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WHERE'S WALLY?

a personal account of a multiple-use-name entanglement

by Nigel Ayers

wally 1 adj: Scot archaic 1. fine, pleasing or splendid 2. robust or strong (C16: of obscure origin)

wally 2 adj: central Scot dialect. l. made of china: a wally dog; a wally vase 2. lined with ceramic tiles; a wall close - (from obscure dialect Wallow faded, adjectival use of wallow to fade, from Old English wealwan).

Wally n.pl. lies slang. a stupid person. (C20: shortened form of the given name Walter).

Wallies pl. n. Central Scot dialect. false teeth; dentures.

Collins Dictionary of the English Language, 1986

No-one really knows why the vast Stonehenge complex of megaliths and earth mounds was erected on Salisbury Plain. However, in this century, the idea that the sarsen stone circle was aligned with the Midsummer solstice (whether it is true or not) has become more or less common knowledge. Following the Second World War, thousands of people gathered every summer at Stonehenge to celebrate and to watch the solstice sunrise. As well as a large body of revellers, a party from a druidical organisation also carried out its own, rather more pious, ceremonies. In the 1950s the informal gatherings were joined by skiffle groups.

In 1974, a small Free Festival was also organised alongside Stonehenge, where an obscure electronic noise band named Zorch gave a performance through a dodgy PA system. A group of around thirty people stayed on after the festival and pitched camp in a field next to the stone circle. They lived communally in tents, a rickety polythene-covered geodesic dome and a small fluorescent painted tipi. It was an open camp, inspired by a diversity of wild ideas, but with the common purpose of discovering the relevance of this ancient mysterious place by the physical experience of spending a lot of time there. The Department of the Environment and the National Trust landowners set out to evict them. Such was the law in those days, the eviction process involved seeking a High Court injunction on named individuals. Aware of this potential legal loophole the occupants decided to exploit it and so they all adopted the one name of `Wally'.

The case made the front pages of national press and TV when the Wallies turned up at the London court in fancy dress and fed the journalists with some wacky material to fill their column inches.

A strange hippie cult calling themselves 'Wallies' claim God told them to camp at Stonehenge. The Wallies of Wiltshire turned up in force at the High Court today. There was Kris Wally, Alan Wally, Fritz Wally, Sir Walter Wally, Wally Egypt and a few other wandering Wallys. The sober calm of the High Court was shattered as the Wallies of Stonehenge sought justice. A lady Wally called Egypt with bare feet and bells on her ankles blew soap bubbles in the rarefied legal air and knelt to meditate. Sir Walter Wally wore a theatrical Elizabethan doublet with blue jeans and spoke of peace and equality and hot dogs. Kevin Wally chain-smoked through a grotesque mask and gave the victory sign to embarrassed pin-striped lawyers. And tartan-blanketed Kris Wally - "My mates built Stonehenge" - climbed a lamp-post in the Strand outside the Law Courts and stopped bemused tourists in their tracks. The Wallies (motto `Everyone's a Wally: Everyday's a Sun Day') - made the pilgrimage to the High Court to defend what was their squatter right to camp on Stonehenge. . . the Department of the Environment is bringing an action in the High Court to evict the Wallies from the meadow, a quarter of a mile from the sarsen circle of standing stones, which is held by the National Trust on behalf of the nation. The document, delivered by the Department to the camp is a masterpiece of po-faced humour, addressed to "one known as Arthur Wally, another known as Philip Wally, another known as Ron Wally and four others each known as Wally". For instance, paragraph seven begins resoundingly: "There were four male adults in the tent and I asked each one in turn his name. Each replied `I'm Wally"'. There are a soft core of about two dozen, peace-loving, sun worshipping Wallies - including Wally Woof the mongrel dog. Hitch-hikers thumbing their way through Wiltshire from Israel, North America, France, Germany and Scotland have swollen their numbers. Egypt Wally wouldn't say exactly where she was from - only that she was born 12,870 years ago in the cosmic sun and had a certain affinity with white negative. Last night they were squatting on the grass and meditating on the news.

The Times, August 13th 1974

The Court found in favour of the Department of the Environment, so the Wallies moved their camp approximately six feet away to a stretch of common land. It was there I joined them. I left the wind-swept Salisbury Plain a few weeks later with head lice and a bad cough. The camp, known as Fort Wally, remained in place until after the Winter Solstice.

The name `Wally' had come from an early seventies festival in-joke, when the call `Wally!' and `Where's Wally?' would go round at nightfall. It may have been the name of a lost sound engineer at the first Glastonbury festival, or a lost dog at the 1969 Isle of Wight festival. There have been other suggestions for its origins, but it was a regular shout at almost any festival event.

In the autumn of 1974, an article by the Wallies appeared in the `underground' magazine Maya.

EVERYONE'S WALLY
I look to the revolution to rename every citizen with one sound and the composite name of all citizens to be the analog of the deepest terrestrial vibration so that when we are all called we will all hear. Since Midsummer's day of this year, the year of the Tiger, 30 people have been living on and around Stonehenge, all answering to the name of Wally. Dancing, frolicking, acting out the Gospel of Free using Stonehenge as a cosmic wristwatch with domes and dogs, and horses, and music and troubadour costumes, and giant shirts embroidered with the Eye of Horus. At the beginning of the French revolution there was a movement known as the JACQUERIE in which everyone called themselves Jacques.
Your name is our mantra. Eskimoes believing in the Seven Ages Of Man that one changes as is known, totally, every 7 years, have a different name every 7 years. The Canadian Government, who, as all Governments, try to undermine the recording angel, by keeping tabs on people for no reason, are confused. How can a baby mean Priscilla, or Sebastian, or Donald... maybe one only hits the mantra by which one is known for a few seconds. One can only be known by God.
How can one own land? The Indians roared with laughter when the first white man arrived in the North Indies and offered the Indians gold in exchange for their land. The Indians wandered all over it, and thought it as an earthly sky. How much is a cloud worth? But when the saw what whitey was up to they became embittered. Shambala, the founder of the Dreamer Religion said: "The white man drives stakes into My mother s heart, he cuts her hair, he slashes open her womb, before she is ready to give him her fruit"
Sons of the Sun, the Wallys, are letting the mysteries of Stonehenge work through them, despite the barbed wire that surrounds it, despite the army bases, and despite the stale nets of secular legalisms.
Freedom is a career.

Wally was thus a name anyone could use. Multiple names are a playful and idealistic attempt to create havoc with officialdom, both within and beyond the margins of `art'. The multiple-use name Emmett Grogan was used by San Francisco diggers in the 1960s. The book Ringolevio is a biography of several members of the diggers merged together as the autobiography of one `person', Emmett Grogan. The name Karen Eliot refers to no one and is potentially everyone. In the 1990s, the multi-use name Luther Blissett was invented and spread by artists, writers, musicians, footballers and avant-bardists. The multi-using of the Wally name was abandoned by 1975 when, on the other side of the galaxy, the Mail-Artists Stefan Kukowski and Andrew Czaranowski , initiated a project "...to change everyone's name to Klaus Oldenberg".

on the 24th june 74 off the floor, the laughing rock an roll movement spearhead tribal clan entrenched, home sweet dome, to arthur's banner, the union wally, best mates with all, far out communication, and totally missed by the system class, scandel monger media. our father the sun wants the lion to lie with the lamb, seeing the leopard can't change its spots, energy crisis only in the brains and hearts of ahh men, so the greatesty revolution is by example, rally at salisbury plain, the henge.or accept hell confusion of the war. The name `Wally' lost its efficacy by becoming over identified with one man, Phil Russell. Russell (aka Wally Hope) was from a wealthy background and cut a rather more healthy and clean-cut image than the other scruffs at Fort Wally. He had written and published much of the promotional material for the Stonehenge festival, which is said to have been his idea. Although the Wally camp was run as an open and undisciplined commune, Russell saw himself as the leader and was not afraid to march round issuing orders, not that anyone paid much attention to him. He would talk and talk to anyone who would listen. His favourite topics were the importance of sun worship and his belief that he had met the reincarnated Jesus Christ in Cyprus.
I last saw Russell, seeming rather subdued, in 1975, at the Watchfield Free Festival A few weeks later I saw a report in the local paper that he had died in mysterious circumstances. The next year at the Stonehenge festival, a whisper went round that someone had turned up with the ashes from Wally's cremation. At midday, within the sarsen circle, Sid Rawle said a few mystical words over a small wooden box and a bunch of us scattered Wally's mortal remains over the stones. I took a handful of ashes out to sprinkle on the Heel stone, and as I did so, a breeze blew up and I got a bit of Wally in my eye.

I heard no more about the Wally story until 1982 when the political punk Crass brought out Christ the Album. This was their best-selling LP, it spent weeks at number 26 in the UK album chart. This was a concept album based on the story of Wally Hope.

The record, like their others, came out with page upon page of sleeve notes and posters. It contained a booklet written by Penny Rimbaud that did much to establish the personality cult around Wally Hope, as well as create a conspiracy theory around the circumstances of his death. In the booklet, Rimbaud compares Russell with Sid Vicious and Charles Manson. Rimbaud's story was that while working towards a second Stonehenge festival, Russell was arrested for possession of a small quantity of LSD for which he was placed on remand, where he refused to wear a prison uniform. He chose to defend his LSD use on religious grounds and was `sectioned' to a mental institution. There he was pumped full of huge doses of anti-psychotic drugs which reduced him to a state of idiocy. Upon his release he suffered from an incurabable condition of chronic dyskinesia as a result of his treatment, and so killed himself with an overdose of sleeping tablets. Rimbaud investigated the case further, uncovered a number of cover-ups, and received death threats as a result. Rimbaud's is an odd and very muddled story, in which many details do not concur with other known facts about the case.

But the next time the name Wally moved into media focus was in 1983 when the book How to Be a Wally was published. By now, the meaning of the word `Wally' had 'changed in popular usage and now meant `a stupid person'.

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Then a series of children's books were published - and a syndicated TV animated series was based upon the old cry `Where's Wally?'. Martin Handford's densely illustrated puzzle books, selling over 25 million copies in twenty countries, featured the character Wally wearing a red and white striped bobble hat, round, black framed spectacles, a red and white sweatshirt, blue jeans, brown shoes. The character appears as male, a caucasian with pale complexion, he is thin, has brown wavy hair, has a long chin, wears a constant smile and has three fingers and a thumb on each hand. He carries a brown walking stick. In short, he looks like the archetypal tourist.

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, 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 describes him as a smiling, bronzed, hippy warrior" ...

This year, 1996, the Rimbaud/Wally Hope death cult 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."

The Stonehenge Free Festival became a regular event around the time of the Summer Solstice and attracted many more people until 1985, when as part of a general offensive against working class self-organisation police roadblocks were set up prevent the festival happening anywhere near Stonehenge. To this day there is a general ban on gatherings taking place anywhere near Stonehenge around the Summer Solstice, and police roadblocks are set up throughout Wiltshire every June So we have seen how the meaning of the name Wally has changed since 1969, as different factions have attempted to use the name and the death of at least one person who used it, to their own ideological ends. From mysterious beginnings at some dimly remembered festival, Wally has since become a hippie martyr, a conspiracy theory, a name for a stupid person, and a commercial cartoon series for children.totally wired
Happy Hippies Celebrate the Summer Solstice
photo by Nigel Ayers

We look forward to equally bizarre developments for Luther Blissett.

NOTES

Zorch -A band named after the sound made by the molten plastic dripping from a burning plastic milk crate hanging from a tree.
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Wally alternatively stands for Wessex Anarchist Libertarian League of Youth. In old English, wally meant `foreigner', `stranger' or `Celt' i.e. the term `Cornwall' meaning `land of the Cornish foreigners' and `Wales' (meaning foreigners).
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The word `Emmett' means `tourist' in 20th century Cornish. Grogan means 'hairy' in Gaelic. So Emmett Grogan means `hairy tourist'.
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Russell was set to inherit his family's fortune at the age of 30. His guardian was the former BBC broadcaster, John Snagge.
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It turns out that it was Penny Rimbaud who brought Russell's ashes to Stonehenge. Rimbaud knew Phil Russell because he had grown up near the long established Crass commune in Epping. There was no other contact between Crass and the Wally camp.
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The Wally characters' dog is called 'Woof', this would indicate the influence of the Wessex Wally dog known as Wally Woof.
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A particular type of tourist though; the 3 fingers indicates he is a member of the Triads and the cane would indicate the Joseph Beuys brand of Fluxus-Shamanism.
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Shiva is, in fact, better known as a male deity, with a female partner known as Shakti
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Penny Rimbaud is, in fact, male.
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C J Stone mentions the dead body of another former Wally found tied to a tree with a joint in his mouth.
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A peaceable advance party of travellers had the shit kicked out of them and vehicles trashed in the famous Battle of the Beanfield. Meanwhile there were other roadblocks up and down the country to prevent movement of supporters of the great Miners' Strike. The 1985 Stonehenge Festival happened on a hill overlooking an ancient White Horse chalk figure which could be seen for some miles away. The Horse's Eye was temporarily decorated with a Huge Smiley and some of the earliest reported `crop circles' appeared in a nearby field.
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REFERENCES

ANON. (1974) `Everyone's Wally' Maya 1, September
CHIPPENDALE, C (1983) Stonehenge Complete Thames and Hudson, London
GOODWIN, N (1995 'Wally Hope - a victim of ignorance' Squall Autumn
GROGAN, E. (1972) Ringolevio - A Life Played for Keeps Panther, St.Albans
HANDFORD, M. (1990) Where's Wally? The Ultimate Fun Book Walker Books, London
HOME, S (1995) Neoism, Plagiarism and Praxis AK Press, Edinburgh
HOWARD, P. (1974) The Times, August l3th, 1974
MANNING, P (1983) How to be a Wally Futura Publications, London
MICHELL, J. (1985) Stonehenge - Its Druids, Custodians, Festival and Future Radical Traditionalist Papers, London
RICHTER, H. (1965) Dada Art and Anti-Art Thames and Hudson, London
RIMBAUD, P (1982) 'The last of the hippies' in A Series of Shock Slogans and Mindless Token Tantrums Exitstencil Press, London
STONE, C.J. (1996) 'The Martyr of Stonehenge' in The Big Issue 176 April 8th-l3th
STONE, C.J. (1996)Fierce Dancing Faber and Faber, London
STRATTON-KENT, E. (1988) 'Wally Hope: a morality play in six acts' Occulture 1
also information available from:
STONEHENGE CAMPAIGN, 99 Toriano Avenue, London, NW5 2RX

First published in Transgressions No 2/3 available from:
Salamander Press (London) Ltd, 84 White Horse Road, London E1 0ND, England

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