Sunday, 25 June 2017


this is a link to a catalogue of postings on this website (that is, relating to British poetry 1960-97)

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Suicide Bridge - list of sources

Moon Burial: A Skeleton Key to Iain Sinclair's Suicide Bridge

Intro. I wrote about Suicide Bridge in about 1994 (see Origins of the Underground, published 2006) and the build-up to that involved looking at a lot of esoteric and fringe literature. That is really where I got going on 'psychoceramics', the scientific study of crack-pots. In 2013 I wrote a review of the second edition of SB, with the new material, which made me think how bad my first analysis was. This is really a very complicated text and describing it takes a long time. There wasn’t room for a source analysis in the review, but afterwards I thought that tracking down some (most?) of the sources would be useful, even if the use cannot be named. This is not a commentary although it supports the two short commentaries I have already published. To sum up, Sinclair has marshalled a lot of freaks in the way that a horror director might marshal magi, mermaids, and mad scientists. You don't need to read the crackpot stuff in order to enjoy Sinclair's great work. The concept of SB is to write adventures for each of the Twelve Sons of Albion named by Blake, and it is a follow-up to Blake. The differences between Sinclair and Blake are vast, but still this was the starting point.
The use of a list of this kind is mainly to allow conversations in the pub, where genuine leisure prevails. (Thanks to John C. Kozak for finding some of the more obscure references.) 
Secondarily, I suppose, to neutralise certain ideas – that is, to show that there is no political or even occult system behind Sinclair’s 70s books, rather that he uses pulp mythology in the way someone scripting a horror film might use it. SB is not a documentary or an attack on the ruling class. Its sources are, for the most part, junk and pulp. He does not believe in the truth of the esoteric sources in the way, for example, that Raine came to believe that Neoplatonism was the truth of the universe. He is not much interested in truth (not in Suicide Bridge, anyway).
-Andrew Duncan
Page numbers are for the 2013 edition from Skylight Press. William Blake is quoted throughout so the many quotes are not separately identified.

p.9 quote from Michael Ondaatje book as listed in the text
p.16 quote from Kenneth Grant book as listed in the text

p.16 'causality breakdowns' – quote from Hawking book as cited in the text on pp. 18-20. The black hole material may signify that the “suicide bridge” is through a black hole: you can go back in time at the expense of disintegration to the sub-particle scale. p.160 “his birth is out of willed suicide”. The link with “suicide bridge” in Archway is probably not there. 

p. 18 “MD” – from Melville MacNaghten's Notes on Jack the Ripper, written in 1894 and found in his papers. MD was one of the list of three suspects, originally published circa 1959 with initials only because of confidentiality issues. Later works, from the later 60s on, named “MD” as Montague Druitt. He features in Downriver and other novels. The list was first made public by Dan Farson, who features in Landor's Tower.
p.18 'orbit of the Killing vector: a vector defined by Wilhelm Killing. >>Killing tensor fields are symmetric tensor fields T such that the trace-free part of the symmetrization of {\displaystyle \nabla T\,} \nabla T\, vanishes. Examples of manifolds with Killing tensors include the rotating black hole and the FRW cosmology.<<
- this is part of the black hole imagery 

p. 19 “pale lunar figures” – Rimbaud, Nocturne Vulgaire?
p.23 'the material world and finite time' didn't get exact source but cf. “Two theologians (Zātspram 3.23 and the author of the Škand Gumānīg Vičār 4.63-79 [ed. J. de Menasce, Fribourg en Suisse, 1945]) have seen clearly that the world was created by Ohrmazd as a trap and snare for Ahriman: “By his very struggles in the trap and snare the beast’s power is brought to nothing.”
This is a Zoroastrian doctrine which explains the existence of the material world in terms of a trap to lure the evil principle out into materiality. >>Ohrmazd's strategy is that the good creation will act as a trap to capture Ahriman and neutralize his evil. Ahriman being aggressive, rash and ignorant (he "does not know the final outcome"), as against the thoughtful and prudent Ohrmazd, certainly the ultimate result will be the triumph of good; undoubtedly creation will be restored.<< - Wikipedia on Shikand-gumanig_Vizar, 9th C text.
a translation of the text is in Mary Boyce's Textual Sources for the study of Zoroastrianism, p.103.
MD played cricket against the Parsees' team, in 1888. The Parsees won.

p.21 Richard Cavendish – as cited in detail in the text

p.21 “death posture” – theories of Austin Osman Spare as written up by Kenneth Grant.
“The illustration entitled The Death Posture, which forms the frontispiece to The Book of Pleasure, contains, in an allegorical form, the whole doctrine of the New Sexuality.”
That Book was 1913. The exegesis is probably from Cults of the Shadow by Grant.
p. 30 “aggression can be generated...” unidentified.
p.34 Thomas Browne letter to a friend:
And therefore I could not but take notice how his Female Friends were irrationally curious so strictly to examine his Dreams, and in this low state to hope for the Fantasms of Health. He was now past the healthful Dreams of the Sun, Moon, and Stars in their Clarity and proper Courses. 'Twas too late to dream of Flying, of Limpid Fountains, Smooth Waters, white Vestments, and fruitful green Trees, which are the Visions of healthful Sleeps, and at good distance from the Grave.

Most of the text of the Letter is incorporated in the text of Christian Morals.

So could be either?
p. 29 contracting into worms:
Let the Human Organs be kept in their perfect integrity,
At will Contracting into Worms or Expanding into Gods,
And then, behold! what are these Ulro Visions.

34 "evil is the active springing from Energy. Good is ..."


p. 36 Spicer- American poet, details in the text
p. 38 Wilson – Colin Wilson
p. 39 “O Anubis” (and) “The four altars”
-from the Cantos, no. 92. Farfalla in tempesta is butterfly in the storm.
p.42 Guirdham: Arthur Guirdham, author of books on the Cathars and resurrection
p. 47 "leagued himself": “our brother Albion is sick to death.
He hath leagued himself with robbers! he hath studied the arts
Of unbelief!
- Blake, Jerusalem  

p.41 “too small to hold its blood” – Keats, The Fall of Hyperion

p.48 two Egyptian texts. “Ah helpless one” is Coffin text 74 (“The Revival of Osiris (Resurrection)” as printed by Rundle Clark in Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt. Translation probably by A de Buck. 

I am Atum...
is also translated by Clark, same book page 80, credits unclear but seems to be the Coffin Texts, as translated in Coffin texts, ( vol. 4, Spell 321), edited A de Buck (Chicago, 1939). This cluster of texts was a legacy of the Pyramid Texts, i.e. they are versions of the same amassment of spells and both are written on vessels of the dead (and designed to lead the soul through death).

P. 50 “the spiritual in all”: unidentified but as it does not make sense it may be Charles Olson.
“Whiteheads simplest statement”.
p.50 “taozer babbling of the elixir” - Pound, Canto 55 or thereabouts. silly name for a Taoist.

P 54 “they went without shields” - Eliade, From Primitives to Zen,  p.294 – extract from the Volsunga Saga describing berserkir.

55 “London stone” <<London Stone was a well-known landmark in medieval London, and when in 1450 Jack Cade, leader of a rebellion against the corrupt government of  Henry VI, entered the city with his men, he struck his sword on London Stone and claimed to be "Lord of this city". Contemporary accounts give no clue as to Cade's motivation, or how his followers or the Londoners would have interpreted his action. There is nothing to suggest he was carrying out a traditional ceremony or custom.<<
- probable match
>>Upon entering London, Cade stopped at the London Stone. He struck the stone with his sword and declared himself Lord Mayor in the traditional manner. By striking the stone, Cade had symbolically reclaimed the country for the Mortimers to whom he claimed to be related. <<
55 “peachy clotted tide of sound” - Wyndham Lewis, BLAST 1, 1914 
56 'in self hood' – Blake
p.61 Casualty Report: book, Robert Soma, 1971

p. 66 quote from The Daily Telegraph, date unknown

p. 70 “oh my grief” (mo chreach) – Synge, Playboy of the Western World

73 the moon in a hood story . This is printed as “the buried moon” in More English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs. The match is not identical so Sinclair may be using a variant.

>>so off he went; spent and gasping, and stumbling and sobbing with joy, flying for his life out of the terrible bogs. Then it came over the Moon she would main like to go with him. <<
Jacobs' source was: “Mrs Balfour's 'Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars' in Folk-Lore, ii, somewhat abridged and the dialect removed. The story was derived from a little girl named Bratton, who declared she had heard it from her 'grannie'. Mrs Balfour thinks the girl's own weird imagination had much to do with framing the detail" 
Theme parallels the “buried sun” described at page 14

81 “shat into the plastic bag” - Kray story from Pearson, The profession of violence?
p.84 Chambers: from Guide to London, the Secret City, Michael Chambers, published by Ocean Books, 1974.
p. 81 Jack Spicer – US poet, exact source not identified.

p. 90 “in breaking traditional ties” - unidentified but probably Eliade, Myth of the Eternal Return, or a related text. Could be Jung's 1959 essay on Flying Saucers.
p. 92 Ixtab as goddess of suicide
source unidentified."Although Ix Tab is not recognized as a deity in Maya scholarship today, her origins can be found in the archaeological knowledge produced by early Mayanists such as Paul Schellhas and In the contributions of ethnohistorians such as Alfred M. Tozzer“.

p.97 “She has to...” Ben Bradlee (of Newsweek) describing Joseph Kennedy post-stroke. In Conversations with Kennedy.

“I met Jack Kennedy in November, 1946.... We went out on a double date and it turned out to be a fair evening for me. I seduced a girl who would have been bored by a diamond as big as the Ritz.”

: Source: character Stephen Rojack, reminiscing in Ch. 1 of An American Dream (1965), novel by N Mailer.

p. 99 “Men are most free...” “Not when they are escaping to some wild west. The most unfree souls go west, and shout of freedom.” ― D.H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature. (chapter 'spirit of place')

p. 100 Ludvig Prinn - De vermis mysteriis
>>The tome first appeared in Bloch's short story "The Shambler from the Stars" (1935), in which a character reads a passage from the book and accidentally summons an extradimensional horror. <<
So Robert Bloch, working in the world of HP Lovecraft (for a magazine edited by Lovecraft). Title means “On the mysteries of the worm”.

101 from The Gemstone File by Bruce Roberts, a fake conspiracy theory/ secret government text, not now widely regarded as being the key to modern politics. Roberts supposedly invented a kind of synthetic ruby (hence gemstone).

103 Howard Hughes. Source is James Phelan, Hughes the Hidden Years.
p.103 Dorn: Ed Dorn, The whole of the material on Howard Hughes is a tribute to Dorn.

104 "heroin from the golden triangle" – from The Gemstone File: “The dope trade routes are: Golden Triangle to Taiwan to San Francisco. Heroin coming from the Golden Triangle was sometimes smuggled into S.F. in the bodies of American G.I.s who died in battle in Vietnam. One body can hold up to 40 pounds of heroin, crammed in where the guts would be.

Some dope gets pressed into dinner plates, and painted with pretty patterns. One dope bust in S.F. alone yielded $6 billion in heroin "china plates" - the largest dope bust in history - quickly and completely hushed up by the S.F. press Mafia. The dope sat in the S.F.P.D. for a while, then was removed by FBI men, and probably sent on its way - to American veins.
All this dope processing and shipping is controlled and supervised by the Mafia, for the Mafia. Dope arrests and murders are aimed at independent pushers and maverick peddlers and smugglers who are competing with, or holding out on, the Mafia. While Nixon was conducting his noisy campaign against dope smuggling across the Mexican border, his dope officer in charge of protecting the Mafia dope trade was E. Howard Hunt.

Lots of heroin gets process in a Pepsi Cola factory in Laos.”
The Skeleton Key is attributed to Stephanie Caruana “then a contributing editor at Playgirl magazine. “

p.105 “Relieving himself...” - James Phelan
109 Philostratus from the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, a wonder-worker. Also at p.38
109 'those long vistas sacred catacombs where mighty minds'...
'darkness before and dangers voice behind'
- from The Prelude Book 3
our blind Poet, who in his later day,
single; uttering odious truth--
and danger's voice behind,
the earth has ever lodged
thirst of living praise,
for the glorious Dead, the sight
long vistas, sacred catacombs,
'minds' lie visibly entombed,
stirred the heart of youth, and bred            
love of rigorous discipline.--
high emotion touched not me.
Also Book Three.
111 'looking forth by light' also The Prelude
small quotes probably also The Prelude
“punish thee in thy members “– not identified
 felt Incumbencies
awful, visitings Of
Upholder of the tranquil soul, ... 
more Prelude
p.112 'an ear that could measure' :
from Milton, Apology for Smectymnuus. “"For this good hap I had from a carefull education to be inur'd and season'd
betimes with the best and elegantest authors of the teamed tongues, and thereto brought an eare
that could measure a just cadence, and scan without articulating; rather nice and humorous in what was tolerable, then patient to read
every drawling versifier.”

p. 112 "stylistic situation on the world periphery": unidentified 

114 “a small chamber hung with dusty green”:
Anthony Wood, Athenae Oxonienses – as Wood thought that Milton had been given an MA by Oxford. he cites a certain Richardson:"An ancient clergyman of Dorsetshire
(Dr. Wright) found John Milton in a small chamber hung with rusty green,
sitting in an elbow chair, and dressed neatly in black, pale but not cadaverous,
his hands and fingers gouty and with chalk stones."
p.119 “Holmes at Caius” Unidentified. Says freshman so must be an American writer.

119 “ devildom first poetising afterwards”:
The book is Goblin Tales of Lancashire, Author:James Bowker, and the tale is THE
'Jeremiah,' said this personage, 'devildom first and poetising afterwards.' There was an unpleasant tone of banter in this speech, which did not seem in ...'

This contains a concealed joke: “In a little lane leading from the town of Clitheroe there once lived a noted ‘cunning man’ to whom all sorts of applications were made, not only by the residents, but also by people from distant places, for the fame of the wizard had spread over the whole country side. If a theft was committed, at once the services of 'Owd Jeremy' were enlisted”
- the tale is about the Devil and a 'cunning man' named Jeremy. The Devil asks for his soul but offers in return “'Twenty-two years of such success as thou hast not even dared to dream of! No opposition--no exposure to thy miserable dupes’ readily answered Satan.” This is a mythical account of the ascent of Prynne.
120 Pennick, Mysteries : from The mysteries of King's College Chapel, by Nigel Pennick
(Wellingborough : Thorsons, 1978) The link between Gothic architecture and DNA is already made by Janet and Colin Bord, Mysteries of Britain, p.149 "A vertical line of lozenge shapes with their points touching is a symbol of etheric energy, and has been likened to the double helix of the DNA molecule, a basic carrier for subtle life energies." This in Durham cathedral. 

120: peiste. This is an Irish Gaelic word meaning “beast”, usually a monster, Latin bestia. But in Modern Gaelic it just means “worm” and this is the sense here because it runs “worm drives down into the buried mystery/ fenland peiste”.

p.120 "From out his secret Altar toucht with hallow'd fire". The Hymn. I. It was the Winter wilde, While the Heav'n-born-childe, [ 30 ] All meanly wrapt in the rude manger ... the phrase appears in “On the morning of christs nativity” but the full quote is in so it's The Reason of Church Government, Book 2:
>> "not to be raised from the heat of youth, or the vapours of wine, like that which flows at waste from the pea of some vulgar amourist or the trencher-fury of a rhyming parasite - nor to be obtained by invocation of Dame Memory and her siren daughter, but by devout prayer to that Eternal Spirit who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim, with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases." 

121 'Land's end... Crows an Wra'... a Ley line
122 "The Vegetative Universe, opens like a flower from the Earths center:
In which is Eternity. It expands in Stars to the Mundane Shell"
- Blake, 'Milton'
p. 123 “Plain called Ease”: Then CHRISTIAN and HOPEFUL, outwent them again, and went till they came at a delicate plain, called Ease, where they went with much content; but that plain . - Pilgrim's progress
127 “beware” - quote from Prynne lecture as credited.
p. 128 Had & hands: "Who mourned in earnest, when the captive ark /Maimed his brute image, head and hands lopt off, In his own temple..." Paradise Lost, book 1, referring to Dagon, the fish god. Dagon also starred in some HP Lovecraft stories. In PL, the Ark destroyed the idol of Dagon when it was placed in Dagon's temple
p 131 “First Reggie...” Kray story, maybe John Pearson again?
p.133 shabti: tomb servant for a dead person (Egyptian)
137 Bladud: cf. Geoffrey of Monmouth

"before I was..." one of the Taliesin poems? in the Llyfr Taliesin. 
“I have been a multitude of shapes,
Before I assumed a consistent form” - one version of lines in Cad Godeu. 
Bum y lliaws rith/ cyn bum disgyfrith. This does not mean “I was everywhere” but it may be behind Sinclair's text. Oh well. (= I was a host of shapes/ before I was dissolved)

139 “Chief ensign of druids was a ring”
from John Wood the Elder A Description of Bath, 1765

This was the reason for designing a Circus in Bath – echoes ring of stones, Stonehenge.

>>First though must come the story of Bladud, the founding father of Bath, an exiled prince because of his leprosy, whilst out herding pigs one day happened to notice that the pigs loved to roll in the hot muds of the spring. Bladud also tried this and was cured, and then went on to found the city of Bath on the spot. Our mythical King Bladud is given a date of 480 BC, and as Wood saw it Bladud created the city about the size of Babylon. Bladud was a descendant of a Trojan prince, a high priest of Apollo and a ‘Master of Pythagoras’. Therefore this high priest was a devotee of the heliocentric systems of the planets from which the Pythagorean system was derived. That the Works of Stantondriu (Stanton Drew) form a perfect model of the Pythagorean system of the planetary world<<
So Wood was a pioneer pyramidiot.

p. 139 "as big as god but not so wicked" - unidentified
140 “I copulated with my fist” – Rundle Clark, p.44, source not very clear. But it may be Coffin texts, vol 3, 334j. Edited A de Buck (Chicago, 1939)

"venomous vegetables": Some commendably affected plantations of venomous vegetables, some confined their delights unto single plants, and Cato seemed to dote upon cabbage 
-Sir Thomas Browne, the Epistle Dedicatory to The Garden of Cyrus

141 “passion to face the west” :   D H Lawrence, letter to Gordon Campbell 20/12/1914

143 fetherham:
John Hardyng, Chronicle (1470 version). An obscure text but presumably quoted by some author on the Bladud legend. Fetherham is a cloak of feathers or pair of wings. Hardyng says the Temple Apolyne is now St Paul's.

145 “cave of the Pythian God”: the temple of Apollo, again, but this time in Delphi. Presumably Wood's Description of Bath.

>>However according to Pausanias, Pteras, the founder of the second temple of Apollo at Delphi, gave its name to the city.<<

>>They say that the most ancient temple of Apollo was made of laurel, the branches of which were brought from the laurel in Tempe. This temple must have had the form of a hut. The Delphians say that the second temple was made by bees from bees-wax and feathers, and that it was sent to the Hyperboreans by Apollo. [10] Another story is current, that the temple was set up by a Delphian, whose name was Pteras, and so the temple received its name from the builder. After this Pteras, so they say, the city in Crete was named, with the addition of a letter, Apterei. The story that the temple was built of the fern (pteris ) that grows on the mountains, by interweaving fresh stalks of it, I do not accept at all. [ << - shortened quote from Pausanias
we get a lot about bees, ants, and flies in this book 

146 “curve line”:
unidentified but sounds like a ley writer. Camulodunum is Colchester.

148 EF Stringer: >>star people (also known as starseeds) is a New Age belief and fringe theory. Introduced  by Brad Steiger in his 1976 book "Gods of Aquarius", it argues that people originated  as extraterrestrials and arrived on Earth through birth or as a walk-in to an existing human body. It is a variant of the belief in alien-human hybrids. The term "star people" was taken from an existing Native American spiritual concept.<<

I could not locate an EF Stringer.

149 “contour values...”
unidentified but it describes a graphic representation of anomalous magnetic force readings. Earth magnetism is mentioned in SB so this could (wild guess) be a text on magnetic anomalies from Flying Saucer Review (ed. Charles Bowen). Flying saucers used “magnetic propulsion” in Ray Harryhausen's 1956 film “Earth vs. The Flying Saucers”.

151 “degradation destruction revocation infamy”
>>A disdainful man looks after two retreating and dejected figures. Their swords lie upon the ground. He carries two others on his left shoulder, and a third sword is in his right hand, point to earth. He is the master in possession of the field. Divinatory Meanings: Degradation, destruction, revocation, infamy, dishonour, loss, with the variants and analogues of these. Reversed: The same; burial and obsequies. <<
commentary on the 5 of Swords from a text on Tarot, probably AE Waite? >>The following year, a small guide by A.E. Waite entitled The Key to the Tarot was bundled with the cards, providing an overview of the traditions and history behind the cards, texts about interpretations, and extensive descriptions of their symbols.  << - so 1911

153 “do not allow even an insect”
- unidentified (but an alchemist)

155 Namagiri:
from a Penguin hist of maths, check source (Hollingdale, makers of mathematics?)
The quote relates to Srinivasa Ramanujan 1887-1920
155 'Enemy of the Stars" 1914 Vorticist drama by Wyndham Lewis

156 tags are from HP Lovecraft

158 maths-insects
-from the same Penguin book?

159 “burst death's membrane through”
- Wyndham Lewis
165 “worthwhile to destroy myself”

169 “Magic Door”
poem by Chris Torrance

170 “dead go the way of the sun”

170 vaginal vibrations
about prophecy, possibly Crowleyite

172 “west is the body”
172 "the snake path": the paths along the side of Glastonbury Tor were seen as the trail of a coiled dragon (by John Michell) and as the route of an initiatory maze-path by Geoffrey Russell (put into print by Geoffrey Ashe). >>According to a theory put forward by Geoffrey Russell, they are the principal remains of a maze: not in the sense of a puzzle, but in the sense of a long, twisting, devious approach to a centre - a labyrinth. Made in the remote past for ritual purposes, it spirals round the Tor seven times, and ends - or may be supposed to end - at the summit where the tower now stands.
It is argued further that the spiral is not a simple one, but a three-dimensional adaptation of a more complex pattern which is found in antiquity and in widely separated places<<  (accessed from As he linked it back to a sacred mountain equivalent to Mount Meru. Anyway, this is a hill at Glastonbury. Was it made by a sleeping dragon cuddling up? no.

177 “enjoyed the process of temptation”:
unidentified biography of John Cowper Powys

182 “Oppenheimer tasting sin”
unidentified but O is more likely to have said 'The physicists have known sin, and this is a knowledge they cannot lose.'' not clear he said this.
183 "limestone tape" - latent pointer to "The Stone Tape", 1972 TV play by Nigel Kneale, in which the stones of a house contain a "tape" of events they had seen 

187 “ghost of a flea”: John Varley (1778-1842)
painter and friend of Blake. This quote is from a book on the zodiac.

188 Botches:
it is the plagues of Egypt, source text unidentified

“Botches and blains must all his flesh imboss.” -Milton
189 “bathing suits”

193 “a country surrounded by water” - unidentified but is Britain seen from the point of view of an Amerindian.

194 Sign of the Angel, Lacock – this is a pub rather than a book. Lacock is a village near 

Bath. The pub building is 15th century. It is said to have a ghost. >>The inn is said to be 

haunted by the ghost of an elderly woman, who has been frequently seen over the past 15 

years or so. She is believed to be one of the previous owners who just refuses to leave. A 

friendly soul by all accounts, who has been spotted several times by staff and diners 

patiently sitting at one of the tables in the lounge bar. <<
196 “Maldoror”
book by Lautreamont

196 'highest form of criticism':

 "The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.”

Wilde, preface to Dorian Gray

list of component books

punk vortex x file
the older hidden powers; the secret minds 
brerton, the darkness
bowen, his journey