THE past few weeks have been among the saddest in my life for many reasons that I should not trouble you with. I am sorry that this may have projected itself onto my relationships with other people or onto 'Top Gear' and 'Night-ride'. There seems to be no end in sight either, and I really can't fake happiness - or want to either, actually. If I owe you a letter accept this in the meantime - I'll devise some way of answering the mail. This isn't the sort of 10,000 letters a day thing that you hear about on the radio but it does add up to about 200 a week, which is too much to cope with alone. I've listened several times to the Deviants LP and it really is quite good. Some of it is excellent in fact, and I think you should try to hear it soon. It has all been de- veloped through the Underground which, to date, has been very unproductive, although filled with bubbling ideas. It has been good travelling around England this past month doing whatever it is I do. There are so many places and people of freshness and beauty. If all students were like those I seem to meet I would feel a lot happier about the future. There was a programme on TV last night about germ-warfare and it was grotesque to hear the technicians, soldiers and assorted degenerates discussing the effects that these productions of theirs would have on you and me. The name Porton cropped up with sickening regularity and it would seem that we have a lot to answer when the time comes for us to do so - and, believe me, it will come. There has to be an alternative to the sickness of the mil- itary politico-scientific society. Whatever it is, we must find it because they are not looking. When we do find it it must be so pure and so simple and so obvious that everyone will just stop destroying themselves and say 'Hey, that's it'. Keep searching. The answer lies within you somewhere. Astarte, another hamster, has become Hermes in the light of recent investigations into his sex. Buffy, a third such, is also male but remains Buffy. Biscuit is flourishing and brings me much happiness in small places in time. Somewhere in London - last seen on the fringe of the Festival Hall - is an amazing soprano-playing busker who was even mentioned by the Raver. If you see him, thank him how you will for playing such nice music. By the next issue I will try to come up with a detailed report on the new Captain Beefheart LP. The tracks, for the other faithful, are 'Ah feel like Ah cid', 'Safe as Milk', 'Trust Us', 'Mirror Man', 'Tomorrow', 'Beatle Bones and Smokin Stones', 'Harp Boy' and 'Kandy Korn'. A lot of people, friends, have, with trepidation, admitted that they don't see what I see in the Magic Band and their profound leader. I have searched around the murky shadows of the Peelian mind and don't really have a convincing answer. All I know is that there is no other group I've heard that has such power and the ability to communicate it to me. That's all. A flurry of records. Incidentally One-Stop now has John Fahey LPs, as does Chris Wellard Records which is still at 6, Lewisham Way, New Cross, S.E.14. You should own at least one such. Heard the new Tom Paxton LP which is due from Elektra soon. There is one track called 'Talking Vietnam Pot-Luck Blues' which is superb but probably un- playable on the radio. From the same label listen to the Ars Nova LP which is very good - due for release here in July as I recall. Those of you who've heard only the jokey tracks from Tiny Tim - the rest of it all is amazing and well worth a grad- ual hearken. The Steve Miller Bank LP on Am. Capital is quite nice too - probably improves with hearing as does the Quicksilver Messenger Service LP on the same label. This latter really does grow on you (I really must work on a new vocabulary for record reviewers). On Regal Zonophone LRZ 1003 occurs- 'My people were fair and had sky in their hair... But now they're content to wear stars on their brows' by Tyrannosaurus Rex. I've lived with this so long it feels like a six-month old record now and I'm waiting for them to do their second LP. This has 'Hot Rod Mama', 'ScenescoP, 'Child Star', 'Strange Orchestras', 'Chateau in Virginia Waters', 'Dwarfish Trumpet Blues', 'Mustang Ford', 'Afghan Woman', 'Knight', 'Graceful Fat Sheba', 'Wielder of Words' and 'Frowning Atahuallpa'. The last track has the Peelian monotone reading a short story of Marc's. Idon't count this as making a record though really (I am resolved to resist importunings to record -1 have a fear- some singing voice although this consideration does not seem to have affected some of my lovelier colleagues) because I would only record things I would like you to hear. I will not sing -1 promise you. Anyway the only things I can sing are Buddy Holly songs and then I can only sing along with the record.and even these efforts are rumoured to be responsible for an exodus from Fulham. From Canada come the Collectors and their LP on Warner Brothers has some good moments, notably 'Howard Christman's Older' which is a word-play on 'Onward Christian Soldiers'. Frank Zappa's 'Lumpy Gravy'is strange. I honestly don't know if it's good or not. I enjoyed listening to it on a blue carpet though. The Joni Mitchell LP, 'Song to a Seagull', is really very beautiful. Her songs have been recorded by people like Judy Collins, Tom Rush and the Fairport Convention whose LP is on Polydor. There are a lot of nice things on the Fairport C. LP too (Polydor 583 035) especially 'Tine will show the wiser' and 'It's alright ma, it's only witchcraft'. They must be one of the best groups in the country - go and see them if you can. Inci- dentally, you should be preparing your bombarded heads for reception of the Eclection. 'The CBS Rock Machine Turns you On sounds rather ominous but the campaign worked well in America so they're trying it here. There are 15 LP's involved as components of the Rock Machine and they are almost all good. I can't remember all of them but some are already available such as Roy Harper's and Dylan's. Also included is the Zombies, which is very good indeed, as is the Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera record. From what's left of America are such things as the Taj Mahal, the Spirit, the United States of America (very good), "The Notorious Byrd Brothers', Tim Rose (already released), the Peanut Butter Conspiracy, the Electric Flag (disappointing generally), Blood, Sweat and Tears (already disbanded and so dis- jointed as to be distracting), the new Moby Grape which is very good, Leonard Cohen (already released and so beauti- ful) and finally for some obscure reason 'Parsley, Sage, Rose- mary and Thyme' which is over a year old now, although nevertheless essential. I am struggling to think of a name for the second Fleet- wood Mac LP and have thought of nothing yet. Also from Blue Horizon stand by for an LP of genuinely previously unreleased material by Elmore James and an LP by John Brim. Thank God for record companies that care. Also on this, have you observed that Pye have started releasing everything good in Stereo, which is great? Almost enough of records. If you've heard the sound of the gottuvadyam I've found a commercial record of one. It's 'Ragas from South India' on Folkways FW 8854 which is distributed by Transatlantic. Also on Folkways are the poetry LP's of Kenneth Patchen which are very warm and close somehow. There is so much good around and it is all unmentioned. Why do people take refuge in obsessions with the squalid, the dire and violent? It is all so sad. We can't escape it and we are not overcoming it. Lastly, the two 'Blues Anytime' LP's on Immediate are very interesting indeed and boast much good music. Track 612 005 is the Crazy World of Arthur Brown and I think it has captured their elusive spirit very well. Hearing it brought back many good thoughts of last year's beautiful, futile, happy summer. I think you will want this too. Playing it often relieves pressures on the head, cures warts, makes the stars blink and evaporates house- maids' undergarments. It is not easy to write to you from the sadness, forgive me the trivialities and say 'Hello', at least, when we meet. I love and am afraid for you.