Author: Andy Wilson

Iain Sinclair: Blake’s Mental Traveller and The Gold Machine, a Talk to the Blake Society

In Sept 2021, Iain Sin­clair gave an impro­vised talk to the Blake Soci­ety about how Blake’s poem, The Men­tal Trav­el­ler, became the map and mod­el for a life­time of jour­neys and pil­grim­age quests. The Men­tal Trav­el­ler was an awaken­ing, to be exper­i­enced but not yet under­stood. The poem returned at vari­ous points in the years that fol­lowed, until it was acknow­ledged as the secret code for Sin­clair’s most recent book, The Gold Machine, a late-life exped­i­tion to one of the sources of the Amazon, in the foot­steps of his great-grandfather.

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Fruit Flies Like a Banana

Excerp­ted from the book Faust: Stretch Out Time, an essay about how great music helps us escape Urizen­ic time, dead time. “Out of time, into space” (Wil­li­am Burroughs)

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The Heptones: Mystery Babylon

Thy pur­pose & the pur­pose of thy Priests & of thy Churches
Is to impress on men the fear of death; to teach
Trem­bling & fear, ter­ror, con­stric­tion: abject selfishness.
Mine is to teach Men to des­pise death & to go on
In fear­less majesty anni­hil­at­ing Self, laugh­ing to scorn
Thy Laws & terrors

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The Tyger and Violence

The Tyger is poten­tially the Led Zep­pelin of Blake poems — brash, bom­bast­ic and unnerv­ingly suc­cess­ful. It is sup­posedly the most antho­lo­gised poem in the Eng­lish lan­guage — sta­di­um poetry, if you like. Your chil­dren will prob­ably come across it at school. Along with the Parry’s ver­sion of Jer­u­s­alem, this is the Blake that people know. 

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Andy Wilson: The Brilliant New Hercules

Two years after invent­ing relief etch­ing, the print­ing meth­od best suited to record­ing late 18th cen­tury revolu­tion­ary free improv vis­ions, Wil­li­am Blake & his wife Cath­er­ine moved to 13 Her­cules Build­ings, Lam­beth, Lon­don. For the next ten years at the Her­cules, accord­ing to James Joyce, “Ele­ment­al beings and spir­its of dead great men often came to the poet’s room at night to speak with him about art and the imagination.”

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