ASTONISHING NEW MUSICAL!
YOU ME AND YESTERDAY
by TOBIAS CHURTON & JOHN MYATT
In a Venice Hotel in 1928, upper class heiress and publisher NANCY CUNARD met HENRY CROWDER, black jazz musician from Gainesville, Georgia. Their love affair scandalized English Society and inspired Nancy to produce the world’s first-ever anti-colonial Global Review of Black Culture, NEGRO, published in 1934.
The FABULOUS Musical YOU ME AND YESTERDAY tells the story.
The musical by Tobias Churton and John Myatt was performed for the first time by the renowned Drama & Music Departments of LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL SCHOOL at the GARRICK THEATRE, Lichfield 29-30 March 2011. A DVD of the movie is available to persons interested in staging the musical at other locations.
I first heard of Aleister Crowley in 1964 when I was an undergraduate at Oxford. Having a romantic penchant for the strange and bizarre things of life, I was immediately intrigued by him. I read John Symonds’ biography The Great Beast, which, despite its disparaging tone, further piqued my interest in Crowley. I bought a first edition of his Magick in Theory and Practice and a book of his poems, but it was to be some years before I was able to see beyond Crowley’s sensationalised image and perceive the serious and original thinker that he was.
The man who above all opened my eyes to the deeper dimensions of Crowley was Gerald Yorke, who had become Crowley’s chief disciple in the late 1920s and who features prominently in this book. Breaking off his discipleship after a time, he nevertheless remained on friendly terms with Crowley until the latter’s death in 1947. In fond memory of his old friend, he amassed a large collection of Crowleyana, which he later donated to the Warburg Institute in London and which has provided a key source for this biography. Yorke was a fascinating person, who deserves a biography in his own right – an old Etonian, brilliant scholar at Cambridge, county cricketer for Gloucestershire, Lord of the Manor and later advisor to several publishers in the area of oriental religion, esotericism and related subjects. Among other things, he played a key role in the publication of the Dalai Lama’s works in the West.
I first met Gerald Yorke in February 1969 at an esoteric conference in London, then contacted him a few months later in connection with a projected documentary film on Crowley that I was planning in collaboration with my friend John Phillips, a television film director. We travelled by train to Gloucestershire and spent a wonderful summer day at Yorke’s beautiful ancestral home. He played us a recording of Crowley chanting Enochian invocations in his Churchillian voice, showed us scrapbooks full of Crowley memorabilia and talked endlessly and amusingly about his time with the ‘Old Boy’, as he called him. The film never materialised, but I continued to meet Yorke at intervals until his death in the 1983 and took part in many further conversations with his on the subject of Crowley. While Yorke greatly admired Crowley for his vast knowledge and his mastery of techniques for expanding consciousness, he was sceptical of Crowley’s claim to be the Messiah of the ‘Aeon of Horus’.
Looking back over the more than four decades since Crowley came to my attention, I am struck by the way his posthumous reputation has developed. When I first heard of him his general image was that of an enfant terrible. It seems to be the fate of many English enfant terribles that they start by being reviled and ostracised and end up being taken into the establishment and even given a peerage or some other honour. Crowley, it is true, was very far from being given a peerage and was still widely seen as an enfant terrible when he died, but his posthumous career has been impressive. By the 1970s he had become an icon of the New Age and the counter-culture, celebrated by the Beatles and by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. By the 1990s he had begun to be taken seriously within academe, and post-graduate dissertations on him were starting to appear. Today his prolific writings, including his fiction and poetry, are increasingly widely read; the Tarot pack that he designed with Lady Frieda Harris is familiar to Tarot aficionados everywhere; and the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), which he took up and developed, is now a thriving organisation with members in many different countries. Even his ideas about the Aeon of Horus are beginning to catch on more widely. One person who has written interestingly on this topic is the highly original esoteric writer Ramsey Dukes. In one of his essays he writes: ‘The New Aeon calls for a new moral approach: God is no longer saying ‘follow my example’, instead humanity is being challenged to stand on its own feet …Horus has thrown down the gauntlet to those spiritual wimps who still cry out for ‘moral leadership’ from their church or their superiors. He asks ‘have you no moral sense of your own?’. (Ramsey Dukes, ‘The Caliphate OTO’ in What I Did in My Holidays; Oxford, Mandrake in collaboration with The Mouse that Spins, 1998, pp. 141-2.)
So Crowley has come a long way since his death in poverty and relative obscurity. However, despite the appearance of a number of biographies of him in the intervening years, no biographer has fully measured up to the task … until now, for in Tobias Churton Crowley has at last found a worthy biographer. Based on intensive research among the papers in the Warburg Institute and other original sources, Churton’s book delivers a far more full and accurate picture of Crowley than ever before. While Churton is not blind to his subject’s flaws, he thoroughly demolishes the farrago of lies and calumnies that have dogged Crowley reputation for so long. Whereas other biographers have tended to take Crowley’s extravagant and deliberate poses at their face value, Churton shows us the real man behind them – a man who genuinely believed in the new vision for humanity which he proclaimed and for which he struggled throughout his life in the face of enormous adversity. Crowley also turns out to have had great human qualities – the letter he wrote to his infant son ‘Aleister Ataturk’ is one of the most moving documents quoted in this book. Churton also makes some astonishing new revelations – for example in connection with Crowley’s extraordinary career as a British secret agent. This was little known until the appearance of Richard Spence’s book Secret Agent 666, and Churton takes the story further and deeper. He also uncovers startling new information about Aiwass, the channelled entity behind The Book of the Law, about Crowley’s role in both the First and Second World Wars, and much more … but I must leave Tobias Churton to let the cats out of the bags. The reader will put down this book with an entirely new perspective on Aleister Crowley. The ‘Old Boy’ would be delighted to have been given a full and fair hearing at last.
EXCITING NEW MOVIE SCRIPT!
HORNS OF INTELLIGENCE
Tobias Churton’s witty, fast-paced, sexy new FILM SCRIPT pits Intelligence Asset ALEISTER CROWLEY against a brilliant, twisted Luftwaffe Intelligence plot to kidnap a very Very Important Person – launched in reaction to a British plot that lured Deputy Reichsführer RUDOLF HESS to Britain in 1941. Crowley sees what MI6 has missed.
An ORIGINAL STORY based on a surprising amount of fact.
Legacy in Gnosticism, Paganism and Freemasonry
The search for the real historical
person known as John the Baptist and the traditions that began with him
Crowley and Western Esotericism:
Edited by Henrik Bogdan. Published by Oxford University Press, 2012.
Contributors include Henrik Bogdan, Martin P. Starr, Wouter Hanegraaff, Alex Owen, Marco Pasi, Richard Kaczynski, Gordan Djurdjevic, TOBIAS CHURTON ('Aleister Crowley and the Yezidis'), Matthew D. Rogers, R. A. Gilbert, Massimo Introvigne, Ronald Hutton, Keith Richmond, Hugh Urban and Asbjørn Dyrendal.
Including essays by William Breeze, Robert Buratti, Marco Pasi, Giuseppe Di Liberti, Stephen J.King, Tobias Churton (Making an Exhibition of Himself: Aleister Crowley in Berlin 1930-32.) Catalogue of Robert Buratti's trans-Australian Exhibition 2012-13
of Zeus have published Alex Churton's thriller, set in the turbulence
of Iraq in 2004: romance, adventure, topical politics, spiritual discovery
as the fast-paced story moves from the UK to Germany, Turkey, the US and
Iraq. A new angle on ancient conflicts with an intelligence agent who
is actually intelligent.
NEW REVISED AND UPDATED EDITION 2013 IN PAPERBACK FROM WATKINS PUBLISHING:
TRADITIONS ARE PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THE FORTHCOMING PUBLICATION (SPRING 2014)
OF TOBIAS CHURTON'S LATEST
THE BEAST IN BERLIN
Crowley's Adventures in Art, Sex,
NEW COMMISSION FROM WATKINS PUBLISHING FOR AUTUMN 2014:
NEW BIOGRAPHY OF
on new research
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