Still Preening Myself
uncarved.org blogginess: “I suppose the time has come for me to listen to ‘Space Ritual’ if anyone can sort me out with a copy?”
The thing about Hawkwind — and I think it applies to the Grateful Dead as well — is that they make much more sense as an idea and as a live experience than they do as a record. I wouldn’t bother with Space Ritual — in fact I wouldn’t bother with any Hawkwind record other than Silver Machine, which is, yes, the sonic though not the spiritual forebear of Nag Nag Nag. As ever, it’s when noise goes POP that it is most interesting. Similarly, I have never found a good Grateful Deal record, though maybe I could try harder… I mean, I LOVE Mickey Hart’s percussion pieces on the Apocalypse Now soundtrack (which I heard on a very expensive surround system last year, very nice).
But if you didn’t like them live, you probably just plain don’t like them. I helped put them on once and aside from helping organise the event I ran the door and the money (quelle surprise!). It was an entertaining experience. Lots of really mad 40-year old bikers with runic tattoos on their cheeks and foreheads (it’s illegal to do facial tattoos in the UK) offering to swap a hundred tabs of acid for a ticket before threatening to spike my drink with a hundred tabs of acid when I declined. Absolutely packed with vast wet trade on the night. They were quite good, fairly muscular acid rock.
Interestingly the support was a rather good reggae band though I never did find out who it was — too busy. To my mind this shows they had taste.
And there’s always the time I played on the same stage as them — not exactly supporting them — when I was in a folk band. That was at the Stonehenge festival in 1988. But I won’t tell you that story now — you wouldn’t believe I could run eleven miles! — I’ll just mention that I put the Woodentops on when I got back.