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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Prop Anon on Robert Shea

Prop Anon aka Gabriel Kennedy is hard at work on a biography of Robert Anton Wilson, and he was interviewed in 2017 by R.U. Sirius. I have permission from R.U. Sirius to reprint this bit:  

R.U.S: Robert Shea — coauthor of Illuminatus Triology — sort of ended up being “the quiet one”. What can you tell us about Shea and he and Bob’s relationship?

PA:Wilson and Shea became fast friends at Playboy. They would hang out together at the bar on payday. They, and their wives, would all hang out, smoke weed, watch TV or listen to records and think of funny sketches that made each other laugh. They had a lot in common: Both raised Irish Catholic, both left the Church young, both seeking to become full time free-lance writers. They both really dug into the Anarchist perspective. After Illuminatus!, Shea went on to start an Anarchist newsletter called No Governor, which Wilson contributed to. Wilson had a talent for collaborating with like-minded artists and thinkers; his and Shea’s collaboration resulted in Illuminatus! and that was itself a further collaboration out of their involvement with The Discordian Society. The two continually spoke of writing their sequel, Bride of Illuminatus, which they barely started before Shea was diagnosed with cancer. Shea’s death left Bob deeply distraught. Michael Shea, described seeing Bob at his father’s funeral looking shook by the whole event. Bob’s eulogy, Chimes at Midnight, published in Cosmic Trigger vol. III, written shortly after Shea provides a glimpse into Bob’s thoughts about his dead friend.

I also emailed Prop and asked if there was anything about Shea he wanted to share. He wrote back, "What seemed cool about Shea was that during the late 60s into the early 70s he got heavy into Anarchism, alongside RAW.

"Not only did he create his own anarchist newsletter, No Governor, he also was a regular contributor to the SRAF newsletter."

You could do worse than to follow Mondo 2000 on Twitter, and I noticed the other day that the R.U. Sirius book Counterculture Through the Ages is only $5 for the Kindle edition. 

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