V is for….

VdGG, obviously. This month the John Peel record collection archive (as curated online at http://www.thespace.org, an Arts Council/BBC website, unfortunately only available within the UK, I understand) reached the 22nd letter of the alphabet and Aerosol Grey Machine was the featured LP.

The idea of the archive is that John’s family have chosen 100 albums for each letter of the alphabet from his massive LP collection. As I understand it the choices were as often as not emotional as musical and I was, actually, quite touched by John’s widow, Sheila, saying that AGM was her personal choice as it reminded her so much, so warmly of long gone but fondly remembered days.

Some while ago I did an interview, which is now up at the site. Among other things I referred to the strange and singular meeting which led to Judge and I playing for John at his flat back in ‘68 or ‘69 and his subsequent nomination of us as the “V” in his A to Z of Psychedelia (ahem, note, another P word) in Record Mirror. This gave us some measure of public credibility which, to be honest, we were quite shy of deserving at that stage. It’s not overly fanciful to suggest that this led directly to such industry interest in us as there was in those early days and so, eventually, to the beginning of our path to being signed…and the whole beckoning future..

Looking back it’s extraordinary how such small connections, such little happenstances in the end provide the links which make up a story, a career, just as much as the considered, major moves.

Perhaps we steer ourselves, dreamlike, past all the other possibilities; or perhaps we are steered.

In any event we end up where we are.

As I say, quite as much is built on randomness and accident as on best-laid plans, most of which are overtaken by circumstance in any case.

V is also for Visionary; some may know that I was given this award at the inaugural Prog magazine ceremony a couple of weeks ago. You’ll know, of course, that I regard The Work as rather more siugnificant than any personal big-ups; nonetheless, I have to say that this was a highly good-humoured event, particularly notable for a singular lack of pomposity from all concerned. And it was great to see so many young faces as well as old ones in (comparatively) rude health.

Um, it’s been a busy month for me. Proportionately, this is a tiny journal entry. More will emerge, later….


12 Comments on “V is for….”

  1. Chris Blackford says:

    Peter, I think you should be very cautious from now on about your fond praise of John Peel. His comments and boasts about his sex with underrage girls, which have been documented in The Guardian and other places online, have seriously undermined his saintly reputation. He has become a seriously tarnished individual.

  2. Bill Atkin says:

    Many congratulations for the ‘Visionary’ award!

    I took the trouble of looking up the definition of ‘visionary’, and it sprawls in all sorts of directions. It eventually led to “A person with original ideas”, and that sounds just the ticket.

    On the subject of accolades, could someone please award (or otherwise invent) one for Guy eVans? There’s a YouTube video of VDGG performing in Paris (1972), and Mr. eVans’ performance on ‘Killer’ is breathtaking. What an amazing drummer! What a musician! What a stage presence!

    I made the mistake of opening a corn-based snack whilst watching ‘Killer’. Thanks to Mr. eVans, I suspect I now hold the world record for the fastest ever consumption of a packet of Doritos.

  3. bayernmike says:

    I always like to see VdGG getting some kudos, always well deserved.

    One in the eye for the “pompous oafs”

  4. Yrret Ksif says:

    Congrats on the “Visionary” award. I noted that one Kate Bush was also up for it. She seems to be [unconsciously of course] following a similar creative path to you [maybe she went to the same “night school”].

    By including the album that shall not be named “Felona and Sorona – A Tale of Two Planets ” [englsh version] as your third solo it all becomes more obvious especially on Bush’s fourth solo album “The Dreaming” [check out the last track “Get Out of my House” – [louse?] and her relationship breakup 7th album The Red Shoes / eg Over

  5. […] The latest from Peter Hammill, who’s output as a solo artist and as the de facto leader of Van der Graaf Generator puts him in the same rarefied strata as the late Frank Zappa.  His irregular updates tend to include such poetical and lyrical observations as: In any event we end up where we are. […]

  6. Jay Plumb says:

    The videos on that site work fine from the USA, I can report.

    jay

  7. Mikayel Abazyan says:

    Well, actually the John Peel’s Record Archive site is available for browsing outside the UK as well, at least here, in Armenia. I have recently browsed through the whole site, and through the record shelves too. Only because of having no Spotify I was not able just to play music, and that was all (except for one typo and absence of one CD in the respective section).

  8. Yes! I love how such small random plot twist plots can have great significance upon looking back. Bravo for AGM and the other “P” word! Thank you John Peel.

  9. I remember going on a school trip (to Chester?) in spring 1974, with an ITT cassette recorder jammed against my ear, listening to a recording of Boat of A million Years et al. from 68 -71. Happy days. I can still listen to the old stuff, but love the new stuff, too, – which an IPod got me heavily into.

  10. Mark Penny says:

    What an odd coincidence to receive this today when yesterday, I emailed Hugh the shot of the trio in your dressing room after the Montreal Jazz Fest of a few years ago; ask him for it…it`s actually quite reflective of that “lack of pomposity” to which you refer in your entry…a cheerful picture it is; just came across it as I was moving things around on my HD.

  11. Lately the picture of the young Hugh Banton in the sleeve of “The Least We Could Do…” keeps popping into my head apropos of nothing.

    • Pete says:

      …well, apropos of a guy called Miguel from Tijuana having a mysteriously strong grasp of vernacular English ;o)
      Pete, from Los Angeles (with a hard ‘g’)


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