Back To The Stones

Well a very busy five days or so. Started with the crazy tour of Liverpool, Beatles, slavery and socialism. A city that has given so much to the world. It’s a very different city than the one I left twenty years ago as it was in the throes of depression caused by dear old Maggie and her crippling economic policies. The disparity between north and south is still obvious as I type this on my phone in Oxfordshire.




My kids are having a great time getting back to their roots. As always on this trip there is the voyage to llandudno and the ascent of the great Orme on the tram, there are only three of this type still functioning, the others are in San Francisco and Lisbon way more exotic than llandudno. My parents are also enjoying their grandchildren.


Then on to the road trip first stop Nottingham


Not as exciting as you might think although the Merry Men showed up

Then back across country as we realized Nottingham and the East Midlands was a mistake. Glastonbury was its usual corporate hippydom and strange spirituality, one of my retirement plans is to move to Glastonbury and form a spiritual movement. The Tor is beautiful though


Stonehenge was as usual impressive

However the real star of the show is woodhenge, not only is it on the GPS which Stonehenge is not you can wonder amongst the concrete pillars.


Avebury and Silbury hill are astounding the magnitude if what man created here is still awe inspiring, there is also less mysticism and more archeology which is helpful,

Silbury hill is just so large it is mind boggling, yes I know it’s a big pile of dirt but such a big pile .

And then there is Avebury, a massive Neolithic site, the entire town is surrounded by stones


And then on to the Uffington white horse, famed even before it was used in the XTC album cover in the days of vinyl, a nice hike along the bridle way to see the horse, it’s hard to imagine how this thing has been here so long, it is so delicate and fragile when you get up close and required what must amount to constant attention to maintain, it’s also really hard to get a picture.


It is a beautiful stylized rendition o a horse and has been there for centuries, they were adding chalk as we were there amazing that it is just placed there not pounded in or fixed in any way, just broken up to the right size.
About this time we figured that Brighton was not happening, things are so close together but so time consuming to get too.
Off to the Roll Right Stones, this was an adventure to find and only by the good grace of a wrong turn did we find them.



There they are with
Mystical beam of light descending from on high, also with strange pagan figure found at the sight.

Born To Go

Hawkwind in the USA and on the west coast. This is a statement that I absolutely never thought to be writing, saying or even thinking. Yes there have been tours on the east coast, appearances at festivals and other events, but never anything in reach for me. Of course in reach means the twelve hour drive from Portland to San Francisco but how could I do otherwise.

Hawkwind were one of the first bands I ever saw, then they became one of the bands I saw most frequently throughout the eighties and nineties in Liverpool until we moved to the USA. This effectively ended my ongoing fascination with the strange trip that Hawkwind is. They are a band it is hard to classify, more members than most American Football teams and many changes in sound. They have flirted with metal, techno, ambient and punk in their time. They have overwhelmed with sound and visuals and at times been a bit silly. I am convinced Hawkwind are one of the bands in mind when Spinal Tap was made. They have astounded and confused sometimes in the same song, they have however always managed to be interesting, even when they reached too far.

This tour they are playing the album Warrior on the Edge of Time in its entirety. This has consistently been one of my favorite albums ever since I first heard it. Not only in the days of vinyl did it have the cool fold out album sleeve that became a shield but it has some of the most dense music you will ever hear, two drummers, electric violin, Lemmy’s bass, Turners sax and flutes and Brock’s guitar holding it all together. Now many of those elements will be missing, in fact the only original  member is Dave Brock but the current band is more than capable of pulling this off. The band have also promised, dancers and the whole light show, yes it will be silly of course but isn’t that the point, rock music is just a little silly.

So I am taking two of my children to a Hawkwind show, along with Gong and Here and Now Hawkwind are legendary in my house. Let’s face it San Francisco is the perfect place to see Hawkwind, although I am maybe thirty of forty years too late. October 18gth is destined to be a special day, and the tickets have arrived so its real.

Of course Warrior and the Edge of Time is the first Hawkwind album to be so closely linked to Michael Moorcock. It is a musical representation of the Eternal Champion story, Hawkwind would revisit this with the Chronicle of the Black Sword but this was the first and original attempt.

Long May You Run

Ticket’s for the Liverpool Echo Arena, even plane tickets bought, insanity abounds, in the space of 10 days in August  it will be Alice Cooper, Fairport Convention and Neil Young.

Of course there will be no pump organs just the Mighty Horse, this means I have seen Neil Young and Crazy Horse every decade for the last three decades, now I feel old. This will be so much more special as I will have two of my three sons with me.

There is something special about being able to share this type of event with my boys. It  is bizarre to me that I now have two adult children, that is something my parents have to learn to deal with not me. Although parenting adults is just as difficult as parenting children. It is a treacherous boundary to have to negotiate, friend, mentor, father weirder than I thought. Well I guess I will have to approach this with the same seat of the pants make it up as you go along approach as everything else.

Tom Tiddlers’ Ground

It’s been six days on the road and a lot of fun although some brutal driving days.

Right now we are in the Black Hills having passed through Yellowstone for three nights on the way. This morning we leave for Minnesota and family reunions and all that goes with it. Should be fun though as there are descendants of an ax murderer only no one knows which ancestor did the deed.

Yellowstone was inspirational, the first national park and every corner you go around holds another wonder. Elk, bison, deer no bears though. The natural wonders of the volcanic vents, geysers and other fun stuff are just awe inspiring. It really does remind me why I chose to move to this country, apart from my beautiful wife.




The Black Hills are likewise awe inspiring, the competing points of view of Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse highlight America for me. The reverence for the land and the heroes that inspire us all Americans seem to have whether native or immigrant and the desire to reshape the land to reflect that reverence of hero and land.
We have Mt Rushmore the public project and Crazy Horse the private non-profit refusing to take federal money. Both projects on a scale unimaginable since the Egyptians mobilized a nation so long ago. Both so American in their size and vision and both just a little insane.