Monday, November 16, 2015

Page 99: Blake House at Torquay

I’m somewhat familiar with Torquay—called the English Riviera—owing to my research for Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley (2010). Hailing from a wealthy family, it was where young Crowley studied with private tutors, and where he lost his virginity at age fifteen. He would return there half a century later at the advice of his doctor to escape the day-to-day stress of the Blitz, which was exacerbating his asthma.

Since the Devil’s Hoofmarks story on page 98 of The Billionth Monkey established that Belanger's family hailed from Devon before relocating to London, it made sense to send young Niels to Torquay Boys’ Grammar School.

Blake House indeed hosts a December variety show.  Although the house is named after Admiral Robert Blake (1599–1657), the name makes me think of English poet/artist William Blake (1757–1827), whose religiously-influenced works include The Marriage of Heaven and Hell…thus giving us (albeit through an incorrect association) a sly #DevilReference.


  1. Torquay is also the setting for Cleese and Booth's Fawlty Towers. No relevance for the book, but fun nonetheless. (Jesper here).

    1. Right! The humor in "The Billionth Monkey" owes much to Cleese & co., yet I totally missed the Fawlty Towers connection here. Thanks so much for the reminder, Jesper.


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