ANOTHER LEVEL

The People’s Pyramid is being built. It will consist of 23 steps, each step, 4 bricks high. The completed People’s Pyramid will be 92 bricks high.

At around 5:23pm on November 23rd 2019, the People’s Pyramid was 2 bricks high, approximately 2.3% of its final height.

The People’s Pyramid has reached Another Level.

This is not a hot take.

It’s more like cold turkey.

It’s marks both the Beginning Of The End and the End Of The Beginning.

The hangovers from the events surrounding The People’s Pyramid and other related gatherings are getting longer, fuzzier and harder to shake off. The events of just a few short days in L8 resonate more than a month long European adventure.

The back to reality sensation of Monday morning gets more telling every time. The convergence of 200 or more reality tunnels, each travelling in roughly the same direction is a tricky one to snap yourself out of. The energy, warmth and, yes, love emanating out of the collective, fires you back into the real world like a heat seeking missile, but crucially a missile whose gyro has been thrown away. If you’re powered by rocket fuel but with no way to steer there’s going to be bang, a Big Bang, when you eventually hit the ground, and this time around Ground Zero was a tricky place to start.

So I write. My trilogy of five books (don’t ask) needs to be finished, and it needs to be epic. Kalavela seems to be the only way to go.

If we always celebrate Toxteth Day Of The Dead on November 23rd, the next few years will be significantly different. Next year will fall on a Monday. In 2021, a Tuesday, no weekends until Saturday November 23rd, 2024, sandwiched between the symbolic 2023 (see also, Five Years) and the end of Bill’s World Tour in 2025. He will turn 72 and we are all expected to TAKE STOCK.

So my yearly pilgrimage to Liverpool will change. There is not likely to be any employer accommodation for another November 23rd off work. I’ll leave for Merseyside at 3:30pm and 2-3 hours later I’ll be…somewhere. It’s never an easy drive. Dark by four, usually raining, The M6 still feeble at successfully conveying traffic. The beautiful people of Liverpool will have Beat The Bounds, a thousand stories will have be shared, synchronicities uncovered, and I’ll arrive, woozy from the drive, hopefully not late for my own funeral.

And that is the power and beauty of those few days every year. This year more powerful and beautiful than ever before. At WAKE L8, the heart-breaking eulogies triggered thoughts and visions of my own loved ones preparing for my own cementation into this vast undertaking. I now know what my funeral will look like. I know there will be tears, laughter and an Ice Kream Van. There will be absolute solemn silence, punctuated by the scraping of cement, the tapping of the trowel and the ringing of the bell. A spirit level will have levelled my spirit and the end credits will roll. The rest of me will have already been scattered on a Green Burial ground, nourishing a tree as it grows less than a mile away from where I was born, married and probably passed away. But the process of MuMuFication will also be the end my own particular process. The conversation of two lives into one, nurtured by the heat of The Sun and the fruits of the Earth into something that can live, educate and create. Then gone, the atoms moving on to their next process, their time as me as forgotten as their creation inside a star. No legacy save for the shaping of 10000 minds, four hundred odd books waiting to be read and a tiny imprint on the people I have met.

One of the most profoundly important discussions around dementia is that the loss of memory, in particular the memories of the people we have met, strips away the patient’s personality, formed like a sandstone tower from the relentless desert winds of our interactions. We do live on. In the memories and personalities of the people we have encounted. The soul is there to be found, fragmented into a thousand more souls, each waiting to be fragmented further still. ‘We are,’ as a wise pair of undertakers once said, ‘our own ancestors.’

So, now for the memories bit.

A curious, cosmic coincidence got me booked onto a training course in the North-West on Friday 22nd, meaning no elaborate alibis were required this year. I drove up straight after work accompanied by a hastily compiled, but oddly poignant in places, playlist.

https://open.spotify.com/user/fedoraboy/playlist/2I91iv5OtgiScWwH9jMvtu?si=si1kMlFCQ6G6eQQI6eHc6Q

The drive was dark and wet and took me into Liverpool over the spectacular new Mersey Gateway Bridge that was opened to the public shortly after Welcome To The Dark Ages in 2017. In this case Charon’s Obol was a ridiculously complicated online payment that took most of the evening to process. Then onto the M62, in the Eastern outskirts of Liverpool, with its mysterious bridge signs counting down from K8 to K2. It couldn’t be, could it? Finally, a short cut through Edge Hill took me into the Georgian Quarter and my home for the next three nights, The Embassie. Here it is in the video for The Beatles ‘Free As A Bird’.

The Embassie is a fantastic place to stay on a budget with warm, friendly staff who become more accustomed to the notion of MuMuFiction with every passing year. This year, there were nearly a dozen Bricks staying there, who stayed chatting into the wee small hours, until the Jura ran out. A special mention to the French backpackers who were scared out of town with our crazy pyramid building plans.

After Friday’s course on teaching teachers to teach maths, I was back at The Embassie for about 5 and then armed with a bag full of tinned food and Lego donations, I headed off to The Florrie for the first big event of the weekend, WAKE L8.

The moment we walked through the back gate of The Florrie and saw the Ice Kream Van, that familiar dreamy fugue state kicked in. Oh look, there’s Bill. Oh look, there’s Jimmy. Oh look, there’s The Foundation Stone with Simon’s brick and eight more ready to join him. Loads of hugs and hellos followed, as I reconnected with this wonderful group of people. There is never enough time to see everyone and say everything but I enjoy the social pinball of it all, although I’m normally much less outgoing. I suppose it helps to have a book to shift.

It’s always the strangest of coincidences that my book launches clash with The JAMs. When I was getting WHATEVER ready, 23-11-17 seemed a nice day to release it and then The JAMs crashed that particular party with the unforgettable BURN THE SHARD PART ONE. TOGETHER coalesced enough to come out on 02-03-18, but when FOREVER decided it wanted to be its own trilogy inside a trilogy, it decided to have its first climax ready for 23-11-18. Once you’ve released two books on November 23rd, as well as another that happens only on that date, it makes sense to not break with tradition, so I also brought a backpack full of FOREVE2 to The Florrie. Fortunately for my back, so many generous people were interested enough in what I do to considerably lighten my load by the end of the evening.

I love writing. I write books I would love to read myself. Sometimes, I’ll pop in an Easter Egg and then forget all about it. Months later, I manage to astound my self with it.

Selling books is different. WHATEVER was just supposed to put out there for free on Kindle and then I saw that Amazaba were trialling self-publishing and gave it a go. Once you’ve made something physical, there’s a need to cover your costs and that’s all I really do. Still, I sold enough copies of WHATEVER to buy my Brick and subsequent books have given me a bit of loose change in my PayPal account to support the work of the likes of the Liverpool Arts Lab and Stephen Clarke 1980. More from them in a bit.

FOREVE2 is a chunky book. It makes a satisfying thud when you drop it on a table. It also feels weighty in your hand and everyone that treated themselves to a copy over the weekend commented on my books’ expanded girth.

FOREVER was conceived as ‘an inch thick Sci-fi novel about the journey of a soul in a simulated afterlife. Two books in, I’ve already reached my target of an inch, which is handy because FOREV3R will be much slimmer, but hopefully just as fantastic. I don’t want to say anymore at this stage, but it’s shaping up to be something I will be really proud of. After the crowd sourced wonder of TOGETHER, with special mentions to Ben and hoppo for their art and video contributions, and the amazing interstitials from Jon Collis in FOREVE2, my next collaboration will hopefully raise the bar further still. It’s good to have a co-creator to ensure you’re do the best work you can. Less than a week into development, FOREV3R is already looking like something I’ll treasure and hopefully Others will too.

If you want to plug any gaps in your WTF collection, details are here.

Anyway back to WAKE L8. It was apt that I finally got to meet Stephen Clarke 1980 face to face at a pair of decks next to The Foundation Stone of The People’s Pyramid. We’ve been corresponding since the Autumn of 2017 after his wonderful Liberation Loophole article. He had already written and released the fantastic Deleted Scenes as a PDF, but my own adventures in self-publishing led to people getting their hands on something they could hold. Keep Dreaming followed soon after and then the trilogy was completed with No Rest For The Listener, which I was lucky enough to endorse on the back.

It’s difficult to describe Stephen without saying ‘gentle giant’, but ‘not a mean spirited dwarf’ doesn’t really do the job. His carefully curated selection of songs soundtracked the reunions and formed a fitting prelude to the eulogies from the soon-to-be MuMuFied. He is a terrific writer who insists he will not write a fourth book, but my suspicion is that his future involves either the definitive Belfast Rave Generation story or at least a couple of episodes of series four of his beloved Derry Girls.

Watch this space.

Until he deletes it.

Then watch some more.

Another fond reunion for me was with Tom Calderbank, the beating heart of The Florrie. His hugs are always the kind that make you put your glasses in your back pocket and are all the more wonderful for it. He bought two copies of FOREVE2 (Purist Edition, Dutch Orange in honour of my dad who passed away last year) and instructed me to give one to a stranger I meet for the first time whilst Beating The Bounds. More on that later.

(C) Dan Dares Photography

It was also great to catch up with the legendary Vicky Pea, Mu-Khronicler extraordinaire and the bearer of the only Badger Kull tattoo I’ve had a hand in creating. For her definitive take on TDOTD 2019 get yourself over here. Vicky was in charge of the distribution of job cards and I chose the much sought after role of Tocky Tart Giver.

While we’re talking proper writers, another amazing account keeper of all things Mu is Gary Aster, who is also a treasured supporter of what I do. Go away and read everything that Vicky and Gary have written and then come back. I’ll wait.

Choose your last words

This is the last time

‘Cause you an I

We were born to die

You’re back. They’re great aren’t they. The eulogies for the eight bricks were just wonderful, full of warmth, compassion and an awful lot of humour. These were celebrations of life’s well lived. As it should be. As it will be.

After a brief tribute to Simon from Jimmy, including a near-death experience for Ford Timelord, things started to wrap up inside The Florrie. Out in the cold I got to perform my poem, Five Years to an appreciative crowd of five.

FIVE YEARS

PUSHING TROLLEYS TO THE TOWN HALL

SO MANY FROM THE SUPERMARKET

THE JAMS HAD JUST LET US KNOW

WE HAD FIVE YEARS LEFT TO START IT

THE UNDERTAKERS SMILED AND TOLD US

MUMUFICATION WAS REALLY STARTING

A PEOPLES PYRAMID WILL BE BUILT

A PLACE FOR THE DEARLY DEPARTED

I HEARD UKRAINIAN, ICE KREAM VANS, FAVOURITE MELODIES

I SAW MERCH, PERCH AND A STACK OF T.V.S

MY BRICK STORED IN A WAREHOUSE, ALL MY FRIENDS WERE THERE

THEY HAD TO STACK THEM TO THE CEILING TO FIT EVERYONE IN THERE

AND ALL THE BEAUTIFUL OTHERS

AND ALL THE MOTHERS OF OTHERS

AND ALL THE OTHERS MOTHERS MOTHERS

I NEVER THOUGHT I’D SEE SO MANY OTHERS

A GIRL MY AGE WENT TO LIVERPOOL

TO SEE THE ICE KREAM VAN

IF THE 400 HADN’T PULLED IT

I THINK SHE WOULD HAVE HELPED THEM

AN ACTOR WITH A MEGAPHONE

STRIPPED OFF HIS SHIRT BY THE FIRE

A POP STAR SHINED THE SHOES OF FAN

AND A POPE WAS THRILLED AND INSPIRED

I THINK I SAW YOU BY AN ICE-KREAM VAN

DRINKING TEA WITH MINCE PIES

DANCING AND RAVING AND LOOKING SO FINE

DON’T THINK YOU KNEW YOU WERE STILL ALIVE

AND IT WAS COLD AND IT RAINED SO I PUT ON MY YELLOW MAC

AND I THOUGH OF THE FLORRIE AND I WANTED TO GET BACK THERE

YOUR FACE, LIKE A SKULL, IN BLACK AND WHITE

I KISS YOU, YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL ,LET’S WALK TO THE LIGHT

WE’VE GOT FIVE YEARS, TO FIND US A SITE

FIVE YEARS, WHAT A DELIGHT

WE’VE GOT FIVE YEARS, MY BRICK WEIGHS A LOT

FIVE YEARS, THAT’S ALL WE’VE GOT

WE’VE GOT FIVE YEARS, TO FIND US A SITE

FIVE YEARS, WHAT A DELIGHT

WE’VE GOT FIVE YEARS, MY BRICK WEIGHS A LOT

FIVE YEARS, THAT’S ALL WE’VE GOT

WE’VE GOT FIVE YEARS, TO FIND US A SITE

FIVE YEARS, WHAT A DELIGHT

WE’VE GOT FIVE YEARS, MY BRICK WEIGHS A LOT

FIVE YEARS, THAT’S ALL WE’VE GOT

FIVE YEARS

FIVE YEARS

FIVE YEARS

FIVE YEARS

After The Florrie, a dozen or so of us retired to The Anglesea public house around the corner and treated the bar to all the K-related hits the jukebox had to offer. Then as last orders were called, we grabbed a seven seater and headed back to The Embassie for Jura and frequency conspiracy theories.

No Frenchmen were converted to Bricks.

Day two, then. The Main Event. After a morning of excessive caffeine, obsessive merch purchases and a fortifying fry-up at Tocky Tesco, we made our way to The Florrie. By we, I mean, the merry bunch of the future MuMuFied that had set up base at The Embassie. Darren and Chris from Gloucester, Emma from Sheffield, Cheeves from Ireland, Simon from Nuneaton and a mysterious man with a snail shield. The Magnificent seventh was DPM Aden who was struck down by the flu and so missed Beating The Bounds for the second year in a row. Third times a charm for him, I hope.

Once at The Florrie, I took up my distinguished role of Tocky Tart Giver along with Suzanne, who was here with her husband while he recorded the day for a potential feature on BBC Radio 4 or the World Service. It was great watching her utter bewilderment at the start of the day, turn into wide eyed wonder by the time we approached the Anglican Cathedral. Our role was to give one of Peter Hughes’ delicious Tocky Tart creations to every number 23 that we passed by whilst Beating The Bounds.

(C) Dan Dares Photography

Before we could begin though, there was the small matter of folding together 99 black card cake boxes to house the delicious sweet pastry treats. Suzanne later became the recipient of Tommy’s FOREVE2 giveaway.

Meanwhile, as the numbers swelled to at least a couple of hundred, other roles were assumed, Milk Ghosts were claimed and apparitions of long forgotten books were seen in the back of the Ice Kream Van.

(The less I think about this the better.)

At about 1:30pm and a false start over Firestarter, the procession began to process, but not without Bill & Jimmy donning their Favourite Uncle personas and handing out umbrellas in case the forecasted rain came to dampen our spirits – in the end, it didn’t, but the umbrella worked well as a beater for my improvised drum/tray of Tocky Tarts.

Said I’ll always be your friend

Took an oath I’m a stick it out ’til the end.

Bill & Jimmy seemed to have completely dropped the austere, almost menacing presence of Burn The Shard, when they stalked the parade through yellow smoke bomb clouds, appearing and disappearing almost at will. This time they seemed at their most relaxed, happy to let the Liverpool Arts Lab lead the way, safe in the knowledge that everything was already planned for a breathtaking climax.

As well as a ritualised search for a site for The People’s Pyramid and celebration of the lives and deaths of the residents of L8, Beating The Bounds also serves as reminder of Day Three of Welcome To The Dark Ages and The Great Pull North.

(C) Dan Dares Photography

There is no doubt in my mind that those few hours on Friday 25th August 2017 are the 21st Century’s greatest artistic achievement. Between them, The Five (Callender, Callender, Campbell, Cauty and Drummond) created something that should have walked the Turner Prize (oh, the irony) and been written about for months on end. But it wasn’t. It barely made the local press and the broadsheet coverage said more about Barbara Ellen than the magic that had unfolded. Of The 399 that are still with us, around a hundred or so we’re there to Beat The Bounds, mutating the echoes of two years ago into something fresh yet familiar, in many ways like Alvin Lucier’s I Am Sitting In A Room – the past informs the future, the future becomes its own past, the echoed tape loops are their own ancestors.

https://youtu.be/bhtO4DsSazc

For the next four hours, we snaked our way through the streets of Toxteth, celebrating the extraordinary lives of some of the residents.

(C) Dan Dares Photography

We Summoned Gimpo, named our ghosts, had a kick about, crossed the River Styx and, in the shadow of the Anglican Cathedral, sang along with the Ghost Of Lennon.

The sun had set on The Beating Of The Bounds and it was time for The People’s Pyramid to take centre stage. In silence with walked through a tunnel to the Cathedral Gardens. With the melodies of St. James Infirmary creating a Red Room-esque vibe, out of the darkness, the Ice Kream Van came into focus, fully illuminated, its headlights lighting up the Foundation Stone, flanked by Ru and Claire and Daisy The Bricklayer.

(C) Dan Dares Photography

At that moment, it seemed we were in a place out of time, there to witness a ritual that will be repeated for decades, centuries or, according to the mathematics of exponential growth, until 2023.

A special mention has to go to Peter Hughes, from The Liverpool Arts Lab, who seemed to have a finger in every pie (or pastry).

(C) Dan Dares Photography

Along with inventing and baking 123 Tocky Tarts and performing as Hermes at Sunday’s Thetis Bardos ritual, Peter was exceptional in his role as The Bricklayer’s Assistant, mixing the cement and dressing each brick with perfect timing and reverence.

After the final brick was laid, Liverpool legend Pete Wylie stepped to the front to perform K CERA CERA (War Is Over If You Want It), a late period K-oddity that coincidentally ended my Castle Perilous performance and named the spin-off booklet.

When Bill handed me the lyric sheet, suddenly, whatever will be, will he made some perfect synchronicitous sense, that I’m sure Carl Jung would have approved of.

And then it was over. I’d been present at my own funeral, or at least an early draft version of it, and it was beautiful. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

The evening‘s decompression exercise, began with a short walk to District, a venue I’d last visited for the Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia to have my mind melted by the likes of GNOD, Black Ash and Fujiya and Miyagi.

After some perfect comfort food in the form of a Caribbean Goat Curry, we settled in for an evening that somehow lasted for another six hours. Friendships deepened, new ones were forged, new projects were embraced and dances were danced. I don’t know where I got the stamina from but I imagine it came after a heavy dose of love and wonderism. Days like these can make you feel bulletproof.

Sunday morning was an expected treat as a cast of 23 or so celebrated the lives that were lost in a terrible submarine tragedy that happened on the banks of the Mersey, on the eve of the Second World War. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was a real privilege to take part in the proceedings.

(C) Emma Watkinson

So what next? Well more of the same, I hope. A wonderful, supportive comMUnity has grown around The Foundation Stone. Only this month, one of our own needed some help through Christmas and within a few short days over £1000 had been raised. You could say that this is something that was formed during those incredible few days in Liverpool, a shared ordeal, or subliminal mind control. But that only accounts for less than half of those who walked the streets of Toxteth. Plenty of The 400 Volunteers walked away from Welcome To The Dark Ages, disappointed by the lack of new music, content to go back to their rarities, bootlegs and number plates. To find a deeper meaning in all this, as usual, we need to turn to Alan Moore.

In his masterpiece Jerusalem, he explored the concept of Block Time, aka Eternalism, that proposes that the past, present and future all exist together in four-dimensional ‘block’ with time as the fourth dimension. Just as the past resonates into the present, echoes of the future can be felt in the present.

A future where we are Already Dead.

A future where we are MuMuFied.

A future where we are The People’s Pyramid.

The People’s Pyramid HAS been built.

It is the concrescence we are all heading towards, pulling us through time.

It is the transcendental object at the end of our time.

Take it away, Terence.

     “Alfred North Whitehead proposed … that history grows toward what he called a “nexus of completion.” And these nexuses of completion themselves grow together into what he called the “concrescence.” A concrescence exerts a kind of attraction, which can be thought of as the temporal equivalent of gravity, except all objects in the universe are drawn toward it through time, not space.  As we approach the lip of this cascade into concrescence, novelty, and completion, time seems to speed up and boundaries begin to dissolve. The more boundaries that dissolve, the closer to the concrescence we are. When we finally reach it, there will be no boundaries, only eternity as we become all space and time, alive and dead, here and there, before and after. Because this singularity can simultaneously co-exist in states that are contradictory, it is something which transcends rational apprehension. But it gives the universe meaning because all processes can be seen to be seeking and moving in an effort to approximate, connect with, and append to this transcendental object at the end of time.”— Terence McKenna, Timewave Zero, and Language

https://youtu.be/Ew60mD-RcXo

Get MuMuFication here.

TDOTD2018

The Documents Of The Day Of The Dead

Dave Farness

Lisa Lovebucket

Eric Maddern

Tim Arnold

Patrick Treloar

Andrew Moss (All-Seeing-Eye-Cam)

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