I’ve never been a "follower" type, but it has to be said that as The Unlimited Dream Company progressed, the late Terence McKenna‘s ideas had a huge influence on me. There was no "conversion"—his vision merely gave me an overwhelmingly rich and exciting frame for the conclusions I’d come to myself. Namely, that our culture is imminently reaching some form of breaking point, pregnant with potential and danger, and that human history really has to be more interesting than the dry narratives I’d grown quickly tired of at school.
The other key influence on Towards 2012 was the also late Simon Dwyer’s magnificent journal, Rapid Eye. I remember getting the second volume near the end of my degree and quietly but excitedly thinking, "I could do this."
Being immersed in a very DIY, anti-commercial scene, I was also curious about the fact that Desktop Publishing technology had evolved to the point where the aesthetic of no-cost zines was actually much more of a choice than something imposed through the available means of production. Curious as to how much the lo-fi aesthetic of The Unlimited Dream Company was actually an unconscious aping of a tradition that was no longer necessary, I decided to make Towards 2012 look as professional as possible—but to still do it all myself, with no budget, just ideas and passion.
All quite romantic. But the crucial thing to see is, however the motives are viewed, it worked. For the whole period of producing it, I was a penniless and unemployed, but the logistics fell into place for me to create relatively well-produced, now pretty well-respected publication with noted contributors and—aside from a couple of adverts in exchange for contributions—no advertising or payments. As Francis Ford Coppola says in Hearts of Darkness, sometimes you just have to go forward as if something is going to happen, and it will take place in your wake. Creation, publishing, as magick. To be honest I’m amazed that the whole project actually happened as it did. It was one of my most intense experiences of "pronoia", the suspicion that the universe is out to help you.
The universe does come in the guise of people with names, though, so credit where credit’s due:
- Pete Pavement, then running Slab-O-Concrete comics in Hove, expressed an interest in collaborating on it after the first issue, and ended up co-publishing and co-distributing all subsequent issues, getting it in shops as far afield as California, Japan and Australia for me, as well as sharing his extensive independent publishing experience.
- Mark Ramsey was a real hero. He ran his own design company at the time on Hyde Park Corner in Leeds, and he let me use his Macs to do the layouts when he was out partying. Naturally he ended up half-tutoring me in Quark Xpress and Photoshop. Cheers, Mark.
- When Mark went globe-trotting, the Oblong Resource Centre in Meanwood, Leeds, became my DTP haven. It was a communal effort, but Duncan and Mike did most of the heavy lifting getting it set up. Respect.
- Funding, in the form of informal loans to cover print costs before they were recouped, came from seemingly unlikely places. My friends at Thalia (Kirsty, Jolane and Cat) came into money unexpectedly and helped out. Julian and Dorian Cope were staunch believers in the project from the start, and put their money where their mouths were. And it so happened that some people who hung out at Mark’s place in Leeds were doing a fake website for Douglas Rushkoff‘s novel Ecstasy Club. I met him when they did a promotional night for him in Manchester, had a good chat, and he quietly slipped me some printing costs. Nice one.
Conceived as a five-part project, it straddled the line between serial publication and book. Each part covered a specific theme I was interested in in relation to my general millennial conceptions. Before the end of the series, for various reasons, I was much less enthusiastic about the specifically apocalyptic themes, so the fifth part was published in a double volume with the fourth.
Here’s details of all the parts. Please note that all are totally out of print, but they’re in the British library system somewhere, so if you’re really keen, you can grab the ISSN or ISBN and order a copy for a bit. Libraries are good like that. Where items aren’t published elsewhere on the web, I’ve tried to archive them here, given the author’s permission. I’ll be trying to get more online in the future. Oh yeah, you can click on each cover image for a larger version.
- Published: The Unlimited Dream Company, 1995
- ISSN: 1359-2815
- Centre-stitched / A4 / 44 pages
- ‘Editorial Philosophy‘ by Gyrus
- ‘You Could Be Dead Tomorrow‘ by John Eden
- ‘Rips to the Edge‘ by Phil Hine
- ‘Life’s Middle Name‘ by Gyrus
- ‘The Path of the Sacred Warrior‘ by Peggy Andreas
- ‘The Necromantic World of Leilah Wendell‘ by Chad Hensley
- ‘Silent Night’ by Leilah Wendell
- ‘Death and Rebirth in Western Magick’ by Mike Hogan
- ‘Psychoplasmics‘ by Gyrus
- Art by Scott Ferry, Siobhan Lynch, Peggy Andreas & Mykeul J. Bates
- Published: The Unlimited Dream Company / Slab-O-Concrete, 1996
- ISSN: 1359-2815
- Cover art: Carl Sullivan
- Perfect-bound / A4 / 72 pages
- ‘Editorial‘ by Gyrus
- ‘Psychedelics Database’ compiled by Gyrus
- ‘Psychedelic Safety‘ by D.M. Turner
- ‘The Sacred, The Profane, & Psychedelic Teachings’ by Thomas Lyttle
- ‘Chemophilia: An Interview with Ann & Alexander Shulgin‘ by David Jay Brown & Rebecca McClen Novick
- ‘The Nature of the MDMA Experience & its Role in Healing, Psychotherapy, & Spiritual Practice‘ by Ralph Metzner & Sophia Adamson
- ‘Psychedelics & Lucid Dreaming’ by A.S. Kay
- ‘Dreamtime Rituals: Non-Intepretive Dreamwork for the Body‘ by Antero Alli
- ‘Notes on Surrealism & Dream’ by Stuart Inman
- ‘Dionysus Risen‘ by Gyrus
- ‘Tryptamine Hallucinogens & Consciousness‘ by Terence McKenna
- ‘The Neuropharmacology of an Eight-Circuit Brain‘ by Antero Alli
- Art by Carl Sullivan, Andy C, Pier, Indigo, Dan Johnson, Amanda Weir, Jim Davies & Paul.
- Published: The Unlimited Dream Company / Slab-O-Concrete, 1997
- ISSN: 1359-2815
- ISBN: 189986606X
- Cover art: James Koehnline
- Perfect-bound / A4 / 100 pages
- ‘Editorial‘ by Gyrus
- ‘Immediatism‘ by Hakim Bey
- ‘Interview with Douglas Rushkoff‘ by David Kendall
- ‘Visual Languages’ by Conor Patterson
- ‘Language, Magick & Neurolinguistics‘ by Dave Lee
- ‘The Path of the Sacred Clown‘ by Peggy Andreas
- ‘Aimless Wandering: Chuang Tzu’s Chaos Linguistics‘ by Hakim Bey
- ‘Thee Splinter Test’ & ‘Thee Splinter View’ by Genesis P-Orridge
- ‘Proto-Historic Roots of the Network Self’ by Robert Andreas Fischer
- ‘The Origins of Human Society‘ by Chris Knight
- ‘Communal Sex-Lib‘ by Gyan Nisarg
- ‘A Criminal Culture?‘ by Jim Carey
- ‘There’s A Riot Goin’ On?‘ by Merrick
- ‘Zines for Beginners’ by Pete Pavement
- ‘Astrologikal Perspectives‘ by Antero Alli
- ‘The Sekhmet Hypothesis’ by Iain Spence
- ‘Rave Culture Means The End Of The World As We Know It’ by Fraser Clark
- ‘Proprioceptions & Potential‘ by Seamus ben Qin
- ‘Techno: Psycho-Social Tumult’ by TechNET
- ‘Notes on the Virtuality of Language’ by Darren
- ‘Psychic Paleolithism & High Technology‘ by Hakim Bey
- Art by Scott Ferry, Jinz, Carl Sullivan, Steve Miller & Jim Koehnline.
Part III came with a ‘supplement’, an A5 34-page photocopied zine, also sold separately, looking at alternatives to frequently senseless, certainly destructive culture of work we’ve inherited. Contents included:
- ‘Working or a Living‘ by Merrick
- ‘The Abolition of Work‘ by Bob Black
- ‘Notes from Office Britain‘ by Gyrus
- ‘Work Is A Four-Letter Word‘ by Alan B
- ‘The Soul of Man Under Socialism‘ by Oscar Wilde (extract)
- Other extracts, quotes, cartoons and miscellania from Hunter S. Thompson, Funkadelic, Jalaloddin Rumi, Rev. Ivan Stang, Liz Angerford & Ambrose Lea, Simon Murphy/King Missile (via John Eden’s A3 diary sheets), The Decadent, Henry Miller, Norman O. Brown, John Maynard Keynes, The Insitute of Social Disengineering, Spectacular Times, Groundswell, The Beatles, Jesus Christ, Bill Hicks, Alan Watts, Ogden Nash, Derek Baker, Brian Bates, Hakim Bey, John (Fire) Lame Deer & John Eden.
The title came from graffiti on a bridge in Burley, Leeds (click the cover above to see it in full).
- Published: The Unlimited Dream Company / Slab-O-Concrete, 1998
- ISSN: 1359-2815
- ISBN: 1899866191
- Cover art: Monica Sjöö
- Perfect-bound / A4 / 144 pages
- ‘Editorial’ by Gyrus
- ‘Grounding Exercises’ by Jan Fries
- ‘The Living Bedrock of the Land‘ by Barry Patterson
- ‘The Strange World of Alan Moore‘ by David Kendall
- ‘Iconoclastic Ritual‘ by Antero Alli
- ‘An Interview with Phil Hine‘ by Gyrus
- ‘Sheela-Na-Gigs’ by Nora Bone
- ‘Sorcery‘ by Hakim Bey
- ‘The Erotic Landscape (revisited)‘ by Mogg Morgan
- ‘Sounding the Landscape’ by Bob Dickinson
- ‘Sinister New Age Channellings’ by Monica Sjöö
- ‘The Last Museum’ by Gyrus
- ‘Cup-and-Ring Art’ by Paul Bennett
- ‘Sacred Beasts’ by Gyrus
- ‘The San & the Eland‘ by Gyrus
- ‘Canid Crossways’ by Chrys Livings
- ‘Speculations on Myth, Magic & Ritual in Ancient Ireland’ by Donal Ruane
- Art by Carl Sullivan, Jim Davies, Tim Neate, Chris Massey-Lynch, Chesca Potter, Dan Johnson & Jan Fries