Sunday, 27 May 2007

Spagyric London

Archibald Cockren's explosion causes an epidemic of vegetal architecture and chymical conundrum: The Asparagus-like Post Office Tower and Foster's Erotic Gherkin; the misshapen egg of city hall - Livingstone's glass testicle.

Grass and Glass neophiliac and neoplatonic...
A verdant nightmare of London, the vegetable kingdom....


Both Gerard Heym and Langford Garstin were friends of Archibald Cockren, who was the greatest British alchemist of this century. Cockren was a genuine adept living in London in the 1930's and seems to have been a member of Alpha Om├ęga. He wrote Alchemy Rediscovered and Restored (1940). Ithell Colqhoun wrote that when Garstin visited his wonderful laboratory, Cockren showed him "the Philosophers' Egg, a glass vessel of ovoid shape containing layer upon layer of basic matter in the traditional colors of black, gray, white and yellow. At the top these had blossomed into a flower-like form, a pattern arranged like petals around a center, all of a glowing orange-scarlet. By keeping his basic matter for a long time at a constant gentle heat, Cockren had caused it to grow; it had branches like a tree."

According to Miss Colquhoun, Archibald Cockren was killed during the Second World War when a bomb destroyed his laboratory; but according to C. R. Cammell, Cockren survived the wartime 'hit' on his laboratory which was protected. Cammell says that "when his laboratory was wrecked by the nearby explosion of a bomb, the glass retorts, containing the elixirs, in all states of transmutation, were unharmed - which seemed to be a miracle, as indeed it was". According to Cammell, Cokren moved to Brighton "where on the threshold of final triumph (to discover the Philosophical Stone), he died some years since - about 1950".

Could this be Red Ken, future king of London, within his giant glass testicle of castle?

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