Hammond starts out in southern California. His mother abandons him. His father is sort of mixed up in the American Intelligence community and is distant. There is a second wife and Hammond actually chooses military high school over family life.
The school is filled with LA-Hollywood type uncared for rich kids and Guthrie learns about sex, drugs and rock n'roll. Moving on to San Francisco the author dodges the draft and provides us with one of the best in-print accounts of the method acting involved in pulling it off. Along the way, he encounters the Diggers, Bolinas, Allen Ginsberg, Carmen McRae, experimental film making, improv theater and the over dosed colorful world of San Francisco's fantastic hip. He also adds to the adventure by taking a beautiful bold wife.
And then on to post-Beatles International Times William Burroughs London and he fully feasts on its experimental artistic community. And then to 'the dope is almost legal' Amsterdam with its Provos and houseboats. And Hammond the painter is discovered by Willem Sandberg, a great presiding maestro of the international art scene. Up to now the tale told in AsEverWas is filled with endlessly expanding light.
The Sixties are nurturing the author, developing his multi faceted talents and preparing for a larger stage and an enthusiastic reception.
He is about to become famous. And then as it was with so many of us the rug was pulled out from under our feet. Since we were off the ground for much of the time, it took us a while to notice the terrible turn, but it did hit all the more harshly for our tardiness. To this day I have no idea where the following tidbit of knowledge came from, perhaps Divine Intervention - most probably my Digger acquaintance, Emmett Grogan.
I didn't know a soul in Amsterdam but told Wendy not to worry, that I knew right where we were going - I just needed to "ask for directions. As I approached, I could see him set his internal dials to "tourist hustle," but before he could initiate anything I said, "Excuse me, do you know where the Dutch boat with the American flag is? We trudged over the snow-covered ice toward our vague destination with the nearly frozen Wendy asking me a raft of perfectly relevant questions about our intended host, whom I, unbeknownst to Wendy, knew absolutely nothing about.
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The wide canal was dotted by sheets of ice and a fresh snow began to fall as I banged on Kees Hoekert's cabin door. A moment later a sleepy voice called out from below something that sounded like, "Hotferdommawhovasitnow?
Who is Harmon Gutree and Vendy? Not knowing what I was talking about I said, "We've come from London and I was told you could find us a place to stay for the night. I answered truthfully, putting Wendy on red alert, by saying, "I have absolutely no idea who told me, if this isn't the case, my apologies for disturbing you. Wendy looked at me as if confirming her suspicions. The hatch door opened and out came a dense cloud of hash smoke and the face of a very stoned-looking young man.
Kees had a few words with the man in Dutch before assuring "Vendy" and me that we could "stay the night with the other crazy people!
Our bleary-eyed Dutch host invited us to play, and I said that we didn't speak Swedish. Two hours of congenial warmth and many hash-heavy joints later Wendy and I passed "GO" for the last time before falling into Teutonic bankruptcy and a travel-weary coma.
The next day Kees woke us up at noon, announcing that lunch was ready. Wendy was beginning to believe that I really did know this older fuzzy-haired Dutchman after all, when we both stopped short at the gang plank of his now day-lit boat. Kees's canal boat was a floating marijuana garden and tea house called "The Lowland Weed Company! Let's just go with the flow, eh? No more incomprehensible Swedish Monopoly!
He handed us steaming mugs of fresh coffee and motioned us to the sofa in front of his large desk overlooking the frozen canal. He then proceeded to roll large joints of what he called "binnenlander veed," meaning the local product. Ven ve tried to bring the spice back to the Netherlands from the Dutch West Indes, vee found that it would not stay dry during the long voyage home.
Vee Dutchmen knew about the henep plant and the way it would absorb moisture, so, on subsequent journeys wee wrapped our spice kegs vith henep roots an stalks, vitch kept the spices dry. Dry is 'droog' in Dutch, this is the root for the English vord 'drug'.
Vee have used henep plants in this way for centuries, and to serve as a vind break in our lowland fields; as rope fiber; and the seeds feed our birds. The laws surrounding the use of the henep plant," he concluded, "fall vithin the domain of the Dutch Opium Contract. He went on to say that the document did not specifically prohibit the sale the henep plant or the consumption of its tea. Kees understood this to mean that he could legally set up shop as an Henep Merchant who gave away marijuana tea aboard his canal boat. Where he obtained these addresses was not explained, yet he did say they produced the contacts he needed to begin ordering kilos and kilos of pot seeds from all over the world -- so far, no problems.
AsEverWas: Memoirs of a Beat Survivor Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 1, don't let the "beat survivor" fool you. Insert "Hammond Guthrie" as Zelig in all these places from LA to London, from Amsterdam to Tangier and you'll get an idea of the scope of this memoir. When the counterculture was busy being born in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the mids, Hammond Guthrie found himself in the.
Kees said he culled through the incoming gunny sacks, "looking for the perfect seeds" for immediate germination, potting, labeling, growing and final testing, before archiving the seeds and dried bud-filled branches with detailed journal notations regarding the growth patterns, etc. Kees accumulated a canal house of information and thousands upon thousands of pot seeds. He then lovingly and with increasing botanical skill sprouted the seeds in the confines of his boat. When the time was somehow determined to be "perfect," Kees moved his cannabinoid nursery up on deck. His enthusiastic walk-in trade picked up briskly as word-of-mouth spread through Amsterdam's numerous proto-Underground anti-Movements of the early 's.
After a week or two of this influx of seed enthusiasts, Kees had to deal with two very imposing facts. First of all, he had neglected to ask anyone in charge of such matters if what he was quietly doing in the privacy of his boat would be equally acceptable aboveboard. Secondly, and most importantly, his Lowland was docked quite near the district headquarters of the Amsterdam Police Department the Politi , whose captain dispatched his emissaries to discuss the situation with Kees.
Kees informed the officers that he was completely within his rights by governmental decree as stipulated in section blah, blah, blah of the Opium Trade Act, which he theatrically began to wave under their noses. The Politi beat a retreat to report back to their captain, and Kees attended to the business at hand. The next day, the captain and his troops stormed the Lowland Weed Company, dragging a manacled and protesting Kees Hoekert down the street for interrogation.
From the intrusive captain's skewed perspective, the floating eyesore was obviously a front for a major criminal organization in its infancy and was to be shut down immediately. This vision of stupidity was sadistically played out in his treatment of our protagonist Kees Hoekert, who was brutally thrown into an interrogation cell and tortured by having his thumbs bent toward his wrists. After suffering through a few hours of questioning and painful indignation, Kees was finally released and the captain undoubtedly thought he had heard the last of Mr.
Back on board the boat, Kees was attended to by his many friends who were appalled by his injuries and the source of their infliction. When Kees was well enough but not yet fully healed, he and a certain "shamanic friend" went before the Chief Justice of the Amsterdam Court, where they told the horrific tale, offering the twisted thumbs of Hoekert as proof of the "official mayhem.
The police captain was brought up on charges and Kees was allowed to proceed without further intervention from the Politi with his Lowland Weed Company. This quizzical turn of the great wheel along with subsequent post-Provo activities by Kees and his cohorts would lead the way for the current leniency regarding the socially accepted use of "soft drugs" in the Netherlands.