The end of the 1970s and beginning of the 80s was a turbulent time in the UK, in 1978 inflation was running at over 8% (down from 15% in ‘77). Unemployment was high (1.5m), compared to previous post WWII figures, running at about 5.5% following a recession between ‘73 and ‘75, industrial shrinkage and advances in technology (1). There was widespread industrial unrest which culminated in the ‘Winter of Discontent’ between November ‘78 and February ‘79 caused in part by strikes against ‘unfair wage restrictions’ (2). The UK was months away from the beginning of Thatcher’s rule and the imposition of neoliberalism, which saw the deliberate dismantling of organised labour as a political force, privatisation, deregulation, shrinking of the welfare state, subcontracting ot state activities and a belief in the free market as the most efficient processor of information (Spencer 2016: 2).  Under Thatcher unemployment rose to 3m (over 11%) in the mid 80s (3). 

Running alongside these domestic issues was the Cold War and the background threat of nuclear annihilation. In a fascinating essay called Do not panic: Hawkwind, the Cold War and “the imagination of disaster”, Erin Ihde examines how ‘Hawkwind’s activities and output…can clearly be placed within the framework of both countercultural social history and Cold War political history’, looking at their choice of benefit gigs and festivals, lyrics and visual material (Inde 2014: n.pag.).

1978 saw the release of Kate Bush’s The Kick Inside, Real Life by Magazine, Darkness on the Edge of Town by Springsteen, The Man Machine by Kraftwerk and PIL’s first album. In the ‘rock’ genre there was the release of Live and Dangerous by Thin Lizzy, Powerage and a live album by AC/DC, two new albums by Judas Priest and Van Halen’s first album. 1978 also saw the release of Grease and its soundtrack (4). 

Described by Robert Calvert as “almost a worker’s cooperative for a while” by 1978 Hawkwind had morphed into Hawklords and was based around core members Dave Brock and Robert Calvert as leaders with a “back up team” of musicians recruited mainly from Devon band, Ark (Calvert 1978: n.pag.). In 1977 Hawkwind released Quark, Strangeness and Charm, at the same time, as a side project, Dave Brock started up Sonic Assassins with Calvert and Ark members Harvey Bainbridge (bass), Martin Griffin (drums) and Paul Hayles (keyboards). The band’s first gig was Christmas Eve 1977 (Abrahams 2004: 119-120). (The gig was recorded, tracks appearing on Weird Tape 1.) Hawkwind set off on an American tour in March ‘78, the tour was difficult, Simon House was leaving to join Bowie and there were tensions between the different members of the band, soon after the tour (the QS&C incarnation of) Hawkwind was disbanded (Abrahams 2004: 121-125.). The recordings for the follow up to QS&C, made in January ‘78, were put on hold (Banks 2020: 300-301). (Later released as the excellent P.X.R.5.)

In the summer of ‘78 Brock decided to form a new band with Calvert, under the name of Hawklords, recruiting Bainbridge and Griffin from Ark/Sonic Assassins and Steve Swindells on keyboards. The band started recording in July with Simon King from Hawkwind initially involved until the new more hierarchical relations within the band became apparent, he left and was replaced by Griffin. Simon House also plays on several tracks (Banks 2020: 301-302). Interviewed in October ‘78 Brock commented “It was time for a rethink. You can always coast along making enough money to get by, but that’s not our style.  We waited politely for people to leave the band, others were sacked, and we found the replacements we wanted and now everybody is agreed on what we’re doing. I’ve got no regrets about people like Simon House leaving to join Bowie. The whole shake-up has been a great challenge, and I’ve been working with more enthusiasm than I’ve felt for years” (Crawley 1978: n.pag.). (The name Hawklords may have been a reference to the Micheal Butterworth (and Michael Moorcock) 1976 book The Time of the Hawklords, a sci-fi/fantasy novel featuring various members of Hawkwind.)

On October 6th 25 Years On was released on Charisma, the 40+ date tour kicking off on the same day at Oxford’s New Theatre (5). ‘Psi Power’, the lead single with ‘Death Trap’ as the b side, was released on 13 October, the Spanish release in a picture sleeve replicating the main album image. In May ‘79 ‘25 Years’ was released as a single with ‘(Only) The Dead Dreams of a Cold War Kid’ (and ‘P.X.R.5.’ on the 12 inch) (Banks 2020: 414). The album had taken a week to record and a week to mix (Gett 1978: n.pag.).


The album and tour were based around a Calvert concept that found its most comprehensive expression in a booklet/programme that was not printed in time for the album release but was available on the tour (Banks 2020: 312,316). Alongside the images from the front and back of the album and other striking, quasi scientific, images the 16 page booklet gives Calvert the room to develop his vision of Pan Transcendental Industries, a concept that underpins and holds together the album, tour set and ‘25 Years’ single. Pan Transcendental Industries is a transnational corporation formed in 1953 (+25 years=1978). Through a reciprocal arrangement with governments, and financing by corporations and states of all political persuasions, all power over the planet has been ceded to PTI. The text seems to describe PTI as setting up vast mega factories that produce car doors for use as wings by extra terrestrial beings -angels- in exchange for their feathers and ‘cosmic energies’, these energies possibly used to power ‘techno psychic batteries’. The work force is described as made up of car crash victims and ‘voluntary prisoners’ who are being ‘perfected’, once perfected they are permitted to meet the ‘painted angel brides’. (In London there is a megafactory that employs 9 million people. Globally PTI employs 45 million which was roughly 1% of the world population in 1978 (4.29 billion), it may be that Asia, Australasia, the Americas and Africa each have a similarly sized factory.) The text continues, ‘In 1966, Pan Transcendental Industries began its historic programme for the industrialisation of religion. To fuse the popular with the metaphysical and the commercial with the sublime… the reduction of culture to commodity…’. Within the booklet there are hints at virtual reality and computer controlled environments/societies within a global totalitarian industrial complex which controls religious and ideological thought, ‘a wholesale megastructural rehabilitation of the globe’ (6). 


Lyons, reviewing Joe Banks’ book, comments ‘the dark satire of Pan Transcendental Industries – developed by Calvert, again in partnership with Barney Bubbles, for the 1978 Hawklords tour, and drawing on the thinking of architectural theorist Rem Koolhaas – offers a prescient metaphorical critique of global corporate hegemony that’s acutely alive to the essential absurdity of hegemonic ambition. The tour programme came in the form of a corporate brochure for PTI, a business engaged in the industrialisation of religion; proof of PTI’s success, Calvert writes, is the fact that angels have now exchanged their wings for car doors’ (Lyons 2020: n.pag.). In this booklet Calvert seems to grasp the trajectory of neoliberal late capitalism, its totalitarian ambitions where all is incorporated, or eradicated. A system where all is commodified, people are prisoners in a vast, global open prison, mentally trapped within a VR enhanced version of Debord’s ‘spectacle’ and governments have in reality ceded power to corporations. 


As Conlon writes ‘In 1977, a book by Jacques Attali was published entitled Noise: The Political Economy of Music. It made the following claim: “Music is prophecy: its styles and economic organization are ahead of the rest of society because it explores, much faster than material reality can, the entire range of possibilities in a given code. It makes audible the new world that will gradually become visible, that will impose itself and regulate the order of things; it is not only the image of things, but the transcending of the everyday, the herald of the future.” Calvert’s work lends credence to Attali’s thesis. His translation into music of the science-fiction eschatologies of J.G. Ballard, Norman Spinrad and Roger Zelazny was genuinely prescient, and in spite of his bipolarity, or perhaps as a result of it, he was able to perceive with lucidity the authoritarian contours of an emerging dystopia’ (Conlon 2013: n.pag.). 


Calvert commented in an interview that ‘25 Years’ was about “the small man, the average person’s plight” and this class element is emphasised on the tour (Davies 1978: n.pag.). The presentation of the ‘25 Years’ tour was designed by longtime Hawkwind collaborator Barney Bubbles and Chris Gabrin. Hawklords, in ‘industrial overalls’, entered the stage as a film depicted ‘workers filing through a tunnel, in the style of Metropolis’, ‘the stage is lit by prison-camp watchtowers’ and during the concert ‘a troupe of drably dressed dancers…sweep the floor and perform other mundane tasks’, while ‘(s)lides are projected in rapid succession behind the stage’ (Banks 2020: 312, 316). The stage design brings to the fore working class experience of mundanity, alienation and control under (the industrial) capitalism (of PTI). (There are some photos by Peter Zabulis that capture the design superbly.) Steve Swindells observed “The stage set was fantastic…Very Metropolis…very visual, the lighting was wonderful” (Abrahams 2004: 130).  Martin Griffin commented “When kids are coming backstage afterwards, and telling you not that it’s a great gig, but that it’s the ‘greatest experience of their lives’, you start to get an idea of the responsibility that rests on you”. (Gill 1978: n.pag.) For me this rings true, having seen Hawklords at Leicester, De Montfort Hall on 23 Oct. It is still one of the greatest gigs I have ever been to with Calvert as one of the best frontmen ever.

The overall effect was to position Hawklords as part of the industrial working class and the industrial working class as at odds with capitalism. Mulvey wrote of the cinema viewer that one aspect of ‘pleasurable structures of looking…comes from identification with the image seen’ due to ‘the spectators fascination with and recognition of his like’ (Mulvey 1975: n.pag.). Applied to Hawklords live Mulvey’s writing suggests that the viewer would be encouraged by the organising of the stage set to identify with the band and dancers creating a sense of (shared) working class identity in opposition to capital. 


Sadly, some weeks into the tour the stage set is stripped back, the dancers gone. For Barney Bubbles who from the first rehearsal had seen his ideas ignored or changed this is the point where he decided to have nothing more to do with Hawkwind (Banks 2020: 315, 317). However, catching the tour at Folkstone on 9th Nov. Gill wrote ‘The hall darkens, the audience cheers and moves forward, and the legend ‘Pan-Transcendental Industries Inc’ flashes up on the backdrop, followed by ‘25 Years On’. Noises are made in the darkness, finally resolving into ‘25 Years’, and things get brighter. Calvert, an obsessive dresser-up/actor, (and, if the truth be known, a more accomplished singer than he’s usually given credit for), is in guerilla chic: beret, bullet-belt diagonal ‘cross torso, etc..  Attired thus, the resemblance to Wolfie Smith from TV sitcom Citizen Smith is astonishing, lending an otherwise absent humorous edge to the images of austerity and alienation which make up the current stage show…Two hours later, when they leave the stage, two things are apparent: one is that the Hawklords band is an extremely powerful, professional unit, totally at odds with the old Hawk-image of h(u)ngover hippies too wrecked to tie their bootlaces: the other is that there’s a definite conflict of interest between the band and the fans.  The former are concerned with change, new leaves and clean sheets. As Martin Griffin surmises: “It’s a band concerned with *the future* more than anything” (Gill 1978: n.pag.). The Hawklords Live ‘78 album recorded at Brunel University on 24th Nov is evidence of the intensity of Hawklords live and the relevance of Calvert’s framing concept and lyrics.

25 Years the Single.

The preoccupation with working class experience of subjugation under all pervasive capitalism that was to the fore in Barney Bubbles/Chris Gabrin’s stage design also informed the artwork of the single 25 Years On released in May ‘79.

Released by Charisma on 18th May the 12’’ single came in industrial grey with a sleeve designed by Alex McDowell as Rocking Russian. McDowell had been ‘strongly influenced by Barney Bubbles’ work, particularly his interest in the Russian Constructivist artists’, hence Rocking Russian (Banks 2020: 355). Tying the single in with Calvert’s overarching concept the front cover has the date 1979 in the top right hand corner of a pencil sketch of oppressed working class sailors moving en masse while overhead are flying three military jets whose function seems to be primarily surveillance and control on behalf of an unseen elite, this is communicated by the descending searchlights illuminating the crowd. It is an image of ‘power over’ (Mathie et al 2017: n.pag.). The backcover is dated 25 years on, 2004. In this image the working class sailors have risen up, one of the planes lies crashed in the middle ground while the foreground is dominated by an heroic figure, viewed slightly from below, brandishing a flag and urging others on. It is a picture of a revolutionary working class uprising drawing on imagery and ideas from Eisenstein’s early soviet film Battleship Potemkin and explicitly copying the composition of Delacroix’s 1830 painting Liberty Leading the People. Drawing on historical precedent the cover seems to predict working class uprising and the overthrow of even Pan Transcendental Industries.


(As Rick Poynor in No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism points out there was an appropriation of early 1900s avant garde art by album designers in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s (Poynor 2003: 70-77). Peter Saville commented in an interview that he and Malcolm Garrett had raided Pioneers of Modern Typography by Herbert Spencer for ideas! (K-punk n.d.: n.pag.) 

25 Years On the album.

Recorded in a week at Langley Farm, Devon 25 Years On was released on October 6th ‘78 on Charisma. Brock and Calvert are credited as producers, the album mixed in August at Wessex Studios in London (Powell 2009: n.pag.). Of the eight songs that make up the album seven are written by either Calvert, Brock or both, the exception being ‘Free Fall’ written by Calvert/Bainbridge. Musicians on the album were Brock, Calvert, Bainbridge, Swindells with the drums split evenly between King and Griffin and Simon House playing violin on three tracks. Henry Lowther plays trumpet on ‘Psi Power’ (Banks 2020: 306-10). The end result is an extraordinary progressive post punk album of remarkable power, lightness, and at times beauty, which showcases Calvert’s lyrical and vocal genius. 

The conceptual collaboration between Calvert and Bubbles continued with the album cover being the work, according to wikipedia, of Barney Bubbles and photographer Brian Griffin (7). (Brian Griffin appears as Doctor Brian Griffin in the PTI booklet.) However Banks states that the sleeve photos as well as the film shown at the start of the Hawklords’ gigs were the work of Chris Gabrin (Banks 2020: 316).   

Robert Walser, writing on heavy metal, notes that ‘notions of gender’ are presented in the genre’s ‘sounds, images and practices’ enabling fans to ‘experience confirmation and alteration of their gendered identities’, further commenting that ‘The purpose of a genre is to organise the reproduction of a particular ideology, and the generic cohesion of heavy metal until the mid 1980s depended upon the desire of young white male performers and fans to hear and believe in certain stories about the nature of masculinity. But metal’s negotiations of the anxieties of gender and power are never conclusive; that is why, as Fiske, says, these imaginary resolutions of real anxieties must be re-enacted over and over again’ (Wasler 1993: 154). Wasler proposes that images (and other representations of gender) are active resources in the individual’s construction of self, confirming, or providing alternatives to, hegemonic versions of masculinity, in this case, in heavy metal. Wasler’s observations would apply to late 70s rock as a wider genre. AC/DC, who had two albums out in ‘78, would be good examples of a hyper masculinity and heteronormativity prevalent in rock at that time. Therefore, the front cover image of 25 Years On runs contrary to all the accepted and expected norms of the genre. Described by Banks as ‘ a striking ambivalent image with homoerotic overtones, like a sci-fi appropriation of a Robert Mapplethorpe shot’, the black and white photo is of the ‘oiled torso’ of Alistair Merry, who had been percussionist in Ark (Banks 2020: 311). With head inclined to his left and down he grasps a fluorescent tube which becomes less defined as it nears his waist. For late 70s rock fans the cover did not tell an expected story of gender or sexuality and certainly would not have resolved any anxieties! 

Writing on Bowie, Hebdige commented he ‘set up a number of visual precedents in terms of personal appearance (make up, dyed hair etc.) which created a new sexually ambiguous image for those youngsters willing and brave enough to challenge the notoriously pedestrian stereotypes conventionally available to working class men and women’ (Hebdige 1979: 60). With this cover Bubbles/Gabrin/Griffin/Hawklords join Bowie in challenging ‘70s hegemonic masculinity and heteronormativity in rock.

Also on the front cover is ‘Pan Transcendental Industries’ in the top left corner, ‘25 Years On’ in the top right and ‘Reality you can rely on’ with the PTI logo in the bottom right, which was also found on the front cover of the booklet. The back cover as well as the track listing and credits has what appears to be a metal repair in the top right corner around the Charisma logo. The main image is of a cube on top of which rests a ball, a cone and a ruler entitled ‘Metaphysical view of Factory with album cover’ in the top left. Whether the cube represents a PTI megafactory and the cone, ‘the cone of possibilities’ from the PTI booklet is impossible to say but overall it shares many of the component parts, and resembles a dismantled 3D version of, El Lissitzky’s Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge

One side of the inside cover is dated 1953, the other 1978; 25 years on. Both sides have a main photo of a figure in a beret, bandaged face and loose top whose hands reflect the pose of a bandaged figure in an inset (bottom right) on the same side, whose pose is also represented diagramatically. The main figure and the figure in the insets, bandaged around the head, chest and loins, also occur in the PTI booklet. 

The idea for the bandaged figures may go back to a dance troupe Barney Bubbles was involved with who performed in blindfolds and bandages. Brock, Calvert and Bubbles had been at an event organised by Nik Turner and both Calvert and Brock had seen the dancers. It was at this event that Bubbles agreed to work with Brock and Calvert again Banks 2020: 302). 

As can be seen from the above the conceptual framework around 25 Years On was highly developed and coherent, finding expression in the related singles artwork, the stage presentation and the inner and outer covers of the album. It would seem improbable therefore if the tracks on the album didn’t adhere to the same general themes around the PTI concept. However, it can appear that when it comes to the music the framework is weaker and the subject matter more diverse and less focused. 

The eight tracks in order are: 

1.Psi Power



4.25 Years

5.Flying Doctor

6.The Only Ones

7.(Only) the Dead Dreams of the Cold War Kid

8.The Age of the Micro Man

Of the tracks only 3,4,6 and 8 initially seem to reflect the PTI and related classed themes, the other tracks dealing with a variety of subjects. In fact Matt on Hawkbinge describes the album as having a ‘scattergun approach’ (8). But I’m not convinced that having developed such a strong conceptual framework Calvert was unable or unwilling to see it through lyrically, so my explanation is that the album is best approached as two concentric circles. As noted earlier, despite PTI wielding vast political, economic and cultural power only 1% of the global population worked in the megafactories, the other 99% lived and worked outside of those PTI’s factories. This album is a snapshot of that composite world, the ‘inner’ tracks focusing on PTI and working class experience of hegemonic transnational capitalist relations of production. The ‘outer’ tracks deal with activities going on simultaneously in the shadow of, but not directly related to, PTI’s dominance. That would mean approaching the album with 3,4,6,8 as ‘inner’ tracks with 1,2,5 and 7 as ‘outer’ tracks. (Live ‘78 reflects this, starting off with ‘Automoton’ and ‘25 Years’.) 

So, first of the ‘inner tracks is  ‘Automoton’, the sound of dangerously accelerating machinery, and/or the increasing speed of a mechanised world, and/or the transformation of the machine as an extension of the worker to the worker as an extension of the machine. Welcome to PTI. ‘Automoton’ works as an extended intro to ‘25 Years’ which is written by Brock. The song deals with both the drudgery of paid labour (something Brock had experienced) and the protagonist’s inability to meet the requirements of industrial capitalism (Gett 1978: n.pag.). The 1978 chorus of “25 Years, 25 Years of social research” refers to PTI which had started in 1953. Verse 2 contains the line “I needed a battery”, is this a reference to the ‘techno psychic batteries’ of PTI? In verse 3 the narrator asserts “Twenty five years of social reform ain’t gonna make me change or make me conform”. (Brock) Within the song the character’s stance changes from one of detached listless aimlessness I stand around the streets, I lie around the floor. Looking at the sky, I watch the world go by to a more assertive resistance to the demands of capital,  “Twenty five years of social reform ain’t gonna make me change or make me conform”. Is this the first step towards the uprising pictured on the cover of the 25 Years single?

The booklet refers to PTI as ‘(f)ounded in 1953, by a dream concurrent with space flight to the moon’ and to the angels as being able to ‘…assume, at any moment, the status of artificial planets visiting earth only occasionally’ (6). These ‘space’ themes seem to be picked up in ‘The Only Ones’, which uses the myth of Icarus to explore the tension between flight and hubris commenting more concretely“In chariots of fury and flame, we head for above to stake out our claim. With radioscopes, electronic eyes, we scan for our hopes in different skies”. (Brock/Calvert) This may be a reference to PTI’s extra terrestrial ambitions or more general space flight and hints at the capitalist colonialism made explicit in ‘Uncle Sam’s on Mars’.

Track 8 ‘The Age of the Micro Man’ is an explicit reference to the themes of mundanity and alienation generated by the division of labour that is emphasised by the dancers in the stage show and included in Brock’s comment of his experience of “working monotonously on a machine” (Gett 1978: n.pag.). “It’s the age of the micro man who sees the detail but never the plan, it’s the time of the tiny creep, who pulls the levers while he falls asleep. Twenty five years of social research. It’s the age of the insect man, who pushes buttons and takes back the can. It’s the age of the micro man, who sees the detail but never the plan. Twenty five years of social research”. (Brock/Calvert) The last phrase is, of course, a reprise of one of the final lines from ‘25 Years’. 

The ‘outer’ tracks are ‘(Only) the Dead Dreams of the Cold War Kid’, ‘Psi Power’, ‘Freefall’, and ‘Flying Doctor’. 

‘(Only) the Dead Dreams of the Cold War Kid’ seems to step out of the conceptual framework created by Calvert and Bubbles and position itself in the real world of the Cold War and West/East tensions and relates to Hawkwind’s continued concerns about those tensions. It does that but without contradicting the flow of the conceptual world as the booklet refers to PTI as being as critical of ‘communism in its ascendency’ as it is of ‘capitalism in its decline’ (6). It would seem that in the mythic world created by Calvert/Bubbles there are still capitalist and communist states who coexist with familiar difficulties.

Referred to by Banks as possibly the ‘finest track’ Hawkwind have ever made, ‘Psi Power’ tracks the experience of someone with ESP power who initially is able to enjoy the experience before being overwhelmed by the relentless flow of information and stimulus(Banks 2020: 307). “It’s like a radio you can’t switch off, there’s no way to get peace of mind. I’d like to live inside a lead-lined room and leave all this psi power behind. Circle, square, triangle, waves, it’s a gift that soon turned sour. Why don’t they let me get some rest, too much to understand, to digest”. (Brock/Calvert)

It reminds me of the 1963 film The Man with the X-Ray Eyes in which the main character has a similar experience of eventually being overwhelmed by the inability to block out visual stimuli.

‘Freefall’ is lyrically superb as the song structure, relaxed, intense, relaxed mirrors the experience of a freefall jump (I imagine!). “Before you jump you wear the frown of someone who is stalling. There’s no up there’s only down in the void of falling. All you need to do is take one step into the sky, give yourself to gravity, give death another try. In free fall, free fall”. (Bainbridge/Calvert)

The final track ‘Flying Doctor’ is a story of the drug-addled medic of the title and while it seems incongruous it’s a great song and shows, despite PTI’s global power, people are still able to construct alternative lifestyles! However, despite being a great song it seems that roughly halfway through the tour it was dropped from the set list! (5)

The above organising of the tracks is of course a completely speculative attempt to impose some order on what may well be a hotchpotch of tracks and subject matters and  may be an indication that I have too much time on my hands. It shouldn’t be taken too seriously!


The conceptual framework of Pan Transcendental Industries devised by Calvert, Bubbles and collaborators was expressed across performance art, visuals, text and song, within these different art mediums the Hawklords project engaged with, and explored, themes around class, gender and also the accumulation of power by transnational corporations, the latter being extremely farsighted in 1978.

As can be seen above Hawklords and their collaborators drew on a wide range of historic art resources including Lang’s Metropolis to highlight the mundanity and alienation experienced by the working class subject. They also drew on early Soviet cinema and art and Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People to depict revolutionary possibilities . In a 1978 interview Calvert commented “I was inspired by Brecht’s sprechgesang-speech song-which gives a very Germanic feel to our machine-gun lyrics” (Davies 1978: n.pag.). By drawing on European avant garde resources in the construction of their art and music Hawklords were able to articulate both the alienation and mundanity of labour under capitalism and an internationalist revolutionary working class position in opposition to (transnational) capital. It is reasonable to suggest that Hawklords builds, refines and expands on Calvert’s lyrics for Hawkwind’s ‘Urban Guerrilla’ which appears on Live ‘78.

In 1978 the film Grease came out reproducing traditional gender and sexual norms for a new generation, Pan’s People performed femininity weekly and did early punk really challenge male gender stereotypes (Laing 2015: 121-122)?  The  front album cover of 25 Years On disrupts norms of gender and heteronormativity in both ‘rock’ and mainstream ‘70s culture, and judging by a 2023 comment on Facebook the images around the album are still effective. Hawkwind had form in this area, in 1972 the video for ‘Silver Machine’ was included on Top of the Pops with Stacia front and center, her appearance and movements disrupting conventional depictions of hegemonic femininity normally associated with ‘70s prime time TV.

A year after 25 Years On was released Margaret Thatcher was elected and the restructuring of the UK in accordance with neoliberal economics began, as noted earlier. Privatisation, deregulation and subcontracting out of tasks previously carried out by the state has led to a political and economic situation foreseen by Calvert in the PTI booklet. The last 40 years has also seen the colonisation and commodification of culture by capital as he predicted. Meanwhile, digital technology has brought about VR, which seems to be glimpsed in the text.

As we experience increasingly blurred lines between the state and corporations and see the latter accrue increasing functions and power so 25 Years On has become more relevant over time. The challenge of the track ‘25 Years’ also assumes more relevance, do we succumb to listless apathy, “I stand around the streets, I lie around the floor. Looking at the sky, I watch the world go by” or, as ‘70s Hawkwind/Hawklord’s lyrics and practice continually suggest, do we engage actively to bring about better.   

Big thanks to Peter Zabulis for use of his excellent photos of the Hawklords gig at Leicester De Montfort Hall 23-10-78.       


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