Tag Archives: Hawkwind

July 23rd 1975

“Started new painting. Nig came round in afternoon. Went up clock in evening”

Here’s the first of the pair of paintings I toiled over in the summer of 1975. They were a matching set. Haven’t got a clue where the other one disappeared to but I’ve held onto this one in the interim 35+ years.

It feels a shame I did it in poster paints as it hasn’t stood the test of time – and several house moves (including one of 4000+ miles) – very well at all, getting all scratched up and pockmarked to a degree where it’s destined for no more than the back of a closet somewhere. But I think you can see where I was coming from in its construction – a Hawkwind album cover / space age / druggy / far-out concept where FAR too many alien planets inhabit an altogether bizarre corner of space where, apparently, a bicycle wheel may or may not be the sun, and one corner of this galaxy is being invaded by M&M’s (chocolate or plain I wonder?).

Of course another way of looking at it – apart from the favoured “distance of a few hundred yards at night time” – would be that it predicts the current horrors being inflicted by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, those black blobs and colored spheres representing the underwater plumes threatening the coastlines of Mississippi, Alabama and more.

Nurse, it’s time for his medication!

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September 28th 1973

“Borrowed Hawkwind – rubbish”

I do believe that this refers to the Hawks’ debut album from 1970.

Although over time I have grown to appreciate some of the tracks from this release a little better (Hurry On Sundown for one) Hawkwind have – for me personally – only really been about one single, “Silver Machine“, and one album, “In Search of Space“.

My one word review in 1973 was a somewhat unwarranted but doubtless based on the fact I was expecting more of the same as I had already enjoyed. The band, however, had not fully developed that sound, resulting in a resounding “rubbish” from this particular teenager.

Perhaps too I was waiting for Stacia to pop out from the album sleeve?

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August 18th 1973

“Didn’t go to work. Finished mormor’s painting. went to get school stuff”

Woah!!!

I did a painting for my Mormor????

It wasn’t the Hawkwind one was it?

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August 13th 1973

“Bludy hot. Done Hawkwind painting + but then. Andy G came up in afternoon”

I mentioned a few days ago about my attempt at painting, conjuring up the lousy excuse that I didn’t have a camera to photograph my 1973 art all these 36 years later.

Well with a new (albeit refurbished) camera suitably snagged from Olympus Auctions , here’s part one of the twinned TRO artwork “but then” mentioned today…

I say “part one” because – yes – I was pretentious enough in the seventies to have imagined a PAIR of paintings. Unfortunately, the second in this ‘series’ appears to have disappeared in the mists of time, a little upsetting as the two represented ‘before and after’ images of my painted ‘universe’. It showed some of the planets and solar systems seen here exploding in further flashes of gaudy poster paint.

Yes, poster paint. I was “old school”. Actually, I was too cheap to buy oil paint. Bit of a shame really, for – as can be seen from the photo – the artwork has not stood up to the multi-decade rigours of being thrown about in the back of closets and moving vans very well. The surface is all scratched to hell and the colours have started to deteriorate in several areas.

But its nice to still have as a reminder of when I was vaguely artistic.

The other “Hawkwind” painting I can remember, although it too appears to have been discarded along life’s journey. It was based on Barney Bubbles‘ logo for the band. I didn’t mention the name “hawkwind” but styled the double-headed – erm – “hawk” into something even more trippy in a splash of greens and reds.

One day it will appear on “Antiques Roadshow” as a multi-million pound ‘attic’ discovery.

Or not.

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July 25th 1973

“HAWKWIND – Top Rank”

Inside of the Top Rank. Looks awful.

Southampton’s Top Rank was part of a nationwide chain of dancehalls/nightclubs responsible – as history will attest – for putting on some of THE biggest acts in rock/pop during the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s.

The Southampton location was also an ice-rink – presumably the ice was covered when there were live acts or a disco going on? I never visited the place in its nightclub or ice rink forms, but as a gig venue I probably went there more than anywhere else in the area. Between the Top Rank and Southampton University I saw pretty much every major act from the 70’s punk/ska/post-punk/indie boom as the 70’s progressed.

Tonight, in 1973, this impressionable 15-year-old teenager was there seeing Hawkwind, the UK’s premier “space rock” protagonists. (I talked briefly about them last year)

Hawkwind's own "Bez". Stacia with her clothes on.

Let me rack my brain and see if I can remember what the band played that night…. yes, I think the set list was this….
• Gaga
• Eternal Champion
• Born To Go
• Down Through The Night
• It’s So Easy
• Brainbox Pollution
• The Black Corridor
• Space Is Deep
• The Watcher
• Warriors
• Brainstorm
• Seven By Seven
• Sonic Attack
• Time We Left
• Master Of The Universe
• Standing At The Edge
• Urban Guerrilla
• Seeing You As You Really Are

Bloody hell, my memory is FAR better than I have been giving it credit for all this time isn’t it?

Let’s see, was Lemmy still with them that night? Why yes, I do believe he was!

Was the rest of the band Robert Calvert, Nik Turner, Dave Brock, Del Dettmar, Simon House and Simon King? I think so, yes.

Shocked by how much I can remember? When I found this, everything just seemed to just come to me. *heh*

Actually, all I can really recall was all the stage set bubbles, the lighting and strobe effects. Oh, and Hawkwind’s female dancer, Stacia, dancing nude at some point.

Which probably made it a good concert.

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April 2nd 1973

“Trev said he was sellin’ In Search of Space for £1.25 – I’m gonna buy” / “Got radio off of carol and got it going”

I pontificated at length about Hawkwind’s “In Search of Space” a few weeks ago.

I can’t understand why Trev would have wanted to sell such a classic. I wonder if I could have duped him into swapping it for that awful Saturnalia picture disc? Unlikely, Trev doubtless had better taste than me!

Weirdly, given my predilection for memory loss, I can remember the radio I snagged off of Carol. It was a stylish Roberts Radio – similar to the one shown here – which she couldn’t get to work properly.

Looks as if my few lucky prods at the innards paid off, giving me a working set?!

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January 31st 1973

Pete lent me In Search of Space” / “Dun another Martin silly tape” / “Had an ‘aircut” / “Got Pictures at an Exhibition back from Dave”

There it is again – a reference to “a silly tape” for Martin. Whoever the hell Martin was. There’s obviously something ‘artistic’ going on, but nothing so memorable to….well, allow the 50-year-old me to bloomin’ well remember what I am banging on about!

However, the most important mention in this somewhat dysfunctional diary entry is the one that tells me that Pete loaned me Hawkwind’s ‘tour de force’ album “In Search of Space

I have spoken of Hawkwind in these diary corridors before, as well as as applauded their 1972 hit single “Silver Machine“.

“In Search of Space” was Hawkwind’s second album, first released in 1971. It contains just 6 tracks, fifteen minutes of side one swallowed up by the hypnotic rhythms and cosmic repetitiveness of “You Shouldn’t Do That” (fyi, link goes to vastly inferior live – and curtailed – version), where bass, drums and fuzzy guitar are punctured by sax breaks and Dave Brock mumbling “should do that, shouldn’t do that” over and over. I LOVE this cut so much that it almost overwhelms the rest of the album for me.

As if by complete contrast “You Know You’re Only Dreaming” has an almost traditional blues feel to it, albeit one with a psychedelic bent.

Side Two’s opener, “Master of the Universe” is a permanent fan favourite, representing for many the true sound of 70’s-era Hawkwind, starting off silently before slowly building to its mind-numbing dope-enhanced riff. (People always said that Hawkwind sounded much better if you were on drugs – really?)

We Took the Wrong Step Years Long Ago” is a so-so chugs-along acoustic effort, whilst “Adjust Me” sounds like the band are merely improvising a spacey electronic ‘nothing’ song that includes unnecessary chipmunk-style vocals.

Children of the Sun“, the album’s closer, builds to its climax and contains a riff that sounds suspiciously like a slowed-down version of T.Rex’s “Children of the Revolution” and you do have to wonder if Marc Bolan (consciously or unconsciously) co-opted it.

However – and I think this will become a repeated theme as this diary blog continues – it is the LP’s sleeve that drew me to the album as much as the contents.

The 12″ album cover offered a perfect canvas for artists and designers to flourish. Something that is almost impossible to achieve with CD sleeves (too small) and impossible with MP3 downloads. Us kids of the seventies used to pore over each and every element of the record sleeves, soaking up even the smallest printed details

“In Search of Space” was designed by the ‘infamous’ Barney Bubbles, a graphic designer (real name Colin Fulcher) who became – for many years – Hawkwind’s permanent ‘artistic collaborator’. Not only did he design the band’s album sleeves, he was also responsible for their logo, posters, stage sets, stage lighting and special effects.

Bubbles later went on to design iconic sleeves for the likes of The Damned, Elvis Costello, Carlene Carter & Ian Dury, as well as becoming a music video director (his finest moment being The Specials’ “Ghost Town“). He was also responsible for creating the logos for the NME and Strongbow Cider.

The world lost him -sadly to suicide – in 1983, but his influence over record art & design will stick around forever. There is a book of his work entitled “Reasons to be Cheerful” (itself an Ian Dury song title) for anyone interested in this art form.

For “In Search of Space” he produced a striking die-cut interlocking fold-out sleeve (inside, opened, shown on right) which contained not only the vinyl in a straightforward white inner sleeve but also a 24-page book entitled “The Hawkwind Log“, supposedly telling the story of the spacecraft “Hawkwind”, found abandoned at the South Pole. It’s a pamphlet style compilation of pictures, spacey quotes and sci-fi data, written by Bubbles in collaboration with Hawkwind’s ‘space poet’ Robert Calvert.

Here’s an example of the writings…. Space/time supply indicators near to zero. Our thoughts are losing depth, soon they will fold intro each other, into flatness, into nothing but surface. Our ship will fold like a cardboard file and the noises of our minds compress into a disc of shining black, spinning in eternity…..

OooooooKaaaaaay?

Good job I had a haircut today or someone may have mistaken me for a drug-fuelled hippy when I walked around mumbling “should do this, shouldn’t do that“!

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