01/22/02 - 17:54:40
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In Frank Herbert's fine 1966 novel "Destination:Void," humans are
transported to the stars aboard a spacecraft that manifests artificial
intelligence over the many generations that encompass the journey.
"SHIP" as it comes to be known, embodies environment, science & religion
for the fragile beings that inhabit its bulkheads. Our rock band
JEFFERSON STARSHIP bears a striking resemblance. It has transported us
across the generations ... descended from JEFFERSON AIRPLANE & other
previous incarnations; and, via the portal of the World Wide Web, we are
a community of music loving fans, capable of light speed communication
with our fellow travelers on the other side of our own planet. The
"chaos or community" of "7,000 gypsies swirling together" that Paul
Kantner wrote about over 30 years ago, is as resonant & relevant today.
All the musics we have come to love, be it THE BEATLES, BOB DYLAN,
GRATEFUL DEAD ... what have you ... embody some basic human truths that
our so called world leaders might be well advised to heed: Peace, love,
understanding, tolerance ... and perhaps above all: communication.
Great art "communicates" ... & our wonderful 21st Century technology
makes it possible for us to communicate back.
Exactly ten years ago, Paul retrofitted the old ship ... disconnected
the umbilicus from space dock, & commenced a voyage we are in the very
midst of this day. Exactly one year ago, we launched our third & by far
our best internet presence. Some of you may not know, remember or
realize that JEFFERSON STARSHIP's original 1992 website was one of the
very first by any rock band ... and that their 1994 Maritime Hall, SF
performance was the first cybercast ever.
There has always been exploratory components to this music ...
whether academic or psychedelic ... as it should be for any great
"SHIP." Exploration after all - is a very human thing.
During the Great Ages of exploration, "the longitude problem" was the
gravest of scientific challenges. Lacking the ability to determine
their longitude, sailors were literally lost at sea as soon as they lost
sight of land. In 1714, England's Parliament offered a huge reward to
anyone whose method of measuring longitude could be proven successfully.
The scientific establishment - from Galileo to Sir Isaac Newton - had
mapped the heavens in its certainty of a celestial answer. In actuality
the mechanical invention of a clock that would keep precise time at sea,
would once & forever yield the secret of longitude. The inventor was a
'lowly commoner,' John Harrison, whose life is wonderfully chronicled
in Dava Sobel's "Longitude" (from where I 'borrowed' a few lines above)
- which was also a terrific BBC mini-series starring Michael Gambon,
aired in early 2000. I cannot recommend strong enough - that when
visiting London, you take the short trip to Greenwich, where Harrison's
original clocks, still keep perfect time. They are some of the most
amazing things ever made by the hands of man.
During the Great Ages of exploration, societies were formed to plan
& fund adventures, and analyze the data brought back by the explorers.
Accordingly, & in celebration of the respective anniversaries recounted
above, I hereby propose the formation of our own:
JEFFERSON STARSHIP SOCIETY FOR STELLAR CARTOGRAPHY < JS3C >
Our motto: "Ad astra per aspera." ("To the
stars with hope")
We blithely propose an initial founding membership of 500 Stellar
Cartographers, supporting the aims & goals of this society with annual
dues of US$100 per member. We are going to take the profits & use them
to create new, innovative ways of promoting the band. We may put out CDs
on so called 'major labels' from time to time - but make no mistake: WE
are our own record label. The value of your membership shall greatly
exceed the fee. First, membership will be limited to 500, due to the
nature of the treasures we shall manufacture & distribute to members
only. These shall include tour laminates for free access to shows, a
signed first edition of Paul's serialized "PERRO" novel & a much
coveted, much mythologized 3 CD set of PERRO 1970-1, PERRO 1983 & "Baron
Von Tollbooth" out takes. These CDs shall NOT be available at CIA ...
in stores ... nor ANYWHERE except through The Society. We shall also
hold two special 'get togethers' with Paul, Marty & the band - one on
the East Coast, one on the West Coast ... with apologies to Keith & our
other ship mates abroad. Furthermore, we shall open a chat room for
society members, whose desire for communication exceeds that which can
be provided on A-Deck. The chat room shall only be accessed by JS3C
members, via special code which we shall provide. For its first year,
The Society shall be steered by The Gang of Five ... consisting of Paul
Kantner (SF), Michael Gaiman (LA), Jerry Moore (NY), Keith Rice (UK),
whose title shall be "Astronomer Royal" (representing our European
shipmates). A fifth committee slot shall be determined. Subsequent
years shall provide for Society members to vote 3 members of the
steering committee including the "Astromomer Royal," ... whose
responsibilities shall be elucidated as part of the JS3C charter which
shall soon be available to all patrons of A-Deck.
So - whether you just want to get your hands on the coolest swag,
or take a more active role in the propulsion system, the opportunity is
now available. We think that's a pretty good start - but what we think
is secondary - we need to hear your thoughts. Here's the deal: Feel
free to discuss JS3C with your shipmates on A-Deck, & make intuitive
suggestions - but I will accept 'pledges' of membership via private
email (JS3C@jeffersonstarshipsf.com) commencing NOW. In other words - The
Society's very formation depends on YOUR interest & support. We aim to
have BIG FUN with The Society, but it shall also be a time consuming,
daunting undertaking for those of us building it. When I have received
100 pledges, the establishment of The Society shall be a reality & the
charter & additional announcements posted to A-Deck. At that time, a
payment link shall be created on CIA for processing memberSHIP.
In a few days, we will reveal our master plan for 2002. Until then ...
Watch The Skies - Mission Control
For Further Reading
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