England's Hidden Reverse by David Keenan
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Publisher: Strange Attractor
Edition: Revised & expanded edition
A new revised and expanded edition of David Keenan’s seminal secret history of the UK’s esoteric underground.
Based around interviews with members of Coil, Nurse with Wound and Current 93, as well as Keenans' contemporaries and friends, EHR illuminates a shadowy English underground scene and traces the links and affinities they forged with earlier generations of England's marginals and outsiders, such as playwright Joe Orton, writers like Count Stenbock and Arthur Machen and occult figures like Austin Osman Spare and Aleister Crowley.
Written over a period of six years and first published in 2003, the book moves between John Balance and Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson of Coil’s original Threshold House in Chiswick and the old boys’ school they later moved to in Weston-super-Mare, to Steven Stapleton of Nurse With Wound’s goat farm and visionary art environment in Cooloorta in Southern Ireland, to the roof of a house in Muswell Hill where David Tibet of Current 93 receives a vision of Noddy crucified in the sky. From there it moves further back; to eye-witness accounts of early Whitehouse performances; to the formation of Throbbing Gristle and the birth of industrial music; to the last moments of the visionary painter Charles Sims; to Angus MacLise, ex-of the Velvet Underground, casting his poem Year as a work of elementary magic; to Shirley Collins, AE Housman and Denton Welch’s visions of England in eternity.
This expanded edition comes completely redesigned, with many new and previously unseen photographs and ephemera. It also comes with two new chapters, a final summing up of how the Reverse has changed gear since the book was first published and a new chapter entitled Crime Calls For Night in which Keenan traces the transgressive urge that animates industrial culture all the way from Palaeolithic cave art through rock n roll and punk rock and up to contemporary noise music.