AS MENTIONED in Sounds the other week, the final ish of pop rage Flexipop included a fascinating cover story on the rifling of magickian Aleister Crowley's grave (metaphysically speaking) by trendy posipunk outfits in search of imagery to fill their empty minds. Although the piece covered much of the same ground as my own Crowley story in Sounds a year back, it was still valid: the situation is as bad as ever.
The article was stylistically head-and-shoulders above most of the pap Flexipop peddled, but when you meet the author the reason becomes evident. David Tibet - shorn, pierced, and leather-clad could almost pass for a posipunk himself (albeit a rather individualistic one) but the eyes give him away: luminous, aware, cavernous, intelligent. Tibet is a real student of Crowleyana, not a poseur. Through Gerald Yorke and Kenneth Grant (the latter the head of Crowley's OTO organisation), he has had access to all of AC's private papers and documents. Which has led to something like a bit of action on the long-rumoured Crowley disc front.
"I came across the fact that there are a lot of tapes Crowley made of him reciting his magical poetry and singing, which Kenneth Grant has. About three years ago I started hassling them. They were very dubious about it, because they had put out a Crowley single before and the person that had done it had ripped them off something rotten. But I kept on at them, and so hopefully in a few weeks a 12-inch will come out featuring Crowley reading his poems".
As a bonus the flip of the platter will have music by Current 93, an aggregation of 23 Skidoo's Fritz, ex-Associate drummer John Murphy and Tibet himself.
"It's based on Kenneth Grant's book Nightside Of Eden, where he uses musical notes to summon up energy spheres".
Granted, DT has laboured hard to get outside finance to back this project rather than have the OTO burdened with the costs, so he can put what he likes on it. But might he not be accused of doing just the same thing as the posi-punk he so loathes?
"Well, the nation can once again thrill to Crowley reading his own poetry! We won't be cleaning it up too much, because it was recorded onto Dictadisc and I think the crackling adds to the atmosphere. People will probably say, 'Look at Tibet, he couldn't think of any other way to get his music out except by putting it on the back of a Crowley record!', but the thing is I've got the tapes and they haven't!"
And he's got the knowledge...
So why does he hate the Blood & Roses type bands? "They're just like the hippies were ... They don't have any idea of the imagery that they're playing with, they just plagiarise and steal without any love for the subject. They're just using Crowley as they would any other easily accessible source of powerful images. I felt someone ought to say something..."
Sandy Roberson, Sounds 20 August 1983
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