Last month to my first meeting of the Blake Society, held on the first floor of the Spaniards Inn in Hampstead, London. An appropriate venue as the pub has at least two literary associations – with Dickens and Keats. Fading light in the panelled room. The Inn claims it was once that of the highwayman Dick Turpin – a handy corner for a highwayman, overlooking the narrowing road and the Heath beyond.
Bearded Professor Jim Bogan of Missouri University, South Kensington was already there, ready to tell a small group of us about poet and visionary William Blake’s influence on his life. A good influence I’d say. Jim often sang one of Blake’s songs as he cycled, and at the end of the evening, as the light disappeared, he sang one of the Songs of Innocence, or it might have been Experience. Very moving. Much to learn about this strange and wonderful Londoner’s life.