Showing posts with label 7. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 7. Show all posts

Sunday, 28 May 2017

At 6s and 7s : Various Theories


"Oh, dear. Yeah, well, we're all supposed to come from these things, you know. 

But the monkey thing was, according to various theories extant today, that we all come from the original ape, so I just used that as a symbol, you know. 

The bestial thing and then the other bestial face behind it which was laughing, jeering and jabbering like a monkey."


The following is an interview with Patrick McGoohan that was conducted by writer/TV host Warner Troyer. It took place in Toronto in 1977 in front of, and with the participation of, a studio audience. The 35-minute program was broadcast on TVOntario, a public television network which had shown The Prisoner series along with commentaries from Troyer from October 1976 to February 1977. The Ontario Educational Communications Authority also published a 21-page booklet on The Prisoner called The Prisoner Puzzle.

WARNER TROYER INTERVIEWS PATRICK MCGOOHAN FOR THE ONTARIO EDUCATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS AUTHORITY, MARCH 1977.

Troyer: I guess the first thing I should tell you is that your guest and mine is Patrick McGoohan. Mr. McGoohan, known familiarly to his friends as Number 6, was the creative force behind, the executive producer of, and in several cases the script writer of a series called "The Prisoner," which appeared on television a number of times, not least notably on this network. 

Mr. McGoohan has come here from Los Angeles to meet you and talk to you and to me. And to meet a group of Prisoner, ah, club groupies, some of them from Seneca College which has been operating a course based on the series, some of them from OECA, and some other people, and we're going to talk about "The Prisoner" and I suppose the obvious first question is: Where the hell did that idea come from? How'd you get started?

McGoohan: Boredom, was how it started.

Troyer: Just that? With T.V.? With society, or you?

McGoohan: With T.V. initially. I was doing a series that was called "Secret Agent." Was it called that here, or "Danger Man"? It had two titles.

Troyer: "Danger Man."

McGoohan: And I'd made 54 of those and I thought that was an adequate amount. 



So I went to the gentleman, Lew Grade, who was the financier, and said that I'd like to cease making "Secret Agent" and do something else. So he didn't like that idea. He'd prefer that I'd gone on forever doing it. But anyway, I said I was going to quit. 

So he said, "What's the idea?" This is on the telephone initially, so I met him on a Saturday morning at 7 o'clock. That was always the time we had our discussions, and he said "Alright, what's the idea?" and I had a whole format prepared of this "Prisoner" thing which initially came to me on one of the locations on "Secret Agent" when we went to this place called Portmeirion, where a great deal of it was shot, and I thought it was an extraordinary place, architecturally and atmosphere-wise, and should be used for something and that was two years before the concept came to me. 

So I prepared it and went in to see Lew Grade. I had photographs of the Village or whatever and a format and he said, "I don't want to read the format," because he says he doesn't read formats, he says he can't read apart from accounts, and he sort of said, "Well, what's it about? Tell me." 

So I talked for ten minutes and he stopped me and said, "I don't understand one word you're talking about, but how much is it going to be?" 

So I had a budget with me, oddly enough, and I told him how much and he says, "When can you start?" 

I said Monday, on scripts. And he says, "The money'll be in your company's account on Monday morning." 

Which it was, and that's how we started. 

Behind it, of course, was a certain impatience with the numerology of society and the way we're being made into ciphers, so there was something else behind it.

Troyer: Was that a personal thing in terms of your reaction to society or was it more of an observation? Do you feel you're being...

McGoohan: I think we're progressing too fast. I think that we should pull back and consolidate the things that we've discovered.

Troyer: 
You didn't initially want to do 17 films?

McGoohan: 
No, seven, as a serial as opposed to a series. 

I thought the concept of the thing would sustain for only 7, but then Lew Grade wanted to make his sale to CBS, I believe (first ran it in the States) and he said he couldn't make a deal unless he had more, and he wanted 26, and I couldn't conceive of 26 stories, because it would be spreading it very thin, 


But we did manage, over a week-end, with my writers, to cook up ten more outlines
and eventually we did 17, 


but it should be 7.

Troyer: But you did ten in two days? Ten outlines?

McGoohan: Over a week-end, yes. Outlines, I mean a sort of...7 or 8 page format. (Troyer chuckles.)

Troyer: How would you have described or explained the concept of the series to those writers, the first time you sat down with them, what did you tell them?

McGoohan: It was very difficult because they were also prisoners of conditioning, and they were used to writing for "The Saint" series of the "Secret Agent" series and it was very difficult to explain, and we lost a few by the wayside. 

I had sat down and I wrote a 40-page, sort of, history of the Village, the sort of telephones they used, the sewerage system, what they ate, the transport, the boundaries, a description of the Village, every aspect of it; and they were all given copies of this and then, naturally, we talked to them about it, sent them away and hoped they would come up with an idea that was feasible.

Troyer: What about the philosophy, the rationale of the Village? What did you tell them about that? Its raison-d'etre, not its mechanics...

McGoohan: (very deliberatelyIt was a place that is trying to destroy the individual by every means possible; trying to break his spirit, so that he accepts that he is No. 6 and will live there happily as No. 6 for ever after. 

And this is the one rebel that they can't break.

Troyer: To what end was that process of breaking down the individual will?

McGoohanTo what end?

TroyerFor the Village, what was the purpose, the goal?

McGoohanI think it's going on every day all around us. I had to sign in to get into this joint! 

(Troyer: Uh-huh) Downstairs, yeah.

TroyerMade you angry, too? (Chuckle.)

McGoohanSlightly, yeah. Pass-keys and, you know, let's go down to the basement and all this. That's Prisonership as far as I'm concerned,and that makes me mad! 

And that makes me rebel! 

And that's what the Prisoner was doing, was rebelling against that type of thing!

TroyerBut can you, in everyday life, summon the will and the energy to rebel every time any indignity occurs?

McGoohanYou can't, otherwise you go crazy! You have to live with it. That's what makes us prisoners! You can't totally rebel, otherwise you have to go live on your own, on a desert island. It's as simple as that.

Troyer: 
How much psychic attrition is there, spiritual attrition in not rebelling? 

How much do you give away or lose? 

How high is the cost of not rebelling every time?

Not complaining every time?

McGoohan: 
Ulcers, ulcers.

Troyer: 
Do you have ulcers?

McGoohan: 
I have a couple.

Troyer: 
Bad ones?

McGoohan: 
Not too bad. 
They're gettin' worse. 
(laughs)

Troyer: How many scripts did you write? Your name was on 2.

McGoohan: Well, my name was on and then I wrote under a couple of other names: Archibald Schwartz [ Genuine/Precious, Bold Dark-Complected Person (Black Irish?) ] was one and Paddy Fitz [ Paddy the Bastard ] was another.

Troyer: So how many all together?

McGoohan: I t'ink 5.

Troyer: Which ones? The last one...

McGoohan: The first one I re-wrote. It came out...not the way I wanted, and then the last one, I wrote. The penultimate one, I wrote. Free For All - another one, and then there was another one, I can't remember the name of it offhand. It's a long time ago.

Troyer: What's your response to what could really only be adequately described as a "cult" which has grown up around the series, a kind of mystique about it, here and in Europe?

McGoohan: I'm very gratified because, when it came out originally, in England, there were a lot of haters of it. A love/hate relationship, whichever way you look at it. Already there was a small cult. Now there's a much bigger one over there. 

In fact, when the last episode came out in England, it had one of the largest viewing audiences, they tell me, ever over there, because everyone wanted to know who No. 1 was, because they thought it would be a "James Bond" type of No. 1. 

When they did finally see it, there was a near-riot and I was going to be lynched. And I had to go into hiding in the mountains for 2 weeks, until things calmed down. That's really true!


Troyer: They were angry?

McGoohan: Oh, yeah! Walking around the streets, it was dangerous!

Troyer
Why? Why were they angry?

McGoohan
Because they thought they'd been cheated. 
Because it wasn't, you know, a "James Bond" No. 1 guy.


Troyer: 
It was Themselves.

McGoohan
Yes, well, we'll get into that later, I think. 
(Knowing laughter from Troyer
Come back to that one, that's a very important one.

Troyer: 
D'ya know what's really interesting, to me, is a number of my friends and colleagues who watched the entire series told me, after the last show, that they were angry because they hadn't found out who No. 1 was. 
That went by quickly and they refused to acknowledge it.

McGoohan: 
That was deliberate. I forgot how many frames; I think there were 52 frames, or something, of the shot when they pulled off the monkey mask.

And No. 1's a monkey and then No.1's... Himself.
It was deliberate. 

I mean, I could have held it there for a good two minutes and put a subtitle on it saying, "It's him," you know. 


(All laugh.
But I thought I wasn't going to pander to a mentality so low that it couldn't perceive what I was trying to say, so you had to be a little quick to pick it up. 

That's all.

Troyer: What is your response to all the analysis and all the philosophising and criticism of the series? People have tried to make so much of it and to find so many levels of meaning, to parse it in so many directions.

McGoohan: I'm astonished! For instance, the beautiful presentation, the thing that you prepared for our good friends here, puts profounder meaning into many of the stories than I ever thought of.

Troyer: (Chuckling) Or more pompous?

McGoohan: (Automatically) Yeah. (Troyer chuckles again.) No! Oh, no, not at all. No, no. I think it's marvelous; I'm most gratified.

Troyer: Some questions...over here...

Girl: How did you feel about the response to "The Prisoner" when it was first shown in Britain?

McGoohan: Delighted. I wanted to have controversy, argument, fights, discussions, people in anger waving first in my face saying, "How dare you? Why don't you do more 'Secret Agents' that we can understand?" I was delighted with that reaction. I think it's a very good one. That was the intention of the exercise.

Troyer: Did you get any special kind of response from politicians, from bureaucrats, people in the kind of corporations we all know and hate?

McGoohan: Not enough. I suppose they steered clear of it. But then, of course, they'd be the very ones that wouldn't understand it.

Troyer: Uh-huh. Was there any one that was more fun for you than the other? Was it fun playing a Western?...a western hero for a few...(McGoohan: I, ah...) a few scenes?

McGoohan: I don't know what concepts you good folks have put on that one, but the reason for that, I'll tell ya, is because I wanted to do a Western. I'd never done one. And they'd never made a Western in England, and we were short of a story. (All laugh.) So we cooked that one up (McGoohan chortles), we wrote it in four days and shot it, ya know..
.
Troyer: It was harmless...

McGoohan: it was fun, yeah, it was fun. And takin' whatever you put into it, that's the reason for it. Then we sorta stuck the figures up and all that and put some other concepts in which have other levels, sociological levels, which you can take what you want out of them.

Troyer: Can you make a decent creative enterprise, build one, in any medium, without building it on several levels at once? However much of it is conscious or unconscious?

McGoohan: It's very, ah...a lot of it was conscious, in my case. Of course, other things happen. F'instance, a t'ing happened, the balloon thing, which has been made a great deal of...




Troyer: "Rover."

McGoohan: "Rover," yes. Now, the reason that happened, again, it's like the Western. This, ah...


We had this marvelous piece of machinery that was being built which was gonna be "Rover" and this thing was like a hovercraft and it would go underwater, come up on the beach, climb walls; it could do anything. That was our original Rover. 

By the first day of shooting, unfortunately, the engineers, mechanics and scientific genuises hadn't quite completed it to perfection. (Troyer chuckles.

And the first day of shooting, Rover was supposed to go down off the beach into the water, do a couple of signals and a couple of wheelspins and come back up. But it went down into the water and (laughter all around) stayed down, permanently. 


And then we had to shoot. We had Rover in every scene that day. So we had no Rover and Rover didn't look as though he was going to be resurrected at all. 

So we're standing there. My Production Manager, Bernard Williams (wonderful fellow), standing beside me, and he says, "What're we gonna do?" And he went like that and he looked up and there was this balloon in the sky. And he says, "What's that?" And I said, "I dunno. What is it?" He says, "I think it's a meteorological balloon." And he looked at me. And I said, "How many can ya get within two hours?", ya see. So he says, "I'll see." And he went off and he called the meteorological station nearby. And I did some other shots to cover while he was away and he came back with a hundred of 'em. He took an ambulance so that he could get there and back fast because it was quite a ways to the nearest big town. And he came back with them and there were these funny balloons, all sizes, and that's how Rover came to be.

And sometimes we filled it with a little water, sometimes with oxygen, sometimes with helium, depending on what we wanted him to do. And in the end, we could make him do anything: lie down, beg, anything (Laughter)...Really. 


We used about 6000 of them...

Troyer: Did you really?

McGoohan: Oh, yes. They're very, very fragile. They break very easily.

Troyer: So you'd lose a lot of scenes, then, when you were shooting in a boat...

McGoohan: We always had another one standing by, back-ups, all the time, yes.

Boy: What interested me was the style in which it was done and the whimsy and the hundreds of little touches, but from what you've been saying so far, they all seem to have been accidents. You know, the white balloon was a accident and you happened upon the Village...

McGoohan: Oh, yeah...

Boy: And it's, you know, incredibly lucky.

McGoohan: Yeah, but you...no, no, no, no...There were these pages, don't forget, at the very beginning, which laid out the whole concept; these 40-odd pages laid out the whole concept. That was no accident.

Boy
No, but the little touches...

McGoohan
Those things come anyway.

Boy
But I haven't seen them come very often in any other series.

McGoohan
But they come because you're looking for them, you see. 


I was fortunate to have two or three creative people working with me, like my friend that I said saw the meteorological balloon. 

And wherever one could find these little touched, one put them in. 

But the design of the "Prisoner" thing, that was all clearly laid out from the outset.

Boy: And the style of the way...

McGoohan: And the style was also clearly laid out and the designs of the sets, those were all clearly laid out from the inception of it. There was no accident in that area, you know, the blazers, and the numbers and all that stuff, and the stupid little bicycles and all that.

Troyer: Was it a series, do you think, which had an appeal, a kind of narrow-gauge appeal, chiefly to people in the upper twenty percent of the intelligence quotient bracket or whatever?
McGoohan: Mostly intelligent people...such as we have here?

Troyer: Yeah, I meant that.

McGoohan: You see, one of the t'ings that is frustrating about making a piece of entertainment is trying to make it appeal to everybody. I think this is fatal. I don't think you can do that. It's done a great deal, you know. We have our horror movies and we have our science-fiction things. The best works are those that say...somebody says, "We want to do something this way," and do it, not because they're aiming at a particular audience. They're doing it because it's a story they think is important, and is a statement that they want to make. And they do it and then whoever want to watch it, that's their privilege. I mean, the painting in an art gallery, you know, you have a choice whether you go and look at this one or that one or the other one. You have a choice not even to go in.

Second Boy
One analogy that comes up, from literature, is with epic poetry, or with an epic. 

And "The Prisoner" seems to have all the qualities that belong to an epic, including the kind of structure which you ended up with: 
the thing that began with 7 parts and ended with 17.

McGoohan
Yeah.

Second Boy: 
There have been a few peculiar epic works which have done that sort of thing or been on the way, Spencer's "Faerie Queene" for instance, or Tennyson's "Idylls of the Kings" ...

"Idylls of the King" which became a 12-part non-epic with all the properties and qualities of an epic.


I have one question based on that perhaps peculiar observation, and that is: 
one of the figures in some of the epics, like the "Faerie Queene," is The Dwarf who accompanies Una and the Redcrosse Knight where the idea for Angelo Muscat come from?

McGoohan
Oh. I don't know. 
Where did that come from?

Second Boy: 
Is there a literary image...

McGoohan:
 No, I certainly never thought of one. 
There were all sorts of interpretations to little Angelo. 


He's a very sweet man and...a very, very sweet man. It's this sort of...there should be something also--sinister about him. 



I mean, there was always the possibility that he might be No. 1. 

See, I don't know if anyone...do you pick up that at all..? 

I don't know, but that...because he was such a good friend and always by the side of No. 6, that there was...should have been an implication that perhaps he was a sinister character, and particularly in the last episode, when he goes...he's the one that goes out with No. 6 and they go into the...

Maybe he's over No. 1 somewhere...

You know they have so...they have stars, superstars, and what are they gonna call them next? 

Comets

So what...maybe he's a comet or something, little...little Angelo.

 So there should be that remaining sinister thing about it.

Second Boy: 
I was just curious, because there were so many images of all...of all the figures that are in the series that are...that have literary connections, whether of not they're deliberate...
(McGoohan: Yeah.)
...deliberately connected or not doesn't really matter, does it? 
There might be an element...

McGoohan
No, I don't think...I don't think it does.

Second Boy
No, doesn't matter at all.

McGoohan: I don't think, in that sort of...I, I use the work "surrealistic" about it...thing, that one has to tie up all the loose ends. I think there's...that you...options are open for the beholder to interpret whichever way he likes.

Third Boy: Mr. McGoohan, my question deals with religion.

McGoohan: Yeah.


Third Boy: 
I understand, in reading a little about you, that you're a very religious man, and my question pertains to "Fall Out.

I have interpreted a lot of the acts as being...having this content. 

I'm thinking specifically of the crucifixion of the 2 rebels, of when their arms are drawn apart, the temptation of No. 6 by the President of the Village, of the temptation of Christ...

McGoohan: 
They give him the throne.



Third Boy: 
"Drybones," all of that. 
First of all, would you agree with my idea that that is intentional? 
That it is...

McGoohan: 
Ah, answering: No, 
I had never any religious inspiration for that whatsoever. 

I was just trying to make it dramatically feasible.

 Certainly the temptation with the guy putting me up on the throne and all this stuff, ah...it's Lucifer time. 

But I never thought at that moment. 

Maybe somewhere in the back of my mind it was there, 
"And the hip bone's connected to the thigh bone" 
thing. 

I just thought it was a very good song for the situation and also was applicable to the young man because, as you know, it's easy for us to go astray in youth and he was astray and he's trying to get everything together again.

Third Boy: 
When I speak of religion, I mean a moral attitude towards life.

McGoohan: 
I would think that's necessary, yeah.

Third Boy: 
OK, then, is it fair to say that No. 6 draws upon that? 

Is that the source of his defense? 

Is that how he gets up in the morning and faces another day in the Village?

McGoohan
I think that's a very good comment and I think that's probably true, yeah...

Moral force which says, 
"I have a spirit of my own, a soul of my own and it's not all my own because it's joined with a greater force beyond me." 

I don't think he got up every morning and analyzed it to that extent
but I think that that force is within him and anyone who is able to fight in that individual way.

Third Boy: Would you say that there is a distinct lack in the rest of the villagers? Are they soulless beings?

McGoohan: Ah, the majority of them have been sort of brain- washed. Their souls have been brainwashed out of them. Watching too many commercials is what happened to them.

Troyer: I used to think that television commercials were spiritually healthy because they made us skeptical and that that was probably a very good thing to learn very early on.

McGoohan: Well, they don't make enough people skeptical because if they made enough people skeptical, the people who were made skeptical wouldn't be buying all the junk that they're advertising and then they'd be out of business.

Fourth Boy: 
There's one sequence you do with Leo McKern where he says, "I'll kill you." 

You say, "I'll die," and he says, "You're dead." 

Is that a figure of speech or was there an underlying thing happening there?

McGoohan: 
Now you're talking about 'Once Upon A Time'?

Fourth Boy: 
Yeah, 'Once Upon a Time'.

McGoohan: 
Well, that was very interesting that one...(which was probably my favourite earlier on, Warner. That was probably it.) 
That was one that was written in the 36 hour period. 

And Leo McKern, who was a very good friend of mine and a very fine actor I think, came in on short notice to do it, and it was mainly a 2 hander. 

The brainwashing thing, he was trying to brainwash me and in the end No. 6 turns the tables. 

And the dialogue was very peculiar because all it consisted of was mainly "6, 6, 6," and 5 pages of that at one time. 

And Leo, one lunchtime, went up to his dressing room and I went to see the rushes and I knew he was tired. 

I went up to the dressing room to tell him how good I thought he'd been in the rushes. 

And he was curled up in the fetus position on his couch there, and he says, 
"Go away! Go away you bastard! I don't want to see you again."


I said, "What are you talking about?" 

He says, "I've just ordered 2 doctors," he says, "and they're comin' over as soon as they can." 

He says, "Go away." 

And he had! 

He'd ordered 2 doctors and they come over that afternoon and he didn't work for 3 days. 

He's gone! 

He'd cracked, which was very interesting.

He'd truly cracked. 


And so I had to use a double, the back of a guy's head for a lot and eventually Leo did come back and we completed them and also he was in the final episode, so he forgave me for everything, but he did crack, very interesting, I thought....

Troyer: Much as he cracked in that final episode.



McGoohan: Same, exactly the same.

Troyer: I was wondering about how much intensity there was in that. I know that acting is always an enormously intense experience but in that head-on 2 hander where there was so much dynamic pressure. 


Obviously, it was real.

McGoohan: It was 8 days shooting and for most of those 8 days we were head to head on from 8 o'clock in the morning 'til 6:30 at night with an hour for lunch. So, it was pretty intense. 


It was psychiatrist couch time, sort of thing.


Troyer: Were you a different person when you came out the other end of that series?

McGoohan: Tired, that's all.

Troyer: Beyond that?

McGoohan: No, no....

Troyer: It wasn't purely psychoanalysis?

McGoohan: No, no, I never let any part that I play sort of take over. I think that that's nonsense when that happens. I think you should be able to go in and do it, learn your lines and do it. Some are more fatiguing that others, some are more emotionally exhausting than others. 

I mean, you can't play Hamlet without being drained or King Lear without being drained but to say that you lived through the day playing Lear or playing Hamlet before you go out the next night and go on to the stage, I think that's ludicrous.

Troyer: What about the notions that some actors, some people in other creative endeavors have, that we all have a finite bank of energy that each time one brings some of it up there's a little less left for next time, or for the other end of the road.

McGoohan: I think that the contrary is true. When one looks at people such as Arthur Rubenstein, people with tremendous talents and they are young men. 

They're young men at 75, they're young, 80 they're young! 

Their vitality, in fact, increases. Their energy increases. It just happens, I mean the force. The adrenalin increases. It just happens that the machinery of the body, the parts, the spare parts are wearing out a little bit...I think it increases and I know a lot of old folks who are young, young people.

Troyer: So the creative urge is a muscle, the more we flex it, the stronger it gets.

McGoohan: I think so, yeah. Yeah. It's just this stuff wears out. That's all.

Fifth Boy: Mr. McGoohan, when you began "The Prisoner," you began it in a decade in which a lot of people were used to secret agents. 

You very neatly saw the next decade coming. I thing you saw Watergate; the enemy within as opposed to the enemy without. 

I don't know if you can answer this, but if you were going to do the series again and you had to look aged to the 80's and you were thinking in terms of what you see as being the real enemy, not the storybook enemy but the enemy that's really going to hassle us. If you were going to look into the 80's now, what would you look to?

McGoohan: 
I think progress is the biggest Enemy on earth, apart from oneself, and that goes with 1self, a 2-handed pair with 1self and progress. 


I think we're gonna take good care of this planet shortly. 


They're making bigger and better bombs, faster planes, and all this stuff one day, I hate to say it, there's never been a weapon created yet on the face of the Earth that hadn't been used and that thing is gonna be used unless...I don't know how we're gonna stop it, not it's too late, I think.

Fifth Boy: Do you think maybe there's going to be a strong popular reaction against "Progress" in the future?

McGoohan: No, because we're run by the Pentagon, we're run by Madison Avenue, we're run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don't revolt we'll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche.

Sixth Boy: We tend to view the threat, the Village there, as sort of a thing as something external like Madison Avenue, the media. How responsible are we for accepting this? Where do we become involved in being "unfree"?

McGoohan: Buying the product, to excess. As long as we go out and buy stuff, we're at their mercy. We're at the mercy of the advertiser and of course there are certain things that we need, but a lot of the stuff that is bought is not needed.

Sixth Boy: 
Did you regard the Village as an external thing or as something that we carry around with us all the time?

McGoohan
It was meant to be both. 

The external was the symbol, but it's within us all I think, don't you? 

This surrealist aspect; 
we all live in a little Village.

Troyer
Do we?

McGoohan: 
Your village may be different from other people's villages but we are all prisoners.

Troyer: 
Well, I know who the idiot is in mine.

McGoohan: 
Yes, Number 1 - same as me.

7th Boy: 
Is No. 1 the evil side of man's nature?


McGoohan:
 The Greatest Enemy that we have...

No. 1 was depicted as an evil, governing force in this Village. 

So, who is this No. 1? 

We just see the No. 2's, the sidekicks.
 Now this overriding, evil force is at its most powerful within ourselves and we have constantly to fight it, I think, and that is why I made No. 1 an image of No. 6. 

His other half, his alter ego.

Troyer: 
Did you know when you first outlined the series in your own mind, the concept that No. 1 was going to turn out to be you, to be No. 6?

McGoohan: 
No, I didn't. 
That's an interesting question.

Troyer
When did you find out?

McGoohan
When it got very close to the last episode and I hadn't written it yet. 

And I had to sit down this terrible day and write the last episode and I knew it wasn't going to be something out of James Bond, and in the back of my mind there was some parallel with the character and the No. 1 and the rest. 

And then, I didn't even know exactly 'til I was about the third through the script, the last script.

Troyer: 
How about you colleagues, the other writers. 
Were they surprised?

McGoohan: 
Yep.

Troyer: 
Were they annoyed?

McGoohan: 
No.

Troyer: 
Did they decide it was untidy?

McGoohan: 
No, they used to come along from time to time and say, "Who's No. 1?" you see. 

And I told them , "It's a secret" until I actually sat down and wrote it - and it was, actually; they didn't know until I handed out the script.

Troyer: 
But were they disappointed by that...?

McGoohan: 
No, they liked it. 
They said they always knew it was going to be him.

Troyer: (laughs
Once you told them.

McGoohan: 
A few of them did, really. 
Nobody really knew. No.

Troyer: Why the Double Mask? Why the monkey face?

McGoohan: Oh, dear. Yeah, well, we're all supposed to come from these things, you know. It's the same with the penny farthing symbol bicycle thing. Progress. I don't think we've progressed much. But the monkey thing was, according to various theories extant today, that we all come from the original ape, so I just used that as a symbol, you know. The bestial thing and then the other bestial face behind it which was laughing, jeering and jabbering like a monkey.

Eighth Boy: Mr. McGoohan, during the last episode, Fall Out, we see the Prisoner. He's smiling and laughing and dancing for the first time and yet later on the very last scene is exactly the some as the very first scene where he's driving off with his familiar stern face. My question is, has the Prisoner between the first and the last episode actually changed any?

McGoohan: Ah, no, I think he's essentially the same. I think he got slightly exhilarated by the fact that he got out of this mythical place and felt like doing a little skip and a dance, and singing a bit, and felt very happy to be going home with his little buddy, the Butler, you know. And we never did a cut of him when that door opened. We just saw the door open and he went in. So, you never knew whether his exhilaration was lost when he saw that sinister door that was left like an unfinished symphony.

Ninth Boy: In the final episode, does the Prisoner really consider becoming the leader of the Village?

McGoohan: No. He does not. He just wants to get out and he uses a technique which he hadn't used before that, which was violence, which is sad, but he does; and that's how he gets out and then, of course, in the final episode, he goes back to his little apartment place and he has his little valet guy with him and the door opens on its own when he goes in the car. There you know it's gonna start over again because we continue to be Prisoners.

Ninth Boy: 
And that leads to my last question, what would the Prisoner be likely to do with his newfound freedom?

McGoohan: 
He hasn't got it. 

Which is the whole point. 

When that door opens on its own and there's no one being it, exactly the same as all the doors in the Village open, you know that somebody's waiting in there to start it all over again. 

He's got no freedom. Freedom is a myth. 

There's no final conclusion to it. 

Ah, and I was very fortunate to be able to do something as audacious as that with no final conclusion to it because people do want the word 
"THE END" 
put up there. 

Now the final 2 words for that thing should have been 
"THE BEGINNING".

Troyer
This is kind of a banal question, I guess, but if you could leave one sentence or paragraph in the head of everyone who watched the Prisoner series, the whole series, one thing for them to carry around for awhile, when it was over, what would it be?

McGoohan: 
B C N U

Troyer
Just that?...enigmatic to the end.

McGoohan
Be Seeing You. 
That means quite a lot.

Troyer
It does indeed.

McGoohan: 
B C N U. 
Yeah.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The 7-Step Plan for Climbing Out of Hell


The 7-Step Plan for Climbing Out of Hel 
("Hell")


“On the other hand, a goddess of death who represents the horrors of slaughter and decay is something well known elsewhere; the figure of Kali in India is an outstanding example. Like Snorri’s Hel, she is terrifying to in appearance, black or dark in colour, usually naked, adorned with severed heads or arms or the corpses of children, her lips smeared with blood. She haunts the battlefield or cremation ground and squats on corpses. Yet for all this she is ‘the recipient of ardent devotion from countless devotees who approach her as their mother’ 

Hilda Ellis Davidson (2002 [1998]). 
Roles of the Northern Goddess. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-13611-3


Friday, 6 May 2016

The Voodou, Hoodoo, What-You-Don't-Dare-Do People


"If you look at cave art – the first art was done; the first writing that was done, basically as art. 

And if someone wanted to make something happen; like, if you were in the — like, if you were some fucked up caveman in a cave somewhere, worrying about your dinner. 

What do you do? You draw a bison on the wall; stick some spears in it. 

Go out, and the bison dies filled with spears."

Grant Morrison 



"Do you know much about voodoo? That's a fascinating practice. 

No real doctrine of faith to speak of - more an arrangement of superstitions; the most well-known of which is the voodoo doll.

You see, a mockup of an individual is subjected to various pokes and prods.

The desired result is that the individual will feel those effects."

Loki/Kevin Smith

"The Black Ark was too black and too dread. Even though I am black, I have to burn it down, to save me brain. It was too black. It want to eat me up!"

Lee Scratch Perry







" “This is part of human experience. It’s a part of human experience that has been described to us for thousands and thousands of years – but for the last two hundred has been hidden and made occult. For some reason that we don’t understand – but it seems to have something to do with the industrial revolution and corporate culture.”

So these things happen. Magic works. And I found out when I was doing the comic that you could actually make magic happen by writing things, and changing the operating system of the universe. It works, and I’m here to tell you to try it when you go home tonight. Because it fucking works.

And what happens if we all do it? If everyone in this room decides to take control of reality? I’m talking about reality; I’m talking about quantum physics; I’m talking about taking control of things from the quantum level up, from the molecular level up – and it works. This magic works.

So I’ll tell you something you can do, while I’m here. You know one of the best techniques, and one of the easiest techniques, to prove that this thing works is to practice sigil magic. The technique is simple: have a desire, tonight.

Go home and do this! Don’t listen to this shit! Don’t listen to my bullshit and think “yeah, we are the fucking counterculture!” DO IT! Do it – and we will change the world.

Because I did it. Coz I didn’t trust those guys. I didn’t trust Wilson and all those people who told me we could do this stuff. And I’m here to tell you: it works. And you can do it; we can all do it.

Bacon's New Atlantis, 
beyond the Pillars of Heracles


Number one: first thing you do is, you write down a desire. Make it something easy that’s likely to happen. Something possible, rather than say, y’know, “I’m going to be king of the moon” – which you may want to be, as we all do, but.. it’s kind of hard to be king of the moon. You’re gonna have to get a rocket and go up there.

Something easy. If you want to sigilise for a lottery win, make sure you buy a ticket or else it probably won’t work. So these are the conditions within the material universe that we live in.

What we’re really dealing with here is, as I say, some kind of operating system that can be hacked, using words. Words seem to be the binding agent of this.. thing. Whatever it is.

So I wrote this comic book – and as I wrote it, it became true. 

Things I would make the characters do became true.

The main character was.. I gave him a bald head and a leather jacket, because I thought people would like me when I they read the comic. Bald heads were really uncool back in 1992.

The Shakes-Spear Tulpa 
(w. skullet)

Avatar of the High Priest and Devotee of Pallas-Athena,
The Spear-Shaker

The Golem of Avon


And it worked. I found that if I put the character through a situation where he’d been tortured; where his lungs had bust and he was being held in captivity; subjected to all these awful things. Two months later: I’m in hospital, two bust lungs, dying of blood poisoning; facing exactly the same shamanic trial that I put my character through.

So once I figured out that, I thought: the best thing to do is to give this guy an easy time in the future.

King Mob/Gideon Stargrave/Grant Morrison


So as a result of all this, I’d just split up with my girlfriend. And I was like: “okay, I want a new one and I want her to look exactly like this chick in the comic, coz she’s cool.” 

So I did a sigil; a month later, the girl turns up. 

Then another one. Then another one. Then another one; then another one. 

All aspects of this character. And then [I was like]: “Oh fuck, this is insane. Because it works and I’ve done something ridiculous. Because now I’m dealing with all these women who look like the character, but who I don’t get on with, or I can’t talk to, or I can’t deal with.

And I began to realise a little bit about how this stuff works.

So beyond that, I decided: I won’t just use it to get laid, because it seems a pretty low-grade kind of way of dealing with magic. But man, it works! Believe me.

So I thought: how much could you effect reality by writing a comic that mimics reality, but pushed it in weird directions? So round about 1997, I decided that I would really seriously turn this thing into a super-sigil.



And it was based on the idea that: if you look at cave art – the first art was done; the first writing that was done, basically as art. And if someone wanted to make something happen; like, if you were in the — like, if you were some fucked up caveman in a cave somewhere, worrying about your dinner. What do you do? You draw a bison on the wall; stick some spears in it. Go out, and the bison dies filled with spears.

“Hey, man! We can make this happen!”

Slowly, those things become words; they become abstractions – complexes of meaning. And you can take that basic idea, and – as we’ve seen – people like Austin Osmond Spare, the magician from the early part of the century, or Crowley, or the chaos magicians of the eighties who were a big influence on me – they used this stuff. 

And like I say, what you can do is this: go home, write down a desire; it’s quite simple, what you can say is: “It is my desire that my cat wins the Olympics.” 

Take out all the vowels..

- Write this down, for fuck’s sake! Don’t just listen; do it! Right? -

Take out the vowels, and you’ll be left with a string of consonants. 

Take out all the repeated consonants, and you’ll be left with a string of consonants with no repeats in it. 


X, Y, A, D, whatever. 

Turn that thing into a little image. 
Take the D, draw a big D. 
Then you’ve got a T; draw a big T on it.

Keep reducing it down until it looks magical.

And there are no rules for this thing. 

Do it until it looks magical.



At that point you now have a sigil. 
The sigil will work. 
You can project desire into reality, and change reality. 

It works!

Those must be the people who’ve done it.

So please, I mean, write this down, go home and do it. Check; verify the results.

Because – I was reading this thing in New Scientist this week and it said: the difference between bad science and good science is.. 

Scientific procedure has three criteria. And the criteria are: 

that you can verify results; you can talk to other people who’ve done the thing and make sure that, you know, it works out. 

You can duplicate results. 

And also.. 
some other thing; I’ve forgotten. 

But yeah, two things is pretty good, innit? 

Two outta.. yeah.

This is verifiable. People have been telling us about this for thousands of years. The Tibetans have been telling us about this. The Mesopotamians have been telling us about this. And why has it been made ‘occult’?

Because: Coca-Cola have got the secret.

What you do is you create a sigil.

Coca-Cola is a sigil. The McDonalds “M” is a sigil.

These people are basically turning the world into themselves, using sigils.

And if we don’t reverse that process, and turn the world into us using sigils, we’re going to be living in fucking McDonalds.

But McDonalds have no more power than us, apart from the fact – like what Doug [Rushkoff] said earlier – they’ve got some money.

Fuck it; who cares?

At the top levels of this stuff, no one’s using money anyway.

You think Rupert Murdoch, or the Queen, or Bill Clinton, or any of these fuckers use money? Of course they don’t.

They’ve realised that money is only useful to sell to the middle classes – the people in the middle who make things happen; who make things run.

We’ve been sold a fiction. 
There’s no such thing as money. 
Ignore it. 
At the higher levels..

No.. YEAH! HEY!

There is no money. 
These fuckers don’t use money. 
If Rupert Murdoch wants a Rolls Royce, they give him one. 
Because he’s Rupert Murdoch. 
And if they see him in a Rolls Royce, it means they get some status out of it.

So you’ve gotta understand, these people on the higher levels are operating on a hierarchy of exchange and barter.

On the lower levels – where I lived in Glasgow, which is one of the poorest cities in Europe – people are operating on a hierarchy of exchange that’s quite different: they steal shit, and then they sell it back, and they have their own little money.. and they have this complete black market economy.

There’s only us in the middle who think money’s worth anything – and we chase it until we drop.

So forget it.

Where was I?

(And the other thing is: I hate talking at people, so if anyone wants to join in just put your hand up. Coz I fucking hate just talking at people.)

So… having figured these weird things out, having thought about this and having been through this experience, which was exactly the experience I’d been promised by Wilson, McKenna, Philip K. Dick – everyone, they promised this thing, and it works. You can get the experience. 

Do what they told you to do, and it will happen – I promise you. 
You will meet the aliens; they will talk to you. 

The Golden Dawn called this “Knowledge & Conversation Of The Holy Guardian Angel”.

So it’s been around for a while; it’s accessible to everyone. 
Magick is accessible to everyone. 
The means of altering reality are accessible to everyone.

And when everyone starts doing it, we’re going to start to get to see desire manifest on a gigantic scale. Everyone’s desire. 

What happens when *everyone’s* desire becomes manifest?

Does the universe have to split up into a billion to accommodate it? Do we all have to suddenly understand that we’re all in the same place, and that we can all share in each others’ desires?

I don’t know. 
I’m just here to talk about this stuff.





LEE PERRY and the BLACK ARK STUDIO 

In 1973 Lee Perry was having a nap in the backyard of his family home in Kingston and
had a strange dream, hearing the strangest sounds and music never heard before. After
awakening he reflected on the dream, took it as a singn from the Almighty and decided
to build his own studio on this very spot. After completion in 1974 it was named 'THE
BLACK ARK' and one of the biggest mysticisms of Reggae music - and music in general -
should have it's origin there.

The studio was equipped with comparatively simple equipment through all it's time: a
four-track 1/4-inch TEAC reel-to-reel, 16-track Soundcraft board, Mutron phaser, a
Grantham spring reverb and a Roland Space Echo. But with these means only, completely
independent ways of production and lots of time to experiment Lee Perry created the
100% unique sound and style that will identify him forever. 

He shot pistols, broke glass, ran tapes backwards, and used samples of crying babies, falling rain, animal sounds and TV-show audience to create music and cleaned the tapeheads with his T-Shirt and blew Ganja smoke into running tapes to alter the sound. 

With records like 'DUB REVOLUTION' or 'BLACKBOARD JUNGLE DUB' the dirty and magical quality of the BLACK ARK sound was formed, never to be re-created.

In these surroundings only Lee Perry's production skills reached a new level, he
played the mixing desk like an instrument (roll over the pic above!), modulated
everything with phaser and delays and made the 4-track-machine sounding like a 20-
track:

"It was only four tracks on the machine," Perry explains, "but I was picking up twenty from the extra terrestrial squad. (...) I see the studio must be like a living thing, a life itself. The machine must be live and intelligent. Then I put my mind into the machine and the machine perform reality. Invisible thought waves - you put them into the machine by sending them through the controls and the knobs or you jack it into the jack panel. The jack panel is the brain itself, so you got to patch up the brain and make the brain a living man, that the brain can take what you sending into it and live." 

The aura of the BLACK ARK studio attracted many musicians, newcomers and veterans
alike, and countless timeless classics were created there. The 'OPEN THE GATE'-Box on
Trojan is an extraordinary document for the productions of that time and one of the
best Reggae records ever put to vinyl. Check out tracks like 'WORDS', Leroy Sibbles'
'GARDEN OF LIFE' or the milestone 'CONGOMAN' by the Congos (recently re-edited by
Carl Craig). Each song - great in themselves already - comes along with a dub version
that all have a deepness in them with no words to describe it. An absolutely
essential release!

Additionally to his achievements of stretching Dub over it's breaking point and
defining a new musical dimension of its own, Lee Perry was also a gifted riddim-
master and song- writer. Loads of classic riddims were created by him in this
era and - like 'POLICE AND THIEVES', 'SOULFIRE' or 'I CHASE THE DEVIL' - even reached
Top Ten status in England. And that is the big difference between him and King Tubby:
while Tubby RE-CREATED (in this time) Lee Perry CREATED. The music done by him in the
BLACK ARK studio present the pinnacle of Jamaican creativity, Reggae at its highest
heights and greatest power. 

But constant production and constant use of weed and booze took its physical and
mental toll in the late 70ies. Additionally the overall political situation in
Jamaica became almost civil-war-like, the streets being dangerous, looters hanging
around the studio and local gangsters pushing Scratch for protection money. Unable to
take that strain his wife and children left him and Perry started to walk the slim
line between reality and fantasy, reason and madness. Visitors and journalists
arrived at the Black Ark to find Perry worshipping bananas, eating money or spouting
long and violent diatribes. So in this time the BLACK ARK as a 'living brain', as he
described it before, ceased to function.

Perry spent much of his time vandalizing the Black Ark then, covering the once
colourful decor in bizarre and profane grafitty and splotches of black paint. Reels
of master tapes lay strewn on the floor, and the recording equipment was next to
useless due to water damage from a leaky roof. The once proud studio was now little
more than a junkyard. 

Then in 1979 Lee Perry burnt the studio down and left Jamaica for good. The whole
story of it is not clear until now, it's one more legend surrounding the mythos
Perry, but as a reason for this final step - and point of no return - he said: 

"The Black Ark was too black and too dread. Even though I am black, I have to burn it
down, to save my brain. It was too black. It want to eat me up!"

He spent some time in New York and England in the 80ies and finally married a Swiss
bussiness woman, who became his manager afterwards. The releases he turned out after
the death of the BLACK ARK never reached that quality again. He now lives in Zurich /
Switzerland. 

RECORDS:

Additional to the records mentioned before check out 'SUPER APE', an unforgettable
dub session with the Upsetters, 'JAH LION', 'HEART OF THE CONGOS' by the CONGOS,
'ITAL CORNER' with Prince Jazzbo or 'KUNG FU MEETS THE DRAGON'. All highly
recommended!