What Is The Crawling Chaos?

Winifred V Jjackson

Lovecraft-ian Comparisons

On the myths page the derivation of the band’s name is described thus:

The name was chosen around then because it sounded good, it was a partial homage to H P Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos he’d created and also Strangely had not managed to read it all the way through even after several attempts because he was usually too drunk to finish it. It also stood out from band names of the time and sounded dangerous and gloomy. This was the start of THE CRAWLING CHAOS although the definite article was usually dropped. The Crawling Chaos was supposed to be an actual creature of nightmares.

And Now?

Yet I’ve just been reading an explorative discussion of the actual story that I (sp) first read back in 1974.  It’s called: Just Say No (To Drug-Induced Time Travel): “The Crawling Chaos” by H.P. Lovecraft & Winifred Jackson and the similarities and simultaneity to me are interesting c.f. our own Crawling Chaos.  From our self-destructive tendencies to the recent choice of page header image that mysteriously arrived on my PC screen, all, almost in a dream.  Maybe that’s just me, Strangely, by hey, whatever, a commenter (DemetriosX – ‘I found this one to be a real slog.’) on the original post had the same reading difficulties as me, (sp)…

Take the labyrinthine authoring of the tale – most anthologies I read had it as HP Lovecraft being the main author sometimes with Elizabeth Berkeley;  but earlier editions said it was Elizabeth Berkeley and Lewis Theobald, Jr. as joint authors – who were actually HP Lovecraft and Winifred V. Jackson.  Lovecraft is the creator & main protagonist of his Cthulhu Mythos and The Crawling Chaos was supposed to have been created from a dream – except it wasn’t even Lovecraft’s dream – it was Jackson’s (really called Berkeley , remember?).

Winifred V Jjackson
Winifred V Jjackson

To cap it all, The Crawling Chaos wasn’t an imaginary creature; it was just this dreamy tale of destruction and realisation of one’s place in the universe.  In another tale written almost concurrently, he invented Nyarlathotep, which had the same alternate name.  Why have just one name, eh?

At the end of the day though, to answer the question “What is the crawling chaos?” – it is simply this woman’s dream!

Examining both our creative works and some of our own personal naming schemes reveals similar modus operandi and a fair bit of our own personal traits methinks in the conventions that we used.


The tale

…is well out of copyright so can be read for nowt. Essentially:

  • the narrator gets blitzed on an opium overdose from his doctor,
  • wakes in a dream to see a strange high house on a cliff  on a peninsular that has paradoxically opposed views on each side.
  • He gets rescued by angels who take him to safety who tell him not to look back.
  • Of course he looks back to see the Earth split and oceans rush into the crack, turning to explosive steam .  (think about the LA destruction scene in 2012
  • Fall Of Numenor
    Fall Of Numenor

    This is also like the current CC website image in use….  This is a depiction of the Fall Of Numenor, a Tolkien creation well after The Crawling Chaos was dreamt up by the duo.  These tales of cataclysmic destruction are nothing new of course; in the West alone we have the biblical deluge, the apocalypse and Atlantean myths melanged with similarly fraught Norse sagas.  But I do like this image.

  • In the end, quoting the tale, a single poetic sentence finishes it, like a death sentence:

And when the smoke cleared away, and I sought to look upon the earth, I beheld against the background of cold, humorous stars only the dying sun and the pale mournful planets searching for their sister.

In a way, the creation and passage of our own Crawling Chaos through time mirrors all of this.  The impermanence of it all is majestic, is it not?

‘Though you may set out at dawn on the journey of life with pride in the beauty of your rosy cheeks, by evening you will be no more than a pile of white bones rotting on the moor.’ – from a poem by Fujiwara no Yoshitaka, appearing in A Collection of Japanese and Chinese Poems for Singing, compiled around 1013.

‘when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream’ – Nichiren,1276


The Crawling Chaos Magazine


Crawling Chaos Magazine

This comes from an email from Jeff in which he’d scanned some old bits and reminisced about our joint frames of mind back in 1983-5….

Tue 08/04/2008 22:29

Hi Rees,
I’ve had a scurry about and found a few more tangible bits of history – the majority (the stuff with the scribbled text and lyrics) are the remnants of a Crawling Chaos A4 fanzine that we colour-photocopied and sent out as a freebie to certain selected correspondents, here presented in the order of discovery. There are also a few posters, reviews and a newspaper article. Also included is a promo photo of Thee Earnest Kakas at the height of their powers. The line up from L to R is: Holly, Vex Drongo, Gordon Douglas Smith and Yeti (my name may have changed but not the hat obviously) This was another of many parallel projects running alongside CC, this one was more focused on surreal comedy than our “normal” output. I’ve included a picture of Bebside Hall as it was about 4 years ago. I don’t think I’ve got anything else – I’ll look though.
Looking at the fanzine again after scanning, I can now see that Holly’s “Holiday” series of cartoons was intended to end with Backworth and the “Explanation” of the Contents page should be at the front. If there ever was a cover it’s not there now. I like the style though and I think the document gives an accurate reflection of our frames of mind at the time, which judging by the lyrics included must have been after the release of C and before the recording of Waqqaz.
Well I think that’s enough for now.

Cheerio, Jeff

I’ve finally got round to uploading this stuff (sp)

All Screwed Up Inside

All Screwed Up Inside

I Aint got no ulcers

cos I don’t worry none

‘cept one or two

but they’re up my bum



Smellies People

Smellies People

I’ve got a brand new packet of Tom Thumb

I’ve journey’d into space with me mum

and a packet of danish cookies too

I borrowed Jeff’s bike to kill myself on

and gave Hol a backa to the shops

on it

Up, up, and away to the toilet

the five thousand flew

after they had watched the news

and had their pies and peas

with tea and bread

and butter.


Originally posted here, 7th July 2008.