Tomorrow, Thursday 23rd August, we’ll be welcoming Daisy Eris Campbell’s one-woman show to Liverpool! An homage to Ken Campbell, her brilliantly eccentric father, ‘Pigspurt’s Daughter’ weaves together the diverse strands that informed his work and helped forge his personal myth – she’s of course thrown a few of her own ideas into the mix too…
The most significant of those ideas is arguably Daisy’s mycelium metaphor for the counterculture that emerged largely thanks to her 2014 ‘Cosmic Trigger’ play. Mycelium is the part of certain fungal colonies that branches out and interconnects to create an underground network.
When enough mycelium strands overlap below the ground, and the right components are brought together, a mushroom fruits above the ground. These underground strands can form networks small enough to be invisible to the naked eye, and big enough to cover 2,400-acres underneath Oregon.
Mycelium works perfectly as a metaphor for counterculture: the scene is formed underground, and if enough people join in to make it a more coherent whole, it will fruit into something that reaches wider consciousness.
1970s Bronx offers a good example… Hip hop wasn’t ready to emerge into the wider world when Kool Herc hosted his first block party in 1973. It needed more ‘spores’ to feed into the underground network first, and after developing over the next six years, a ‘mushroom’ finally appeared in the form of The Sugar Hill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’, catapulting the scene right into the mainstream.
Something similar was happening in 2014 when Daisy adapted Robert Anton Wilson’s ‘Cosmic Trigger’. Interest had been growing around the author and his ideas for a few years, largely helped by John Higgs’ deeply insightful book, ‘The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds’ so when the Cosmic Trigger took to Liverpool’s Camp & Furnace almost four years ago, it acted as a beacon for seekers from all over the UK, serving to connect previously disparate groups and catalyse a new network connecting places like Liverpool, Brighton, Sheffield, Hebden Bridge and Glasgow.
The play was the first ‘mushroom’ to emerge on the surface but since then we’ve seen plenty more in the form of Super Weird Happenings; Festival 23 and Catch 23; various Arts Lab events; and of course, The KLF’s comeback ‘Welcome To The Dark Ages’.
As the age of the individual crumbles around us, these networks become increasingly important. Whilst the fruits of our mycelium might not be destined for mainstream acceptance, they serve another purpose – attracting more like-minded ‘spores’ into the ever-evolving cultural ecosystem. With everyone working on the same page, using the same symbolism, reference points and in-jokes, the network has become a living thing, fuelling creativity with the synergy of mutual inspiration.
To celebrate our shared mycelium counterculture we’ll be processing along Hope Street ahead of Daisy’s sell out ‘Pigspurt’s Daughter’ show in Liverpool.
‘The March Of The Mycelium’ begins at 18.23pm at the Sacred Spring in the Anglican Cathedral’s gardens. See you there spores!