MAKING ALBION HUM
JOHN MICHELL REMEMBERED
Ten years ago this April, John Michell died and Britain lost its modern Merlin. On the anniversary of Michell’s death, PHIL BAKER celebrates the radical traditionalist and his unique body of work, while STEVE MARSHALL offers a previously unpublished poetic tribute…
once met a renowned man. I had no clue about what his identity was, and our gathering could be depicted as unimportant, best case scenario, yet I thumped on an entryway and it was opened by an amenable, benevolently mannered person who had been the Merlin of the 1960s. It was John Michell, the man who opened up an exceptionally green and English New Age vision incorporating 'ley lines', lost antiquated knowledge, and ﬂying saucers over spiritualist Albion.
It was Michell who took Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg on a nation journey to search for UFOs, and who started another enthusiasm for Stonehenge and Glastonbury.
In the expressions of Sixties writer Barry Miles,"the Ruler's Street drove directly to Glastonbury back then", and this was to a great extent due to Michell.
In 1967 Michell distributed The
Flying Saucer Vision: The Sacred goal
Reestablished, a book of the zeitgeist.
Pink Floyd discharged Saucerful of Insider facts the next year, the Chelsea boutique Hung OnYou was enhanced with saucer symbolism, there was the hallucinogenic UFO Club onTottenham Court Street, and David Bowie went ahead the scene somewhat later with 'Starman'.
Michell became 'ﬂying saucer journalist' for the underground paper the Global Occasions, and even expressed his case in the greater foundation pages of the BBC magazine The Audience.
Michell's saucers were not the threatening extraterrestrials of Cold War sci-ﬁ motion pictures, however kind omens of better approaches for speculation and being; his interpretation of them was enlivened by Jung, who considered them to be images of mental change. It appeared that the pinnacle on GlastonburyTor was a focal point of UFO action, and Craig Sams (a LSD devotee of the time, who went on to establish Green and Dark's chocolate) recalls that: "I didn't see a ﬂying saucer until October 1967 when I went to Glastonbury… John Michell, who had quite recently composed The Flying Saucer Vision, was exploring the great outdoors down there… So here we are in the ﬁelds and up come the UFOs… they were deﬁnitely there.
They were in exemplary stogie molded mother-transport structure. Little lights exuding… "
After The Flying Saucer Vision
came a 1968 single-issue magazine, Albion, and a significantly more inﬂuential
book, The View Over Atlantis
(1969).There was theory that UFOs may be fueled by unusual energies, maybe melodic or attractive, with the attraction conceivably including straight pathways of vitality in the Earth itself; it was said that UFOs explored in straight lines. In this second book the lines themselves got focal, driving Michell to estimate on hallowed lines in the scene, similar to the 'mythical serpent lines' of antiquated China and, most broadly, 'ley lines': straight arrangements across miles of English open country, along which an old civilisation had evidently positioned its places of worship and monuments.This had been recommended by Alfred Watkins in his
1922 book The Old Straight Track,
a book that turned out to be hugely famous 50 years after the fact, on account of Michell. Abruptly it was uncovered that the wide open was loaded with furtively amicable examples and energies, and not simply the open country: "Carnaby Road is a glad spot," says a young lady in a 1970 book, Carnaby Road; "I figure it must be on monster lines."
The View Over Atlantis took off from old
straight tracks to incorporate Druids,Aborigine song lines, the Earth Soul, and the 'Mysterious Nursery', or vast arranging.
The Incomparable Pyramid was focal, alongside Stonehenge and Glastonbury (each of the three being associated, as indicated by the book). "He set me up, truly," said Michael Eavis, the rancher who established the Glastonbury