AT: Do you remember Michael X?
AT: He's dead. You know that?
AG: I know. I was involved in trying to stop it out of New York but, god, it didn't work out, so what was behind that?
AT: Oh well I think I know. I wanted to go over there but, you know, it's the same as going to America, legal entry like. One of the things that was brought up in Michael's trial was this International Communist Conspiracy called Sygma!
AG: Oh really!
AT: Yes..which he was a member of.
AG: That's interesting.
AT: A Conspiracy of Drugs! To put drugs everywhere!
AT: That's what I mean. I mean I need you here for three or four days, you know, just to be with me, so I can talk to you and tell you... That was very sad..
AG: Yes it was...
AT: But not only that. Did you know that Michael, when he went to Trinidad, his main point was to establish a university there. Ronnie Laing, Felix Topalski, a whole load of us were going to go out there - John Lennon was in it too, you know, there was money - we were going to go to Trinidad and create an island where we could register ships, you know, whatever, (instead of being Liberia, the ships could register in Trinidad)..but we wanted an international university which would be based in Trinidad..we had all the pop stars who were going to come too, you know, with the money and the kudos and that kind of thing,..and Michal was the fore-runner, he went out there, and he obviously became too big for his boots before the power got behind him, you know..
Look I don't know what happened,. Michael wrote me letters (I've still got the letters).
AG: You do? good..After he was busted?
AT: Yes..and he said, like,"don't believe a word of it, Alex", but I know Michael and he could get real hot and...he might have tried to prove something to that other motherfuckin' spade that was with him, the American, you know the one, what was his name?
AG: No, I don't remember...Carmichael? no..some minion of Carmichael?
AT: It was a man who was subsequently murdered by some other spades in New York.
AG: As part of a Panther plot?
AT: Listen, man, I really can tell you this story if you have a few days to spare sometime. Perhaps it would be better than reading poetry to some little (gathering)......you understand?..I have a lot to talk to you about, and a lot to do, a lot of energy is fire in my big belly, you understand?
AG: You know the New York Panthers were founded by... half of the people who founded them were FBI.
AT: Why don't you say to Miles,"Why did you throw some money into..a kitty, to get Michael murdered while he was still in England?"
AG: Why did Miles throw some money...
AG: Do you think that Miles was responsible?
AT: No he wasn't responsible, he was just one of them.
AG: You think Miles was?
AT: Miles and a whole load of other people, Englishmen, got together and they threw money into a pot to get somebody to murder Michael.
AG: Why did they do that do you think?
AT: Because Michael had been obstreperous, and, no doubt, he had been nasty to them. I mean, I'm not trying to excuse Michael, but I'm against murder.
AG: Miles was trying to defend him from being killed. Miles was one of the people that was helping circulate the information about him,about it.
AT: Was he? Look,why did Miles not talk to me?
AG: I don't know what the situation was here..Maybe you weren't here at that time. What year was that?
AT: Listen, I've been here for years..ever since Miles was a grown-up, I've been here.. You know,Miles is not very friendly towards me. He doesn't know me.
AG: He hasn't ever said anything unfriendly (about you) to me.
AT: OK..and I haven't... I mean, I really don't want to say anything unfriendly about Miles, except, this was one of the stories that I heard from someone who had absolutely no reason to tell lies, that there was one evening in this country, when a lot of Englishmen got together, and they said that this motherfucker Michael X......
AG: Miles is currently in the United States.
AT: No I don't know Miles. I never knew Miles - and this is one way in which I felt, dammit, I should have known Miles, you know, dammit, I invented..I invented the International Times. Now you don't know that, right?..but they decided to drop me, almost at the beginning, and, you know, like, I can explain it, ABCDEFG. .Miles didn't know me at the time but we....
You see you always stay with Miles when you come here. Now I think Miles is great, you know, like I've seen him, I've seen what he's done, I approve of everything he's done..but I've never got to know him, you know.
I've got a lot to talk to you about, Allen..
AT: ...but I need time. Well, of course, I need time, you know...to break the ice, apart from anything else. We haven't talked to one another for a long time.
No, but Allen, I need more time . I need you for a couple of days some time.
AG: Next time I come to London.
AT: Ok..it's not a question of putting Miles down, do you understand?, he was a wee boy at the time, you know, didn't know a thing, he was just a bright little boy, you know but..so, I'm not knocking Miles, but Miles got into..what I consider a bit bad company, you know..
AG: Who was he with there?
AT: Listen, I'm not knocking Miles, it's not a question of that. It just happened that I had to mention him, because, like, I had something terrible described to me - that one night, a whole load of young Englishmen were in a pad somewhere in Mayfair or around there
AG: Was that..what's his name?.. the bankers son? the Jewish bankers son?
AT: No, not he, because he was Michael's friend..And they all began to throw money into the center to buy a....a killer man..to knock off Mike..and Miles was one of them.
PO: You were there?
AT: No I wasn't. It was reported to me. It may be completely untrue, it may be completely untrue.
AG: Well, if it were untrue then what would have ben the purpose of reporting that to you and, who might have done it?
AT: Well no-one would have done it, no-one would have reported something like this to me because, as a matter of fact, it was one of the killers that reported it to me, and, you know, I had my arm around his neck! The man who reported it to me was...you remember we had a pirate radio station on a ship..an Irishman..
AG: Yeah..who was that?..
AT: Well..dammit..my memory..I'll find it tomorrow if you like, but tonight I can't remember it Allen, but it was he
AG: ...who told you that story
AT: ...who told me the story of how they all sat round, you know, like he said...
AG: Was he there?
AT: Well he was there and I said,"Well fuck it, why did you do that?" and he said. "Well dammit, everyone was there" and I said, "Who was there?", and he said that Miles was there. Now, Allen, it's not a question of knocking him, you know, like, something like that, but I'd like to know..I'd like to know what it was all about, because that man was hanged, and I would have liked to have saved him, because he went over there..he ran away of course from... do you know why he got into trouble the last time? My fault! - do you know a little boy called Leroi?, a member of the Living Theatre?
AG: Er..yeah..a black fellow?
AG: Went to India later?
AT: Well alright, now, Leroi, who was a member of the Living Theatre, was living with me in London and he needed some bread and he did some cleaning, cleaning houses etcetera, through an agency, and the agency didn't pay him properly, or something like that, and he gave them his watch for an advance or something right? And, well, the day that Leroi comes back crying to me about this, about what had happened, Michael turns up. Now Michael's a bit of a motherfucker in his own way you know.
AG: Because he had a reputation for having worked for some housing man?
AT: Oh but that was a long time back. Not only that but, you know, I can understand everything, I mean, believe me, I didn't put Michael down for that. He didn't stay long with that...It was only about a few weeks later that he dropped it, and started his activist working for the natives, you know..
Ok, now Michael, he used to come along when I was in trouble or something like that, and he'd put his fucking cheque book down and his gun, and he'd say "Which do you need?" - as though I need a fuckin' gun! , but Michael was that way, you know. He was like.. hot-headed. I didn't approve particularly, but whenever Michael was with me I was able to shut him up. (Dammit, I'll tell you some stories. in New York, in the pads that I was in there, you know, I had two or three of your real far out spades with guns, who came in with their fuckin' guns, and they ended up being sweet boys and painting!..as long as I could keep them there, but the money ran out eventually, and they had to go out and do their work again - although, of course, we were drug addicts). Anyway, to get back to Michael,he came and I said to him,"Look, poor old Leroi, they won't give him his pay, because he didn't want to work anymore, they won't give him the pay, and he had a whole bloody weeks pay to come". So, of course, that's a wrong thing to say to Michael. Black boy is being bullied by white boys in this country. He walked down and he kidnapped the boss of that fucking firm! he took him down to The Black House - remember the Black House in London? - he put chains round his fuckin' neck, chains round his fuckin' wrists and he danced round him. The man was scared out of his fuckin' life, you know. I said "Oh Michael, for Christ sake, you know this is ridiculous!". But he says "What do you want me to do? That's what they did to my fathers and my mothers". You know, I couldn't say "No. Not true". On the other hand, Jesus, Michael really lit it for himself because this cat went to lawyers and Michael was immediately arrested and was to come up in court for kidnapping ....
AG: Did he let the guy go?
AT: Yes of course he did. He was just trying to scare the pants off him.
AG: Did he collect the money?
AT: He didn't as a matter of fact.
AG: So,well, that's the reason not to do such things! You just get done on kidnapping charges and you don't get the money !
AT: Well, put it this way, I don't know whether he did or not in the end but at the office he didn't..and that's why he took the man, you understand?
AT: He's a literary man, Michael. I mean, it wasn't serious. He wasn't going to kill the fucker, you understand?
AG: Yeah, but the guy didn't know that.
AT: The guy didn't know it. He might have had a heart attack.I mean I'm with it and I'm against it..
But you know it was I who pointed out what was wrong with Leroi when he arrived that day with three of his boys and I feel responsible.
But let me go back just a moment..Michael was a friend of John Michell's, a good friend, close friends,"Well," I said to Michael,"Michael, I need money for Sygma."
He says, "How much do you need?" I said,"A million pounds."( He didn't have a million pounds) He said,"You can have a hundred." I said,"Ok, when?". He said," I'll give you 50 pounds now, and 50 pounds next week".
Nah, I mean it was sweet. John Michell, of course, could have afforded it, if he'd cared to write a cheque, but it was Michael who said it.
AG: Michael was getting.. what year was that? 67?
AT: Oh Christ I can't quite remember..
AG: Because he was getting money from Panna O'Grady
AT: Was he? Well he was getting money from a lot of people. Anyway, I took the 50 pounds and I bought two dozen red roses (for the wife of a publisher here in London). Michael found out about it the next day and he said," What have you done with the money?". And I said, "Well, I bought two dozen red roses for so and so"(now, I bought her two dozen red roses because I knew that, two dozen red roses for this lady, it would be a gesture - and I was working for Sygma )....He flipped his fuckin' lid!
" I give all my hard earned money and you spend it on two dozen fuckin' red roses for this bourgeois something something". But I wouldn't back down an inch. Because I knew what I was doing, you know. And, eventually, he agreed, he understood what I was doing , saw it was worth it. As a matter of fact, I think I got a couple of thousand quid out of that! Oh dear, I wasn't trying to con anyone, or anything like that. but you know, like, you have to communicate with whom you can communicate, in order to bring the money into Sygma, that's what it was. Ok, well, that is the kind of thing that Michael could understand, you see..This was something I always found with Michael..If I explained it to him, he could understand..And, dammit, if I had been in Trinidad at that time, that other motherfucker would never have bullied him into whatever..I can't tell the whole story just now, you know, because it's too long...
AG: I don't understand what happened there though..
AT: I don't understand.
AG: The bodies were found on the lawn and he was blamed but he wasn't around or something like that and there were...
AT: It seems his cousin was... I'm not even sure that Michael was innocent but...
Peter Orlovsky: Did you know Michael as well?
AT: Intimately, intimately. As a matter of fact, one year when I came back from Spain and Lyn was really pissed off with me, she left me....and I had taken her to live with Michael - because we had no money and I had nowhere else to go - and Michael had said, "Alex, you and Lyn have nowhere to go? you come to me." - but Lyn just flipped and left, so I stayed with Michael for three months..so I know his kids, you know, I know the man like I know a brother.
I know him so well, so intimately, and, you know, I'm not an inconsiderable fellow.
Michael never did anything that I told him not to - ever.. That meant he was an intelligent guy, you know. I'm no idiot and I wouldn't let the man do things that would be stupid and get him into trouble.
Peter Orlovsky: But why did he carry a gun with him?
AT: Well..Michael could afford to. He had to do it to persuade the other boys that he was one of them. Why did he not have Black Power to defend him?..because he had too many white friends.
AG: Well no, now wait a minute,it's a very complicated matter.
AG: The Black Nationalists, separatist movement, you understand, that says, don't work with whites, that was,secretly, the party line of the FBI.
AT: Well maybe it was.
AG: And I have the documents here to show you
AT: Alright ok.
AG: It's very interesting.
AT: I'm sure it is.
AG: Leroi Jones was also pushing that line from '65 on, and Leroi later found out his tutor in that, his guru in that particular thing. was being supplied with money by the FBI. precisely for that purpose, to split black and white.
AT: I was absolutely horrified in the last period that I was in New York. I had four or five real good close spade friends,they loved me, you know, and I loved them, and I was close to them and I could really talk to them, but, came a day, one day, when I went to talk to them, and there were two real stoney-faced cats from Chicago or somewhere..
AG: Likely FBI agents in disguise bringing the new party line.
AT: And these cats said that you don't want to trust whitey, you know - and so you're called "whitey" by your old friends! ..But the point is, that Michael never fell for that bullshit, and Michael never had any of the black activists to go on his side, he didn't have a halfpenny worth of help from them when he met his doom, the only people who were going to help him were his white friends, and one who, perhaps, could have helped him more than the rest, if I could only get into court, was me, but I couldn't go to court there because he had already called me "Alexander Trocchi, the mastermind behind Sygma, which was an International Drug Communist Conspiracy!" - and if I'd gone there I'd have been arrested.
AG: Look at this. These are FBI files under the Official Secrets Act or... two from Detroit ..Counter-Intelligence Program.. Black Panther Party..SDS...this is 1969
AT: Jesus Christ (reads)...Where did you get this?
AG: I have a lot of stuff like that.
AT: Where? Where did it come from?
AG: Under an American law called the Freedom of Information Act you can get your own files, as much as they'll give you, and, short of murder, they're giving most of them out now, and this was from Jane Fonda's file, because she got a copy of a letter that was...no this was Leroi Jones' file...let me see..
AT: Doesn't matter
AG: Oh, Ann Arbor..
AT: Allen, you're convinced that this is valid? solid?
AG: Oh sure..I have my own files here..it's real..a xerox of..
AT: You know, I"m sorry but I've got to be a little bit.. you know, if I read something like this, it's shocking isn't it?
AG: Read that and I'll tell you the context.
AT (reads)..oh Christ...well..(Timothy) Leary had a whole bit, you know, with them in Algeria.
AG: And the FBI was responsible...but you read this and then I'll get on to the others.
AT: Jesus Christ, it's so down-to-earth, so cool.
AG: Do you remember John Sinclair, the White Panther Party?
AT: Sounds familiar but I can't remember
AG: Sinclair founded the White Panther party in sympathy with the Black Panthers, because Sinclair was a poet, friend of Charles Olson...
BUF (Black United Front of Washington DC)..that would be an agent within the Black United Front writing this..Rational Mobilization (David Dellinger and the Anti-War Movement)..
AT: God it reads like Bill Burroughs doesn't it!
AG: Uh huh... beautiful..that's what I meant when I said that the Black Nationalists, Seperatists, anti-White thing, was a party line of the FBI. It may have been a natural thought that might have occured to everybody, but it was a orchestrated, escalated and manipulated,
AT: Well Michael didn't have one Black Power person for him when he was up against it you know. They all put him down as a "whitey", whitey-lover,.
AG: That may very well have been the ultimate influence.
AT: Well he was a whitey-lover, shit, he didn't actually make any difference between blacks and whites, he was that, you know, frankly.
Peter Orlovsky: So why did they kill him?
AT: Well he was supposed to have commited murder. They were frightened of him in Trinidad because he was going to take over the government and actually I wanted him to!
AG: He was nowhere near, realisticly, was he?
AT: Well...that's arguable. I don't know, I really don't know. I never was in Trinidad you see so I can't judge, but he had a big following.
AG: He had some following when I met him as agitator.
AT: Not only that but he had a whole load of people on this side who were going to go across to an International Conference in Trinidad to found an International University to try to... I mean it's a small island.
It could have become a very rich little island you know with all the pop stars and people going out there. I don't know. Perhaps he was out of his mind?
AG: This is my summary..this is an index or summary of the papers I have here..like that thing you were asking about?, you know..This is J Edgar Hoover saying that I am a subversive ultra-leftist because of evidence of emotional instability, prior acts,
this is a funny one..
AT: How did you get hold of this information?!
AG: You get it under the Freedom of Information Act.
AT: Well you don't get it in England!
AG: No you don't have such an Act. Freedom of Information. In other words, if you are not convicted of a crime, and you have reason to feel that the government has been bugging you, you can apply for your files.
AT: Christ...That's good isn't it?
AG: They'll give you...you don't ever know how much..oh it's great, all this stuff, enough for a book.
AG: This is that stuff..this is from Sullivan from the FBI to this guy, this is about the objective..So, you get the idea..
AT: Yeah, I get the idea. It's unbelievable, it's unbelievable that you can get this bloody information.
AG: Here's something on Leroi (Jones) that's very interesting, from, I guess, J Edgar Hoover, or someone like that, to the local bureau in Newark..So it was an anonymous poison pen letter sent to the newspapers about Leroi Jones...
AT: Incredible. Incredible Allen, you know. I have never seen anything like this
AG: Now a letter like this was sent from the New York Panthers to Eldridge Cleaver in Algeria saying that Leary was an FBI agent..and that's what caused that arguement..
AT: That was really horrible..
AG: Had you heard about that?..did you hear him?
AT: Well I didn't hear the reason. I heard Leary's side.
AG: Ok, well Leary told me that when he had Christmas supper with Eldridge Cleaver in jail in '72 or so, they went back over it and they discovered that's what happened.
Now,the New York Panthers were founded by the FBI..or let us say three of the five or three of the six people that founded it were FBI agents, it later came out in a trial.
AG: And one of the main people who founded the New York Panthers was a guy named Gene Roberts..
AT: Well no wonder poor old Michael didn't have a chance to get them behind him!
AG: Gene Roberts...was an FBI agent, who was one of Malcolm X's bodyguards, and was on the stage when he was assassinated, and the fact that he had been an agent all along didn't come out till there was a big trial of the New York Panthers, and he turned up as an agent on the witness stand.
AT: This is part of the FBI files?
AG: These are from FBI files.
AT: But..I can't understand how you can get hold of these!
AG: Anybody can get hold of these, these are freely available, if you've got a lawyer...
AT: When did you get hold of them?
AT: Ah. that's 10 years later, right?
AT: I mean you couldn't get hold of them in '68?
AG: No -Although the law was passed in '68 saying you could, but nobody tried out the law until after Watergate..
AT: I see. Watergate changed it all!
AG: ...and once Watergate had changed, in that the guys who had hold of the FBI were replaced by other people, and the guys who were in charge of determing who would get what papers were replaced by liberal civil liberties lawyers.
AT: Well, I mean this is brilliant this is, it's a book isn't it?
AG: Yep..A book called Smoking Typewriters.
AT: Jesus Christ, I didn't honestly believe....
AG: ..that it was so literal!
AT: I mean, and if they were able to do that, it strikes me as kind of funny that you can get hold of the damn information you know.
AG: I'll tell you something. The story you have about Miles sounds like one of these...stories that tend to confuse and divide people.
AT: It's possible, it's a possibility.
AG: I mean you might consider that as a possibility, check it out with Miles.
AT: Ok, check it out with Miles, but in the nicest possible way, you know, because I'm not Miles' enemy or anything like that, but..
AG: You could, you could
AT: I'll do it myself.
AG: What I would suggest is, cut through the paranoia, check it out with Miles
AG..because they created the paranoia
AT: Alright, they did, in this instance.
AG: A lot of it..maybe not in this instance that you're talking about, but this was the typical tactic..to spread rumors that other people had done other people in.
AT: Its possible, it's entirely possible.
AG: Well I don't know what was going on around here in England.
AT: I would like to find out.
AG: This is a specifically American scene.
AT: Well exactly, it sounds a little..frightening, it's very frightening. I got the point now Allen, I don't need to read very much more
AG: Distrust, Paranoia, Confusion.
AT: Yes of course
AG: Of late 60s and early 70s was our own neurotic problem.
AT: I'm sure, I'm sure.
AG: But..It was manipulated and escalated deliberately by agent provocateurs imported precisely to divide and conquer.
AT: I'm sure, I'm sure, Yes, but I'm not absolutely certain that this extended to....
AG: ...Michael X, it might have. So he might have been surrounded and subverted by black agents.
AT: Hold on now, I remember, we had a free jazz festival here..oh Christ, when was that? I can't remember, but I was involved with that..Christ what year was that? I'll find out for you- I have all the information at home you know - but I can't remember it at the moment, but it was there that I met the boss of this pirate radio station, and I met a whole band of young Irishmen with him - 'cause he was an Irishman, you know - and it was at that point that they began talking about how they were going to do in Michael X. I said nothing of course. I just listened. And, of course, they could have been discreet but I don't think I was important enough. Don't say anything to Miles, let me talk to Miles. For Chrissake, bring Miles and myself together next time you come here, ok?
AG: I'll ask him and I won't say where it came from. I'll say I heard about this guy from the pirate radio station, and that everyone's been talking about it.
AT: ..about the night that a whole load of people put money into a kitty in order to get someone to bump off Michael X.
Peter Orlovsky: Irish people? Why would they want to bump off Michael X?
AT: No it was white people in general, because Michael was standing up and, well,you know, he wasn't very popular here among white people, especially amongst... Now,what frightened me when I heard it, was that Miles was one of the people who put money into the kitty. But why? He could of course have put money in, simply not wanting to give himself away, because he was in a nasty group or something.
AG: Now. I heard it from Miles. that the reason Michael was killed, he thought, was that Michael was threatening CIA dominance of Trinidad.
AT: Well maybe.
AG: .... and was of political importance, like you say..
AT: He had some political importance, there's no question about it.
The point is he had political importance..it was Michael, but Michael really wasn't... By the time he went to Trinidad, he was already a sick man.I mean, he may have regressed, he may have murdered someone, his cousin or someone.
I don't know, I really don't know.
AG: No but Miles, what I'm trying to say is, Miles was to me always sympathetic to Michael and helped involved me writing letters to save him.
AT: Possibly..ok..okey-doke Now..well I'm glad to hear it you know.
AG: And John Lennon..and then they got in Jon Hendricks in New York..
AT: Yes but John Lennon didn't pay the fuckin' money you know like he'd promised, you know, he promised to pay the lawyer, and the lawyer was over here trying to twist the money out of us, and I didn't have any money at the time,and I said,"look, I've been hoodwinked..." (tape ends here).
“Approaching Seoul by Bus in Heavy Rain Get used to your body, forget you were born, suddenly you got to get out! August 1990”
— American Sentences