what cubensis honestly thinks about all this...

(in which my mushrooming opinions spew forth)

"With our love, we can save the world... if they only knew..."
~George Harrison, singing of youth & flowerpower, 1967's St. Peppers

"All this might seem like blatant self-promotion coming from someone else."
~Sarah Ferguson, speaking of Fraser Clark, February 1995 High Times

July 4th, 1994, in the parking lot behind the Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colorado, I stood blocking the path of Ken Kesey's massive, rumbling Cadillac convertible. The zippies had just finished throwing the after-hours party for Naropa Institute's birthday party for Allen Ginsberg, and Kesey and his aging Merry Pranksters had performed a new play for the event.

"CHIEF!" I cried, "In the name of the Zippies, I hereby kidnap you for transport to the National Rainbow Gathering in Wyoming, for the first-ever rave at a Gathering.... surely a prank worthy of your pronoia! Will you come along peacefully?"

Kesey squinched-up his forehead at me, adjusted his hat, and squinted into the light of the video cameras.

"I've bitten the ankle of the beast," he replied. "Don't ask me to bite where you want to bite."

"What about inspiring the next generation?" I asked.

"Son," Kesey said, "I've done that movie... now it's your turn!" And roared off in his Cadillac.

Now, one year later, the Zippy Pronoia Tour to US is one for the history books. Some say we made great strides in "biting the ankle of the beast". Others charge we were sellouts, in it for a media fix and fast buck. Whatever your opinion, you cannot deny that the following the cover story in May 1994's WiReD Magazine, the Zippy Pronoia Tour caught the attention and imagination of millions of people, through the seduction of the major international news media.

Following a year filled with successes, failures, general chaos, and a mysterious split with the Pronoia Tour's spokesman Fraser Clark, the 14 members of last year's tour have been scattered to the corners of the globe. O what a magnificent soap opera, full of sound and fury...


I was one of the original four people who dreamt up and planned the Pronoia Tour from Fraser Clark's London flat... and I was there for all the successes and failures....

and I have a few things I want to say:

  • To those who charge the tour with "selling out", to those who think we did it for personal gain or material profit... you are WRONG. With a few notable exceptions, the fourteen British, Irish, African and American zippies who comprised the tour were out to help change the world for the better ~we were committed (at no small personal sacrifice) to spreading the pronoia meme and the zippy philosophy to as many minds and hearts as we could, by seducing the U.S. and int'l media. YES we tried to get resources and backing to keep spreading the meme. YES we manipulated the major media. Our intentions were honorable, and I think that showed most of the time. More than a few people have apologized, once they met us, for wrongly pre-judging what we were all about.

    Of course, many people in the world were ALREADY zippies, and we were not saying anything new to them. But we didn't come on tour, we didn't sacrifice material, emotional and physical well-being to be redundent. We did it in order to help counter the forces of domination that are trying so desperately to keep this planet in darkness. Looking back, I honestly believe we made strides on behalf of the global rave community-- by helping debunk false myths about "drug-crazed freaks" and "drop-out hedonism"... hopefully planting the idea in the minds of permit issuers and cops on the beat that-- hey-- ravers are good kids trying to have some honest fun. Did we sell out? Well, more than once we refused monetary assistance because we did not feel it was good karma to accept. We lost money at most of our events because we refused to charge, or when we did, to charge more than $5 or $10. More than a few of us are still in deep debt from participating in the tour. You tell me if we sold out...

  • As for our mysterious split with Fraser Clark? So many people ask me, I feel obligated to address the matter honestly. Some people don't like me because of my willingness to bluntly say what is on my mind, but that's me... take it or leave it. I respect Fraser Clark. I *like* Fraser Clark. He was one of the pioneers of the global rave movement, and his motivations are good ones. I would not have experienced the things I did, had he not invited me to be communications coordinator for the tour. But, truth be told-- the reason 11 out of 13 zippies that traveled with Fraser split with him in San Francisco is because we felt used.

    Upon reaching San Francisco, Fraser suddenly began referring to the Tour's efforts as the product of evolution^, Fraser's own company name, instead of the Pronoia Tour, a name which represented the people actually doing the day-to-day sacrificing and work involved with throwing successful parties. We felt used, and we discovered that as a leader, Fraser was more ready to accept the spotlight and respect of a tribal elder than the responsibility that goes along with such leadership. To support this, I point to the disgruntled employees of Megatripolis UK, who had the exact same complaint about Fraser.

    There was a pattern within Fraser ~beginning in London~ of selfish egoism that tarnished the brilliant, charming wit and light that is Fraser Clark... a willingness to say anything to get what was wanted at the moment, heedless of human cost. There were more than a few examples of taking credit for others' work, and for cynically leaving those who were no longer useful by the wayside, despite the hypocrisies involved, for the "sake of the movement". The 11 zippies who left Fraser felt this went against what pronoia was all about.

    I am not even close to being the first to charge this. If I sound like an unappreciative punk, or overly judgemental and/or righteous, please understand that when the crew who built the original Megatripolis UK warned me of these things before the Tour left for the States, I vowed to judge the man for myself. That's all I ask of anyone reading this. He, of course, has his own version of what happened. I invite you to browse the page I devoted to his ideas, and from there, link to his own web site if you wish.

    If you ask Fraser Clark why the Pronoia Tour zippies split with him, he would emphatically tell you it was because "they did not appreciate the legend" he had spent years building, and the "young idiots" wrongly assumed the magic of the Tour was due to their own efforts and not Fraser's networking and personal charisma. Fraser would say the Pronoia Tour zippies let "fame go to thier heads" and they forgot how it was they got to where they were. Fraser would place the blame on losing financial backing to the fact that the young Pronoia Tour "alpha males" who assumed leadership in times of crisis were paranoid, and lacked the experience and contacts that he himself had.

    It is my sincere hope that Fraser has learned and grown from last year's trials-- I know I sure have.

  • What of the Grand Canyon Mega-Rave? Well first of all, as much as I love and appreciate Wired Magazine (and I do-- there are some wonderful people behind that mag), it was totally irresponsible in publishing the exisitence of the Tour without first confirming some of the authors' research. The article was written almost a year before we left for the states.

    From the beginning of the Tour in June, we were assured by the organizers of the World Unity Festival that space, permits, sanitation, food and water, heathcare, ecological and security matters were taken care of. About halfway through, when we found out that the World Unity Festival organizers were operating on a "if you build it they will come" basis, and were bluffing their way through the whole thing in hopes of it all magically coming together... we had some hard decisions to make. We found these things out after our split with Fraser, and proceeded to network to find an alternative site. We went so far as to send a contingent to Sedona, Arizona, to meet with local officals to try and book the Verde Valley Ampitheatre. It was DAMN CLOSE. But, we could not in good faith go ahead with the hype when real people with real lives were involved.

    If you read the articles in Outside Magazine or High Times Magazine, you'll find that Fraser tried to go ahead with the Grand Canyon Mega-Rave, and had hastily gathered a new posse in San Francisco, mainly by demonizing the original Tour members, I've been told. The result was a pseudo-Rainbow Gathering type of festival, which was not really "zippy", but was mainly "hippie". (Except Rainbows never would have treated the ecosystem the way it was treated.) The High Times article contained an illuminating passage:

    "Clark decided to pull the plug on the Zippies' Canyon party and and re-direct his energy towards opening a Megatripolis-style club in San Francisco... Then he caught wind of the European press, which was hyping the mega-rave as the Woodstock of the 90's... hype had overtaken reality; the show had to go on."

    That says it all, in my humble opinion.

    Ok, I've vented my spleen, as it were, and I stand by what I've said. But there remains the not-so-small matter of THANKS. There are so many people who showed us love and pronoia during our Tour... I can't name them all, but I'll name a few. I wish I could offer more than verbal thanks, but that is all I have to give.

    THANK YOU: (To the PRONOIA CREW) Angus, Drew, Justin, Jason, Thrity, Dan, Ian, Cheryl, Zana, Chianna, Fraser, Ronnie (and even Pincus and Des); (in NYC) Carlos and the Liquid Sky Posse, Terence McKenna, John Barlow, Super DJ Dimitri, DJ Spooky, the staff of High Times (especially Hugh Haggarty), the crew at Collective Unconscious (especially the van-man... you know who you are!), Gabe, Michael John, Catriona, Erik Davis, Edison Archer, Planet Generation, Bobby Faust, the Indian restaurants in Greenwich Village; (in BOULDER) Brian and Michael of Nootrophia, Wendy Davis, The Rainbow Gypsy Theatre, Dave Alexander, Ztephen and his glasses, Naropa Institute, Ken Kesey (for making us look so good), the guy with that killer kind; (in WYOMING) the entire, beautiful Rainbow Family- may you dance forever; (in MISSOURI) that State Trooper for not acting like the bubba he looked at 3 a.m.; (in SAN FRAN) Aaron and the incredibly generous and phat S.P.A.Z. crew, M Normal at the WELL, the entire staff of Wired Magazine (especially Brian Behlendorf, Julie, Jane and Marla), Reid Fossey, Cairo, Mark Heley and the Clublife staff, the noble warriors of Food Not Bombs (thanks for the fun cat-n-mouse!), RU Sirius, Goa Gil, Cap'n Crunch, the dude from Autonomedia/Semiotext(e) and Sarah who gave me that beautiful sunshine at the Jupiter Bash!, Gaia Books (for not calling the cops on our crazy cyborg); (in the SAN DIEGO area) the generous Swedes and their dog, the guy who played Lennon's "Mind Games" at just the right time, The Narnia posse and the Pala Natives, and Dirk and his "special forces" who spiced things up so much- (and despite the BS... provided a way home);

    A SPECIAL THANK YOU from me to all the thousands of participants in cyberspace that made my summer an unforgettable experience (especially the WELL participants and the dood who sent that Philip K. Dick quote, whoever you are!)

    and, finally, thank you to Gregor Markowitz of the Internet Lovefest,
    August Tarantino- Sir Mang of Mingus,
    and Jules Marshall in Amsterdam
    without whom this site would not have been possible.

    I'll end with a thought I found on the Net a long time ago...
    I can't nail down the source, but it doesn't really need one:

    "...all in all, rave is the greatest antidote yet for urban anonymity.
    when you open your heart, and trust the whole group you dance with;
    when you feel love with everyone, and they return it, a higher
    vibration can be reached. dance is the supreme gesture of abandon,
    the embrace of the moment, the abeyance of work and the annihilation
    of guilt, neurosis, and the burden of the past. no one can write a
    *rave manifesto* . . . there is no unified voice to rave culture,
    and there are no rules. ranting is the opposite of raving. remember,
    the scene is still growing. just keep it going, don't give up hope.
    you might think to yourself sometimes, man, the scene is fucked, it's
    dying, it's changing, it's shit. just hang in there and change with
    the times. don't get caught up in the good old days. they were good
    but keep the scene happening all around the world. to rave is to affirm."

    peaceout sisters and brothers-- see ya in hyperspace!

    july 4th, 1995
    central colorado

    The Zippy Pronoia Tour site was developed by cubensis@well.com © 1995.
    Extra special thanks to the gracious, skoochin' internet love-fest.