the column of lasting insignificance: April 21, 2018
by John Wilcock
About being in love...
I was trying to get to sleep the other night and I realized that as had happend to me a few times in my life, I was not in love. I mean of course there are still a few people around that I loved. had always loved, but nobody that I loved in that special way that most of us remember--somebody that you thought of a lot, at odd moments, somebody whose daily existence provoked constant thought. There aren't many times when being in love doesn't really make your life glow. You don't have to be with her, she's automatically on your mind. It isn't even necessary to physically make love (that might be a bit of a joke at my age) but you know when you love her and it increases day by day. I'd certainly like to fall in love again before I pass away but it's doubtful I'll ever find a candidate. —JW
From Persoff and Marshall...
From the archives...
RANDOMLY DISTRIBUTED to the extent that copies occasionally turn up at bus stops or on park benches, the Rock Creek Free Press is a curious monthly broadsheet out of Washington, DC. Containing minimal advertising, it’s not clear from whence its finances emanate but, calling itself “a fiercely independent newspaper”, it leans leftwards and is described by Wikipedia as “anti-fascist”. Conspiracy theorists will be delighted by articles predicting internet censorship, the Peace Movement vs. the 9/11 Truth Movement, the White House’s supposed ban on certain questions and Big Pharma’s faking of drug studies, along with allegations that Americans are on the government’s assassination list and “the criminal conspiracy” of the AIG bailout was “the world’s greatest insurance heist”. Unsupported by advertising, Rock Creek says it distributes 15,000 copies and is supported by its readers.
PERSIAN RUG SELLERS are in the second month of their battle for attention, to the amusement of readers of the Los Angeles Times which has been running two nearly identical ads by Pasadena dealers day after day. One claims to be going out of business, the other that one of its (four) stores is closing but both keep claiming FINAL DAYS! in two full columns (50 square inches) that must be costing each at least $10,000. Every day. Each store lists a score of different carpets from Antique Sarouk (reduced from $54,500 to $10,369) to Modern Nepal ($1,950 to $279).
FOLLOWING THE not-very-successful filming of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, there’ll next be an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s equally-famous book, On the Road, which first appeared in 1958 as a 120 ft. scroll of pasted-together typed pages. Much admired by the likes of Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison and Hunter Thompson, the record of Kerouac’s 1947 cross-country trip is being adapted appropriately by Walter Salles and Jose Rivera who were responsible for Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries. According to Newsmax, Kerouac—who died an alcoholic at 47—became a politically conservative Catholic and supported the Vietnam War.
SOMETIMES THE NEWS is just too much—meaning there’s just too much of it. Surveying the reaction to some recent events, for example a company called HCD Research (its website is MediaCurves) reported that 78% of its respondents said they’d heard more than they wanted to about the death of Michael Jackson. On the other hand, 62% complained the media didn’t explain the lengthy health care debate enough. But when it came to the tsunami in the Far East and the earthquake in Haiti, more than 70% felt the coverage was appropriate.
THERE ARE GOOD REASONS why lawyers are reviled via so many jokes (Dead skunk and dead lawyer in the road, skid marks in front of the skunk) and the main one is the rigged legal system itself wherein you can’t just get up in court and tell your story honestly without official help. The basic principle that every defendant—no matter how wicked--needs a lawyer, sounds unarguable but it never emphasizes that a lawyer doesn’t have to represent some rotten human being. Such a defense is undertaken by greedy choice as must surely be the representation by David Boies of the criminal who ran AIG.
THE WAY THINGS SMELL may be affected by what you’re hearing at the time according to Daniel Wesson and Donald Wilson at the Psychiatric Research Institute, Orangeburg, NY who explain in the Journal of Neuroscience that it’s all due to something called “tubercle” cells. Admittedly, they say, the experiments so far have been confined to mice, but they’re not as irrelevant as they sound because it may help to solve a longtime mystery about a disorder called synesthesia whose patients ‘taste’ colors and ‘see’ flavors.
THE WILCOCK WEB: If it’s true that that the government “(takes) in barely $1 for every $2 the government spends” (USA TODAY) wouldn’t everybody be better off if there weren’t any taxes to collect?.....Soon there’ll be a Goldman Sachs dartboard with the evil Lloyd C. Blankfein at its center…. Condé Nast devoted a full-page ad in the New York Times to congratulating Vogue’s Anna Wintour on being named to the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame. Five pix on the page, none of them the ice lady….. “Most problems do not get solved. They get superceded by other concerns” expounds economist Thomas Sowell…. Launched by compressed air and with a parachute that allows its quarter mile of rope to spread evenly over the water, the Buccaneer is devised to allow ships to defend themselves by entangling the propeller shaft of an attacking pirate ship…….Fifteen hundred lobbyists gathered to oppose regulating the finance industry? What a tempting target for somebody…… Stuff you don’t need, but really, really want is the sales pitch for iwantoneofthose.com, one of whose items is a classic novel produced with the names of your friends as the original characters…Why don’t Arabs and Jews move into the 21st century and abandon the cruel slaughter that’s necessitated by halal and kosher meat?……. Gallo bought 18 million dollars of a cheap French wine between 2006 and 2008 and passed it off as pinot noir but nobody complained…. The folk who expected to be disillusioned by Barack Obama are happily disillusioned, but do they seriously think we’d be better off with President Palin?…. Hope is a good breakfast but a bad supper—Spanish proverb
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National Weed (1974, issue #3)
- Complete column archives: 2006 - present
— The real, true, history...
— Alice, Alice at 85, seed money, supermax, and of course, the Wilcock Web...
— About being in love..., Persoff and Marshall, and of course, the Wilcock Web...
— The Candy Store
— From the archives... The religion of Violence & Statistics, otherwise known as college football; WPA II; Would it be called Indiastan or Pakindia?; Who you Gonna call? Crime Predictors; Being a Bank means you never having to say you're sorry; Oil vs. Democracy, and of course, the Wilcock Web...
— From the archives... The Mother of All Family Feuds, Otaku Means Geek in Japanese, Affirmative Action or 'It all depends on who you know', The Moonies are packin', and of course, the Wilcock Web......
— Dear Reader,
— Dear Readers...
— John Wilcock ... Marijuana, the symbolic center of the underground society
— John Wilcock ... From the Archives: Cuba Diary—Havana, April 2011
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Nineteen (continued)--Travels
— John Wilcock ... From the Archives: When you vote, donâ€™t forget the Republican Paradox
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eighteen--The Quest for Magic: Around Europe by VW bus;
Regarding armchair travelers;
Pisa's Leaning Tower;
The magical Alhambra
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seventeen (continued)--London's Magical library;
In the Cannes
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seventeen--The Sorcerer's Apprentice
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixteen--JW'S Secret Diary (continued)
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixteen--JW'S Secret Diary
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourteen (Part Two--Manhattan phone book, JW'S Secret Diary
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourteen--Party Circuit
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part two, Soho Saturday
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part one, Soho Saturday
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Twelve (continued)--Traveling with Nomad; SoHo Confidential
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Nine (continued)--Rip Torn on stardom… Robert Mitchum's gift; London: Julian Beck’s critique; Emmett Grogan and the Diggers; Greece: The Junta, Charlotte Rampling, and art hero Daniel Spoerri
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Nine--Bob Dylan in the Village, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, Richard Neville and OZ, What Does London Need Most?, The International Times
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight (continued)--Japan: a working honeymoon;
The Shinjuku Sutra
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight--Art Kunkin's LA Free Press; In LA with Hunter Thompson, Lenny Bruce; Visit by Warhol; Hakim Jamal plays god; The San Francisco 'Be-In'; Underground papers meet
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Six (continued)--Tom Forcade: smuggler supreme; That pathetic drug czar
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixâ€”The weed that changed the world--Confessions of a pot smoker
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourâ€”Into the '60s--London's underground press; Jean-Jacques Lebel burns US flag; Everybody's friend: Jim Haynes; Lenny Bruce and the kitchen tapes
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Three--The Village Voice (continued) --Lasting insignificance: the 3-dot column, ECHOÂ and Larry Adler, Woody Allen plays classic nerd, A sample Village Square column
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Steve Allen derides TV columnist; Marlene Dietrich--glamorous grandmother
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Chatting with Marilyn Monroe
— Manhattan Memories: Introduction.
- column archives: 2006 - present
Now on Boing-Boing!
February 12, 2015
It was the first handwritten letter I'd received in 5 years. Or maybe 10. Signed by John Wilcock, a man I'd never heard of, and postmarked Ojai, Calif., it was waiting for me when I returned from my São Paulo-to-New York summer trip. Mr. Wilcock wrote that he had been an assistant editor at The Times Travel section back in the 1950s, and had written the first editions of “Mexico on $5 a Day,” “Greece on $5 a Day” and “Japan on $5 a Day” for Arthur Frommer in the 1960s.
By George, I thought. This man was the original Frugal Traveler.
Forty years ago the second of my three books about magic was published, A Guide to Occult Britain (Sidgwick & Jackson) covering a wide range of sites from Stonehenge to Loch Ness and King Arthur country to the witches of Pendle Hill. It is now available as an eBook on amazon.com.
“A GOOD WAY to describe John Wilcock is to say that he is a talented bohemian counter-culture journalist who once played a major role in the emergence of America’s underground press. Born 1927 in Sheffield, England, he left school aged 16 to work on various newspapers in England, and on Toronto periodicals before moving to New York City. There in 1955 he became one of the five founders of the Village Voice in which he and co-founder Norman Mailer wrote weekly columns. Wilcock called his column “The Village Square”, an intended pun. He and young Mailer were not quite friends, although Wilcock was at times annoyed, but always amused, by Mailer’s monstrous ego.”
-From the preface of Manhattan Memories, by Martin Gardner