Saturday, January 26, 2008

Under the Wolf Moon in London

SLAG regulars and friends went in search of poetic adventure in Soho under the Wolf Moon of 22nd January.

The seekers:
Mair Davies, Merl, Miguel Almagro, Paul Cowdell & Tessa Davis.

The first clue:
Another news story from 1872 reports the sighting of Chief White Wolf by the editor and four other distinguished citizens, one of whom had magic knowledge, in a haunted house at the site of an abandoned brickyard. An apparition that was a monstrous combination of wolf, frog, alligator and kangaroo turned into an Indian with a tomahawk. A part-Indian local resident also claimed to have seen and talked to the chief, but no-one had seen him since.
Text discovered by chance by Merl on the afternoon of the 22nd, in Linda Dégh's Legend and Belief (Indiana University Press, 2001, p.334).

Channelling Chief White Wolf:






Chief White Wolf on the streets of Soho:

As soon as we left the pub and stepped out onto Rupert Street, we found, literally next door, both the alligator and the Indian.

To our heightened perception, the familiar shop name "PROWLER" with its blue neon wolf tracks suddenly revealed its poetic significance.

A yellow alligator basked under street lights as we turned into Brewer Street.

We felt drawn by invisible forces to walk up Bridle Lane. The already noticeable police presence, which seemed to follow us all evening, was particularly intense in this area. A handwritten cardboard sign in a window warned of "ORGANISED STALKING AND COVERT HARRASSMENT IN THIS BUILDING", and gave a URL for further information.

A few doors further along, and for the rest of the way along Bridle Lane, we found several large posters pasted to the doors and walls, each of which was a blow-up of a page from that ur-text of transformation, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. As some of us stood reading one of these posters on a black-painted door, the door itself suddenly burst open and two young men stepped out. Laughing with surprise, we scattered and then regrouped, assuming that these men would be able to explain the presence of the posters to us; but they were as mystified about them as we were.

As we continued along Bridle Lane, strange figures, frozen in mid-transformation, appeared in lit windows.

We emerged onto Beak Street to a lupine greeting.

Wandering into a small side street, we found disparaging remarks about Dr Jekyll, and some services which might be either useful or harmful to the average lycanthrope. Perhaps more harmful than otherwise, for as we discovered at the end of the street, we were on Silver Place.

We continued to wander through scenes of transformation and wolfishness.

Just after transformation:
photo by Miguel

For double nine:
photo by Miguel

By now we were cold, hungry and thirsty. We decided to start heading into Fitzrovia for a drink at a pub we have often used for meetings. But the Wolf Moon had been saving its greatest revelation for last. As we neared our destination, we spotted the Werewolf himself. He managed to avoid our cameras as he headed down the aptly named Newman Passage, and disappeared into the "Pie Room" at a lupine run. We ran after him down the passage; but he was already gone.

The hunters:
photo by Miguel

A few nights later Miguel went to a new bar, and realised that the wolf hunt had not ended on Tuesday night after all ...

Who hunts whoooo:
photo by Miguel

The photos in this blog posting were taken by Merl unless otherwise stated.

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