England’s Hidden Reverse – David Keenan

Revised and expanded new edition of this secret history of the UK’s esoteric underground.


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London, UK: Strange Attractor Press, 2016. 446 pages, paperback. New.

Subtitled, ‘A Secret History of the Esoteric Underground,’ this is a new revised and expanded edition of David Keenan’s seminal secret history; it is a biography of three groups: Coil, Nurse With Wound and Current 93. It follows the band members’ lives and, more widely,  illuminates their underground scene, which was underpinned by links with outsiders like playwright Joe Orton, writers like death decadent Eric, Count Stenbock, ecstatic mystic novelist Arthur Machen, as well as occultists like Austin Osman Spare and Aleister Crowley. The book shows the existence of an exciting ‘reverse current’, that is to say, a current running counter to the mainstream. This expanded edition has many new photographs, previously-unpublished ephemera,  three new chapters, and an afterword .

Author David Keenan is an author and critic based in Glasgow Scotland. He has been a regular contributor to The Wire magazine for the past 20 years. From 2005 to 2015 he co-ran Volcanic Tongue, an online retailer and magazine of contemporary underground music.