Friday, November 20, 2020

"A true maverick force and an inspiration for contrarians everywhere"

As Brian Eno once said, The Velvet Underground's first record sold poorly - at least at first - but everyone who bought a copy started a band. Likewise, the Sex Pistols' gig at Manchester's Lesser Free Trade Hall in June 1976 is widely cited as a catalyst for punk and so much of what has come since. So it's interesting to read Stephen Morris of Joy Division and New Order quoted as claiming that "Punk rock started because in every small town there was somebody who liked Hawkwind".

My knowledge of the band that gave Lemmy his leg up is pitifully limited - though less so after devouring this article by Joe Banks, which is presumably a boiled-down version (and delicious taster) of his book Hawkwind: Days Of The Underground - Radical Escapism In The Age Of Paranoia.

Banks makes what at face value certainly seems like a compelling case that "Hawkwind were one of the most revolutionary bands to come out of Britain in the 1970s", connecting them not only to punk but also to the bad trip flipside of the flower power 1960s and the krautrock scene in Germany, and arguing that they were pioneers of both the culture of raves and free festivals and of space rock. All things considered, it's a wonder - and a source of shame - that I'm not far more familiar with them already, really.

Just watching the footage of the performance of 'Silver Machine' that was screened on Top Of The Pops in 1972 is incredible. How many tiny minds must have been blown...

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