Skipping To Armageddon: Photographs of Current 93 and Friends by Ruth Bayer – With an introduction by Michel Faber, and a Foreword by David Tibet
“Like much of the music made by the artists who entrusted her to reflect their mercurial spirits, Bayer’s pictures are magic…”
Bringing together, for the first time, the music photography of Ruth Bayer, who has documented key players in the English musical post-punk underground since the mid 1980s. With unprecedented access and intimacy, Ruth has photographed luminaries and legends including Marc Almond, Little Annie, John Balance, Peter Christopherson, Cyclobe, Shirley Collins, Baby Dee, Norbert Kox, Tony (TS) McPhee, Steven Stapleton, David Tibet, Tiny Tim and many others, in a career spanning three decades.
A unique collection, featuring over one hundred timeless and iconic images of some of the most influential, eccentric and sometimes controversial musicians of their times.
Coming soon from Starfire Publishing…
On learning that an ancestor was executed for witchcraft in the sixteenth century, the narrator is prompted to explore her history. Research having failed, he resorts to magical means and exposes an array of malefic forces poised to invade the Earth. In a deserted Welsh ruin he discovers a grimoire revealing traffic between alien entities and their terrestrial agents. Rumoured to have lain for centuries in the custody of a Scottish clan, the grimoire’s existence is known to very few. Among them are powerful occultists such as Aleister Crowley and Phineas Black, desperately tracking it down. The grimoire alone holds the keys ─ and the Sign of Protection. A chimera? An allegory? More aptly, a Warning. Civilization is careering to destruction: it may find the Sign ─ or, the Seal of its doom…
This Nightside Narrative, published as the first in Kenneth Grant’s series of novellas, was written as an introduction to the final volume of the Typhonian Trilogies, The Ninth Arch. It thus takes up some of the elements of the series of Oracles collected in ‘The Book of the Spider’ and weaves them into a multi-layered stream of dream consciousness. Although at times not an easy read, Against the Light is a profound and glittering jewel in the corpus of Grant’s work.
Against the Light was first published in 1997. This republication takes account of annotations in Kenneth Grant’s copy of the book, and is timed to precede the republication of The Ninth Arch in late 2016.
Further to our previous posting of Typhon Rising by Matthew Levi Stevens, we are now making available a PDF of the Talk on Kenneth Grant, Against the Light & Dreaming True originally given by Emma Doeve as part of the ‘Kenneth Grant Day’ at Treadwell’s, 19th January 2016 : Emma Doeve – Kenneth Grant, Against the Light [ Thank You to Starfire Publishing for use of the illustrations that originally accompanied this Talk. ]
A review of Lucifer Rising: British Intelligence and the Occult in the Second World War by Nicholas Booth…
In 1941, after Rudolf Hess made his notorious flight to Scotland to negotiate an alliance between Britain and Germany against the Russians, the panic-stricken authorities in Berlin blamed his eccentric mission on “a host of magnetotherapists and astrologers” who formed part of the Deputy Fuhrer’s inner circle.
The SS duly set about rounding up hundreds of “astrologers, fortune-tellers and other swindlers” in an attempt to discover who might have aided Hess by giving him, for example, the most propitious date for his departure. This led to one of the more bizarre exchanges ever recorded in an interrogation room. “What are your aspects like at this time?” the man from the Gestapo asked one suspect.
The astrologer replied that Uranus was close to his Ascendant and the sun was transiting his Saturn. “In which house?” demanded the clearly astrology-literate interrogator. “The ninth.” “Then at the moment nothing should surprise you.”
Wonderfully barmy anecdotes such as these are the unique selling point of this entertaining look at the role of the various mumbo-jumbo specialists involved in intelligence gathering during the Second World War.
The cast of characters includes Aleister Crowley, an occultist who rejoiced in his title of the “wickedest man in the world”, Mansfield Cumming, a head of MI5 who discomfited colleagues at meetings by stabbing himself in his wooden leg and Louis de Wohl, an astrologer who described himself as The Modern Nostradamus. The latter was once hired by Sefton Delmer, a former chief foreign correspondent of the Daily Express who became a naval intelligence officer during the war, to launch a bogus astrological magazine aimed at U-boat crews. De Wohl established its credibility by incorporating the dates of known sinkings and backdating his predictions.
On the back of this, the magazine sowed uncertainty. In Germany astrologer Wilhelm Wulff was seconded to a naval institute where they used pendulums to locate Allied submarines. Despite banning occult societies and making the casting of horoscopes illegal, Hitler regularly hired a physician from Munich who claimed his pendulum gave him the power to sense the presence of Jews. But it was Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, who comes across as the biggest crank at the top of the Nazi Party. “Göring is worried about the stars on his chest,” said one senior Nazi, referring to his medals, “Himmler about those in his horoscopes.” All this nonsense is great fun but the personal accounts and wartime records on which Booth bases much of his research suffer respectively from exaggeration and redaction.
Movie star Jayne Mansfield and notorious Satanist Anton LaVey met in 1966. Both were publicity conscious and made the most of the meetings, which evolved into friendship. Almost always present was German paparazzo Walter Fischer, stationed in Hollywood and catering to image- and scandal-hungry photo magazines all over the world.
Fischer’s unique collection of photos takes us straight into the ritual chamber of the Church of Satan in LaVey’s infamous “black house” in San Francisco, as well as into Mansfield’s Hollywood “pink palace”. We also get to follow LaVey on excursions to his friend Forrest “Famous Monsters of Filmland”, to Marilyn Monroe’s grave, to TV studios and back to Satanic weddings and baptisms at the Church of Satan HQ.
These were wild and narcissistic times in America. Few understood the power of media exposure better than Jayne Mansfield and Anton LaVey. Captured alone or together by master paparazzo Walter Fischer, this devilishly handsome couple made headlines that still resonate today.
The book also contains an introduction by legendary filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and forewords by writer Carl Abrahamsson and collector Alf Wahlgren.
London’s Cafe Royal has long been famous as a meeting-place for writers, artists, and colourful personalities. This is a fascinating cultural history of conversation capturing the period flavour of a unique venue.
Featuring well-known figures in the literary and artistic world of the 1950s: Sir Max Beerbohm, John Betjeman, Sir Compton Mackenzie, Alan Dent, Nina Hamnett, Wyndham Lewis, Edgar Lustgarten, Louis Golding, Eric Maschwitz, Hebert Marshall, Malcolm Muggeridge, Beverley Nichols, Hesketh Pearson, Alan Pryce-Jones, Sir John Rothenstein and Dilys Powell.
Narrated by Roger Livesey. Arranged by Guy Deghy and edited by Sasha Moorsom. Producer: DG Bridson
First broadcast on the BBC Home Service on 28th December 1955.
Source: BBC Radio 4 Extra – Cafe Royal
Next broadcast: 11.15 on Monday 20 June 2016.
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