Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Monday, May 05, 2014


The Gonzo Daily - Monday

Yesterday was an extraordinarily nice one. To explain, however, I must first take you back to the early Summer of 1972, when I heard T Rex for the first time. I had been entranced by the then current hit single 'Metal Guru', even though I had no idea what a Guru was. A girl I knew in the village told me it was an Indian religious helmet, but that didn't seem to make much sense. I wasn't going to argue with her 'cos I fancied her something rotten. So I went into the school library and looked up the word 'Guru'. The song still didn't make much sense, but it was an answer of sorts. The aforementioned girl played me all her T Rex records including 'Ride a White Swan' which included the lines:

Wear a tall hat like a druid in the old days
Wear a tall hat and a tatooed gown
Ride a white swan like the people of the Beltane
Wear your hair long, babe you can't go wrong

I vaguely knew what a druid was from reading various novels by Rosemary Sutcliffe, but I had never heard of Beltane. So, once again, I went into the school library. I found out that Beltane was the fire festival traditionally held on Mayday. As May Day had only recently become a bank holiday, much to the chagrin of my parents who were convinced that this was the not very thin end of the wedge that was leading us to a Communist republic. The Vicar, the late Mr Eppingstone (who was very much of the old school of vicar - a scholar and a gentleman in every parish) tried to tell my parents that it was the Feast Day of St Joseph the Worker, but that smacked of Papism, which to my staunchly conservative (with both a big and a small C) was nearly as bad as Communism and so his plea in mitigation was dismissed. I, however, knew that it was a much more ancient and worthy Holy Day or holiday, but wisely chose to keep my own counsel on the matter.

During my investigations into the matter of Beltane in the school library I read about something called The Beltane Fire; a fertility ritual involving bonfires of different sacred woods, and I was completely fascinated. Ever since, I have wanted to see one of these rituals, and yesterday I got my chance.

We recently made friends with Andy and Amy, a couple in the village introduced to us by my lovely, and long suffering, secretary Andrea. Andy is a druid, and I asked him diffidently whether he could perform a Beltane Fire for us. He said yes, and yesterday at five he, Amy, their delightful daughter Charlotte (who some of you will have seen co-presenting On The Track last month) together with Andrea, her daughter Chloe and her husband Steve turned up. I was in the studio with my old friend Mike Davis and all of us (with Mother and Corinna) went into the garden and performed the ritual.

I had initially only been interested in it from a vaguely anthropological point of view, and was certainly not expecting it to be such an uplifting spiritual experience. Thank you my dears, for making yesterday a completely special experience. I also have to apologise to everyone for disappearing off into the studio to finish the two records I was making with Mike, and abandoning my assembled guests. Also many apologies for Andrea in keeping her and her family up so late and completely forgetting she had to work this morning.

By the way, does anyone know the correct formal honorific to address a druid? After the ceremony I wanted to say "Thank you Vicar/Father/Padre" as had been instilled into me by my Father who was a stickler for correct protocol. He was on first name terms with the aforementioned Mr Eppingstone, but always when addressing him after Sunday service he would address him as Vicar. After the ritual I wanted to do likewise. It seemed inappropriate to address the Celebrant of such a special occasion as 'Andy'....

Iain Matthews: Driven by ‘obscurity’

Cobham woman's memoir of life with rock legend Frank Zappa

Ginger Baker review – cantankerous ex-Cream drummer


GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Metal Box In Dub - Theme - Keith Levene and Jah Wobble


This week's issue of Gonzo Weekly is here. I was up until 4:00 on Saturday morning finishing it, accompanied (except for the last ten minutes) by my wonderful wife and helpmeet Corinna. This issue (up atwww.gonzoweekly.com) features - amongst other things - Rick Wakeman at the Royal Albert Hall in exclusive words and pictures, interviews with Keith Levene the founding gunslinger of both The Clash and PiL, René van Commenée (aka Mr Averell) and David Jackson (ex of Van Der Graaf Generator, and the legendary Italian prog band PFM. There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and golden mantled tree kangaroos (OK, no arobeal macropods from Irian Jaya, 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!!!

The full list of artists covered this time is: Rick Wakeman, Roger Daltrey, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Wilko Johnson, Galahad, Ginger Baker, Keith Levene, Clepsydra, Iona, Erik Norlander, Steve Ignorant, Beatles, Marillion, Strange Fruit, Canterbury Sans Frontières, Sub Reality Sandwich, Bob Hoskins, Jean Philippe Rykiel, Joey Molland, David Jackson, René van Commenée, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong, Clearlight, Planet Earth Rock ‘n’ Roll Orchestra, Kevin Ayers and the Whole World, Mr Averell, Xtul, PFM, Pattie Boyd, Yes, Steve Howe, 1D, Goresoerd, Hell, In Process, Indoctrine, Manegarm

Read the previous few issues of Gonzo Weekly:
Issue 75 (Hawkwind cover)
Issue 74 (Billy Sherwood cover)
Issue 73 (Clepsydra cover)
Issue 72 (Judge Smith cover)
Issue 71 (Andy Colquhoun cover)
Issue 70 (Tim Blake cover)

These issues (and the current one) can be downloaded atwww.gonzoweekly.com if you prefer. If you have problems downloading, just email me and I will add you to the Gonzo Weekly dropbox. Information is power chaps, we have to share it!

To make sure that you don't miss your copy of future issues make an old hippy a happy chappy and subscribe

Chris Hawkins presents The Jack Bruce Band at the BBC

FISH re-schedules 3 dates on May UK tour


GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Gong - I Never Glid Before

Clearlight - another US review

* The Gonzo Daily is a two way process. If you have any news or want to write for us, please contact me at jon@eclipse.co.uk. If you are an artist and want to showcase your work, or even just say hello please write to me at gonzo@cfz.org.uk. 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.com/2012/11/all-gonzo-news-wots-fit-to-print.html

* 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 54 who - together with an orange kitten named after a song by Frank Zappa puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon which he shares with various fish, and sometimes a small Indian frog. 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 orange kitten?

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