The Hippie Museum

AsEverWas
Memoirs of a Beat Survivor

by Hammond Guthrie
Editor of The Captivating Third Page

Travel through the 60's with Hammond Guthrie, a multi talented and charismatic artist and writer as he hob knobs with some of the notables of the times , such as Allen Ginsberg, Carmen McRae, the Diggers and Richie Havens to name a few. His travels takes us to the "Hip Scene" in such places as San Francisco, Southern California, Tangiers and Amsterdam, as we learn of his colorful life, his art, his marriage, his thoughts and his drugs. Read what others have said about the book...........

Reviews by:

Ramon Sender Barayon
Skip Stone
Pam Hanna








Review by Ramon Sender Baryon

An absolute hip classic! Hammond has interacted with just about all the major players making the scene during the last half of the twentieth century. Plus, he can write. Cruising Hollywood on Bennies is a classic chapter, as well as living the high life in London. Frankly I don't have the time to write an in-depth review, but can only highly recommend the book for a delightful journey into a California-to-Europe psychedelic adventure from the POV of someone else's sparkling cortex. Well done, Hammond! Your book is a classic in post-gonzo reportage from the neon edge of consciousness. I can think of at least a dozen friends who'll devour your story happily!

Thanks for putting it all into your own affablly hallicinatory perspective. I wish you waterfalls of positive vibrations from She Who Manifests First and Cleans Up Last!
Ramon Sender Barayon
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AsEverWas: Memoirs of a Beat Survivor
by Hammond Guthrie
Review by
Skip Stone (Hippy.com)

The great beat writers encouraged many young people to discover true freedom for themselves, on the road. That road of self-discovery began in California for Hammond Guthrie when he took the "Acid Test", Ken Kesey and the Merry Prankster's inspired rite of passage into the psychedelic era. He was soon following the hip beat from San Francisco to London, Amsterdam, Paris and Morocco. Guthrie was befriended along the way by the likes of Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. Such legendary literary figures helped inspire him and expose his work to a generation whose minds were suddenly open to new and unusual experiences.

Trying his hand at Brion Gysin's (and Burrough's) "cut-up" style, Guthrie found his audience with unique, experimental performances, combining the spoken word, music, strange sounds and psychedelic visuals. He was part of the avant-garde San Francisco performance art scene of the 1960s. He dabbled with innovative media and helped stage some very unusual events.

"One of my solo Events ("PigNailleon") got us thrown out of the church for quite a while. During the "Abstract Expressionist Ritual," I mixed a gallon of sow's blood into my PigMents and then painted a large canvas, using a number of freshly butchered pig's feet for brushes. When the work was complete, I nailed the collection of colored feet to the canvas, and the event was over. (Almost!) Somehow unbeknownst to me, my PigArt was left inside the church, and a few days later I got a call from the irate pastor, who demanded to know what "the ungodly smell" was. I went over to the Intersection, where the chapel air was now permeated with the odor of rotting pig meat. I tried to explain what had happened but the irate reverend went over his top, calling me "a demented artist with distinctly Pagan tendencies" and announced that I was summarily "banned" (albeit temporarily) from my own theater." Living in London and Amsterdam broadened Guthrie's artistic avenues, and with the encouragement and support of several established artists, he was able to pursue his real talent, painting. He presented several successful shows in Amsterdam, where his "demented" art "with Pagan tendencies" was evidently perfectly acceptable. But life never works out as planned, and just as his art career takes off; his marriage takes a dive. The resulting confusion and despair managed to shoot holes in Guthrie's self-confidence and career plans. Refusing to give up on his marriage he let his wife dabble in extramarital affairs that only served to drive him further into despondency. And like many of us from the heady 60s, Guthrie tried to find solace in drug abuse. His story reverberates for those of us who have intimate knowledge of the ego wrenching insecurities such abuse encourages. The downward spiral can lead to disaster, but alas Guthrie was lucky to have many friends who were there to help. In Amsterdam, Guthrie was fortunate to cross paths with Kees Hoekert and Jasper Grootveld, two of the most interesting characters to grace the canals of that beautiful city. He stumbled upon Kees' canal boat one frozen winter night, and was graciously offered accommodation and warm Dutch hospitality, including copious amounts of Dutch wiet (weed), which it turns out is Kees' and Jasper's ongoing preoccupation. Guthrie unexpectedly stumbled upon the nascent Dutch cannabis scene, a by-product of the Provo movement. The Provo movement led to reforms and a change in government which liberalized Dutch society, making it possible for marijuana to be grown, sold and consumed without fear of incarceration or ostracism. His newfound friends are now legends in cannabis history and Guthrie's stories about them only add to the legends. Being around the wholesale cannabis trade inevitably led Guthrie to meet and befriend quite a number of drug smugglers. His tell-tale trail leads us to Morocco, where he and his estranged wife help free five drug smugglers including his wife's lover. The story is replete with Berbers, kif, hashish, decadent Tangier, bribing judges and dreadful Moroccan prisons. In his memoir, AsEverWas, Guthrie reveals a fascinating tale of Beat/Hippie life including free love, drugs, smugglers and the incredibly creative art milieu of the period. His encounters with the legends from that period are some of the highlights of the book. His reflections and insights into his own life are deep and meaningful, reflecting the prevailing anomie many of us felt during that period of social change. As a beat-influenced scribe, Hammond Guthrie does that cohort justice, with an easy and breezy writing style. Not unlike a "young Kerouac" as he was once described. In fact, AsEverWas is an important work, connecting a lot of counter-culture dots, yielding a psychedelic collage of people, events and ideas that inspired a generation.
Skip Stone

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A LIFE ARTIST by Pam Hanna

Remember Woody Allen’s movie Zelig that places the chameleon-like Zelig in all the important places among all the major people of the history of the time? Insert "Hammond Guthrie" as Zelig in all these places from LA to London, from Amsterdam to Tangier and you’ll get an idea of the scope of this memoir. In reviewing it, the temptation is to reel off lists of the famous people that the author has known. But one has only to glance at the well-appointed index to see the illustrious names. The spectrum of his contacts – artists, architects, cartoonists, writers, musicians, film-makers and even scientists – boggles the mind. He has a talent for schmooozing with people from diverse cultures and persuasions, famous and infamous. He can be the hipster extraordinaire in L.A, the proper gentleman in London, the cutting edge artiste in Amsterdam, as well as the flamboyant "European with two wives" in Tangier. His adventures there read like a page from Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer or Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet (but with a more engaging spin).

Being all things to all people, he had his finger in every pie and his hand on the pulse of everything artistically innovative in the ‘60s and early ‘70s. In addition to being a painter, writer, musician and film-maker, he experimented with "…cinematic dissolve and juxtaposition of genre" in his "event rituals," tone poems and overdubbed happenings.

There are hilarious episodes, from getting a fake marine ID in Mexico to his elaborate and ultimately successful ruse to avoid the draft. Once he jumped out of a car he’d hitched a ride in when the driver told him it was stolen. He ditched the "supposed narcosi" the driver had given him behind the first bush he came to and "…to avoid the obvious, I ducked into the darkened courtyard of a quasi-subterranean establishment called the Fifth Estate…" where he met some people he would know for the rest of his life.

I most enjoyed the odd little serendipitous scenes such as the time when, still in school, but working for the summer with his high school band buddies at a Lake near Tahoe, Hammond met three Hell’s Angels who had descended on the town café, much to the perplexity of the waitress who made noises about closing at 9:30 a.m. When a smooth Latin voice intervened on his behalf, Hammond turned around to see "…three of the most ominous-looking human beings I had ever laid eyes on." After inviting them politely (he "knew enough to be very polite) to his band’s evening at the local lodge, one of them asked Hammond if he "…drank beer or smoked dope." Says Guthrie, "I told him I certainly drank beer and had ‘tripped out on LSD once," but hadn’t smoked any dope, which was the truth. (Never tell an Angel anything but the truth.") His "outlaw companions" cracked up at this. Then Hammond’s benefactor handed him his "senior member of the Hell’s Angels" club card saying that "…it might come in handy some day." It was signed, "Zorro."

Two years later, Guthrie saw a news article that identified the three "modern-day gladiators" that he’d met in his youth. More years later, flat broke in Barstow, CA "…where tumbleweeds go to die…" a biker wearing Angel colors roared up and Guthrie’s "speed-drenched brain" remembered Zorro’s "well-worn wallet card." He "…stumbled up beside the hairy behemoth" presented him with the card and asked politely for assistance. Whereupon, "…he sized me up for just a second, smiled as only an Angel from Hell can, and said, "Hop on little buddy and I’ll take you anywhere in the country you want to go."

Or how about the time that Lawrence Ferlinghetti handed him the original hand-written pages of Jack Kerouac’s "Scriptures of the Golden Eternity" or when Ginsberg handed him a Tibetan Dorje and "…a numbing energy surged through my arm and my hand spasmed out in front of me like a humanoid dowser’s wand!"

Guthrie met with William Burroughs in London, who helped in publishing his Belfast Insert which was an experiment in "cut/up writing." "Cut/up writing" explains the author, "is an extension of Tristan Tzara’s early Dada prose taken to a painter’s point of view and then reapplied to the written word. The resulting texts of combined structure and newly formed contents offer an unusual approach to the written space/time continuum." (There is a picture of the cover of Belfast Insert in the very interesting photo section of the book).

Of Emmett Grogan, Guthrie says: "I was especially enamored by his consciously plagiaristic use of Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kamphian Diabologue at the Roundhouse in London, during the "Dialectics of Liberation" event, a counter-conference of hip dignitaries. At first he was vigorously applauded for his oration and then people cried out in staunch indignation when he revealed the origin of the words."

And although Guthrie’s heartbreak at the loss of his wife to a drug smuggler was obviously real and excruciating, perhaps the subtext of his reaction was that the event served as an excuse not to take the plum of artistic success offered him by Willem Sandberg (his mentor and friend in Amsterdam) and limit himself to painting alone but to remain free and flexible.

All these experiences are liberally laced with copious amounts of pharmacopoeia of every kind from grass and hash to hallucinogens to amphetamines so these pages are compressed life. Elegant as champagne and caviar, rich as eggnog and cheesecake, the memoir runs cinematic-like reels through the imagination. Since the author’s life is not over yet (his book begins and ends with his decision to kill himself) it’s fitting that the very last words on the last page are "to be continued."

One can only hope that the words mean just that and that in the fullness of time, we will be treated to the rest of the story. It will be well worth waiting for.
Pam Hanna



The Hippie Museum