Interview Rob Marsh - Non-legal Naturally Orderly

Gracing the interview podium in text form this week is a dear friend and fellow writer, Rob Marsh.

You can read some of Rob's prose and blogs on his Tumblr. If you want to support Rob and see more works, he has recently started a Patreon.


Pick one Artist/thinker/etc who is most representative of where you would want your life to head.

For myself this person would have to be one Alan Wilson Watts, born 1915 in Kent, England, moving later to Sausalito on the San Francisco coast and retiring finally to a mountain cabin above Muir Woods on Mount Tamalpais, the “Sleeping Indian” as it's known to some. Alan lived his life in a truly authentic way, and though beset by difficulties throughout, came to embody a spirit of freedom and non-forcing that is so rare in today's consumerist fever dream. Living honestly and with a true integrity, honouring those close to us and being faithful and true in our relations, loving life and finding childlike curiosity in the simplest of everyday things. Spontaneous joy was a big part of Alan's later life, and I can only hope I am headed to that same field.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Frank Herbert's 1965 novel “Dune”, a truly epic, mythic science fiction story spanning thousands of years of time and encompassing the terrible power of fate and choice on a galactic scale within the body of one young Duke's son, Paul Atreides. The book is a portal to another world, a waking dream: Arrakis, Dune, Desert Planet; the words roll around the skull and tease the neurons into vivid reverie. At the centre of the book is the spice melange, control of which is control of the universe. The spice is life, the spice is consciousness, the spice allows the prescient vision. Deadly intrigue and fatal plots, vast interstellar guilds of shadowy creatures, the pure desert religion of the Fremen. Every component of a great story is here, and more. This book will change you, subtly rearrange your psyche, teach you things you had only ever glimpsed out of the corner of the eye. Read it immediately.

What is(are) your main creative outlet(s)?

I generally write poetry and prose, occasional non-fiction pieces covering politics, metaphysics and philosophy, or some peculiar aspect of science or psychology. I also play and write music, I'm currently working on some material in the vein of Sumac, Earth, Sunn O))), Between the Buried and Me and Portal. I play in a drone/doom collective with a few folk from nearby, we are called Gjoll and we seek to create strange vibratory experiences, bringing consciousness to bear directly on the present moment to remind the audience of the value of being here and now.

What are your plans and projects for 2018?

I am currently working with the Alan Watts Project, summarizing lectures and in general pitching in where I can to aid the development of an online resource for Watts fans. 

In my spare time, I and a magician I bumped into several years ago run Peruvian jungle healing retreats using a Hermetic/Alchemical ritual framework. We hope to continue the work into the future and connect more people with the wisdom and deep experience available through these traditional practices.

Who's ideas would you want everyone to check out?

There are genuinely too many people to name, so I'll shave it down to a few and give a short description as to what they're all about.

R.D. Laing, a Scottish psychiatrist who looked deeply into the nature of perception and experience, penetrating insights into the human condition and a model of society and the way we organize collectively as a root cause of mental illness.

Ram Dass, formerly Richard Alpert, studied psychedelics with Tim Leary at Harvard, latter went to India and met Neem Karoli Baba his guru. Straight talk about spiritual matters and incredible first hand accounts of people living in higher states of consciousness.

Terence McKenna, psychedelic explorer and bard extraordinaire, one of the most original thinkers to grace the 20th century with prescient and pertinent comments about everything from mass media to consumer culture to anarchism to the rise of tribal ideology in the 21st century.

Robert Anton Wilson, coined the term “model agnostic” for someone who doesn't ever fully accept their own BS (belief system), and lived his life joining and leaving peculiar cults and secret societies, exploring the limits of the possible and the probable.

How can the internet assist in the development of Art and Artists?

By connecting them and giving them access to platforms where a global audience can participate in their work. The internet also has the capacity to destroy art, becoming as it is increasingly a mechanism for authoritarian behaviour such as extreme surveillance measures and counter intelligence operations. States are using this technological marvel to screen out from the public eye that which does not fit the parameters of their control. Who controls the story, controls the people. As artists we must be conscious of this weaponization of online space and work to counter it in as many ways as possible.

Are you paying attention to Australian Arts?

Yes, there are two bands immediately which spring to mind: Wilder Genes, a Radiohead/Tom Waits-esque panoply of beatnik shanties, deep-mind heart wrenchers, soul tickling lyrics and artful instrumentation, capturing youth and ageing, joy and sorrow in a mandala of gentle sound. 

And Cordell. Little can be said that does justice to the ferocity, the intelligent weaponization of dissonance and the energy present in these songs which are often barely more than a minute long. Occupying a truly unique gap in the modern heavy music scene, Cordell bring a thoughtful element of clarity and introspective maturity to what can be loosely termed blackened-crust/grindcore. 

What does community mean to you?

Community is looking after one another. Community is non-legal, but naturally orderly. Community is like frying a small fish. Community starts at home and radiates outwards. The community which can be put into words is not the eternal community.

Thanks Rob, no need to edit very much which I appreciate. Your mind reaches far and deep, keep on your path my friend it is fraught with much beauty and learning.

- Ryan Dickinson