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STONE CIRCLE - "STEWART HOME". "AK Press, San Francisco". A "Sexton Blake"' falsely attributed to "Stewart Home" & "AK Press".
Review by John Eden
There is also vastly improbable footnote which consists of a several hundred word text message (!) that gets sent to one of the characters relating the botched Nordic invasion of Israel! Plus the usual slew of bizarre fringe politico groups, this time ably represented by the Class Repatriation Front who seek to forcibly return people into their 'rightful' place in the social hierarchy. All that and some Finnish Punk rock and jibes at Power Electronics. Lots of cool ideas in there - the 'London Zodiac' is a great plot device as is the cross referencing with Khartoum.
A bit of a disjointed read, creating a dreamlike quality as the storyline progresses. Well worth getting hold of if you like Stewart's stuff. Perhaps the most remarkable thing is that Stewart himself disavows any knowledge of it, as do AK Press! Eh?
No idea where you get this - if you do, let me know and I'll put it in here!
PS It has also been claimed, in the Evening Standard and Guardian (online) among other places, that the 'sex' blog by 'prostitute' Belle de Jour and the subsequent book of this bilge were actually written by Stewart Home. However, if Home was supporting his subversive cultural activities by doing a day job as a high class hooker, he'd probably be somewhat flusher than presently appears to be the case.
REPORT ABOUT ANOTHER BOOK FALSELY ATTRIBUTED TO STEWART HOME: Harry Potter and the Quantum Time Bomb Book Launch, Oxford, 10 September 2002.
Anyway, I digress. The details of a new book launch, at the Philosophy Centre in Oxford, drifted it's way onto GuilFIN - an exciting occasion. I keep reading about countless events Home has performed at in some way or another, but never found out about them until long afterwards. This was my chance to see the Beast in the Flesh! Bumping into someone at the "LSD & Creativity" talk in Kensington the night before fired me up even more, as they actually had a flier with more details. Until I read it, and saw that it was part of the "UK Conference on the Findations of Psycho-Physics", a week-long action against the "11th UK Conference on the Foundations of Physics" (alleged to be researching Quantum Mechanics that would enable information to be passed back from the future to the past - a bit like in Back to the Future II).
A bit more research showed that the "Foundations" conference was being held at the Philosophy Centre, and that the "Findations" was a series of ad-hoc events, of what could be described only as a "situationist" nature (http://www.j12.org/pp/program.html) in various symbolic spaces across the ancient city (http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/oxford.htm).
What's more, the new book was called "Harry Potter and the Quantum Time Bomb", not a title listed on Amazon, AK Press, or indeed the StewartHomePage (http://www.stewarthomesociety.org/). It didn't seem worth telephoning the venue before making the journey. At best they would say "no", at worst I would alert them to cheekiness, and possibly spoil the fun. I've been to book launches before, and they've usually involved drinking wine, chatting to media-types, and usually involve a book that actually appears to exist. High-speed pursuit, rather than animated conversation, seemed more likely this time, so I took the bike on the train up. On the train, I re-read the blurb for the "book". It describes our hero Potter working as Government scientist, being dragged into a Masonic conspiracy and slipping into a parallel universe. He meets up with Stewart Home, and gets involved in all manner of time-travelling philosophical exploits, then heads to Oxford to seek help from the philosophers - "Then things start to get decidedly weird...". The train pulls into Oxford...
First visit to the Philosophy Centre, 7pm. No-one home. Gates and door firmly locked. A few cars parked up outside, one with a bike rack had someone in, but otherwise the street was empty. Nothing going on, so I went for a ride around. I checked where the nearest pubs were, especially ones that might contain anarchists of various hues, making their traditional ritual imbibitions.
15 minutes and two passes of the Centre later, and middle-aged shabby-suited figures have appeared. They do not look happy. They could be publishing types, but I doubt it. Perhaps they're Secret Service, here to crack down on dissidents, lured into their double-crossing trap. "Here for the launch?" I call across, in what I hope to be a matey, jocular "isn't this anarchism an absolute hoot" tone of voice. "There is no bloody launch!" replies the shabbiest one, in what could only be described as an irate manner.
I expressed shock at the thought that a known Situationist-inspired artist such as Home should attempt anything as crude as a hoax, but as pleased as I am that "he's" pissed off at being messed about (it turned out later that the police had been down in numbers not much earlier, for fear of some kind of riotous assembly), what was I doing here? An hour's train journey away from home, and I could be watching Star Wars on The Telly. Pranks are alright, as long as it's not you that's the victim. I felt a small amount of pleasure for being at the scene of potentially dazzling hoax (for the night was yet young, and who knows what could happen?), but there was no getting away from the fact that currently I was definitely on the wrong side of the joke. Nothing unexpected, but still felt a bit of a prick.
I began to feel a little unwelcome in such company, and advised the Fellows that the best place to look for this sort of person, if that was indeed what they wanted, was in the nearest pubs, and so off I went. I had a scout around town, looking for any kind of clue that might point me in the right direction. Pleasingly, there was a funfair on in Oxford, and the town centre was full of pissed people, many of them clutching massive anthropomorphic cuddy animals and vast glittery balloons. I looked at the flier, and saw there was a protest camp being set up in local "Godney". I asked a few passers-by where this was, but none of them had even heard of the place. I rang a mate who tends to know the kind of people who might know. He was out. Posters were up for the Launch. They said 7pm. It was getting towards 8. I cycled past again. The cars were leaving. I waved. I made another pass round. They had come back. I tried the number for an event later in the week. A comical answerphone message, but no reply or information of use. Back to the Philosophy Centre. Circling around the dishevelled Thinker, like Brian around Dougal in the Magic Roundabout, I ask, "So, are you philosopher, physicist or situationist?" "None of your *bloody* business" he barks back, and I notice he appears to be rolling up a ten pound note. I move away.
I gave up on Philosophy, locked the bike up, and went for a pint. I tried to read my (conventional, existing, launched) book, but the baying of undergraduates drowned me out. Wasps were crawling around the table. Beer was crap. I called home, and said I would be back on the next train. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
I had a few minutes before the train, so I had one last cycle past, just for completeness. A photo of an empty street should sum it all up. As I rattled along the Merton Street cobbles, I noticed the silhouettes of 2 even shabbier characters than before, one of them clutching a large box, heading towards the Philosophy Centre. I pulled up just as the hairiest of the duo scaled the steps with the box. His mate, a much smoother individual, yet with an equally manic gleam in his eye, faced him from the pavement. "Is this the launch?" I cried, ripping out the camera. "Here it comes" shouted the Hairy One from the steps, as he swung the box between his legs. Through the air the box went, and as the Smooth One swivelled around with his catch, the grail of "Harry Potter and the Quantum Time Bomb" was revealed, 50 copies in the successfully launched box.
A book launch in its truest sense. You would have thought that the philosophers would have thought of that, before calling the police. Closer inspection revealed that the books were unsold copies of the legendarily impenetrable "Open Creation and its Enemies with Originality and Magnitude" by Asger Jorn, the Scandinavian situationist (http://members.optusnet.com.au/~rkeehan/si/open1.html), but with a "Harry Potter and Quantum Time Bomb" sticker on the front. The text deals with chaos, perspective and society, and is just the thing for a quantum mechanic to relax to. Even closer inspection revealed that each one had a personalised "This Book Belongs to..." sticker, one for every delegate at the conference. The chaps were planning to hand them out the next day, now it had been safely launched. They held me down, and forced their insidious ideas of resisting the perils quantum time travel into my mind. They clearly demonstrated, with the use of my bicycle clips and pump, the danger of what was being plotted within. The privatisation of the past?! The exploitation of the future!!! When didn't the Quantum Time Bomb get stopped!?
The death of physics or the death of humanity - the choice was ours. We headed up, three strong, in this universe at least, to find ourselves some philosophers. And in a pleasingly dark alley, we found two, heading out for the delights of a night on the town. One was a big Aussie with a beard, and the other was a thin geeky type with glasses. We gave them their personal copies, and threw down the gauntlet.
Philosophers like to talk. It's what they do. Comfy sofas, lecture theatres, dark alleys, it's all the same to them. They were a little surprised at first, but once they realised that we were just mad, and not dangerous, they were in. Unfortunately, my knowledge of quantum physics and time travel is a little rusty, but I knew that if I didn't get a shift on, I'd miss the train and be in Oxford for the night. I bid the Quantum Debaters farewell, and headed off through the carnival crowd. The GPS on the bike was playing up. It was getting light. The new Virgin Trains, pride of the integrated public transport system, have no room for bikes... things are decidedly weird...
Report by Riot Gibbon (this was originally circulated by email)
Stewart Home on fakes and forgeries
Cover of the novel Stone Circle that was falsely attributed to Stewart Home.
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