Happy Winter Solstice – Daevid Allen – Affinity Records – 1977

At the Winter Solstice, we celebrate Children’s Day to honour our children and to bring warmth, light and cheerfulness into the dark time of the year. Holidays such as this have their origin as “holy days”. They are the way human beings mark the sacred times in the yearly cycle of life.

In the northern latitudes, midwinter’s day has been an important time for celebration throughout the ages. On this shortest day of the year, the sun is at its lowest and weakest, a pivot point from which the light will grow stronger and brighter. This is the turning point of the year. The romans called it Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.

The Roman midwinter holiday, Saturnalia, was both a gigantic fair and a festival of the home. Riotous merry-making took place, and the halls of houses were decked with boughs of laurel and evergreen trees. Lamps were kept burning to ward off the spirits of darkness. Schools were closed, the army rested, and no criminals were executed. Friends visited one another, bringing good-luck gifts of fruit, cakes, candles, dolls, jewellery, and incense. Temples were decorated with evergreens symbolizing life’s continuity, and processions of people with masked or blackened faces and fantastic hats danced through the streets.

The custom of mummers visiting their neighbours in costume, which is still alive in Newfoundland in U.S.A, is descended from these masked processions.

Roman masters feasted with slaves, who were given the freedom to do and say what they liked (the medieval custom of all the inhabitants of the manor, including servants and lords alike, sitting down together for a great Christmas feast, came from this tradition). A Mock King was appointed to take charge of the revels (the Lord of Misrule of medieval Christmas festivities had his origin here).

In pagan Scandinavia the winter festival was the yule (or juul). Great yule logs were burned, and people drank mead around the bonfires listening to minstrel-poets singing ancient legends. It was believed that the yule log had the magical effect of helping the sun to shine more brightly.

Mistletoe, which was sacred because it mysteriously grew on the most sacred tree, the oak, was ceremoniously cut and a spray given to each family, to be hung in the doorways as good luck. The celtic Druids also regarded mistletoe as sacred. Druid priests cut it from the tree on which it grew with a golden sickle and handed it to the people, calling it All-Heal. To hang it over a doorway or in a room was to offer goodwill to visitors. Kissing under the mistletoe was a pledge of friendship. Mistletoe is still forbidden in most Christian churches because of its Pagan associations, but it has continued to have a special place in home celebrations.

In the third century various dates, from December to April, were celebrated by Christians as Christmas. January 6 was the most favoured day because it was thought to be Jesus’ baptismal day (in the Greek Orthodox Church this continues to be the day to celebrate Christmas). Around 350, December 25 was adopted in Rome and gradually almost the entire Christian Church agreed to that date, which coincided with Winter Solstice, the Yule and the Saturnalia. The merry side of Saturnalia was adopted to the observance of Christmas. By 1100 Christmas was the peak celebration of the year for all of Europe. During the 16th century, under the influence of the Reformation, many of the old customs were suppressed and the Church forbade processions, colourful ceremonies, and plays.

In 1647 in England, Parliament passed a law abolishing Christmas altogether. When Charles II came to the throne, many of the customs were revived, but the feasting and merrymaking were now more worldly than religious.

Flamenco Zero / Why Do We Treat Ourselves Like We Do? / Tally And Orlando Meets The Cockpit Pixie / See You On The Moontower / Poet For Sale

Crocodile Nonsense Poem / Only Make Love If You Want To / I Am / Deya Goddess

For this years Winter Solstice I have uploaded the third solo LP recorded by Daevid Allen from Gong released on the Charly affiliated record label Affinity in 1977. 1977 was also the year that Daevid Allen and Gilli Smythe were to go on tour with west London freestonia squatters, Here And Now, touring and recording under the name of Planet Gong. The gigs performed and records produced by Planet Gong in 1977, as well as the Here And Now gigs and records released in 1978, helped to inspire a much younger breed of followers that would continue to support the free festival, squatting and traveller movement throughout the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Much more Planet Gong, Gilli Smythe and Here And Now material on this site if you choose to search for it using the search function.

Text below ripped from Wikky P…

In 1960, inspired by the Beat Generation writers he had discovered whilst working in a Melbourne bookshop, Daevid Allen travelled to Paris where he stayed at the Beat Hotel, moving into a room that had recently been vacated by Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky. While selling the International Herald Tribune around Le Chat qui Peche and the Latin Quarter, he met Terry Riley and also gained free access to the jazz clubs in the area. After meeting up with William S. Burroughs, and inspired by philosophies of Sun Ra, he formed the free jazz outfit, the Daevid Allen Trio, and performed at Burroughs’ theatre pieces based on Burroughs’ novel The Ticket That Exploded.

Allen travelled to England, renting a room in Canterbury where he met his landlord’s son, 16 year old Robert Wyatt. They formed the band Soft Machine in 1966 with Kevin Ayers and Mike Ratledge. Ayers and Wyatt had previously played in Wilde Flowers.

Following a tour of Europe, Allen was refused re-entry to the UK due to overstaying his visa on a prior visit. He settled in Paris where, in May 1968, he took part in the protests which swept the city. He handed out teddy bears to the police and recited poetry in pidgin French, and now admits that he was scorned by the other protesters for being a beatnik.

Fleeing the police, he made his way to Deya, Majorca, with his partner Gilli Smyth. It was here that he recorded the first album under the name Gong, entitled Magick Brother (released on BYG Actuel in 1969). They were joined by flautist Didier Malherbe, who they claim to have found living in a cave on Robert Graves’ estate.

In 1970 Allen recorded and released his first solo-album, Banana Moon (sometimes spelled as Bananamoon). On this album he was aided by Robert Wyatt, amongst others.

In 1971 Gong released Camembert Electrique. They became somewhat of an anarchist commune in rural France between 1972 and 1974. In 1972 they were joined by electronics musician Tim Blake and later, by Steve Hillage to record the Radio Gnome Trilogy after signing with Virgin, consisting of Flying Teapot, Angel’s Egg and You.

Allen left this incarnation of Gong and recorded two solo albums, Good Morning (1976) and Now Is The Happiest Time Of Your Life (1977). In 1977 he performed and recorded as Planet Gong, and rejoined the early-70s version of the group for a one-off show at the Hippodrome in Paris. Portions of this concert (which was several hours long) was released on a double-LP entitled Gong Est Mort? Vive Gong.

  1. jan
    December 30, 2010 at 12:33 am

    hiya, oh no the profane existence new site – organize and resist is down (probs cos its hosted by profane existence ha ha ha) – at least it gave me a chance, instead of hanging with the hipster anarcho-punks around the world to download some cool choons from my second most favourite site & being a bit of a punk/hippy..love me some gong/daevid allen (saw live in leeds circa 88 – got a full c90 tape somewhere on chrome unless i’ve binned it) and adore gilli smythe!!!! but i used the search function & i can’t find the teapot anywhere on camenbert electrique! sold my vinyl copy back in 1990/1 to a cool student – for £1, i needed the money, also it assisted me in my existential quest for zenness, for a new start/new beginning in Discharge country – yes, stoke on trent! where i was to learn to become first a nurse, but then also a father and consequentlly a family man (quoth black flag at ya!). and all that may ensue! yet i yearn for the tales regalled upon said album – camenbert electrique. in these ongoing days of unhallowed veganism its the only bit of cheese i’m likely to get. bad puns not withstanding, break out the camenbert…to veur du camenbert????? mais fucking oui!, merci?!
    oh ya! happy fucking solstice – but i am of an age and a negative, existential, rudimentary peniesque disposition that i just see it as one step nearer to the ultimate inevitable all emcompassing nothingness of death. yea i relish it for the moral & ethical abusers upon this planet of which there are multitudes, many millions i do not doubt as they continue their cruel and carnal pleasures upon this gracious, beautiful planet causing pain, panic, exploitation and despair in their greedy wake.
    true the snuffing out of existence may come as ablessing to – again many millions of poor despairing lifeforms – yet without wishing to become too labouring of the point. life is finite only the endlessness of time/space appears to be eternal so therefore even our….most fervent hope that ‘love’ will win through against the eternal battle is reduced to negation & it – love – will also die along with everything, ever.

    unless of course you belive in a god – godesses or multiples of said supernatural beings then maybe you will survive in some godly abode…but don’t bank on it. you gotta die first – then you recieve your reward. death is a bit of a give-away isn’t it.
    live , die, reborn…hmmmmm, maybe reincarnation? i could almost get it…but this universe is a big big wide open place or space, so basically i think its a nice idea but no. you are dead. ghosts, old souls, weirdness beyond belief – yeah i’m open to weird shit, course i am, i did occult shit for years & took loads of mind altering drugs – hell i even became a witch for a while! how could that be when the catholic church used to burn them – why?, how can you kill an idea – i guess it was the idea i bought into (using capitalist wordary) – its like now punk has been and done its worst 7 died a bit but yet the punk rockers live on – the system has co-opted it to make their obscene bank accounts bulge even more whilst sucking the soul out of the punk rock..i dare not call it a movement (ha ha as if).
    punk, throw away comment: to me has been music with attitude and a genuiness and an implicit desire to stir shit up. currently you can see/hear jedward singing ‘do they owe us a living’ to david beckham wearing his glitter crass shirt with angelina jolie pogo’ing in the mosh pit.
    PuNk rOcK: is music with punkness within – will stop now, cos you don’t know drunk yan posts – whereas the profane/organize & arise crew do & don’t wanna offend to many folks ont’net. nbot than anyone reads my shit a ha
    i have a blog somewhere – hold on: http://yantree.blogspot.com/
    penguin have you got any hawkwind or blood robots or pagan idols or?????

    fucking love this site!

    roy harper – got any stuff by him?

  2. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    December 30, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Hey Jan, thanks for the support…I got stacks of Gong, Hawkwind but no Blood Robots or Pagan Idols. I will no doubt upload some at some time. There is an LP by Androids Of Mu called Blood Robots if you search for it. I assume the bands name would have come from this LP name…Lots of Here And Now, Inner City Unit also on this site if that rocks your boat. Also a fair bit of Webcore, Ring and Another Green World. The newer Club Dog type bands.

  3. Nic
    January 6, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Sned (from Blood Robots, Generic, and 6 million other bands) is an old mate, so I’ll drop him a message about some Blood Robots / Pagan Idols for the site…

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