Void City


Friends & Relations Vol. 3 (1985) by Hawkwind.

Unless you assiduously collect everything you’ve ever worked on—which I don’t—you occasionally have to rely on the web to remind you of something you created years ago. This Hawkwind album is a good example, being one of the last releases by the band to use a piece of my artwork. (And I’ll quickly note that the accompanying type design was nothing to do with me; my design suggestions were always ignored, hence a growing frustration at that time with album cover work.) The album itself was the third in a series of odds and ends compilations gathering stray tracks by, yes, friends and relations of Mr Brock and co. Subsequent CD reissues used different packaging so the original vinyl is the only place you’ll see this illustration.

The reason I don’t have a copy is that the record label never sent me anything so unless Dave Brock put something in the post I had to buy them myself. (This happens more often than you’d expect.) I evidently didn’t think this one was worth it even though I much prefer the artwork to many of the earlier things of mine that were used. The drawing was a couple of years old, being inspired by the track Void City on the Choose Your Masques album from 1982. Void City is an atypical piece of electronica which I liked for its resemblance to some of the higher level synth pop and industrial music that was around in the early 1980s. 1982 to ’84 was the height of my JG Ballard obsession so Ballard is also a slight influence here. I had in mind his 1981 novel Hello America, which takes place in a post-apocalypse United States. And there’s also a trace influence from one of my early pieces of writing, a mercifully unpublished splurge of intense prose influenced by the New Worlds school of speculative fiction in which someone wanders around a vast and almost completely depopulated city. Looking at this drawing now it seems emblematic of my loss of interest in doing any kind of science fiction art; it also no longer seems futuristic. I produced my last album cover for Hawkind, The Chronicle of the Black Sword, in 1985; in January 1986 I started adapting HP Lovecraft’s The Haunter of the Dark. This took me out of the public eye for a few years but it was a more rewarding place to be for many other reasons.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The album covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Hawk things
The Sonic Assassins
New things for July