A Curious Invitation present London Month of the Dead
Magus About Town
Aleister Crowley's Soho with Phil Baker
on Tuesday the 10th October 2023 at 7:00 pm

Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), the self-styled “Great Beast” or “Beast 666”, was the notorious occultist, painter, and counter-cultural icon, who figures in the Peter Blake collage on the cover of the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper. Crowley had a love-hate relationship with London, “dear, vile London”, but it was where he spent much of his adult life, and it was the capital of the culture that created him.

In this talk, Phil Baker will follow Crowley’s tracks through Soho to create a biography by sites, revealing a man, an era, and a city. Using a fusion of Crowley’s life-writing with psychogeography, steeped in London’s social history from late-Victorian decadence to the Blitz, Baker will draw extensively on unpublished material and offer an exceptionally intimate picture of the Beast and the women he knew.

While safely ensconced in Soho’s Century Club we will follow Crowley searching for prostitutes in the neighbouring streets, drinking absinthe in Dean Street’s French House, and finding himself badly down on his luck in Soho Square – but never quite losing sight of the illumination that drove him: “the abiding rapture,” he wrote in his diary, “which makes a ‘bus in the street sound like an angel choir!”

Tickets £12 including a 20% donation to Brompton Cemetery. Please click here to purchase.

Phil Baker
Phil Baker is a writer based in London. His books include The Devil is a Gentleman: The Life and Times of Dennis Wheatley, and Austin Osman Spare: The Life and Legend of London’s Lost Artist, of which Alan Moore has said “Phil Baker has established himself as among the very best contemporary biographers… What Baker has accomplished here is little short of marvellous.” His book City of the Beast - the London of Aleister Crowley is published in July 2022.

Brompton Cemetery