Toastar!: Further Adventures in Chaos Magick, by Francis H Breakspear
Hidden Publishing, 9780955523748, 122 pp., 2009
Francis H Breakspear was the pseudonym of the academic chaote Dave Evans, who passed in 2013. This was his third book in under this name, following Kaostar! and If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Be Doing It! (As Breakspear, Evans seemed inordinately fond of exclamation points.)
Both a scholar and a practitioner of the occult, Evans was a founding editor of The Journal for the Academic Study of Magic, and co-editor of Ten Years of Triumph of the Moon (with Dave Green). He was also the author of The History of British Magick After Crowley and Aleister Crowley and the 20th Century Synthesis of Magick. Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, he was also an occasional contributor to both Spiral Nature and Plutonica.net, and a good friend. Continue reading
I’m sorry to report that Dr Dave Evans (1962-2013) passed away in August.
Dave was both a scholar and a practitioner of the occult, and was a founding editor of The Journal for the Academic Study of Magic, co-editor of Ten Years of Triumph of the Moon (with Dave Green).
He was also the author of The History of British Magick After Crowley, Aleister Crowley and the 20th Century Synthesis of Magick, and pseudonymously, writing as Francis Breakspear, author of Kaostar! and If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Be Doing It!
Dave was also a contributor to both Spiral Nature and Plutonica.net, and a good friend. He will be missed.
Be in peace now, Dave, and thanks for all you were and all you’ve done.
I’m just back from the late-night regional premiere of the new Crowley-based film, Chemical Wedding, here in England. Much anticipated, this film is the brainchild (or should that be Moonchild?) of Bruce Dickinson. He is apparently a long-time Crowley fan, and will be better known as the screaming front man of perennial stadium heavy-metallers Iron Maiden. Apart from a few peripheral references in recent mainstream film (one of the Hellraisers, Razorblade Smile, etc.), Crowley hasn’t really been touched on for decades – you have to go back to the often appalling sixties’ Hammer Horror stuff, based on Dennis Wheatley’s books, or the 1950s classic Night of the Demon.
The prospects here looked good, with a prominent Shakespearian/Dickensian actor (Simon Callow) in the lead role instead of some unknown no-hoper. The plot encompassed some science fiction angles (the film Weird Science from the 80s immediately sprang to mind) and it is set in a modern-day Cambridge University, with a chaos-mathematics/quantum physics slant on to proceedings. Crowley is essentially called back to life via virtual reality technology, and possesses the body of an elderly and befuddled professor, who suddenly becomes the Beast renewed (in a rather natty purple velvet suit). Sounded like a great premise, and the online trailer, released ages ago, was simply fabulous.
Well, now I’ve seen the film… Continue reading
The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil, by Jack Barrow
Winged Feet Productions, 9780951532911, 286 pp.
What do magicians really do? Is Blackpool really the centre of evil for the UK? Is there a magical spell to make a car start? These and many other questions are asked and answered in this worthy first novel by Jack Barrow, who has written several magical theory and practice books in the last 20 years or so. Continue reading
Aleister Crowley: A Modern Master, by John Moore
Mandrake of Oxford, 97801906958002, 215 pp. (incl. bibliography and index), 2009
A Modern Master aims to present itself as a cultural examination of Crowley, yet Moore does not seem quite up to the task.
Moore wries that one of his goals in writing this book was “to make excuses for him, defending what has been criticised as a more contemptible side of his character”. This is severely misguided. Crowley was who he was, excuses are rather moot at this point. (Do we excuse Baudelaire? Rimbaud? Berber?) Rather than attempt to shine up the unsavoury bits Moore would have done better to explore them in context and describe how they influenced his work.
Continuing, he writes: Continue reading
If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Be Doing It!, by Francis Breakspear, with contributions from Kate Hoolu and Dave Evans
Hidden Publishing, 9780955523731, 327 pp. (incl. bibliography and index), 2008
Francis Breakspear has written another light-hearted guide to magical practice, with periodic intrusions by the academically-inclined Dave Evans, and the sociologically-minded Kate Hoolu. Breakspear casts himself in the role of both taskmaster and as acts a source of comic relief.
I say this book is light-hearted, but it is also meant to be worked through, not merely read. Breakspear constantly calls upon the reader to examine themselves — attitudes, food habits, recreation, sex — and, further, challenges the reader to challenge themselves. Many of the exercises focus on expanding one’s self-awareness, and becoming more fluid in one’s sense of identity. Continue reading