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John Sinclair:radical revolutionary poet

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 It’s All Good

I first heard this phrase at a John Sinclair show my first year here. In case you don’t know, or even if you do, John Sinclair was a radical revolutionary poet and activist in the 60s. Among other activities, he was a vocal proponent for legalizing marijuana, was active in the White Panther party, and managed the pre-punk band The MC5. John Lennon wrote a song about him called “John Sinclair” which is on his 1972 album, Some Time in New York City. What he was doing here I can’t recall, but he was giving a spoken word recital backed by a blues band at The Green Parrot.

The story that stood out was about a marijuana growers’ contest in Amsterdam, at which he was one of the judges. This meant partaking of each contestant’s entry, in order to assess which was the best. I’m sure various factors were considered – flavor, aroma, potency, smoothness – but this must have differed from wine-tasting. As Is well-known, at wine tastings, the wine Is evaluated In several categories, and then spit out. At this event, I believe no one Inhaled. So by the end of It, all the judges were pretty well stoned, and couldn’t decide which was best – or If they could, couldn’t remember which It was. So one of the judges stepped up to the microphone and said, “It’s all good, man!”

John Sinclair was relating this while the band was kicking butt and taking no prisoners. That last line got a good roar of approval from the crowd. I had to chuckle myself – it seemed a perfect way to sum up that situation. Ever since then, whenever I use the phrase, I have that in mind, and whether or not anyone has any idea, I am being a little ironic.

After all, it’s never ALL good. This is an imperfect world in an asymmetrical galaxy in an off-kilter universe, and imperfection is the rule, not the exception. Of course, this is why perfection is so valued and sought after, but embracing and accepting and understanding imperfection is a more practical approach. Not that perfection isn’t worth trying to attain – it is the ideal, after all – but since imperfection is so much more common, it makes sense to learn how to live with things that may not be up to one’s standards.

I am writing this today on what would have been John Lennon’s 72nd birthday, cognizant of the aforementioned connection. I am also acutely aware that John Lennon’s absence from this world is proof of its imperfection – as if any were needed, the fact being so obvious. But since it was just a few hours ago today that the firewire cable I ordered arrived, the one which enabled me to get the files off my half-dead laptop, including the introduction to my blog I had worked up weeks ago, It seems just fine to start this venture today. It’s long been an honored day for me – yes, John was my favorite Beatle – and so it seems a fine date to use to begin this new venture for me. Hey – It’s all good!

For the historic transaction, Sinclair purchased 10 joints prerolled with a strain of cannabis dubbed “Gorilla Glue No. 4.”

Asked if he noticed any difference between smoking a perfectly legal spliff compared to the old illegal kind, Sinclair said no.

“It’s smoking a joint,” said Sinclair, who celebrated by lighting up while attending a poetry reading.