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Saturday September 17th 7.30 pm-10 pm
Batheaston Scout Hut, School Lane, Bath
4 pounds/3 pounds concession

Victor Neuburg will be the focus of what promises to be a fascinating evening.

Richard McNeff, author of the absolutely wonderful Sybarite Among The Shadows will talk about his novel and Victor Neuburg. The evening will include a reading from the novel assisted by actor Oengus Macnamara.

Also included will be a screening of Marc Aitken’s classic film, ‘Do Angels Ever Cut Themselves Shaving’ – a title that will be familiar to anyone who has read Crowley’s Magick Without Tears.

Saturday September 17th 7.30 pm-10 pm
Batheaston Scout Hut, School Lane, Bath
4 pounds/3 pounds concession


An evening focused on Victor Neuburg poet, Aleister Crowley’s greatest disciple and discoverer of Dylan Thomas, both in factual and creative interpretation.


Marc Aitken’s rarely screened classic film, ‘Do Angels Ever Cut Themselves Shaving’

Richard McNeff, author of ‘Sybarite among the Shadows’ will talk about his novel and Victor Neuburg, and give an accompanying slide show.

This presentation will also incorporate a reading from the novel assisted by actor Oengus Macnamara.


Edwardian England, a house haunted by memories, and a man who has been to the brink of his sanity, and only partly returned. A man who was once privy to the circle of the “Great Beast”, the celebrated occultist Aleister Crowley. Once a key figure in Crowley’s, Magickal universe he now finds himself estranged, and attempts a return to normality. Traumatised by the horror of the First World War he returns home as one of a new species, the gentleman addict. During his chemical odyssey, his mind opens to the metaphysical world he only glimpsed during his brush with the occult. The distorted memory of the trenches, and ghostly spectre of Crowley, invade his visions with unwelcome regularity. An actress with whom he once fell in love is merged ethereally with the nurse who saved his life in the trenches, but who administered the first grains of his addiction. She continually appears during his visions as both Angel and Daemon. Despite all he suffered at Crowley’s hands, he finds he cannot condemn him, and in a trance takes one last walk across the fields of memory, to be re united with his “Dear Beast”.


Richard McNeff’s talk will focus on the poet Victor Neuburg, remembered as both Aleister Crowley’s greatest disciple and the discoverer of Dylan Thomas. The magical workings performed with Crowley in Paris and the Algerian Desert resulted in Neuburg’s breakdown. In the aftermath, Neuburg could never decide if Crowley was the greatest magician of the age or the worst man who ever lived. Such a perspective provides an interesting slant on the life and practices of the Beast. It was explored in Jean Overton Fuller’s groundbreaking the Magical Dilemma of Victor Neuburg, currently reissued by Mandrake (ISBN 1869928792), and is the cornerstone of McNeff’s Sybarite among the Shadows: both the short story, which appeared in International Times in 1977 and was subsequently republished in America and Russia, as well as the recently-published novel (Mandrake of Oxford ISBN 1869928822). In the latter, Crowley and Neuburg are reunited by Dylan in 1936. Against the backdrop of bohemian London, they complete their magical work together, while at the same time getting embroiled in an MI5 plot to avert the Abdication. A reading from this and slides will accompany the talk.
“McNeff’s novel is so different from anything else you’d normally find on a bookshelf that it should perhaps be a compulsory purchase.”
The Independent on Sunday

Marc Aitken; Biography
Marc has been involved in the music and film industries for over 25 years. The film “Do Angels ever cut themselves shaving?” based loosely on the circle of characters surrounding the occultist Aleister Crowley was shown at last years Glastonbury Festival, to the surprise of mushroom users and readers of the Daily Mail alike. Returning to his first love of lighting Marc has been lighting director for a number of music videos including most recently the “Father and Son” video for Peter Gabriel.

Richard McNeff; Biography
Richard McNeff was born in London. He is a published poet and writer who works internationally in education and the art world. Early contact with associates of the Beast sparked his interest in Crowley.

Oengus Macnamara; Biography
Oengus Macnamara has been an actor for many years, working in TV, and on stage and screen. He is a member of the Godot Company and frequently appears in works by Samuel Beckett. This year, among other things, he has been in Casualty on BBC1 and Kathy Burke’s acclaimed production of Brendan Behan’s The Quare Fellow.

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