Gathering of the Tribe Press
Press for Gathering of the Tribe: Music and Heavy Conscious Creation, by Mark Goodall
Elvis Died Press
Press for Elvis Died For Somebody's Sins But Not Mine: A Lifetime's Collected Writing by Mick Farren.
Conspiracy Cinema Press
Press for the book, Conspiracy Cinema: Propaganda, Politics and Paranoia, by David Ray Carter. Published by Headpress.
The Hellhound Sample Press
Press for The Hellhound Sample, the debut novel by Charles Shaar Murray, published by Headpress, 2011.
Discombobulated press
Reviews for Simon A. Morrison's book Discombobulated: Dispatches from the Wrong Side, published by Headpress.
Beaver Street press
Reviews for the Robert Rosen book Beaver Street: A Modern History of Pornography, published by Headpress.
Dark Stars Rising press
Reviews for the Shade Rupe book Dark Stars Rising, published by Headpress.
Sleazoid Express
There has never been a film book quite like this one.
Headzine press
Reviews for the Headpress ezine and collector edition and Headpress in general.
What the critics are saying about Headpress.
Moving pictures of headpress authors and related matter.
Headcast #1
Radio Free HeadPress 1 - feat. Beefy by free headpress

Revolution in the hair

Compiled & mastered by Caleb Selah

A musical exploration of the revolutionary music of the 1960s. It begins with an hilarious denunciation of John Sinclair (a true revolutionary and the hardest working beat poet in the business)... Enjoy and remember people died for our right to party. Featuring words from the Mighty Beefy. For promo only

Image cover its all good
IT’S ALL GOOD: A John Sinclair Reader by John Sinclair is a sampling of Sinclair’s journalism and verse spanning over forty years. It illuminates his legendary period as a cultural revolutionary and political prisoner, manager of the MC5, Chairman of the White Panther Party, producer of the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival and director of the Detroit Jazz Center. More about this item»


23-Apr-2010 Caleb Selah
Headcast #2
Radio Free HeadPress 2 featuring the voice of sarah daykin by free headpress

Whiter Shades of Ale

Compiled & mastered by Caleb Selah

A thrilling rush through whiter shades of ale in the sixties and seventies and beyond. The moving, heart rending musing of the sublime Sarah Daykin. She was a revolutionary in Germany, executed alongside Rosa Luxembourg in 1919. The recordings were taken from various speeches recorded onto rare smuggled 78s at great risk and seem to echo many of the sentiments of the sixties. For promo only.

23-Apr-2010 Caleb Selah
Headcast #11

The Sun Ra sound Radio Free HeadPress 11 by free headpress

The Sun Ra Sound

Compiled & mastered by Caleb Selah

There is no description for this. It was presented to me, in a dream, by a man from the rings of saturn. His name is Haf-fa Rool. It seems to tell in an hour what Sun Ra could think in a minute. He loves you all. I offer this with no desire to make money from it. It is a gift from Ra and Headpress to all. Dedicated to Marshall Allen and John Sinclair... Peace

Image cover sun ra
Sun Ra: Interviews & Essays edited by John Sinclair. Composer, bandleader, pianist, poet and philosopher, Sun Ra is one of the most colourful and enduring of musical legacies, transcending time, place and cultural genres. More about this item»

04-May-2010 Caleb Selah
To Be Young

To Be Young

by Chris Pink

Of little importance to me in 1990 (but strangely captivating for the rest of the world in a really boring adult way) was some bloke called ‘Nelson Mandela’ being freed from a South African prison after 27 long and tedious years. I wished the man well, of course, but owing to the fact that I lived in a fairly middle-class English cul-de-sac where ethnic groups were yet to become more than a distant sci-fi novelty, it was hard to know what to make of it all, and what any of it really meant. That and the fact I was nine, so it should be obvious that I had much better things to do with my time than pay attention to the world and all its minor comings and goings, of which there were far too many to count. Frankly, even though one year had elapsed since getting my bike officially airborne (achieving a respectable height of 0.000012 inches), I had bigger fish to fry; for example, the newly discovered mysterious bicycle-jumping feat known as ‘bunnyhopping’ required my concentration 99% of the time. Likewise, getting on and off my green and vomit orange Matterhorn mountain-bike without ripping my super-tight purple cycling shorts at the crotch required not only great patience, but a serious amount of luck.

As a nine-year-old boy I also had no idea, like most people around me, that a certain hardcore group were quietly revolutionizing and redefining both UK and US BMX. The words ‘The Backyard Jam’ were alien to me and would remain that way for some time to come, eventually becoming locked in a fierce battle between Samantha Fox, my unlockable door and the concept of ‘masturbation’. (Not to mention being English, nine-years-old, and ignorant of American words like ‘Backyard’, I probably wouldn’t have known one had I walked into one.)

Image chris pink through a doorway

Chris Pink through a doorway

I would much later find out that these Englishmen were doing something pretty amazing (and that the whole Nelson Mandela thing was actually a fairly big deal and I should be thoroughly ashamed of myself for thinking a 0.000012 inch bunnyhop was more important, of course). What made their achievement even more impressive was that in these early days, as will come as no great surprise, the word BMX (or as the stunt-riding faction called it ‘Freestyle’) was generally not considered worthy enough to be spoken out loud without spitting immediately after; if you were a BMXer back then then you were both lucky and unlucky: in the first case responsible for bringing the best thing ever to the world’s attention, and in the second facing a long hard road of piss-taking and frequent hospital visits. (Looking back at some of the ‘fashion’ from the time I have to admit that it’s easy to understand why the former was the case.)

Back to why The UK Backyard Jams were so down-right bloody impressive:

Unlike some members of society with little between their ears and an inability to bother doing anything unless sure success and monetary rewards are a certainty, The Backyard Jam guys weren’t relying on sponsors or money from huge corporations to get things moving (plus they didn’t own a filo-fax between them); the thing which made BMX special and unique was that the events would have happened had only five people turned up and four of them were riders. The fact is that BMX crowds back then were (and this is no exaggeration) rarer than shagging Pandas are now. The guys responsible were putting on events in fields for the hard-core for next to no return, making dirt-jumps—back then, laughably by today’s standards, a couple of metres between a take-off and a landing was considered massive and scary—and launching themselves off them with ‘raditude’ just because it was fun. As for rules, there weren’t any, and nobody gave a shit. No wrist-bands to prove you’d paid or not either. You were met with smiles and handshakes from total strangers, whatever bike you rode, regardless of how you rode it. There was also no security in place to stop gatecrashers, and this was combined with the kind of breathtakingly crude health-and-safety rule breaking that’s actually quite scary as you move through the world and discover that it’s sometimes a good thing (for example: like when a bottle is hurtling towards your face). In fact, gatecrashers, chaos and bedlam, as long as it didn’t involve ‘normal’ adults and had something vaguely to do with BMX, was encouraged. If you wanted something to eat you were sorted too: you could walk down the road without being mobbed by a gang of carnivorous Red Bull groupies, spend a fiver, and come back an hour later, happy and ready for more.

A couple of BMXers from the Hastings area—to the riders who knew them, they weren’t just riders, they were heroes—called Stu Dawkins and Ian Morris (plus a close group of friends) were the Main-Men behind The Backyard Jams from the beginning, which started in 1989, the same year as the terrible human crush at Hillsborough in Sheffield. The Jams’ existence and location was a lazy secret which was officially confined to Hastings, but that spread throughout the country on trust and good will, through word-of-mouth and riders meeting at skateparks and at the trails, on BMX tracks and in the streets. The public didn’t care about BMX, so no-one was too worried about the jams getting out of hand (which was fine for BMX, because getting out of hand was something BMXers excelled at).

It was an awesome time, and, to those who witnessed it first hand, something that will never be forgotten. The Backyard Jams, which would unfold throughout the 90s and well into the 00s, were the BMX equivalent of Woodstock—the numbers weren’t as great, of course, but for UK BMX it was nothing less than monumental: ramps everywhere, people going-off: warriors in full-face helmets attempting tricks they never had before, then limping to work the next day with a massive smile on their face.

Above everything it was about the freedom: the don’t-give-a-shit attitude combined with the rawness of unbridled, unrestricted youth.

14-Jun-2010 Chris Pink
Now That's What I Call Discombobulated! 1
Now that's what i call discombobulated by free headpress

Simon A. Morrison, author of Discombobulated, talks to Judith Chalmers, and reminisces with Jimmy the Hat about a pink gasmask in Berlin.

Discombobulated: Dispatches from the Wrong Side by Simon A. Morrison takes readers on a pocket-sized, decade-spanning gonzo tour of the nightlife of five continents, bringing together the snappiest, wittiest and hippest dispatches of the last eight years, to make one of the classic books of the clubbing generation. More about this item»

04-May-2010 Simon A. Morrison


The mountaintop church of Montevergine, Avellino, Italy.

A group of ladies singing first outside the church and then inside. An amazing sound! (The mix comprises both recordings bounced down together.) Field recording by David Kerekes, 29 August 2009.

Image cover mezzogiorno
Mezzogiorno: Life. Death. Southern Italy by David Kerekes is a work of biography, autobiography, fable and fact, spanning three generations of southern Italian family life. Set amidst a landscape of peasant riots, vicious landlords, religious festival, feuds, the collapse of the Fascist party, and the tarantella — a world lost to the changing face of the twenty-first century. More about this item»

21-May-2010 David Kerekes
Balls, The Womb and Mexico City 2
 Image mexico city pt2

The centre of town in Mexico City doesn’t serve the visitor much beyond a litany of woes around the next corner. There is no Louvre, no Pantheon, no changing of the guard, the landmarks of famous cities around the world, only fish stalls with a police force marching through them primed ready to split a skull or two.

And around the next corner is the Calle de Peru, where stands the Arena Coliseo. It is not a proud street, it was probably once a functional street but nowadays it isn’t even that, and the only traffic through it is the traffic of a wrestling day.

We find a place to eat on Calle de Peru, a cantina built around a big iron simmering pot containing mole (pronounced moh-lay; a type of sauce not the cuddly myopic), with an entrance that is a crude hole knocked into the wall that faces the street. Overhead the hole is a crucifix that has undergone many repairs, with Polyfilla enough to kill a man should the crucifix fall.

Inside the cantina are eight tables, and at the far end a kitchen where three generations of woman prepare rice and beans. The women look up when we enter but the diners do not. The diners are wary of us and even stop talking amongst themselves so that they may concentrate better on their food and ignore us altogether. The only acknowledgement of our presence comes from a young man with a vicious swollen eye, who draws his woman closer to him, as if to say “she’s mine” and thus prevent her flight in the company of strangers. He wears dirty white clothes to the woman’s black, which serve to accentuate his manhood once his legs part for our benefit and the slouch into machismo gets underway. A dirty manhood is not what we want when we eat but because there are no other places to eat on the Calle de Peru, we have little choice but suffer the indignity and fear of prolonged periods in Mexican toilets.

There is no menu to speak of. The man tending the “tables” brings to us three helpings of mole, followed by rice and beans. We don’t have any choice. The water in a colourful plastic pitcher we avoid.

“No somos gringos Americanos,” we feel obligated to tell the man waiting “tables.” “We are not American gringos.”

Through the hole in the wall beyond the crucifix a community is building on the street in anticipation of the wrestling. Families make their way to the Coliseo box office, bypassing the scalpers that claim to have bought up all the tickets, to a window covered by a steel grille. Here, cash and tickets are exchanged through a slot not big enough for anything larger to pass.

The seats in the Arena Coliseo are hard pressed plastic, but not as hard as the Mexico City cops that won’t go to Tepito. Unlike us. And our hard asses.

CONSEJO MUNDIAL CMLL DE LUCHA LIBRE, reads the sign over the arena.

Stored in buckets of ice and brought to one’s seat by fellows wearing white lab coats, cerveza poured from a bottle into a paper cup costs 2 pesos. Water costs 1.50 a cup, which would explain why nobody at the wrestling is drinking the water except for Caleb, who is beginning to feel a little weird after three solid days of alcohol without sleep and a jet lag that he says is “catching up.” He denies the Valium is anything to do with it. Vehemently.

“Don’t fall asleep here,” I tell Cal, whose jetlag he hopes is hidden behind his sunglasses. “You’ll get us lynched.”

The canvas ring holds court even when empty and a packed house bay, yell and stamp their feet in its direction. The house is here to witness Ultimo Guerrero, Black Warrior, Hombre Sin Nombre, Alex Koslov, Sangre Azteca and all the other mighty warriors pound a head or two in the afternoon. But most of all they are here to witness Místico. Up in the cheaper seats a wire mesh protects heads below from the detritus hurled at it, mainly body parts and spicy potato wedges from the street vendors, who smell heavily of sweat and carbolic soap, as corrupting on the nostrils as sulphur.

The Sunday match starts early at the Coliseo, a more intimate and informal arena than the Mexico arena, which is across town near to the Balderas metro. We buy mascara — masks — and other wrestling paraphernalia in anticipation of the afternoon’s entertainment.

The woman’s name is Karen Gonzalez Cruz and the man hanging onto her with a vicious swollen eye is American Mike.

American Mike cannot speak much Spanish and so the two of them communicate through impassioned glances that are as sickening a display as Mike’s manhood. Thus we exit the cantina for a street suddenly much more inviting than when we left it, leaving with Mike an offer that the lovers should come and party in our hotel room.

American Mike says by way of a reply: “You’ve got to deal with all the problems.”

“I’ll think about what that means in the next life,” Cal fires back.

It’s a bad sound going down but we have got American Mike all wrong, and what we perceive as balls is actually a cry for help, as we shall find out soon enough.

This is a particularly good day for the fans and families who suspend all disbelief and worship each Sunday at temple lucha libre. The formidable Místico is headlining, the people’s champion.

Místico was born and raised in Tepito, like Luis “Kid Azteca” Villanueva, José “Huitlacoche” Medel and a generation of tough fighters before him. He started his career at age fifteen, wrestling under the name of Astro Boy and winning. From underdog to the largest drawing wrestler in the world and the biggest star of all of Mexico, Astro Boy turned to religion and changed his name to Místico and wrestles this very day in Arena Coliseo with a new jewel to his crown: Best Flying Wrestler of 2006.

When they say “flying” they do mean flying and not jumping. Místico’s aerial based offence is something to behold, a lesson in what happens to a man weighing 167lbs when he leaves the force of gravity under a silver face mask.

A Top-Rope Rocker Dropper.

Bout after bout, down the aisle come the tag teams to the sing-song announcer whose shoulders are arched beneath a garish tweed jacket, and who says formidable at every opportunity. Everything is “formidable” in lucha libre.

The fighters bounce down the aisle in order to throw themselves majestically into the ring. These leaps into the ring are almost as spectacular as the flips out again when Místico or Heavy Metal or La Mascara take the upper hand with a plancha move, a flying cross body press, and send one of their opponents clear out across the ropes. These fuckers are fucking big and spectators scatter ring side when projectiles the size of a small village hurtle their way and smash apart seats upon impact.

Occasionally the grappling continues outside the ring, which is technically illegal and gets the audience even more fired up than they already are. Little wonder that sometimes the fighters sustain genuine injury, and some of them, covered in blood and shame, are left no option but to quit and hobble unceremoniously out of the stadium. When a wrestler leaves this way there is no cheer or applause, no show of appreciation from the crowd. It is as if the wrestler was never really there in the first place, because injuries are for mortals. These fuckers are balletic pugilistic pantomime artists, far greater and more colourful than life beyond the Coliseo, and they are duty bound to carry on their big hulking shoulders the ideation of a thousand people or more. When they fail we mortals must die a little.

The female tag team don’t have anywhere near the same hulk to their shoulders, and as a consequence command less respect than the male wrestlers. When the female wrestlers arrive it is to a chorus of “putan!” from the women in the audience. “Prostitute!”

Dark Angel is the favourite putan. She fights alongside Lady Apache and Princesa Blanca, locking necks between powerful legs and making Princesa Sujei or Hiroka or Rosa Negra slam a hand into the canvas in defeat.

For the “formidable” final bout, which stars Místico — everyone’s favourite — a dwarf wrestler dressed in a monkey suit and a blue afro wig beneath gladiatorial armour joins in purely to be gently hurled around the ring and generate lots of laughs. It’s an unbelievable sight, not dissimilar a sight to that of Maximo, who generated uproarious laughter in an earlier bout when he minced about the ring in a very short tunic in a farcical caricature of camp. When I nudge Cal awake and he sees the monkey he knows he’s dreaming.

Whenever Místico raises a fist or lands a pile driving blow, some of the women in the audience cannot contain themselves. The woman in the front row blocks the view of men suddenly timorous in the company of other people’s glances when she jumps out of her seat with great excitement and hollers, “MÍSTICO!” Which goes on up until the moment Místico loses and everybody in the arena turns to one of the several exits and leaves: The grown ups with their children, the children with their friends and their photographs signed by Dark Angel and the other wrestlers for a few cents. Místico loses. There is no discussion of events, no match analysis, no sound at all but the mental echo of what is, I suppose, a cold hard slap to the face of this week’s dreams.

The beer vendor that owes me 10 pesos from an hour ago dutifully returns my change and then it’s out through the turnstile, where a battered bus takes away everyone not leaving the Calle de Peru on foot.

02-Aug-2010 David Kerekes
Balls, The Womb and Mexico City 3
 Image mexico city pt3

We decide to crush the anguish of Místico’s defeat with Cal’s new cigars and alcohol. Because of a fruitless stroll through Zona Rosa, however, a predominantly gay area of Mexico City that offers no bars we want to visit, packed only with people we do not want to meet, despondency falls like a rain to make us feel even worse. To accompany our despondency is a tout on every corner peddling the promise of “the best club in Mexico.” “El major club en Mejico.” I tell one tout to dejame en paz! and push him to a wall when he grabs my arm and attempts to draw me to a red door. He slides quickly away, troubled by my reaction. As indeed I am myself.

Nothing can hurt us now. Rise.

We haven’t gone far down the road when a man who I shall call Knuckles starts to cough and follows us around like a lost puppy dog until there is nothing left for it but the VIP gentleman’s club he tirelessly recommends. The nature of the club involves the presence of beautiful ladies, but that’s about the only constant in a description he shapes like putty to better take our fancy. If we don’t like it, he says, we can leave. Which, of course, is rubbish.

Naturally, the VIP gentleman’s club isn’t at all as he described but exactly what we expected. That is, a place of men of good standing beaming like juveniles in the company of young ladies. It has all the sex appeal of an executive luncheon, where the thrill of flesh for top price drinks is the trade, and people wearing nail polish and neckties have replaced the grease stained plebs of the factory floor.

Our eyes are still adjusting to the gloom of blue strip lighting in the stairway by the time Knuckles has whisked us upstairs into the club. Here the guides of the inner circle take over and lead us to the tables. To the tables. What we see as we approach the tables, when our eyes catch up and the room unfolds, are a pole dancer whose enthusiasm has yet to arrive and white feathers and bare midriffs. We are almost ensconced at the tables, the tables that breed idiot men with gold charge cards in female company, when we come to our senses and snap free of the silk cogs of well oiled motion to take our leave. This isn’t for us. What we want are Místico and Dark Angel victorious.

The ranks of the inner circle are alerted to our premature departure in an instant and tighten around us like a noose to thwart our passage down the blue strip stairway. Men in suits and ladies without many clothes are an obstacle to our exit, and fire at us telekinetic mind bolts warning that money in the VIP can but travel one way, and that way is not out. Not out, not now. Get yourselves back to the tables, they are saying, or the beautiful woman shall become the bad woman, mala mujer, and you shall feel her wrath.

But the circle doesn’t anticipate such resistance, such brute determination and sheer velocity, and the ranks crumble beneath our unwavering flight out.

“Get out of our way, man,” our battle cry. “We really mean it!”

Our exit from the club is unceremonious: We tumble from it onto the pink streets of the Zona Rosa in a heap. But some kind of dignity remains intact and with that we are happy.

“Beautiful,” says one guy in English. “Hermoso,” he translates for the Spanish fluff on his arm. I don’t know what exactly might be beautiful, whether it’s me or the streets or the state in which we arrive on the streets but I thank him all the same, and he smiles jubilantly before pointing us in the direction of Cortesia, a place we can go for a drink and where the missing things start for Caleb.

From the deep void beyond our galaxy down the road we travel, past La Cantina de los Remedios, where no waiter cracks a smile and a sign on the wall advises parents not to let their children play with their guns. Wherever music is played people will dance in Mexico, and music plays and people dance at La Cantina de los Remedios, next to their table as they wait between courses. Further on we encounter for the first time Professor Soledad, an elderly black dude in a flat cap dressed for a Dalston winter trying to get himself arrested by a dozen armed police officers. The cops are perplexed by his English demand, “Arrest me now! Arrest me now!” But when they move in I am compelled to try and help him out. So I take hold of Professor Soledad’s arm and tell him our bus is coming, which is an anagram for stop digging for yourself a hole because you got moved on for pissing in the street. The cops brush me away with the flip of a back hand, the way one might throw a fly from a sugar bowl. That’s all the warning I need from mean cops and I walk away, knowing instinctively that our path will cross again the Professor.

From the deep void beyond our galaxy down the road is a house that has been converted into a club called Cortesia, where upstairs a DJ plays drum and bass, and downstairs another DJ plays the most unrelenting techno imaginable, as far removed from drum and bass as can be. Drum and bass is music that appeals to mathematicians and computer programmers, who admire the engineering of low frequency bass response that doesn’t distort the sound around it, whilst analysing it in binary. I have a broken conversation about this with hairdressers, who go on to regard my name with interest and recount to me the story of a musical group also named Kerekes that had a hit with a song they sang in Polish.

“Any funny stories about Selah?” Caleb Selah asks the hairdressers before hitting the dance floor with a slurred stagger.

Because I don’t much like the music they play in the Cortesia I spend the evening up and down the stairs with a succession of large whiskeys, until I find my spot in a corner. It’s a short lived reverie, shattered when Caleb crashes into the room clutching his balls and searching for space.

He ploughs through a group of people seated on the floor and howls: “Jesus Christ! I need to lie down! I need to lie down!”

Cal’s howling is ineffective against the pounding music, and so — a curious sight — he flails his arms in a tight circle that drives everyone back several paces and falls to the floor in the space this provides.

“Some bird just crushed my nuts!”

“Why’d she do that?” I ask.

“I’ve got no fucking idea!”

As Cal paints a picture of the events surrounding the cruel and harsh treatment of his balls, I recall the curiously tall hairdresser he speaks of, the one with the long fingers and a predilection for gay guys on the dance floor. Maybe therein lies the explanation, I say to Cal, who will have none of it. Maybe it was a gay thing, or a straight thing, or maybe twisting a stranger’s balls till his eyes bleed is a form of courtship in these parts. The very thought of those long fingers makes me uncomfortable. They may find us yet, even here in the corner.

Later Cal discovers that his phone is missing, so maybe his balls were nothing but a distraction for hairdressing pickpockets. Two sore balls and no phone.

The following day, American Mike turns up at the Hotel del Angel in clean clothes and black eye. But he is alone, and not much of a party comes out of it.

American Mike is one of a group of young architects from around the world visiting Mexico City, and not American at all but Polish. Now he is jittery because he is in love and hoping to arrange a romantic candlelit evening with Karen Gonzalez Cruz, the girl who is beautiful, perfect, and sends him crazy with desire, whom he fears may fly away. He needs our help because American Mike is in love and knows only one inappropriate Spanish phrase and so cannot produce a sentence to arrange much of anything at all.

“Did this woman crush your balls by any chance?” I ask. But Mike looks more deflated than amused by my very humorous comment.

We agree to help him out. Mike dictates the conversation he would like to have with Karen and Ben translates it for him, writing down the Spanish words phonetically on Hotel del Angel headed notepaper. As long as Karen on the end of the phone line doesn’t stray from the projected script and answers simply “yes” to each of his questions and nothing more, then paradise for Mike should arrive tomorrow evening in a meal and a thong.

The script reads as follows:

O-LA / hello

SOI MIKE / its mike

K TAL? / how r u

KOMO TU SEE-ENTES OI? / how ru today?

MAY GUS-TA-REE-A MUCHO ENCONTRAR TAY I-AIR? / i really enjoyed meeting you yesterday

E-REZ MOI SIMPA-TI-KO? / u are very nice

KERO VER TE! / i want to see u

KONYOCES EL RESTAURANTAY ‘LA CASA DE LA-SI-REN-SES’? / do you know the xx restaurant?

ES EN EL CENTRO HISTORICO / its in the historical centre

KERES VENIR AL RESTAURANTE CONMIGO ESTA NOCHE? / do u want to come to the restaurant with me tonight?

YO VOY YEVAR MI DICIONARIO! / i’ll bring my dictionary!

VAI SER MUY DIVERTIDO / it’ll be a lot of fun

YO KERO MUCHO VERTE OTRA VEZ / i really want to see you again

It takes most of the afternoon to sort it all out and when it’s sorted, with script in hand a shy and reserved Mike locks himself behind the door of the bathroom in our second floor room to make the call. He makes the call and she doesn’t pick up. But he keeps trying and finally he gets through and when he does Karen Gonzalez Cruz doesn’t understand one single syllable of any one word he utters. It’s a mess of a conversation and in no time Mike is hopelessly lost in a language he cannot understand. Set adrift on the terrible sea of lustful loins with not a port in sight, he says the word “goodbye” softly and hangs up.

A disillusioned architect is a terrible thing to behold, much worse than a sad plumber, and with the script torn to shreds at our feet I see new buildings all over Mexico falling down in years to come as a consequence of the visiting international architects and their one Latino loss.

The raging flame of personal tragedy, they say, sometimes forges men into something more than human. American Mike becomes simply a vegetable. The name of the girl is Karen Gonzalez Cruz, he blubbers like a baby. Her name is —

something is wrong and I don’t know what it is

A dog is protesting on the street. I believe the dog is rabid. Not guilty, barks the dog.

A man with yellow hair.

A man with a ball of yellow hair.

A man whose head is a ball of yellow hair hails the taxi. Kicks the dog.

It comes and he goes.

Ben likes to barter first thing in the morning, it helps invigorate him and sets up the day well for him, and taxi drivers are his favourite. So it is the very next day when we check out of the Hotel des Angel — hotel incommunicado — and into a full blown war over one peso between Ben on the one side and on the other José Manuel Guzman, cab driver, in possession of the most luxurious cab in the whole of Mexico. We like José Manuel Guzman and confound Ben, whose battle isn’t over, when we hire him to take us to the central bus station in Mexico City and the bus that will take us to Zona Arqueológica de Teotihuacan. José doesn’t much like to be referred to as a cab driver. “Servicios de Transportación Turistica y Ejecutiva” is what he provides, he tells us gravely.

He is very careful about his doors.

Had we met José sooner, our perception of Mexico City might have been very different. The levels of poverty and crime, according to José, are a gross exaggeration. Mexico City is a beautiful and safe city, he says, except for an area so small as to be almost insignificant. We wonder where this small insignificant area might be, given the poverty we see all around us, on streets that even the local people avoid like a putrid hole in the ground.

“The bad districts I can count on one hand,” he says when pressed on the point, a little embarrassed by his own admission. “Four years ago it was very different. Now you are safe to walk anywhere.”

We ride over an overpass and I wonder of the buildings below, the shacks made of wood beneath the squalid houses made of weak concrete, how many of them will contain people having a fist pushed into their face. José adds quickly that in Mexico City “there are nice ladies from all over the world.” In this I arrive at the answer to the flat city: A building with a nice lady is better than a building with a broken face or no building at all.

Time on this trip ebbs and flows in the heat. Above the space that occupies the sky is starting its transmission. It is God. And smog.

Exhaust fumes and the terrific heat have cooked up smog, something else for which Mexico City is famous, and it settles on the traffic like a thick broth. When the car stops at a set of lights, a miscreant whose eyes hold the ground wanders over and taps on José’s window. He wants to know whether José would like to make some money taking his fare a different route. That’s all we hear but I don’t suspect the different route would do us many favours.

José is rightly proud of his city, but prouder still of his fine car, whose doors and windows he keeps locked tighter than a virgin’s ass until it is absolutely necessary for them to be open.

A good man, José Manuel Guzman does us no ill and dismisses the guy whose eyes are on the ground. At the very least he has saved us the embarrassment of being robbed a second time in as many days.

We tip José well, giving him twice the money Ben had saved us with his haggling over the fare, as is now Caleb custom, and check our bags into left luggage. In the few minutes before boarding the bus that goes to Zona Arqueológica in Teotihuacán, I buy a pin that has the flag of Mexico made out of enamel and fasten it to a belt loop on my trousers, upon which I determine that my trousers are obscenely loose and liable to fall down. This eventuality I am pondering when Caleb and Ben call for me to get a move on, because we have a bus to catch for the City of the Gods.

Teotihuacán is in a valley some fifty kilometres northeast of Mexico City. Its archaeological zone holds what remains of Mexico’s biggest ancient city, dating back to the time of Christ, and perhaps the first great civilisation in central Mexico. Here can be found the Pyramid of the Sun, the third largest pyramid in the world, and the residuum of Aztec gods, including Quetzalcóatl, which was the inspiration for Larry Cohen’s movie Q: The Winged Serpent.

Despite Larry Cohen and ancient greatness, the bus we take to Teotihuacán is stopped and searched by the police. Not that this is clear to us when the two cops climb on board and walk down the aisle to us at the seats at the back. The Federal Preventive Police in their blue uniform wait for something from us, saying not a word. We respond in kind, looking into the face of bewilderment and unease for two long minutes.

Outside my window a sign painted on a wall reads SUPER TORTAS HAMBURGUESAS, the relevance of which I ask myself. Maybe we dozed off a mile back because we seem to be missing a piece integral to the puzzle, the one with a clue about cops on the bus.

Ben says eventually, “Hola. ¿Cóma está?” which may be a greeting or Ben inviting them to suck my motherfucking dick. “Hello. How are you?”

The cops look at one another, summarising their relief with a shrug of the shoulders on discovering that our obstinacy is actually only ignorance and we are not from these parts. With this they turn to the rest of the bus and systematically begin to search the other male passengers. They don’t search any of the women on board and they don’t search us, just the other male passengers, who stand in turn without question with their arms outstretched.

The officers pat down all the men and finding nothing get off the bus.

02-Aug-2010 David Kerekes
Julien Temple and The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle

25 Years On: Julien Temple and The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle
by David McGillivray
Read by Barry Aird

In 1980 the American trade paper, Variety, famously hailed The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, directed by the unknown Julien Temple, as "the Citizen Kane of rock 'n' roll pictures." The conceit of comparing a new masterpiece to the film that is regularly voted the best ever made has been much imitated. Thus Café Flesh was the Citizen Kane of porn, Moulin Rouge was the Citizen Kane of musicals. Last year, Jack Black told a Guardian reporter that his next film, The Pick of Destiny, will be another "Citizen Kane of rock movies." But predicting a legend is a risky business. What if the next generation doesn't see it your way? 25 years down the line, is The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle still a masterpiece?

Image cover no focus No Focus: Punk on Film edited by Chris Barber & Jack Sargeant takes a journey through punk on celluloid, from The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle to Jubilee from The Blank Generation to Ladies And Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains. More about this item»

10-Jun-2010 David McGillivray
Now That's What I Call Discombobulated! 3
Now that's what i call discombobulated 3 by free headpress

This week Simon A. Morrison, author of Discombobulated, goes to a state run discotheque in Singapore only to lose the hotel elevator. He is in conversation with Tony Pike about the guests of Pike's Hotel.

Discombobulated: Dispatches from the Wrong Side by Simon A. Morrison takes readers on a pocket-sized, decade-spanning gonzo tour of the nightlife of five continents, bringing together the snappiest, wittiest and hippest dispatches of the last eight years, to make one of the classic books of the clubbing generation. More about this item»

10-Jun-2010 Simon A. Morrison
Fear & Trembling #2

"We don't yet know if there's a God - and you want to eat!"

An episodic examination of the modern soul by THOMAS McGRATH who spent two months in 2009 looking for it.

Image fear & trembling lion

FURTHER NECESSARY features in any religious revival are a steady succession of self-appointed messiahs, suspected Anti-Christs and apparent charlatans. Happily enough, I have recently discovered that within my own London town there resides a person or being that furiously divides increasing numbers of people as to which of the three categories he should properly be consigned. For those of you that don’t know (and how out of the loop can you possibly be) I am speaking of the Maitreya.

Image Maitreya and Brick Lane

Maitreya and Brick Lane today

The full, public emergence of this Maitreya has been anticipated by his followers for a few decades now. Anyone that has already heard of him has probably done so through his spokesperson Benjamin Creme, a wealthy Scottish painter that travels the world imparting messages psychically communicated by the Maitreya himself. These tend on the side of Michael Jackson morality, an ethical key that runs through Creme’s Maitreya-fervid organisation Share International. One apparently mad but wealthy Scottish modernist may not impress anyone, but the funny thing is that this supposed Christ-cum-Buddha-cum-Mohammed etc (Creme claims that his boy is the second coming anticipated by all the major religions) apparently actually exists, which is to say that there is an actual person (or whatnot) making actual appearances as the Maitreya. You can go on the Share International website to observe photos from one broadly publicised performance at a large Kenyan evangelical congregation, the accounts of which wondrously depict crutch-twirling cripples miraculously healed on sight, mass recognition of this white-clad, Arabic looking fellow as Jesus incarnate, and other messianic hallmarks.

Once one investigates this bizarre and I think quite unique phenomenon, even the most rational conclusions look distinctly original. We could suppose, for instance, that this Creme figure is participating in some unprecedented global hoax. Of course religious demagogues are hardly unusual, but Creme doesn’t appear to be wielding his for the usual reason of immediate wealth and power. According to his numerous talks and appearances this has been and is still all in anticipation of the Maitreya’s ‘Day of Declaration’: on this day, explains Creme, “The Christ will come on the world's television channels, linked together by satellite. All those with access to television will see... [His face]. He will establish a telepathic rapport with all humanity simultaneously." This would definitely top the end of year television highlights! Creme talks of the new era of harmony and spiritual wisdom that this Maitreya will inaugurate, by the way, so on the surface this promised spectacular heralds good news for one and all. However, a growing number of evangelical Christians are increasingly convinced that this Maitreya is none other than the anti-Christ himself, and cite alleged connections between Share International and the UN (with whom Creme does indeed appear to have a ready audience) as evidence of a global Luciferean plot. We may assume that Richard Dawkins thinks absolutely everyone involved is off their rocker.

Now I had been aware of this information for some time, but I was unaware that the Maitreya was currently apparently residing in a suburb of Brick Lane. This shows an appalling disregard for fashionable mores, and if there are any pilgrimages going on in North London it is the warm river of fashionistas travelling away from the Shoreditch Axis towards Dalston, which has officially inherited the crown of cool so long held by its Eastern neighbour. Hipsters will no doubt be concerned that no number of miracles could lead them to worship at an alter presided over by a messiah so intransigently passé.

An odd recollection. A few months ago an English friend of Pakistani descent spotted former Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf at a Brick Lane curry house. Please drop me a line if any other odd figures have been spotted sampling the delights of that area’s free bottles of house white wine and poppadoms…

Well, I can hardly hope to write about the English Religious Renaissance and not visit its arguable Galilee can I? Perhaps I’ll bump into the Pope having a coffee with Tony Blair, waiting for an audience with the anti-Christ.

But Christ or Anti-Christ, I assume the Maitreya is tucked away somewhere pretty inconspicuous. My initial idea was of offering waiters generous tips for information (I don’t know, 25%). But one Indian meal usually leaves me horribly stuffed, and a succession would also leave me damn short of pocket. There is another rather prosaic reason for my reluctance to embark on this journalistic pilgrimage: good old fashioned English timidity, the ready blush that makes us such poor zealots.

“Excuse me mate,” I can see myself asking a local, with the usual cringe-worthy roughening of my middle-England vowels, “don’t suppose you know where I could find the, eh…” and here my voice will drop to a conspiratorial whisper, “….Maitreya do ya?”

“What’s that mate, a restaurant?” a second generation cockney voice will respond.

“No, eh, the Messiah…”

Or perhaps, in the style of a spy film…

“I’m looking for the Maitreya… Hey come back! Please.”

Or maybe another response still…

“No mate, and you’re the fifth person that’s asked me that today. Just ’cos I’m wearing a turban…”

01-Aug-2010 Thomas McGrath
Fear & Trembling #3

"We don't yet know if there's a God - and you want to eat!"

An episodic examination of the modern soul by THOMAS McGRATH who spent two months in 2009 looking for it.

Image fear & trembling lion

SO WHAT type of rough beast might we expect to have been born in Brick Lane? Under the impression that the Emperor's New Postcode (momentarily disregarding Dalston's recent usurpation) was in fact only a fatuous cloak for some apocalyptic prelude, I travelled down there last Wednesday evening. I was looking for a fissure in its diabolical disguise - some pentagram, caduceus or purposeful goat - but beside the bursting pink and white blossom that decorated the surrounding suburbs, the area (at least beneath its modern patina of 'fashionability') was in fact uniquely bereft of spiritual or magical vitality. I could only dimly speculate that evil festers and thrives in the dead zones where the modern heart beats weakest. Bewildered, I staggered about for the best part of an hour without any indication that it was anything but the most consummate of disguises - or perhaps an elaborate, meaningful joke. As I neared the area I did begin to come across a graffiti motif, a thoughtful looking fellow with long hair, stencilled in spotted silver paint and accompanied with pseudo-spiritual slogans such as GODLOVE. These thickened around Brick Lane itself - could they be the handiwork of a subterranean hipster Maitreya cult? I feared that I was clutching at straws. My expedition was looking hopeless.

Image russell brand

Image pascal

Russell Brand & Pascal (could have been such great friends)

Eventually I stopped for a coffee. As I sipped it outside a café on a grim patch of E1 pavement, a bus serendipitously passed by; although there was no Maitreya visible on the top deck, bent in thoughtful perusal of that day's London Lite, the bus itself boasted the latest theist retort to the Atheist Society's humanist propaganda campaign (discussed in my first post). This one came courtesy of the Russian Orthodox Church: "There is God", it declared, "Don't worry. Enjoy life". The unfortunate resemblance of this message to the preceding Christian response (the peppy little "There definitely is a God - so enjoy your life and join the Christian party") certainly ranks as one of the smaller historical consequences of the Great Schism, but the potential benefits of greater communication were easy to discern. Unless the quintessentially Russian omission of the definite article was intentional - perhaps as an obscure allusion to the Ontological Argument - it would appear that the Eastern Church has fallen into the common trap of putting excessive faith in the appropriately named Babelfish (last year I came upon a Tenerife menu offering English-speaking patrons the delicious delicacy: 'Turkey gizzard and fun spaghetti' - at least I presume this was lost in translation, though perhaps they were just trying to lighten up the turkey gizzard).

Grateful as I am to the Orthodox Church for pitching in - especially as it gives my blog the dizzying flavour of mediocre prophecy - what is it with all this "don't worry" business? What kinds of tipples are served at the seemingly oxymoronic "Christian party"? One need not be Pascal to find the blithe tone somewhat incongruous. In the Twelfth Century an infinitely sterner theological tradition begat a frightening little volume called entitled Hortus Deliciarum, a book that ranks the supposedly benign joys of gardening as a danger to soul only marginally milder than classics like fornication (incidentally, I am currently trying to rehabilitate this underused word, as it could potentially give things a novel ring, 'Fornication and the City', for instance, sounds wonderful). The Atheist Society might like to consider an amusing and unanswerable retaliation to its two opponents by plastering some more buses with the ironical slogan: "There is a hell - now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

The English Religious Renaissance requires a tautening of the soul's bow; not further reckless relaxation. I think that in this age of enduring (if precarious) wealth, only a dose of mediaeval severity is capable of curing the English of their endemic fatuousness, and the concomitant self-disgust that suffocates its possibility of noble or poetic existence. Will my generation really offer history no more than its current dismal little platter of indie bands and graphic designers? If so, then - irregardless of its slight though tantalising possibility of veracity - the purported residence of a demonic avatar in an area currently renowned for its 'creative' hairdressers is a powerful and apt symbol. "It is a monstrous thing to see," writes Pascal, "in the same heart and at the same time, this concern for the most trivial of matters and this lack of concern for the greatest. It is an incomprehensible form of bewitchment and a supernatural torpor which is a proof of an all-powerful force that causes it."

I walked home with my empty hands disconsolately wedged in my pockets, and again passed one of those stencils. I scrutinised it again. Could it be the Maitreya? I tilted my head. It certainly resembled somebody, though perhaps not the man whose photograph accompanied my last post. I looked hard into the thoughtful expression, the piercing eyes, the guru-long hair… Russell Brand. It looked a lot like Russell Brand. Could he in fact be the "rough beast", an anti-Christ propagating peace, vegetarianism and free love? Or the alleged reincarnation of Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna - residing in fashionable East London? It all makes ominous sense…

01-Aug-2010 Thomas McGrath
Sixteen Year Bender: Carry On Charles Hawtrey

Sixteen Year Bender: Charles Hawtrey
From the Headpress book Fallen Stars: Tragic Lives & Lost Careers

by Julian Upton

Read by Sarah Coutts

The highs and lows of Charles Hawtrey's life and career are, on the surface, comparable to that of his Carry On colleague, Kenneth Williams. Both performers were, more so than Sid James, the true, long-serving comic staples of the entire Carry On series, from its gentle beginnings in the fifties to the smutty vulgarity of the seventies. (Hawtrey appeared in a whopping twenty-three Carry Ons; Williams stayed around to make twenty-seven.) And offscreen, significantly, Hawtrey and Williams were unfulfilled, lonely men. They were both homosexual - albeit to very different degrees of practice - when it was much less acceptable to be so; both were rather fond of the sauce; both were given to wildly inappropriate behaviour in situations that demanded some social restraint; and, tragically, both were apparently imbued with a terminally self-destructive streak. And, in 1988, they died within six months of each other.

But it is where Hawtrey differs from Williams that is most revealing.

Image cover fallen stars Fallen Stars: Tragic Lives & Lost Careers by Julian Upton probes the underside of fame to reveal a host of glittering careers stunted by ill-health, alcoholism, drug addiction and egomania. More about this item»

10-Jun-2010 Julian Upton
Weird Scenes Flipbook Extract

Image cover weird scenes

Weird Scenes Inside The Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & The Dark Heart Of The Hippie Dream by David McGowan. The very strange but nevertheless true story of the dark underbelly of a 1960s hippie utopia. Exclusive special edition. Buy this item»

20-Mar-2014 David McGowan
Divine Interview Excerpt

7 minutes and 22 seconds of Shade Rupe's interview with Divine. March 3, 1986, Seattle, WA. Full interview transcribed in the new book Dark Stars Rising.

Dark Stars Rising: Conversations from the Outer Realms by Shade Rupe is a collection of 27 candid interviews spanning 24 years with unique and free-thinking artists. Working in different media, countries, constraints, and freedoms, the vortex here is created by New York film writer Shade Rupe, known for his avant interests and the cultural realm he inhabits with his Funeral Party books. Everyone in this collection has produced artifacts that affect the heart, mind, soul, and future. Buy the book»

21-Jan-2011 Shade Rupe
Dark Stars Mix

From Cosmic Giant Radio: "Almost 8 months ago I asked Shade Rupe to compile a mix for Cosmic Giant to help promote his forthcoming book Dark Stars Rising. He did. Soon after, I found myself needing to give up the weekly radio show thing. I never broadcast the mix. Also, I never gave up the possibility of someday finding time to rededicate myself to the production of the show. But at this point I am quite certain it will not be happening. At least not any time soon. In any case I present the mix here via 8tracks. Click on the image of the book cover. Keep in mind 8tracks will only allow the songs to be played in the order in which they were compiled once. After that they will play randomly. Enjoy!"

This is a two-hour podcast. Shade says listen to it while flipping through the book. This is the track listing:

  • Brother Theodore - House by the Cemetery (radio spot)
  • Divine - Native Love
  • Alejandro Jodorowsky - La Primera Flor Despues Del Diluvio
  • Crispin Hellion Glover - These Boots Are Made For Walking
  • Throbbing Gristle - Medicine
  • Udo Kier - Mr. Klein
  • Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People
  • Thomas Bangalter - Outrun
  • Whitehouse - Wriggle Like a Fucking Eel
  • Death By Doll - The Black Freighter
  • Tura Satana - Faster Pussycat Kill Kill theme
  • Hermann Nitsch - Courtyard Action
  • Simon Boswell - Howl
  • Sunn O))) & Boris - Prelude (SatanOscillateMyMetallicSonatas): Her Lips Were Wet With Venom
  • Arnold Drake - Pete's Beat

Dark Stars Rising: Conversations from the Outer Realms by Shade Rupe is a collection of 27 candid interviews spanning 24 years with unique and free-thinking artists. Working in different media, countries, constraints, and freedoms, the vortex here is created by New York film writer Shade Rupe, known for his avant interests and the cultural realm he inhabits with his Funeral Party books. Everyone in this collection has produced artifacts that affect the heart, mind, soul, and future. Buy the book»

07-Feb-2011 Shade Rupe
Cypress Point Becomes Cypress Hill

Good Morning Children,

And here is a creepy little bogus report to get you twitching this bright and lovely morning. If you're already twitching (and I am sure many of you will be) maybe it'll help you stop.


El Rey


It would appear that the Fylde Coast in the North West of England is fast becoming a hotbed for allegedly 'undead' activity as claims flood in from the newly established housing estate known locally as Cyprus Point has become a target of zombies.

Resident of the ironically named new homes project Mr Kenny Biggs said. "We were sat on out decking overlooking the pond and the ducks when we heard a noise beyond the bushes. At first we thought it was a workmen working late who had got stuck in the marshland that forms the foundations of our lovely home. But my wife came out with my tea and said it didn't sound human at all. By the time I'd eaten all my pie and chips the hedge had been breached and this weird thing was crawling through the water on the lawn towards us."

"We went straight inside the locked the patio doors," continued Mrs Biggs. "After an hour we just had to draw the blinds the sight of whatever it and the noise it made was completely spoiling our enjoyment of X factor completely."

The next morning things had become so bad that the couple were forced to phone the local council and complain. They were called back the following Thursday by an unnamed woman saying that everything was in hand and their councillor for the area was dealing with it. However they were warned that since Cyprus Point is a private estate it may take some time and advised them to seek alternative solutions to the problem.

Meanwhile Mr and Mrs Biggs have told local reporters that their life has become a misery.

"We could cope with the ever present fear of sinking into the marsh and the never ending construction work. But this is the limit. Our settled family life has been shattered by the arrival of this undead man. We can no longer garden comfortably even in wellington boots. He has eaten the ducks and the smell is atrocious. Two of our neighbours have got similar problems and it seems that there is just no one available who can actually deal with it."

13-Feb-2011 Ricardo El Rey
Not Necessarily A Matter of Taste and Toad

Hola... welcome to the most anticipated nonesense of the week. Once more it's a double bubble as I endeavor to both educate and entertain. The Bitter End is a small sample of my research into the origins of nautical phrases and trivia. Much more of which can be found on the web site www.harbourguides.com.

Toad is just another quickie horror story. It is again culled from my archive. But worry not I am working on new material. Just had a lot on my mind recently.

adios amigos muchos mojos

El Rey


Times like they are it makes one think that our economy is reaching the bitter end and as such we will all be left with a nasty taste in our mouths. Well that may or may not be true. We really don't know. Neither would it seem do the experts, either financial or etymological.

Let me explain. As true as it may be that the word 'bitter', meaning acrid or sour has been in use since around 8th Century it may well have little baring of the phrase 'the bitter end'. According to Captain Smith's 17th century publication 'Seaman's Grammar' - "A Bitter is but the turne of a Cable about the Bits, and veare it out by little and little. And the Bitters end is that part of the Cable doth stay within boord."

If that is the case it would seem that the bitter end actually refers to a length of ship's rope or cable that has been run out to its end, at which point it would be tied to one of the many bitts (meaning posts) on a ship's deck. In which case the phrase would mean that there was nothing left to use. Which it basically does… as well.


It caught his eye a few minutes after they got in. It was moving at the bottom of the garden. The dining room light didn't shine that far. He rummaged in the draw full of plasters, superglue, alca selters, batteries, and cellotape and found a windup torch. He cranked it up and said a prayer. He walked out of the back door and stood ready on Indian sandstone patio he had made himself. He accustomed his eyes to the dark and was suddenly absolutely sure something was out there moving around. He pressed the button on the wind up torch and the LEDlight beam exploded into the back garden and made it all silvery. And there it was. Staring back. The Toad. Huge. Stinking and moist. And with one hop it was on him and had sucked him up and swallowed him.

13-Feb-2011 Ricardo El Rey
Feeling Good and Man Seen On Roof

Good Morning you lovely daft people,

Welcome to another Sunday. It's the last official day of the weather. Once more there are two for you to plough through. One is an official Sunday Story the other is one of my mischievously bogus news stories, which has been sent to the British press. I also sent it to the New York Times, LA Times and Chicago Tribune. Please forward it to press offices the world over with impish relish.

May your bank holiday weekend continue in full swing. And remember boys and girls happiness is the only sensible drug of choice.

So long suckers,


El Rey x


Shaun didn't have any idea how old he was. He didn't know if he was really old and he didn't know if he was young. Nor did he care. He was alive and that was bad or good enough. It really didn't matter. He was here… or there. Life meant nothing at all to him.

It wasn't that Shaun wished he was dead. He really had no concept of what that might mean and never thought about it. He was just Shaun.

Shaun lived alone. He had no parents to speak of and no family who knew of him. His friends were all made up or were part of a past that he had lost somewhere along the line. Shaun had no idea how long that line was or even where it was drawn or, indeed, if he had ever had parents or friends or family.

Shaun never felt unhealthy. He was never hungry or thirsty either. He wanted for nothing and had never, ever known what he wanted. In spite of living alone he never felt lonely or unhappy. But then again he'd never ever been happy either. This was his life and he just didn't get it.

But in the summer when the sun rose early and the air was still cool and he was woken by  golden rays of light hitting his fur he ran like crazy round and round his cage and rolled on his back in the warm fresh straw and it felt good.


There have been numerous reports of a bearded man (or bearded men) seen sitting astride the ridge tiles of various detached houses throughout the Fylde Coast area of the United Kingdom. The man (or men) is (or are) usually described as being barefooted, dressed in a long green or grey cloak, around six feet tall, wearing a hood and sporting a long grey or black beard. Some reports state that the beard has plaits and what appear to be ribbons or holly leaves tied into it.

The man (or men) has also been reported as being quite friendly and, in some cases, has actually shouted to passers by with cordial greetings. There are also reports of the man (or men) holding what appears to be a sack of some kind.

Fylde Coast police have been unable to confirm the validity of any of the sightings so far, although they have confirmed an investigation is underway and all the reports are being taken seriously.

In unrelated news a spokesman for Coca Cola UK has said that the company’s brand promotion for the winter holiday season 2009 will not begin until late October due to the massive backlash from parents the world over complaining that Christmas has been coming increasingly too early.

Watch this space.

20-Feb-2011 Ricardo El Rey
Birthday Girl

Good Morning,

Hope this drizzly day finds you well. Here is a little story fresh off the press.

Bless you all.

El Rey


Jenny's birthday fell on a Thursday that year. She said she wasn't bothered as it wasn't an important number but would, as always, celebrate on the day itself. That year she opted for a small group of friends and colleagues to meet in the bar at the corner of the street. They would have a late lunch and a few drinks. Afterwards they would go back to her house and those who had booked the following day off would drink until the early hours.

This was, of course, all part of her plan to ensnare David, the new boy at the office. She had been systematically flirting with him since he started a month earlier. She had noticed how nervous he got around her and had caught him talking about her to other members of staff. Although the conversation came to an abrupt end when he saw her.

He had been very excited about his invitation to her birthday gathering and had assured her several times that he would be there. She just wanted him for the night. That was all. She would change his perspective on life and use him. She was excited. She felt bold and womanly. Totally in control. She knew that he would never forget that night. It would become a benchmark for adventure and wisdom. She would be with him forever; even if it was only in his mind.

At least she would have been if he had turned up. Unfortunately David's mate called and asked him to fill in for someone who had dropped out of a game of five-a-side. It was an important league match so he couldn't really say no. They won and he had had to go for a pint which dragged on and he got a bit drunk. He felt bad turning up drunk at Jenny's and decided he would be better to apologise at work next time their paths crossed. Which He did.

Jenny got drunk too. By ten she had forgotten all about David and was in bed with the office manager just like she had been the year before. And the year before that.

06-Mar-2011 Ricardo El Rey
The Smile of Derek Fletcher


It's one from the archive.


El Rey


The smile of Derek Fletcher was a true phenomenon; it beamed and it beamed. There was never a sad or dull moment. Every thing in Derek Fletchers life was A-one hunky dory. He was the happiest man alive.

It all came so easily to him and the easier it all came the happier he became.

Not one day of illness, nor broken bone, sprain, bruise, scratch, burn or even itch had he suffered.

He failed at nothing and everyone loved him. He could have become anything. Mayor, President, King, God. He knew no fear for he had no enemies and good fortune was his closest, dearest friend and ally.

Derek Fletcher was born to the world silent and bewildered. He emitted no first-breath scream just let out a soft hiccup, which, of course, won him the hearts of all those present at his inception. As a baby he never cried. Truly Mother's little treasure.  Always fed before hungry, always changed immediately after delivering a little gift. Throughout his childhood he asked for nothing, there was no need, he received everything he wanted, just when he wanted.

Usually an upbringing such as this would be a sure fire method of creating a spoilt, obnoxious, brat- monster. Not so in Derek Fletcher's case. Quite the contrary; for the more love and generosity that was showered upon him the greater the warmth and happiness he radiated towards others, and oh that smile, it just grew and grew.

With eventual maturity, like the best wines and spirits, he improved with age. Always caring, hard working and understanding, he became both intelligent and entertaining. A more warm hearted, satisfying personality you could not wish to encounter. 

His social popularity was matched only by his professional ability. A superb businessman, with public relations second nature, he inevitably became extremely successful financially. Impressively shrewd, he invested wisely and researched new avenues meticulously. 

At the age of twenty-five, Derek married Annabella, a partnership rarely experienced beyond the domain of Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. Not only was she breathtakingly beautiful, Annabella Fletcher was intelligent, understanding, kind, a wonderful cook and an excellent housekeeper. She took a keen interest in all her husband's affairs, both professional and social quickly becoming his number one adviser and confidant.

After just less than three years marital bliss the Fletchers became the proud parents of twins Joseph and Belinda. Perfect children for the perfect mother and father. Derek had never felt happier.

And that smile, my oh my, how it grew.

Over two decades of domestic bliss flew by; the children grew up and embarked upon successful careers of their own, both won places at highly respected universities and with the help of their father's guidance and influence obtained positions in the private sector with excellent prospects. And in what seemed the blink of an eye Derek Fletcher's fiftieth birthday loomed.

It was decided that in celebration of his half century something very special would have to be arranged, something different, something Derek had never done before. As you can imagine this posed a serious, all be it pleasant, problem to the Fletchers. For what could a man who has experienced unlimited opportunity throughout his entire life find to do that he had not already done?

It was the ever-resourceful Anabella who came up with the solution. She pointed out that in their twenty-five years of life together, her husband had never once visited a racetrack. In truth, Derek had never visited a racetrack in his entire life.

So it was decided. The following week, on the morning of his birthday, accompanied by his two best friends, Derek Fletcher paid his very first visit to a race meeting and that day he experienced another first. He discovered gambling and forever true to form he won a fortune. He was hooked immediately.

So every morning from that day onwards Derek phoned the bookmakers. Once a week he visited the casino, twice a week the dogs. Then there were card games, billiards, pool, fruit machines, lotteries and even the football pools. In fact he would bet on practically anything with an element of risk, and every time he won.

In six months he had doubled his fortune, in another three, he did the same.  As his wealth grew, so did that famous smile. It grew and it grew.

The following year Derek Fletcher was declared the most successful man of all time. Later the same year he was branded the wealthiest person in the world. All this praise and admiration only served to increase his happiness causing his smile to broaden incredibly until one day it became so wide that the corners of his mouth met round the back of his neck and the top of his head slid off.


17-Apr-2011 Ricardo El Rey

Recorded by David Kerekes in Galatina, Puglia, Italy. June 28, 2008. Ad hoc street musicians during the festa for Saints Peter and Paul. Very raw!

Image galatina poster

Image cover mezzogiorno
Mezzogiorno: Life. Death. Southern Italy by David Kerekes is a work of biography, autobiography, fable and fact, spanning three generations of southern Italian family life. Set amidst a landscape of peasant riots, vicious landlords, religious festival, feuds, the collapse of the Fascist party, and the tarantella — a world lost to the changing face of the twenty-first century. More about this item»

04-Jan-2012 David Kerekes
Tarantella! Playlist

The Headpress Tarantella! youtube playlist. Folk music of the Italian south (and one or two numbers from outside of it). Listen and then buy the book Mezzogiorno. Life. Death. Southern Italy by David Kerekes here»

Image cover mezzogiorno
Mezzogiorno: Life. Death. Southern Italy by David Kerekes is a work of biography, fable, superstition, folklore and fact, spanning three generations of southern Italian family life. Set amidst a landscape of peasant riots, vicious landlords, religious festival, feuds, the collapse of the Fascist party, and the tarantella — a world lost to the changing face of the twenty-first century. More about this item»

26-Jan-2012 David Kerekes
Chelsea Hotel Manhattan Extract

Image cover chelsea hotel manhattan
Chelsea Hotel Manhattan by Joe Ambrose. A raw eulogy to a New York icon. Extreme living in New York’s Chelsea Hotel, from the beats through punk and into the present. Outlaw culture, outlaw life, outlaw death. Buy the book»

02-Feb-2012 Joe Ambrose
Beaver Street Extract

Image cover beaver street

For sixteen years Robert Rosen worked behind the X-rated scenes of such porn magazines as High Society, Stag, and D-Cup. In Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, Rosen blows the lid off the lucrative and politically hounded adult industry, providing a darkly engaging account of its tumultuous decades—from the defining Traci Lords scandal and the conception of ‘free’ phone sex to the burgeoning success of smut in cyberspace in the twenty-first century. Buy the book»

10-Feb-2012 Robert Rosen
Creeping Flesh Vol 1 Extract

Image cover thumbnail creeping flesh vol 1

Creeping Flesh The Horror Fantasy Film Book edited by David Kerekes.  Telefantasy and horror cinema from around the world, with a distinctive retro sensibility. From the classic BBC ghost stories for Christmas to obscure and vilified movies, the discovery of “lost” films, and an appreciation of British exploitation.

Image cover thumbnail creeping flesh vol 2

17-Feb-2012 David Kerekes
The Master Con Man Extract

Image cover master con man
The Master Con Man: The True Adventures Of Slippery Syd Gottfried by Robert Kyriakides. Syd Gottfried is resolutely crooked and his scams, explained in detail in this book, are at times darkly humorous. Yet the vicious gravitas of his lifestyle draws him tragically, inevitably, to bloody murder. True crime. Buy this book»

21-Feb-2012 Robert Kyriakides
Hellhound Flip Book Extract

Image thumbnail the hellhound sample
The Hellhound Sample by Charles Shaar Murray. Fiction. A potent mix of secrets, nightmares and lies, spanning decades and continents. James 'Blue' Moon, the greatest living bluesman, has one last chance to escape the hellhound on his trail ... if the cancer doesn't get him first. Buy this book»

24-Feb-2012 David Kerekes
The Eccentropedia Extract

Image cover mezzogiorno
The Eccentropedia: The Most Unusual People Who Have Ever Lived by Chris Mikul, illustrated by Glenn Smith. An A-Z of eccentrics. 266 true stories of the most original and outrageous people on earth. Buy this book»

01-Mar-2012 Chris Mikul
Better To Reign In Hell Extract

Image cover better to reign in hell
Credited with superhuman intellect and abilities, the serial sex killer emerged in the 1980s as a dominant figure in American popular culture. Using government reports, trial transcripts and correspondence, Better To Reign In Hell:Serial Killers, Media Panics & the FBI by Stephen Milligen, examines the people and events that led to and perpetuate a serial killer panic, notably President Ronald Reagan, the New Right, the FBI and the media. More about this item»

21-Mar-2012 Stephen Milligen
Gigs From Hell Extract

Image cover gigs from hell
Gigs from Hell: True Stories from Rock and Roll's Frontline edited by Sleazegrinder. From the dankest rat hole basements to flash arenas, here is a wild ride through rock’n’roll’s nightmare moments. Rife with hellfire confessionals straight from the bruised lips of hundreds of jobbing bands, Strips the mythology and starry-eyed allure of life on the road to its barest essentials — puke, rip-offs, come-downs and the odd stab at glory. Buy this book»

02-Apr-2012 Sleazegrinder
Dcombobulated Sample

Discombobulated: Dispatches from the Wrong Side by Simon A. Morrison takes readers on a pocket-sized, decade-spanning gonzo tour of the nightlife of five continents, bringing together the snappiest, wittiest and hippest dispatches of the last eight years, to make one of the classic books of the clubbing generation. Buy this book»

13-Apr-2012 Simon A. Morrison
Keep It Together Extract

Image cover keep it together!
Keep It Together! Cosmic Boogie with the Deviants and Pink Fairies by Rich Deakin is the remarkable story of London’s communal bands of the 1960s and 1970s, from the perspective of two of its most crucial exponents: the Deviants and the Pink Fairies. Buy this book»

18-Apr-2012 Rich Deakin
Conspiracy Cinema Flip Book

Image conspiracy cinema hbk

Conspiracy Cinema: Propaganda, Politics and Paranoia by David Ray Carter. Conspiracy theories are shocking by their very nature, and Conspiracy Cinema delves into the history of cinema’s most controversial genre. More info»

Image conspiracy cinema pbk

18-Apr-2012 David Ray Carter
Lovers Bugger Thieves Extract

Image cover lovers buggers & thieves
Lovers Buggers & Thieves, edited by Martin Jones, offers fresh perspectives on the likes of Led Zeppelin, the Beatles (a comprehensive guide to Fab Four bootlegs and "outfakes"), interviews with Australian garage punk and psych legends of the sixties, the musical legacy of Charles Manson, Skip Spence, Monks, the Sonics, Bonzo Dog Band, Screaming Lord Sutch, and other music and musicians dragged back from the edge…. Buy the book»

20-Jul-2012 Martin Jones
Elvis Died For Somebodys Book Extracts

Image cover elvis died for somebodys sins but not mine

Elvis Died For Somebody's Sins But Not Mine: A Lifetime's Collected Writing by Mick Farren. A rocking life railing against the machine, in the company of Johnny Cash, Frank Zappa, Chuck Berry, Gore Vidal, Pete Townshend and others. Exclusive edition available. Buy this item»

18-Nov-2012 Mick Farren
Offbeat Flip Book

Image cover offbeat

Offbeat: British Cinema's Curiosities, Obscurities and Forgotten Gems by Julian Upton, with various contributors. Think you know British cinema? Think again. Exclusive edition available. Buy this item»

18-Dec-2012 Julian Upton
Gathering Of The Tribe Flip Book

Image cover gathering of the tribe

Gathering of the Tribe: Music and Heavy Conscious Creation by Mark Goodall, with various contributors. A look at the role of the occult in music through key albums. Exclusive hardback edition available.Buy this item

18-Jan-2013 Mark Goodall
Bleeding Skull! Flip Book Extract

Image thumbnail bleeding skull cover

BLEEDING SKULL! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey by Joseph A. Ziemba & Dan Budnik is the definitive resource on 1980s trash-horror cinema. Special edition NO ISBN hardback exclusive to Headpress. Buy this item»

15-Apr-2013 Joseph A. Ziemba & Dan Budnik
Xerox Ferox Flip Book Extracts

Image cover xerox ferox

Xerox Ferox: The Wild World of the Horror Film Fanzine by John Szpunar is the first book to cover the horror film fanzines and the culture they spawned. Exclusive NO ISBN special edition hardback also available. Buy this item»

09-Oct-2013 John Szpunar
The Bloodiest Thing Extract

Image cover the bloodiest thing

"THE BLOODIEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED IN FRONT OF A CAMERA" Conservative Politics, 'Porno Chic' and Snuff, by Stephen Milligen. The true, startling and hideously exploitative story behind the most brutal and ghastly-beyond-belief film of all time. Exclusive special edition of 100 copies. Buy this item»

05-Aug-2014 Stephen Milligen
The Law of Chaos Extract

                        cover law of chaos thumbnail

The Law of Chaos: The Multiverse of Michael Moorcock by Jeff Gardiner. An entertaining and accessible reader’s guide that explores the life and achievements of Michael Moorcock, one of modern literature’s most influential figures. Exclusive special edition. Buy this item»

03-Oct-2014 Jeff Gardiner
Theme 70 Extract

Image theme 70 hbk

Theme 70: Tackling the Beast They Call Exploitation Cinema by Mark J Banville. Exploitation movie explosion from the silver age of grindhouse fandom. More info»

Image theme 70 pbk

02-Jan-2015 mark j banville
Spinegrinder Extract

Image spinegrinder hbk

Spinegrinder: The Movies Most Critics Won't Write About, by Clive Davies. One man's ambitious, exhaustive and utterly obsessive attempt to make sense of over a century of exploitation and cult cinema, seen from the digital age. One opinion; 1,100 pages; 8,000 reviews (or thereabouts). More info»

Image theme 70 pbk

10-Apr-2015 Clive Davies

Read all Headpress news»

View a sample newsletter»

Download our E-Books at XinXii


Image eccentropedia
Go to The Eccentopedia»

Click to view

Image banner tarantella

Image headshop


Image spinegrinder

Image all about being loud

Go to comics by Antonio Ghura»