This week someone wrote to me asking why I was never on television anymore. About eleven years ago when my Father was dying and for various reasons my income had been quite seriously curtailed. So I agreed to go on a show called Penn and Teller’s Bullshit which was presented by the mildly legendary American magicians. I didn’t just do it for the money, I will admit. At the time there was a fairly widely believed legend that Penn Jillette and (Raymond) Teller were two of the founder members of very legendary Louisiana avant-art punks The Residents. And I have always been a fan if this particular bunch of oddballs. But it turns out that they probably weren’t, and that they weren’t anywhere near Loch Ness on the three days we were up there. But I managed to redefine the term ‘outrageous’ when applied to travelling expenses, and pocketed nearly two grand, so I wasn’t complaining.
I wasn’t complaining, that was, until the show appeared on television. Now, I am sure you are expecting me to rant about how Richard Freeman and I were misrepresented and made to look like idiots. Nope. Nothing of the sort happened, and the crew, and company couldn’t have been nicer to us. Even Penn and Teller were nice to us. But it was a light entertainment show and we played it for laughs.
“What a pity that Downes didn’t take the opportunity to make more serious cryptozoological points” wrote one pundit. And he was far from being the only one. These people acted as if Richard and I had gone onto the stage of the Royal Society Christmas Lectures wearing Donald Duck masks and blowing kazoos. Nope, we had always been told that it was a mildly anarchic light entertainment show, and so we wore leather jackets and fooled around a bit. The clue, guys, is in the name. How many serious scientific expositions include the word BULLSHIT in the title?
But it didn’t end there.
Some months later my personal Wikipedia entry was changed to include the following sentence. “Downes’ discipline of cryptozoology has been thoroughly discredited many times, most recently on Penn and Teller’s Bullshit!”
And it was then that I decided that I had really begun to have had enough of the television industry. A year or so later we were on another show, but I walked off after the producers wanted to film us doing silly walks round my garden wearing pith helmets redolent of some 19th Century explorer or other, and in the last few years I have done practically no television at all, citing my declining health as an excuse. The sad truth is that my health is declining fairly rapidly, but I have never let this get in the way of doing anything that I actually wanted to do.
So that is why I am much happier doing the stuff that I do now...
THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Al Stewart -- Roads to...
Rick Wakeman, Neil Innes in Vivian Stanshall sound...
COMING THIS WEEKEND
THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem
IAN ABRAHAMS AND BRIDGET WISHART - FESTIVALISED: M...
And by the way chaps and chappesses, if you want to make me a happy fellow, you can:
buy my novel:
buy my single:
buy tickets to the Weird Weekend:
Gonzo Magazine #177
David Gilmour, Pink Floyd, Jaqui McShee, Pentangle, Beatles, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Frank Zappa, Elvis Presley, Mr Biffo, Roy Weard, Dogwatch, That Legendary Wooden Lion, Hawkwind, and Yes fans had better look out!
David Gilmour is on the front cover, and Doug goes to see him at the Hollywood Bowl inside, whilst John goes to an even more prestigious venue in Wimborne to see Jaqui McShee's Pentangle. Jon gets all metaphysical about The Beatles whilst Alan talks about Yoko Ono (and John Lennon), while we review two books about Frank Zappa and Biffo reveals religious art featuring Sonic the Hedgehog. There are radio shows from Strange Fruit and Mack Maloney, the latest installment of the saga of Xtul, and columns from all sorts of folk including Roy Weard, Neil Nixon and the irrepressible Corinna who this week has Elvis in her sights (uh huh huh). There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and pademelons ouyside zoos(OK, nothing to do with small marsupials who have escaped from captivity, but I got carried away with things that rhymed with OOOOS) than you can shake a stick at. And the best part is IT's ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!
This issue features:
The Beatles, The Glissando Guitar Orchestra, Todd Rundgren, Ron Wood, The Rolling Stones, Robin Trower, Tony Hawk, Marillion, AndersonPonty Band, Strange Fruit, Mack Maloney's Mystery Hour, Joseph Medicine Crow-High Bird, Merle Ronald Haggard, Carlo Mastrangelo, Dennis Davis, Otha Leon Haywood, Captain Beefheart, Brand X, Osibisa, Pink Fairies, Gram Parson's The International Submarine Band, Gib Guilbeau, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Sons of Fred, Percy Jones, Norman Wisdom featuring Rick Wakeman, David Gilmour, Alan Dearling, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Roy Weard, John Brodie-Good, Jacqui McShee's Pentangle, Mr Biffo, John Ellis, Hawkwind, Xtul, Frank Zappa, Elvis, Neil Nixon, James Brown, Omut
Read the previous few issues of Gonzo Weekly:
Issue 176 (Joey Molland and The Raz Band)
Issue 175 (Larry Sanders)
Issue 174 (Keith Emerson)
Issue 173 (Pink Fairies action figures)
Issue 172 (4th Eden)
Issue 171 (Keith Levene)
Issue 170 (Wildman Fischer)
Issue 169 (Wildman Fischer)
Issue 168 (Wakeman/Bowie)
Issue 167 (Paul Kantner)
Issue 166 (Spirits Burning)
Issue 165 (David Bowie)
Issue 164 (Free Festivals)
Issue 163 (Lemmy)
Issue 161-2 (The Christmas Double Feature)
Issue 160 (Frank Zappa)
Issue 159 (Jon Anderson and Matt Malley)
Issue 158 (Billy Sherwood)
Issue 157 (Drones for Daevid)
Issue 156 (Rick and Emmie)
Issue 155 (Pink Fairies)
Issue 154 (Steve Ignorant)
Issue 153 (Martin Barre)
Issue 152 (4th Eden)
All issues from #70 can be downloaded at www.gonzoweekly.com if you prefer. If you have problems downloading, just email me
and I will add you to the Gonzo Weekly dropbox. The first 69 issues are archived there as well. Information is power chaps, we have to share it!
You can download the magazine in pdf form HERE:
SPECIAL NOTICE: If you, too, want to unleash the power of your inner rock journalist, and want to join a rapidly growing band of likewise minded weirdos please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org The more the merrier really.
* The Gonzo Daily is a two way process. If you have any news or want to write for us, please contact me at email@example.com. If you are an artist and want to showcase your work, or even just say hello please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please copy, paste and spread the word about this magazine as widely as possible. We need people to read us in order to grow, and as soon as it is viable we shall be invading more traditional magaziney areas. Join in the fun, spread the word, and maybe if we all chant loud enough we CAN stop it raining. See you tomorrow...
* The Gonzo Daily is - as the name implies - a daily online magazine (mostly) about artists connected to the Gonzo Multimedia group of companies. But it also has other stuff as and when the editor feels like it. The same team also do a weekly newsletter called - imaginatively - The Gonzo Weekly. Find out about it at this link: www.gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.co.uk
* We should probably mention here, that some of our posts are links to things we have found on the internet that we think are of interest. We are not responsible for spelling or factual errors in other people's websites. Honest guv!
* Jon Downes, the Editor of all these ventures (and several others) is an old hippy of 56 who - together with an infantile orange cat named after a song by Frank Zappa, and two small kittens, one totally coincidentally named after one of the Manson Family, purely because she squeaks, puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon which he shares with various fish. He is ably assisted by his lovely wife Corinna, his bulldog/boxer Prudence, his elderly mother-in-law, and a motley collection of social malcontents. Plus.. did we mention the infantile orange cat, and the adventurous kittens?