Rituals, Crosswords, Ceremonies & Magic(k)

26th April 2017
Cryptic Crossword

The puzzle below will feature in Gornal Sunset and all the answers relate to the plot in some way. The first correct solution drawn from the hat before the book is released will receive a free copy. You can email the completed grid to eamonhums[@]gmail.com or drop them off at the Wildcat Tap, 1466 Pershore Road, Birmingham, B30 2NT. Be sure to include your name and address.

GS crossword.blank

1. Spinning is otherwise not a riot. (8)
2. Yeltsin often used neoliberal gambits, chiefly juvenile. (5)
5. Disgraceful city mess is inherent. (8)
7. A pudding without syrup is a waste. (6)
10. Explosion swept up a battered lid resulting in losing hair. (7)
11. Atmospheric layer without Oxygen is sector. (4)
12. After a job. (4)
13. No cat without a tail is work. (4)
15. Misanthrope is randy without you. (4)
18. Great metropolis. (7)
20. Without regret a school jacket is on fire. (6)
22. Swaggerers flourish sock cape. (8)
23. Hands off healthy beer. (3)
24. What’s inside Ang Lee may be obtuse. (5)
25. Hegel surpasses contributions to cover milky coffee without taste. (8)

1. Skins friends without Further Education. (5)
2. In Dudley you are an exotic tuber. (3)
3. Carefree leaders good at yodelling. (3)
4. Shanks – inside most abstain. (5)
5. St Ormon holds a blast. (5)
6. Large scale river inspection. (10)
8. Company getting serene trip wrong. (10)
9. Rose without pain, well content? (3)
14. Silas in a muddle is another name. (5)
16. Within sight: a terrible metal scrap. (3)
17. Family do lob all over the place. (5)
19. Dead underwater electricians on the radio hands out cards? (5)
21. Rising conjunction is acid. (3)


12th February 2014
Transcendental Marx
These are the words and directions for a ritual invoking Species Being.

Transcendental Marx-1Transcendental Marx-2Transcendental Marx-3Transcendental Marx-4


18th January 2014
Beating the Bounds

An Anglo Saxon tradition of beating the bounds saw young and old members of a parish tramp local boundaries, sometimes accompanied by whippings, to transmit local knowledge down the generations. This practice could also include by ritual calls for blessings.

The city space is an increasingly unknowable and ahistorical environment to the working class. Its priorities and concerns are subsumed by those of capital. Shared facilities and services become privatised, monetised or dismantled. Its stories, monuments and heroes are marginalised, misrepresented or obliterated.

Birmingham city has zealously removed its modernist legacy, with its contingent embarrassing associations of egalitarianism. The ideal of space in the city is now like its ‘heart’, the Bullring: private, commercial, surveilled, ahistorical and radically non-particular.

The production of city life is necessarily a dialectical process and the seeds for the collapse of the controlled, corporate and privatized space is always immanent in the subjects who reproduce it. Communal, anti-capitalist practices, a necessary part of human behaviour for the successful reproduction of the species (and hence capital) always threaten to dominate.

The prevented accumulation of knowledge of working class history (which is to say its oppositional relationship with capital) means that each generation has to work anew to acrue their own traditions. The ‘nightmare‘ is over, replaced by the debilitating lack of focus of the chronic insomniac. 

For these reasons and others I decided to cycle a pentagram across the city through the night, weaving sites of psychic importance into a powerful sigil in an attempt to ward off further bourgeois onslaught. Moving beyond a strictly territorial understanding of the limits of boundaries, I was attempting to perform a ‘beating the bounds’ ritual appropriate to the modern city and the threat of loss of connection which menaces its citizens.

A map of my route is below, details of the sites below that. Repetition of the act will inevitably reinforce the physic bonds that I forged, so I encourage readers to carry out the ride themselves, or to develop their own. I haven’t marked the roads I took – they are not crucial. Feel free to enact the ceremony using whichever you feel most suitable.

pentagram Birmingham

1. Iron Age mound, Perry Barr. Flattened and reconstructed by a Victorian farmer. The only Iron Age site I know in the city. A big grave for one man in contrast with…
2. Witton cemetary – the biggest in Birmingham.
3. Villa FC – hardly a site at risk of disappearing from the collective consciousness. More an opportunity to realign unconscious psychic connections from existing concentrations of power.
4. Aston Hall – once a visible symbol of feudal oppression (literally) on the horizon, now another monument to obsolete ruling class tastes.
5. Curzon Street Station, the disused sister station of Euston. Contains a mummified cat in the lobby, sacrificed by the architect to preserve the building. Powerful.
6. The Sand Well, site of the ruins of an abbey. Communal energies were systematically diverted by religious communities into enriching the Church’s power.
7. The Lad in the Lane – the oldest open pub in Birmingham, predating the Old Crown in Digbeth. The flipside of the ahistorical cityscape is the ahistorical pub, which should ideally feel like it has had ‘a long history of nothing happening’. (‘Eccentric Spaces’, R. Harbison)
8. Warstone Lane Cemetery – contains John Baskerville’s remains. Unmarked for reasons relating to his atheism.
9. Islington Row Cemetery – abandoned (and de-consecrated) Jewish cemetery under Bath Row flyover.
10. Newman Brothers – erstwhile coffin furniture manufacturers. There was a time when even royalty (Princess Diana) had recourse to use the singular skills of British workers. Bargaining power has since weakened.

N.B. I started and finished in Kingstanding.


6th January 2014
This is the order of service of a ceremony carried out in Warstone Cemetary, in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter in September 2012. John Baskerville’s remains are in the catacombs there. With apologies to Stuart Home via K.L. Callan.

Christ, Marx & Satan-1Christ, Marx & Satan-2


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