[sic] Magazine

Alan Moore performs Unearthing in the Old Vic Tunnels.

Alan Moore with Crook & Flail performs Unearthing in the Old Vic Tunnels, 29th July 2010.

Alan Moore dreamt London. Under the old Red Lion remembered streets, under the smoke dark train mist of yesterday, (in tunnels still echoing with trains) Alan Moore performs an Uneathing. Under the earth, excavated by workers, no doubt containing the ghosts of such, Alan Moore conducts- with his wizards wand of a voice that brooks no compromise – three gentlemen making music fit for his words and the projected pictures of Mitch Jenkins the photographic artist, co-conspirator for the luxurious product that is the solid Unearthing. A box set of prodigious, Pandora imaginings based on the imaginative literary thread “Uneathings” penned by Moore for Iain Sinclair’s (whole book worth getting BTW) psycho geography of London compendium “London – City Of Disappearances”.

Alan Moore dreamt a history of Shooter’s Hill, filtered through a history of Steve Moore (no relation, this obligatory appendage taken from press release must be applied in every review). S Moore, best friend of the comics maestro and auteur, in some ways the Sorcerer to A Moore’s apprentice by dint of his slight advancement in years. Through the loam of Shooter’s Hill a history of the UK comix scene from the Sixties to the Eighties is filtered through the eccentric existence of peripheral player Steve Moore – a Zelig of the movement, there for many key stages with little top billing, unlike Moore’s marquee filling draw.

Having as yet not got the box set (due to Lex Records site crashing any web link I tried to order on) I can only say that the backing of sympathetic instrumentation works wonderfully well here – electronically generated noise from two desk bound boffins woven with delayed acoustic abstracts from guitar and piano (and scratched vinyl). The piece is done complete over three acts, taking in the whole two hours. Moore strides in, resplendent in shining blue magicians robes and cow skin cowboy boots, for each act and reads with nary an error, meter perfect and every laugh won.

As someone who was around for the tail end of these replayed times (as a consumer, though alive through most) I am thrilled by references to Dark They Were And Golden Eyed, a comic shop shopped and shut down for dealing dope (more Red Eyed). It’s passing allowing the more upwardly mobile Forbidden Planet, with canny Brian Bolland ad. art, to prosper into it’s now international times. I wonder how much of this arcane history is known to listeners outside tonight’s cave covern of “ale and spliff” arts aficionados but reviews of the album suggest its appeal lies beyond the confines of the faithful. Moore is able to entertain as much with puns and wank gags as the extraordinarily clever historical flow and ebb of place and person. He is a magician with words, playful and sometimes violent, a verbal Visigoth. Moore may be a John The Baptist to the modern comics age but he is Old Testament too –there will be blood.

After the marathon, final bow and wave allowed, he is away through the tunnels – like a League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen set – his way no doubt lit by the Promethean light of his literary imaginings.