Tag Archives: John Michell

The Alan Moore Jerusalem interview tapes, #6: From Hell, and “accreted madness”

2 Oct
hawksmoor

From Hell, by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (Top Shelf/Knockabout). Milton Keynes, says Moore, proves it’s not so far-fetched!

Following my feature on Alan Moore’s Jerusalem, I’ve been posting edited highlights from the 30,000-word interview transcript. Yesterday, Alan Moore revealed why he is “worshipped as a God” by the people of Milton Keynes. Today, he reveals how the town convinced him that his work on From Hell was not so far-fetched…

Alan Moore: “I was also able to tell them [his Milton Keynes audience] that when I’d later got a better job as a writer, and I was doing From Hell, I was doing all that stuff about the alignments of the City of London and the big pentacle that I was attributing to Hawksmoor, and I was wondering, is this even remotely feasible? I thought, I know that they did have some strange Masonic ideas back then in the 18th and 19th century.

“But then I came across this piece, it might have been in the Guardian, that was talking about  Milton Keynes. And it was saying that on the day of the solstice every year you would get, at the provocatively named Midsummer Blvd, you get the sun rising directly over a flagpole, and then it’s bounced back by the mirrors of the shopping centre right at the far end – and this is believed to be on purpose. So on the dawn of the solstice every year you’d get a bunch of New Agers and pagans come to observe the solstice over these mystical alignments, and you’d also get a bunch of born-again Christians who were coming for exactly the opposite reason, to protest the rampant Satanism, and a few policemen to keep the two factions apart.

“So they’d actually searched out the two architects, and said, look, is there anything in this? All of these pagan alignments and things like that?

“And the architect said, rather sheepishly, well you see it was the ’70s, and it was our first big job, and at university we’d been very big fans of John Michell – View Over Atlantis and all the rest of them – so we thought, well, we do kind of need a theme for this new city, so why don’t we do it according to these pagan alignments and things like that?

“So, yes, it is actually true. Architects do do some strange things. So I felt validated. It’s interesting – there’s all these layers of … accreted madness that build up into our urban centres.

“I mean, the Boroughs [the Northampton area in which Jerusalem is set] is pretty much that.”

Jerusalem is out now in hardback from Knockabout in the UK and Liveright in the US. For the full interview feature, click here. In part 7, Alan Moore talks about the lost language of Northampton.