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My interview with Alan...
Here's my pretty in-depth and fascinating interview with Alan Moore, which takes in Century, Jerusalem, the occult and much, much more. Many thanks to Joel Meadows, Chris Staros and especially Alan himself for being so patient, witty and generous.

Roll on April!




Your latest graphic novel is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century, of which the first part coming out in April is 1910. Could You tell me a bit about that ?

Well, when we were conceiving this first book of Century we thought it would be a good idea to build on some of the territory that we’d established in the first two volumes and in The Black Dossier.

We also thought it would be quite interesting to try and take in quite a significant sweep of the League’s history and that it would probably be a good idea if we broke this volume up into three chapters, with each chapter having a standalone quality, so that if there is a big gap between chapters, the readers will feel that they’ve had a satisfying chunk of the story that is complete in itself, but that they build up into what is hopefully a satisfying climax in the third book.

So we decided to set the first book in 1910. This was because I’d got some ideas about how Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera could be brought into the narrative of the League. Just because I’ve always been a huge fan of Brecht and Weill and The Threepenny Opera. And so we started to look into that period and one of the striking things about 1910 or thereabouts was the incredible amount of fantasy and supernatural fiction, all of the occult detectives that were so populous in the fiction of those times.

So that seemed as if it might offer a thread that we could be able to develop in the next two parts of the book. Basically, we’ve, in this first volume we’ve got sinister events going on , on the eve of King George the Fifth’s coronation. Haley’s comet is passing overhead, and the villainous Mac Heath, Mac the Knife, returns to England after some time away. So we’ve used Mac the Knife from The Threepenny Opera we’ve also used Pirate Jenny who’s a very pivotal character in the first book. But, there’s another strand of story going on which we’ve, like I say, based upon the occult fiction of the time and we’ve decided, I mean Aleister Crowley’s book Moonchild, which is a fiction, was set in around about 1915. But it involved an already established cult that might well have been around in 1910 in perhaps a slightly different form. Once I’d got that idea , we decided that we were going to try and tie together all of the fictional versions of Aleister Crowley that have occurred in literature or in film or on television.

The first one, and the most prominent one was probably Somerset Maugham’s Oliver Haddo from his book The Magician, which had the central character, he is reputedly destroyed in a fire at the end of it but then, in the world of the League that’s never a big impediment. Conveniently, he is working upon trying to create these homunculi, which is a form of magical child. The cultists in Crowley’s Moonchild are attempting to create this form of magical child.

So I thought, “ Well that seems to fit”. If Oliver Haddo had in 1908, which I think is the date, roughly, of Somerset Maugham’s book, if he survived the fire at his Staffordshire estate then he might have gone on to gather some occultists for another attempt.

We then thought, “Okay, let’s see if we can tie in all of the other fictional Crowleys”. So either in incidental bits of dialogue or actually expressed overtly in the comic strip itself, we connected Oliver Haddo with M.R. James’ Karswell from Casting The Runes who was also based upon Aleister Crowley, Dr. Trelawney, a cult leader from Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time who was also based upon Crowley. There was a character played by Boris Karloff in the film The Black Cat - I believe a ‘satanic architect’ named Hjalmar Poelzig based upon Crowley.

I hadn’t heard of that one!

There was Adrian Marcato from Rosemary’s Baby ,who was a famous English occultist who’d visited America in the 1920’s and had fathered the John Cassavetes character. There was the similarly- named Mocata who was the Satanist based on Crowley from The Devil Rides Out -a film released in the 1960s. We also managed to find a character named Cosmo Gallion from an episode of The Avengers who looked like a mountaineering-era Crowley, and who walked around saying “ Do what thou wilt”.

So I think, quite ingeniously we’ve managed to fit all of these together so that they could all conceivably have been the same person, working his magical will through the various decades that this third book is set in.

I’ve seen the first few pages of the book from Top Shelf, they look fantastic. I mean, Kevin O’Neill’s artwork is just at an absolute pitch. I’m really looking forward to reading it.

I think you’re dead right. I know I say this with every new League book, that Kevin’s work is getting better and better, but I’m really glad to hear somebody else say it as well, you know! Melinda says it as well, but it’s just breathtaking. He’s just getting into his stride, from what he tells me about his work upon the 1960s chapter, which is the middle one of the three parts, he says that he’s enjoying that immensely. He’s kind of working in a different way to the way that he’s worked for Wildstorm where, there was always an air of suspicion that if he didn’t send them in inked pages, then they didn’t really believe he was doing them.

So because we don’t get that kind of pressure at Top Shelf, Kevin can now pencil the work and really get into the flow of pencilling it. Ink it, as and when he pleases, but I think that he’s doing the best work of his career. I think it just gets better all the time.

The more that we seem to push ourselves on this book, the more that I push myself and the more that Kevin pushes himself, it seems that the better the results are. We weren’t sure if the songs were gonna work in this first volume because we thought it might be a case of, having built up a dramatic atmosphere, and then somebody starts singing and completely ruins the reality that you were trying to establish.

That’s a danger, alright.

But of course the way Kevin has drawn these particular scenes, it didn’t decrease the reality at all, if anything it made them hyper-real. It was like a Greek chorus, underlining the emotional impact of the scene for the reader. I was blown away by the work that Kevin has done on that first book. I just can’t wait to see what he’s doing on the second one.

Then the third one, which is the one that I’m just starting to write at the moment, it’s set in 2009, I think that that’ll be the culmination of the entire three chapters. All of them will stand alone, but I think the third book will bring everything together quite nicely and will be quite climatic.

That is probably as far up to date as we are going to want to bring the League for a little while. I should imagine that at any point in the future, book four or whatever we decide to do next, that we’ll perhaps be examining some of the League’s capacious back-story. Focusing upon different eras, different characters. We’ve got a few ideas in that direction but , I’m immensely pleased with the way that Century is turning out.

Both me and Kevin are feeling the benefit of being at a new publisher, not having to think in the way that you tend to end up thinking if you’re working for a boy’s adventure comics publisher. It’s something that gets ingrained into you, a certain way of telling a story. There’s still this hangover, this kind of thought that “Ooh, the basic reader is about thirteen.” Which is not true. The basic reader is around about forty.

Judging by some of the comic shops that I go into, yeah. Definitely .

In the kind of terms that you accept when you’re working in this industry, you’ve always got that in the back of your head that you’re writing this for a young audience. They need constant movement in the story, constant fast paced adventure.

Ideally, all the characters should be running at all times even if it’s just to go to the toilet or something cause that makes everything more dramatic. And you kind of absorb these things. The first two books of the League are rip-roaring adventure yarns. None the worse for that, they work perfectly even The Black Dossier , which is a lot more experimental, that is basically an extended chase sequence, with bits of the dossier interspersed.

With Century and with working with Top Shelf we don’t feel that pressure anymore. We feel that we’re doing this for adults and we’re doing it for probably one of the most intelligent readerships in comics, I would imagine.

I can’t think of many smarter audiences than the one we’ve got. So we can afford to treat our readership like adults and tell a story that is not necessarily paced the same as a comic story, where you might have quite long, slow patches where there’s not much happening. Where the characters might not solve the crime or solve the puzzle or win out at the end of the day. It’s new territory and I think that both me and Kevin are responding to it eagerly.

In 1910 there’s some unusual cameos. Is it true that Iain Sinclair’s Mr. Norton show’s up?

Well, Mr. Norton. Doing a book that takes place over the course of a century presented a few problems, one of the problems is ongoing characters. In 1910 the official line-up of the League is the immortal Orlando, the by now also conveniently immortal Allan and Mina, then there are the mortal characters A.J. Raffles, the gentleman burglar, and Thomas Carnacki, Carnacki the ghost finder. Those characters, realistically, are not going to be around come 1969.

So, we thought that it might be good to have another character running through it, but not an immortal. And I remembered that my great friend and I believe probably one of the greatest writers in the English language today Iain Sinclair, that he’d created a character called Mr. Norton, Andrew Norton the prisoner of London, who is restricted to the limits of the city of London but not to any given century.

I thought it would be interesting to have the Andrew Norton character turn up at these three very different junctions of the 20th and early 21st century.

I’ve not shown Iain this yet, I’ve told him that it’s on it’s way and that it was intended as a tribute but I fear that it might have ended up as a travesty. (Laughs) It’s not how Iain actually writes or talks. It’s a kind of combination of the two, which I thought would be appropriate for the fictional Andrew Norton. It looks kind of like Iain, and it talks a little bit like Iain but, more the way that Iain writes.

Norton turns up again in 1969 again outside King’s Cross station and, more importantly, he turns up in 2009 where he plays a bit more of an active role in the story. Yeah, that was an interesting cameo.

There are more fleeting cameos, there’s a very theatrical occultist’s club that we have the characters visit in an early scene where there are mentioned or glimpsed various occult characters that related to the occult underworld of that time. Some of them are ones that Kevin included which I wasn’t familiar with.

I remember asking him, in the occult club scene “Why is there a gigantic, naked, horned devil figure standing around in the backround that nobody’s paying any attention to?” And Kevin had informed me that this was the earliest illustrated incarnation that he could find, of Spring- Heeled Jack, the Victorian pulp figure and urban legend. So apparently in his earliest incarnation he was drawn as this devil figure, who was completely naked but in none of the illustrations did anybody seem perturbed, or even aware that there was this naked devil standing in their midst!


So that was one of the things that Kevin did. He’s had an awful lot of fun and has put loads of unique touches into the backrounds, which I will probably get all of the credit for, but which are entirely Kevin’s work. (Laughs)

This is a very equal partnership. Kevin contributes just as much to the look, the thinking and the whole idea of the League as I do. It could not be done with another artist. I mean, that’s true of all me books I suppose, I tend to write the books to try and best show off the artist’s strengths. That has certainly paid off as an approach with Kevin.

The little details that he brings to it- he found out that there’s a fictional painter called Robin Yaldwyn who was a surrogate Walter Sickert and the back cover painting on this first book is ostensibly a painting by Robin Yaldwyn called “What Now?” which looks very much like one of Walter Sickert’s Camden Murder paintings, but which depicts the Mac the Knife character sitting upon a bed with a woman who might be dead, might be asleep, in the manner of the Sickert paintings, who looks very much like Louise Brooks and is in fact Lulu from Pabst’s films and from Frank Wedekind’s original play Pandora’s box and Earth Spirit.

When I was thinking about Mac the Knife I thought “Okay, Bertolt Brecht originally lifted him from John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera from the 18th century, along with incidental characters like Suki Tawdry, Jenny Diver, and all the rest. " But it seems obvious that in creating Mac the Knife…the original Jack Mac Heath from Gay’s Beggar’s Opera was a highwayman. Creating Mac the Knife I think it’s fairly obvious that Brecht was being influenced by Jack the Ripper, which was a news story that was only 20 years old at the time and was still occasionally being resurrected.

So what I tried to do was to tie together all of the fictional Rippers, in much the same way as we’ve tied together all the fictional Crowleys.

I’d always been a bit disturbed by the fact that at the end of Pabst’s film which was made in the 1920s starring Louise Brooks, and seemed to be set perhaps 10 years earlier, in 1910? At the end of the film the good-time girl Lulu takes a customer home to her apartment who turns out to be Jack the Ripper, and who kills her. Great ending to the story, but it struck me that it was about 20 years after the last of the Ripper crimes.

There was also a brilliant film starring Peter O’Toole called The Ruling Class, at the end of that there’s a kind of coda where it implies that the deranged 14th Earl of Gurney, played by Peter O’Toole is in fact, Jack the Ripper. Again, the dates seem wrong. So we’ve worked out a way in which the dates completely work, and a scenario in which Jack Mac Heath was, in the 1880s, as a young man, Jack the Ripper.

It’s one of the great pleasures of the League. Kevin is going out he’s watching these films, he’s digging up these details, you’ll get little scenes in the backround where you’ve got Popeye apparently in an argument with Ken Reid’s Jonah, the wonderful English comics character from The Beano.

These are just tiny little things that it’s very easy to miss.

But they add to the whole atmosphere and the universe of the League.

Absolutely. It’s like, you get the impression that even when you’re not looking at any part of the League’s world, there’s still plenty going on. Just because it’s so incredibly lively in the way that Kevin depicts it. It is a living, breathing cosmos.

Alan, you’re working on your second novel Jerusalem at the moment. How’s that going?

It’s going very well, finally, I’ve got up to chapter 26 out of 35 so that’s almost exactly three quarters of the way through, but this third part of Jerusalem will probably take me longer than the other parts because, it occurred to me the other day…well, I say the other day, a month or so ago, that this third book of Jerusalem is gonna be the hardest to pull off because the book is going to be something like three quarters of a million words which I think translates to 1500 pages, something like that? And it’s very tiring, not only for me but presumably, if I’m starting to get tired then the reader’s going to start to get tired, or at least, that’s the way that my voodoo logic works upon these things.

I started to think “Why did I decide that this book is going to be 35 chapters long? This is a completely spurious decision, I just decided that this book is going to be 35 chapters, why did I do that?” It occurred to me the reason was that if I hadn’t done that, I would not have been placed in my current difficulty which is, how do you sustain a book of that immense length to the end? And if I hadn’t been placed in that difficulty I would not have been forced to solve that difficulty! My answer to it is, well the way that you sustain a book of that length right to the end, is to crank up the energy even more. Make it even more difficult for yourself so that every chapter is a really big challenge.

To vouch for my intentions, the chapter that I was next about to start was a chapter called ‘Round the Bend’. I’d got a few vague notes, I knew that it was going to be about insanity. Insanity in Northampton and that this would involve the hint of insanity that was reputed to have been in my own family. Only a hint, not so as you’d notice, really, but that would also involve the wonderful and famous lunatics that this town has been a host to. So I decided with this chapter “Alright, let’s really go for it, let’s decide that this chapter is going to be an account of one day, one timeless, endless day in the life of Lucia Joyce“, James Joyce’s daughter who was confined in St. Andrew’s hospital right next door to the school that I was at for 5 or 6 years. She would’ve been there at the same time that I was at school, but I just didn’t know.

She was there from 1951 to 1981 when she died and she’s currently buried at Kingsthorpe cemetery. A lovely little cemetery where I myself thoroughly hope to be planted at some remote and hopefully far future date. But that’s where Lucia Joyce is buried. So I’ve got this chapter that is about her wandering the madhouse grounds, and becoming lost in space and time and mythology. She’s also wandering in her own head. So she’s meeting people that she couldn’t possibly have met including a lot of other famous inmates of St. Andrews, some of whom were there at the same time as her, some of whom were there a lot earlier, including John Clare and Ripper suspect J.K. Stephens. Some more contemporary ones like her contemporary Violet Gibson, who was a very, very brave Englishwoman. Possibly a bit demented, but, she shot Mussolini in the nose.


She attempted to assassinate Mussolini but, his prodigious nose, which I presume he must have had to draw fire away from his face, but the bullet lodged in his nostril, apparently.

She was able to plead insanity and get put into St. Andrew’s hospital. So the scene I’m just writing has got her in lively debate with Lucia.

There’s also Sir Malcolm Arnold, who was at one time almost the director of the Queen’s music (which is like the musical version of poet laureate) who was the guy who did the arrangement for Colonel Bogey, ‘Bridge Over the River Kwai’, and who wrote Tam O’ Shanter, from the Rabbie Burns poem about a drunken Highlander pursued through the night by witches and ghosts and spirits.

Which has got eerie parallels with Malcolm Arnold’s own life, I mean he was a ferocious drunk, and he had a lot of mental problems. He spent a lot of his time at St. Andrews and a lot of his time almost held prisoner at a local pub called The Crown & Cushion which is one of those deeply secret local stories which you only find out if you’ve lived here a long time. That’s all being worked in , the thing is I’m doing this whole chapter in a vain attempt at her father’s language…

So a Joycean swirl…

Yeah, I’m doing me best. It’s not like Finnegan’s Wake it’s not like Ulysses, it’s a weird bastard hybrid with a lot, I’m sure, of my own foibles thrown in, but I’m enjoying it.

It’s in the spirit.

There’s a scene with John Clare and Lucia , which is actually quite a pornographic sex scene, and yet worked into it, there is a history of the English visionary literary tradition, starting with John Wycliffe who was the man who translated The Bible into English back in the 14th century. His Lollards, the group that he led, like a lot of the other radical dissenting religious groups were all centred around Northampton.

This is all worked in, and allusions to Lewis Carroll, to Pilgrim’s Progress,

This is just in a sex scene. It’s talking about William Blake and John Clare and this entire visionary tradition.

So what I’ve got to do to wrap up the chapter (which’ll probably take me weeks) is to have her wander through space-time and blunder into my cousin Audrey who is one of the principal characters in the book.

She vanished into an asylum in 1948 and was never seen again. But I’m recreating her, in my book. She’s the heroine of it, in a way.

I never met her but she’s my dad’s cousin so I suppose she’s my second cousin. But I never met her, so I’m going to have Lucia bump into her and Dusty Springfield then, possibly, Patrick McGoohan. He was also at one point a patient at St. Andrews hospital. I think that I might have Patrick McGoohan just ride through the scene on a penny farthing, then back to the asylum for tea , the endless, eternal day is completed and I can get on with the next chapter which I’m going to try and make as progressive and distinctive as this one is, but in a different way.

Excellent-can I ask you about one of your performance pieces?

Yeah, which one?

This was one that was in 2005, I think, where you and Iain were invited by Patti Smith for the Meltdown Festival…

Aw hoho. Oh, that was great, I got hugged by Patti Smith. I’ve not stopped talking about this yet , y’know, I’ve managed to almost make it sound as if we were involved in an affair.

It was a brief, a moment’s hug, but, I mean, it’s Patti Smith! How fantastic is that? Yeah, it was a great night. That was a wonderful evening.

That was the Burroughs evening, yeah?

Yeah! I was wondering, will that be available at some point?

I don’t know. I’ve got the text, but all I did, I read from the first chapter of The Naked Lunch- there were improvisations going on by Marc Ribot, the Tom Waits musician and associate. And a brilliant, brilliant New York improvisational jazz pianist whose name I’ve sadly forgotten for the moment. He was terrific but they were improvising while Iain read some stuff from Burroughs and I read some stuff from The Naked Lunch. Then later, I read a piece that I’d written especially for the evening which, it was only about 5 or 10 minutes long? A tribute to William Burroughs a kind of potted, cut-up biography. Probably as good a biography of Burroughs as David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch, but a lot quicker.


There’s been some talk of maybe at some point in the future putting a few of these shorter pieces together in an anthology. I’m not thinking about it too much at the moment, but I did another gig a little bit later when Robert Anton Wilson passed away.

I heard that, that’s actually available on YouTube. That was beautifully written.

Yeah, is that on YouTube? Oh, fantastic. So , what is there a film that goes with it?

Yes, it’s you performing on stage, and then they’ve got this kaleidoscopic stream of images-

Oh, yeah that was Cold cut. Mixmaster Morris doing the music and the visuals, the lights and everything it was terrific. I must have a look at that on YouTube next time I’m down in Steve Moore’s.

It’s possible that in the future we might put all of these things together and bring out some sort of book.

As long as it didn’t smack of bottom-of the-barrel cash in. I shall have to wait until this wretched Watchmen film is-

Out of the way-

Long in the past, so that I don’t get some snotty article in The Comics Journal accusing me of evilly cashing in on the success of this reviled film. It might happen but as yet , no plans.

Okay. Also on the cards is The Bumper Book of Magic with Steve Moore?

Absolutely, I shall be going down to Steve’s hopefully on Friday and we will do another page or two, that is the pace at which it progresses because I’m writing this with Steve. Steve’s having to look after a terminally ill brother at the moment which takes up an awful lot of his time. So it’s creeping out a couple of pages at a time.

We’re ever so pleased with the work that we’re doing on it. Both me and Steve have prided ourselves on our immense knowledge of magic and associated subjects, but we’ve been humbled. Well, humbled and sort of bigged up by the fact that we’re finding out so much, in researching the stuff for this book.

Just in the ’Lives of the Great Enchanters’ sequence of pages which is about 50, or 52 single page potted biographies of who we consider to be the 50 or so most important practioners of magic, in order. That gives such a beautiful picture of the development of magical thinking and magical ideas. We unearthed a lot of stuff that we didn’t previously realize.

We now know where Kabbalah comes from. It wasn’t Hebrew at all it was Pythagoran Greek. Originally they had just seven spheres and it was Pythagoras, or one of his disciples who suggested that an extra three be added.

Then at some point after that, it was about 100 BC to 100 AD in Alexandria, Hebrew scholars came upon this and thought “ oh, this is handy. They’ve got 10 spheres in this system and we’ve got a base 10 counting system. If we could just draw 22 lines to connect up the 10 spheres, then we could also represent the 22 letters of our alphabet.” It all began from there.

We found out the true story of Dr. Faust. Well, we found out where the story originated from, and we’ve actually put it together a lot more coherently than I think any previous scholars have done.

We know the relationship between Georgius Sabellicus Faustus Secundus, who was the first named Faust figure and Dr. Johannes Faust who was a doctor of divinity and who was also called ‘the demi-god of Heidelberg’ and was a completely blameless student of divinity but who got kind of conflated with Georgius Sabellicus. We understand how the story came to be what it is, we’ve found out it’s all based upon the story of Simon Magus.

Interestingly, just as the story of Simon Magus was put together from a couple of different individuals to create a bogey-man at the start of Christianity itself, The Faust figure seems to arise just at the start of Lutheran Protestantism, being used in much the same way.

We’re turning up some real little gems of scholarship, or at least, in our humble opinion. The rest of the book, we’re about to begin upon the tarot cards which I shall be doing with Jose Villarubia. That will probably be what we’re doing this weekend actually.

I was talking to John Coulthart online and he was saying that one of the elements is going to be your own occult detective called The Soul?

The Soul, yeah. We decided that basically, a grimoire can be one of two or three things. It can be a book of practical instruction on magic. A book of spells. It can be a book of theory that explains the theories behind magic. It can be a history of magic, such as the one that Eliphas Levi wrote. That’s technically a grimoire as well. It can also be a fiction.

If that fiction imparts enough information about magic, then yeah, that counts as a grimoire. So one of the things about The Bumper Book of Magic was we thought “Let’s  try and do all of those things at once.” For the fictional strand we thought it might be nice to do a decadent occult pulp adventure prose story to be serialized throughout the book.

This was based upon a character that me and John had previously talked about doing together called The Soul. I mean , ’The Souls’ that was a name given to the young women who were the muses and models for the Pre-Raphaelites and the Symbolists. Elizabeth Siddell and Jane Morris. These were referred to as ‘souls’. So we thought that we’d create this character, it’s set in the 1920s , we’ve done I think 2 or 3 episodes so far. I’ve seen John’s illustrations for one and they’re beautiful, as you might expect. And John’s cover for the book is exactly what we wanted.

That atmosphere of 1930s children’s books ,we found that more appropriate, that sense of childish wonder and beauty and amusement was a much more appropriate atmosphere in which to discuss magic than the self-consciously gothy and gloomy, deliberately obscuring approach to magic, that a lot of the current practitioners seem so enamoured of.

We’ve not got a lot of skulls and iconography like that decorating the book. Just very beautiful illustrations, in beautiful colour.

Sounds good. Have you seen the TV comedy Snuff Box?

Of course. That’s one of me and Melinda’s favourite recent comedy shows. In fact, I was hearing from Alex Musson of Mustard magazine, he was saying to me that apparently, Matt Berry had wanted to get in touch with me. Which would’ve been great. I’m not on email so it would’ve meant him calling up, but I would’ve looked forward to that. I think that him and Rich Fulcher, that has gotta be one of the most under-rated and neglected gems of British television comedy .

I mean, that was more neglected than, say, Nathan Barley. Nathan Barley was a wonderful series. Incredibly funny, in the third book of the League, where we’ve been looking for backround references that are contemporary, with which to decorate the League’s fictional world, we’ve got a few things from Nathan Barley like ‘Sugar Ape’ magazine, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one of the characters didn’t describe something as “Totally fucking Mexico” or “Well weapon”.

They’re both marvellous pieces of work.

One last question, in the 1960s chapter of League, will there be any psychedelic sequences?

It’s got one very prominent psychedelic sequence which we are going to try and make extra-special.

But the whole atmosphere of that middle book, which is set in 1969, is very much the atmosphere of 1969 at least as I remember it. It’s the fictional 1969 so, there’s references to a lot of the films that were made around that period . Performance gets a few references, as does Get Carter. Villain, which starred a very, very young Ian McShane as the boyfriend of the Ronnie Kray- like East End gangster Vic Dakin. So that gets a reference.

There’s also references to every other pseudo- Ronnie Kray that has turned up in various sources. There’s Harry Flowers from Performance , Harry Starks from Jake Arnott’s The Long Firm, written a lot later but was set in the sixties about a Kray like villain. We’ve even got Doug and Dinsdale Piranha from the Monty Python sketch.

As opposed to the Crowley technique of saying yes, these were all the same person, we thought it would be more amusing to say yes, these were rival East End gangsters. They were all gay, and involved in a pretty much perpetual turf war.

We tried to get that mix of what the actual sixties were like, because yes, in London, there was all this hippy stuff going on. Part of that was the revival of interest in the occult, which was very big in the sixties, and there was of course the criminal element of the sixties, as exemplified by the Kray brothers. Of course, all three of these elements came together very neatly in Performance.

As if it wasn’t enough bragging about getting a hug from Patti Smith, as if I wasn’t insufferable enough already, just before Christmas, me and Melinda got this phone-call, to congratulate us on Lost Girls from Nic Roeg!

I was reduced to a babbling infant. He phoned up, he’d bought Lost Girls , really loved it, and wanted to congratulate me and Melinda on it. I was inarticulate. I managed to babble out, “Oh, Mr. Roeg, you’re wonderful, I love you!” or something like that. I’m going send him some books soon.

Wow, that’s pretty cool.

Yeah, it’ll be a good few months before Kevin’s finished work upon the 1969 chapter, but I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

I think that’s what our audience expect of us by now. I think that if we just kept it in 1898 forever, kept all the characters the same, I think that the audience would get bored of it as quickly as we would.

The important thing is to keep the strip moving and progressing, and who knows where it might take us next.

Alan, thanks a million for the interview.

Alright, take care, mate. Bye.




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Fantastic interview -- Nic Roeg! Wow, I'd be pleased too. I have to say, having attended the Meltdown show with Moore, Smith, Ian Sinclair, Tilda Swinton et al. that it was MAGNIFICENT and one of my most fond concert experiences. Smith seemed to really be having a ball, wandering around the audience playing her saxophone. Transplendent, LOL.

That was a great interview. Thanks for the treat.
Looking forward to all these great books.
And I love the picture of Alan too (did you take this?), which reminds me a little of Botticelli's Birth of Venus, in some warped way.

(Got here via John Coulthart, in case you are wondering).

Why, thank ye, Jess. I've enjoyed your League annotation books a lot, they've encouraged me to read many works from the 1890's on that I might not have otherwise.
Looking forward to the 1910 notes. There were a lot of characters in the occult club scene I was mystified about.

Thanks! I think I've got everyone in the club scene, but of course I'll need to have the art in front of me to get what O'Neill put in.

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