The Akashic Jukebox : Magick and Popular Music in Britain, 1888-1978, with Mark Pilkington

Talk in Music, Film & Image with Mark Pilkington (right)

with live music from Michael J. York (below)


The Ebenezers are delighted to welcome Mark Pilkington of Strange Attractor, who brings with him the shocking truth of unspeakable cults, erotic rites, and their deep and surprising connections to British popular music from 1888 to 1978...

Magic and music are as old as humanity, but organised witchcraft - a British cultural export whose influence has been felt all over the world - is younger than jazz.

In this talk, illustrated with images, music and rare recordings, Mark Pilkington, author of Mirage Men and publisher of Strange Attractor Press, explores British occultism’s origins in the bohemian groves of late 19th century London, and charts its impact on popular music and some of its players, from the rock ‘n’ roll years through to the paradigm shift of punk. The emerging stories glow with transcendence, ripple with mystery, honk with absurdity and are all too often shadowed by tragedy.

Names that Mark will conjure with include usual suspects and shock manifestations: Aleister Crowley, Graham Bond, Gerald Gardner, Comus, Alex & Maxine Sanders, Throbbing Gristle, Black Sabbath, Robbie Williams, Eliphas Levi, WB Yeats, Black Widow, Austin Osman Spare...

Mark has not come among us to cast spells and conjure demons; rather he examines the lives and desires of people who were fascinated by such things.

This is a feature-length lecture, one and a half hours, enabling Mark to incorporate more rare & fabulous film and music. There will be an interval for supper & wine.


Michael J York

Accompanying Mark, Ebenezer welcomes the remarkable Michael J York (from Cyclobe and Zephyrus whose Highland smallpipes will add still more atmosphere and wierdness to this extraordinary evening!

Glastonbury-based, Michael is a bagpipe player, composer and craftsman dedicated to exploring his traditional instrument through an engagement with contemporary musics of all sorts.

Michael has devoted fourteen years to the study of Bagpipes and related woodwinds from Europe and the Near East.

His current projects, solo and with Cyclobe, push the limits of what is possible both as an instrument maker and a performer.

Michael is a three-time prize winner at the Rencontres Internationales de Luthiers et Maitre Sonneurs in central France.


Mark's activities and accomplishments are mind-bogglingly diverse...

Books : Mirage Men (2010) and Far Out: 101 Strange Tales from Science’s Outer Edge (2007), a collection of [Mark's many Guardian articles.

Film : Mirage Men (2013) 'A brilliant piece of work '-- Adam Curtis, director of The Power of Nightmares.

Publishing -- Mark runs Strange Attractor Press and edits its acclaimed anthologies.

Sound & Music – Mark plays invented electronics and synths with experimental groups including Raagnagrok, English Heretic, Urthona. He has designed sound for animated films by Tessa Farmer and Sean Daniels - clip from _Nest of The Skeletons and radio intros.

2013Martin Keeley