Beginning with a static-y 1996 AM radio interview during a power outage on the island of Guam Micronesia, then checking in from a goat farm in Japan decades later, then again from tiny isle in Indonesia, Uncle Weed weaves hempen stories and personal anecdotes about life on this remote USA “territory” including: selling hemp bags at Jeff’s Pirate Cove, advocating for legalization of cannabis in all forms, weird jobs (and quitting same), and current situation as Grassroots activists seek to fulfil will of voters for medical and recreational uses.
From SXSW 2008 – amidst sirens and Austin, Texas 6th St. street noise – comes an interview with filmmaker Erich Weiss premièring “Hori Smoku, Sailor Jerry” about the originator of contemporary tattoo-ing – and iconoclastic libertarian American – Norman Collins who combined Japanese technique, Polynesian traditions, and American motifs in Hawaii during WW2.
The interview delves into the the “screwed, boozed (blued), and tattooed” wild culture as a million sailors and soldiers descended upon the idyllic islands (especially Hotel Street), plus Mr. Collins’ complex life, the artistic lineage of Sailor Jerry, rivalries and legacies of various tattoo artists/legends, mentorships of Don Ed Hardy and others, and the remarks about “fad” tattooing and (lack of) regret.
On a forgotten forest walk, Dave riffs a story about first trip to Europe – starting with trying not to puke over an Amsterdam bridge after a meeting new temporary coffee shop pals – with flashback to Mexican desert trips with Grandpa, LSD trips with VW bus-fixing pals, and family Grateful Dead road trip to in Arizona.
Foreshadows future stories of an rapid exit from London to Florida then a (rather dangerous) driveway car to Dallas, bus to SLC, flight to Vancouver, then to Japan…
High in Jamaica, Uncle Weed visits Black Ras’ abundant mountain growfield to discuss “swamp weed” grown in morass versus “hard land weed” grown in volcanic soil with bat guano, plus varieties of ganja strains – both domestic and imported. Plus background about his family teaching him the ways of growing most anything and living an Ital lifestyle.
In-depth discussion with rock art photographer bev. davies including: hippie days with Neil Young and Joan Anderson (Joni Mitchell), shooting punk pioneers DOA and Subhumans, Motörhead in a park, David Bowie in a stadium, Brian Jonestown Massacre flipping off crowd and so many more. Also stories from backstage with Iron Maiden and Twisted Sister, Nardwuar collaborations, Duran Duran posing at soundcheck, and remarks about various Vancouver venues.
Plus insights about role of photographer as artist, conundrums of accreditation and access, reasons for a long hiatus, crafting the perfect shot, shoes versus sneakers, origins of calendars and exhibits, and plans for a book. Recorded August 2010 in Strathcona, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Embarking on meandering natural healing journey around Asia, Indian sub-continent, Arabia, Mediterranean, across Canada, US rocky mountain canyons, and to Grateful Dead anniversary shows while emerging from a fog after chronic and complex illness diagnosis resulting in lost years due to prescription meds.
High up a mountaintop of ancient uplifted coral, unaccompanied by bodyguards, escalades or a single Marley (unlike “reincarnated” snoop), I found a happy place– surrounded by thousands of little ladies. I squeezed the buds to savour the moment and smells of mangos and papayas, limes and skunks.
Note audio recorder in hand. My wanders are different now. I still wonder. Snapped with a single-use disposable camera
In Little Bay, Jamaica Uncle Weed and KK talk to Rasta-man Chubby about the joys of young coconuts including: the heart and belly healthy coconut water; the sweet soft meat within young coconuts while Chubby cuts one open for Uncle Weed to drink then chops it open to sample the soft jelly with a spoon made from the shell.
Chubby explains other uses for the coconut and the Rasta Ital diet including porridge, coconut milk with fish, rice and peas and other staples of the Ital diet cassava, corn, breadfruit, plantain, sweet potatoes, dumplings, but no diary or meat.
Finally they discuss how Chubby got his alias and foreshadow future topics of healing herbs and teas.
Jamaica is a fertile land and Ras @KK is experimenting with sprouting various cannabis plants and local Rasta “bush tiger” Chubby also shares bush knowledge including healing herbs including merenge seeds, roots and tea, tuna cactus tea, nuni (not noni).
Then they head to the porch to explore KK’s workbench of botanical specimens including sea urchin, conch, and soldier crab shells, plus inspect his cannabis seed sprouting tray and compare technique (they just “throw it in the dirt man”) and the advantages of bat guano as fertilizer and the great drainage of coral ground.
With scant days to go, Uncle Weed reflects on expectations, better realized – plus shares affection for kind people, the important of finding authenticity and supporting local economy– all while embarking on final steps before leaving, including: visiting Mr. Lawrence, the lifeguard; packing up jerk spice and mango chutney; detailing the geometric woodwork in the Queen’s Cottage’s roof; plus mops up a few stories, chats about PM Michael Manley’s Canadian ties, and dives into the sea… before saying good-bye to the Jamaican people by celebrating optimism about the free island’s place in the world.
“Mongooses are like ninja squirrels – stealth, rat-eating machines. They kinda look like squirrels but squirrels are gentle, nut-eating creatures and mongooses (mongeese) are feared sniper killers.”
After more banter about lobsters, reggae and food, Uncle Weed offers observations about music industry, taxi drivers, civic pride, pothole filling, corrupt government and cynicism, devalued currency, human potential, news of the day, Patois remix, ninja squirrel mongoose, Rasta culture, fireflies, coconuts, kids doing homework, bats catching mosquitos, meaning of goats, donkeys strolling, swimming (or lack thereof), varieties of crabs, Prime Minsterial hijinks, calling elections, cruise ships, markets, churches, and Jamaica-Canada connections.
Visiting pal Hemp Ed in Pe Ell, Washington, Uncle Weed gets up to date on the emerging and ambiguous regulatory framework for production, distribution and retailing of cannabis in the aftermath of Washington Initiative 502.
Plus conversation on the state of industrial hemp, small scale growing operations, the impact of state-imported weed, and the role of the Liquor Control Board as arbiter – while smoking a joint in his medical experiment facility next to a cedar sauna.