At the age of 18 I left my parents' home for good and set about making contact with like-minded creative contemporaries. In those days, it was possible to find free accommodation by squatting, which most of the people who I came into contact with were doing.

I had heard through the grapevine that there was a scene happening in Camden and I soon found that I was not alone in my desire for independence and freedom from a society where I felt I did not fit in. The advantages of not having to pay rent to live meant that we did not have to work everyday to survive and that gave us the luxury of having time to develop our technique as musicians.

Our approach to creating music integrated and reflected our philosophy of life as freedom of expression and the sharing of knowledge through creative consciousness. We became part of the alternative culture and a group in the truest sense of the word and for a time it felt like we could change the world.

There were many travellers in America, who we had heard about, living the alternative lifestyle as we were, among them were revered names such as, Ken Keysey, Jack Kerouak and the king of the beats, Timothy Leary. We felt like the revolution had started and that we were at the frontline, joined in spirit by those that had set the scene in America and showing strength in our unity.

Soon after the creation of this musical collective, the desire to share what we had discovered became a priority. We pooled our resources and bought a second hand coach, which we then converted into liveable accommodation, complete with wood burning cooking stove, bunk beds and a petrol fuelled generator, that enabled us to set up our musical equipment and play independently from a source of domestic electricity.

From 1978 to the mid-1980s Karma Kanix played all the major UK festivals and recorded with future Stone Roses producer, John Leckie. The band lived and travelled in a converted coach until the Battle of the Beanfield put a stop to life on the open road. At this point I realized that I was following in my grandparent's footsteps and I had become, in some sense, a gypsy traveller.

We recorded and released music cassettes and produced a fanzine highlighting the dangers of global warming, capitalism and alcohol which we sold at festivals to raise enough money for petrol, food and drugs.

We had begun to become politically aware which gave me the feeling of power that so often I had been frightened of. This knowledge of the political arena opened my mind to the possibility of gaining control of my own life and building a future. This gave me a sense of fulfilling a destiny and I felt rewarded and wholesome.

The musician colleagues I worked with, however, were not from the same background as myself and had received an education that informed them of a great number of contemporaries who were exploring musical avenues that led to self awareness. As a direct consequence of this, I again had the feeling of not belonging to a group that originally had supported me and this became the signal for me to move in a new direction. Using the skill I have acquired as a musical communicator, I moved into the area of a studio session musician.

Over the past 15 years I have worked with many experienced musicians and bands such as Public Image Ltd, The Cinematic Orchestra and Spiritualised. I have worked with Stone Roses, and Radiohead producer, John Leckie but still felt a weakness, that I lacked the knowledge and awareness of those musicians, who had gone before me and knew that I would need to find a course of study, if I were going to move forward.

The realization that I needed to return to education at this stage in my life became a huge barrier. Firstly, the idea of becoming an academic went against the organic and spontaneous approach that I had cultivated and now held so important to my way of life.

My way of life, however, has changed. No longer am I a gypsy traveller and I now have a responsibility and an opportunity to show my respect to those pioneers of music who pave the way for my progress. The new challenge now, is to assess and evaluate the key skills I have thus far developed and find a way to express and clearly share my personal experiences in academic terms.

 

Anand Gary (Subs)
6 Grenville Road, Islington, London N19 4EH
Tel: 020 7281 0720 Mob: 07855 605 106
email: subassa@hotmail.com