Number 666: The Aleister Crowley issue of Flexipop!

I learned many things during my recent conversation with David Tibet (Current 93 and related projects) and Youth (Killing Joke, the Orb, the Fireman, Brother Culture, Pink Floyd, et al.) about their fabulous new album as Hypnopazūzu. One of these was that during the early 80s, a British pop magazine had, at Tibet’s urging, numbered its final issue 666 and put Aleister Crowley on the cover. Tibet had written the cover story, too, about the Beast and his influence on pop musicians.

Both Youth and Tibet seemed to think the magazine in question was Smash Hits, but in fact Flexipop! was the one that employed Mark Manning/Zodiac Mindwarp as art editor and concluded with the Crowley issue. Though I wasn’t there, Flexipop! seems much hipper than Smash Hits from my vantage point: Every issue came with a flexi disc, and alongside the shit (and not) pop stars of the day, they profiled quality bands like the Birthday Party, Pigbag, Motörhead, Bauhaus, and Killing Joke (Youth dropped his pants in the pages of No. 19).

Having reached the kabbalistically significant number 32 with their second-to-last issue in June 1983—featuring both Killing Joke sans Youth and Brilliant, Youth’s new band with Jimmy Cauty—Flexipop! made a daring editorial decision at its perch atop the Tree of Life. For the cover of their valedictory number, instead of Paul Young or Sting, they took a chance on this fresh-faced, golden-voiced up-and-comer with a song in his heart and an Enochian key on his lips.

I haven’t yet found a PDF of the complete August ‘83 issue, whose pages are scattered around the web like the limbs of Osiris. (See, for example, this photo of Lydia Lunch and this tiny image of the story on Yello.) There is a fairly comprehensive Flexipop! collection that includes some complete issues, but it stops at No. 32. However, if you’ve been hoping to read the cover story of No. 666, you’re in luck: has a black-and-white scan of Tibet’s article.

If you’d like to hear Paul McCartney, David Gilmour, Jaz Coleman, Boy George, and others talk about what they’ve learned from working with Youth, and discover how he caught the impetigo from the filthy white suit he wore during every one of his early days in Killing Joke (until he was hospitalized and his suit incinerated), I highly recommend the brand-new DVD Youth: Sketch, Drugs & Rock N Roll. Below, HÖH/Current 93 reveal the ultimate secret of power in “Crowleymass,” and Killing Joke finishes what David Hume and A.C. started in “The Fall of Because,” filmed live at Hammersmith Palais in February ‘82.


Posted by Oliver Hall
08:28 am



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