* *


I have to confess to being rather sceptical about most of the claims made about mind control in the countless sensational books and articles published on the subject. While there seems little scope for doubting that religious cults such as the CIA have experimented with LSD as a means of controlling victims, reports of their successes in this field seem to be grossly exaggerated. It is one thing to destroy someone's mind, indeed this can be done easily enough with a hammer blow to the head, but quite another to programme someone to become a killer. It is the claims of the CIA's success in this latter field that I doubt. What interests me is not so much MK Ultra or Project Artichoke, but older techniques of mind control such as humour and satire. It has long been apparent that ridicule can be used to modify human behaviour, and it is even claimed that Celtic bards were so skilled in the arts of satire that they were able to bring blisters to the cheeks of their opponents.

The talk I'm giving today might well have been broader in its scope if Green Anarchist hadn't announced a demonstration against my presence here. The text that they placed on their web site and plonked onto leaflets inserted into their paper read as follows: "URGENT ACTION BULLETIN - PROTEST AGAINST THE FORTEAN TIMES CONFERENCE. The Fortean Times magazine is holding a conference at the Commonwealth Institute, Kensington High Street, London, on the 29-30th April. The Fortean Times has invited Stuart (sic) 'Truth is the Enemy' Home to speak on mind control. The Fortean Times also falsified and misrepresented Larry O'Hara's exposure of the state asset Tim Hepple. We believe the 'review' was written by Andy Roberts, a key Heppellian acolyte, who will also be speaking at this conference. We say this is not acceptable. We invite all GA contacts and readers to attend the protest outside the Fortean Conference at 10:30 on Saturday 29th April 2000. This protest is part of a general struggle against the activities and influence of the secret state. Hepple is pushing a Nazi saucers thesis, and Home is part of a general state attempt to disorientate people by branding anarchists the same thing as fascists. These people need to be opposed. Out there, it is a battle for the hearts and minds... "

Calling a public protest was, of course, a high risk strategy on Green Anarchist's part, since as you will have seen when you came into the Commonwealth Institute, the fact that they have failed to garner any support for their campaign against me stands exposed for all to see. The techniques I have utilised against Green Anarchist and their friends have worked just as effectively against targets in the art world, but focusing on those who have actually called demonstrations against me is singularly instructive.

Green Anarchist currently appears to have a membership of about three people. It also has three hardcore supporters, Michel Prigent, David Black and Larry O'Hara. Prigent was a devoted follower of the Situationist Guy Debord, but is upset posthumously published letters reveal that his guru held him in contempt. David Black belongs to the marxist-humanist cult News & Letters. Larry O'Hara is a particularly deranged conspiracy theorist. All three of these individuals co-signed a letter published in Green Anarchist #52 in which they criticised the support their eco-fascist friends at GA offered for neo-Nazi bomb attacks and the release of sarin gas on subway trains. Given that Green Anarchist continues to advocate fascist-style terror campaigns, the ongoing support they've received from Black and Prigent is difficult to explain. Since Larry O'Hara is plainly crazy, it would be futile to expect logically consistent behaviour on his part. O'Hara has not only attempted to follow me around London, but he is actually sad enough to have  published an account of his attempts to do so in Green Anarchist, therefore one of the main goals of my mind control activities has been to discourage this crazy stalker. His non-appearance at the demo called against me today is an indication of the success of my mind control activities. The last time O'Hara unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt one of my public appearances was in May 1996. It is possible that he has realised, at long last, that he has been making a fool of himself.

As a result of my endeavours in the field of independent mind control, many people believe that Larry O'Hara's smears against me are actually a publicity scam that I am directing with the intention of increasing the sales of my books. While I can assure you that this isn't so, it was fortuitous that O'Hara's wacky allegations about me being a state asset created a great deal of trade interest in my novel Slow Death after an ineffectual protest he and Michel Prigent staged against me in March 1996 was humorously reported in The Bookseller. When O'Hara attempts to smear me, he does so with the expectation that I will rebut his lies. The process of accusation and counter-accusation between disputants is well known, and Tim Hepple provides a perfect example of how not to deal with the likes of O'Hara (Hepple's claims that O'Hara would not be alive if the allegations he has made were true, is exactly the type of macho posturing that O'Hara gets off on). Denial of an accusation is often taken as proof of its truth by O'Hara, so I knew that rebutting claims he was unlikely to make would lead at least one of his half dozen acolytes to believe that what I was denying HAD to be true. Since more than anything else Larry O'Hara wants to be taken seriously as an investigative reporter, he's found my written denials that we are secretly working together rather upsetting. Both O'Hara and Green Anarchist have yet to publicly address the fact that their smears have mainly served to generate interest in me, as is evident from the huge number of hits the Stewart Home Society web site received after Need To Know put out the following mailing about today's demonstration:

" HARD NEWS weird crews. Good to see somebody's taking that stooge of the Conspiracy, the FORTEAN TIMES, seriously. We've somewhat lost track of the internecine battles between the UK anarchist factions that led up to this, but it appears that GREEN ANARCHIST (Affiliation: Radical ALF caucus. Likes: direct action, Oxford pubs, dislikes: Special Branch raids) are still very miffed at STEWART HOME (Neoist Alliance. Likes: his own 'shopping, fucking, fermenting proletarian revolt' novels, dislikes: not being noticed). To the point where, on hearing that Home will be speaking at the notoriously light-hearted  Unconvention, GA has decided to picket the con. And lest anyone doubt the seriousness of the FT's threat to the ecological struggle, GA add that 'This protest is part of a general struggle against the activities and influence of the secret state... Hepple [a UFOlogist who GA believes is a 'state-sponsored infiltrator'] is pushing a Nazi saucers thesis, and Home is part of a general state attempt to disorientate people by branding anarchists the same thing as fascists.' Well, the disorientation bit seems to be working: we're still unsure whether this is just another Home plot to up his cred amongst the three people who still care. We do however, admire the Unconvention's own response to the picket. They're planning on joining it, and will be taking time out from organising the event to pop outside and demand that they should be shut down as enemies of the people. Oh, this should be 'fun'. "

Co-ordinating his actions with those of Green Anarchist, Larry O'Hara began making innuendoes about me in 1994, but he still felt able to assert in the leaflet Beyond Coincidence - Stewart Home Again Spews Forth Disinformation on Behalf of the State dated 2/11/98, that he will publish the results of his investigations into me when it suits him. To stand any chance of being taken seriously, O'Hara needs to provide some evidence to back up his claims at the time he makes them - it just isn't acceptable to defer doing so until a later date. However, as far as O'Hara is concerned, there is nothing I can say or do that would disprove the accusations he has made against me. In Beyond Coincidence, he even claims: 'Note the Home/Tompsett (sic) response to this statement will be lies, smears, fabricated homophobic tracts, abuse, dummy documents etc. They will not and cannot refute the facts above.' To declare in advance that anything I might have to say is illegitimate betrays not only O'Hara's inability to sift and weigh evidence, but also the essentially solipsistic nature of his rhetoric (in science statements are only accepted as valid when there are clear grounds on which they might be disproved). By withholding the 'evidence' he claims to possess about me, O'Hara is indulging in a self-fulfilling prophecy when he asserts I cannot refute him. Obviously, I can't refute O'Hara's 'evidence' when I don't know what it is. Given this, it is wholly appropriate that I should use humour to illustrate that O'Hara's thinking - like that of his fellow conspiracy theorists - is so badly warped as to be untenable.

According to O'Hara, the fact that I am acquainted with Tony Wakeford (who I first met at Rock Against Racism gigs in the late-seventies when he was a member of the SWP) proves that I am a fascist sympathiser. During the period in the mid-eighties when Wakeford involved himself with the National Front, I refused to talk to him on the odd occasion when I saw him around town. After various musicians and anti-fascist activists assured me Wakeford was no longer embroiled in far-Right politics, I resumed speaking to him when we met at rock concerts. However, since it has become increasingly rare for me to attend live performances of rock music, I've only encountered Wakeford once in the past five years, a chance meeting outside Tottenham Court Road tube station, where I spoke to him for a couple of minutes. If O'Hara has evidence that Wakeford is lying when he says he ended his involvement with organised fascism in the eighties, then it should be circulated, since both Wakeford's Jewish in-laws and the anarcho-punk musicians with whom he associates ought to be warned if there is an active Nazi in their midst. Likewise, if I knew Wakeford was once again embroiled in organised fascist politics, I would - of course - refuse to speak to him if our paths crossed.

O'Hara claims to have exposed the fact that I know Wakeford but actually this has been on public record as a result of published writings in which I've mentioned Wakeford's activity as a musician dating back more than twenty years. Despite the fact that I have provided O'Hara with a page reference to a remark I made about Wakeford's involvement with the National Front (Defiant Pose, Peter Owen, London 1991, page 139), which predates his own speculations in this area by a good few years, he claims that he forced me to admit Wakeford's fascist connections in 1996. Given the paucity of what O'Hara claims is his 'research', I decided to up the stakes by setting out to see if I could uncover evidence that I was a state asset. Since unlike the membership of Green Anarchist, my earnings as a writer make me ineligible for unemployment benefits, I hit upon a less proven means of 'expropriating' funds from the state. As a commercially published novelist, I am entitled to apply for the annual £7000 Arts Council of England Writers' Award. I've been applying for this bursary for donkey's years, but never having been flavour of the month with the Arts Council Literary Panel, I've always been turned down. In 1998 I put in a proposal for a satirical book about Larry O'Hara, since if his analysis of my activities serving the interests of the state was in any way correct, I was bound to get the seven grand on offer for the proposed work. The synopsis of my book read as follows:

"Erasure is a work of deconstruction. It is concerned with the ways in which the notion of modernity was elaborated in the aftermath of the renaissance, and how the breakdown of the various discourses that have dominated western thought since then have brought into question the ways in which we organise knowledge. Erasure deals in a sceptical manner with the deranged thought processes of a conspiracy theorist called Larry O'Hara who believes that rather than being constructed through discourse, 'the truth is out there' and can be accessed.

" In a fractured first person narrative, O'Hara attempts to portray recent history as the product of secret processes that leave the reader feeling powerless and exposed in a world organised by strange cults. In this vulnerable state, the victim of conspiracy theory is susceptible to recruitment by precisely the sort of cult that O'Hara hopes to induce them to fear. O'Hara's rants will illustrate the truism that the propagation of a conspiracy theory entails the organisation of a counter-conspiracy, so that in effect the meme of conspiracy is transferred to the oppositional tendency, and thus opposition is recuperated

"Erasure is an attempt to break out of this cycle. My starting point is an actually existing individual called Larry O'Hara who has been stalking me in the mistaken belief that I work for Special Branch. I have been fictionalising O'Hara's deranged behaviour and then feeding it back to him, so that his responses can be incorporated into the novel. In merging fact and fiction, Erasure counterposes the very different ways in which the centred subject conjured up by modernity and the decentred post-modern subject engage with contemporary culture. Within Erasure there is a disjunction between the aims of the author and those of its 'fictional' narrator. While Larry O'Hara is anxious to erect a closed narrative structure which the reader can either believe or disbelieve, my goal is quite different. The internal tension this disjunction generates encourages readers to actively appropriate the work according to their own interests, rather than passively consuming it.

"It is precisely because modernity has two separate points of origin, that is to say in the sixteenth-century humanism of Erasmus and Marlowe and the seventeenth-century rationalism of Descartes and Newton, that within Erasure Larry O'Hara will return obsessively to figures such as John Dee, who straddled this divide. Sometimes O'Hara will offer pseudo-scientific psychological explanations of his bizarre beliefs, at others he unknowingly confirms Nietzsche's observation that: 'the point of honesty is deception, with all great deceivers there is a noteworthy occurrence to which they owe their power. In the actual act of deception... they are overcome by belief in themselves.'

" Likewise, scenes depicting the annual torch-lit procession in Mayfield and Bonfire Night in Lewes will provide an opportunity for delineating the way in which local traditions still link the English identity adopted by certain modernists to a secularised version of Protestantism, the defeat of the Armada and the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688. Both the novel and the landscape it critically depicts will be historically layered, drawing on everything from the sixteenth-century alchemical tracts collected together as The Hermetic Museum to the vast body of literature surrounding the assassination of John F Kennedy. The result will be intertextual satire, the perfect hybrid for this 'post-modern' age. The book will take approximately one year to complete."

Needless to say, not only did this proposal fail to secure me the Writers' Award, my subsequent submission elicited an identical  rejection.

Although the state, in the form of the Arts Council, wasn't prepared to expend money on mind control experiments against O'Hara and Green Anarchist, I was still able to get a few laughs at their expense. In my Writers' Award submission, I had to include a few thousand words of my proposed work. I jammed together a couple of stories I'd partially appropriated from the American Neoist Blaster Al Ackerman. In The True Blue Confessions Of Larry O'Hara, Spookbuster, the overweening fondness of the central character for his mattress is the turning point of the anti-narrative. In Stereo Love, a fictional character called O'Hara is described having sex with a bread doll. The fact that Larry has been traumatised by these works is evident from his Beyond Coincidence leaflet (indeed, it was published in response to Stereo Love). According to O'Hara, Stereo Love was the state's rejoinder to the fact that he'd exposed Peter Mandelson's 'possible' M15 connections and that Ron Davies had been caught cruising on Clapham Common. In fact, the story was written some time before these events - and O'Hara fails to demonstrate that there is any connection between his ravings about Peter Mandelson and my depiction of his fictional double having sex with a bread doll. Some time before this, I'd hit on the idea of creating an audio version of The True Blue Confessions, which I did by using a computer to simulate O'Hara's voice. I cut the story in half, running each part through a separate stereo channel, so that people who bought the CD it was featured on had the choice of listening to the piece sequentially by adjusting the balance on their hi fi system, or simply opting for the truly crazed effect of a simulated personal encounter with Larry.

My stories may have been plagiarised, but they still proved good enough to get a rise out of O'Hara. Flushed with this success, I decided to make an audio track called Spook Fever, using as my source material a recording of O'Hara unsuccessfully attempting to disrupt a talk I gave in May 1996 at the Oval House in South London. Spook Fever was broadcast as a piece of audio art from speakers mounted onto an old bandstand in Brighton throughout May 1999. Featured alongside Spook Fever was a little ditty entitled Larry O'Hara Is Stupid. I did nothing to bring any of this to O'Hara's attention, since making childish jokes that he may only get to hear about years later - if at all - are all part of my mind control tactics. The uncertainty of not knowing what material is circulating about him, or when it first appeared, is designed to drive O'Hara crazy. It has been pointed out to me that O'Hara was already mad before I began my mind control experiments, but this type of harping is unlikely to undermine my reputation as a leading exponent of psychic warfare among the half-dozen lunatics who buy into the idea that Larry is producing 'quality research'.

Without doubt, the best piece generated by my mind control experiments is a half-hour radio play entitled Divvy, or Larry O'Hara Ponce of Paranoia. This was broadcast on the internet before appearing on the CD Marx, Christ & Satan United In Struggle, for which I also provided sleeve notes that read in part:

"...a few words about my ambient radio play Divvy might benefit some listeners since this work has already caused confusion in certain quarters. The play was created by doing a manual cut-up on the first act of Shakespeare's Hamlet which was then subjected to a certain amount of rewriting and revision. The result was produced using computer generated voices and effects on Sound Edit 16 software. I was interested in the corruptions that slipped in during these various processes - both a loss of meaning and the creation of new meanings. Divvy works on the level of rhetoric rather than that of logic. This play is not something that rewards close attention. It is to be put on in the background and half-listened to in the way that so much conventional theatre is consumed by those who catch plays on the radio while doing something else - whether this be cooking, driving, masturbating or falling asleep."

" Both Larry 'La La' O'Hara and Cakehead Watson are based on real people. La La O'Hara is a  paranoid conspiracy theorist who has denounced as 'state disinformation' some fictional pieces I have written that feature a 'character' with whom he shares both a name and a number of bizarre personality traits. When I published a story about La La O'Hara having sex with a bread doll and promised further revelations in a future issue of Notes From Cloud-Cuckoo Land, La La put out a 'statement' which made it clear that he was unable to distinguish his own xeroxed conspiracy rag from the fictional journal I had conjured up by substituting the phrase 'Cloud-Cuckoo Land' for the word 'Borderland' in the title of his smudgy production.

"Likewise, this is not the first CD on which my computer simulations of La La O'Hara's soft vocal tones have appeared and he has already issued denials that the voice in question is his. It should go without saying that I have made it perfectly clear that the 'vocal tones' in question are a simulation and not La La O'Hara's voice. La La's inability to differentiate between such simulations and his own speech demonstrates that he is both mentally deranged and extremely stupid.

"Cakehead Watson is every bit as idiotic as La La O'Hara but has attempted to cover up this fact by blaming me for his failure to understand a pamphlet entitled The Green Apocalypse. Since the publication in question was edited by Richard Essex, it is difficult to see what Cakehead Watson has achieved by implying I am responsible for the selection of texts it contains, beyond bringing himself and The Fifth Estate - a Detroit smear sheet to which he contributes inanities - into disrepute. Since I am not averse to making shame more shameful by making it public, it is to be hoped that Cakehead Watson will respond to my measured assessment of his imbecility. La La O'Hara's inability to contain himself means that further ravings from him about me are more than likely. It is, of course, highly amusing that La La O'Hara works as a school teacher since this fact provides yet further evidence that he is my Ubu/Hebert. It is precisely by turning La La O'Hara's life into a script that I am able to control him."

Of course, it is only in fiction that I am able to control O'Hara, unless you believe the campaign he has been orchestrating against me - in conjunction with Green Anarchist, Michel Prigent and David Black - is simply a promotional scam that I have been directing all along. If O'Hara really is a free agent and my lampoons have therefore failed to stop him in his tracks, then this demonstrates not only that it is feasible to resist mind control techniques - but that being stupid or crazy is a major factor contributing to successful resistance of this type. It is difficult to assess exactly how much my own activities led to today's demonstration failing to materialise. It has been put to me that O'Hara and Steve Booth of Green Anarchist (with whom O'Hara has recently collaborated on a text about Tim Hepple), decided to lie low after a story addressing Booth's political involvement with Hepple was written and circulated by an activist who'd been involved in the Lancaster Anti-Poll Tax Union (and thus was in a position to know the score about this). The G.A.'s man Cometh A morality tale sarin (oops! I mean starring) Steve Boob is an almost fictional account of some dodgy political activities that aren't mentioned in O'Hara and Booth's 'exposure' of Hepple in At War With The Universe. For example:

"Mad with excitement, Steve's mind raced back to earlier times, to the halcyon days of the anti-Poll Tax struggle and to his first manly tryst, his ultimately unrequited love for the clean-limbed, tight-trousered, baseball player Tim Tipple. Tim and Steve had hatched many a cunning plan back then in the early '90s. Steve swelled erect with pride as he remembered the time Tim led him around the Lancaster Marsh estate on Bailiff Busting manoeuvres and how they told the locals, Joe and Edna Couch-Potato and their strapping sons, that the bailiffs had hired Gypsies to do their dirty work. Steve had learned an important political lesson then, from Tipple, that the inciting of riots between travellers and local youths was not only the way to beat the Poll Tax but also to strike a blow at the Vampiric Tyranny of Civilisation. Truly Tim had been a worthy Blackadder to Boob's Baldrick.

"He also remembered the plan they had hatched to spray-paint 'NO POLL TAX!' on the side of Skerton Bridge over the river Lune. Steve had his little brown Mini, Tim had climbing gear. And he had almost gone through with it too, until common sense made him wary. The Anti-Poll Tax Union was packed with Militants and SWPers who would surely love to grass up the daring duo and gloat as the greens got a 10 stretch for their subversive activities."

So even if my independent mind control activities haven't been one hundred percent successful, this does not invalidate satire as a deadly weapon, since this story utilises ridicule every bit as potently as anything I have produced. It also served as a timely reminder that both Booth and Hepple were considered political liabilities by the majority of those active in anti-Poll Tax agitation in Lancaster. If GA or O'Hara had turned up at the Unconvention, they would have been confronted by individuals who know the ins and outs of Booth's political involvement with Hepple. So not only do these boobies illustrate that there is something in the hoary aphorism about indignant men having the most to hide, they may yet learn that there is no escape from laughter.

Notes for a lecture at the Fortean Times Unconvention at the Commonwealth Institute, London 29 April 2000 (revised 14/5/00).

As The Thin Veneer of Sanity Starts to Fade (More on Larry O'Hara)


Larry O'Hara bottles it

Larry O'Hara bottles it

Larry O'Hara is stupid.