When I first heard about Children of the Sun, I assumed the title was taken from the classic sixties psyche single of the same name by The Misunderstood, but anyone who reads the book can see that it actually invokes Savitri Devi, a particularly bonkers and unpleasant exponent of post-war Nazi occultism, and one of the founding members of the World Union of National Socialists. That said, the focus of this ‘novel’ is very much on English neo-Nazi scum of the Thatcher era; although Devi does appear in extended fictional form, partly on account of the fact that she died in England on the same day that the moronic bonehead band Skrewdriver played their comeback gig in London.
The book intercuts two narratives, which are joined at the end. One is about a lumpen south London secretly gay Nazi skinhead called Tony; and the other concerns the middle-class liberal James, whose family is financially supporting his research into the far-Right, so that he can write a TV script about British Movement activist and amateur porn star Nicky Crane. Schaefer uses the first narrative to undermine reader expectations, his main character Tony is complete low-life, and in every fight sequence I was rooting for him to be annihilated; so it was a major disappointment that this piece of trash survives right the way through to the end of the book.
Although Tony is a member of the British Movement, his depiction often led me to think of a Strasserite plonker on the ‘far left’ of a 1980s photo of Ian Anderson ‘manning the deliberately provocative National Front stall in the Asian area of Brick Lane, East London’, which is available from photographersdirect.com (search for “Ian Anderson Brick Lane”). In the ‘Tony’ parts of Schaefer’s book we encounter fictional depictions of figures such as Nicky Crane, Ian Stuart (of Skrewdriver), Savitri Devi and even Nick Griffin (now the BNP’s leading Nazi twat, but back then in his national ‘revolutionary’ phase an associate of a motley crew of Italian fascists with a string of criminal convictions implicating them in more than one mass murder, as well as a huge fan of Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi).
Children of the Sun not only takes the reader through a very lightly fictionalised version of key incidents in the development of British neo-Nazism, it is peppered with genuine historical documents relating to these events. What will most immediately grab many people’s attention is documentation relating to Nick Griffin’s unbelievably unsavoury past. However, of more interest to me was the resurfacing of two press clippings I’d appraised some time ago – an October 1986 news item from Searchlight linking Tony Wakeford’s National Front band Above The Ruins (the name was subsequently changed to Sol Invictus) to Nazi bonehead Nicky Crane as well as Michael Walker of The Scorpion, plus a 1986 review from the fascist zine English Rose that suggests top Nazi prick Patrick Harrington was a member of Wakeford’s group during its early days. Above The Ruins are mentioned more than once in the ‘fictional’ sections of the text, and these invocations prove extremely suggestive. For example:
“I was reading the Scorpion, this would-be intellectual journal put out by Michael Walker, who used to run a tour company with Nick Griffin and Roberto Fiore. So in summer ’93, just before Nicky died, Walker published an article by Stephen Cox, who ran something called the Jarls of Baelder, which as far as I can tell was a sort of occult, quasi-nazi homoerotic naturist group. Baelder had, or has, a secret inner order called the Fraternitas Loki, devoted to ‘covert aeonic action’: aeonics is a key Nine Angles term, and in Norse mythology Loki was the father of Fenrir, the wolf, right? The Above The Ruins album was Songs of the Wolf, and Fenrir was the in-house journal of the ONA… Anyway, Cox’s piece is this barking analysis of European history that says we need to reappraise the Third Reich and seek our destiny among the stars. And it’s illustrated with diagrams that say, at the bottom: copyright Order of Nine Angles. So this is explicit Nine Angles material appearing in the major British journal of the new right. They’re all over each other…” (pages 252-253).
There are, of course, other ways of linking Wakeford to David Myatt and the Order of Nine Angles, and Children of the Sun provides more than enough information to encourage readers to do just that and much else besides. Therefore, I’m not sure I’d describe this book a novel, it seems to me to be closer to what the Wu Ming collective call an ‘unidentified narrative object’; in fact, it reads a lot like recent work by Iain Sinclair crossed with gay porn for Nazi fetishists. The tome is incredibly well researched, and is guaranteed to stir up a lot of debate about links between the music scene and neo-Nazi politics (especially as, yet again, it blows away the threadbare argument a number of fascist musicians and their apologists have used for years in order to attain a fig-leaf of respectability; viz, they couldn’t possibly be Nazis because either they or some of their associates are gay). Likewise, although this is by no means the last word on why some extremely sad non-fascist gay men are turned on by Nazi uniforms and related trash (like Nicky Crane), it explores the area much more effectively than say Bruce La Bruce’s ill-conceived film Skin Gang/Skin Flick (1999).
Children of the Sun is at times an extremely unpleasant read, but it will nonetheless prove an eye-opener to those who run the literary world (anti-fascist activists will already be familiar with much of this material). I’m very much looking forward to some of the debates this book is likely to spark when it is published early next year. A couple of the ‘fictional’ Nazi scum turn out to be copper’s narks, and this might well lead to heated arguments about whether or not they are based on certain real-life characters. Schaefer has written an arresting debut that makes me extremely curious not only about what he will be doing next, but also what will happen to the huge amount of as yet unused research he’s done into the Nazi music scene and its fellow travellers.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!