Radio Free Hookland 23rd December 1973

Hookland art by Maria Strutz
https://maria-strutz.onlineweb.shop/

Hookland created by David Southwell
https://twitter.com/HooklandGuide

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

Wyzrd

Lee Williams

Lee recommends these folklore and magick-related roleplaying games:
https://www.modiphius.net/collections/liminal 
(pretty much Hookland/Repton in game form)
https://freeleaguepublishing.com/en/games/vaesen/
https://ospreypublishing.com/romance-of-the-perilous-land
http://thedeesanction.com/

Patrick Aston

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…

BandcampTwitter

Phil Hine

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…

Twitter

Tumulus

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.

Twitter

Bellprover

 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

Richard Andrews

“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.”

Twitter

Maria Strutz

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

Twitter

Nathan Downs

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)

Twitter

Andy Aquarius

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: touch@andyaquarius.com, I’m giving updates on my creative work but also add plenty of tips & tricks on how to survive the New Age.

https://www.andyaquarius.com/

https://linktr.ee/aquarianrenegade

Wesley Wakefield

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.

The Phoenix Guide to Strange England – County by County: Hookland by David Southwell

Best experienced in the PDF zine

The Greencoat’s Truckle, Worstow

Hookland adores motorbikes. Possibly it’s an addiction to the excitement and the permissive freedom promised by the motorcycle. Possibly it’s the practical solution offered to the twisting, narrow roads of a largely rural county. Whatever the cause, the vehicle has seemed to fascinate many Hooklanders since the frothing press coverage given to the first Merryweather Fire Engine bike to be driven from London to Ashourt in 1889.

The Coreham Motorcycle Club founded in 1904 was one of the first of its kind established in England and until recent years, the county boasted three motorcycle manufacturers. The Hookland Victory Motorcycle Company built and sold its first vehicle in 1898 from premises at 195-197 Stonegate Road in Hook, while the Cottering & Niven Motor Company in Ashcourt was founded in 1916 to help meet wartime demand for two-wheeled troop transport. The county’s most successful motorbike maker remains Mordant-Zephon, also based on the outskirts of Ashcourt.

The county was an early adopter of utilising motorbikes for entertainment. In 1913, the first Hookland Time Trophy race was run on a hazardous course across the roads of Barrowcross, while in 1928 it got its first Wall of Death at the Coliseum amusement park in Brighthaven. By 1929, it boasted its first speedway team – the Ashcourt Lions – and its first crash-helmeted sporting ghost in the shape of Johnny Mains the same year.

Yet the escalating number of phantom riders that seemed to accrete on the highways and lanes of Hookland did little to dissuade a large number of young county folk who wanted to make a career out of their motorcycle passion. Among them was Romy Burland. When the organisers of 1932 Hookland Time Trophy race refused to let her compete on the grounds she did not meet the minimum weight requirement (a requirement they brought in an attempt exclude female competitors) she disguised herself and adopted the identity of a man to enter the competition. After coming fifth on her bike ‘the Sweet Machine’, but being disqualified when she revealed who she really was, Romy was recruited to the Lion’s speedway team as a ‘masked rider’ called Billy Brimstone – though everyone in the sport seemed to know it was her behind the darkened visor.

Burland helped the Lion’s reach the top of their sport when in 1936 and 1937 they raced at Wembley Stadium in the World Championship of Speedway. She was retired from the Lions in 1938 after pressure from the Auto-cycle Union which governed the sport. They complained of her ‘scandalous behaviour’ after the Sunday People and several other newspapers ran speculative stories about her relationships and alleged fondness for prescription cocaine. Asked about this, Burland famously quipped:

‘They got rid of me because they couldn’t handle the fact I’m the only rider with three cigarette cards – one for Billy Brimstone, one for the fastest women time trialist and one depicting my head-to-head with Fay Taylor.’

Burland also achieved a modicum of notoriety as founder of the most well-known of the county’s female motorcycle clubs – the Hookland Hellions.

During World War II, Burland was a motorcycle courier for the Women’s Royal Navy Service (WRNS also known as the Wrens). She was awarded the British Empire Medal when during one run from the blitzed capitol to Ashcourt, she was blown off her bike by a Luftwaffe bombing raid and despite suffering a broken shoulder, ran the last mile to her destination to deliver a dispatch. It was during another London-Ashcourt run that Romy Burland suffered a fatal high-speed crash on a 342cc Triumph while coming down a narrow lane near Long Lavington in the north east of the county.

Possibly due to her fame, possibly due to Hookland’s love of motorbikes, Romy Burland is one of those figures whose ghost is said to be seen in several different locations. Aside from the site of her death, where many have reported hearing the phantom roar of a bike at high speed or a sickening tearing of metal and rending of flesh, up until its closure, some racegoers and staff at the Lion’s old stadium swore they saw Romy in her Billy Brimstone disguise wandering among the other racers in the pits. Romy’s presence is also detected at The Greencoat’s Truckle pub at Worstow, much favoured as a destination for excursions by the Hookland Hellions.

An 18th century timber building, whose white wooden boards make it stand out from the strident green bordering of the main road in and out of Worstow, even in the 1930s The Greencoat’s Truckle was a popular destination for cyclists as well as two and four-wheeled motorists wanting to escape to the countryside for a drink. Rather than the ghost of Romy herself, the pub’s carpark is seemingly visited by the apparition of her favourite motorbike – a 500cc Mordant-Zephon Star. Current landlord of the establishment Jimmie Wilson told the Guide:

“We often have non-locals come into the bar and ask who the lovely old bike belongs to. They get a bit of a shock when I point at the picture in the lounge of Romy and the other Hellions posing beside their bikes from the 1930s and tell them the machine belongs to Burland. We know it’s hers as a lot of folk say they’ve seen a conker in a black silk stocking tied to the handlebars. That was her personal lucky charm and she used it in every race she had. Of course, when they go back out into the carpark it has always disappeared.”

However, the form of haunting by Burland that causes most surprise seems linked to a memorial statue of her outside the walls of her ancestral home at Greywood. The life-sized bronze of her atop a motorcycle is a striking landmark that appears to be racing parallel to the road. More than one person has stopped their car to admire the effigy only to feel someone come up behind them and hear them and declare:

“Great isn’t it? Just a crying shame they got the bike wrong. I rode a Star not a bloody Norton International.”

When they turn around there is no-one there, though some do report a lingering smell of Guerlain Shalimar and hot oil.

David Southwell is an author of several published books on true crime and conspiracies, which have been translated into a dozen languages.

However, these days, he mostly writes about place.

Twitter:      Hookland     Repton

Wyrd Daze Lvl.4 **** The Phoenix Guide to Strange England: Hookland

Best experienced in the PDF zine

The Black Cattle of Barrowcross, Northmoor Track, Barrowcross

Most outsiders to Barrowcross and Hookland tend to snigger when they see a picture or catch wild glimpse of the moor’s Black Cattle as they are in fact white-coated and red-eared. Kinder Hooklanders, able to tolerate the one-sided laughter of humour long lost in repetition, may explain that it is more than just the county’s noted sense of irony behind the name. Many etymologists believe the Black derives from the Anglo-Saxon blac – meaning pale or white. An angular, primitive breed with a pronounced sloping rump, the Black Cattle of Barrowcross are one of the rarest and oldest breeds extant in England. Semi-feral, the animals are similar to other small herds scattered across the country known as White Park cattle, which experts speculate hold resemblance to and share heritage with extinct aurochs. In recent years, the distinctive porcelain colouring of the Black as well as their graceful, upward curving horns shared by both males and females, have made them a favourite subject of postcards from south-western end of the county.

Bos taurus and shade

To allow tourists to observe the animals without causing disruption to their habitat or placing travellers at undue risk, the Barrowcross National Park Authority have created a number of lay-bys off of the Northmoor Track road which cuts across the northern top of the moor. These viewing areas themselves have become much photographed themselves thank to the somewhat unusual signage placed at them. Alongside the expected reiteration of Park rules, prohibitions against feeding and other interactions with the cattle as well as some history on the breed and its place in local folklore, the signs also proclaim: ‘The cattle are under the protection of the Faerie Court. The National Park Authority is not responsible for any curses you may incur due to aggravating the noble animals and their unseen guardians.’ When the author of the Guide rang Elizabeth Wadsworth, the Public Relations Manager for the Nation Park, to ask about the curious wording on the sign, they were told: ‘It is obvious you are not from around here. It means what it means. The faeries look after their own. You can put it down to whimsical humour if you wish, but there’s no explanation needed and we won’t comment further.’ There is no doubting that the Black Cattle have a niche not only in the unusual ecology of Barrowcross, but in the crowded fields of Hookland folklore. Also known as the Old King’s cows and faery-rides, it is said that the red colouring of their ears comes from being gripped by invisible sprites who are carried on them at night. Their entwinement with the Otherfolk is longstanding, with claims made that the current herd originates from a pair of the beasts given to the Grimp family in pre-Norman antiquity by the Queen of the Summer Court. In ale establishments close to the Northmoor Track, it is still possible to catch some suggestion among the oldest of pub uncles that Alfred Grimp released his draught oxen and milking cattle into the wild care of Barrowcross in 1913 after ‘consulting with the faeries’.

David Southwell is an author of several published books on true crime and conspiracies, which have been translated into a dozen languages. However, these days, he mostly writes about place.

Twitter:      Hookland     Repton

Wyrd Daze Lvl.4 *** The Phoenix Guide to Strange England: Hookland

Best experienced in the PDF zine

Thanks To The French King, Ashcourt

As anyone reading more than a few pages of this guide will be able to tell, Hookland has a surfeit of odd drinking establishments. Some hint at their history in paint cracking across the swell and contraction of wooden sign. Others tell a tale just by their location, for even in this peculiar county there is still some surprise in finding a pub in a church, necropolis or lighthouse. There is also a third way for a tavern to signal its strangeness and that is in its name. It is to this later category that Thanks To The French King falls.

Located within the docklands of Ashcourt that wear dirt and the roughness of constant industry upon its streets, Thanks To The French King is an obvious architectural reminder of an earlier period of the port’s history. Behind a high brick wall lies a stone courtyard and a much rejigged, three-storey building that has fooled some pseudo-historians into believing it must have once been a galleried coaching inn or an inn-yard theatre. However, the structure was originally part of a French embassy established in Ashcourt during the 15th century. Considered sovereign soil with all the rights that traditionally go with it, the status of the embassy ran into a labyrinth of legality during the French Revolution. It was accepted as being both the property of the dead Louis XVI and retaining its position as French territory, but not under the control of the French authorities. When the courts of the county did not recognise the claim of the Capetian dynasty’s claim to it in 1814, permission was granted to the Ashcourt Port Authority to manage the estate until a valid claimant to the French throne was established. They then rented it out to William Wren who cannily turned it into a tavern and took full advantage of its status as foreign territory. Wren quickly asserted that as sovereign soil, no revenue officer nor other official of justice could enter his establishment or its courtyard without permission. Overnight this made his tavern popular with all manner of roguery.

Through a decade-spanning series of legal actions, Wren further upheld the rights to disavow a number of laws usually constricting any landlord. Those early 19th century tussles have echoed into the now and confirmed a range of legal loopholes which are still fully exploited. Thanks To The French King is the only pub in England that has ignored all licensing laws and been able to remain open for 24-hours for at least 150 years, even during both World Wars. The official recognition that there are a several feet of France in county still causes much cheer for dockers finishing a shift at 4am and seeking out a celebratory pint or two. The inability for the police to enter it without permission, which in practice is almost always granted, but usually not instantly, meant it was known during wartime as the ‘Kingdom of Spivs’. Its extra-legal status making it a perfect base for them to operate from. The establishment also has a long history of being frequented by some of more colourful magic users of the county, as being foreign territory, it was considered neutral ground by cunning folk.

The anomaly that current patrons and landlord have most reason to give thanks for is the exemption from excise on all ale resold in the premises. The name of the pub itself not only celebrates all these benefits, but is taken from a twice daily ritual observed by those drinking there. At noon and 10:30pm – the traditional times of pub opening and closing under the 1914 Defence of the Realm Act – when all patrons are called upon by a ringing bell to stand and raise a toast of thanks to the French king. The enthusiasm for this practice has never been eroded since it was initiated in 1916. Those wishing to visit it should note the pub enjoys a lively, diverse clientele and as such is an unsuitable place to bring young children into.

David Southwell is an author of several published books on true crime and conspiracies, which have been translated into a dozen languages. However, these days, he mostly writes about place.

Twitter:      Hookland     Repton