HW: Launch event...

Keith Henderson khenders64 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Sep 1 10:19:52 EDT 2005

Hi Folx...

This is almost blogging, 'cause I'm just 100 m down the street from the Borderline in Soho where the Launch Party is just gradually wrapping up.  Wow...lots of fun.  I didn't even know I could get in until yesterday when Kris emailed me personally to say she would put me on the list.  Thanks Kris!

I thought it would just be a lowkey affair with a few dozen people in a quiet cafe atmosphere with the new album playing over the PA.  That last part was right, for the first 90 minutes, but there were about 150 people in there or so. Thank GOD it wasn't held yesterday, when the temps here in London were 32C (90F)...because it's underground, the air circulation is a bit restricted you might say.  Anyway, the stage was set up with gear and lighting and all, which was a bit of a surprise, so I thought that HW were really going to play live.  But then the bass was obviously not a Ricky, and the guitar was a black Epiphone, so it turned out to be Spacehead's gear.  That was cool enough, 'cause I didn't expect any live music at 2 in the afternoon!  Anyway, they gave out free complimentary drinks at the bar for the first 45 minutes or so (which was extra nice), but then eventually hit some sort of pre-arranged limit and those who wanted another one (or three) then had to shell out a couple
 quid per.  They also had some champagne and sandwiches and Horse Doovers.  Plus free posters to have signed by the band.  Pete Pracowiak (sp?) was there (I think) and was signing stuff as well.  And Matthew Wright too.

So Spacehead came on and played a few very nice spacey numbers, the first of which was apparently improv.  Then Richard came up and took over on drums and the Keef-Dibsy-Richard Trio launched into an excellent version of "You Shouldn't Do That."  But I think that was just done as an excuse to coerce Dave, Alan, and Jason to also participate, and begrudgingly they relented and the full Hawkwind came aboard the ship.  Mr. Wright jumped up to do a nice intro and then HW proper did a sizzling "Brainbox Pollution" and then (after some deliberation...and amazingly seeming to go with my personal suggestion of "Paradox"...I happened to be standing directly in front of Keef during Spacehead's set, so I ended up by default directly in front of Dave...he nearly hit me in the face with the end of the guitar at one point) a wonderful extended version of "Paradox" (double guitar solos from Dave).  Funniest thing was that Dave kept asking Keef what the hell each of the pedals and switches on his
 guitar were supposed to do.

On the way to the show, I stopped in the Oxford Street HWV and bought two copies each (a set also for my brother in the states) of the two singles (two quid apiece), and managed to get them signed by all four members and Mr. Wright as well (who was very nice to me, even though I had to tell him that I really didn't know who he was, not being a UK resident or anything).  I walked into the Borders and Virgin stores on the same street just to see if they had them in stock as well, but sadly neither did.  Oh, well, Voiceprint is hardly a major label.  HMV had six or seven copies each prominently displayed in the singles bins, though not yet up on the big wall of Hit New Releases (maybe next week?!).  So that seemed pretty good at least.

Oh, last night, I made it up to Hampstead to see the Robert Calvert play about Jimi Hendrix experience in the military.  That was quite interesting.  The play was actually pretty interesting, and the acting (just two actors, Jimi himself and his commanding sergeant) was impressive.  Only about an hour long, but that was about the right length for the material.  It was really interesting to see how many familiar Calvert-isms from earlier/later Hawkwind songs there were.  Obviously, since Hendrix was a paratrooper, there were moments quite similar to Free Fall/Over the top, but then also a little bit about Icarus, and a mention of the "vermillion deserts of Mars" (for some reason that I now forget), and then also some of the things in Uncle Sam's on Mars were in there as well (insights about American culture, like drum majorettes in white ankle socks, and two cars in the garage).  The woman who produced the play back in 1976 was the one responsible for it again, and we (Jon J., Chris
 from Wales, and I etc.) talked to her for a bit after the show.  I asked if she remembered if Calvert himself had ever gone skydiving (since he seemed to be so strongly attracted to it in his art), and she seemed to think that he had a number of times.  I wondered also if he had ever done (or planned to do) a stage version of Cap'n Lockheed, and she didn't remember him ever planning that.  Sad...I think that would be a great live event.  HW should even consider doing it now, IMHO.  But then the best opportunity to have done it would have been 2002 when Arthur was with them in a big way.

Anyway, enough rambling.  I'm on my way to Nottingham/Donnington tomorrow for Off the Tracks...hope to see some of you there.  I thought about going to the Nukli/Invisible Opera Co. of Tibet show in Glastonbury instead, but the "45 Real Ales" advertised at Donnington was too strong a draw!  :)  Oh, by the way, there's a 2004 book about the history of Glasters out that I saw today, and there's a lot of reminiscing in the book done by both NikT and Tom Crimble.  I didn't even know (until today) that he (Crimble) was one of the original organizers of Glasters.  He also played there with his post-HW band called the Windfuckers or something.  Weird.

Well, tonight I'm off to Brixton to see Litmus, and then up north in the morning.

Ciao zame...Grakkl (FAA)

P.S.  Andy G....can you put me on the list to receive one of the special DVD releases of TMTYL?  I'll send you an address as soon as I have one again.  They were playing the DVD part (no sound) on a screen at the Borderline today, and it looked like something to have for sure.

P.P.S.  Apparently (?), the Heads are playing at Camden Underworld on Sunday night (the 4th) here in the London area, if anyone's interested.  I wish I could come back down for it myself.

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