Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Best of...ON SALE!

The Best of OBSOLETE! Magazine

Highlights from the first six issues of OBSOLETE! Magazine, along with original, never before published material. Essays, fiction, poetry and artwork from the newsprint tabloid published in the tradition of the International Times, OZ, The East Village Other, The Berkely Barb, The Chicago Seed, The Whole Earth Catalog, PUNK! and the other great underground rags of days past….

This anthology features an exclusive interview with Cory Doctorow, original fiction by the late, great Mick Farren, poetry by Todd Colby, artwork by Hyena Hell and much, much more!!

The book is ON SALE now, at obsolete-press.com!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Call for Submissions: AnarchoSciFi Anthology

Obsolete Press is currently compiling work for an anthology of writing and artwork influenced by the ideas of Anarchy and Anarchism. Work should fit broadly into the “Science Fiction” genre and address the ideas of a stateless society or the efforts to escape the oppression of statism. 

How to Submit:
Send your writing submissions as rtf, doc or odt files, or artwork as jpg, to anthology editor, Ricardo Feral, at Obmag(at)feral-tech(dot)com. Please send writing without special formatting, double spaced, five space indented paragraphs, Times New Roman 12 pt font, 1 inch margins. Artwork should be 300dpi, 8”H X 5”W. Please include your name, email address, mailing address, and phone number at the top of your submission an a short bio (50 words or under) at the end.
Number of Pieces:
You may submit up to 3 pieces of work for consideration- fiction (under 4000 words) or Black and white illustrations or other artwork.
Cover Letter:
Include a cover letter in the body of the email. include previous publications, if any. We welcome submissions from unpublished authors, but work must be polished and print-ready. Please include your name, email address, mailing address, and phone number in your email cover letter. Please put YOUR ANTHOLOGY SUBMISSION in the subject line.
We will consider reprints. Please include publication information on previously published stories and artwork.
At the end of your CL, please include a 2-3 line bio (50 words or under). This is what will appear on our contributors’ page.
submission period is July 15–September 15, 2013. We will be reading and making selections during and after the submissions period. Only authors whose work has been accepted will be notified. If you place your work elsewhere prior to its acceptance please let us know immediately.
If your submission is accepted, you will receive one free copy of the book. Authors will have the opportunity to buy additional copies at a 40% discount, 50% discount for orders of 10 books or more. You will also receive a 10% commission if you take bookstore orders that the publisher fills.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mick Farren: The last OBSOLETE! Story.

This was supposed to be the first of a series of stream-of-conciousness column/rant/stories that Mick was going to write for OBSOLETE! Unfortunately, it was to be the last piece he will write for us. It's classic Mick Farren.


”The very planet proves to be alive. And very pissed off.”

The report on you is filed, my friend. You, Agent X9, above all others, should realize that the data cannot be reversed. The algorithms of the Corporate Hegemony are inflexible. The images are graven. They rule with cool and absolute binary authority. The database may only be amended and items only added to the labyrinths of detail and the profiles that stretch to the edge of entropy. The report has been filed Agent X9. It has joined the endless and ultimately personal catalogues of caprices and conceits. A major responsibility of the Intelligence Committee of the Corporate Hegemony is to preserve the minutiae of peccadillo and purchase, intimacies and indiscretions and store them on the mainframes in those mines measureless to man. It is a vital foundation of the Sociopath Agenda. You were once one of our most respected Continental Operatives. As such you should be aware that absolutely nothing is reversible. All structures are indistinguishable one for another in infinite reflection, standardized by electric dissection and quantified by template. You are Damned Agent X9. That’s how they would have expressed it in the ancient days. What’s that? You want a cigarette? The general regulations specify this as a non-smoking facility but here in the white room we might make an exception. Will someone fetch Agent X9 a cigarette and the means with which to light it?
            The report is filed, Agent X9. Smoke your cigarette and reflect how the requirement is helplessness. The requirement has always been helplessness. Not only from the victim but from the victor. Our drones release death from the above. They fall free from a clear blue sky. They do not consider the merits of the mission or contemplate its morality. They are merely machines. The same could be said of the machines air-conditioned operators deep in their protected bunkers. They perform their assigned tasks. They calibrate for assigned targets. They are compliant. They obey. They do not question. In fact they strive for excellence in what they do. They believe the infallibility of their instructions. Remember the good Colonel Benton? "I feel no emotional attachment to the enemy. I have a duty, and I execute the duty.” You also believed Agent X9. When you were sent against the Hello Kitty subversion, the Deathless Men, The Horst Wessel Brigade or the Ancients of Lhasa you also complied with discussion or argument. What happened, Agent X9? When did you develop this philosophical schizophrenia? In former times, when you stood are you in hall of mirrors and the Lady from Shanghai opened fire, you ducked the shining shards and carried out your mission. What changed, Agent X9?
            Before the battle of Passchendaele a British general issued an order, “Maps must conform to plans and not plans to maps. Facts that interfered with plans were impertinencies.” The Intelligence Committee may not totally agree with this concept, but it certainly has its historical merits in that it is plainly a forerunner of modern thinking by the Corporate Hegemony what would ultimately find form in the Sociopath Agenda. The mass must move as one with a driven uniformity. For each to plot an individual course would create the abject chaos of uncharted anarchy. Law enforcement fills the prisons. It is their vocation. They are not required to reason why, just fill their quota. The sick die. The poor starve. The churches preach insanity. The advertising industry creates impossible desires and implausible expectations. Tolerance is eliminated and fear is substituted. The pliable iron is set in the soul of men. You have done your part in establishing that program, Agent X9. Ignorance has been nurtured and nourished. Pornography is encouraged. Paranoia is cultivated. The underclass is publicized as the ever-lurking threat. There but for the grace of consumption go you and go I. Their internecine criminality and territorial gang violence is tacitly fostered as a means of intimidation. Their drug traffic is clandestinely regulated and monitored to keep them within the designated boundaries by psycho-chemical manipulation. Education has now fully collapsed on itself and the children remain feral, but eruptions are managed and the destruction is confined to their own habitats. They burn their own turf. The bodycount is media fodder. The sub-culture is exploitable. Function is inflexible. Function is always inflexible.
Did you forget that Agent X9 when you flaunted your new found individualism? Individuality can only be the prerogative of a tiny and elevated elite and, even then, it must be subject to multiple and geometric restrictions. Public postures of leadership and private poses of decadence among this quasi-elite are as narrowly proscribed as the tailored delusions of the masses. They are permitted their gaudy party favors, their garish notoriety, and extravagant illusions of superiority, their deviant sex and their own costly and rarified varieties of recreation drugs. They are dazzled by their own glitter, their metallic eyelashes, and the contents of their gift bags. They are encouraged to amass their toys, their mansions, their yachts and their jets, to consume beyond reason, and leave their vast carbon tire tracks. They are conditioned to strive for fortunes so inflated they are abstractions. They are taught a magical arithmetic and a numerical concept of the elemental self-esteem. They are reminded how they are bright candles but the wind is always waiting.   
Even we on the Intelligence Committee do not attempt to think for ourselves. The very fabric of our society dictates that all levels adhere at all times to the essential construction of the Corporate Hegemony and the Sociopath Agenda. But you, Agent X9, have elected to think for yourself. You have embraced a condition is wholly singular, when, at the very least only the binary is recognized and only the totality is accessible or acceptable. You appear to believe you are the recipient of a revelation. You imagine you have seen the error of our ways. You have attempted to apply logic where logic is inapplicable. You make the essential mistake of believing that humanity as a species can be saved. As long ago as 1949, the great Harry Lime notably remarked, “Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever?” You ignore the crucial tipping point after which humanity became fully viral and its general survival became unworthy of consideration except in small and carefully selected superior enclaves. As for the rest, it is unfortunate. As a virus they are a destructive infection of the overall biosphere and only worthy of elimination. The choice is not easy but it has been made, and that choice is the core of the Sociopath Agenda.   
So you see, Agent X9, any misguided attempts you might make to save humanity or civilization as we know it are far too little and their lateness defies contemplation.
Your sorry attempt to forge a treasonous liaison with the Daughters of Gaia only serves to demonstrate your unqualified misinterpretation of the cybernetic feedback systems operated unconsciously by the biota. You linger in the 20th century. Agent X9. Once upon a time, the Corporate Hegemony assumed itself a total odds with the Lovelock proposal. They too saw no alternative to preserving humanity if only as producer/consumers. It was only when the emergent Intelligence Committee presented evidence of how human beings in their current numbers were inimical to the broad stabilization of the conditions of habitability in a full homeostasis that the higher thinking began to change. Our masters accepted that this world of humans is dying, Agent X9. They accepted it very easily. Parts of it are already dead. They cannot be resuscitated. Our only option was to maintain a semblance of order as the systems fail. It was the only alternative with which to retain power. The Corporate Hegemony was well aware they were the descendants of all feudal lords, warrior chieftains, violent dictators, and totalitarian butchers of old. In their form at the time of the tipping point they were opportunists motivated by self-interest and greed, and inclined to dominate or subjugate those around them through manipulative means. A new order needed to evolve from the previous policies of destructive self-interest. 
            We have no Cossacks, no pogroms, no purges, and no final solution. The secret police operate primarily for their own amusement. Humanity will be largely destroyed but we are not the destroyers per se. Lovelock himself made it clear. "The Earth System behaves as a single, self-regulating procedure with physical, chemical, biological, and human components". The Earth's survival depends on the interaction of living forms with inorganic elements and one of those living forms is now too degraded to be part of the interaction. The human component has grievously malfunctioned and Earth will eliminate it. The Earth itself will destroy humanity. That makes your failed alliance with the Daughters of Gaia all the more ironic. The very planet proves to be alive. And very pissed off. It will push man to extinction. The Corporate Hegemony may help speed the process in some small ways. An epidemic here. A famine there. A withdrawal of aid. A nuclear accident or a toxic cloud. The Earth will do the rest. It will throw off viral humanity. It will cure itself with earthquakes and volcanoes, fire and flood, climate shift, and things at which we can only guess. Our own minor efforts are what might be called transactional. We sacrifice our own kind in return for exceedingly limited numbers of us being allowed to continue as what might call living fossils. A tiny percentage of the former species world given sanctuary in protected enclaves from which we guarantee we will not spread and cause no more harm to planet. In this we embrace the largest possible picture. The Sociopath Agenda is, at root, an acceptance that humanity has outgrows any possible usefulness, and we are making what we can from its demise. Didn’t I make clear that the Corporate Hegemony was a coterie of advanced whores and evolved opportunists?
But what of you Agent X9. We on the Intelligence Committee are not the frivolous or gratuitous torturers of old. Pain is not our entertainment or distraction. Your life will merely be concluded as painlessly as possible because, knowing all that you know you cannot be allowed to persist, world at an end. Would care for another cigarette, Agent X9? And perhaps a blindfold?

© Mick Farren, Brighton UK, 2013     

Mick Farren: Do Gooders Suck

I ran across this article a while back in an ancient copy of the international times that I gought at a flea market. It's a good example of Mick Farren's early writing style. And, it's still relevant!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mick Farren on David Frost

RIP Mick Farren: The Obsolete Interview

I did this interview with Mick late last year- it appears in OBSOLETE! #7 and "The Best of OBSOLETE!"

He was so generous with his time and loved the underground paper aspect of OBSOLETE!– he was our single most consistent contributor. His guidance and encouragement was a big part of what kept us going.

OM: Do you think there is room for a real “underground” in the age of twitter?

MF:I think it’s probably a double-edged sword. It’s never too clear what’s meant when we talk about an underground. If we’re talking about the psychedelic left – which is how I’ve pretty much always described my political persuasion – then social networks, blogs, Twitter, and, indeed the whole of the internet, make a lot of things possible that could never have been achieved in a time of print, limited access to radio, and even more limited access to broadcast TV. The internet is impossible to control and almost impossible to censor. It is a near infinite resource of a vast variety of information. You want to build a bomb or cook crystal meth? Hell, it’s all there. The potential offered by instant communication has scarcely been scratched. Flash mobs? Viral protests like the ones during the BP Gulf oil spill? They are only the tip of a huge subversive iceberg. Like I said though, it’s a double-edged sword. It’s a huge resource and if you want to find out about The Rapture or the Earth being flat that’s all there too. The internet is also wholly transparent. Any passing troll or secret policeman can see exactly what you’re doing, and, of course, computers never forget anything. A perfect example occurred during the recent UK riots. Looters were coordinating their efforts on iPhones and Blackberries but also had the police listening in, and then rounding them up later using their call records. You have to keep moving and keep a low profile. It makes visible leaders like Julian Assange hopelessly vulnerable.

OM:I feel like digital technology has knocked some of the sharp edges off western culture. Does your experience as a writer of science fiction inform how you feel about the new media environment? Is this the future you would have expected?

MF:I guess this is close to the future I expected. It’s not the utopia I dreamed about, but it also isn’t the glow-in-the-dark nuclear wasteland that was our worst-case scenario back in the 20th century. I’m not one of those ancient 1960s freaks who whine about the revolution being a lost boulevard of broken dreams. The gay movement, despite a fatal plague, has made great advances. Feminism is changing the face of society. We warned of a lot of current dangers, especially in the area of the environment and the spread of global totalitarian capitalism, but we were ignored, often ridiculed, and now the price is being paid. Yes, we told you so, but you chose to believe the oil baron’s media shills! The current media environment is nothing short of bonkers since Craig’s List gutted the newspapers – both mainstream and alternative – by taking away the classified ads. “50 Shades of Grey” is a bestseller while small independent imprints are publishing any worthwhile writing and inspired experiments in print. Literature and especially poetry is rapidly coming a wholly DIY business – only business is hardly the right word since no money is being made on the web except by Amazon. Sony can’t keep free Bob Dylan off YouTube; creativity on the internet – that may well be the repository of most popular creativity – can’t be supported by paid corporate advertising and t-shirts. Ultimately the web may spawn a form of cyber-socialism since capitalism can’t really handle it except by constantly reconfiguring the hard and software to sell us new but hardly improved versions of the same old shit..  

OM: In your autobiography “Give the Anarchist a Cigarette”, you describe your time on the scene in London in the 60's, and it reads to me as having been ground zero for the “Modern Age”. In many ways it seems more modern than the present, despite our technological advances. There was an energy and excitement about the future, and revolutionary changes in all aspects of life. Where do you think that went?

MF: In the 1960s, we were on our way to the Moon; we thought we were going to Mars and Stanley Kubrick told us we’d make it to the moons of Jupiter by 2001. We took our drugs and believed all things were possible. The floodgates looked wide open, even as the corporate filters were closing on us. Obviously I am extremely disappointed that all we’ve now got in the future is fancy phones, robot drones, CCTV and Twitter. Some developments are nothing short of bizarre. The Black Panther Party is nostalgic history, but America elects center right black president. Norman Spinrad predicted in his 1969 novel “Bug Jack Barron” that, by around 1980, Acapulco Golds – legal packaged marijuana – is sold across the counter. In reality the War On Drugs drags on into a new century and is close to destroying Mexico. Where do I think the energy and excitement went? I think it got hard when it ceased to be just a sex, drugs, and rock & roll culture war and we hit the real thing. We were taking on the whole concept of capitalism. It might not look like it, but capitalism is fighting for its life and capitalism fights hard and dirty. 

OM: Are you seeing signs of real revolution anywhere now?

MF: I think it’s all around us. There’s Occupy, there’s the One Percent. But, for the moment, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for America. A century ago the Bolsheviks had no trouble motivating a Russian underclass that was starving and oppressed by Cossacks. How you move a proletariat that weighs 500 pounds, lives on animal fat and high fructose corn syrup, and is hard wired to Fox News and the Bible is beyond me. You have to look past the USA and think more internationally. Kids in the UK went one a mindless instinctive rampage looting and burning. The workers in Greece and Spain have been pushed much too close to the edge by the so-called austerity – a racket that’s truly nothing more than a global scam for the rich to get all of the money. They’re mad as hell and not going to take it much longer. Then there’s the Arab Spring in the Middle East, which is a real AK47 shooting revolution. The only problem there is it will most likely be taken over by jihadists who will drag it back into a very nasty thirteenth century. I hear interesting things coming out of Bangalore, the Indian DIY Silicon Valley. Indeed, my revolutionary bets are on the “BRICK” nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and Korea. Pussy Riot may be showing us all the way of the future. 

OM: In addition to being too fat to fight, Americans are too medicated as well.  In the last issue of OBSOLETE! we ran a story called "Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnoses as Mentally Ill", in which psychiatrist Bruce Levine lays out how the American medical establishment is actively engaged in maintaining the status quo by medicating away dissent.  On the other end, kids in the Northwest are getting arrested for possession of anarchist literature, essentially thought crimes. I know that the UK is surpassing even the US in CCTV use and other high tech surveillance- since returning to live in the England, do you see that having an effect on the national consciousness?

MF: This shit has been going on at least since Napoleon banged up The Marquis de Sade in the lunatic asylum at Charenton, Let’s not forget that De Sade – aside from being a world class perv – was also an early utopian socialist. Stalin was very good at locking away dissidents in mental hospitals. In the US ECT and lobotomy were 20th century favourites for keeping the rebellious in line. Think of Francis Farmer or the fictional McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. Nurse Ratched is the scourge of though crime. In the Levittown, production-line conformity of the 1950s, the CIA had a mission goal of creating what they dubbed the “psycho-civilized society”. Totalitarian capitalism where conformity would be maintained with speed, barbiturates, and meprobamate happy pills (Milltowns) a pre-Valium tranquilliser, reinforcing a constant barrage of anti-Soviet better-dead-than-Red paranoia and massive sexual repression. I believe Elvis Presley and rock & roll did a whole lot to upset that apple cart.

I would venture that a slightly different perspective on the war on drugs is that it’s a face-off between Ritalin, Adderall, Valium, Prozac and Thorazine on one side and pot, acid, MDMA, and DMT (if we could get it) on the other. It’s the lockdown drugs against the liberating drugs. Those are the chemical battle lines.

I don’t worry about CCTV too much because I’m so fucking ancient I don’t participate in street actions any more, I do notice that teen fashions now tend to conceal the face – masks, hoodies, balaclavas etc. (Pussy Riot), anything to hide the facial biometrics. I’m hoping we will have a future fad for really elaborate renaissance-style masks.    

OM: At some point in the 70's you turned from writing for the underground press and song writing to writing Sci Fi. I first got on board with The Song of Phaid the Gambler
in the early 80's, but then went back to DNA Cowboys and other earlier stuff. How did you start writing Sci Fi- were you a fan as a kid and does that relate in any way to the political or musical sides of your work? There is a thread of Sci Fi sensibility in the bands you have written for- Hawkwind, Mötorhead....

I really don’t have a neat answer for this. I was a space cadet before I was a rocker. It’s like the two halves of my brain and it’s all interconnected. I started at five years old with a Brit comic Dan Dare Pilot of The Future and Flash Gordon and just sailed on from there. Sci Fi has such potential for stretching one’s imagination. The path led through Arthur C. Clarke, Orwell, Phil Dick, Ellison, Mike Moorcock, (who is a friend) and on to Uncle Bill Burroughs (who was a mentor), which meshed neatly with the surreal “Gates Of Eden” period of Bob Dylan. The DNA Cowboys books were really an attempt to set a narrative in a quasi-Dylan world. And of course, Sci Fi was an essential preparation for psychedelic drugs. It’s also a perfect medium for satire and oblique political commentary When I started, I didn’t really didn’t give up anything else, I was working at the NME and writing songs with Lemmy and Larry Wallis and later Andy Colquhoun with whom I still work today. I just wasn’t singing in a band right then which gave me some time on my hands and you can only watch so much television after the bars close. This all makes perfect sense to me. I don’t know about anyone else.      

OM: Sci Fi has been very much fan-driven since it's earliest days, as was rock and roll. The "Fanzine" goes back to early 20th century amateur Sci Fi publications, long before the pre-internet punk rock "zine" explosion. Now, the blogosphere is like one giant fanzine.  As a veteran of the indie publishing scene, what roll do you see for indie book publishers in the coming years?

Whatever future I might have in print – especially now I’m concentrating on poetry and experimental fiction – would seem to be entirely in indie publishing. There’s essentially no longer any point in dealing with the major publishing houses in NYC or London. They only want to publish Harry Potter, 50 Shades of Grey and cookbooks. The real question is how much of the work I’m doing will be in print. I firmly believe that popular art and popular culture always adapts itself to the prevailing technology. The 1960s underground press – particularly the very colourful one like Oz (UK) and The Oracle (Bay Area) – got real jiggy with the web offset printing. Punk zines of the 1970s where make possible by fairly sophisticated copier machines like the Cannon 500. Now we have all the ramifications of the internet from Twitter to YouTube, to Pirate Bay. On the other hand, people still have a need for tangible objects from the past. The obvious example is music on vinyl. (Or Obsolete) I could see a lot of my fiction coming out as ebooks. (Although I do see a problem with a lack of visual reinforcement. Where would all those Conan books have been without the Frank Frazetta covers?) Other stuff, especially poetry lends itself better to print. Book will increasingly become object rather than just delivery systems for information. They will be read but also be treasured, collected, and put on shelves or left lying around to impress visitors. All in all, I’m open to anything, open to offers, and riding into the purple sunset to see what happens next. Right now I’m pushing the novelette Road Movie that is published by Penny Ante. The UK indie publisher Headpress will be bringing out the first deluxe hardback edition of Elvis Died For Somebody’s Sins But Not Mine, which is a mammoth “greatest hits” collection of my essays, commentary, short stories etc., and I also wrote a learned introduction to a coffee table collection called Classic Rock Posters. And back catalogue is still up on Amazon. (Mick has left the computer.)    

Mick Farren: 3 September 1943 - 27 July 2013

Sad, sad news in the OBSOLETE! Magazine universe today. The great Mick Farren collapsed on stage and died last night. He was our most consistent contributor and our spiritual guru. He was a fucking wildman, and died with his boots on. He wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Mick Farren was a legendary poet, musician, author, critic, activist, countercultural icon, and one of the last true gonzo journalists. As lead singer and chief anarchist of the legendary Social Deviants, Farren helped blaze the trail for the advent of punk rock. He has co-written songs for the Pink Fairies, Motorhead and Hawkwind, as well as writing over 40 books, including science fiction novels and non-fiction. Farren served as writer and editor of IT, the International Times, one of the UK’s premiere underground newspapers. He contributed to three of eight issues of OBSOLETE!, and appeared in "The Best of OBSOLETE!"

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 23rd is Robert Anton Wilson Day!!

Please post your favorite Bob Quote on FB, G+ or Twitter with #RAWDay!

Each year, during the Dog Days of summer, I get the urge to re-read Robert Anton Wilson.

It would be easy to dismiss the impulse as nostalgia- after all, reading Bob was part of my passage to manhood- stoned, anti-establishment hippy-punk manhood. I spent many a blistering summer afternoon in crummy, un-airconditioned apartments smelling of dirty cat boxes, stale beer and Nag Champa, expanding my mind to books like The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan, Cosmic Trigger, Prometheus Rising, Schrodingers Cat and Right Where You Are Sitting Now. I don't think it's just nostalgia, however, to re-read RAW. There is something magical about the Dog Days, and it always seems like an appropriate time to re-visit the work of one of the late 20th century's most underrated masters of High Weirdness.

July 23rd was designated as Robert Anton Wilson Day by the City of Santa Cruz, California in 2003. Wilson had become a beloved resident character in Santa Cruz, and a political activist for Medical Marijuana (which he used to treat the symptoms of the post-polio syndrome which was slowly killing him) and against what he called the “TSOG” (Tsarist Occupation Government). Mayor Emily Reilly declared:





July 23rd is the most appropriate day to remember Bob, and choosing the date, rather than his birthday, exhibits the sense of humor of the Santa Cruz city government so absent among most bureaucrats. For it was on July 23rd, 1973, that Bob claims to have been contacted by aliens. Or a Giant Rabbit from Count Kerry. Bob was also quick to point out that it was Monica Lewinsky's birthday. 
July 23rd coincides with the rising of “the Dog Star”, Sirius (the root of the term “Dog Days”) which has mystical significance for ancient cultures from the Egyptians to the Romans, to the African Dogon tribe. For me, it is has always been time for the greatest interaction with the “the cosmos”. The night skies are spectacular. The days are long, but getting shorter- garden and outdoor projects take on a greater urgency. At the same time, the heat, and all of the related malfunctions both personally and technologically that come along with it, tend to add to the “weirdness” factor. Cell phones, computers, cars etc. tend to go “on the fritz”. Animals act strangely. Insects are in full assault on all fronts. This year, the Midwestern drought adds to the biblical (or Mayan) “end times” vibe, while the skies around our little organic compound are abuzz with crop dusters bombarding the corporate monocrop corn/bean fields with pesticides, hoping to rescue what they can from the parched genetically-modified franken-plants.

But as Bob said, “Humans live through their myths and only endure their realities,” and so each summer I drag out some of RAW's books. During a season when the high priests of technology are locked in a death match with the ghost in the machine, faieries, aliens and giant rabbits from County Kerry, it helps to remember that our reality is what we make of it, both technologically and mythically.

So each year, we celebrate the life and writing on Robert Anton Wilson, on this, the weirdest of all days. As you go about your day, look for the Sirians. They are there. They will talk to you, if you listen. FNORD.
“All phenomena are real in some sense, unreal in some sense, meaningless in some sense, real and meaningless in some sense, unreal and meaningless in some sense, and real and unreal and meaningless in some sense. “ - Robert Anton Wilson

This article was originally posted in 2012, hence the possibly confusing drought comments...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

LAST DAY! Get your free copy of OBSOLETE! #8!!

As part of the soft-launch special for our Kickstarter campaign, we have been offering to mail FREE COPIES of OBSOLETE! #8 to anyone who requests them. The response has been phenomenal!
Tomorrow marks the official 30-Day countdown for the campaign, so today is the LAST DAY to request your free copy of issue #8. I hope you will take advantage of the offer, and I hope you will consider pledging to our Kickstarter. It's a quixotic goal, we know– but if we make it, we will be able to continue to print and ship the newsprint tabloid, this voice of the analog underground, AND pay our contributors a fair price for their writing and artwork. That's important to us, and I hope it is to you, too!

Send your request (remember to include your mailing address!) through the contact page at obsolete-press.com...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our new Radio Ad!

Thanks to Stephanie Murphy of Porc Therapy for recording this fantastic audio ad for us!  I slapped it over a video collage on YouTube to make it easier to share....

Listen for the ad on Free Talk Live.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Ricardo Feral of OBSOLETE! is now on Twitter.

Yes, I'm dipping a toe in the Twitter infostream. Find me at: https://twitter.com/RicardoFeral

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Soft Launch Special Continues...

Never read OBSOLETE!? We'll mail you a FREE COPY!*
This week, we distributed over 2000 copies of the new OBSOLETE! #8– shipping directly to supporters and “guerilla distributors” from coast to coast, and placing stacks at locally-owned businesses. More copies will go out this summer through website orders and tabling at cons, book fairs, zine fests and other events.
Unfortunately, our business model is slightly flawed. It turns out, you can't pay writers and artists, and give the magazine away for free, and not go broke. Who knew? (They never explained this to me in art school....)
So, we are going to a subscription model, and using Kickstarter because it provides a platform where there is NO RISK to the subscribers- if we don't raise enough to continue publishing, you will be charged nothing, and we will go back to printing zines on a ditto machine.
Would you like a bundle to distribute in your town, and help spread the word about OBSOLETE!? Contact us and we'll make it happen!
*(supply limited, US only...)

And Please-  Check out the Kickstarter Campaign and pledge if you can!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Soft Launch Special: Get a Free Copy of OBSOLETE! #8

Because OBSOLETE! is a real, get your fingers dirty newsprint tabloid, we opted for a 60 day Kickstarter campaign to give us time to get papers out on the street and into the hands of our fellow Analog Anarchists. We will go into full swing with promotions on July 11th, but in the mean time, we are offering to mail a sample copy of OBSOLETE! #8, hot off of the presses, to YOU– free of charge. 
Just send us your mailing address with the subject "Sample Copy", get your free copy of issue #8 and decide for yourself if OBSOLETE! is worth your support. If you decide to pledge at $25 or more (and the campaign is successful) you will receive issues 9-12 delivered to your door.
Thanks everybody! And please, share these updates with your friends. Together, we can keep OBSOLETE! alive!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Two Iowa Readings By OBSOLETE! Poetry Editor W. Joe Hoppe

6/18/13 - Cedar Rapids, New Bo Books: Details at the Facebook Event Page
6/19/13 - Iowa City, Fair Grounds Coffee House: Facebook Event Page

Please join us for a live reading of new and selected work by Austin, Texas poet W. Joe Hoppe.

Iowa's Obsolete Press published Joe's second book of poems, Diamond Plate, and Joe serves as poetry editor for OBSOLETE! Magazine.

"Diamond Plate is a junkyard sutra, a rock-and-roll dharma, a tattooed vision of eternity. In the palm of your hand there's a planet, alongside a sick pet rat, a tree that weeps, and some spilled beer. W. Joe Hoppe offers us poems of ordinary transcendence, with a child-a real child-rising out of the rubble." - Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

For more info, visit www.obsolete-press.com


The latest edition of the OBSOLETE! is hot off the press! The theme of this issue is “Obsolete Media: It's Alive!”, and features articles on making art with ancient computers, low-power FM radio, “Numbers Stations” and the history of “Dazzle” camouflage. ObMag #8 is also packed with poetry, comics, art and fiction, featuring original work by Mick Farren and an exclusive preview of Christian Schoon's new SciFi novel Zenn Scarlett

Please help support OBSOLETE!

OBSOLETE! Magazine is at a turning point. With the help of supporters like you, we have given away more than 14,000 copies of issues 1-8 over the last 3 years. Unfortunately, the “Free Press” model is no longer sustainable for us. Now, we need to raise some real money to keep the paper alive, and we are putting it in the hands of you, the readers. By using Kickstarter and the “All or Nothing” approach, we will raise the funds to make the next four issues possible– or we will cease to publish in our current format.

You can pledge by going to our Kickstarter page. Rewards include subscriptions to the next four issues, t-shirts, books, newspaper carrier bags and more. If we do not reach our goal, you will not be charged for your pledge.

EARLY SUPPORTER SPECIAL: For the first 20 people to pledge at $10 or more, you will receive a free copy of #8 mailed to your door (or pdf if you prefer). If the campaign is unsuccessful, you will not be charged for your pledge, but you will still receive your free copy.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New York Times pays tribute to Kim Merker, Letterpress Master

Kim Merker was a great artist, and a good friend to my family. He published work by my father, Robert Dana, as well as many other great poets of the late 20th century. The New York Times did a nice job of paying tribute.

:For four decades, using presses he operated with his own inky hands, Mr. Merker was a designer, typesetter and printer of some of the most beautiful books made in America in the late 20th century. Almost all were vessels for poems that he found promising, interesting or indisputably excellent — and about which he was usually right: some of the young poets he published went on to achieve renown. 

Within the artisanal movement called fine press printing, which celebrates bookmaking as it was practiced before mass production, Mr. Merker had few peers. "

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pseudo 80's British Alt Pop: The Genre That Never Dies

Maybe it's the passing of Margaret Thatcher, or maybe it's the constant repetition throwback earworms (like Budweiser using “Second Chance” by Peter, Bjorn and John) in advertising, but I've been in the mood for some 80's pop.

In my search, I happened upon yourmusicisawful.com and the site's accompanying podcast, DangerRadio. I gotta say, I love it. And I hate it. No, I'm confused. But it makes me happy. And sad.

The writing on the site is funny, and transcends tiresome hipster irony because it is obviously the work of real lovers of 80's brit altpop and the current crop of revivalists. I like listening to the podcasts. I haven't heard some of these bands in years. The new bands are great- by which I mean that they are virtually indistinguishable from 4AD or Factory bands of the late 80's and early 90's. That's the bit that I find a little sad.

Yes, I guess in the early punk days there was some nostalgia for the music of our parents- Link Wray, Gene Vincent and all– but there was still a strong vein of originality in pop music at the same time. Has rock simply reached the end? Is it like jazz, where new players are primarily engaged in an academic exercise, covering old ground and reinterpreting it?

Yourmusicisawful.com is aware of this, it seems, but they don't really know what to do about it. In the article Hey Kids, Grow a Pair: How Music Blogs Neutered Indie Rock, author Kitty Vincent dives into the issue, with complete awareness of the irony of attacking music blogs from a music blog. Is there any way of escaping the digital ghetto? Are music blogs to blame, or is it a broader culture where all music is reduced to disposable “content”?

I'll lay awake at night pondering that issue, but in the mean time, I'll choke back my pride and enjoy a slice of free digital content from so-called "Dangerous Music" Podcast. And by the way kids- ease up on bashing the “middle-aged new wavers” okay? We were the ones who made it dangerous...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

OBSOLETE! on Sovryn Tech

Hey Obsoletians! I was honored to be the guest on a special edition of "Sovryn Tech", hosted by anarchist techophile and big-brain Brian Sovryn. We geek out of Feral Tech, Scifi,Transhumanism and alternative currencies, just to name a few of the topics covered. Check it out on Soundcloud or itunes.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Best of OBSOLETE! Magazine

OUT NOW!! At long last, The Best of OBSOLETE! is out! Order your copy and use discount code "fnord" for 25% off for a very limited time! Featuring writing and artwork by 32 contributors, plus interviews with Cory Doctorow and Mick Farren, and a special foreword by V.Vale of RE/Search!!

You can download a pdf preview here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Out Now! OBSOLETE! #7

ob7coverOur biggest issue yet! With a full color cover featuring artwork by Steve Taylor, the SCIFI/DIY issue is crammed full of original essays, fiction and artwork.
Scifi and DIY are like the literary and technological chocolate and peanut butter of geekdom. Ever since For many do-it-yourselfers, tinkerers, makers, hackers, hobbyists, citizen scientists and other bright and inventive individuals, scifi, fantasy and other flavors of “speculative fiction” have stoked the creative fires since before the time of Robert Louis Stevenson, through the era of H.G. Wells and the adventures of Tom Swift and up to Cory Doctorow’s “Makers”. OBSOLETE! explores the connections.
And a very special interview with Mick Farren
Individual issues are free, but we ask for $3.00 to cover postage and handling. Want free copies for your local coffee shop, book store or writers group? Email us at obmag(at)feral-tech.com.

Book Review:The Suffering And Celebration Of Life In America

There was a time, before the advent of “Reality TV”, when people could be shocked. A time when serial killers were the subject of true crime novels and punk rock songs, not a series on MSNBC. A time when GG Allin got arrested for things that now barely qualify as a wild Saturday night on “The Jersey Shore”. A time when sideshow acts offered real magic, more amazing than the magic of CGI.

Shane and Amy Bugbee came of artistic age in those years, in the twilight of pre-digital media. Shane's exploits earned him a place in the pantheon of shock artists of the era that includes Allin, Jim Rose, Jim Goad, Lydia Lunch and Boyd Rice, and he was profiled in the book Art That Kills: A PanoramicPortrait of Aesthetic Terrorism.

As that movement fell victim to what Douglas Rushkoff now describes as “PresentShock”, The Bugbees set a new course, and boldly departed on a classic cross-country American road trip. Like the adventures of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarity, or Capt. America and Billy before them, the Bugbees trip was unscripted, and took them deep into what is left of “genuine” America. The Suffering And Celebration Of Life InAmerica is the account of that trip.

An early essay from the book, How To Use $180 And Social Media To Travel The Country For A Year, appeared in OBSOLETE! #2. The book itself is a sprawling 532 page collection of stories, interviews and correspondences, laid out in a graphics packed style that harkens back to a zine aesthetic. The book's narrative is strung together with diary entries, depicting the struggles of life on the road, odd jobs, sleeping in the van and working out of Kinko's office centers. But the real meat of the book is the interviews. It could be called “Life on the Z List”, and the subjects are given their Warholian fifteen minutes of fame, sometimes kindly, sometimes not. From struggling artists and writers to the founders of the Baltimore Scifi Convention, the son of the founder of the Universal Life Church, members of an Austin Black Metal band, ranchers, strippers and a rum maker- it's a cross section of outsiders and blue-collar visionaries that remind us that it's time to turn off the mobile device and check back in with our own local oddballs and characters. Despite an occasional spiteful tone and some personal axe-grinding, there is a sweet, pure heart to the book- the Bugbees love the little guy. They may not always like them personally, but they know that the lone kooks and outsiders with big dreams are what make life interesting and “keep it real” in the era of “Reality TV”.

The Bugbees are making the book available for free (donations gratefully accepted, of course), one section each week, at their website http://www.usaodd.com/, along with a good bit of video from the trip. The online samples give a good taste, but it is the kind of book that is fun to leave lying around, to flip through and discover new bits. It's a good reminder of how truly interactive a paper book can be.