This article is as printed in 'A
Thousand Mark Feld Charms #9''
I gratefully thank Gavin Ross for allowing me to reproduce it here.
ATMFC is from Gavin Ross at:
They are Gods man, I don't particularly believe that they come from this planet, amazing people that just walk about". This is what Marc said in 1971 about some people he'd encountered. Take what you read here with a pinch of salt if you wish, all I ask is you read with an open mind and take on board some 0f the references I’ve recently come across in researching this issues comic strip which is based on the T.Rex song, THE VISIT. Working on it really got me thinking about what could have influenced Marc to write such a song. It could well have been little more than his love for science fiction and the works of Ray Bradbury in particular of who it's well known he was a huge fan. But then looking at the whole legend that now is Marc Bolan, reading his poetry, song lyrics and interviews I came across a common link, a thread that started in the mid sixties and continued on throughout Marc's life. If all started with the legendary meeting
"It makes one wonder if Marc Bolan did have an encounter with a superior intelligence early on in his life."
With the Wizard in Paris in the mid 60's. I now believe something happened there, something magical, something out of the norm but something that was to shape Marc's life and career. If one looks at the lyric in THE VISIT if definitely alludes to an encounter with something not of this world. The first three lines in the song point strongly to missing time (one second it's sunrise, then it's noon and then suddenly the moon’s out) which is a classic occurrence in any alien abduction. This is something that wouldn't have been that well known back in 1970. Also Marc's memories of his visit with the Wizard in Paris reveal reports of missing time, according to Marc's friend Riggs O'Hara they were there only for a long weekend but Marc's reports state that he was there for some months. Intriguingly Helen Shapiro met Marc for the first time in several years at a Fab 208 party in London in 1965 where Marc told her he'd been living in Paris with a Wizard for a while, and a private note book of Mark Feld's from 1965 states. 'Mystic Paris black night, woods, trees, temples and sea...’
So I ask the question, was this fantasy, a meeting with a simple conjuror, or, perhaps an encounter with an E.B.E/alien? There does seem to be a strong UFO influence in a number of T.Rex songs and it makes one wonder if Marc Bolan did have an encounter with a superior intelligence early on in his life. As well as THE VISIT there's a line in THE SEA BEASTS where Bolan sings, 'UF0, UF0 you are..’ And then there's the line 'Flying sorceress take me away' in Planet Queen, which sounds like 'Flying Saucer take me away'. As well as these there are countless T.Rex songs with a cosmic theme: VENUS LOON, JUPITER LIAR, BALLROOMS 0F MARS, SPACE BOSS, GALAXY, UNIVERSE & INTERSTELLAR SOUL to name but a few. It all points to either a strong interest in aliens/ufology, or, dare I say, a subconscious link to an encounter with an otherworldly being in Paris in the mid 60's.
What is known is that Marc visited Paris around 1964/5 with the American actor Riggs 0'Hara. Today Rigg's claims that he was the wizard and that Marc made up the story to protect him. It’s well known that Marc had a fabulous imagination and was always good for a one-liner but why, in 1965, would he make up such a tale and write such a song as THE WIZARD at a time when others were writing anti war songs and simple love songs?
If Bolan wanted a hit record in 1965 surely he would have done as many did back then and cover an American hit (Peter & Gordon did it with Buddy Holly's True Love Ways) or become a fully-fledged Cliff Richard clone.
It sure was strange that just a couple of years after Marc was crowned 'king of the mods' in Stamford Hill he was writing and singing about wizards 'melting in the sky'. This was 2 or 3 years before the hippy days when a song like THE WIZARD would have sat quite comfortably, indeed Marc himself resurrected it brilliantly on his 1970 LP, T. REX.
'Sitting cross-legged bawling like a child having a tantrum. Great!’
Indeed when Marc played the song live, he really gave it his all, one reviewer described him as, 'sitting cross-legged bawling like a child having a tantrum. Great! Whatever happened in Paris it certainly left a huge impression on the young Mark Feld, and was a visit that he'd refer to for the rest of his life (returning to the city on many occasions for both work and pleasure).
Various period articles on Marc suggest the trip lasted from anything from two weeks to two years but according to Marc's travel partner and the man whose idea the trip was, Riggs O'Hara, they only went for a long weekend.
'We went by boat and train,' said Marc in an early 70’s interview. 'A couple of mornings later I went on my own to see all the art treasures at the Louvre. I was standing there looking at a statue when I heard a voice behind me comment on it. I turned and saw a man of about forty. He looked very distinguished and intellectual and I was particularly struck by his eyes. They were very bright and penetrating. 'This gentleman, an American living in Paris with a young girlfriend, invited Marc back to his castle-like residence for a meal.
Marc stayed for some time, digesting his many books on magic and watching in amazement as his host read people's minds, levitated, conjured up spirits and performed many other acts of white magic.
'I don't think anyone has influenced me as much as he did,' said Marc in an edition of October '65's London's Evening Standard.
He ended by saying, 'I don't care whether you believe it or not. It’s a bit scary however false it sounds. But what can I do? You tell me it sounds ego; yes it's true.'
So the Paris trip is fact, not fantasy, 'My friend & I got a jute joint by the Seine' from DESDEMONA is a reference to Marc and Riggs renting a flat there but another line in
The song, ".... Doesn’t give you the right to steal my night and leave me naked in the nude." is even more intriguing. Is it a line about a sexual encounter or a meeting with a Wizard/alien?
Often abduction victims are returned to Earth without their clothes.
In an interview in Rolling Stone Magazine in 1972 Marc states that the Wizard may not have been a man after all, he may have been a reptile.
Marc's imagination in over drive, or a glimpse at
Many victims of the abduction experience claim to have seen not only the more popular grays but also tall Nordic types and sinister reptilian aliens too (David Icke's recent book claims that the British royal family are in fact shape changing lizards and that is why Princess Diana was killed because she knew the truth-coincidentally she died in Paris but that’s another story!)
So was the Wizard a man, an alien, a spirit, Marc's guardian angel (that he sang about in TEENAGE DREAM) or simply Riggs O'Hara?
Not only did Marc refer to the Paris trip in
many interviews throughout his career So did the figure of the Wizard, or more specifically, The Wizard 0f Oz, appear in a couple of later T.Rex tracks, TEENAGE DREAM and DANDY IN UNDERWORLD, 'At an old 18, exiled he was, to the deserted kingdoms of a mythical Oz'. And 'The Wizard of Oz' in TEENAGE DREAM is another one; this is more significant when one remembers that the song is about Marc's teenage years. Another wizard reference comes in MAMBO SUN where Marvel Comics Doctor Strange is name-dropped. What else was Doctor Strange but a modern day wizard, a 'master of the mystic arts' as the blurb goes?
One could also say that the title of the LP PROPHETS, SEERS & SAGES describes what a wizard is, as a sage is a wise elderly man, a guru if you will, which begs the question was METAL GURU a rewriting of THE WIZARD with the Metal Guru being described as a 'god' like figure in interviews at the time. Isn't this what primitive man would describe a visiting alien to be?
The wise man (wizard) crept up again in the blurb to the track I'M A FOOL FOR YOU
‘And who were the moon maids that Marc mixed with on Calling All Destroyers?’
(GIRL) on the inner sleeve of the DANDY N THE UNDERWÛRLD LP, 'A fool's lament is a wise man's milk shake', with Bolan singing about kissing a 'misty planet creature' in the song itself.
So we have the figure of the 'wizard' and the 'alien' both bizarrely mentioned in that track, hidden somewhat behind the facade of a seemingly simple love song.
Then there's the line, 'The poet wished upon a star, and dazzling bright is what you are.' Is this Marc looking at the stars and seeing a dazzling bright UFO, being abducted and meeting this misty planet creature? Probably not, but it's food for thought!
Also, let's not forget the 'Tree Wizard' in the CHIDREN 0F RARN SUITE and that in 1972 Marc chose to call his record company 'Wizard' and the 1970 LP, T.Rex, was originally going to be called THE WIZARD, really confirming Bolan's underlying interest in this figure.
Then there's the track CAT BLACK (THE WIZARDS HAT) in which Marc sang 'Cat Black, the Wizard's back, daubed in doom in his tongue tombed room, we of the wind must rejoice and speak and kiss all our starbrowed brothers on the cheek.'
Starbrowed brothers? A reference to his first LP or Aliens maybe? In the 1950's and 60's it was quite common for aliens (as we refer to them now) to be called 'star brothers' or 'star people'. And who were the 'moon maids' that Marc mixed with on CALLING ALL DESTROYERS? Or the 'Octoganic Angel' that measured the stars on CHROME SITAR. And who was the Space Boss? Were these all UFO references? The lyric in the song, The WIZARD, Marc describes him as "The King 0f The Sun" and says he ".. turned and melted in the sky". In many a UFO sighting the 'craft' could be described in this way.
In an interview in the July/August 1972 T.Rex fan club newsletter Micky Finn was asked the question, do you believe in UFO's? To which he replied 'yes', and in the Sep/Oct 1973 newsletter Marc is asked 'Is the Wizard still alive?'
to which Marc replies, 'Yes alive and well and living in Paris.'
Okay, So you're thinking what's a wizard got to do with an alien? Good question. But it's interesting to note that only in the 20th Century have the people of the world reported meeting 'aliens'. Prior to that time, there were countless encounters with fairies, elves, pixies etc. It seems these fantastic creatures (describe them how you wish) have been with us since the dawn of time. Some believe that they aren't from another planet but are a part of ours, living in harmony with us or an another dimension and either they manifest themselves to be recognisable to the people of the day, or they appear to us in a form relevant to our current society (for more information on this check out the book 'Dimensions' by Jacques Vallee).
In 'Rave' magazine April 1969 Marc states that... 'I am interested in fairies. Fairies who are very strong beings, elemental, of the powers of nature-spirits. Fairies have a certain kind of magic. My chance meeting with this black magician certainly sparked off my strong interest in this kind of thing, and I began to read many books. I can't tell you who he is because he's involved in other things, including politics.
He was wise but like most magicians, a bit self-indulgent. Personally, I don't want to be a magician. I don't want to practice. As I said, a magician is a self-indulgent person. I want to become a sage-a wise, elderly man containing wisdom to help people'.
A headline of an early 70's article stated 'Marc met a Wizard and started to weave pop magic'.
So, did he meet a Wizard? Let's say he did but this wizard was not from this planet/dimension, and this being
gave the young Mark Feld special gift but he only had 12 years to use that gift.
It's well known now that Marc knew he was going to die young. The first night he met June Child's mother he told her that he wouldn't see 30, then there's the Russell Harty interview from 1972 where Marc becomes very defensive when asked what he'll be doing when he's 50 saying that he doesn't think he'll live that long.
It's my belief that Marc knew his time on earth was limited but, the question is, how did he know?
Does it all relate back to this meeting with the Wizard in Paris where Marc was told certain things and given certain gifts himself?
Bolan had no formal education and suffered badly from dyslexia at a time when the world was very unsympathetic to the disability. However this didn't stop him from writing some of the most wonderful poetry and song lyrics imaginable. But what was it that inspired a young man from the working class east end of London to write such material?
'My head is full of names and places I have never seen or heard of. I think in a life I was probably a Celtic Bard or a magician and this is printed in my mind now.' Bolan said with full sincerity in an October 1970 interview. 'When I read back what I've written it's just like an old man talking - it's just not me - it can't possibly be me. It's centred in a totally alien landscape which I know nothing about. No, there is no way with my background, that one could account for it.'
He did believe in reincarnation and wrote COSMIC DANCER about the phenomenon, but did he learn about this from the Wizard?
In a July 1975 Piccadilly Radio phone-in a young girl asked Marc: 'How much influence did staying with the Wizard have on your song writing and your personality?'
Great question. And Marc, far from being shocked or amused at the young fans interest in something that had happened ten years earlier (Marc was on the show promoting NEW YORK CITY') replied:
'Quite a lot. He taught me how to read, not literally read, but he had a big library so I could read things and I was aware of things, so it kind of helped my head a lot and he just overall broadened my outlook. He taught me about magic and yoga.
The story hadn't changed much from a few years previously when Marc remembered, "(The Wizard) wasn't a black magician, he had many old books about control of the environment by thought projection, and he could transmit feelings so that you understood what he meant implicitly...which is magic to me. It was very nice to be around someone like that. He could read people's minds and conjure up spirits yet these things were to him normal things. ‘
Again, aliens today are described as being telepathic which is how Bolan described the Wizard here, he also went on to say how he had seen UFO's,
"I learned a lot in Paris. Rubbed out what school had done. It was there that I decided what I wanted to be. I saw someone levitate. He was standing on the floor and he raised himself about 8 feet in the air. I've also done magical rites and conjured up demons...I've also seen flying saucers. The world is mathematics; I mean its based on maths...well there are certain herbs and incantations which can make you invisible. But in fact you don 't really become invisible. It's just that you're not visible to the person watching, you know, you might not be able to see me, but perhaps you could feel me...I once conjured up a spirit that wasn't very friendly. It came in the form of a Greek boy. I believe you can do whatever you want to...I definitely believe in reincarnation.'
If Marc was alive today would he still be referring to the Wizard or would the figure be long forgotten in Bolan folklore as he starred in a new blockbuster movie or produced the new CD by Marylin Manson?
Who knows... What we do know is The Wizard was remembered by Marc for all the years following the encounter up until the end of his life, so maybe, yes, he would still be referring to it today, but whatever the real story was behind the Wizard sadly we'll never know as that was one thing that died 23 years ago along with Marc.
"I believe elves existed. Not as elves, but as strong, wise people, like Atlanteans. People will mock of course but they are only capable of violent emotion, which is easy, but it's harder to feel tender and affectionate to others. I believe in the magic of life. The earth 's a house for us to live in, but people put up fences and pay bits of silver and say, 'This bit is mine-Get out' The elf people have died out or walked off earth into a rainbow. Only the people who wear metal underwear and have black blood are left." M. Bolan
Article © Gavin Ross 2000
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