Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga (1985)

hammerofthegods

‘Hammer of the Gods’ is the cult classic Led Zeppelin biography, famous for its unflinching portrayal of the band’s legendary exploits with groupies, orgies, violence, hotel destruction, black magic, and drugs. With this book, Stephen Davis captures the true spirit of the “sex, drugs and rock and roll” philosophy of the 70s and vomits it up on the curb for all to see. If you have an aversion to seeing the word ‘fuck’ in print, or to reading descriptions of groupies getting fucked by dead sharks and whipped by live octopi, then definitely do not read Hammer of the Gods. Wild offstage behaviour aside, Stephen Davis expertly documents the bands musical career from their Yardbirds beginnings right through to their tragic breakup after John Bonham’s death in 1980 and Page’s descent into a daily heroin addiction that lasted seven years. Stephen Davis covers the musical side of the Led Zeppelin saga very well and dissects each of the albums they put out song by song, and also details the set lists of some of their key live performances out of the 600+ they performed during 1968-1971 and their tours in 1973, 1975, 1977, and 1979. The author has updated the book since its original publication to include extra chapters detailing the post-Zeppelin days, up to and including their 2007 reunion concert; however, most of this material is boring and unnecessary (it mainly focuses on Robert Plant’s solo career because Page was too strung out on heroin and John Paul Jones was too much of a recluse for either of them to have done anything interesting) and I found myself speed reading the rest of it till I hit the finish line. Besides the boring new material (Part 3: Hammer of Robert Plant) the rock biography lives up to all its hype and made for a very entertaining travel read (I read it in Japan). I’ll close by recommending a couple of Led Zeppelin live albums to buy or download should your ears be unfortunate enough to not have met with their music.

The Song Remains the Same
How the West Was Won

* * * * 4 stars 

Continue reading

Prometheus Rising (1983)

PROM_RISE_TAPE Prometheus Rising (1983) by Robert Anton Wilson is a mind-blowing neuropsychological manual on how to reprogram your own brain. The book combines Timothy Leary’s Eight Circuit model of consciousness, psychological imprinting and conditioning theory, Gurdjief’s self-observation exercises, Quantum Mechanics, Yoga, Cybernetics, Freudian psychoanalysis, sociobiology, psychedelics, Alfred Korzybski’s general semantics and much more to construct a strange but enlightening lens for viewing the world and our place in it. Prometheus Rising began as Wilson’s Ph.D. dissertation called “The Evolution of Neuro-Sociological Circuits: A Contribution to the Sociobiology of Consciousness” in 1978-79 for University Paideia, but in 1982 Wilson rewrote the manuscript for commercial publication by removing footnotes, adding chapters and exercises, sketching out diagrams and illustrations, and injecting plenty of humour. Oh, and he threw in a chapter on how to brainwash yourself and others titled ‘How to Wash Brains and Robotize People’. Continue reading

The Only Dance There Is: Book Review

ram dassThe book I am reviewing – The Only Dance There Is – is a compiled transcription of two lectures Ram Dass gave to a room of psychotherapists in the early 1970s. The first lecture was at the Menninger Foundation in 1970, and the second at the Spring Grove Hospital in 1972. Seeing as Ram Dass was a trained Harvard professor and psychiatrist before he transformed into a yogi, he was in the fortunate position of having two perceptual vantage points to overlook the whole thing. His clear insight into the Western approach to solving man’s spiritual problems through psychology, and his new understanding into the Eastern approach through yoga and meditation allowed him the opportunity to act as a solid concrete bridge between the worlds of East and West. Prior to Ram Dass bridges existed, but they were of the old and fragile, made of rope variety, which were rarely crossed out of fear of the bridge collapsing and you falling into the abyss below. Because of this the game at this point in time was very polarised – us vs them, hippies vs police, East vs West, and so on.

In these lectures Ram Dass attempted to share the Indian’s non-dualistic outlook on life, called Advaita Vedanta, to an audience very much attached to the separation of all living things. Ram Dass eloquently shared what he had learnt in India, and what he had given up in Harvard, by comparing the comparatively new Western psychology to the 10,000 year old Eastern method of yoga and meditation. For example, he discusses in detail the Hindu chakra system, and how it closely resembles psychological systems for understanding human motivation – an area that Ram Dass happened to specialise in when he was a psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Richard Alpert.

Continue reading

Psychedelic Mushrooms and You

img_0422-1-991x470DISCLAIMER – This guide is in no way meant to advocate the use of illegal drugs; it exists solely to spread an important pocket of knowledge that might have the potential to save lives, or at the very least, trips to the hospital. There is currently too high a risk for the uninformed novice to mistake a poisonous mushroom for a psychoactive one, and so it is my hope that this article helps illuminate the otherwise dark and mysterious pursuit of magic mushroom identification.

DISCLAIMER #2 –  I do not have magic mushrooms (or any other illegal substances) in my possession. I destroy all evidence of this rewarding (but sadly illegal) hobby by means of digestion. Every year in Victoria, Australia, between the cold months of April to August, magic happens. This magic reveals itself in the form of psychoactive mushrooms. They grow wildly in parks, playgrounds, creeks, forests, nature strips and garden beds They thrive pretty much anywhere with wood chips, tanbark, or mulch that gets a lot of rain and shade. Of course, there are lots of poisonous doppelgängers out there, so it pays to have a bit of experience in identifying the right ones. This ‘experience’ is something we have acquired over the past five or six years of picking and eating magic mushrooms, and so this guide is written with the hope of sharing that knowledge with others. Why buy a man a fish when you can give him a fishing rod, right? This guide will attempt to explain how to find magic mushrooms on your own (or with friends), and outline some good methods of drying and storing them.

Contents

Continue reading

Zen Story: The Tiger and the Strawberry

zen tigerThe story I’m about to tell you, originally told by the Buddha in a sutra, concerns a Zen Master who, while out walking one day, is confronted by a ferocious, man-eating tiger. He slowly backs away from the animal, only to find that he is trapped at the edge of a high cliff; the tiger snarls with hunger, and pursues the Master. His only hope of escape is to suspend himself over the abyss by holding onto a vine that grows at its edge. As the Master dangles from the cliff, two mice – one white and one black – begin to gnaw on the vine he is clutching on. If he climbs back up, the tiger will surely devour him, if he stays then there is the certain death of a long fall onto the jagged rocks. The slender vine begins to give way, and death is imminent. Just then the precariously suspended Zen Master notices a lovely ripe wild strawberry growing along the cliff’s edge. He plucks the succulent berry and pops it into his mouth. He is heard to say: “This lovely strawberry, how sweet it tastes.”

Continue reading

The Last Question

big bang universeThe following short story, written by the famous science fiction author Isaac Asimov, is a gripping tale of Man and Machine’s evolution of consciousness, and their place in the infinite yet impermanent universe. The story was first published in the November 1956 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly, and is to this day considered by many to be his best work. The author himself even thought so, and in 1973 he said of it:

“Why is it my favorite? For one thing I got the idea all at once and didn’t have to fiddle with it; and I wrote it in white-heat and scarcely had to change a word. This sort of thing endears any story to any writer. Then, too, it has had the strangest effect on my readers…”

The short story is split into seven story arcs, with the first one beginning in 2061, and each one after progressing further and further into the future. Despite the changes in time, space, and characters, each of the stories share in common humanity’s relationship with a supercomputer called Multivac and its successors – every sub plot revolves around certain characters discussing the life span of the universe and then asking the Multivac computer whether entropy (destruction) of the universe can be reversed, which is a question it has insufficient data to answer until the very end. This is a great read from start to finish – I give it a 5 out of 5; it is WAY ahead of it’s time!

Continue reading

Be Here Now: Book Review

Be Here Now Ram Dass

“Embrace the 10,000 Beautiful Visions”

Be Here Now (1971) is a classic text on Hindu spirituality that bloomed open like a lotus flower in the wake of the hippie movement. The seed for this book was planted in the mind of Harvard psychiatrist turned Indian mystic, Ram Dass, and was written – with the blessings of his guru Neem Karoli Baba – for a Western audience who were, for the most part, materially rich but spiritually poor

Be Here Now offered it’s readers and followers a drug free alternative for attaining higher states of consciousness, while its simple message to live in the present encouraged the pursuit and cultivation of inner peace. Since it’s original publication the book has sold more than 2 million copies and has had an enormous influence on the Western world’s adoption of Eastern philosophy and spirituality. I can’t speak for everybody, but my copy of Be Here Now is one of my most treasured possessions, it opened the door of spiritual discovery and casually pointed towards the way. To this day, Be Here Now’s teachings shine like the sun and penetrate even the darkest spaces. I recommend it with all my heart to those with an open mind, and a thirst for self discovery.

be here now

Continue reading

William Burroughs Interviews Jimmy Page [1975]

pageburroughs

In 1975 a legendary encounter occurred; Jimmy Page, the lead guitarist of the blues rock band Led Zeppelin, was interviewed by William Burroughs – counter-cultural icon of the 60s beat generation, and deservedly famous author of Junky and Naked Lunch. William S. Burroughs was a fantastically able writer who has won the literary recognition of many; he was also a journalist, and a long time user of heroin – even coining the term junky. Heroin was something Page and Burroughs shared in common during the time of this interview in 1975, as Page’s experimentation with heroin had slipped into an addiction at this point in his life and career. Musically, critics believed his playing ability fell sharply as a result of his heroin use, while those obsessed with the occult insisted that his poor playing was a result of a black magic curse put on him by Kenneth Anger, an acolyte of the infamous Aleister Crowley.

zepburroughsBurroughs was not interested in critiquing or evaluating Page’s music, and instead relied on his highly charged imagination to create a unique and somewhat strange interview with the rock and roll legend; an interview that can never be replicated, and perhaps, never fully understood. “I felt that these considerations could form the basis of my talk with Jimmy Page, which I hoped would not take the form of an interview. There is something just basically WRONG about the whole interview format. Someone sticks a mike in your face and says, “Mr. Page, would you care to talk about your interest in occult practices? Would you describe yourself as a believer in this sort of thing?” Even an intelligent mike-in-the-face question tends to evoke a guarded mike-in-the-face answer. As soon as Jimmy Page walked into my loft downtown, I saw that it wasn’t going to be that way.”

What follows is an interesting take on the standard music interview format, and a surreal exploration into the subconscious elements of music, such as vibrations, transferring of energy, magic, the arts and the similarities between rock and roll riffs and Buddhist mantras.

Read on for the full article that Burroughs published in Crawdaddy magazine in their June 1975 issue, and also the transcript of the interview that took place.

Continue reading

My Journey Into Aokigahara Jukai (青木ヶ原 樹海) – The Suicide Forest

IMG_4567-2

Disclaimer: Firstly, there are a lot of images and videos in this post, so I had to break it up into 10 pages to save loading time – you will see the page numbers on the bottom just before the comments section. Secondly, everything written below actually happened, nothing is fabricated.

Lastly, and most importantly, if you’ve happened upon this post and you live in Japan, keep an eye out for your close friends and talk to them if you think they might be having suicidal thoughts; here is a very helpful pdf which details the warning signs of someone who may be suicidal: Suicide First Aid Guidelines For Japan. Also, if you are having suicidal thoughts yourself, try to stay positive and remember that your pain is only temporary once you realise that others can help you – there is help out there. Please talk to your friends and loved ones, if there is nobody who you can trust, please visit the Tokyo Counselling website or the Japan Counseling directory and find a professional to talk to. Life is worth living, if you give it another chance, you might realise that too.

“Meaninglessness inhibits fullness of life and is therefore the equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great many things endurable – perhaps everything.” – C.G Jung

Contents

aokigahara mt fuji

1200 years ago, Mt Fuji erupted for ten straight days. For the entire duration it spewed molten lava down its summit and casually layed waste to everything in its path. Many people perished, and a great number of homes were destroyed. Huge amounts of lava pooled up in a large lake at the foot of the volcano and divided it into two smaller lakes; Lake Saiko and Lake Shōjiko. Some time after the lava had dried, trees started to emerge out of the ruins, eventually making way for the 35 km2 forest known as Aokigahara Jukai (青木ヶ原 樹海), which translates as ‘The Sea of Trees’. Few could have predicted the darkness that would continue to surround it.

Today, an average of 100 bodies are found in its depths every year, and many are left undiscovered. Few people enter the forest, and those who do rarely return due to its reputation for having the second highest suicide rate in the world. Sadly, the forest has carried an association with death long before it became a popular place for suicide, as ubasute is believed to have been practiced there, which is an old Japanese tradition where the elderly and sick are carried up a mountain or into a forest and left to die – sort of like the story of Hansel and Gretel, except with old people.

The forest is known by many names: Aokigahara (青木ヶ原), Jukai (樹海), The Sea of Trees, the Suicide Forest, the Cursed Forest, the Black Forest, and finally the locals I asked in Japan called it ‘NOOO, don’t go there!’ while they made the shape of an X with their arms.
Continue reading

How to Write a Language Analysis Essay

newspaperThis post is an extension to my previous guide: Journalism 101: Language Analysis. The ability to analyse how language is used to persuade an audience is critical to any journalist; it is also handy knowledge for daily readers of the news so they can avoid being manipulated by crafty journalists. Once you have learnt all of the different persuasive techniques from the previous guide, you would be wise to find an article in the paper, get a highlighter and a pen and try to pinpoint all of the persuasion tactics being employed. This is analysing how language is used to create a certain response from the reader. Once you’ve made your notes, the next step for a student of journalism is to be able to construct an essay outlining and explaining each of the persuasive techniques that have been used. Every article uses at least one or two! Below is a bulletproof skeleton for constructing such an essay.
Continue reading

Guide to Language Analysis

newspapersThe most fundamental aspect to Journalism, and a skill that is drilled into students of the field before anything else is language analysis. Why? (you may ask). Simple: because journalists are required to write persuasively in order to subtly sway the reader into thinking or believing x instead of y. Before they can develop the ability to write in this manner, however, they must first learn how to analyse writing and track down its use of subliminal language persuasion. Below you will find the tools that they use – persuasive language techniques and their application in the world of journalism. Comb through this list and see if you can find the following persuasive techniques being used in today’s paper.

Continue reading

A Short Story About the Buddha

BuddhaThe following very short story about the Buddha’s journey is written by the great author Paulo Coelho, author of the classic pilgrimage story: The Alchemist. If you have never read The Alchemist then I would highly recommend it, and if you want to read a longer story about the Buddha, which goes into much better detail, then read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. I found this story on Paulo Coelho’s blog, which you should definitely check out if you like to read, or are a fan of the man, because he writes short stories very frequently!

The following story is divided into 3 parts, each part only about 400-500 words. It makes for a quick read, and definitely contains some of Paulo Coelho’s writing flair. But it is still very short, and leaves a lot to be desired. But I suppose this is fitting considering it is a story about the Buddha; he would say to us: Desire = Suffering. Meditate on this. At least I think he would say this. Anyway, here’s the story!

Continue reading

The Dalai Lama Kills a Mosquito

This short video of a conversation between The Dalai Lama and journalist Bill Moyers, shows two sides to The Dalai Lama. The first side is that he is a fairly patient man who shows compassion to all living beings – evidenced by his allowing a mosquito to drink some of his blood. While the second side is that he is a cold blooded murderer, who behind the scenes, kills mosquitoes for fun. Seriously, The Dalai Lama is ruthless, don’t let his playful exterior fool you. This is one man that is not to be messed with.

Nah, the Dalai Lama’s a good guy, not that I know him or anything, I’ve just been fooled by his playful exterior. Check out this video of him not getting a joke – it’s very funny!

Jungian Psychology: Psychological Types

Personality

Did you know that there are people out there who are exactly like you, only you might not have met them yet? And I mean exactly like you. A long time ago, the late-great psychoanalyst Carl Jung developed a personality profiling system in his book ‘Psychological Types‘. This model was converted into a simple psychological test called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and has been used as the basis for grouping personality types from its inception, to this very present moment. You’ve been exposed to this personality type system without even knowing it in ‘star signs’, ‘which drug are you’ Facebook quizzes and even in daily conversation. If you’ve ever been called an extravert or an introvert for example, then you can thank Jung for coining those terms.

jung psychological types

The personality test is about 60 questions in length and asks a series of questions designed to cross reference and examine your 4 main personality traits out of 8. These are

  1. Introvert ——- Extravert
  2. INtuitive ——– Sensing
  3. Thinking ——- Feeling
  4. Judging ——- Perceiving

Before you read on, be sure to take the test!

Continue reading

Steve Jobs Gives a Damn Fine Speech… on Death

When Steve Jobs died the other day Facebook was full of ‘RIP Steve Jobs’ posts, as though people really cared that he had died. Sure you wouldn’t have an iPhone if it wasn’t for him, but it’s not like you knew the guy, and people die, it’s not a huge deal. I wrote a post in response to this that was all in good fun. However; I just saw a video of a speech Steve made to a group of graduating students at Stanford University, and it revealed the humanity in the man I never knew. I still don’t know him, and I still don’t care about or mourn his death, but I still respect him as a person; for following his dreams. Rest in peace to Steve Jobs and every man and woman who has passed before and after him, and rest in peace to anyone who has died in the time I have typed this, you will all be missed by someone, somewhere.

Steve Jobs’ Batteries Ran Out Today; Couldn’t Find His Wall Charger – Confirmed Dead

Laughs were shared by all at the newsroom today when word had been received about Steve Jobs’ humorously ironic death. Steve Jobs, co founder of the mega corporation Apple – who were responsible for the widely used gadgets the iPod, iPhone and iPad – was found dead this morning, curled up next to his wall socket. Forensic psychologists on the scene say that Steve Jobs had run out of batteries in the middle of the night, woke up in a cold sweat after realising he was on his last bar and desperately searched the house for his wall charger, which was presumably missing… or stolen.

Several people knocked on Steve’s door in the morning, to discuss their iPods with him, and received no answer. Sources say these people just went on with their day, despite the looming possibility that Steve Jobs was in danger. This is another sad glimpse at the bystander effect in all its terrible shame. At roughly 11:30am the milk delivery man, who had been delivering milk to Steve’s home every day for the past 15 years, thought that something was up and forced open Steve Jobs’ back door, which will never look the same again. “Steve is always home, he never leaves the house, so when I knocked on his door and he didn’t answer, I knew something was up” said the milk delivery man when we interviewed him just now. The delivery man, who shall remain nameless because his role in society is not considered to be important, immediately dropped his milk, broke down the door and rushed to Steve Job’s body, who was described by the anonymous milk man as having “a blank white screen, as white as milk… his eyes, which used to be milky white, were now big black crosses”. The milk delivery man attempted to ‘reset’ Stevens’ battery by holding his lock button and home button at the same time; to no success. Steve was confirmed dead at 11:40am, and his wall charger was later found under his bed.

Rest in peace Steve Jobs, you silly man!

iPhone

Police Photograph of Steve Jobs Remains (06/10/11) WARNING: graphic content (too late).

If you liked this post, be sure to subscribe!

Humans vs Computers – Are You a Bot?

“‘You engage in an exchange of emails or instant messages or Facebook updates. Is the unknown respondent another person, or is it a bot? Is it someone, or is it a computer programming passing as a person? You want to know. Based only on the conversation, can you judge whether the other is human or machine? Is there something in what is said or how it is said that differentiates people from programs?’ (Baldwin, 2009, p. 8-9)

Film director Ridley Scott’s sci fi masterpiece ‘Blade Runner‘, based on Phillip Dick’s novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?‘, asks some pressing questions on what it means to be human, and whether we can really distinguish the difference between man and machine. The protagonist Deckard, uses a process called the Voight-Kampff Empathy Test to decide whether the subject is a ‘replicant’ or not. This is based on what we humans call a ‘turing test’, which was introduced by Alan Turing in 1950 to probe the abilities of machines to ‘imitate’ human responses. If a human is unable to discriminate between a person and a machine, then the computer is said to have passed the test. For example, a man is asked to play a game of chess against both a human and a machine, it is very difficult for him to tell which opponent is which, as the machine has a large database of moves it can make which mirror those of real human players; therefore even if the human beats the machine, the machine wins. So in a nutshell, a turing test is a test a human gives to a computer to decide whether or not it is a human, while a reverse turing test is a test a computer gives to a human to determine whether or not it is a machine.
Continue reading

Joseph Campbell’s ‘Monomyth’

Joseph Campbell was an extraordinary man with an extensive knowledge on world mythology, symbolism and psychology; he borrowed elements from Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious, and his concept of archetypes, and used them both to help bridge a gap between East and West and all of the world religions and rituals. Joseph Campbell is most famous for his formulation of the fascinating and widely studied ‘monomyth’ theory, which states that all myths and stories – whether they be from religious texts or fiction novels – follow the same narrative structure, which he called the ‘the hero’s journey’. This structure was outlined step by step in Campbell’s best selling book, ‘The Hero With a Thousand Faces’, and is referred to as the ‘monomyth’, or one-myth, which is an archetypal journey or transformation that is repeated in every story told by man, in an endless circular pattern. The reason this theory is so popular, is that it touches on that intuitive element found in every man, that nothing is really separate, and that man and the universe is really interconnected in every way.

Zelda

1). The Call to Adventure
2). Crossing of the Threshold (Entering the Unknown)
3). Trials and Tribulations of the Journey
4). Attainment of Enlightenment
5). Return of the Hero

Take a good look at any myth, story, novel or movie, and chances are you can see all of the same elements, simply wearing a different mask. The short video below shows one such example of the ‘monomyth’, found in the great sci fi masterpiece: ‘The Matrix’.

Subscribe to End of the Game by Email

The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved.

Hunter S Thompson

This is the article that propelled Hunter S Thompson’s writing skills to new heights and established his style known as ‘Gonzo’ journalism. Written in 1970, after publishing both The Rum Diaries and Hell’s Angels, Thompson was required to write a sports article covering the Kentucky Derby. However, he didn’t actually get to see the race, and instead wrote a manic first person account of his observations of the people attending the event. Faced with a deadline, and not having written anything resembling an article, Hunter tore out pages from his notebooks, and scrambled together this exciting narrative which was published in Scanlan’s Monthly. The writing of this article was later worked into his most famous novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, two years later, which has the protagonist Raoul Duke (Hunter’s alter ego) attempt to write a story on the Mint 400 motorcycle race in Las Vegas; unsuccessfully of course. If you’re a fan of Hunter S Thompson’s writing then you owe it to yourself to read this article if you haven’t already, and if you’ve never read any of his work, then this might just turn you onto him!
Continue reading