey Pop and Woodstock footage was wheeled out yet again--along with the 'eternal bum trip', Altamont and Jimi's uneven performance at the Isle Of Wight festival received about a minute or so. Hendrix's arrival on the scene in London was chronicled--and Ginger Baker got to pat himself on the back one more time for his work in Cream. They didn't cover much new ground with Jimi's career and insights into his inspiration seemed scant. The only story I hadn't heard was of Hendrix taking a copy of a Dylan album into a soul club and coercing the DJ to play Blowin' In The Wind, which got him chased from the club under physical threats. I can't verify it it's true--but for what I understand about the man--it certainly seems possible.

The second episode concerned "art rock" and the main protagonists were Pink Floyd, David Bowie and The Velvet Underground. Again, not much new, but a couple of nice surprises were a few snippets from the promotional clips for See Emily Play and Jugband Blues from the (Syd-era) Floyd and some grainy footage of various Velvets rehearsals. Also featured, with smaller time segments, were Genesis, mainly due to Peter Gabriel's theatricality--and Roxy Music. Roxy was featured for it's mash-up of art-school sensibility and glammy sensuality. They showed a clip of the band playing their debut (and classic) single, Virginia Plain and it was nice to see a young Eno boffining away on his synth. Progressive rock seemed to get glossed-over once again, for a programme dedicated to 'art-rock'. No Van Der Graaf Generator, Caravan or King Crimson anywhere. I guess the stigma about the genre still remains, even after 30 years of the punk "revolution". If I were a paranoid type, I would pronounce it a 'conspiracy'--but since I'm not, I'll just consider it an oversight on the show's producer's part.
Speaking of which, this week's episode concerns those spiky-haired, 'gobbing', pogo-ing folks. Expect to see a lotta Sex Pistols and Clash footage. Don't expect to see: any Wire, Pere Ubu, Adverts or Fall footage (O.K., maybe a bit of Fall footage)...


Anonymous said...

Your course sounds fascinating and I'd be pleased to get some updates from time to time. Make sure you don't blow any circuits, though!

I agree with you about the 7 Ages Of Rock. For anyone who knows their rock history it is very shallow, merely skimming the surface. For the less well informed it is rather misleading. Having said that, it's good to get to see the old footage. The best thing about it all so far has been the fact that BBC 4 have been putting on 'follow-up' shows straight after. The one on Hendrix was great...an early 70s film I hadn't seen before and it was nice to see the 'Cracked Actor' Bowie documentary again this week.

I bet we don't get to see The Fall on Saturday. 'Punk' will be all about the Pistols and The Clash. I'm not sure if there is a conspiracy against Prog but there is definitely a heap of ignorance and prejudice. I loved the Genesis footage!

The Purple Gooroo said...

Yeah, the course is cool so far - tho' I did exercise a bit too exuberantly for one of the tasks and now I've got achy arms and an achy back--but I'm really unfit, so I suppose that may have had something to do with it also. Updates will follow..

I think you're correct about the punk episode - it son't be in-depth, I can tell's ya that...based on the first two. Hey! My comment was published in the "art-rock" episode comment section! Check it out: