Love Special Delivery from Simon Vinkenoog Amsterdam. The Timothy Leary Story.
Pic courtesy of Houghton Library.
A commonplace or scrapbook compiled by Vinkenoog. Folio, 38ll., approximately 70 pieces of tipped and pinned in printed and mimeographed ephemera, news and magazine clippings, drawings, a typescript devotional poem, file copies of typed letters and returns, articles in manuscript, collages etc..
Spiral bound in the original pale blue paper wrappers, the upper portion extensively annotated, the front pastedown with annotated news portrait of Leary with a mimeographed text in Dutch below, with approximately 20 items of loose ephemera (with some in photocopy) loosely inserted, accompanied by approximately the same amount of loose material of a similar nature. 1963-1980s.
In very good condition, many items detached from pages, endemic browning of glue, upper wrapper a bit worn and torn with some loss. An important LSD memento, a modest archive of materials covering near enough the entire span of Leary’s career as LSD evangelist.
Provenance: from Vinkenoog to the founder of the Ludlow Santo Domingo Library at the 2006 LSD Symposium in Basel thence to the Houghton Library, Harvard.
Simon Vinkenoog is arguably the grand old man of the Dutch underground of letters. A prolific writer, poet, translator, performer, jazz freak and hallucinogenic drug and drug book enthusiast he co-edited a seminal drug anthology entitled ‘The Book of Grass’ with George Andrews. In the spirit of the times, he performed at the seminal Amsterdam ‘Stoned In The Streets’ happening with Bart Hugues and participated in a much overlooked film on Amsterdam cannabis with Alex Trocchi. Vinkenoog also read for the International Poetry Incarnation’ in 1965 at London’s Albert Hall appearing with Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, William S. Burroughs and Alex Trocchi . He had met the globe-trotting Ginsberg for the first time in Amsterdam in 1957 and in time became his translator (p-492 Morgan). Miles records that when travelling, Ginsberg often stayed at Vinkenoog’s “..book lined house on the bank of the Amstel River” (p-504 Miles). Vinkenoog was, in effect, the main Beat ‘connection’ who transmitted the American Beat sensibility to Holland. Much later, he worked with the great proto-Beat and hippy-trailer Ira Cohen in transcribing the dope smoking Swami Baba Ganesh’s rants (p-173 Bey & Zug).
This scrapbook of clippings, publications and correspondence with the Leary circle was begun well into Vinkenoog’s thirties. As such, this was not ‘puppy love’ for Vinkenoog or a youthful idolization stoked by good Amsterdam hashish. Indeed, his age was well above Leary’s much quoted psychedelic tidemarkviz“Don’t Trust anyone over thirty”. Vinkenoog evidently disregarded this forbidding mantra. It is ironic that the silver haired Timothy Leary was himself technically excluded from the ‘Chosen Tribe’ by dint of age.
At the aforementioned LSD symposium in Basel, where this commonplace book was acquired by the Ludlow Santo Domingo Library, he recounted how very much he was influenced by Leary’s doctrines and thought, saying that: “I live by Timothy Leary” and added that he was initially encouraged by the psychiatrist Dr. Stanislav Grof to subscribe to the ‘Psychedelic Review’.Which of course lead to the International Federation for Internal Freedom and the League for Spiritual Discovery.
Subsequently, Vinkenoog co-translated “The Psychedelic Experience” into Dutch, eventually meeting Leary when he was on the run in Switzerland. Vinkenoog declined an invitation to visit Leary in Algeria not wanting spend time “..in jail with Eldridge Cleaver” (video on Basel LSD conference website). In a letter on his personal website from 2007, the then 78 year old Vinkenoog styles himself as “The Madmaster”, summoning up the title of this scrapbook, thus:
“Jazz & Poetry! Jazz is my Religion. Love, Sex, Death, Love Special Delivery”.
By 1963, when this scrapbook seems to commence Vinkenoog was already a psychedelic veteran. In another letter on his website from the same period, Vinkenoog describes, in his inimical style, the circumstances by which he came to take LSD for the first time in 1959, thus:
“As an old-time tripper, who ‘savoured’ his first LSD-trip in february 1959 as a guinea pig in a medical experiment at the City of Amsterdam’s Wilhelminagasthuis, in Paviljoen 3 -locally known to be the lunatic ward- and who’s been reflecting about the idea of ‘consciousness’ ever since, and a a poet, I could gather a multitude of words (in essence Thou Art All That & Love It or Leave It )”.
1959 is a remarkably early date for a non-medic, security state employee or scientist to have taken LSD in Europe whether in an institutional or domestic setting. From scattered references on the internet, it seems that the Willhelmina Hospital ran a pioneering LSD therapy and drug addiction research programme that was still going in 1967. This episode does not however appear in the standard English language histories of the period, including Lee & Shlain’s ‘Acid Dreams’. Even Captain Al Hubbard, a fixer for the postwar American Intelligence community, and a man of considerable financial means, had only taken the drug for the first time a mere eight or so years earlier (p-45 Lee & Shlain).The published transactions, edited by Harold Abramson, for the first conference on LSD-25 in 1959 and the far more global conference on LSD and alcoholism in 1965 record no Dutch delegate either.
Vinkenoog was undoubtedly a disciple and a follower of Leary who was certainly prepared to ‘stand up and be counted’ and who not hesitate ‘put his head above the parapet’ for Castalian, IFIF and League of Spiritual Discovery principles and to get Leary released from imprisonment on drugs charges.
As the onionskin copies of his letters, and some of the returns included here, show he participated as far as he was able. One such is a letter to the editors of ‘Time Magazine’ invites them to to “Please single me out as well” and denounces the “..sensational reports..” of the mainstream press for inciting a ““wave of irresponsible experimentation”“. Therafter, he aligns himself directly with the Learyites and rails againts the drug laws citing anti-psychiatrict Ronnie D. Laing on marijuana use to back up his argument, thus:
““I would be far happier if my own teenager [sic] children would,without breaking the law,smoke marijuana when they wished, rather than start on the road of so many of their elders to nicotine and ethyl alcohol addiction”“.
The letter was rejected by the Edtors with the rather prissy rejoinder that”Reader Hitchcock” (i.e.Leary’s landlord and patron William “Billy” Mellen Hitchcock) had got there before him. In another letter, this time to the Timothy Leary Defense Fund and dated March 25, 1966, Vinkenoog encloses a contribution “…only 5 dollars alas..” and adds his signature to the Fund’s “..Declaration of Principle..” (the text of which is pasted on the verso page). Bemoaning the influence of the first US ‘Drug Czar’ Harry J. Anslinger and “..American concepts..” upon “..Dutch laws..”, he declares that he felt “allowed” to join their appeal because he “..spent part of this, our, battle in prison (six weeks last year)..”.
An amusing letter, from four or so years later, to the editor of ‘Good Times’ magazine underlines this long-term, heartfelt commitment to psychedelic religious consciousness. In the opening paragraph he calls for a global “..two minutes silence..” between November 8-11 to remember “..those in need and adversity now..”, these being “friends” “emprisioned” [sic] in in the “..U.S., Turkey, Lebanon, Tunesia[sic] Greece and I’m sure elsewhere..”. Vinkenoog adds that “..as a Bishop of the Universal Life Church I fully endorse your Declaration of War Against the death drugssmackandspeed..”.
Vinkenoog offers the advice to Timothy Leary, recently sprung from prison by the Weather Underground, that he should “..drop out of his own name game..” and read the last story in Elias Canetti’s ‘Voices of Marrakesh and “..disappear into any of the Asian ashrams..” as well as take up the practice Kathmandu style meditation methods. Above all, Vinkenoog calls out to “LET NON VIOLENCE PREVAIL”. A theme that he pursues in his ‘Open Letter’ where he calls for Leary to choose love over hate, think globally and eschew fatalism, anger and hatred. This is quoted at length below:
“Even at this late stage of the day,
your fate is not sealed by governments
refusing entry to you and your friends.
Even at this late stage of the day,
your fate is not sealed by governments
refusing entry to you and your friends.
Even now, Timothy Leary,
you can choose violence or non-violence.
Do not arm yourself with weapons of aggression,
Do not consider the United States of America
Vinkenoog has annotated the poem with the names of papers and people he had sent it to including the zines ‘Holding Together’, ‘Friends’, Other Scenes’ and “+ Kesey”, “+ Hoppy”, “+Jim”, “+Felix”, “Roll. Stone”. As well as Ken Kesey, these notes almost certainly refer to John Hopkins of the seminal ‘UFO’ club and ‘Longhair Times’ (see elsewhere in this catalogue for the ‘Global Moon’ edition of this zine), Jim Haynes of ‘Suck Magazine’ and London’s ‘Arts Lab’ and Felix Dennis of Notting Hill’s psychedelic ‘Oz’ magazine.
We feel that this is document alone is an important artefact of a veteran European drug-user, and dedicated follower of Leary’s, trying to make sense of the infamous prison ‘break-out’ communiqué of a few months earlier. To explain, in the almost immediate aftermath of Leary’s escape from a draconian prison sentence, he entered into what many felt was a shameful episode in his moral and ‘religious’ career. Citing the assassinations of Dr King, the hounding of Lenny Bruce and the historical precedent of Buchenwald, he declared an ‘open season’ on the American State and its servants. With the justification that it was now a time of “Total War” (p-392 Greenfield). From now on, all representatives of the ‘system’ were fair game, thus:
“To shoot a genocidal robot policeman in the defense of is a sacred act…” (op. cit.).
“WARNING: I am armed and should be considered dangerous to anyone who threatens my life or freedom” ().
In an homage to Charles Manson, 1969 was declared the ‘Year of The Fork’ by Bernardine Dohrn of the Weather Underground leadership (see ‘Prairie Fire’ entry elsewhere in this catalogue). All of this must have been particularly galling for Vinkenoog, who surely as a long time resident of Amsterdam knew more about total war and genocide than Leary could ever comprehend.
A selection of some of the more interesting and rarer Leary related ephemera from the scrapbook follows, in order of appearance, all largely foolscap or A4 unless stated otherwise:
-”Statement of Purpose of The International Federation For Internal Freedom [IFIF]”. 3pp. Xeroxed memorandum, annotated thus: “Jan 63” in Vinkenoog’s hand. Horowitz AA38 who notes a single leaf folded.
-” Dear Friend: You will find enclosed a formal statement..”, 3pp. printed mailout on behalf of the IFIF, signed by Leary in the stone.
-”The IFIF Program”. 2pp. printed manifesto, (1963), apparently not in Horowitz.
-”Present Programme-IFIF-Cambridge”, 1l., [2pp], July (1963), offset(?), Horowitz L8 for a “typescript” with a similar title.
-”Selected Readings in Consciousness Expansion”, 5pp., thermofax of a typescript, (Horowitz L9 for a similar “typescript” from two years earlier), with another copy in mimeograph with slight textual changes.
– “Castalia Foundation Experinetal Workshops”. Square 8vo., 4pp., leaflet, design by Alan Atwell, Millbrook. Horowitz L11.
-”Dr. Leary’s Case Concerns You. Why?”, offprint from Timothy Leary Defense Fund advertisement, (1966).
-”Statement of Purposes”, 1l., [1p.], , three point squib/mission statement of Timothy Leary Defense Fund(TLDF)/Committee for The Reform of Marihuana Laws.
-”Dear Friend: You may have heard fo the sentence Dr. Timothy Leary received..”, 1l, [1p.], printed letter from the TLDF, March 19, 1966, signed William Mellon Hitchcock in the stone.
-”Declaration of Principle”, Folio, 1l., TLDFet al.
-”Fact Sheet League For Spiritual Discovery”. 1l., [1p.], offprint/samizdat publication and a copy, the original annotated by Vinkenoog. Horowitz C45, for its printed version with a slightly different titlle that appeared in “Innerspace No. 2. With subscription notices for ‘The Pyschedelic Review’ as well as a very rare reprint of a George Dushack article on Zihuatenajeo from 1963 entitled “Paradise Lost by Mexico LSD Colony”
Others include, a small folio sized reprint from a full page New York Times advertisement excerpting parts of a Report from the Subcommittee on Narcotics, with lists of defenders, list of Leary’s 52 (up to then) publications and his ‘contributions’ to science and knowledge etc.. And, an attractive leaflet and application form for the Castalia Foundation at Millbrook’s Summer School. With an illustrated programme for a “A Show of Pyschological and Psychedelic Paintings, Drawings and Assemblages” at New York’s Coda Gallery from 1965 with an accompanying seminar with Jospeh Berke. (This, according to ‘The Psychedelic Review, Volume 1, No. 6 was under the aegis of the Castalia Foundation).
Lastly, a small card handill or mailout for Leary and Alpert’s 1964 Town Hall, Castalia Foundation talk “How to Use Your Head.
Other ephemera that is not directly related to Leary includes, a programme for the important ‘LSD Conference’ at UC Extension, Berkeley in 1966. (Excerpts of speeches from this colloquium were later reprinted as item #10 in the so called ‘The Pop Art Issue’, of ‘Aspen’ the pioneering multimedia journal issued in a box ( a copy of which is in the Ludlow Santo Domingo Library). . Vinkenoog has also pasted a small and very attractive printed novelty joke item, presumably acquired from a headshop, from circa 1968. This depicts “Aztecs AD 400” illustrating ‘Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” Leary’s much quoted and oft derided byword. There are other rarities in the accompanying wodge of materials, such as an exceedingly rare Dutch language samizdat ‘Hash Kookboek’ by Martin De Rooy and others. This is so rare that it does not appear in the World Catalogue (OCLC) or any of the printed sources on hash and hash cookbooks such as Horowitz or Bey & Zug. Recipes include one for Majoon, the sweet hashish confection from the Maghreb, that is described in Dutch as “Marokkaanse Hasj-Majoon” and “Thee” (Tea), where hash is put in “..een linjen zaakje” and immersed in boling water, and ‘Bhang”. The recipe for “Faroek’s penis” ties the publication ineluctably to Ira Cohen’s (writing pseudonymnously as ‘Panama Rose’ and his wonderful and very early ‘Hashish Cookbook’ (see elsewhere in the LSD library for the printing plates) where it is included under the name ‘Farouk’s Dick’.