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by Marc Laidlaw


Marc Laidlaw is the author of "Dad's Nuke" and "Neon Lotus." In the late Eighties, Rudy Rucker moved out to California and hooked up with Laidlaw, Richard Kadrey, Pat Murphy, and others. "Freestyle" resulted from the collision between Rucker and Laidlaw, or as Marc puts it, "the splash caused by Rudy Rucker's jumping into the Bay Area, sloshing around in Blumleins and Murphys and Kadreys and all that fun stuff." The Freestyle zine excerpted here was a low-tech hand-lettered jobbie which Laidlaw sent to several dozen people. Freestyle is about "going to the edge, riding the wave." Or as the Rude boy would have it: "Be like yourself, only more so!" If you want to get another hit of Freestyle, check out "Probability Pipeline," a collaboration between Rucker and Laidlaw available in Rucker's latest collection "Transreal!"

-- Gareth Branwyn

Time to take the Big Drop, dude -- out of HiSkool & into surfin!

Remember the Ocean Pacific Professional Riots? Cop car trashed by the non-surfing element of the 100,000+ crowd? Don't? You been in Uluwatu too too longo mongo, try this on fer saiez:
"Break down the word 'freestyle' and you have two of the most
liberating concepts in life. Given such a forum of experimentation and challenge as the Pacific Ocean, freestyle becomes a statement limited only by the participant's mind.... Adventurism represents the cutting edge of the freestylist. It requires an individual who is willing to take any risk at any time, subject himself to the demands of the sea, and ignore limitations imposed on him by friends, society, or the conditions..... Freestyle is a forum of inner rhythm: what beat do we choose to march to? In all likelihood, that beat, that inner rhythm, projects into our style of living and surfing, and draws our life experiences to us.... The activities of the California surfing freestylist are important but the experience boils down to one area -- water moves. Each person's moves and personality blend together to create style. Each person's style is different."

Someday I will meet the marketing genius who wrote this transcendent blather. I will bother him. Nooooo need to break down the neato meataphores for the weakly meat-minded. No need to feature matte-black mirrorshades or other emblems of our freestyle culture. Dude, we know who we are. No need to glorify nor to castrate technowledgey. Nature is the Ultimate. We're skimming the cell-sea, cresting the waves that leap out over the black abyss of maybe-death/waterever that is. Wet dreams of geometry: the curl of the wave as we carve our turns toward the blue lip, glossing over the shoulder into the turquoise pocket of ecstasy [and here in the original revelatory letter to Rudy Rucker, slightly altered here, I drew a tiny "blisshole" deep in the pocket of the tube, much like those which all the surfer guys used to draw in endless spirals on the covers of their PeeChee folders during Mr. Calamaro's hoarse Aegyptian ruminations [he had actually witnessed the Indian rope trick in a steamy room of initiates], practicing painstakingly their wave drawings throughout lectures about the rubber bands who proved to be robber barons, as if they could not bear to be separated for one class period from their true blue water loves, and were constantly mentally shooting the tubes all day long].

Freestyle's problem is it doesn't carry well. You know if you take a jar of fresh seawater inland, after a little while if you open it up again, it smells dead. It is dead. Likewise, freestyle. A coastal phenomenon? I don't know. I tried it in New York and the Atlantic put a funny spin on it, but it was still there. I tried it at the fake wave machine in Arizona but the water wasn't right, too sweet, you could never get that that honest to god am I going to die in the wash cycle death feeling. Can't bottle it I guess. You need elaborate pumps to keep the stuff circulating if you're going where it's hot and dry.

Freestyle, SoCal'd architecture, one era piled on another, stacks
of unrelated styles all packed into one building that somehow
turns into something new. [We named our movement before we
encountered the actual SoCal architectural movement of the same name.]

Excerpts from the original journals: you must imagine them
handwritten, painstakingly assembled with unadvised rubbercement, which has now peeled and everything has fallen apart
unless I somehow preserve it in this form:
from "Freestyle" No. 1
"Imagine, if you will, Rudy Rucker shirtless in the rain at the rear of the family station wagon, which is parked along the Pacific Coast Hwy north of Santa Cruz. He begins to unbuckle his trousers, and within seconds stands clad in naught but white jockey shorts. A passing semi burps its airhorn in surprise,
but already he is transformed -- from pallid, rain-drenched mathematician into moccasined, blue-skinned amphibian. Daughter Isabel struggles with the wetsuit's zipper, son Rudy Jr. undoes the last of the laces lashing the seven-foot blue-bottom surfboard to the roof of the car. Tapering stick beneath his arm, family and friends straggling behind, he strikes out across a muddy field made pestilential with the stench of rotting, unharvested brussels sprouts. It is New Year's Day, 1987. Time to hit the surf."
Shiver, laugh, get in close to the
moving water, to the seat, mother ocean, salty as a cunt (strands of eelgrass like pubies in your teeth when you come up from the roaring foam). The water rises. The bullshit falls away. You got to the edge. There's no revising a wave. If you wipe out, stroke back into position and wait for the next one. Every way is perfect, but there are infinite ways to ride them. Water of the dreaming mind. Wind of inspiration. Sand to bring you back to earth. Fire of the sun and spirt. Ride!

From the Yellow Sea we caught a swell all the way through the Taiwan Strait to the coral reefs of Dongsha Qundao-- swimming distance from Manila. We opted for the first wave north, and came up on the beach at the Jeishi Forest Preserve. After a hike through rice paddies to Lufeng, we hitched a ride with a trucker going to Xianggang -- good ol' Hong Kong. Here we plan to stay until next month, when we will bodysurf the Beibu Gulf to Hon Gai, rent skateboards and scoot on up to Hanoi. We're getting all nostalgic and can't wait to refresh our memories of good ol' Viet Nam. Let Saigons be bygones.


Lit'ry Kawner: In James Joyce 's "Finnegans Wake," when Hubert Cullmonger Entfish recognizes that the fern--frond growing from
his shoulder has the face of his invalid mother, the character
experiences an: a) epiphyte, b) epiphany, c) episode, d) all of
the above. (Answer: given upside down and inside out--but


THE FREESTYLE COMPANION: $0.00! Tomorrow's stars behave like yesterday's has-beens, giving hot tips on:

Where to surf naked!

How to pick up chicks and dudes
without injuring your back!

What goes into a burrito!

Holding your breath!
Order now or receive this Alternate Selection:
SPOUSE'S CHOICE! Wives, husbands and live-in lovers of top SF writers pick what they consider their mate's best story! Edited by Damon Knight and Kate Wilhelm! (Introduction by Pat Murphy and Richard Kadrey)


Plus! "How Do You Say 'Genre'?"
(Any number can play)

from "Freestyle" #2
"The thrill is in the drop" (Special AIDS Awareness Issue)

the bardo and rebirth of Andy Warhol: I wonder if Truman Capote
will still be hanging around when I pull in? I'm losing definition. God, what if death turns out to be this sort of slow, dull, lingering movie, shot with bad lighting and worse actors--sort of a comment on death rather than death itself...what a put-on! And you were expecting wings and harps. Visions! I asked Pinky to read from The Book of the Dead each night...I have a feeling she's watching Magnum P.I. Ciao, Mankind. Blah-blah-blah. It's sort of like a retrospective, isn't it? I beat Dali, didn't I? But so many gods have gone before me. Edie! Marilyn! Where are my light meters? This would be so great in color...stamps on my wall. Where did the surf imagery come from? I'll return as an issue of "TV Guide." The 7 day wonder, they'll call me. (It beats 15 minutes).


"A wave is always new, until it breaks." (Neil Young, sort of)


Like this: Ghost of 'lectricity howls in the bones of her face.

Not this:The beach was deserted except for some kelp.


mechanics is a thing whose clitoris is buried very deep. (SDali)


The Wisdom of Murph the Surf: Sure I stole the Star of India and killed that secretary...but that don't mean I can't be reborn in the Name of the Lord! The alchemist strives to transform the lead of daily consciousness into shining gold; but some persevere in the opposite direction, uncovering the lethal radio-active essence so effectively shielded by that lead. The starkest visions of heaven and earth are blinding because of their pure intensity. But those who scrape away the lead casing on reality only succeed in sterilizing themselves, and sending a plague of diseased mutations to pester the unborn generations. Have a nice day. -- Surfer Chic


Ask Dr. Dwee:
Q: What is an iconoplasty?
A: First, we must understand the brain's metastructure. The iconoblast is a tiny cellule from which meaningful icons grow. The iconoplast continually assembles metaphores from the germinal iconoblasts. In a healthy brain, the pseudocortex secretes a constant ooze of iconoclasts, which act to rob the budding images of meaning. This leads to normal thought processes. In a diseased brain, some malfunction requires that psurgeons reshape the images themselves to maintain a critical balance. This process is known as iconoplasty. (From the Embryonicon.)

from "Freestyle" #3
Little Donita works till midnight at the drive-in, and at the end of her shift we all cruise up and eat whatever taco meat and other shit they have left over. One night I ate a pound of sweet pickle chips. Donita told me she loved me but I think it was the MSG.


Sacrifice Something For Beauty.

Colds and cancer are the primary diseases of this time. Both can be cured by schizophrenia. J. Dallett, Ph.D.

Before I knew what hit me I was face down in the sand and I could
hear all that water laughing at me as it chuckled over the rocks. The reef had torn the smile off my face and hung it on a parrot fish. Now I see this stupid fish grinning as it orbits the hook I baited to recapture that insignificant yet somehow meaningful portion of my ANATOMY.

We are children of the atom, flippers and all. -- Goofy-Foot


Surftronic sound by Camper Van Beethoven and Spot 1019. Art by
Rucker, Kadrey and Giordano Bruno. (Bruno! My man!)

"Freestyle" died a natural death in May of 1988, along with my daughter. Both are somewhat memorialized in my unpublished novel KALIFORNIA.

-- Marc Laidlaw




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