Today, as part of our ‘W.B Yeats Celebration’, to celebrate YEATS DAY the great poet’s 156th birthday, we bring you a real treat from ICC Digitals Archives, the short film ‘The Battle of Blythe Road’– directed and conceived by Sé Merry Doyle and featuring the London based poet and Psychogeographist, Niall McDevitt. Just one year ago, when ICC Digital was first set up, this was the first film to be produced for the ICC’s new on-line platform, ICC Digital.
In The Battle of Blythe Road Niall McDevitt takes us on a journey to Blythe Road in Hammersmith, where WB Yeats was a regular visitor to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Yeats wrote that the study of magic was “the most important pursuit of my life… The mystical life is the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write.”
It was here in rooms above what is now George’s Café on Blythe Road that Yeats practised magical rituals alongside friends like Bram Stoker, Constance Wilde, Maud Gonne, and most notoriously Aleister Crowley. When Crowley showed a tendency to use his occult powers “for evil rather than for good,” Yeats decided not to allow him to be initiated into the inner circle; Yeats despised Crowley and thwarted his plan to take over the building.
This unique and informative film tells a highly unusual story and it is told with great panache by Niall McDevitt. It is Produced by Rosalind Scanlon.
What The Press say about “The Battle Of Blythe Road”
“Who would have known walking down this street at the back of Olympia that it had such cultural and historic significance, being the meeting place for Yeats, Bram Stoker, Constance Wilde and Maude Gonne as well as the notorious and more sinister master of the occult Allister Crowley – I knew nothing of this story and enjoyed thus charming short film, told with great flair and flamboyance and some wry humour by Niall McDevitt” Michael McDonagh THE IRISH POST.
Praise from the Pope of Psychogeography Iain Sinclair
Thanks for the link to The Battle of Blythe Road. I enjoyed your performative take on that celebrated episode. I especially appreciated the running battle with traffic and the appearance, towards the end of the aria, of the word KARMA on a purple shop. But, best of all, was PEN push behind your back in George’s Café. As you point out, just the right name for the business. Your film (with Se Merry Doyle) is just what is needed now – and what never seems to be given space in the old commissioned channels. Like John Rogers and others, there is a continuity from Patrick Keiller in the respect (not self-serving or ludicrously obvious and underscored like those celebrity fronted yawns) for a proper dialogue with historic and cultural traces. It felt quite appropriate to watch the piece in Hastings, where the Great Beast faded away on heroin and cold tongue (pun intended). My best to you – looking forward to the next chapter.