The view, according to Robert Calvert:
“I think what we’re trying to do is a form of modern art. We’re trying to make music that actually reflects the way we feel about the world. [25 Years On] is about the small man, the average man’s plight.” (Interviewed by Mike Davis, for Melody Maker, 13th November, 1978).
The view, according to Harvey Bainbridge:
“It was quite artistic, grown-up, whereas Live Seventy-Nine [the following album], was back to being a teenager again.”
Dave Brock reflects:
“[The tour] was very costly; I mean, it was a wonderful idea, because the idea we were trying to get was Metropolis, and one of Barney’s things was to have all the dancers in grey and having brooms so that they’d come on stage sweeping stuff up, and the whole stage was scaffolding. They were good dancers, and me and Bob had worked hard on that, the concept of what we wanted to do. But we had a big tour bus that everyone travelled in that was quite costly, and then having to pay six dancers’ wages… so we had a meeting and decided that for cost effectiveness we’d have to get rid of the three of the dancers, which was a shame as they were all very good and worked together. They were upset about it, but unfortunately… if we’d had a record label that would have put some money into all of this, the concept of what we had…” (Sonic Assassins, 2nd edition)
What they said then:
“‘25 Years’ is the best Roxy Music track that Roxy Music never recorded,” considered Andy Gill in NME (16th December, 1978), feeling the album to be “as engaging a mixture of solidity and sardonic futurism as you’ll encounter nowadays.”
What they say now:
Pete Pardo, on the website Sea of Tranquillity, writes, of the Atomhenge reissue: “For the most part, space rock 25 Years On isn't, instead much of this material on display straddles the line between the oncoming New Wave craze, say like a Talking Heads, and some of the David Bowie material post Ziggy. While it can be fun in spots, it's by no means classic Hawkwind.” What????
Tracks and references:
Created in the 1920s by Dr Karl Zener and J. B. Rhine, Circle, Square and Wave are three of the symbols used in Zener cards to determine telepathic abilities. The others are Star and Cross – not Triangle as the song suggests. Perhaps Bob wasn't getting them as crystal clear as he claimed!
Spanish 'Psi Power' 7"
Harvey Bainbridge: “‘Free Fall’ was a piece Martin Griffin and I had been playing in the band Ark before with met up with Brock and Calvert. Bob recited his poem over the riff, Dave added his inimitable presence and that was that!” (The Cyberspace Interviews)
A mechanical device operating under its own hidden power, from the Greek word Automatos (spontaneous)
A GCE, or General Certificate of Education, was an examination standard in British schools (also known as an O’Level). “City and Guilds” are awarded on completion of an apprenticeship. Originally ‘25 Years of Solar Research’ and written for an aborted Dave Brock solo album on the subject of Astronomy.
'25 Years', signed by Dave Brock
In Australia, the Flying Doctor is an affectionate name for the outback medical service (a Percival Proctor is their favoured aircraft), ‘Shelia’ a colloquial Aussie expression for a woman.
The Flying Doctor performs an operation with a sardine can – a reference to The Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. “Did I ever tell you about the time I performed an appendectomy with a rusty sardine can?”
The Only Ones
In Greek mythology, Icarus and his father Daedalus were imprisoned by King Minos. Daedalus constructed wings of wax and feathers to enable them to fly to freedom, but Icarus flew too near the sun, which melted the wax and he plunged to his death.
Only the Dead Dreams of the Cold War Kid
A town by the wall where the machine gunners wait refers to Berlin in the days of the Berlin Wall.
The Age of the Micro Man
“I was reminded of Barclay James Harvest on ‘The Age of the Micro Man’,” observed one reviewer, “which isn’t a bad comparison.”
What this author says:
Conceptualised around the story of Pan Transcendental Industries, a massive corporation obsessed with modern technology that is building car doors and using them to replace the wings of angels, it’s a study of the disconnection between technological advancement and the psyche of the individual.
(Sleevenotes: Spirit of the Age (From Atomhenge to Earth Ritual) An anthology 1976 – 1984”)