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Review of 131 by Julian Cope

131: A Time-Shifting Gnostic Hooligan Road Novel by Julian Cope. £14.99 The marvellous Julian Cope has written a novel! And it has: A spectacularly vile Bad Guy cult leader. A road trip through Sardinia (131 is the number of Sardinia's only highway). A guide and driver, beautiful and wise, who delivers classic rock-n-roll cars. A protagonist we are introduced to as he is shitting his pants on an aeroplane. The first few pages tell us we are in the hands of a first-person narrator with all the tick marks for rock-n-roll excess: a burned-out druggie rock-star / football hooligan called Rock Section. Sixteen years before, at a big footie match, Rock and his hooligan mates were imprisoned, and some raped, by the bad guy's cult, resulting in one suicide and (at least) one mental collapse. So Rock is visiting Sardinia to force himself into a final confrontation with the bizarre motivations of the evil gang who did this. As if this isn't enough, there is entire other layer

Review of Svengali: Secrets of Influence, by Romulus

Svengali: Secrets  of Influence, by Romulus, pub. 139pp. Available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Svengali-Secrets-Influence-Romulus-ebook/dp/B00JTH8AD4. This is a book about the magic of charisma and influence. Starting from the central idea that there are four basic ‘Svengali’ archetypes, it consists of a section on each of these four, in which the author records conversations with two or three exceptional exemplars of each type. It ends with a section summarizing the techniques that Romulus learned from his interlocutors. The first section is called The Black Book: The Book of Power, and features Don Juan Del Domino as the archetype of this kind of power, the kind which dominates. The second is The White Book: The Book of Healing, and focuses on the powers of Rasputin. The third, The Golden Book: The Book of Wealth, uses the exemplar of Hassan-i-Sabbah, and the fourth is The Red Book: The Book of Attraction, attributed to Salome. This is a very lively and readable book, with a