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?