Situationism: Reality you can rely on


//Selection of slides from Hawklords projection.//

With the legacy of Situationism the subject of a couple of posts on my blog, it seems timely to point up Barney Bubbles’ inclusion of frames from Christopher Grey’s Leaving The 20th Century: The Incomplete Work Of The Situationist International in his slide-show for Hawkwind’s post-punk offshoot Hawklords.

The SI content dovetailed neatly with the dystopian Hawklords project, for which Bubbles designed the sleeve of the concept album 25 Years On, was well as the booklet available on the tour, stage set, choreography, costumes, lighting and promotional ephemera.


//Page from Chris Grey's Leaving The 20th Century. (c) Derek Harris.//


//12" x 12" sleeve, front cover, 25 Years On, Hawklords, Charisma, 1978.//


//From Hawklords tour booklet.//


//Left: sticker. Right: postcard, both 1978.//


//Hawklords live, 1978. Photographer: Unknown.//

Working with frontman/lyricist/conceptualist Robert Calvert, Bubbles art-directed a team which included photographers Frances Newman, Bob “Bromide” Hall and Chris Gabrin, who shot a film about the fictional totalitarian organisation central to the plot, Pan Transcendental Industries. The PTI slogan “Reality you can rely on” appears on the album front cover.

Many of the performative and non-rock elements were abandoned after just a few dates of the only tour by the original line-up; these slides have never been published outside of Reasons To Be Cheerful.

“I wasn’t involved in the slide-show, though a couple of the word-boards – such as ‘Operate Without Blades’ – may have appeared in my PTI film,” says Chris Gabrin.

The comic was produced in France in 1968 as part of the Situationist arsenal during the May évènements and later translated into English; it was this version which appeared in Grey’s book, which was published in 1974.

Here’s (Only) The Dead Dreams Of The Cold War Kid, a standout track from 25 Years On and a career highlight from the wayward career of the late Robert Calvert:

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2 Responses to “Situationism: Reality you can rely on”

  1. Steve Says:

    Apologies if this is mentioned in your book but my copy is boxed away…

    Peter Gravelle/Kodick briefly refers to setting up a design company with Barney called Exquisite Covers:

  2. Paul Gorman Says:

    Yes Peter told me about that but we couldn’t identify anything that they’d done under that name. Possibly Gen X but didn’t get the credit. Talking of which I have a never-before-seen bit of an exclusive on BB/Gen X coming pretty soon…

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