Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Modern World Continues to Disappoint

I generally try to resist urges to re-live my childhood. Or early teenage years, I mean. There isn't anything from my childhood I'd actually want to re-live.

However. No longer having a record deck, I have records I haven't heard for many years. One of these being Hawkwind's Space Ritual, their live magnum opus from the 70s. As a young teenager, I spent a lot of time in my bedroom listening to this, nodding my head to the endless repetitive riffs, and marvelling at the mighty record sleeve. This folded out into six sheets, full of entertaining words and images. Well, they were entertaining if you were a teenage boy and sort of imagined it would be fun to fly around the universe in a space ship with Hawkwind. (I didn't have a lot of girlfriends in those days. OK I had no girlfriends.)

After considering buying this for some years I was finally overwhelmed with nostalgia, so I bought the CD. I knew it wouldn't be the same but I wanted it anyway.

It wasn't till this CD arrived that I realised what a tremendous disappointment the packaging would be. Gone is the mighty album sleeve which folded out into such a huge item, replaced by a puny little booklet, which isn't the same at all. The whole thing is a great disappointment.

Here's a picture of me holding the original sleeve, and the modern equivalent. You can see why I'm not happy.

The World Fantasy Award, which I received for Thraxas, has been on loan for some time, but has now returned to my house.

Here's a good review of the re-issue of Milk, Sulphate and Alby Starvation, in the New York Times. It's taken 20 years to get there.


  1. Not to mention that you could READ the lyrics on the jackets of the records...

  2. Anonymous6:52 pm

    I'm currently reading Milk, Sulphate and Alby Starvation, and loving it. I have a pre-order for Lux the Poet.

  3. Anonymous11:26 pm

    Congratulations on the review, I read it on the NY Times website, it's very good.

  4. Anonymous10:18 am

    Why "not happy"? You've got the best of both worlds now: the CD to listen to and the original sleeve to admire and get lost in. So what's there to be unhappy about?

    You should be lying on your bed, dreaming of your youth, listening to Hawkwind, cradling the World Fantasy Award in your hands and realize that, no, it's not such a bad world after all.

  5. Anonymous2:18 pm

    Could have been much worse, you could have downloaded an MP3 and had nothing physical to show for your money at all!
    I have made this mistake several times in my general impatience to hear what I am after I have bought it of Itunes rather than facing the horror of venturing into HMV & being regarded suspiciously by the security guard & God Forbid asking the staff to order a record. I take it thats no longer the done thing as the staff seem as equipped to take my order as the staff in Tesco's would be if I were to march up to them and try and place an order for a Three Cheese Pizza as they had run out.
    Gone are the days of crawling around the dust on a Saturday afternoon in Grouchos in Dundee, raking for Hip Hop 12 inches.
    I once went into Chalmers & Joy Records in Dundee in about 1988 and asked if I could order The Burial Proceedings in the Course of Three Knights by Huntkilberry Finn, Shaka Shazam & The Icepick.
    "No Problem", the woman said "Can you come in on Thursday?"

  6. Anonymous2:29 pm

    Got carried away there meant to say currently reading Lonely Werewolf Girl after a long Millar-less break punctuated only by the re-reading Love & Peace with Melody Paradise every year or so. Long since lost my copies of Milk, Sulphate & Alby Starvation & Lux the Poet by mistakenly lending them out so looking forward to the reprints!

  7. Anonymous5:48 pm

    the reality never lives up to our memories. sometimes that makes me really sad. but congratulations on the good review! where it rightly belongs. :)

  8. Anonymous11:30 am

    Speaking of Thraxas, when is the next one coming out?

  9. Hey, Martin, I quoted part of this post and used the album photo in my post about Apple getting into eBooks.

    Apple's Absolutely Brilliant eBook Strategy

    I hope you were their inspiration!

  10. Thank you for this post. During the last year, I've been discovering Hawkwind for the first time. I'm 47 years old. Most of my listening still draws on music I was exposed to before the age of about 25. For a long time, I believed that I was too old to fall in love with any new-found music. But Hawkwind, whom I never listened to as a younger person, fits so well into my taste palette that I love their music as if I'd known it since the age of 13. (Perhaps it's no coincidence that I was a devoted reader of Michael Moorcock as a boy.)
    Thanks also for "Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me," which was my first introduction to your writing.
    Alex in New York