Saturday, 3 May 2014



    It says a lot, I think, about the calibre of the young people who spend some of their leisure hours working with the animals at the CFZ, that when confronted by something unquestionably strange they don’t bat an eyelid. The other afternoon I was unwell (something which happens with depressing frequency these days) and I had retired to bed. One of our volunteers, a twelve year old girl, was sitting in my study trying to count the relative numbers of Endler’s livebearers and knife livebearers in the tank on my desk, when a cacophony of canine contumely heralded the arrival of a visitor to my door.

    She remarked to me afterwards that it was strange that she didn’t hear the gate open, and that Mark Raines, who was working in the garden didn’t notice these visitors arrive. They were two tall thin bearded men wearing long, black, hooded robes. They didn’t introduce themselves, just demanded to see me. When told that I was asleep, ill in bed, they gave her an envelope containing a key drive, and without speaking, walked along the path to the gate, and left.

    When I woke up later, my volunteer had gone back to her family for tea, and I only heard the story second hand. I opened the envelope, put the key drive into the computer (which, with the benefit of hindsight was a remarkably stupid thing to do, because it could have contained any number of unimaginably horrid computer viruses) and was totally aghast at what I found.

    It was a letter and a number of sound and video files. The letter was from someone called Mister Loxodonta, who identified himself as a member of a collective called Xtul. It started off conventionally enough, but then it turned out that Mister Loxodonta was (or at least claimed to be) a terminally ill half naked man with the head of an elephant who sometimes wrote in conventional prose, but had the offputting habit of launching into regular metred rhyming couplets, of the sort that my late mother called “tum te tum te tumty tum” and the even later Rudyard Kipling was wont to indulge in.

    My name is Mr Loxodonta
    And when your mind begins to wander
    Into places that you know
    You really shouldn’t let it go
    In the gaps between your dreams
    Where you hear the idiots scream
    That’s basically where I can be found
    Playing games with light and sound

    My name is Mr Loxodonta
    I’ll find you when you don’t want to
    Explore realms of world as myth
    And pantheistic multiperson
    Solipsism 101,
    The games of chance have just begun
    I’m dying but it doesn’t matter
    My alter-ego just gets fatter

    Apparently there are five or six of them, but only three are named:

    • Mister Loxodonta
    • Dora Discordia
    • Panne

    From the badly scrawled drawings, and fantastickal photoshop constructs that I have been sent, Dora Discordia is a statuesque blonde lady with a skull for a head, and Panne is a schoolgirl dressed as a goatman, or perhaps a goatman who has taken on some of the characteristics of a schoolgirl.

    Then later that evening I got an email. It was from an old acquaintance (I won’t say ‘friend’ because although we have known each other for a third of a century so far, I don’t think either of us has ever liked the other very much. His name is Danny Miles/Danny Myles/Danny Myers (choose whichever name suits you and him best at the time). I first met him in 1981, and the circumstances of our meeting are chronicled in my 1999 book The Blackdown Mystery.

    I first met Danny Miles at an obscure North Devon rock festival during the late summer of 1981. In those days I was an innocent and not very streetwise fellow in my early twenties, and I still believed that world peace could be achieved by the ingestion of various noxious substances whilst sitting in muddy fields listening to musical ensembles make whooshing noises on (what seem to me now) to be very primitive synthesisers.

    I was, I believe, watching Hawkwind playing a spectacularly inept version of Master of the Universe, and like most of the rest of the audience, who were cold, muddy and uncomfortable, pretending that I was enjoying myself whilst in reality I was in dire need of both a lavatory and a nice cup of tea and totally unwilling to avail myself of the horribly rudimentary versions of either facility that had been laid on for our “comfort” by the euphemistically named “organisers” of the event. About a hundred yards to my right were the serried ranks of the local Hells Angel fraternity who were encamped en masse like an iron clad phalanx of doom. It was only twelve years after Altamont, and even in the bucolic wastelands of rural Devon, they felt that they had something to live up to. Unfortunately, for me at least, they had decided to set up camp immediately between the area where I had set up my tiny tent and parked my car and the main exit, and several of the nastiest and meanest looking of them were patrolling the area armed with pool cues and what I think were hollowed out pickaxe handles that had been filled with molten lead. I was therefore somewhat marooned, and feeling uncomfortable, isolated, alone and more than a little frightened.

    Suddenly, in the middle of what appeared to me to be a sea of greasy black leather jackets, emerged a delicate, fey looking figure, wearing an extraordinary array of satins and silks in a variety of peacock colours. It looked for all the world as if one of the gaily coloured inhabitants of one of Arthur Rackham`s fairy paintings had suddenly been transported into the middle of a field of leather-clad Neanderthals. The figure tripped gaily towards me, and appeared to my addled brain to be floating like a surreal, and rainbow-hued butterfly above the sea of mud and motorbikes. As it got closer I could see that it was a youth, hardly old enough to shave with an angelic halo of light brown hair surrounding a face that was covered with intricate paintings of butterflies and lotus flowers. He came and sat next to me and my companions.

    Much to my amazement everyone else who was with me seemed to take this apparition in their stride. “`Lo Danny”, one of them grunted cheerfully, “`ow are y`doing?”. Another friend asked him what the hell he had been doing wandering blithely through the middle of the taciturn, unfriendly and potentially dangerous crowd of bikers. “Ahhhhh they`re harmless.” he said, in an Irish accent that he seemed to be able to turn on and off at will, “and anyway they wouldn`t hurt me...I am legion, I am many”.

    His name was Danny Miles, and for reasons known best to himself he had recently adopted the nom-de-guerre of `Legion the Cosmic Dancer`. I got to know him reasonably well over the next few years, and he would occasionally drift into my life, causing chaos for a few weeks and then disappear as simply as he had arrived. During the years when fashions were led by Culture Club and the New Romantics, Danny was in his element. He paraded his omnisexuality for all to see like some magnificent, (if slightly deranged) bird of paradise and flirted outrageously with boys and girls alike. As the decade of Thatcherism advanced and my life became more normal, and I drifted into my disastrous marriage and the twin pitfalls of a job and a mortgage I saw less of him, but he would still turn up once in a while, and we would sit up long into the night drinking wine, gazing at the stars and talking about nothing in particular as I dreamed dreams of my lost youth. Danny never seemed to either grow any older or to settle down.

    My first wife disliked him intensely, and I don’t think my second wife has ever met him. He has turned up in my life on various occasions over the past thirty years, but I have only heard from him occasionally (and not seen him) since the turning of the millennium when he turned up at my house unexpectedly talking nonsense about succubi and clutching a gift basket of blueberry muffins for me; a gift which he then proceeded to eat entirely himself.

    But like a bad penny, he has turned up again. According to his peculiar email, which he dubbed “A Communiqué from the Xtul Underground”, he (dubbing himself Xtul’s ‘Minister for Information’ was letting me in upon “The Summer of the Great Secret” and had decided that it was my “Holy Mission” to help propagate the “Message of the Neo-Godz in the Vineyardss of Madness”, which seems to mean helping him with a Facebook page for (what appears to be) a rather interesting little band operating in much the same territory as the late lamented KLF.

    I have cautiously agreed for a number of reasons.

    • Firstly, I like the music
    • I like the challenge – this reminds me of one of the peculiar magickal art games like THE CASE that I played with Doc Shiels
    • Danny knows where the bodies are buried (in my case at least) and it would be unwise for me to cross him
    • My life has been getting a little dull recently, and if there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is that life with Danny is never dull

    So onwards and upwards. Let us see what this summer will bring.
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  2. My name is Mr Loxodonta
    And when your mind begins to wander
    Into places that you know
    You really shouldn’t let it go
    In the gaps between your dreams
    Where you hear the idiots scream... See more
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S ROB BIO Born and brought up in Country Durham in the North of England, in the UK. S Rob is the author of hundreds of occult works: more t...