Radio Free Hookland 23rd December 1973
Hookland art by Maria Strutz
Hookland created by David Southwell
Radio Free Hookland : December 23rd 1973
by The Ephemeral Man
“There are a lot of radio freaks in Hookland. Dial twisting to tape number stations. Following rumours of dead frequencies where signals bleeding from lost pasts or futures might come through. Even dark station junkies who claim the dead are in shortwave static. – #MattAdams, 1980”
On Tuesday November 13th 1973, Morris “Mojo” Johnson was admitted to Weychester General hospital, to be diagnosed with and treated for Legionnaires’ disease. Johnson made a full recovery and was back on the air at Radio Free Hookland from the 3rd January 1974, but that meant that in all there were 51 nights of the “Mojo’s Graveyard Shift” slot that had to be filled. Broadcast engineer Thomas Giles was tasked with picking archived Graveyard Shift episodes to re-run. Listeners were treated to many classic sessions including one by Tumulus, two by Broken Minds (one when the band had just changed its name to The Rabble), and no less than six strange happenings by Dave Padbury and his band Phase Generators (who would later become Phase Count).
However, on 23rd December, Thomas decided to air something different. An amateur radio enthusiast, his pride and joy was a R1155 radio receiver used in an Avro Lancaster Bomber during the second world war, which he had kitted out in the back of his 1968 Ford Transit Custom Mk1 Camper van. He often roamed Hookland for sweet spots where various strange transmissions might be picked up, favouring coastal areas or the Straker Hills. The recording Giles played that night was a confusion of static, music, report, fiction, and lifestyle.
The station received a large volume of complaints from confused listeners who demanded to know what they had been subjected to. Many thought it an elaborate hoax – the broadcast seemed to include sounds from the past, present, and future – whilst others believed there to be important information encoded in the broadcast, perhaps transmitted by alien or transdimensional beings. Several listeners reported “uncanny” feelings during and after listening. When questioned by the Hookland Messenger, Thomas Giles gave a statement insisting that the broadcast was a direct recording of a continuous transmission picked up on his R1155 radio receiver and had not been doctored in any way other than to overlay periodic “Radio Free Hookland” audio idents throughout for airing.
The broadcast was never repeated, and Giles kept the original recording (and, apparently, many others like it) to himself until his sudden demise in an unfortunate home inferno in 1975. However, several cassette recordings were made on the night of the broadcast, and it is through the preservation of one of these that I am able to present the recording in its entirety to you now.
00:00:07 – Re-enchantment audio ident by Lee Williams
00:01:18 – The King Tide by Dark Leaves
00:07:53 – Emily Banting by Phil Hine
00:09:53 – Walking in the Sun by Tumulus
00:16:55 – Vibrations on Sea II by Bellprover
00:25:04 – Bounce audio ident by Richard Andrews
00:29:24 – The Queen of Owls by Maria Strutz
00:30:11 – Goodnight Goliath by Richard Andrews
00:33:39 – Circuit Variations • Hookland Winter by l.m.n.s. / Nathan Downs
00:47:42 – Other Half audio ident by Richard Andrews
00:50:59 – Chapel by Andy Aquarius
01:02:40 – Emily Banting by Phil Hine
01:03:23 – Tommy Dodd by Richard Andrews
01:09:54 – Crawling in the Moorland by Tumulus
01:15:29 – Incidental Music from episode 4 of the 1971 Hookland Associated Television
children’s TV series ‘Beyond The Barrow’ by Wesley Wakefield
01:19:07 – Emily Banting by Phil Hine
01:20:01 – RFH1/Machine audio idents by Richard Andrews
Download (incl. full liner notes PDF)
The Ephemeral Man
Lee recommends these folklore and magick-related roleplaying games:
(pretty much Hookland/Repton in game form)
I’m Patrick Aston and also Dark Leaves. Dark Leaves is a solo project creating alternative folk songs of the land and sea where I live, on the West Cornwall coast. I’m married to Sharon who’s an incredible photographer. We have 2 grown up children; our son is working in the music business, having just finished a degree in Music Business last year, and our daughter is at Uni doing a medical degree.
My music is earthy and atmospheric but also quite dark and on the alternative side of folk. I combine acoustic guitar playing with electronic and drone influenced soundscapes and hypnotic beats to make Dark Leaves.
My song writing inspiration comes primarily from being here at home in Cornwall. The sense of place I feel here is above all else and created by many memories, feelings, and emotive bonds. The folklore of Cornwall’s seas, woods, moors, hills and pagan seasonal festivals is an endless source. Another source of inspiration comes from the wonderful ‘Hookland’ twitter account. There are 2 songs on my new album that are 100% inspired by Hookland; ‘The King Tide’ and ‘The Queen of Owls’. The very lovely David Southwell (Pah! He would say), who discovered Hookland, co-wrote the lyrics of ‘The King Tide’ with me, via a fantastic poem he sent. Hookland is really the only reason I have Twitter. Hookland is always close by, just an altered memory away. It’s just around the corner of the lane or just over the hedge when I’m out walking the dogs at night. It’s in the fields, in the powerlines, in the cliffs and under the sea…
Phil Hine is an occult author and independent researcher. His latest obsessions can be read at http://enfolding.org He currently has 4 books in print, available direct from the publisher: http://originalfalcon.com/products.php?a=phil_hine#section_books…
By the time of the Starfall Free Festival in 1972, Tumulus were already no more. Founder member Gordon Stranger was in the midst of his odyssey in the wilderness and would not form Kraut-sludge chancers Bogquake for another year.
Tumulus had formed in the heady summer of 1969, essentially the group consisted of guitarist and singer; Stranger, multi-instrumentalist; Pat ‘Flowers’ Bouquet and a rolling cast of hangers on and camp-followers drawn from the hazy depths of the Hookland underground. Although Stranger made great efforts to align himself with the enigmatic Pylon People, many think this was as much posturing as a true commitment to The Hum.
In April of 1971, with his typical disregard for the consequences, Stranger poured all his savings into a day’s studio time at Ashcourt’s Fractal Sunrise Studios. Gathering their instruments and whoever was around Stranger and Bouquet recorded these two acid folk/spaghetti western homages to the Hum and to the folklore of Hookland. ‘Walking in the Sun’ and ‘Crawling in the Moorland’ were both based around the 50Hz mains hum that pervaded the ramshackle studios and, rather than try to irradicate it, the group used it as an underlying drone on both tracks.
At the end of the day the group emerged believing that they had tapped into both the Hum and the zeitgeist but it was not to be. Despite shopping the tapes around every label in the county, Stranger was unable to find anyone willing to press the single. It was eventually released as a 7” in Germany in the mid-1980s, but by then Stranger had already vanished again and the rest of the group had faded into family life and relative normality.
It is not known if any of the twenty-five 7” singles survive but Gordon’s son, Gary, recently unearthed the originally masters whilst searching his father’s archive in preparation for the Null shows he played in 2016 and here they are. The last and only document of Tumulus.
Bellprover is an electronic music project from musician/producer/DJ and curator of The Sonik Youth Club Douglas E. Powell. Over the past 2 years Bellprover has become Douglas’s main musical focus and direction. Placing to one side his band The Rising Spirit, acoustic guitar and notebook of lyrical ideas in favour of the Korg Monologue Monophonic Analogue Synthesizer and collection of vintage effects pedals.
I have always had a fascination with electronic soundscapes, metronomic rhythms and weird sound effects, so after a series of collaborations and the release of the 2018 Seatman & Powell, Broken Folk EP (KS Audio/Belbury) featuring myself, Keith Seatman and Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly/Ghost Box Records) and the 2019 Keith Seatman LP Time To Dream But Never Seen (Castles in Space), where I contributed a series of poems to accompany Keith’s soundtrack. I began to start composing my own music as Bellprover.
During the first UK lockdown (2020) I had no live shows to play so I concentrated my time on putting together a home studio and started working on some ideas that eventually became to six tracks now available via Bandcamp.
I use mostly use analogue recording techniques, layering live multiple synths tracks and sound effects over basic drum machine patterns and looped sequences. I’ve never used a computer to record, mix or edit, I’ve never really needed or wanted to. I’m comfortable using my cutting edge early 90’s technology.
The track I have selected for you to play is Vibration On-Sea. A track inspired and influenced growing up a teenager and young adult in the UK seaport city of Portsmouth. Let’s take shelter from this South Westerly gale in one of the many dilapidated Victorian wind shelters along the promenade at Southsea where the ghosts of a long forgotten imagined Victorian opulence mingle with the smell of urine, salt spray and pealing layers of lead paint. Sit a while, behold the view. On a clear day you can just about make out the Isle of Wight. Did you know, they set fire to South Parade Pier whilst filming Tommy. You always tell me that when we sit here. Do I? I’m so sorry.
Download tracks by BELLPROVER at www.bellprover.bandcamp.com
“When he’s not leading a SEN Forest School, Richard Andrews researches local history, folklore, legends and landscape on a protracted, trickster-tormented psychogeographical quest.”
Maria Strutz is an artist, printmaker, sculptor and translator. Frequently communing with the Queen of Owls in Hookland. Some of her work can be found at her shop: https://maria-strutz.onlineweb.shop
The Hookland pieces came about quite naturally initially, I had been learning how to “make” music last year in lockdown. I’ve always been a fan of ambient music and have known David for a few years now; I absolutely love what he has created with the county of Hookland, and wanted to add something once I’d gotten the hang of mixing etc. I’m not a musician, producer (it’s strictly amateur night!) but it’s a nice distraction to go and make some sounds and a means of keeping myself from too much inertia..
Born in Staffordshire, studied art and lived in Edinburgh for most of my adult life, moved to Liverpool a few years ago. I gave up painting and exhibiting full time in 2003, by the time my second child was born and had to take up more economically rewarding employment as most of us have to 🙂 somehow I found myself in advertising/magazine publishing and worked for many years with airlines, which meant a serious amount of travel and a lot of constant motion. I have lived and worked in Amsterdam, Mexico, Thailand, Singapore, Gozo (off and on since 2015) and have been really so lucky in all areas of my life, a long lasting marriage, two wonderful children and some very old and close friendships.
I had a number of motorcycle accidents over the years (turns out I’m not Steve McQueen!) and the last one seriously damaged discs in my neck and spine, which has meant reduced movement in my right arm and my ability to paint and draw as well as I used to, I trained in sculpture and I’ve been mulling over, rough sketching ideas for some site specific installations here in Liverpool, and the Hookland sound pieces are probably going to figure as an integral part of that.
Hookland Soundscapes (Mediafire download)
My name is Andy. I’m a multi-instrumentalist and singer with German and Croatian roots. I’m performing on a self-built Celtic Harp (Andy Aquarius), record ambient music (Ozbolt) and play in a psychedelic rock band (Swan Valley Heights). I sometimes do film scores and appear in other bands and projects on different instruments. I have an email newsletter titled ‘The Aquarian Herald’ that I send out every 2-3 months or so and you should definitely sign up: firstname.lastname@example.org, I’m giving updates on my creative work but also add plenty of tips & tricks on how to survive the New Age.
Wesley Wakefield, was the in-house composer for many of Hookland Associated Television’s (H.A.T.) programmes. His compositions often blended traditional acoustic instruments with early monophonic synths and were noted for their repetitive minimalism. He had famously applied for a position at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in 1962, but was turned down for being ‘too folky’, a lost opportunity he resented and bitterly complained about until his untimely death by electrocution while working in his home studio.