If the press notices [of Austin Osman Spare’s first West End gallery show] were calculated to put many visitors off, there was something about them that would prove positively attractive to a few. Among them was the so-called Wickedest Man in the World, the self-styled Beast 666; and so it was that Aleister Crowley came striding through the door of number 13 Bruton Street, grandly announcing himself to the shy and awkward artist as the “Vicegerent of God upon Earth”… Spare thought he looked more like “an Italian ponce out of work”, or so he told a friend years later. Perhaps with the benefit of four decades of hindsight, he said this was what he had told Crowley at the time.
From Austin Osman Spare : The Life And Legend Of London’s Lost Artist by Phil Baker (2011)
Do you have the Phil Baker book still? I lost my copy on the no 60 bus on the way to East Croydon. Can I borrow yours if so?
Spare was an original one: ‘Italian ponce’!
Wendy : Sorry, I’m reading a London Library copy and I have to return it imminently.