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The Fumit – EA Vol. X


Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. X …

Minted by the Bank of Avalonia (motto: ‘A Unique Fiscal Experience’[1]), the fumit is the currency of choice within Avalonia. The clandestine printing and circulation of these illicit bills began immediately after the declaration of the Free State of Avalonia – see Avalonian Independence Party – at Worthy Farm, Pilton, on June 23rd 1985.

The fumit is named after the droppings of a mythical beast hunted through the forests by King Pellinore (pace the legends of King Arthur and friends) … droppings which were the only physical evidence of the animal that he was ever doomed to see.

Although regarded by most observers as a natural and inevitable consequence of Avalonian statehood, some suspect that the minting of fumits is actually a plot by A.P.P.L.E to bring down the global capitalist system … see the Avalonian Book of the Dead for more details.

When proffered for use outside of Avalonia, fumits are often viewed with suspicion by shop staff and the like. They see the Dragon of Avalon motif and note the Bank of Avalonia imprimatur, yet take pause at the portrait of the Queen wearing what appear to be wire-frame, National Health Service spectacles. The travellers from Avalonia remain calm in the face of such hesitation, assuring the vendor of the currency’s legal status: “It’s a bit different, but really just like the Scottish pound note”.

It should be noted that, in 1994, a new, rival currency began circulating in Avalonia. Named the GEBO, after the runic symbol (X) for giving and receiving, this challenger to the fumit sparked a heated debate, mirroring the arguments then taking place outside Avalonia concerning the pound versus the single European currency (the Euro).

Die-hard Avalonians maintained that their whole sovereign independence would be threatened if the GEBO was allowed to make headway. Others believed that “progress was progress” and that if Avalonia wanted to join the modern world it must bend with the times, knuckle down to reality and embrace the GEBO fulsomely.

This line of argument proved a disaster, however, since few Avalonian Glastafari – if any – had ever expressed the remotest soupçon of desire with regard to joining the modern world.

“Join the modern world?”, said one green-skinned eco-pagan contemptuously, summing up popular feeling, “I’d sooner have dinner with a Hedge Monkey” (see here).

With that pronouncement, all debate fizzled out and the long-term future of the fumit was secured.

[1] See http://www.unique-publications.co.uk

Greenlands Farm (2)

Greenlands Farm

In the town of Glastonbury, paranoia about the travellers’ camp at Greenlands Farm – see Greenlands Farm – Part 1 – was reaching fever pitch, for the “Children of the Rainbow Gathering” was now gathering pace.

As far as stout Glastonburgers were concerned, Woodstock II was imminent. As far as the police were concerned, the Monmouth Rebellion had returned to haunt them and nervous reconnaissance patrols fanned out across the Somerset Levels, seeking anything suspicious … such as crowds of peasants waving pitchforks.

The next day, in a muddy Sedgemoor rhyne[1], a police scout found a book by John Michell called Stonehenge, its Druids, Custodians, Festivals and Future. It listed an exotic medley of mysterious groupings that claimed a behind-the-scenes “involvement” with the annual Stonehenge Festival. With this discovery, a frisson of fear tingled through the higher echelons of the local constabulary. Their colleagues in Wiltshire had only recently suppressed the Stonehenge Festival, and the suspicion now was that these hitherto unknown groups might also be coming to Greenlands, bent on revenge. Their anxiety was heightened when forensic examination of the book revealed minute traces of Bronze Age burial-mound.

The orders were hurriedly changed. Smock-wearing peasants were now to be almost ignored. The new search was for any and all of the following: the Magical Earth Dragon Society, Polytantric Circle, the Ancient Order of Pagans, Pendragon Circle, the Union of Ancestor Worshippers, Devotees of the Sun Temple, Mother Earth Circle, the Family, the Tibetan-Ukrainian Mountain Troupe, the Church of Immediate Conception, the Tipi Circle, the Wallies, the Free High Church and the Rainbow Warriors.

Most of the constables griped and grumbled at this. How were they supposed to spot such people? A peasant is easy to recognise, but what might an Ancestor Worshipper look like, or a priest of Immediate Conception? Some muttered darkly that the only “Wallies” to be found were those in the rank of Chief Inspector and upwards.

Trawling books on everything from the Arabian Nights to The Fabulous Legends of Chimera, police artists issued streams of fanciful drawings based on what were called “mytho-type profiles”. Jungian psychologists and professors of anthropology were flown in by helicopter to give advice; and two junior constables went missing, lost on the moors, never to be seen again until much later (in fact several years later, but that’s another story). However, and as history records, it was all to no avail.


Catholics – EA. Vol. XI


The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia XI …

Catholics in Avalonia, like Catholics everywhere, look to their parish priest for guidance.

The parish priest – usually called Father O’Malley – looks in turn to his Bishop. The Bishop looks to the Cardinal. The Cardinal looks to the Pope. The Pope looks to God …

God looks embarrassed.

God’s embarrassment is not surprising, since Catholics believe that every sperm is sacred. They also believe that all Catholics are cool hipsters – i.e. there are no wankers amongst them.

Restorationist Christians – EA Vol. XV

Alfred the Great

The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia XV ….

Restorationist Christians pray for the restoration of what they see as true royalty – the Saxon line of King Alfred the Great – to the throne of England.

In Avalonia they hold regular outdoor services in the Athelney marshes, one-time fortress hiding place of Alfred. But their main HQ is the King Alfred Orthodox Christian Centre on Glastonbury’s Fisher’s Hill.

A window in their HQ displays a rather lurid postcard. It depicts the Resurrection – or “Restoration” as they call it – where those who are Right enter Buckingham Palace, whilst those who are Wrong are cast by Alfred’s descendants into a fiery pit that bears more than a passing resemblance to the oven where the King is said to have burnt his cakes.

Greenlands Farm (1)

Greenlands Farm

Soon after moving to Avalonia I bought a copy of the local newspaper, intending to scan the “Accommodation To Let” adverts. But I got no further than the front page, which expressed shock, horror and outrage over the arrival of “The Convoy” [see Medieval Brigands] at a place called Greenlands Farm.

I almost fell over. It couldn’t be true! No! I’d just escaped from all that [see Molesworth Green Gathering]! It was done with, finished! I’d only been in Glastonbury a few days – surely these people weren’t actually following me around the country?

It had to be a mistake. Maybe a cub reporter had got it wrong? Perhaps it was only a couple of gaily-painted, horse-drawn wagons arriving in Glastonbury at the appointed seasonal moment, gently following the ancient route of the Gypsy Switch, just as their forebears had done since time immemorial. A few cooking pots, the curl of wood smoke and two freshly-skinned rabbits. Surely that’s all there was to it. And in the hysteria surrounding Stonehenge and the recent “Battle of the Beanfield”, some local resident, newly-retired from Surbiton probably, had maybe panicked, picked up the phone and yelled, “the Convoy are coming, the Convoy are coming – I can see the snow on their unlaced boots!”

Needing to find out the truth, I set off to search for Greenlands Farm and check out this wild story.

Having walked through shady Wick Hollow and skirted the Tor to my right, I passed a couple of local farmers who were leaning on a fence, anxiously chewing straws and clearly agitated by the news, apparently just in, that a mysterious Swami [see Swami Bharmi’s Ashram Acolytes] had elected to join the burgeoning encampment.

“Whatev’r be ‘e thinkin’ arv”, said the grizzled sod-buster to his neighbour.

“Eee bain’t thinkin”, replied the other, “tain’t thinkin’ ad aowl, an tha’z the poind zee …. ‘eee bain’t thinkin’ o’ nuthin’. They hippos caowls it ‘no moind’, or zum zuch narnzenze.”

“Ar”, said the first, “tha’z the buggher. Oi rairck’n you’m roit there.”

As I drew closer to the hamlet of Wick itself – and thence Greenlands Farm – my thoughts wandered back to my first encounter with The Convoy, when I was living in the city of Bath. They’d arrived out of the blue, occupying the rugby fields on the edge of the city. The local paper reported outbreaks of hepatitis, the rugby fixtures were cancelled, the city council met in emergency session and the populace seemingly teetered on the edge of panic: Genghis and his Mongol hordes were poised outside the city walls, ready to sweep down upon us.

As dusk fell, I had walked out along Bath’s London Road to see for myself. Getting nearer, I heard the sound of voodoo drum beats … dum dum dum Bah, dum dum dum Bah, dum dum dum Bah. Smoke trailed upwards. The light from what seemed like hundreds of camp fires flickered in the sultry gloom. I continued onwards. The drums were very loud now. Dum dum dum Bah, dum dum dum Bah, dum dum dum Bah. As I turned onto the Rugby Field track, there it was – a huge sign in lurid, dripping red paint: “Welcome to Doom City” ….

With an effort I snapped back to my present surroundings. The birds were twittering, the hedgerows were ablaze with flowers and the winding lane led over a cattle-grid towards the entrance to Greenlands Farm. Here, to my huge relief, was no Doom City, but instead a run-down 43 acre farm, including sun-dappled apple orchard, clucking hens, a small, peaceful scattering of benders and buses, and the portable ashram of His Holiness Sri Ananda Jacaranda Swamiji Bharmiji Ji …

The original aim at Greenlands had been to establish a semi-monastic, land-based Christian community (the first near Glastonbury since the dissolution of the Abbey under Henry VIII, 450 years ago). The farm was run on the principle of kindness to animals. And the owner, being short of labour and farming expertise, had opened the farm to anyone – ideally pilgrims to Glastonbury – able to help on the farm in exchange for a place to live.

This, by a long and tortuous route, had eventually led to the midnight arrival, in twos and threes, of Rainbow Fields (Village) on the Road [1] and a few other assorted “Convoy” types. The fuse – or Wick – had been lit. What became known as ‘The Hippy Wars’ had begun, and with it a 24-hour police watch on the farm.

In the next 26 weeks this titanic struggle was to feature no less than 21 times in the front page headlines of either (and usually both) the Western Gazette or the Central Somerset Gazette. It was indeed an epic saga, a bit like The Archers[2], conveniently serialised in weekly parts: “The Greenlanders – an everyday tale of country folk”.

Initially, at the time of my first visit, there were only a small number of travellers at Greenlands. The Swami, however, from his long years in the mountains, had learnt to think big. Quickly adopting the appropriate lingo, he announced through his many acolytes a “Children of the Rainbow Gathering” in the “Free State of Avalonia”. The news spread like wildfire. A further 300 travellers arrived and the town was gripped by hysteria – or was it the other way around?

Seizing the opportunity, one of the new residents at Greenlands announced a “Festival Organiser’s Forum” – although soon afterwards, and given the number of anti-organiser ‘anarchist- travellers’ by then arriving at the farm, this event was hurriedly renamed “Festival Forum for a Future” … but it was too late. As the initiator later wrote (by then a broken if wiser man): “… we opened with a session called Organisation & Anarchy. This was perhaps a mistake.”

Sri Ananda Jacaranda was content to let the chaos flow around him. When pressed by reporters he smiled serenely and described life in the Greenlands’ orchard as “muddy fun”. When pressed even further, he raised his hand to quell the general hub-bub and said, “If you push something hard enough it will fall over”. The assembled press scribbled furiously, evidently expecting more, but His Holiness stepped into the ashram and would not come out, despite repeated cries of “Please Mr. Jacaranda, give us a statement”.

This stand-off continued for some hours, but the Swami’s aloofness only added to the density and fervour of the media pack outside, especially since news had now reached them from the slopes of Glastonbury Tor of his earlier pronouncement (i.e. “Nothing Once Known is Never Forgotten”).

Eventually, just as the sun was sinking, a folded slip of paper appeared from under the ashram portal. Whooping with excitement, the nearest hack scooped it up. “What’s it say? Read it! Read it!” came the cries. In the gathering gloom of dusk, the reporter cleared his throat and stood up straight, trembling slightly. A great sense of history and drama washed suddenly over him. He unfolded the paper and, peering at the single, scrawled line, his voice rang out across the hushed ranks, “Everything You Know Is Wrong” …

But all this and more was yet to unfold as I meandered through the orchard, where the tranquil whispering of leaves gave no inkling of the dark passions to come … [see Greenlands Farm Part 2]

[1] The name adopted by remnants of the ‘Rainbow Fields Village’ following their eviction from Molesworth air base [see Molesworth Green Gathering].

[2] A long-running radio drama series here in the UK.

Elementary Time Travel – EA. Vol. XXIII

Time travel

Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. XXIII …

The Reading Organisation for Research into Elementary Time Travel (R.O.R.E.T.T) is attached to the Faculty of Parapsychology in the University of Avalon (UoA). It is the only UoA-affiliated organisation to issue exam-results in advance of the actual exams, depressing though this is for some of the students.

In R.O.R.E.T.T’s own words, their research involves: “… the study of Precognition .. its practical uses for political purposes …”

Needless to say this research has attracted the attentions of MI5 and the like, particularly since the very existence of Avalonia is a politically sensitive issue for the UK government. However, all attempts to infiltrate R.O.R.E.T.T have so far failed, since the identity of the would-be infiltrators is known to members “ahead of time” as it were (or will be), before the agents themselves have even been chosen … and in one case even before the agent had been born.

The security services have struggled in vain to resolve this paradox, in one instance even lying to themselves about their own agent’s true identity in a desperate attempt to circumvent precognition. This might have worked, except that when the agent in question attempted to contact his masters they refused to accept his credentials, charged him with impersonating a government official and filed his report under “Deliberate Misinformation”.

R.O.R.E.T.T’s occasional seminars on “Psychic Ecology” are sought after with particular eagerness, with competition for places being especially keen amongst far-sighted environmentalists and visionary Greens. Indeed, seminar places are reserved so far ahead of any advance publicity that the seminar leader has given up actually choosing the seminar dates herself and merely goes along with the inevitable.

R.O.R.E.T.T has a sister organisation called R.O.R.A.T.T (the Reading Organisation for Research into Advanced Time Travel), but of this we do not now write further for reasons that will always have been obvious to some.

R.O.R.A.T.T members – and you know who you are, or know who you will be – can appreciate the subtle rationale for this discretion. Anyone else wishing to know more will need to enrol with R.O.R.E.T.T in the first instance (and R.O.R.A.T.T in the second instance), or else read the appropriate entries in Vol. XXIV of the Encyclopaedia Avalonia, should this ever be published.

The Guild of Immortalists – EA Vol. III


Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. VIII …

The Guild of Immortalists cleave to the notion of physical immortality. Believing death to be a mistake, they campaign endlessly for its abolition and once broached the subject with a local Member of Parliament … but discussions broke down almost immediately when, as a committed Conservative, he made clear his views on bringing back the rope.

At social gatherings Immortalists have a tendency to panic when the chit-chat turns to cyclic patterns of birth, life, death and rebirth. Thus they do not mix well with either Servants of the Goddess or Priestesses of the Nine-fold Muse, finding mention of Pluto and Persephone to be far from relaxing and being deeply unsettled by tales of harrowing hell, the Underworld, Hecate, midnight cross-roads and the Morrigan.

The Guild of Immortalists are rumoured to believe that having sex at least twice every 24 hours is a way of retarding the ageing process.

The Guild of Immortalists:

  • Tribal motto: “Deus Sex Machina”.
  • Tribal refuge: Windmill Hill and (Sundays only) the 4th Dimension
  • Favourite colour: Eternal Flame Red
  • Favourite TV programme: Dr. Who
  • Favourite films: Peter Pan; Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Favourite dangerous sport: Near Death Experiences
  • Favourite saying: “Never say Die”

Unexpected item in baggage area

Self checkout

There’s only so much a person can take, amidst the surround-sound of several automated check-out facilities, each endlessly blathering out their repetitive messages amidst a cacophony of bleeps and bongs.

Worn out by several times having had to “Please call for an assistant” and being advised that “Help is on the way”, I’d finally finished scanning in all my purchases and had come to the end-game.

“Select payment method”, came the instruction. I looked hopefully for a screen-button labelled ‘Theft: no payment method applicable’ … but it wasn’t there.

Then came my next visit.

“Please place your item in the baggage area”, said the machine. I complied, with a strange grin on my face.

“Unexpected item in baggage area”, it said, just before my foot smashed in the console screen. The nearby shoppers edged away.

“Yes”, I shouted back, “it’s an unexpected bomb that will blow your e-brains all the way to that big supermarket in the sky”. The nearby shoppers scattered.

“Approval needed”, chirruped our e-friend in reply, sounding somewhat peeved.

“That’s where you’re wrong”. I laughed. “You’ve got thirty seconds before it’s goodnight vienna.”

“Have you swiped your Nectar card?”, came the surprisingly cheery response.

This gave me momentary pause. Might as well, I mused, there’s still time and it’d be a shame to lose all those points.

I swiped, then ran like hell.

Over my shoulder, across the rapidly expanding distance, I heard ….

“Thankyou for using …”


The Glastonbury Carnival – EA Vol. XX


Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. XX …

Ah yes … the annual “Glastonbury Carnival”, much enjoyed by stout Glastonburgers[1].

To most people the word “carnival” conjures up images of people dancing in the streets, sultry night air, wild music and even wilder abandon. This is something of a contrast with the bizarre phenomenon that arrives in Glastonbury in the middle of each November. People come from far and wide to see it. Crowds of people, up to 100 million strong, line the streets, muffled to the eyebrows, their pinched and frozen faces seeming even whiter in the reflected glare of the ten billion light bulbs that edge and adorn the processional, tractor-drawn floats.

Each float blasts out a different song – usually “Tie a Yellow Ribbon”, “If I Was Rich Man” or one of Abba’s “Worst Hits” – and these raucous sounds compete both with each other and the yammering generators that are towed behind each float. No one in the crowd dances, for there is no room to move and you wouldn’t want to dance to these songs anyway. Besides, Glastonburgers – especially the stout ones – rarely dance and certainly not in public on an icy-cold High Street. Perhaps they are simply overwhelmed, pushed into hypnotic trance, by the sheer volume of sound and light. The exhaust fumes from 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel must also take their toll.

In fact the only people who dance are those on some of the floats. This “dancing” usually consists of a short sequence of vaguely synchronised movements, about 20 seconds for the complete routine, endlessly repeated over and over to the same jingle as the float grinds slowly along its bulb-lit way. The whole procession takes over two hours to pass. That’s a lot of 20-second dance-routines per float, more than 360 to be precise.

Each float has a different focus and judges award a prize for the best one. It’s a curious thing, but many of the themes seem to centre on sado-masochism. Witness, for example, a float called ‘The Flight of the Valkyries’: as Wagner’s dramatic music poured forth, a variety of scantily-clad men and women lustily whipped other scantily-clad men and women who were chained to poles on the ‘ship’s deck’. The crowd was suitably stunned, but this was possibly shock from the absence of an Abba song.

Preparations for this grand Carnival begin long beforehand, when the floats begin to take shape. The Glastonbury Times[2] has described how:

“All over the region miniature building sites ring to the sound of hammers and portable radios far into the night, and in a couple of months … traffic on the main roads will become chaotic as crocodiles of enormous edifices, their secrets coyly draped, lumber painfully up hill and down dale, followed patiently by vehicles large and small, unable to go about their lawful business until the sacred carnival floats reach their destination.”

The usual result, the article noted, was “Thirty or so Young Farmers doing a step-and-kick routine dressed as golliwogs.”

[1] Not be confused with Glastafari.

[2] Published by Unique Publications.

Methodists – EA Vol. IX


The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. IX ….

Methodists are just that – methodical. In their systematic search for Truth they leave few stones unturned and are therefore not welcome at Stonehenge.

There is method even in their madness, and for this reason the “method school” of acting is named after them.

This should not be confused with the “rhythm method” of Catholic thespians, who will only agree to full performances at certain times of the month, tending otherwise to withdraw from the stage before the play has reached its climax.

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