Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brenton Clutterbuck on the Illuminatus! play

Mr.  Clutterbuck, "Outside the house where Adam Weishaupt was busy conspiring with his Illuminati pals."

Brenton Clutterbuck has posted another episode of his "Chasing Eris" Odyssey, his ongoing worldwide quest to discover the intersection of Discordianism and popular culture, which he plans to turn into a book.

The new episode discussed the young Australian's trip to Brighton and London, where he nosed around for information about Ken Campbell's theatrical production of Illuminatus! back in the 1970s. He sheds new light on a story that will be familiar to many who read this blog, rummaging around in the National Theatre Archive's collection of documents about the production to find nuggets like these:

I pulled out several newspaper articles. Most were reviews, but a small number stood out in particular as bizarre oddities that contributed an additional layer of weirdness to the already larger than life Illuminatus! saga.

One article was titled “Horror Mission of an Actor Obsessed with the Occult” from the Daily Mail, dated September 7, 1982 about Illuminatus! cast member Chris Taynton whose roles included the pimp Carmel and Robert Putney Drake, the head of the American Crime Syndicate. The article told of how Taynton, believing he had been overcome by alien forces, attacked Adrena Smith, a 57-year-old lady, by stabbing her multiple times. He blinded her in one eye, and killed her pets, including cutting the ears off her dog. Taynton’s involvement in the Illuminatus! play was raised in court by his defense lawyer, Patricia May, specifically in regard to the play’s supernatural and occult themes.

“Having taken an extremely exciting part in a somewhat bizarre play he became more and more involved in the principles that were propounded in that play,” said May.

There are other strange anecdotes, with balancing information about performers who went on to a better fate.


michael said...


Chris Taynton's life post-RAW now joins those of Kenneth Lamar Noid and Karl Koch. (And maybe Thornley?)

Noid held up a fast food restaurant in Atlanta and a "Come out! We got ya surrounded!" situation with the cops ensued. Noid was pissed at the pizza chain that had a character called The Noid in it. So he held up one of their franchises. He told the cops he wanted $100,000, a helicopter, and a copy of RAW's The Widow's Son.

Koch was the German hacker "Hagbard" who'd read Illuminatus! at least 50 times, and hacked into to the KGB and the Pentagon. He was an early member of the Chaos Computer Club. Both sides - US and USSR -should be attacked. Because of Discordia, or something. The German thriller film "23" was made about him. (RAW makes a brief cameo appearance.) Clifford Stoll wrote a book on Koch. Koch was found dead in a car parked in a remote area in Germany on May 23. As far as I know, the case hasn't been definitively solved. Among the suspects: CIA/KGB/drug dealers/MI5, or it could have been suicide. In a 1991 interview with James Wallis, RAW says, "The German police ruled it a suicide, but everybody in Germany that I know tells me that the CIA bumped him off. They haven't come looking for me yet."

If anyone happens to be reading this who has NOT yet read any of Robert Anton Wilson or the eldritch _Illuminatus!_ Trilogy, please be forewarned: if you decide to take up and read, my friend, do so with all your wits.

This has been a Public Service Announcement.

Even that might not save you.

fuzzbuddy said...

I look forward to Brenton's book!

Eric Wagner said...

Wilson's books, despite their non-canonical status, have an amazing ability to transform the lives of sombunall of their readers.

michael said...

Great Mother of Clutterbuck! After I commented, above, I wondered if anyone would think I was pulling their leg over the Kenneth Lamar Noid story.

Just now, I was reading BoingBoing for the first time in three days. And I found this:


Thorfinn Axelson said...

Domino’s executives hired an external marketing firm, Group 243...The result? The “Noid.”
On January 30, 1989, a man named Noid wielding a .357 magnum revolver stormed into a Domino’s in Atlanta, Georgia and took two employees hostage. For five hours...he was half of 45 years old...

"If you see 23, you think about Michael Jordan," he told The Plain Dealer. “I feel like no NBA player should wear 23. I'm starting a petition, and I've got to get everyone in the NBA to sign it.”

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