network news: where's wally? 1 2 3 4
What is interesting in this series of books, is the cunning way the text encourages the reader to look at each picture very, very carefully - in order to find the Wally character The character is often just one small person who happens to be in a huge, finely detailed crowd. So really the books could be said to be about the problem of recognising individual identity in a mass social context.
Back to the Rimbaud-inspired death cult. In 1987, the Crass album was reissued on CD. The Wally Hope story was dusted off in 1995 to provide a dead hero for a new generation of road-protesting crusties in a report in Squall magazine. Neil Goodwin writes:
"Perched on a stone beside a bronze statue of the Indian goddess Shiva, (8) a small oak box carries the epitaph: WALLY HOPE DIED 1975 AGED 28, A VICTIM OF IGNORANCE. For twenty years the box that once contained the ashes of the man who founded the Stonehenge Free Festival has made regular appearances at Stonehenge gatherings. Each year friends and former acquaintances, druids and festival-goers, preserve his memory by becoming official keepers of the box. It is the closest the modern Pagan/Hippy movement has to an icon; a lasting testament to torture and death at the hands of an intolerant regime. Penny Rimbaud, author of the book `The last of the Hippies', first met Phil Russell,- alias Wally Hope, in 1974. She (9)describes him as a smiling, bronzed, hippy warrior" ...
This year, 1996, the Rimbaud/Wally Hope)death cult (10) story was used as the central theme of a book on the continuing hippie DIY counter-culture, Fierce Dancing. However, the author, CJ Stone, managed to make one interview with one of the original Wallies who now lives in the only house in Tepee Valley, Wales. Chris Wally thought it was no wonder Phil Russell had been certified insane, and pointed out that Wally's death was an accidental side-effects of the profit-motivation of the powers-that-be. "His death was brought on just as much by his own intransigence - and by their failure to understand what he was trying to say - as by any dark machinations."