23 Super Weird Landmarks
WRITTEN BY JOSH RAY – SEPTEMBER 2017
Given all that’s taken place over the past three years, we’ve decided to put together a list of 23 milestones along our Super Weird path. We’d like to thank all those soothsayers, seekers and party people we’ve met along the way, and the many people behind the scenes who helped facilitate the projects and events to date. As things progressed we tapped into a network that’s grown with each event, and the momentum has started to snowball this year.
Before we get swept up in the next wave of gatherings and happenings we thought we’d take stock by looking back at what’s just been…
24th October, 2003
‘The Mindscape Of Alan Moore’ is first shown
The ‘Mindscape Of Alan Moore‘ was a 2003 interview with Alan Moore, which touched on various aspects of his life and philosophy. It had a profound effect upon Greg Wilson when he first watched it in 2014 and many of the concepts influenced what he did with his newly emerging label, which informed much of its ethos including, the concept of a ‘fool’s leap’ and of course, its Super Weird Substance name.
23rd November 2012
‘The KLF: Chaos, Magic And The Band Who Burned A Million Pounds’ by John Higgs is first published
Rightly described as ‘The Gateway Drug‘, John Higgs highly illuminating account of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty’s career and mythos did much to add new meaning to the world around us and inspire us to embark on a deeper search that would lead us towards The Liverpool School Of Language, Music, Dream & Pun, Robert Anton Wilson and, of course, Echo…
19th April, 2014
Howard Marks ‘Lies And Other Fools’ RSD launch
Kermit Leveridge’s dark, twisted poem about his heroin addiction, ‘Lies And Other Fools‘, acted as a form of catharsis, allowing him to move forward with positive projects. Howard Marks was over recording ‘Universal Prayer’, when he ended up reciting the poem for Kermit, and having given it new gravitas with his gruff Welsh tones, a soundscape was made to accompany it and a 7″ of the poem was released to the vinyl gods on Record Store Day. There was an event held at Manchester’s Dry Bar curated by GW, with Kermit and Howard hosting the proceedings and DJs EVM128, Walter Ego, Derek Kaye and Organic Gav providing the grooves, plus a vocal jam from The Reynolds and listening booth for the record.
29th May, 2014
‘Blind Arcade Meets Super Weird Substance In The Morphogenetic Field’ mixtape first cometh
Uplifting and life-affirming, our first mixtape arrived at the perfect moment to spread organically over the summer etherwaves. Kermit Leveridge’s Blind Arcade project that he’d been working on alongside EVM128 was what initially inspired Greg Wilson’s launch of the Super Weird Substance label, and ‘Blind Arcade Meets Super Weird Substance In The Morphogenetic Field‘ was the first fruit of that collaboration, whilst also bringing The Reynolds twins into play. With enough samples and reference points to fill a library, yet still working on an accessible level, the mixtape was a statement of intent from the label.
20th September, 2014
Super Weird Happening, Manchester
Our first Super Weird Happening took place in Manchester, given both Kermit and Greg’s links to the city. It featured poet, author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay in the conversation alongside Greg and Kermit, hosted by a lively Terry Christian. As with all the Happenings, an array of live artists added their adornment to the event, with Tomlin of The JAM MC’s and Greg Wilson on the decks, as well as a momentous live appearance from Blind Arcade, who were performing some of their mixtape favourites, alongside The Reynolds, BB.JAMES. and The Reverend Cleve Freckleton.
26th September, 2014
Super Weird Happening, Glasgow
Our second Super Weird Happening took us north to Glasgow for another gathering of music, art, magic and chaos. We had Steve Mason, musician and founding member Edinburgh’s Beta Band and Paul Crawford who hosted the conversation with GW and K, whilst live artists worked away.
3rd October, 2014
Super Weird Happening, Bristol
Bristol was the location of our third Super Weird Happening. Set in the confines of an old prison, this was the most intimate gig of the tour, giving it a special quality. On the theme of counterculture, which is what all the discussions at the Happenings were geared towards, Levanna McLean, a teenager with a love for a sub-culture from 4 decades earlier, was our guest – having gone viral dancing on YouTube.
23rd October, 2014
23 Day, Liverpool
Performed at 23:23, Jeff Young’s ‘23 Enigma‘ performance was the culmination of a series of events happening around Liverpool, on the theme of 23. Greg, Kermit and myself attended the event and were taken all over the city on various capers, before being introduced to Daisy Eris Campbell, who was casting for the Kerry Thornley character for her Cosmic Trigger play, we’d later hear Young’s 23 Enigma for the first time – where he weaves together a synchronistic narrative taking various cultural figures into the heart of Liverpool’s lore.
18th October 2014
Super Weird Happening, Liverpool
The 12-hour Super Weird Happening we hosted in Liverpool, as part of the Oxjam Festival, sought to help give a better idea of the local mythology surrounding Mathew Street and Carl Jung’s ‘pool of life’ dream. As well as Bernie Connor, who has an encyclopaedic local knowledge, John Higgs was invited along to give his perspective on discussion around this mythos. Music came from Blind Arcade, Greg Wilson, Derek Kaye, Autocycle, Kermit & Organic Gav and Danny Fitzgerald.
1st November, 2014
Super Weird Happening, London
Our final Super Weird Happening of 2014 was hosted in Hackney’s Oslo venue. We invited Daisy Eris Campbell along to give a talk on the subject of Cosmic Trigger and the synchronicities that led up to its production. This sat alongside the conversation Kermit and Greg had with Lloyd Bradley, responsible for books like ‘Bass Culture’ and ‘Sounds Like London’, which was hosted by Julliet Russell of Salon. Walter Ego, who’d mix a version of ‘Summer Came My Way’ and Heavenly Social, who’d later gift us an area at Festival No.6, were DJing. Blind Arcade and co. brought the uplifting vibes, which GW carried through in his selections.
23rd November, 2014
Cosmic Trigger Conferestival, Liverpool
When Daisy Eris Campbell first pulled the ‘Cosmic Trigger‘, in ‘the pool of life’, she was following in her father’s footsteps, by adapting one of Robert Anton Wilson’s seminal works in Liverpool. As bewildering, enlightening and discordant as her father’s ‘Illuminatus!’ production, the play was an incredible success and sparked something inside a lot of those in attendance. The whole Conferestival weekend was truly heroic and did much to allow us to ‘find the others’ and helped sow the spores for our mycelium network, concluding with GW becoming an impromptu wedding DJ for Daisy and husband, Greg Donaldson, who’s off-the-cuff marriage that day took everyone by surprise.
22nd June – 6th November 2015
Boxset + Vinyl released
After the mixtape, the label turned its attention to official releases, returning in the summer of 2015 with a series of 8 vinyl singles, which were launched with a 4×12″ boxset, and followed by 4 further 12” singles, all issued within quick proximity. The vinyl singles featured music from the varying projects surrounding the label and were all produced by Greg Wilson, with Peza, Derek Kaye and Luxxury also making solid contributions. The artwork, designed by Dom Mandrell, took cues from Greensleeves’ 12″ covers and linked back to ‘Blind Arcade Meets Super Weird Substance In The Morphogenetic Field’, highlighting an array of sample sources from the mixtape.
5th September 2015
Festival No.6 Happening, Portmeirion
We were incredibly lucky to be gifted the picturesque, poolside Estuary Stage at Portmeirion’s Festival No.6 for a Super Weird Happening and were even luckier with the weather. Over 8 memorable hours we hosted music from DJs, Josh Ray, Tomlin, Luxxury, Derek Kaye, live art from SLM, Dan Lish, Marcus Hislop, Alastair Price and Caroline Johnson, talks and performance from JB Barrington, Interstella and one of Howard Marks’ final public appearances as well as a live performance from Blind Arcade, concluding, as always, with Greg Wilson drawing things to a close.
13th November 2015
CD compilation released
Following the vinyl releases earlier in 2015, the label returned in the autumn with the ‘Greg Wilson Presents Super Weird Substance‘ compilation that drew together all 8 of the singles, as well as a special Greg Wilson mix. The 8 singles featured tracks from The Reynolds (and their Sweet Tooth T alias), Kermit Leveridge & The Super Weird Society, The Reverend Cleve Freckleton & The Sinners and Blind Arcade as well as Greg, who shared mix duties with Peza, Luxxury and Derek Kaye.
28th November 2015
Under The Austerity, The Beach, Northampton
A catalytic ‘day of counterculture’ at Northampton University, ‘Under The Austerity, The Beach‘ was attended by Greg and Kermit where they saw talks and performances from people including John Higgs, Josie Long, Robin Ince, Melinda Gebbie and of course, Alan Moore. ‘The greatest living Englishman’ discussed what he interpreted counterculture to be, and after talking with a number of students, it was decided they needed a counterculture…
12th May 2016
Adventures On The Edge Of Culture, Brighton
Myself, Greg and Kermit all went down to Brighton for the next countercultural gathering; an event put on by the Odditorium called, ‘Adventures On The Edge Of Culture‘ – visiting John, Daisy, Alan and the Odditorium’s Dr David Bramwell, amongst others. It was a vital trip in establishing cross-country connections and the talks we witnessed (which Greg and Kermit took part in) were highly intriguing, including an interview between Daisy Campbell and artist, Melinda Gebbie.
24th June 2016
Coincidentally taking place on so-called Brexit ‘Independence Day’, aka the day after Britain collectively shot itself in the foot with the EU referendum, the newly founded Arts Lab Northampton hosted one of its first events. Inspired by Alan Moore’s ‘Under The Austerity’ talk, Arts Lab Northampton was reborn, having existed with Moore as a member in the 1960s. It first re-emerged with its ‘Peasants With Pens’ publication and its ‘Artmageddon’ really made a mark, introducing the world to The Mandrill…
22nd-24th July 2016
Festival 23, South Yorkshire
Directly inspired by Daisy’s ‘Cosmic Trigger’ play, Festival 23 was a discordian gathering with music, art, performance and magick that took place in a South Yorkshire field. An essential cog in the ever-growing network, the festival did much to reconnect those who attended the cosmic weekend the previous year and cast the net out wider in search of more ‘others’. It included the viewing of Greg and Kermit’s interview with Alan Moore, recorded in Northampton the previous month, a Super Weird Sound System performance, a GW DJ slot and a Super Weird campfire sing-along, led by Cleve.
20th January + 9th February 2017
‘Mandrillifesto’ + ‘Alan Moore’s Mandrill Meets Super Weird Substance At The Arts Lab Apocalypse’ first cometh
On the same day the tangerine nightmare was unleashed on our neighbours across the Atlantic, ‘The Mandrillifesto‘, first heard at Artmageddon, was given an offical release on 7″ single. Laying out the aims of his imagined ‘dictatorial baboon in make-up’, Alan Moore described the new vision his Mandrill has for the world. This led to the label’s next mixtape ‘Alan Moore’s Mandrill Meets Super Weird Substance At The Arts Lab Apocalypse‘, which took the ‘Mandrillifesto’ lyrics and immersed them in a cartoon jungle of vinyl memories and aural imagery, with Kermit Leveridge and The Reynolds taking the starring roles and Alan bringing The Mandrill to the party as the DJ linking GW’s monkey-laden mixtape. Youth mixed his own ambient version of ‘The Mandrillifesto’, which was made into a video by Megan Lucas for our 14 Hour Super Weird Happening.
1st April, 2017
14 Hour Super Weird Happening
Our seventh Super Weird Happening was by far our most ambitious to date. Taking over Liverpool’s Florrie for 14 Hours (a hat tip the the 14 Hour Technicolor Dream 50 years earlier), the Happening brought together some key countercultural figures including Alan Moore, Jamie Reid and Youth in a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional plethora of music, art, performance and discussion. Festival 23 hosted a room with Cosmic Trigger, we had a local bands room, a room dedicated to talks, a discordian shop and the grand hall space for the main proceedings.
4th – 27th May, 2017
Cosmic Trigger Play Returns
Returning at the perfect moment to ‘find the other others’, Daisy’s ‘Cosmic Trigger‘ was back earlier this year, finding the perfect setting in the round of The Cockpit Theatre in London. The wholly immersive space allowed for the cast and crew to further develop the show and the results were phenomenal – over a run of 23 days, many new initiates were invited to pull the cosmic trigger, putting Robert Anton Wilson’s essential ideas at the fore of idea space at a crucial time for the world. It also hosted a number of highly interesting talks and panels, including a discussion with Alan Moore and documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis, whilst The Super Weird Society recorded ‘Serious Sirius Super Weird Space Party‘ for the run.
23rd July, 2017
RAW Day, California
It had been Daisy’s intention to make the trip over to Santa Cruz in California and she’d originally intended to put on a production of her play on July 23rd (the start of the dog days and the day marked as Robert Anton Wilson day in Santa Cruz) but the practicalities of it, plus the fact she’d received funding for her run of London shows meant the idea was scaled down but the event at the Museum of Art & History, a venue secured by GW’s DJ connections Stateside, did much to establish a cross-Atlantic alliance and showed the appetite for RAW is just as strong at source as it is here in the UK.
23rd – 25th August, 2017
Welcome To The Dark Ages
In a lot of ways it felt like everything was leading towards this moment; when Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty AKA The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu made their return. After reading Higgs’ KLF book, we were slowly introduced to a number of the characters one by one, but Cauty and Drummond always proved elusive, despite being central. This all changed when they announced their return as The JAMs at the start of this year and the resultant take-over of Liverpool left us all bewildered and inspired, opening up the realms of possibility for new forms of collective creativity and self-referential happenings. Welcome To The Dark Ages was a momentous gathering that will linger in memory for a long time. It climaxed at the Invisible Wind Factory’s Graduation Ball, with Badger Kull’s performance and DJ Greg Wilson and DJ Food.
Here’s a playlist of live recordings from when Greg Wilson has DJ’d at many of these events…