Meeting Alan Moore, October 2007

Inspired by news that Alan Moore is still social­ly iso­lat­ing in 2022 and “knows” the coro­na virus was cre­at­ed in a lab, I dug up this old account from 2007: the year my child­hood Alan Moore fan­ta­sy bub­ble final­ly & irrev­o­ca­bly burst.

Last night I met Alan Moore, the famous com­ic book writer. I have admired Moore ever since I read Watch­men at age twen­ty and it con­sol­i­dat­ed my intu­ition (make that obses­sion) that I was liv­ing in the End Times. He was a for­ma­tive influ­ence. Nat­u­ral­ly, I’d want­ed to meet him for years.

Over the years, I’d had dreams of Moore that seemed some­what “sor­cer­ous”; since Moore admits to being a prac­tic­ing magi­cian, I assumed, as one does, that we were fel­low astral trav­el­ers. One day, I was stay­ing with an autis­tic friend Mark Lawn in Bedford.

 “Let’s go to Northamp­ton and find Alan Moore,” I said.

Mark didn’t hes­i­tate for thought. “OK,” he said, and off we set.

We had no clue where Moore lived or how to find him, so we didn’t have any plan. We just drove to the town and start­ed wan­der­ing around. Half an hour lat­er, Mark spot­ted Moore. He was easy to spot, since he has a huge wizard’s beard and car­ries a magician’s staff. He was with a female com­pan­ion and as we spot­ted him they were enter­ing a restau­rant called Piz­za on Earth. We fol­lowed him in and sat down a few tables away. I ordered tea and cheese­cake and we pre­tend­ed to have a nor­mal conversation.

Moore and the woman even­tu­al­ly fin­ished their piz­za, and as they were get­ting up to leave, I went over and intro­duced myself. He was cour­te­ous and gra­cious in response to my praise, and I gave him the print­ed sheets of writ­ing I’d brought along for the occa­sion, excerpts from the as-that-time-unpub­lished Homo Ser­pi­ens by my alter-ego Aeo­lus Kephas.

He glanced at the papers and said, “You’re Aeo­lus are you?”

I said I was and told him I’d left a num­ber for him to call me if he got the chance.

 “Things are pret­ty hec­tic right now,” he said, and we part­ed ways.

Moore nev­er called the num­ber I gave him but I was sat­is­fied that I’d proved there was a con­nec­tion between us, and that my sor­cery was pow­er­ful enough to have found him when I set out to do so.


Sev­er­al months lat­er, I found out that he was tak­ing part in a dis­cus­sion at Bishop’s Gate, tied to the release of some book called Dis­ap­pear­ing Lon­don, with fel­low writ­ers Ian Sin­clair and Michael Moor­cock. I arrived ear­ly and got a front row seat, next to an Amer­i­can girl who was total­ly starstruck over Moore and not in the least embar­rassed by it. Her slight­ly pathet­ic infat­u­a­tion seemed like the Universe’s way of gen­tly chid­ing me.

As the audi­to­ri­um filled, Moore was hang­ing around with the oth­er two writ­ers. I got him to sign a copy of Promethea. He showed no sign of rec­og­niz­ing me. I was about to remind him of our pre­vi­ous meet­ing when some­one else approached with a book. Moore asked to bor­row my pen so I wound up wait­ing. The Amer­i­can girl joined us and asked me to take a pho­to of her with Moore. I took the oppor­tu­ni­ty and men­tioned to him that we’d met before.

He remem­bered me then, so I asked if he’d read my writing.

“Prob­a­bly not all of it,” he said. “I haven’t read a book all the way through in about three years.” He then made a non­com­mit­tal remark about it being “inter­est­ing,” adding that it was not quite “his way” of see­ing things.

I could see he was being polite, that he was unwill­ing or unable to feign enthu­si­asm. This was some­thing I hadn’t expect­ed. I loved his work, why wouldn’t he like mine?! My plan had been to ask him for a quote for when the book came out. Now it was clear this was not an option.

Moore didn’t seem espe­cial­ly com­fort­able with me, pre­sum­ably because he couldn’t praise my work and because I plain­ly want­ed him to. He tried to appease my disappointment.

“You’ve obvi­ous­ly put a lot of ener­gy into it,” he said, then reit­er­at­ed that it didn’t quite agree with his “sys­tem.”

I replied that I didn’t think my book was a magikal sys­tem, so much as an overview. He nod­ded and said that “the kind of magikal think­ing” wasn’t the same as his.

I was try­ing to think of a way to find out what he meant exact­ly, but he clear­ly wasn’t open to talk­ing about it. He wished me good luck and pat­ted me on the arm, then walked away.

I watched him go. To my amuse­ment, he sat down in the emp­ty seat next to mine. I had no choice but to sit down next to him!

“You don’t get away from me that eas­i­ly!” I joked. He didn’t laugh, and seemed dis­tinct­ly uncom­fort­able. He want­ed to talk to the woman on his left (it was the same woman I’d seen him with in Northamp­ton) but she was engaged in con­ver­sa­tion with some­one, so he sat for a moment, unsure what to do. Before I could launch my next attack, he mut­tered some­thing, got up, and went back to the oth­er writers.


Dur­ing the talk he was sat direct­ly oppo­site me and had no choice but to look at me, at least some of the time. I got the feel­ing that he was dis­turbed by my pres­ence. The read­ing and dis­cus­sion was very dull, and it occurred to me—while I was pro­cess­ing my dis­ap­point­ment over the encounter—that, besides Promethea, noth­ing Alan Moore had writ­ten in the last ten years or more (prob­a­bly since From Hell) had impressed me that much. So why was I so hung up on gain­ing his approval?

The answer is sim­ple: he was one of lit­er­ary heroes in my for­ma­tive years, and I had become fix­at­ed on con­nect­ing to him and mak­ing him part of my per­son­al his­to­ry. He had become an obsession.

The result of the encounter was that my obses­sion end­ed. Dis­ap­point­ing as it was not to be “met” at the des­ig­nat­ed sor­cer­ers’ appoint­ment, the main thing—the only thing—was to have found out that Moore and I weren’t and nev­er would be cohorts. Now I could put my fas­ci­na­tion for him away, along with an ever-grow­ing col­lec­tion of child­ish things, like those stuffed toys of my past.

“Fail­ure” is a far greater teacher than success.


One thought on “Meeting Alan Moore, October 2007

  1. I nev­er met Moore, but my dis­il­lu­sion­ment began when I saw him inter­viewed by Stew­art Lee at a Guardian (!!) spon­sored event in 2016. He was talk­ing about his debut nov­el (which sound­ed extreme­ly bor­ing), and described how he had writ­ten the first page in such a way as “to keep the cunts away” (an unsuc­cess­ful endeav­our, judg­ing by the audience). 

    He also espous­ing a vague­ly Dunne-influ­enced view of block-time, with­out cred­it­ing Dunne, as a way of giv­ing “sec­u­lar athe­ists” like him and his friends a kind of proxy reli­gious faith that would enable to out­live all the reli­gious peo­ple (pre­sum­ably, also exam­ples of the afore­men­tioned “cunts”, in his view). Much smug­ness and pat­ting of selves on backs ensued by Moore, Lee, and the audience.

    I met Lee around the same year, but odd­ly enough, as my (now estranged) friend was the one who was eager­ly giv­ing him a fly­er for his ter­ri­ble band’s gig, I man­aged to main­tain my dig­ni­ty in the posi­tion of the ‘wing­man’.

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