Where They Were Then – Hawkwind

As Dave Brock wandered down from Notting Hill tube station life felt good. Friday is not as crowded as Saturday on Portobello. But the sun was shining so should still be a good day for busking. 

But first he had to meet up with the other guys.  The other guys from Hawkwind Zoo that is  – or just ‘Hawkwind’ as they were now ‘known’. 

They all lived around Portobello and lots seemed to be happening. Excitement about some gig courtesy of their new manager – their first manager! – Doug Smith. He reckoned the only guy foolish enough to take them on. He worked out of Friends (the underground magazine’s office) by day. Also just off of Portobello. 

The name change was Doug’s suggestion – on the advice of John Peel who’d by chance just seen Hawkwind Zoo perform at one of the regular gigs organised by Doug at the All Saints Hall. Doug had also found them a practice room up by Westbourne Park tube – by the canal. Things were on the move!

Nearing Doug’s office Dave noticed Nik Turner on the other side of Portobello – disappearing into the Mountain Grill.  (Yes, the greasy spoon made famous by The Hall of the Mountain Grill, Hawkwind’s only brush with classical music!) As he crossed over he noticed that all of them were in there. He checked his watch and sure enough it was before noon. Something must be happening!

‘Hi Dave’ went up the chorus as he pushed open the door. 

Laying his guitar on an empty table he beamed a silent Hello. ‘What’s all this about The Roundhouse?’

Well Doug had come up trumps again. 13 March, Atomic Sunrise. That was the next booking. 

Except for a few numbers that Dave had written – with busking half in mind – their music was not limited to tracks – and especially to 4 minutes. It wasn’t limited at all! 

Theirs was truly freeform. Nik on Sax and Huw on lead guitar wandered where the improvisation took them – anchored by rock solid drum rhythm from Terry Ollis and John Harrison on bass guitar. And recently they had added those eerie electronic sounds, care of Dik Mik.

They had 3 weeks to take their freeform 10-20 minute musical adventures and hone them down into something more manageable.

But not too manageable!

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