Saturday, September 2, 2023

Steve Hillage: From Hurdy Gurdy Man To Techno-Trance Wizard (repost)

Steve Hillage's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" - Live at Otto Hahn Schule, Benberg, 1977

I first came to know of Steve Hillage when he was part of the incomparable and indestructible Gong, circa 1973. Noted for his ethereal, bluesy, ecstatically lyrical guitarwork and near lightspeed arpeggios (which someone described as "paint blistering"), Hillage also had a distinctly angelic aura that made him look and sound like a funky Jesus on acid.

When he began producing solo albums, Hillage brought part of the trance-inducing Gong sound with him - but focused more on the metaphysical and theosophical elements rather than on the pataphysical.

While with Gong he met and connected with Miquette Giraudy (synth and vocals). Steve and Miquette have been partners and collaborators since those heady days with Gong. They have been featured guests on many landmark recordings, among the most notable of which is undoubtedly Cyrille Verdeaux's 1975 epic, Clearlight Symphony.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, musical trends moved towards punk and lounge lizard chic - and Steve Hillage found himself producing younger bands like Simple Minds and Murray Head.

By 1989, Hillage and Giraudy had begun jamming with DJs and techno-trance music producers. They enjoyed it enough to form a group called System 7 (inspired by the Macintosh Operating System then in vogue) which focuses on techno-trance and ambient dance music augmented by live musicians. They also have a record company called A-wave (check out some MP3 samples on their site). Click here for a complete discography.

Activation Meditation: The Glorious OM Riff

Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy (System 7 live at the Sonic Rock Festival, Lincolnshire, 2005)

Musick of the Trees (1978)

Giraudy & Hillage: Why get married
when you can make beautiful music together

[First posted 24 June 2007, reposted 28 August 2017]

Friday, September 1, 2023

Musings on the momentous date, August 31st... (repost)

The Nuclear Family in 2013

Every time August 31st rolls around I am reminded of two things. The more significant event of the two, of course, is my very first fuck.

At 14 or 15 I was still wearing stripes & checks
I mean, with a woman. A digression is necessary: you see, at 15 I had ventured, with a few classmates, to Singapore's infamous Bugis Street, where we had decided to collectively put paid to our virginity. The middle-aged hooker I engaged for my initiation into malehood looked fairly attractive in the low-wattage lighting, but when we removed our clothes I noticed she possessed a rudimentary penis. She seemed enthusiastic enough - and who wouldn't be delighted to get paid to fiddle around with a cute 15-year-old, unless they're compulsive virtue-signalers? The scientist in me took charge of the situation and decided that an experience is, after all, an experience.

Besides, I didn't have the nerve to demand my money back and couldn't afford to go shopping elsewhere. After some 20 minutes of awkward fumbling around I thanked "her" and got dressed. I didn't ask my friends if they had had a similar "initiation." We were all too embarrassed by the whole excursion and never spoke about it again.

Beloved mother of my two lovely girls
Coming back to my first fuck. For three whole years I had been courting a feisty, flirtatious femme two years my senior. We maintained an increasingly passionate and playful correspondence while she was at university and I was in New Jersey as an exchange student. Upon my return in early August 1968, she wrote and told me she would be in Singapore on a geography field trip and would be free on August 31st to meet me for a hot date.

Now why does Singapore feature so prominently in every erotic initiation I can recall? Could it be the Merlion Singapore has chosen as its national totem, which combines Leonine and Piscean qualities - masculine rationality (lion) with feminine intuition (dolphin)?

Soulful reunion in 2016
Well, the date August 31st will always symbolize a pivotal moment in my life, a rite of passage, when I not only experienced the exquisite pleasure of being fully plugged into the sacred feminine, the holy of holies, but also claimed my adulthood by becoming a father to my first daughter.

Which explains why my earlier plan to study filmmaking in UCLA, California, had to be scuttled. But 25 years down the line, my second daughter graduated summa cum laude from TCU, Texas, with a filmmaking degree. She also fulfilled my desire to marry a German and produce gorgeous babies, but that's another story.

So for me the 31st of August will always represent a major life initiation, totally unexpected but gratefully embraced. How could I not rejoice to be father of two exceptionally beautiful, honest, and accomplished women who have bestowed quintuple datukships on me?

All grown up, my beautiful girls & their amazing mama

Daughter #1 with her 2 sweeties
As for the other thing, national independence, I must confess I have been indelibly imprinted with the thoughts of Kurt Vonnegut who introduced me to Bokononism in his 1963 novel, Cat's Cradle, wherein he distinguished between two categories of social bonding: the Granfalloon and the Karass. (I suggest you read Gregory Macnamee's instructive essay "On Vonnegut's Karass vs. Granfalloon" for a fuller understanding of this important distinction.) If you can't be bothered to look it up, I shall attempt to paraphrase Vonnegut's definition of a Granfalloon - which is precisely what every nation-state, football club, old boys' association, or ethnic grouping actually is: an assembly of humans drawn together by a common delusion - that there is "strength in numbers" and that people can feel united through loyalty to some corporate brand name or logo.

A Karass, on the other hand, is what Vonnegut calls a true soul family, drawn together by natural affinities and a deep sense of kinship beyond appearances and ideological constructs.

Daughter #2 with her 3 sweeties
It goes without saying that I have never been fond of Granfalloons nor will I ever be. Therefore the thought of celebrating something as meaningless as a brand name (Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Great Britain, America, Estonia, Afghanistan, Transylvania) and a corporate logo (Jalur Gemilang, Stars and Stripes or Union Jack) simply makes me chortle till I churn up some loose spittle or awaken a clump of mucus from its slumber.

Go ahead, folks, and wave those plastic flags. It really makes no difference to me if they are emblazoned with a giant M (for Mahathir, Mekdi or McDonald's), a cluster of stars, a few stripes, a maple leaf, a stylized axolotl, or a Mandelbrot Set. Corporations and corporate-states are essentially social engineering constructs, ant-colonies, beehives, designed to gather and accumulate energy (the sweet stuff) for those who commissioned and invested in the project. They may appear to be almighty, indomitable, and indestructibly totalitarian - until you catch a glimpse of colossal ruins such as you will find in Göbekli Tepe, Egypt, Rome, Cambodia, Peru. And here I am reminded of visionary historian William Irwin Thompson's classic observation:

"Civilizations, like the penis, rise and fall, and when the towers and battlements crumble into the earth, they return to the embrace of the Great Mother."

Antares Maitreya
31 August 2019

[First posted 31 August 2019]

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Merdeka Message from My #2 Daughter (repost)

Photo by Marcus 


Received this text message from my #2 daughter Belle on the eve of Merdeka. When I asked her if it was a Belle original, she immediately replied, "Of course!" Just felt like sharing this meaningful Merdeka message with all my friends and loved ones 😂❤️👌

[Originally posted 31 August 2009]

Sunday, August 27, 2023


1. That Joy and Freedom and Love and Abundance be restored as the keynote features of Life on Earth - and throughout the Cosmos.

2. That my family, my friends and I shall effortlessly draw to ourselves a neverending flow of material and spiritual well-being; and nevermore be in need, nor suffer scarcity.

3. That good health and unbounded wealth, in every form, be ours to enjoy - and that prosperity will continue to increase and facilitate great happiness and pleasure, benefiting an ever widening circle of other beings.

4. That the Love of My Life (in all her enchanting forms) will blossom into my Twin Flame as she yields to the inevitability and undeniability of our boundless passion for one another; that she will love me as deeply as I love her (no matter what form we happen to inhabit) and be inspired to evolve to hitherto unknown levels of awareness, intelligence, power and wisdom.

5. That I will be inspired, motivated, and ably assisted each day to be a conduit of Beauty, Truth and Wisdom in all the things I do - which I shall do with utmost pleasure, joy and masterful ease.

6. That all souls - incarnate and disincarnate - will successfully fulfil their evolutionary potential and destiny, and participate gratefully in perpetual celebration of Life... Life in all its endless mystery, wonder, and exquisite beauty.

7. That all previous conflicts be experienced as Dynamic Tensions necessary to the completion of the Human Experience; and that henceforth all sentient souls shall awaken to the Infinite Glory and Absolute Perfection of Creation in all its multidimensional and kaleidoscopic variety.

I unearthed this memo I wrote to myself several years ago and decided to share it with everybody as a blogpost. First posted 5 May 2013, reposted 21 August 2017.