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Ojai Orange

The column
of lasting insignificance:
April 19, 2014

—by John Wilcock

“It is no coincidence that some of the most equal countries in the world are those in which union membership is highest: Finland, 69% of workers belong to a union: Sweden (68%); Denmark (67%); Norway (55%). Strong unions are a guarantee not just of social justice but also of economic efficiency.”
—George Eaton in the New Statesman

COUNTRIES SPLITTING UP seems to be a global theme these days—Sudan and South Sudan, the Ukraine and Crimea, Belgium’s Flemish and Walloons, “Imagine how many secession movements there are in Africa” remarks the Guardian: six in Ethiopia alone; a dozen in Burma, Asia and the Americas... the list of would-be seceders around the world is staggering”. Even in such a long-established partnership as Britain, Scotland wants to break away from the United Kingdom, raising all kinds of problems about the currency and which ministers would still get to vote in Westminster after the scheduled referendum in September. In Spain, the Catalonians centered on Barcelona, have longed for their own state; Brittany would like to break away from France; even Venice would prefer to be alone. “That’s the problem with nationalism” writes Stephen Moss. “Where does it end? Once you stir the nationalist pot, you can never know where it will lead. We may be entering the age of the microstate”.

THE SMARTEST MAN in Russia, former world chess champion Gary Kasparov, thinks that Vladimir Putin will come to a bad end. “I think he will not die (before he leaves office); I think he will be removed, and unfortunately in Russia, I’m afraid it will not happen peacefully…The question is how violent this removal is, whether there’s bloodshed, whether it’s limited to the capital or just to the palace”. The Russian grandmaster, 51 this week, held his title for almost 20 years until his retirement in 2005, when he formed a political party to oppose Putin. He was interviewed for the Smithsonian by Ron Rosenbaum, the New York writer known as an authority on Hitler and Shakespeare, who has called him “a major player in that great game of liberty versus tyranny in which the globe is the board”. Russia’s failure, Kasparov suggested, was a reflection of the failure of the U.S. and Western Europe to recognize the new trends. “A lot of positive things could’ve happened. Clinton could have offered a plan for Russia, Eastern Europe, similar to the Marshall Plan. Any plan. We say in chess, a bad plan is better than no plan”.

YOUR SEX LIFE is likely to diminish if you take anti-depressants, warns Men’s Health, with the “drug-specific” benefits being “clinically negligible. The chemicals that seem to make life enjoyable, are the same ones that throttle lust”, it explains, quoting evolutionary biologist Helen Fisher: “When it comes to love and attachment, you want all your natural abilities in place. You don’t want them blunted or altered”. Pasadena psychiatrist Stuart Shipko estimates that two thirds of the people prescribed anti-depressants display diminished sex drive and suggests that the sexual disfunction by drugs is much worse than that caused by depression.

SAWBUCKED TO DEATH: “These days, the only thing harder than making money is hanging on to it. Easier to protect dandelion fuzz in a tornado. Everywhere you go, everyone wants a taste. Their only job is to get a grip on your money. And some of these folks are pretty darn good at their jobs.” The preceding is the opening of a column by Will Durst which I recommend everybody to read. Click here to read the rest of it.

RESPONDING TO OBJECTIONS about raising the minimum wage, Boston Review writes that even some right wingers such as former American Conservative publisher Ron Unz are now supporting the idea on the grounds that it would make jobs more desirable. (i) It would balance the huge uptick in the cost of higher education. “Many marginal students are dropping out... leaving them with student loan debts and no degree. Meanwhile the job market continues to produce jobs …

(read the entire column and
link to access the column archives
)


it's here... Marijuana--The Weed That Changed the World
A Guide to Occult Britain

Forty years ago the second of my three books about magic was published, A Guide to Occult Britain (Sidgwick & Jackson) covering a wide range of sites from Stonehenge to Loch Ness and King Arthur country to the witches of Pendle Hill. It is now available as an eBook on amazon.com.


John Wilcock
the Ojai Orange

Summer 2012

Burma right now!

(download Burma right now! (PDF))



also in the News...

Bakewell and Chatsworth 2013 (part 1)

Now on Boing-Boing!
Participating in the Harvard Psilocybin Project (Part Three)
November 21, 2013

The New York Years - Boing-Boing


October 22, 2011

The New York Years
An authorized comic book biography of John Wilcock, 
art by Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall

An authorized comic book biography of John Wilcock,
art by Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall

This IS a book length comic series on John Wilcock. People who enjoy focusing on underground and alternative media are occasionally familiar with John's work, but most often the response is "who's that?" Outside of small press historians and collectors, John remains very unknown. Which makes no sense, the more you learn about him. We're very excited about the opportunity to tell his story. Art for THE STORY OF JOHN WILCOCK is by me and co-conspirator Scott Marshall. Story comes from an extended and ongoing year-long interview with Wilcock, himself. The focus is John's years in New York, roughly 1954-1971.

(read more)


OjaiOrange No 61 - Burma - right now!

BURMA! right now! Download the latest 28 page issue of the Ojai Orange devoted entirely to Burma.

Burma right now!



January 2, 2011


John WIlcock at home in Ojai
Photo Credit: Carmen Smyth/News Press

A way with Andy Warhol : John Wilcock recalls life in iconic pop artist's inner circle
Marilyn McMahon, Staff Writer
Santa Barbara News Press

During a journalism career that began when he was 16, John Wilcock has interviewed celebrities — Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Milton Berle, Steve Allen and Bob Dylan, to name a few — was part of enigmatic pop artist Andy Warhol's intimate circle in the 1960s, traveled to exotic locations all over the globe, has written dozens of books ranging from frugal travel to magic, was one of five founders (Norman Mailer was one of them) of the Village Voice and co-founded Interview magazine (still in circulation) with Mr. Warhol.

Today, the 83-year-old writer, who has been described by others in his field as "a libertarian-anarchist" and "a talented Bohemian counter-culture journalist," lives a tranquil life in a rustic cottage he rents on the outskirts of Ojai.

(click here to access the Santa Barbara News Press online where the full text of the article is available by subscription)




January, 2011


The Return of the World's Worst Businessman

Sneak Peak “The Return of the World's Worst Businessman”
Tyler Malone
PMc Magazine

John Wilcock is not what you would call a household name, and yet, he has had a measurable impact on art, journalism and culture-at-large over the last century. He co-founded Interview with Andy Warhol. He also was one of the co-founders of The Village Voice. He has written for countless print and online publications: Frommer’s, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Mail, The East Village Other, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Ojai Orange, etc. So why, one feels inclined to ask, is he relatively unknown? The answer seems simple: Wilcock has called himself “the world’s worst businessman.” This self-description makes sense because listening to him one hears the voice of a writer and a traveler and an enthusiast, not at all the voice of a businessman. In an age when it seems like everyone is all about business—art as a business, fashion as a business, everything as a business—it is refreshing to hear someone self-identify as “the world’s worst businessman.” It seems less like he has failed as a businessman and more like he has refused to become one. In addition to all his other accomplishments,...

(read more)



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jewcy Top 10 Art Books of 2010
Margarita Korol

This brilliant remake of a pop primary document is brought to you by John Wilcock, probably the Most Interesting Man in the World in the realm of writers. The Village Voice cofounder had also edited Warhol’s seminal mag Interview in the 70s. The fruit of the book is in the genius of its redesign. After 40 years out-of-print, the newly edited edition is “beautifully redesigned in a bright, Warholian palette” that surrounds a trail of Harry Shunk’s internationally Pop-art-informed camera as well as transcribed interviews with those closest to Warhol that ultimately make up an oral history of the artist’s Factory period. By looking at him through the scope of his peers, this book is the equivalent of Pittsburgh’s Warhol Museum in illuminating qualities of Warhol’s warped mirror on which our American culture was briefly reflected.

Said John Wilcock in explaining the book, “A lot of people really misunderstood him then and indeed still do, although there’s hardly a day when Andy’s name is not mentioned in the paper.” Especially interesting is the timing of Warhol’s booming popularity as it comes half a century after pop rushed the 60s, a period similar to our own with fluxes in economic, political, and civil rights climates.

(read more)




Monday, November 15, 2010

A Reader Comment from the recent New York Times Frugal Traveler post
RN—Sydney, Australia

Not only did John Wilcock shake up staid publishing in the USA, from the Village Voice to the East Village Other, his influence extended to several continents, including Australia & the UK, where - in his mild mannered way - he pushed the boundaries of image and speech. The counter culture was nothing but a dull puddle, until John kicked out the jams and ignited the Underground Press, which attracted absurd prosecutions, that of course boosted circulations. An unsung hero of the sixties,

indifferent to self promotion and the hoarding of gold, it is great to see John get a dash of recognition.

(read more)



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Budget Travel Pioneer on a Time When $5 a Day Was Real (Frugal) Money
nytimes.com: Frugal Traveler

by Seth Kugel
John Wilcock at the New York Times

It was the first handwritten letter I’d received in 5 years. Or maybe 10. Signed by John Wilcock, a man I’d never heard of, and postmarked Ojai, Calif., it was waiting for me when I returned from my Săo Paulo-to-New York summer trip. Mr. Wilcock wrote that he had been an assistant editor at The Times Travel section back in the 1950s, and had written the first editions of “Mexico on $5 a Day,” “Greece on $5 a Day” and “Japan on $5 a Day” for Arthur Frommer in the 1960s.

By George, I thought. This man was the original Frugal Traveler.

(read more)



available in print...

Manhattan MemoriesManhattan Memories
An Autobiography
by John Wilcock

"A GOOD WAY to describe John Wilcock is to say that he is a talented bohemian counter-culture journalist who once played a major role in the emergence of America’s underground press. Born 1927 in Sheffield, England, he left school aged 16 to work on various newspapers in England, and on Toronto periodicals before moving to New York City. There in 1955 he became one of the five founders of the Village Voice in which he and co-founder Norman Mailer wrote weekly columns. Wilcock called his column “The Village Square”, an intended pun. He and young Mailer were not quite friends, although Wilcock was at times annoyed, but always amused, by Mailer’s monstrous ego."

-From the preface of Manhattan Memories, by Martin Gardner
order from lulu.com
also available at amazon.com (in paperback or for your Kindle)
and other online booksellers




The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol

The Autobiography and Sex Life of AndyWarhol
by John Wilcock
Edited by Christopher Trela
Photographs by Shunk-Kender


Village Voice and Interview cofounder John Wilcock was first drawn into the milieu of Andy Warhol through film-maker Jonas Mekas, assisting on some of Warhol’s early films, hanging out at his parties and quickly becoming a regular at the Factory. “About six months after I started hanging out at the old, silvery Factory onWest 47th Street,” he recalls, “[Gerard] Malanga came up to me and asked, ‘When are you going to write something about us?’” Already fascinated by Warhol’s persona, Wilcock went to work, interviewing the artist’s closest associates, supporters and superstars. Among these were Malanga, Naomi Levine, Taylor Mead and Ultra Violet, all of whom had been in the earliest films; scriptwriter Ronnie Tavel, and photographer Gretchen Berg; art dealers Sam Green, Ivan Karp, Eleanor Ward and Leo Castelli, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Henry Geldzahler; the poets Charles Henri Ford and Taylor Mead, and the artist Marisol; and the musicians Lou Reed and Nico. Paul Morrisey supplied the title: The Autobiography and Sex Life of AndyWarhol was the first oral biography of the artist. First published in 1971, and pitched against the colorful backdrop of the 1960s, it assembles a prismatic portrait of one of modern art’s least knowable artists during the early years of his fame. The Autobiography and Sex Life is likely the most revealing portrait of Warhol, being composite instead of singular; each of its interviewees offers a piece of the puzzle that was Andy Warhol. This new edition corrects the many errors of the first, and is beautifully designed in a bright, Warholian palette with numerous illustrations. The British-born writer John Wilcock co-founded The Village Voice in 1955, and went on to edit seminal publications such as The East Village Other, Los Angeles Free Press, Other Scenes and (in 1970) Interview, with Andy Warhol.