I was in Holland speaking at a conference on Hermeticism when I heard the news of Colin’s passing. As synchronicity would have it, one of the people I spoke about was him; I even had that wonderful photograph of him in his early days, with the rollneck jumper and cracked tea mug, sitting by his typewriter as part of my presentation. As you might expect, the news shook me and I was not on best form, but I think the audience appreciated what I had to say. Colin was included in the talk because of his belief in humanity and its need for heroes. He wanted us to see through what he called “the fallacy of insignificance,” the belief that we are pointless, unimportant accidents in a purposeless universe, as most of the intellectuals who dismissed his work humbly accepted. He knew better and so did everyone who read his books. He lamented the loss of the hero but he was a hero to us all. I know he certainly was one to me. If anything I’ve written has any value at all, it is because it is informed with the brilliant ideas that came from his encyclopedic mind. To get an education you needn’t go to Oxford, Cambridge or an Ivy League school. You only have to read The Outsider, or The Occult, or Mysteries, or any of the many remarkable books on philosophy, literature, psychology, criminology, the occult, parapsychology and the rest that he wrote and follow his leads. If you do I assure you you will get an education you can’t obtain at any of those schools or elsewhere. I know, because I have. I am amazed when I realize I’ve known Colin and his family for 30 years. I first met him in January 1981 at the Village Bookshop on Regent Street. I still have a cassette recording of the talk he gave, somewhere among my things. It was on Frankenstein’s Castle, a book an enterprising and enlightened publisher should re-issue. I was living in NYC at the time and stayed an extra week in London, just to hear him speak. Like any fan boy, I asked him to autograph a book and he very graciously did. But my real friendship began in 1983, when I visited him in Cornwall as part of a ‘mini-search for the miraculous’ I embarked on that summer. Since then I have had the pleasure to visit him and Joy many times, and to put them up in Los Angeles in the late 80s, when he was in town for a talk. I had the great honor of getting several sheets to the wind with him on more than one occasion and believe me, Husserl is much more understandable under such conditions. He was a hero to me and a mentor but even more he was and remains a very good friend. He made all of us Outsiders very much at home.
Here’s an interview I did with Syncbook Radio on their 42 Minutes program during which we talk about magical music, the influence of Aleister Crowley on popular culture, what happened in the 1960s, suicide and synchronicities, among other things…
Here is the second part of my talk at Watkins.
I’ll be speaking about my new book, The Caretakers of the Cosmos, at Watkins Books in Cecil Court, London, on Thursday, 21 November, from 6:30 to 7:30. The talk is free and I’ll be signing copies of the book, as well as any others, provided they’re by me. The talk will be filmed and posted on You Tube so dress well. Details here.
I’ve posted another excerpt from The Caretakers of the Cosmos on my blog at Reality Sandwich. Check it out and get working!