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Book Review: Secret Societies
by Lang Reid
enjoys a good mystery, hence the popularity of ‘Who Dunnits’. The world is
also rife with conspiracy theories, after all, did the CIA kill Kennedy, and
was the World Trade Center demolished by appropriately placed explosives?
Are there UFOs and were there aliens at Roswell? Secret societies have also
been blamed for much over the last few centuries, after all, if they have
nothing to hide, why are they so secretive? I selected this book from the
Bookazine shelves (ISBN 1-55970-826-3, Arcade Publishing New York, 2006)
written by John Lawrence Reynolds, as I too am enthralled by mystery.
The introduction called Fools, Fears and Fanatics sets the tone, wherein
author Reynolds discusses the myths surrounding Christianity in the Roman
days, and shows how what is now considered to be everyday Christian
practices could have been construed very differently then, when Christianity
was in fact a secret society.
He then runs through the various secret societies that have existed, and
some which are still present, and attempts to dispassionately review the
history, the legends, and sorts the myth from fact. Reality often falls
short of the legend!
Some of these can be very chilling, where for example Reynolds draws a
direct linear conclusion between the Assassins in the days of the Knights
Templar to the Al Quaeda of today. Despite 800 years, the human psyche has
not developed, even though we may have developed technologically.
Undoubtedly the popularity of the Da Vinci Code has been a stimulus for this
book, and Reynolds does make some initially obtuse references to Dan Brown’s
book in the section of the Priory of Sion where the clergy in the late
1800’s were allowed to hold masses for money, a practice which Reynolds
aptly calls “Mass Marketing”. Later in the book, Reynolds does delve a
little deeper into the Da Vinci Code ‘faction’.
In the section on the Kabbalah (which is followed by Mick Jagger, David
Beckham, Madonna and Paris Hilton which should be enough of a warning),
Reynolds does show the real origins, stemming from claims made by an
insurance salesman who changed his name and has been very successful
peddling a doctrine ever since.
Some of the world’s well known names are brought up, such as Aleister
Crowley, another sham who borrowed doubtful philosophies to allow him to
have a very carnal lifestyle. However, an even more well known name that
appears in his examination of the American Skull and Bones secret society is
George W Bush, which may reveal something about America’s leader in these
self-initiated times of war.
Author Reynolds is good at debunking many of the rumours around the secret
societies, rumours which have themselves led to the perpetuation of the
society, as inquisitive people look to see if the claims are “real”. And we
are all inquisitive! If we were not, this book would never sell! However, I
think he could have delved a little deeper in many of the chapters.
At B. 995 (in hard cover) it will need a fairly (un)healthy inquisitiveness
to justify buying this book, despite the index and bibliography. I would
wait for the paperback!
Mott’s CD review: Hawkwind
Space Ritual ‘Live’
Mott The Dog’
In the lead up to Christmas 1972 there was a massive disturbance in the
force as the mighty Hawkwind had a freak hit single with their ‘Silver
Machine ‘ reaching Number three in the singles chart. I am not saying
that this exactly made Hawkwind into pop stars, but it certainly gave
them access to a far wider audience.
‘Silver Machine’ was even more of a freak than it appears. For a start
it was a live recording, which was almost unheard of in singles land,
especially as it was nearly five minutes long (even if it had been
heavily edited with Robert Calvert’s vocals completely erased and
replaced with the far more aggressive growl of Hawkwind’s bass player
Ian Kiliminster, known to all as Lemmy). The sight of the Hawkwind video
being played next to the Nolan Sisters on Top of the Pops did bring a
smile to the face, but imagine if they had let Lemmy into the same
studio as the Sisters?
It’s not as though Hawkwind had not already enjoyed success, as their
first three albums had already charted in the U.K. ‘Hawkwind’ (1970),
‘In Search of Space’ (1971) (complete with fabulous foldout cover and
Hawklog), and ‘Doremi Fasol Latido’ (1972) which had a vaguely space
But with the money generated by a hit single Hawkwind decided to take
their Space Ritual on the road for a massive tour of the United Kingdom
and surrounding planets. A road crew was brought in, the most impressive
display of lights were acquired under the auspicious eye of Liquid Len
accompanied by his crew of Lensmen, costumes were fashioned, famous
English D.J. Andy Dunkley was appointed Mothership control, one of the
most impressive stage settings was put together to house the band for
their rocket ride, actual dancers were put on the payroll and given
chorography, and most impressively the band put in some rehearsal time.
The band had been stable for a whole year, which for this bunch of space
cadets was in itself an event. Baring in mind that there had already
been three other bass players before Lemmy secured the job, a lead
guitarist had been lost and nobody had bothered to replace him, whilst
the drum stool had already moved into Spinal Tap mode. It was almost a
rule in the band that they never did two studio albums with the same
From these early beginnings, though, nobody could have ever imagined
that over the years Hawkwind would have such a heavy influence on such
diverse musical threads as Ambient, World, Disco (seriously), Trance,
Stoner Rock, Heavy Metal, and of course Space Rock.
Fortunately for us all several of the shows were recorded, and the best
of two of them from Liverpool and Manchester have been spliced together
to give the complete experience, all done in the correct running order.
This was first released as a double album in 1973 at the price of a
single album, Hawkwind being Hawkwind and always giving value for money.
As well as a poster size foldout cover, you also got two booklets, one
telling the story of the Space Ritual joining the dots between songs,
the other giving you all the information you could possibly want about
In 1996 EMI went one step further and re-released the Space Ritual in
Digi-Pak form reproducing the original artwork, whilst adding some extra
photos from the tour. The music itself has been wonderfully re-mastered
to give a much clearer sound than the original vinyl, or for that matter
the first CD release. Due to time constraints first time round (you
could only get eighty minutes of music on four sides of vinyl) the
encore of ‘You Shouldn’t Do That’ had to be left off. Well no more; here
you get the full concert encore and all. As if that was not enough over
twenty minutes of bonus live Hawkwind has been tacked onto the end with
two tracks from the hard to get Greasy Truckers benefit concert.
The concert starts with the Starship Hawkwind on final countdown for its
rocket ride. Robert Calvert, Hawkwind’s resident poet, gets things
underway with ‘Earth Calling’ amidst an array of Hawkwind, bubble music,
audio generators, countdowns, swazzles, electronic robot music,
swishing, and after burns.
Blastoff occurs with Dave Brock blazing out the riffs from his sonic axe
of ‘Born To Go’; then the rest of the band comes thundering in. Now you
must remember that nobody had ever bothered to mention to Lemmy that the
bass guitar was a rhythm instrument, as he goes note for note with his
captain’s guitar. Simon King on drums may have had his failings, but
subtlety was not one of them as he thrashes away for all he is worth.
Everybody’s favourite, hippy Nik Turner hoots and honks his way through
every song on his battered saxophone, only reverting to the flute for
those short quieter moments when Robert Calvert would get up to read out
some of his poetry or to speak out the words of Michael Moorcock the
famous science fiction writer who had written special passages for the
Space Ritual. ‘Sonic Attack’ is particularly disturbing in the concept
of the Space Ritual, with the whole band echoing the narrator’s speech.
Then behind this you had the twin attack of Del Dettmar and Dik Mik on
synthesisers, audio generators, and electronics giving out that very
special Hawkwind wall of sound. The songs were most of ‘Doremi Fasol
Latido’ plus any songs that fitted in from the Hawkwind back catalogue.
‘Masters of The Universe’ for example fitted in very well, plus material
specially written for the mission. This was Heavy Metal at its very
best, no matter what different wrapper you want to give it.
Of course Hawkwind was a very visual band in every way. Out the front of
the stage for the journey was the larger than life Amazonian dancer
Stacia, who somehow during each performance managed to lose every stitch
of space garb adorning her ample body. As there were always a lot of
spotty sixteen year old boys down the front of the stage, it probably
means that Stacia was the first naked female seen by thousands of young
lustful teenagers. To answer your next question, “Yes, those thoughtful
people from EMI have included a few snapshots in one of the booklets,”
purely for historic reasons you understand. I know this has nothing to
do with the music, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
More than thirty years later, Hawkwind are still flying, sadly without
Stacia, who went off and married drummer Roy Dyke, which makes her Mrs
Dyke, hmmm. Lemmy has of course gone on to become the founder of Heavy
Metal with the mighty Motorhead. Whilst David Brock, with new Hawknauts,
still leads Hawkwind, who released a new studio album in 2005 called
‘Take Me To Your Leader’, their first album since ‘Distant Horizons’ in
1997. Hawkwind’s Space Ritual is a great trip.
The Space Ritual
Born To Go
Down Through The Night
Lord Of Light
Space Is Deep
10 Seconds Of Forever
7 By 7
Time We Left this World Today
Master Of The Universe
Welcome To The Future
You Shouldn’t Do That
Bonus Tracks from The Greasy Truckers
Master of the Universe
Born To Go
Robert Calvert: Poet and Swazzle
David Brock: Guitar and Vocals
Lemmy: Bass and Vocals
Nik Turner: Saxophone, flute, and Vocals
DikMik: Audio Generator, Electronics and Deranged Vocals
Del Dettmar: Synthesiser
Simon King: Drums
And can I just mention one more time? Stacia: Dancer
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