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Mick Farren was a great man. Many people have described him to me as having been “barking mad”, but – even if this is true – it does not negate his greatness one iota. Born in 1943, he was an integral part of the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. If Richard Neville was the public face of said counterculture, Mick was its heart. The two men had very different approaches to the cultural revolution that they both believed that they were spearheading, but Mick’s is the one that has stood the test of time.
Mick was a crazy-passionate activist, anarchist and street politician. When I met him about a month before his death I asked him whether he was still a revolutionary. He bristled. “Certainly”, he said, and went on to describe the ills of modern Britain, the iniquities of the Government and his hope that the new technology of the 21st century might bring about the anarcho-syndicalist utopia that he dreamed of.
All the time he was talking, he quaffed Jack Daniels and smoked my cigarettes while taking the occasional toke on his oxygen mask. We were surrounded by friends and well-wishers, and it was obvious that here was a man that demanded great love and respect.
I am not going to claim that Mick Farren and I were friends. I only met him once and had about three enjoyable telephone conversations as well, but I like to think that he and I would soon have become friends, because Mick was everything that I aspire to be: a massively principled man with the heart of a revolutionary, a child-like and wicked sense of humour, an immense talent and a social conscience second to none.
His version of that much-maligned term anarchism, and mine, were and are almost identical. Above all he was a kind, ethical and gentle man, whom - one would suspect, much to his amusement - my late father would have described as very much a gentleman. I had great love and respect for him, and I hope that in the weeks, months and years to come, as part of Gonzo Multimedia, we shall help bring his invaluable work, and inspirational legacy to new generations.
And what better way to start than with what has turned out to be his final album? Enjoy. JON DOWNES
1: BLACK DOGS CIRCLE
2: COCAINE & GUNPOWDER
3: BLACK VINYL DRESS
4: VENUS ON HER SHELL
5: THE DARK MATTER
6: I DONíT LIKE IT HERE
7: PICK UP THE SCISSORS AND RUN)
8: IF I WAS A HUN ON MY PONY
10: BEAUTIFUL WOMEN
12: HUMIDITY ON THE 7TH FLOOR
13: AK47 (Reprise)
14: TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS *