It's Autumn. "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness," as John Keats put it. It is also apple-picking season.
And then he brings out the star-feature from the cupboard. It's a collection of trees made out of green and brown crepe paper on a painted cardboard base. 'Cobham Woods,' he says, with a grin stretched across his gnome-like face. "I 'aven't figured where to put it yet...'
I wrote for Mixmag, a dance magazine, between 1996 and 1998, on the back of my book about rave culture, Fierce Dancing. These three stories feature my good friend Steve Andrews, the Bard of Ely. Enjoy
Politics and dancing don't mix. But there are times when you have to take time out to reflect, or you may wake up to find that there's no music left to dance to, and that dancing has become a crime...
It is in the interests of all Insurance companies to keep you waiting and to not accept liability. That's their job. They take the money, but they don't like giving it back...
Sacrificial ritual is liberating and probably the oldest religion on the planet, says recent money-burning convert Christopher J Stone
I all-hailed my cup of tea, drinking it down quickly. I bought another one, and all-hailed that too, clasping the mug in my hands with a holy feeling of relief and joy
When he lost his flat, writer CJ Stone decided to go on the road. How did he cope with life in the slow lane?
My ghost stories seem to lack punch. Steve went to bed, and had a really nice night's sleep. And that's all there is. He says he had a better night's sleep than he normally does.
In the centre of Derbyshire, there nestles a model village of the 19th century, where life now often ends at nine
"A woman had been listening in with that look of mild disdain that is so characteristic of the English. Her face said it all"
Anyone can enter the circle. Anyone can preach. Anyone can say a prayer. Anyone can let their voice be heard
Tarot as Picasso might have painted it
"Sparkbrook". The name gives an image of a jolly little stream sparkling in the sunlight. Instead of which you have a view of grubby motorcycle workshops and shops selling car parts
A collection of CJ Stone's columns and articles for the Independent, 1997-1999
There is a characteristic Brummie look. It's a cross between a smile and a sneer, a lip-curl of amused disbelief, like a cynic who doesn't even believe in his own cynicism
We drank Spanish Brandy instead and a bottle of my Dad's home made Elderberry wine. So much for his bad stomach
From The Trials of Arthur Revised Edition: In Memory of Pixi Morgan, a good friend, died 6th Feb 2016.
There has been a quiet revolution in the way we say goodbye to our loved ones. CJ Stone investigates
Remember those old communist countries, where you could vote for anything you liked, as long as it was communist? Here in Britain we can vote for anything we like as long as it’s neoliberalism.
An interview with Andrew Kerr, recently deceased. From The Last of the Hippies. "It was the most blessed thing in my life," says Kerr now. "The chance to live out a dream, a really crazy dream."
An extract from Fierce Dancing: Adventures in the Underground by CJ Stone
Transcript of an interview with Rupert and Claire Callender of the Green Funeral Company for a piece about alternative funerals for Kindred Spirit magazine.
My relationship with Israel started sometime in the late 60s: 1967 or 1968. It happened unexpectedly. We were reading the Merchant of Venice
There had been free festivals before, but none of them were as overtly political as the Windsor Free Festival, so deliberately confrontational. It was crazy but it was brilliant at the same time...
It is our mortality which defines our love. It is the certainty of loss that gives our relationships their meaning. If there are immortal beings in the universe they would know less than we do
An extract from Fierce Dancing: remembering the anniversary of an infamous day in British history.
Saying you are King Arthur is one thing; using the myth for political ends, standing on the front-line of the eco-wars, getting arrested, taking on the government… that is something else.
As spiritual people, are we obliged to protest against injustice? CJ Stone examines the case for the spiritual sphere making a political stand. From Kindred Spirit magazine.
Personal reminiscences of my meetings with Tony Benn.
Gandhi called it Satyagraha, Truth Force. Martin Luther King called it Soul Force. It is mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita as Karma Yoga, Action Yoga. Or we could call in Engaged Spirituality.
The book is a dialogue between landscape and individual. Photographs of landscapes are interspersed with photographs of people. The impression you get is of landscapes looking out from people's eyes.
The book is full of stories of life on the road, of its joys and its hardships. And it is full of pictures too: of photographs and paintings. This is where the book really comes into its own: it is a phantasmagoria of gorgeous images, including many portraits of the central figures in this lost and...
There are two countries here. I am exploring both of them at the same time. There is the country of Britain... And then there is another country which is imposed on that: the country of the mind. And in this country, well everything is true.
Something real. Something hopeful. People putting themselves on the line for beauty and nature and living up to an ideal.
We have seen a massive redistribution of wealth, from the less well off to the wealthiest. The people who created the banking crisis have been rewarded, while the rest of us are being punished.
So there I am, at the wheel of the hire car, with the two biggest egos on the planet in the back: a man who thinks he’s King Arthur Pendragon, and another one who thinks he’s John the Baptist. It’s a wonder the car could pull the load, so overburdened was it with maniacal, self-proclaimed glory.
We've had weapons of mass destruction and the 45 minute claim, based upon reports by an Iraqi taxi driver. Likewise, many of the reports about Syria derive from a semi-detached house in Coventry
The Stonehenge Free Festival started in 1974. People had been meeting at Stonehenge for the solstice for decades before this. There are photographs of solstice-night celebrations dating back many years: to the early 20th Century at least.
So - where were we? Ah yes. In a field in Wiltshire just off the A344 about a mile or a mile and a half from Stonehenge, having just escaped death
The plot is very simple. Three members of a band, which had broken up 20 years ago, are travelling around Britain. It a quest. Only they aren’t allowed to listen to music on the way. And one of them is carrying a spade.
The word is zeitgeist. The spirit of the times. To have been around in any era, to have participated, even on a peripheral level, is to have absorbed some of its imperatives, some of its meaning.
To an insane person their insanity is perfectly normal. To the insane person, it is sanity which appears abnormal.
They are ripping up trees in Cheshire, in Bath, in Oxfordshire, in South Yorkshire, and in parts of London. They are probably ripping up trees near to you even now.
Winter solstice, Mayan calendar, climate change, daylight saving time & the Seaview Holiday Park in Swalecliffe.
May Day was a festival long before it was established as International Worker’s Day It has always caused fear in establishment circles due to its long-held association with drinking, dancing, and lewd behaviour.
How did he know my name? He was this dirty old tramp, almost on his last legs by the looks of it. I couldn’t remember ever having met him before.
The same techniques which are used to sell us hair gel or lifestyle options can also used to sell us war. It is to do with the management of perceptions. Human beings are not rational creatures.
Every time money circulates we pay tax on it. But not public tax, to pay for public services. Private tax to pay for banker’s bonuses.
At what point did the European Union – consisting of 27 states and 500 million people - give its sovereignty away to a small number of private companies operating out of Wall Street?
Kiss the Sky is a novel set against the backdrop of the free party and rave scene of the nineties. It is written in the first person, in the present tense, and has an urgency and a vitality that makes it hard to put down.
The magazine appears bi-monthly and is considered to be the UK's leading guide to Mind, Body and Spirit.
There’s something about Stonehenge. It’s buried in the soil around here. It’s carved into the stones. It’s marked out in the landscape. It’s in the air you breathe.
CJ Stone reveals how a neuroscientist's research into consciousness lead him to take vast quantities of LSD and ketamine in his invention - the first floatation tank
Christmas: It is a Christian thing. It is a Northern thing. It is a pagan thing. It is a Celtic thing. It is a European thing. It is a human thing. You cannot ignore it.
I’m not sure you will catch sight of Satan wandering the aisles of Tesco, pushing a shopping trolley, forked tail draped loosely over one arm, while he picks out bottles of Christmas sherry from the shelves. You will, however, find Mammon there.
The phrase “the manufacture of consent” was originally used by Walter Lipmann in his book Public Opinion. In fact the term “public opinion” is a euphemism for propaganda, since the book is about the control and manipulation of public opinion, not about attempting to follow it.
In Amanae we invite the demons in from the shadows, and into our consciousness, and from there the demons lose their power and integrate into the light of who we are.
And even after the children grow up and have children of their own, this picture will live on, with those playful shouts of joy still echoing in the other room on that Halloween night so long ago.
The word “oligarchy” is from the Greek. It means rule by the few. The few are a political and economic elite who cream off the wealth for themselves. What we have is a form of semi-skimmed democracy
Then would I never tire, Janet, In Elfish land to dwell, But aye, at every seven years, They pay the tithe to hell; And I am so fat and fair of flesh, I fear 'twill be mysell.
The human race is in debt to itself for more money than there actually is in existence. Even if we all tightened all of our belts and starved ourselves to death to pay off the debt, we still couldn’t succeed. There just isn’t enough money to do it.
How come, despite the War on Drugs, there are many more drugs on the street?
A profoundly affecting bodywork treatment is gaining popularity around the world: CJ Stone went to find out how Amanae works
Bankers control the economy. Lawyers administer it for them. We’ve become a nation ruled by lawyers on behalf of bankers.
While the banks are busy looting the world in what is effectively a financial protection racket, forcing the sell-off of public assets at rock bottom prices, the defence of those assets becomes a priority for all concerned citizens.
In memory of Ham: "one-third bear, one-third wolf, one third Scooby-doo on roller-skates"
"I played that song so much that one day I had to kill the rubber ducky. I rearranged some of the lyrics to include the death of the duck, and I stabbed and stamped it into its shoe-box coffin. There were people in the crowd actually crying!"
In the social sphere, the financial sector is a kind of collective psychopath, destroying the health of the economy for its private gratification.
The way the Maltese tell the story, they were so pleased with the departure of the French that they decided to have a drink to celebrate. They invited the British in to join them. It was a very long drink. It lasted the better part of 200 years.
The art of propaganda is alive and well. How Britain’s most left-wing paper became its most right-wing paper overnight.
In memory of Brian Haw. The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference.
The strange history of England's most patriotic song, and other stories
This is the problem with David Icke. Is he a Nazi? No, he is not. Is he a racist? Emphatically not. But he is naïve, and he has – accidentally or otherwise – adopted a peculiarly right-wing view of history, the so-called Illuminati Conspiracy
Housing Benefit Hill was column which appeared in the Guardian Weekend between 1993 and 1996. In 1995 the editor commissioned Ian Pollock to illustrate the stories, and the results are shown here.
CJ Stone’s Britain was a series of travel columns which appeared in the Guardian Weekend Travel section between October 1996 and March 1998. It followed on from the very popular Housing Benefit Hill column which had appeared in the same magazine for the previous three years.
It’s where I ran away to when I ran away from home. I took my first drugs here: a cough medicine called Dimerol. The Guardian Weekend March 8 1997
Once, Burton-on-Trent meant beer, and beer, Burton-on-Trent. Where better, then, to down a pint? The Guardian Weekend February 7 1998
'No estuary is as headstrong, as wild and treacherous, or as breathtakingly spacious as the Humber'
“Every city should have a Kaiser Bill to keep the dope-smokers off the streets. The other drug on offer is scrumpy”. The Guardian Weekend 20th September 1997
There's an apocryphal story about Cardiff, that during the plague they buried some of the victims alive. People say that this is the reason that Cardiff has so many delinquents and messed up people wandering about
Stories first appeared in the Guardian Weekend starting September 11 1993. The final story appeared September 7th 1996. They were collected together in my book, Housing Benefit Hill & Other Places
Steve thought, “Van Morrison is friends with someone who lives in Ely. Well Van Morrison could be my friend too.”
Birmingham is a monument in praise of the car, all busy in the rush to get from here to there, wherever that is
'Did you know that William Wallace prayed for inspiration in Renfrew, and that he got it?' The Guardian Weekend February 8 1997
'English seaside resorts aren't fashionable any more but Weston-super-Mare is one of the fastest growing towns in the country' The Guardian Weekend December 6th 1997
I was in London for the Irvine Welsh gig at the Blue Note Club in Islington. I was the warm-up act. It's a new concept: literary readings at clubs
So unbelievable, it might just be true.' Awen Clement Kindred Spirit
Part autobiography, part history, part travelogue, this is an account of the author's experiences in that marginal realm, the mythical hippie's heavenly playground, and an investigation of how the hippies of his youth are faring in the modern world.
Malta is easy. It is probably the easiest place in the world, outside of the British Isles, for a British person to take a holiday.
Nothing is what it seems. On the one hand we are assured that Bin Laden’s death has made the world a safer place, on the other, that we should expect more violence as a consequence.
There is something deeply rural in Nigel's music, something local, something English in the old sense, like a cutting taken from an old tree and grown afresh, it calls upon a sense of another kind of England than the one currently on offer: a more authentic England, an England of the soul.
I let go. And the next thing my whole body was unfurling like a young fern in springtime. The tension disappeared and my body opened up.
"This revolution is not just Egyptian; it belongs to everyone in the world who believes in the possibility of a better way for us all to live together."
Out of this world - how taking the bus reveals the magic of Tenerife. CJStone and Steven Andrews go exploring on the island's ubiquitous green buses.
Columns from the Whitstable Gazette
Economics is not science. It is propaganda for the corporate sector. How politicians blind you with pseudo science in order to disguise the corporate rape of our economy.
Volcanic eruptions, giant comets, polar shifts and mass extinctions. Some people say that it is the end of the world as we know it.
The thing that struck me immediately – and which sent a shiver of recognition through me – was that line: “our contest is not against flesh and blood”. It’s the body he is talking about. This is an explicitly political statement...
I took my son to Stonehenge to watch the midsummer sunrise. It was the first time that he had seen the monument close up....
Do we choose the lives we lead? Do you need a good fate in order to believe things are fated. CJ Stone investigates... First published in Prediction magazine.
When my son Joe was growing up we lived next door to an illustrator of children's books and his family: his wife and their eight-year old son Frankie. She was a Buddhist...
William Blake said: What is now proved was once only imagined. Take Schrodingers Cat for instance....
It seems to me a self-evident truth that the universe has meaning: that it is not just a random process of accidental encounters clashing together to create this chaos we call existence.
One man‘s enlightenment is another man‘s Mills & Boon novel. You wouldn’t let just anyone become a brain-surgeon, would you? But almost anyone can become a guru. All you have to do is write a book.
I have had a number of lucid dreams in my life. Almost invariably it ends up with me attempting to fly...
“Qi” is an almost untranslatable term, but it could mean something like “life-energy”. So I like the idea of a life-energy which rides the wind. The Chinese have been using Feng Shui since the late Stone Age at least.
In Masaru Emoto’s case there is an added economic interest. Beautiful pictures sell more books. So it’s not clear how much bias has gone into the selection of the photographs
I started writing on HubPages on the 27th of May 2008.
Economics is easy to understand. It is work that makes wealth. It’s as simple as that
A review of Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation by Dr. Ian Stevenson.
Maybe fate is more like gravity than predestination. Maybe it’s this huge cosmic force which has a hold of us and which we can’t escape, but it doesn’t tell us what to do. It is large scale not small scale. It is about all of us, not just any one of us
You cannot test a subjective experience in the laboratory. But if millions of people report the same experience, then it clearly must mean something. And if people have been reporting this experience for thousands of years, then it must mean something more.
Should we make Noel Edmonds illegal? Does daytime TV drive you to heroin? I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
“Behold my friends, the spring is come; the Earth has gladly received the embraces of the Sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” Sitting Bull, Sioux Chief.
“S.H.E.N” stands for “Specific Human Emotional Nexus”. It is based on the notion of the biofield which Tony says permeates the body and is the medium through which emotions are experienced...
We were on the Pilgrim’s Way: the ancient pilgrimage route hemming the line of the North Downs through Kent and West Sussex, a long, wavering ribbon of battered tarmac and chalky track that stretches out between the great Cathedral cities of Canterbury and Winchester; and beyond, from Dover to...
Mentioned in the New York Times recently, Whitstable is a unique Kent coastal town just over an hour by train from central London. CJ Stone liked it so much he decided to move there....
A selection of stories from CJ Stone's Whitstable Gazette column, Written in Stone.
Did Neil Armstrong really walk on the Moon? Or was the whole thing an elaborate hoax to distract the public from the Vietnam War?
Somerset Meadows is a nice place to live. CJStone sees all sorts of interesting things through his window. Columns from Kindred Spirit magazine.
In 2007 CJ Stone moved to Romania. The following is an account of what drew him there.
Lythe and listin, gentilmen, That be of freeborn blood; I shall you tel of a good yeoman, His name was Robyn Hood.
Accommodationally challenged after a disastrous foreign trip in 2007, CJ Stone was forced to take refuge with his parents. It was the first time he’d lived with them since his teens, and he was surprised to find himself in a war zone. Following are CJ’s bulletins from the front line in the eternal...
Some people never reach rehab. CJ Stone lost his friend to an overdose. He describes how a kind and witty man was destroyed by the romance of heroin. Big Issue, March 17-23 2003
Dobrogea is a distinct region of Romania between the Danube and the Black Sea. CJ Stone goes in search of birds and memories while contemplating the mysteries of communism.
CJ Stone has a message for you. Read on to discover more...
There’s one curious anomaly in the photograph: that ring on my right hand middle finger. It looks distinctly out of place since, in my own mind, I’m not the sort of person who ever wears a ring.
Greenwich is where the Britain set off on its great Imperialist adventure. Charlton is where they dug the grit for the ballast...
How could a man of such compelling genius as Steve - so at home amongst these strange plants, so immersed in the life here, so knowledgeable - be left on the scrapheap, unemployable at the age of 44? ...
When Vera talks to you, it's usually to cackle viciously at someone's stroke of ill-luck. You get the feeling that she's wished it upon them. But there can't be anything in this magic lark, or they wouldn't be stuck in this place...
Her ex is 21 seven years her junior. He moved in with her when he was 16. People grow up fast on Housing Benefit Hill. At 16 years old he was already a family man
If he was bad to live with, he was worse now. He was taking her for every penny, and beating her too. She got out an injunction on him. He sneered. "What's that? A bit of paper." And then - bitter laugh - she discovered she was pregnant again...
She noticed how disturbed some of the other children were, and that there was a certain amount of subdued violence among the staff. She rang the police. This was a mistake
The name “Housing Benefit Hill” is a reference to a line in Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues by Bob Dylan from the Highway 61 Revisited album. “Up on Housing Project Hill it’s either fortune or fame.” It’s one of my favourite songs.
This one, small, bright new life had breathed new light into the world. It was a spiritual thing. He was like Jesus to me. The whole world had changed because of the birth of this one child
Columns from the Big Issue. One of those days, a sad story, and a black pudding.
The following are a series of columns I wrote for The Big Issue, a magazine for homeless people, under the general title “Common People”. You may recognise some of the characters....
The Israeli air-strikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war...
They stole my land, burnt my olive trees, destroyed my house, took my water, imprisoned my father, killed my mother, starved us all, humiliated us all. But I am to blame: I shot a rocket back. So they stole more of my land, burnt my olive trees, destroyed my house, took my water, bombed my country…
Conspiracies, countercultures, counterfeit realities.... 1. Chemtrails: Enemies of the Sky?
A happy new year to you. Also, a happy new day, a happy new hour and a happy new minute. A happy new second. A happy new breath. A happy new moment. A happy new everything.
Memories of Malta are vivid and colourful, but all jumbled up like a pile of washing in a washing basket. It was air and sea and high, dry hills.
You may have heard people talk about 2012. Some people say it is the year when the world will end. By Steve Andrews & CJ Stone
New York is not just a collection of buildings. It has a psychic presence too. CJ Stone goes in search of angels and movies in the City of the Nephilim as Atlantis rises from the waves.
It's that time of year again folks: the world-famous festival of fake blood and tackiness known as Halloween. From the Whitstable Times
Read the story of the original Count Dracula, Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, also known as Vlad Tepes, the Impaler, famed for this most sadistic form of punishment.
The sight of an unpicked apple is an affront to your eyes. It belongs in the bucket, and then in the sack. It belongs in the cider press and then in the vat. It belongs in the barrel and then in your glass. Finally it belongs in your mouth.
Was the super-civilisation Atlantis occupied by aliens? How was the city lost? Steven Andrews (the Bard of Ely) and CJ Stone look into the evidence behind the intriguing legend of Atlantis.
"I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars." E.M. Forster Howard's End.
Columns from the Whitstable Times
"A Toilet Too Far." If someone on the outside presses the button for opening the door, then the door will swish open gracefully, leaving you fully exposed to the strategically placed seat opposite.
In the controversy surrounding the issue of asylum seekers, we tend to forget some of the very real human stories that lie behind it.
I've just taken LSD. For the first time in 25 years. That little brown drop of liquid, placed on the end of my finger and ingested some 30 minutes ago, is about to play havoc with my sense of self...
King Arthur is this ex-biker, ex-soldier, ex-builder who had a brainstorm back in the eighties and decided he was King Arthur, after which he donned a white frock and a circlet, and has been causing various kinds of trouble ever since.
Crosby Stills Nash and Young sang a song about it. In those days hair was a revolutionary statement. But what's it's purpose? That's the question on CJ Stone's mind.
CJ Stone tries an alternative therapy that is set to cleanse his soul and aura. The question is: is he evolved enough to step into the light...?
It opens with a photograph of two schoolgirls standing in a bare landscape. There’s an old stone wall in the background and a hint of fields and mountains in the distance.
Ask yourself this: why is there more crime on this planet now than there used to be? Part of the reason, surely, is that we have made more things illegal.
Al Qaeda, remember, were the guys who hijacked four planes and blew out the heart of New York. So now they have changed their tactics it seems. No longer satisfied with ruthless efficiency, they've decided to try stupidity instead.
DO NOT ADJUST YOUR MIND IT IS REALITY THAT IS MALFUNCTIONING
He was trying to find a word to describe the family of bears as a whole, frustrated at his lack of English. He said: "This is not good for the bear nation."
The real truth is that most of these professional writers are not writing for themselves. They write for an editor who works for a proprietor whose main purpose is to fill his paper with advertising. So in the end, most writers are writing for advertisers.
In Hindu philosophical terms karma is a process of blind inevitability, a force of the universe, like gravity. You don‘t get a choice over how gravity works, your only choice is whether to jump off any high buildings, and whether to carry a parachute if you do.
John Peel: "People are amazed to hear that for a few years the best club in Britain was in Erdington."
In my imagination there's a part of me out there wandering in the infinite desolation of space with these machines. They are remote control vehicles for the strange miracle we call life from this oasis, the Earth...
One particular mystical-magical sect committed mass suicide. This seemed an illogical act to me. The end of the world means we're all going to die anyway, so why pre-empt it? Personally I'm glad I kept my options open and stayed alive.
God created man and man created God. So is it in the world. Men make gods and they worship their creations. If would be fitting for the gods to worship men. (Gospel of Philip)
This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance....
That theatrical old occultist of the early 20th century, Aleister Crowley, had a slogan. It was: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." Now what does that mean?
There is now an alternative way to shoot bears. With bear stalking, the camera takes the place of the rifle, and the photograph takes the place of the trophy. And a picture of one of these magnificent creatures is an incredible prize.
Hate is a form of love: not its opposite, but its compliment.
Transylvania is a country of miracles, of legends, of strange tales, full of mystery. CJ Stone discovers scepticism and the Milky Way and meets a statue of a multi-armed goddess-tree with a macabre tale attached.
CJ Stone discovers a forgotten hero of the First World War.
So now I knew what it felt like to be anally retentive. Anything stuck up your butt makes you want to unload your bowels. Except, of course, there was nothing left in my bowels to unload.
Time is like a scarce resource that has to be rationed out. We have everything we need in life except the time to enjoy it. So what has happened to time?
This is where the tourist trade has grown up, in the desert regions in the South of Tenerife, particularly around the once-small fishing village of Los Cristianos, where the sun can be guaranteed all year round
Anyone can learn the secret of invisibility if they apply themselves with diligence and grace.
Bard of Ely comes from Cardiff in Wales but in 2004 he moved to Tenerife in the Canary Islands....