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Recently I ended up at this bizarre nexus where an Ian Svenonius one-off disc, my nascent fascination with late-60′s cult films (esp. those that rep specific “underground” cultures), Simon Reynolds, and the death of Arthur magazine all led me to the same exact book – an obscure (leastwise in America) 300+ pg. tome by Richard Neville entitled Playpower. It’s weird that I’ve never heard of this book. Apparently it’s seen as a UK analogue to Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book, and Neville (whom you and I’ve also never heard of) himself was a similar sort of mischief-maker. All I know from the meager research I’ve done is that 1) he was involved in at least two major censorship cases, 2) he helped spearhead Oz, one of the most reknowned of 60′s underground rags (perhaps second only to the East Village Other), and 3) that he’s a self-described “Futurist”, however he’s chosen to interpret that term.

I love old texts from the front. I read once that Bob Dylan, during his unknown days, used to head up to the NYPL to read newspapers from the Civil War, and I totally understand where he was coming from.. Documents made during the time-in-question are almost always more interesting and human than the thin, reflective stuff that comes after. It’s why Greil Marcus’ Mystery Train was so good, why Mencken’s essays are entertaining. It’s why people get obsessed with old blues 45s or, hell, the first Beat Happening record. It’s the difference between a museum and a zoo, you know? Death vs. life. For me, what I often get in my investigations is a sense of possibility. These old texts, they have a way of sending ripples through your reality simply by coming from a different one. It’s… reassuring.

(And moreover, I love outsized personalities and spectacularly flawed alternatives to the status quo, so I’m hoping I’ll get a whiff of that here as well.)

So anyway, I bought that book for like $17. What else is going on in my life?:
1) It looks as though I’m going out on what could be reasonably called a “date” later this week. Details forthcoming, maybe.
2) I’m getting a free haircut – a free professional haircut, I should add – this Thursday.
3) I’m designing Fanatic’s advertising for SXSW.

And that’s it.

Yours,
Ryan

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