A very unusual walk around the lesser-known corners of Holborn and Bloomsbury, interwoven with mysteries from the stories of Arthur Machen (1863-1947), a foremost pioneer of ‘folk horror’.
Machen has an ever-growing fan base, including director Guillermo del Toro, writer Alan Moore and performer Stewart Lee. Machen’s stories teem with sinister ancient horrors – troglodyte races and malevolent fauns – that lurk just beneath the surface of modern life. Yet they also contain a positive theology that invite the visionary to step through the veil of illusion into another world; a magical world. Sometimes the lifting of the veil occurs on ancient tumuli in the Welsh countryside of his childhood; often it can be found in a back street of London.
The Thin Veil of London combines a history tour with theatrical elements, taking in the deeply atmospheric places off Theobalds Road – Coram’s Fields, Conway Hall, Great Ormond Street – to create a vivid journey into the worlds of Faery and science, madness and ecstasy, and what Machen called ‘the eternal beauty hidden beneath the crust of common and commonplace things; hidden and yet burning and glowing continually if you care to look with purged eyes’.
‘The best guided walk I’ve ever been on. A surprise round every corner’ – Matt Brown, Londonist
‘A daring, fascinating and witty exploration of the concepts of madness and childhood, a look at the pagan history of London, a brief debate about the philosophy of material objects and a piece of performance art. The narrative arc is probably better than most of the books I’ve ever read, and Robert is a brilliantly erudite and impish guide. I definitely recommend joining them on their adventures.’ – Mike Shallcross, journalist
‘On this fantastical dusk walk around Holborn and Bloomsbury, Rich Cochrane and Robert Kingham seamlessly entwine centuries of history, myth, philosophy and literature to weave a wholly engrossing journey (with a couple of pub stops) that will completely change how you see the city.’ ★★★★★ – James Drury, Londonist
‘I can heartily recommend the latest venture from Robert Kingham and Rich Cochrane … a cross between a literary walk, a pub crawl, a history lesson, a multi-media investigation of madness, a ghost story, and a psychogeographic voyage through Victorian and Edwardian London. It’s loosely based on the writings of Arthur Machen but even if, like me, you’ve never read anything by him, it’s still a tremendous and fascinating experience. Go book your tickets now.’ – John Lewis, journalist
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Our companion book expands upon the stories and personalities from the part of London we explore on the walk, and plunges into the deep well of philosophies, theories and wild beliefs that Machen draws on in his writing. The Thin Veil of London (paperback, 140pp) is available online from Lulu.com. We also have a handful of print copies left and are selling them for £10 + P&P. Contact us for details.