The cat’s out of the bag on this long-gestating project: my contribution came about from the 2010 Conference on Alan Moore at the University of Northampton that the now-sadly-departed Nathan Wiseman-Trowse organised. My presentation:
Rite Here: Ritual, Performance and the Magick of Place
From his first public working, The Birth Caul, Alan Moore has always had a strong attachment to location as a specific aspect of his magickal work. The performance was originally intended as a “unique event” which sought “to draw the audience along the spiral of a winding, umbilical text, into successive pre-pubertal, pre-verbal and finally pre-natal states of being” in the specific location of Newcastle’s nineteenth century Old County Court. Similarly, Moore unpacked the layers of geography of his home city of Northampton in the pages of Voice of the Fire, while the London locations of The Highbury Working and Angel Passage, his conjuration of William Blake, provided an anchor for those performances which tied the ethereal to a geographic reality. What happens when the ritual becomes unmoored from the place of its birth, when the “one time” performance repeats across the world, distributed on CDs and comics? Does ritual transform into mere performance, or can the intent survive the commercial process? If so, what does the ritual without location or the original conjurer produce?
Write up of the conference can be found here and here. The lovely Adele accompanied me there and a bunch of comics folks I know were there as well. I do believe there’s a video of the interview Paul did with Alan and Melinda which I think is floating around YT. Here’s a video of my slides to give you a flavour of my presentation that was later rejected by a noted comics journal for being ‘too aggressively anti-academic’ which remains among my favourite rejections, because it led to Steve asking for it this volume and only ten years later (which is rather short in Bissette time) here it comes.
And yes, only the back cover has been revealed so far.