Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Plague Of i-Pod Keepers

This time last year it had been warm for a couple of weeks and I'd already photographed damselflies and 2 species of butterfly. Right this moment, mid morning on Thursday it just briefly snowed! Its stopped again now and I am planning on going out to Hofler Creek on Saturday hunting the elusive Falcate Orange Tips and Henry's Elfins. But for the moment its not bug weather and so once again I fall back on something from this morning's ride-to-work soundtrack. Actually as it takes me around 25 minutes to drive to work in the morning then this one track is the entire soundtrack!

A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers is taken  from Van Der Graaf Generator's Pawn Hearts album which was released a terrifying 42 years ago in 1971.

It features the classic line up of Peter Hammill on vocals, guitar and piano ; Hugh Banton , organ and bass; David Jackson, saxes and flute ; Guy Evans, drums.

No interminable prog rock guitar solos here. No guitar solo at all. Just fiddly shifting time signatures and Hammills vocal gymnastics. Not for nothing did John 'Johnny Rotten' Lydon acknowledge Hammill as influential in the vocal sound of the Sex Pistols.

Happily Van Der Graaf Generator continue to this day, having reformed in 2005 after a 30 year hiatus. Jackson is no longer a member but the other 3 are writing and recording new material and playing regular gigs.

They are noticeably less hairy these days but arent we all?

The featured recording isnt the album version but a live performance for Belgian TV that I first saw sometime in the Summer of 1975 when I was sitting at home between O level exams. 


  1. On a completely unrelated note...

    I was in Jeff The Barber's the other morning.
    Radio 2's Ken Bruce babbling away in the background.
    A tune started and my ears went 'hang on, I know this'.
    The Court of Crimson King sounds really odd coming out of a battered old 'tranny' radio at 10 o'clock (ish) in a Bognor Regis barbers.


  2. I know it used to freak me out. When we were kids Radio 2 was The Batchelors, Val Doonican or Johnny Cash if they felt especially rebellious. Its all that Jonathon Woss's fault.Did Henry Cow make it to R2 yet though?