Recently the right-wing historian, David Irving, was interviewed on television. As Irving went on propounding his revisionist views about the Nazi era, a bearded figure stole the show by Roller-blading across the background, figuratively waving two fingers at the goings-on in front. The blade-runner was Robert Irwin, academic, novelist and a great liberal experimenter in the Sixties.
Hah. That’s always the bitch of a spell, isn’t it?
He bought a copy of the master’s Magic in Theory and Practice in Oxford in 1965. “I thought I might use it for spells and didn’t know I would ever use it in a novel. Trouble is, if you want a spell to achieve spectacular results, you have to do things like getting the skin of a gazelle taken from its mother when it’s eight months old, and steeped in turmeric and ground-up lapis lazuli.”