Monthly Archives: February 2011

Kenneth Grant’s good part in the Highgate Cemetery scandal

Back in the 1970s, all sorts of graveyards were violated in London – kids probably on glue or worse thought it was somehow cool to desecrate graves and throw bones and skulls up to the top.

The unpopular press at the time in salacious fashion decided to attribute weird kids’ attitude to tombs as somehow “satanic” – the unpopular press banged on about this sort of stuff all the time. [Pictured below – Jan Bailey, editor of SOTHiS magazine, Kenneth Grant, right Janice Ayers from Buffalo, VII degree member of Kenneth’s  Sovereign Sanctuary@thetime picture taken. Picture copyright Mike Magee]

The Metropolitan Police arrested an individual – not a ring leader, but a slightly psychotic kid with schizophrenic tendencies who had done quite a lot of this stuff.

Kenneth Grant was called as an expert witness by the cops, as I recall things.

Kenneth Grant was absolutely in no way no satanist, although he was a very skilled magician imbued with compassion because of Anandamayi Ma. He  was considered by the Met as an expert on these matters. The deranged boy was given medication, as far as I recall it.  The tabloid press gasped. And shut up. And it was good. I await more obituaries… ♥

Some more memories and reflections of dear Kenneth Grant

AROGOGO arogogo ru abrio.  I wrote the words, Bob Ponton composed the tune, and Janice Ayers, Kenneth Grant and myself supplied the rubric to Scarlet Woman – a record with Crowley stuff  on the back which never delivered any royalties to anyone but the publisher. And other liggers. Steffi Grant did the artwork for the front, Jan Bailey did the artwork for the back. Nice sleeve!

Memories get telescoped and morph into each other, so I had better put down some thoughts about dear Kenneth Grant before I forget them and enter my senile years.

It was forty years ago – that is a long time.

Kenneth, as I have written previously on these pages, was up for me going to India and meeting Shri Shri Gurudev Mahendranath (Dadaji). So much so that he bestowed the VII degree of his OTO on him. Lawrence Miles did not feel the same fraternal good wishes from his lair in India. I sent Dadaji my copy of the Magical Revival – a fine KG book as I thought. Over the next year, Dadaji sent me all sorts of bits and pieces wrapped up in a Magical Revival that he’d taken apart and used in fine Indian manner to send delicate stuff around the world. Not newspapers, the book was cut up.

When I visited Dadaji in 1978 he was slightly more than scathing about Kenneth Grant and John Symonds – Miles claimed he had met Crowley during one of the infamous Crowley libel trials and often visited him at 93 Jermyn Street. I mentioned this to Kenneth. Kenneth, having a huge collection of Crowley diaries via, I think, Gerald Yorke, scanned the pages and failed to find the young Lawrence Miles recorded. Not that that matters that much to the magi.

There is a huge gap missing in the sedimentary record of the 1950s – both in terms of Kenneth Grant and also Lawrence Miles.  According to Dadaji’s own account, he tipped up in India in 1953 or so, and was immediately recognised by Lokanath as a man that should have been a Nath. Yet, according to Dadaji’s own words, registered in the now defunct magazine Values, he went to all sorts of places in Asia. He was in Australia for quite a while, as an agitprop. Dadaji – having fought in the International Brigade – had nothing but contempt for the British Army.

Strangely, Mr Grant wasn’t that hot on the British Army either. Having been conscripted into the war, Kenneth was forced to inhale lots of gas in a dark tunnel – he contracted asthma, and, I think, an interest in the dark tunnels of the mind that in his own words were the obverse of the bright and shining paths of the so-called Tree of Life.  Kenneth told me, as a young creature, it was one of the most frightening things that had happened in his life.

Mr Miles, having fought in the International Brigade, had nothing but contempt for the British Army – the Ministry of Defence had contacted him in 1938 when the mandarins realised something was afoot Hitler-wise and tried to award him a commission. Instead, as a physiotherapist, Miles fomented a riot on a troop ship to Cairo. He was, in his own words, arrested for mutiny, but turned it round and the captain of the ship got his come uppance.

Dadaji had little time for Kenneth Grant – perhaps he was suffering from an attack of the jellybags.  He did seem to know a lot of the same people Kenneth Grant did, including that strange woman in one of KG’s early trilogies who perished on a boat to Australasia.

The two were like chalk and cheese, but Miles spent a lot of his time in India and, like Ben Gunn in Treasure Island, all he wanted was a little bit of cheese.  Michael Staley visited Dadaji in India, and so did Mogg Morgan. I’d be quite interested to hear their recollections. [No such luck, Ed.]

My friends, the naths, attempted to find any record of Mahendranath, a white guru in Memhadabad. They couldn’t find any record. But then – who keeps these records? Mr Akasha?

They want to erect a Wall on the East Side of Mill Street

HERE IS the stunning video that shows what the developers wish to do on the East Side of Paradise. ♦

As walls come down worldwide, walls go up on Mill Street

AT THE bottom of my lovely little garden, there is an embankment and then the railway line.

Ardant Limited and WE Black Ltd will soon be submitting a planning application to “develop student rooms”between the railway line and 18-41 Mill Street.

It is a curious construction and the plans make it look like more of a wall than a place where people can live.  In addition, it is a three story building which will overlook the back gardens of 18-41 Mill Street.

The developers are pushing the notion that the Wall will cut down the noise from the railway. Undoubtedly that’s true, but as there’s not much noise from the railway anyway, that’s all a bit fatuous.

It would be fair to say the style of the Wall is slightly out of kilter with the neighbourhood – Mill Street is a rather nice community of people living in Victorian houses – the Wall must be very narrow indeed – more like a corridor – to house the 30 to 40 people who are going to live there.

I’m a NIMBY! But so are quite a few of the other people in this nice Oxford street. I chatted to one of the residents – her view was simple: “I can’t see any upside to this development.” Nor for the students either, I suspect.

It might be a short walk to their college, but it’s a heck of a way to get to the corner shop which is at the end of Mill Street. And crossing the grotty bridge over the railway line is never the most pleasant of adventures. We hope the trains don’t rattle and roll and interfere with developing minds when they’re trying to catch 40 winks… 

Kenneth Grant to be obituarised in Independent, apparently

I HAVE received a request from someone who is apparently writing an obituary of Kenneth Grant for UK “paper” The Independent.

After asking for a high res picture of Kenneth’s study – the picture is not my copyright by the way – the mister then went on to ask all sorts of other questions about Kenneth Grant which stopped me in my tracks. The hack – if it is a hack – asked all sorts of weird questions about Mr Aossic Aiwass for the obit, details that I am somewhat reluctant to give. Because my 10,000 word biography is almost finished as well :)

Those included which football team Kenneth Grant supported. Well, I dunno. We never talked about anything apart from Count Basie, who Kenneth adored.  Can’t you do your own research without ligging off me, whoever you are? ♥


Kenneth Grant dilated upon Mathers’ and Gardner’s dicks

I cannot break my oath to Kenneth Grant’s OTO, and I won’t. Here he is pictured in 1974. We used to drink in a pub just round the corner from where he lived, and did so much that my girlfriend and I renamed it the KG.

As we lived in Golders Green too, I sometimes took a trip there on my tod. One night, I fell into a conversation with two Hindu guys – a Brahmin from Gujarat and a Brahmin from Bengal.

Should they have been drinking at all? The tapestry unfolded.  The Gujarati Brahmin was appalled at the fact another member of his gotra on the other side of India ate fish. The Bengali guy was appalled that the rigorous diet on the west coast was quite so vegetarian.

A Jain joined us. He said that day was a religious day in Jain tantrik culture. On one day a year, a faithful Jain could drink and do all sorts of things that they couldn’t do  on any other day in the year.

Kenneth Grant was a thelemite but as the Kaula Upanishad said, you must respect other people’s notions of what the heck any of it meant. He was very taken with David Hall’s notion that Beelzebub (Gurdjieff) and the Beast (Crowley) were two of a kind.

As for the Nu Isis Lodge. As I was inducted in the first degree of Kenneth’s order, I never got to meet these people in 1973.  Ithell Colquhoun was very nice to the SOTHiS people in her book about Mathers, but we’re still not sure where in  her book, Sword of Wisdom – the Mathers picture, is. She left it to the Tate but now, apparently, it is nowhere found.

Kenneth was witty about the witch Graham Gardner and about the s0-called Scot McGregor Mathers. To me he described the BT tower as Gardner’s dick, and Centre Point as Mathers’ dick. Which one was the bigger dick?

Or was it the other way round? He was a very witty man.