April 07, 2005

More Found Stuff: Will, Don, Bill, Towi, Gene and Jane

This is from an enormous packet of stuff I got for $3 at an Oakland junk/antique store. Most of it dates from 1964-5, and concerns one William Spires, who apparently ran a gallery called Pro Arte at the time. Materials include: phone bills, notebooks, traffic citations, an Order to Report for Armed Services Physical Examination, sketches for the gallery logo and store front, handwritten transcriptions of folk songs, a crazy series of drawings entitled "A Group of People and the Rain: Hallucinations by Don Brown," and much, much more.

I believe this is the same Will Spires mentioned in this hippie Northbeach/Renaissance Faire history because Don Brown is also mentioned as a fellow member of a hippie/folk band called The Golden Toad. I don't know if this Will Spires (fiddler and folklorist) is the same guy, but it seems likely, as the link comes from this "Faire Herstory," which also mentions the Golden Toad (on which, more is to be found here.)

This is a transcription from one of the tiny spiral notebooks, apparently dating from 1964. The author says he is "in" Bill Spires's studio, so he's not Will. Or is he? He calls himself Bill, Towi, Gene and Jane at various points. Whoever it was, he appears to have been more or less crazy.

On the front cover is what appears to be a drawing of stonehenge:


Inside, all but the first five pages are blank. On the first five pages:



ash can lids should rise on wires. clov shuts them by snapping his fingers.

a plate of Mexican food: losing focus, dissolving and cutting back into focus. Sour cream...

[illegible - scribbled out]

JAN '64
I believe I may throw away the "rain-bows" in favor of more direct relationships. If anyone wants to know where I am they can find me in the direct center of the Te Pee's moon. This can be very bad and certainly hangs up all the other life that can be put into words or communicated & lived in other ways.

The back of my head (which doesn't any longer belong to the front) is very black. The front is rainbow colored and I am seriously getting tired of the trip -

Moot, Bill - (Towi)

Note that modern existence conotes telepathy & computers & is too much too take after awhile -

The existentialist atmosphere is much better since things can take place in relative freedom of approach and END GAMES - - - without knots in the head - on on etc.

I am Gene

I take note of the fact that I am merely in Bill Spires' studio despite the hassles which buzz around my head/not so indifferently - I cleaned up.

I am not myself but stand in the center of the iceburg existentially I note that this is progress and wonder what "JANE" would do. Jane would have been my name if is a side of me, as yet unseen.

Posted by Dr. Frank at April 7, 2005 02:45 AM | TrackBack

The time you must have on your hands. How do you always manage to find the most insane things? How often do you find mediocore things that we don't get to hear about?

Posted by: MandaMagpie at April 7, 2005 03:09 AM

My first thought is that it *is* Will Spires and he's probably writing nonsense while on Acid trying to record some "existential" experience. Not necessarily crazy, but certainly crazy at the time of the writing. If he were really Gene or Jane he wouldn't need to announce it.

Posted by: josh at April 7, 2005 03:05 PM

Maybe this is the guy who became John Titor. Brilliant find.

Posted by: Wes at April 7, 2005 04:09 PM

There's not one moment that I don't constantly battle computers and telepathy. I was just saying the other day to my best friend, "I hate computers AND telepathy. I'm always fighting them."

Sometimes the secret goverment nano-robots attack my lungs and I'm forced to use ingest magnets in order to kill their nano-robotic cpus. It's just too much to take after awhile.

~Just writing that portion drains me. Let alone 5 pages. WOW!

Posted by: lucky409 at April 7, 2005 04:16 PM

Weird small world thing:

There's an interview in Cometbus #49 with Pat Wright, one of the "trustees" who helped keep 924 Gilman up and running after Tim Yohannon bowed out. In that article is a picture of Pat "on tour with the Godliness and Cleanliness Skiffle Band." He later roadied for Citizen Fish, at the ripe old age of 50something.

Maybe not a full circle, but an interesting one. He might know Will Spires, for all you know!

Posted by: sheckie at April 7, 2005 08:18 PM


Man, I want half a tab of THAT.

Posted by: Sigivald at April 7, 2005 10:06 PM

Wow. I'd love to see what else you have from this packet. From what you describe, you could have an art installation, a novel and an album just from extrapolation of this material.

Posted by: Lisa at April 8, 2005 03:52 PM

pat wright! man, that guy is so rad! i'll probably see him tonight. there's always the 95% chance of my running into him at gilman. i'll ask him about will spires.

Posted by: kendra at April 8, 2005 06:16 PM

When I first looked at that picture, I thought it was a tiny little notebook that you had balanced on your forearm.

Posted by: christopher at April 8, 2005 09:06 PM

I am so jealous of that. I still haven't found anything good in awhile. I need to start walking around a little more.

Posted by: Megan at April 9, 2005 12:41 AM

Sheckie, I know Pat Wright from way back in my KALX days, though I haven't bumped into him in awhile. When you look at a subculture from without it always seems like everybody knows each other, and I know that's an exaggerated effect: still, the 60s people I encounter really do seem to know all the other 60s people I've encountered.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at April 9, 2005 04:56 PM

I think Pat might still be somewhat fixture-esque at KALX. I still see his van from time to time in front of 924, he is still active in his union, Local 510, and I think he's taken on a new project (or two) recently. An amazing, dynamic person (did you read the cometbus piece?).

The Berkeley subcultures that I've noticed having a lot of cross-over are the psych-subculture (comprised of both patients and providers), the recovery subculture, and the academic subculture. And they all seem to have Caffe Med as their locus. Or, at least they used to. You could make a logic problem with some of these subcultures--"If all Berkeley Therapists are in recovery, and some UC Professors are Berkeley Therapists, then...."

Posted by: sheckie at April 10, 2005 07:18 AM

pat's mostly dropped out of kalx. he hasn't been around in years, though he still helps out kalx live with our remotes at gilman. he should come back, we need more people like him.

Posted by: kendra at April 10, 2005 10:47 AM

Wait, you mean you can actually BUY big bags of crap like that in junk stores out there? I gotta check that out someday. Out here in Indiana, the coolest thing I ever found was a cigar box full of car crash pictures from the early 1980s, and those were all priced individually, so I ended up with none. It just wasn't possible to pick a favorite.

Posted by: c. at April 21, 2005 05:38 AM

Hiya. I'd love to hear more about this, and I have stories to tell. The notebook and the Golden Toad stuff are certainly about me.

At your service,


Posted by: will spires at May 1, 2005 04:40 AM
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