GOLDEN MONKEE INTERVIEW
An Evolutionary Journey, a Revolutionary leap.
‘There is something evergreen and vital in the human heart and soul that leaps and bounds, joyful and free, a radiant spark forever kindling’.
I personally think Britain’s youth culture is probably one of the most innovat…no, wait, scratch that! Britain’s youth culture is second to none! And I believe London is the present day capital of that culture on the planet. There is a particular blend that exists here across this island, made up of one foot in the past, to Europe, antiquity and the old world on the one hand, and on the other, a totally uniquely modern transatlantic, trans-global culture linked to the future and merging in the present. A unique historical blend that perhaps exists nowhere else?
This is apparent and can be seen in modern music, lifestyle, fashion, science, ideas, philosophy –and has been so for several decades. Creativily cross – fertilizing ancient and modern until suddenly it erupts in singular form. One unique blending in particular was the advent of House music, and with that, Rave Culture.
HOUSE OF RAVE.
There was something unsettling about the times, and then suddenly it was everywhere. Like a high voltage jolt into the future, a sudden collective cultural and technological leap.
And the letter ‘e’ had become synonymous with the times: email, e-machines etc, and ‘e’ would become both the synchronistic defining letter and the potent sign and symbol for the drug of choice for a whole new generation that would hug, jerk and shock the nation. Once again, revolutionary youth culture was headlining the news.
It was through the EPI that they first contacted us, the Scoobies.: Mark and Martin and together they introduced us to the phenomenon that became known as House music and Rave culture. House of Rave I later called it. A mere underground blimp then.
Something was happening and Fraser and I soon began discussing the 100th monkey question ( An acausal connecting principle where two or more events coincide meaningfully) in relation to this synchroistic phenomenon we were witnessing playing out on the dance floor and simultaneously sweeping across the country; which actually was another cultural revolution advancing across the borders, and it had all the cardinal signs of change.
Out of nowhere it seemed to appear a whirlwind and with dancing hoofs, galloping hoofs kicking up dust through it, we met a whole fresh battalion of evolutionary and revolutionary heralds, multiplying on the dance floor, where a new underground cultural meme was metamorphising, mushrooming like invisible spores into a thousand DJ’s : Heroines and Heroes from the dance floor began to appear in increasing numbers.
New definitions were made. Music, style, fashion, taste and attitude and a freshly minted underground ergot and hip language spun on the turntables of revolution and change. And evolutioneries, on the front line stormed the barricades, armed with music and technology and dance!
Soulful, deep base house, acid house, garage, whirling on the techno – turntables, -no matter, it was all house. There was something strangely haunting and beautiful about them, their optimism, energy, Idealism,creativity and love tapped out the dance floor, and all uniquely mixed together into something called House music, and with it, rave culture was born.
Synchrnonistic, serendipidous Rave culture!Right from the start it began on the dance floor, where a thousand thirsty bodies partook of a whole new wave of cosmic consciousness, swirling around the spiral of evolution with a life force that sent it spinning beyond gravity and erupting around the planet as House music and Rave culture.
From a whisper on the dance floor it circulated. In the streets outside dance venues and clubs, modern pamphlateering networkers handed out computer generated underground flyers, with graphic illustrations and artwork designating destination and information.
A metamorphosus in the Telephone booths of time, move over Dr. Who!
Waiting by a phone booth for the message to arrive. Summoned to secret, mysterious locations, driving through the night deep into the countryside and dancing all night long to a new, strange, almost alien music called House. And the music carried them forward, spiritually uplifting them in a collective ecstatic dance that joined heart, mind and body together in one unifying embrace!
Neither are there males nor females, no colour or race or religion on the dance floor . Only the metamorphous of the Dance.
Once again, music, technology and youth twined together on the ramparts of revolution and change. Just like its cultural antecedents birthing in the roaring twenties and in the psychedelic sixties, it broke all barriers and stereotypes and much more – it would alert us to the shape of the world to come. In part, the world we inhabit today.
As The Smiley Butterfly of Kaos emerged, Dance music ,igniting the soul, took wing and all that came with it in the wake of the evolutionary curve, such as e-commerce, emails, e-machines, computers, cyber-space, the internet, lap-tops – spread rapidly across the planet. The rest is history!
Now, let us meet Martin and Mark, two of the most outstanding pioneers of their generation, energetic dancers on the butterfly dance floor, accelerating, pressing forward on the foot- pedals of time, consciousness, change: the ever hard to define, evolutionary Scoobies.
THIS SIDE OF KAOS
GM. Hi Martin, Glad you like the Monkee! A little background on you and Mark please.. ?
Martin Scooby: 1988 LONDON: The Big Fun Thing posse were experimenting with roller skating & acid house nights in Camden. We had fruit-salad lighting from Whirlygig, a Dj dressed as Big Bird from Sesame Street, a chill out room with arm chairs and cups of tea. Synchronicities started to accelerate around this time. ID magazine interviewed us (Mark Ellis and Martin Wood) about our club Big Fun Thing in the same Love issue that featured the Zippies, and someone called Fraser Clarke..
But going back a bit, in answer to your question …. the Scoobie Doobies (myself and Mark) met at art college, we trained as graphic designers. At the time our images were appearing in id magazine and The Face. As a result a well-known ad agency sought us out. The day they met with us was literally the same day we decided we were more interested in counterculture than making money, and so (and much to the agency’s disgust) we turned them down, choosing to run underground party nights and design club flyers instead. That led us to create Big Fun Thing in the 1980s.. a bizarre London club famous for giant pogo sticks, a DJ dressed as Big Bird and the whoopee cushion flyer for Roll Around Laughing (a roller-disco acid house night) at Camden’s Electric Ballroom.
The club was awesome but we went on to design a series of rave shirts called Brahma emblazoned with spiritual symbolism. You could find them thru shops run by the underground community like Sign Of The Times in High Street Kensington.
We started Universal Mind and worked on rave flyers like Destiny Dance, and produced some tracks as unimind sound system, with the late and beautiful Sir George Trevelyan.
We then joined forces with Encyclopaedia Psychedelica’s Fraser Clark and James Hamilton to create Evolution which started as a magazine. It was here Martin first interviewed Peter Dawkins (Zoence) and as a result started to follow the Wheel of the Year (which he still does today).
Evolution released a compilation album that included Universal Mind’s I LOVE U tune featuring Sir George Trevelyan.Then a single with The Grid and Timothy Leary on Rhythm King.
Mark decided to go back to Yorkshire but in London the Evolution network continued to grow and change, and felt like the same wave of energy. The club nights went on to become Megatripolis where Martin directed the Shamanarchy Experiment shows.
After Megatripolis Martin and Fraser went their separate ways for a few years. Martin created a graphic novel called Hunters Moon featuring the character Jonny Fox.
In 1999 Martin and Fraser re-united to work on the 24 hr Warp Experience where Martin organised several of the experimental campus shows with the Green Angels and Unimind crew. It was here Martin met Southwark Mysteries Shaman John Constable (aka John Crow) who would become a major part of the ongoing Solar Festival and Full Moon work.
In 2000, after all this madness Martin escaped London to join Mark in their native Yorkshire where they still live today.
Martin is a photographer /short film maker and still celebrates and promotes solar & lunar festivals. He is also developing a series of sci-fi folk tales called Murmurations.
Mark organises live music nights in-between building the world’s biggest drystone wall maze.
GM: What was your first gig / conceptual idea ?
Martin Scooby: Our first club was Big Fun Thing in the late 80s which started as a mad monthly-party in a café on Clapham Common. There was a fancy-dress changing room as people entered and we’d repainted and decorated every inch of the place with fairground art. There was also a New Year Jamboree in a scout lodge on top of a mountain in the Yorkshire Dales – jumping around on space hoppers in the freezing cold! Big Fun Thing’s biggest nights were the roller-skate acid house parties Roll Around Laughing in Camden’s Electric Ballroom. With the infamous whoopee cushion flyers.
GM: When did you first meet Fraser and James?
The synchronicity was strong from the start. Mark and I were interviewed by ID magazine about Big Fun Thing and ended up in the same issue as the Zippies. At the same time we’d bought a copy of Epi from Mysteries because of the front cover (by Matthew Freeth) with similar collage-style to our work. We arranged to meet up and it turns out Fraser and James had done a similar Gurdjieff-based philosophy course to the one we were doing … so we had a lot in common immediately.
We were blown away by the epi cover – of counterculture heroes collaged as astronauts on the moon (by Matthew Freeth).
Mark and I were doing a philosophy and meditation course and had being thinking of starting a magazine that fused youth culture and esoteric wisdom. So the Epi WOmanifesto 9 Zippie principles really resonated with us. show page graphic with interview
These evolved into Countdown to chaos culture during the Mega T days and I still use many of these principles today.
MAKING HISTORY NOT JUST READING ABOUT IT
HARMONISED HEMASPHERES ARE HEALTHIER
COOPERATION NOT COMPETITION
Although we’ve had several different entity names and teams .. Big Fun Thing / Zippy Picnic, Love Labs & Wisdom Weekenders / Evolution Magazine & lecture series / Megatripolis / Universal Mind & Solar Festivals / Warp Experience ( phew J ) ..they did feel like one giant wave of energy we were all surfing. One ongoing experiment with some more successful than others ha ha J.
There were lots of esoteric ideas and good motives behind all this chaos and fun especially at Method In The Madness nights with Universal Mind and Shakra System where we experimented with journeys through the Chakras. I learnt a lot from these shows and I continue to explore the chakra journey theme with Maria Simon and we recently did an AV immersive experience for Coastival in the Grand Hotel in Scarborough.
The clubs grew out of the philosophy and social circles of the magazines and lectures. This was so important because it helped us be more like a festival than a club and this was far more imaginative and mind expanding (‘the great can’t find satisfaction in the small’). There were lectures ..stand up comedy ..theatre.. ritual (not habitual J), we really could do anything .. yes it did get messy some nights but it was never boring! When I was directing the Shamanarchy Nights and Experimental Campus, no matter what the team came up with I would always try and fit it into the show somewhere and Fraser bless him was so open minded he never blocked us from doing anything. The world’s best shamanic Djs and bands played in the Cathedral but it was never about any one music genre ..our parties played everything ..dance/chill out/world music ..I even played a classical music set as ET303 in the Ambient Cauldron (but never got invited back ha ha).
I think it was the years of research and experiment during the early days of Epi and Evolution that helped us create such a holistic club experience. The teaching of various mystery schools (Gurdjieff etc) about balancing the body, head and heart centres was why we believed it was so important to mix lectures, debates and magazines (head) with people-friendly healing chill-out rooms (heart) and or course DANCE (body).
The projects/gatherings/shows I’ve been involved with have been spread over 25 years and are still ongoing with my own Murmurations / Mark’s Drystone Wall Maze/ John Crow’s Crossbones / James’s Golden Monkey etc
Carry on UP THE EVOLUTION J
GM: Some more please! Long pause…
GM: : I know you have hundreds of stories about Fraser and the heady days of epi and evolution etc ..can you remember a few we might not have heard?
MARTIN SCOOBY: Yeah I have so many.. there really wasn’t a dull moment working with Fraser as you know yourself.
Before the first Zippy Picnic on Hampstead Heath Fraser got excited and predicted 100,000 people would attend. On the day itself only around 1000 actually turned up but most thought that was still pretty impressive. On the flyer Fraser just wrote ‘BRING WHAT YOU EXPECT TO FIND’ and someone brought a generator with a giant inflatable pink elephant. ( Martyn D Healer supplied the pink elephant! GM)
The first epi front cover the Scooby Doobies (me and Mark) did was for issue 11 (Magic Politics). Mark spent weeks doing the collage and wanted a title that reflected the energy of the artwork. On one of our all-night sessions in the studio we were buzzing and listening to acid house when Fraser came up with THE LOVE AND PEACE WIZARD WARRIORS GUIDE TO PSYCHIC SURFING THROUGH THE 90s which we loved. At the printers we even got permission to experiment with different colour levels as copies rolled out. So every copy of that 4000 print run has a different cover and even the almost invisible yellow ones still sold ok.
I remember going to Shoom (one of the most loved up party nights ) and Fraser brought his dog Darling, into the club with him. Then Dj Danny Rampling (who ran Shoom) and friends came back to Fraser’s, in Hampstead, to try out a time-travelling session. The time machine was brought round by a lovely hippy professor who placed a vibrating black box in the middle of the room and we lay in a circle with our heads next to it. The professor did a guided visualisation until one of the Shoom dudes flipped out because he thought he was being chased by dinosaurs.
GM: ha ha just another day in the Evolution office then !
MARTIN SCOOBY yeah but now the monkee has got me remembering funny stories I just can’t stop ? Here’s another from the BIG FUN THING days.. (just before we met Fraser and James )
When top advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi wanted to see the SCOOBY DOOBIES folder we had a student doing work experience with us at the time. We convinced him to wear our Big Bird costume from Big Fun Thing to deliver the folder as a bit of a prank. We explained it was genuine work experience and besides he only needed to take the folder to reception and it would all be over in a few minutes. So he reluctantly agreed! Outside the offices Mark and me helped him get this 7 foot-tall yellow bird costume on, then we hid behind a wall as he went in. But he was gone for ages and about half an hour later he appeared red-faced with embarrassment and fury. Turned out the art department was on the 12th floor and he’d had to go up in the lift and walk along a long corridor to deliver the folder. He was absolutely fuming and he ripped out of Big Bird and chased us up through Covent Garden wearing his yellow tights ha ha.
GM: Which of your club fliers are you most proud of?
MARTIN SCOOBY : Again it would have to be the one for BIG FUN THING just because of the laugh we had distributing it. To promote our roller-skating party we were going to get fairground lollipops made with our big fun sun symbol printed on them. Unfortunately we discovered Vic Reeves had had the same idea for his club, so we decided whoopee cushions would be even better. This turned out such a blessing as the whoopees went down a storm and we had such a laugh giving them out. I remember standing outside THE TRIP club on Charing Cross Road passing them out to everyone who came out. It was the height of the acid house days and there was a line of all these ravers in smiley shirts and pirate bandanas dancing as they were inflating whoopees and making squidgy acid noise tunes with them. Another night at this trendy swimming pool party called Westworld people inflated loads of our Big Fun whoopee cushion flyers, and they were all bobbing up and down in the wave machine pool.
GM: : is it true you used to be a classical music DJ?
MARTIN SCOOBY yeah I mainly played Mozart & Beethoven so didn’t get many gigs ha ha. I was called ET 303 and played the Cauldron at Mega T a few times, a mad night called ‘Classical Cocktail Bollocks’ and the London Zoo Aquarium at the War Child benefit you organised.
GM: I think that might go down in the history books as the first ever ambient rave to take place in the Aquarium at London Zoo!
GM: How would you sum up your approach to shamanic plants etc?
MARTIN SCOOBY Ritual Not Habitual !
GM: Well put, anything else?
MARTIN SCOOBY : Yeah, thanks to all the people who supported us on our crazy extreme mission. Thanks to everyone who was there for Fraser in his final days. Thanks to everyone involved who put their backs into it. Even though some of it got messy and fell apart ..at the core of the projects were some pure truths. Thousands of people involved in a scene that sent out waves of healing, love, peace, creative inspiration to the whole world. A massive big up to the 300 djs and 100 bands involved but I’d also like to personally thank all the behind-the-scenes crew. All the healers philosophers monks shamans artists designers producers promoters security journalists cooks printers models dancers administrators magicians actors vjs directors accountants managers Buddhists hippies punks ravers
At the time it was so chaotic /underfunded / on the edge! we didn’t get a chance to thank anyone properly ..we were stretched to snapping and beyond. I would also like to thank everyone who supported the projects with materials, money, hard graft, good will.
In the acid house trenches we were just struggling to survive while serving the evolutionary waves. It was a movement unlike any other.
*Golden monkey should do an awards ceremony. Ha ha. Entrepreneurs and media stars do them, the sports world does them, the arts do them, the military do them. ( GM: Noted martin, making lists right now! )
But there is something else. What about the idealistic, spiritual and peaceful freedom-fighters, the cultural warriors, beauty spreaders, peace makers who went under the social and media radar to bring through a much less obvious revolution .. the LOVE AND PEACE WIZARD WARRIORS.
This brings me full circle! The issue of epi that bridged with the first of the new wave was The Psychedelic Heroes and Heroines issue.
GM: what’s your favourite party or party’s?
Martin Scooby : There were so many but I suppose my favourite partys (so far) were the Mega T and Warp nights that aligned with Solar Festivals or Full Moons. The sacred aspects of celebrating at these magical times lifted these events to a whole new level.The Halloween Warp Experience in 1999 was an all time favourite ..it was Samhain .. thousands wore fancy dress.. John Crow performed and blessed the ancestors with shamanic depth ..the Warp play mashed up the theatre and party crowd.. the chill out/art gallery area was beautiful ..the Green Angels healing areas worked perfectly ..and most of the experiments in the Parallel Youniversity campus actually worked and gelled together.
When this much love gets generated on one of the most sacred times of year its fantastic and worth all months of striving. I genuinely believe it’s the best thing I can be doing towards world peace and planetary healing and I hope everyone involved is proud of what we achieved together.
Its tripped me right out remembering all this!
GM: Thank’s Martin, Golden harvests, sheethes a-plenty coming up….
Now here’s something from Maria Simon, long time veteran, friend and collaborator with the Scoobies and Rave culture -and fulfilling its sweetest promise….
The year – 1989 a.k.a. The second ‘Summer of Love’
The Place – London, England
The mood – Free and High
After a superb night of partying in Spectrum, Charing Cross, me and Andy, my partying pal, were on route to another party in Cambridge, a not-to-be-missed Tonka Sound System event with Harvey B on the decks. The venue was a disused flower factory which, in-effect, was a big, warehouse-size cool box!
Andy had already met Fraser and some of the Encyclopaedia Psychedelica crew, and showed me a flyer for the event they were organising on Hampstead Heath, with the enigmatic name of ‘Zippie Picnic’. We thought we’d drop in there on the way and check out this new genre of fellow human –
‘Zippie – a high-tech hippie.
someone who embraces technology,
while still holding on to the hippie roots of peace,
love, unity and respect.
an old soul, well-versed in new technology.’
We walked up the rise, past the lake and towards the main hub of the picnic. There was a line of trees to the left of the track – and one large tree caught my attention. It was decorated with a massive banner of a smiley face, not just the much-loved but most familiar rotund, yellow smiley; this was something quite different – a mad and slightly manic clown-like face with beaming smile and a row of large pearly white teeth. There were also other things hanging in the tree, which, as we got closer, I realised were T-shirts. I loved the designs, so fresh and different – large gold Aum’s – Yin Yangs ….on jewel-like coloured backgrounds. I was drawn to discover more. As we were approaching a few guys were standing beneath the t shirts, looking towards us, and bristling to talk to us …. Our conversation was excited and animated; three of the guys were from Yorkshire so we were immediately on familiar territory, as I’m a Northerner myself. We were having a laugh and getting on well, as though we had been friends for ages. It felt more like a reunion than a first meeting, with my Yorkshire (plus one Southern) Brothers. The line up was Martin Scooby, Mark Scooby, Mickey (Mad Mick) – who was filming the picnic, and captured Andy and I on film too, and Dave Chakra.
After enjoying the picnic we were on a mission to get to Cambridge, so we arranged to meet up with the guys on the way back and, all of us, except for Martin – (who’d rather be at home under his duvet with a hot chocolate, watching a Hammer House of Horror) – headed out to Solaris, a popular club in the City – where Harvey was DJ’ing again. We had an ace night and forged our forever-friendship.
After that I hung out with them lots around at their house in Elephant and Castle. They were extreme in comic, clowning, prankster ways, and in the midst of organising events and art projects, having a laugh was high on the agenda, perfect to ease the pressure of manic deadlines! They had lots of people calling in, gathering around their kitchen table, discussing projects and sharing ideas.
In good Northern style, keeping grounded ‘while all around was spinning’ was of the utmost importance – so Martin would often rustle up his staple dish of Yorkshire Puds, jacket spuds and beans, often followed by Mark’s home-made apple pie and custard. Wow – I was amazed how they looked after each other, and any one else who was there for that matter.
Having an art background too, I got involved in projects with them. The first thing we worked on together was Destiny – a planned big rave in some fields outside of London. I was designing the ambient area, Mark had designed the flyer, a few thousand of which had been printed, the marquees were booked and were put in position in the field, the sound system and lights were booked – Dave Chakra and Matt the Cat and others were lined up as DJ’s. We were there on the day, setting up and expecting a few thousand people in a few hours, when we heard that the police had confiscated the sound system on it’s way in, and they had set up an exclusion zone a few miles around us so no-one could get in or any where near us. Needless to say – that scuppered our plans and the party had to abandoned.
And then there was the New Age Bible, which later became Evolution Magazine. With Fraser at the helm, and many people involved, our shared vision was to bring consciousness to rave culture, through art, philosophy and wisdom. This was a weighty project which was many hours and months in the making, involving lots of people’s input of ideas, articles and artwork. I believe it stands as a classic archive of some of the strongest visions of the merge of New Age ideals meeting Rave Culture.
At that time the Scooby Doobies were daring and bold as artists, their work infused with humour, wacky collage and clashing acid /day-glo colours. At other times it was breathtakingly beautiful with lots of attention to detail and full of spiritual references. They weren’t prepared to compromise and everything they worked on seemed as a reflection of their awareness of their own spiritual path. Through their work, they were contributing to the r-evolution that was happening at the time, especially in London, and which was especially developing within the early Rave scene. There was an explosion of consciousness and they were helping to nurture the movement in a positive direction. They still work with these ideals today.
Long live the Scooby Doobies – Men of vision (and good fodder).
GM: Thank’s Maria.
(c) goldenmonkee 2016