Pete Astor has been a staple of the British indie scene since the early ’80s, fronting a diverse number of outfits including the Loft, the Weather Prophets, the Wisdom Of Harry and Ellis Island Sound. He launched a solo career in 1990, as well, and is also a senior lecturer in music at the University of Westminster. Astor’s latest release is One For The Ghost (Tapete). He’ll be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week, writing about the origins of these songs and how they relate to the LP’s theme of past and future, complete with illustrations he created with Susanne Ballhausen.
Astor: Full disclosure: A couple of years ago, this happened. So, you may have to forgive me for how much of this guest editorship has been about the dreaded past. But, remember, the worlds that everyone share, no matter how different their histories are. Something happens in people’s brains around the age of 13 or 14—it could be chemical, it could be cultural; it’s probably both. But this seems to be the time when your musical brain gets formed. I remember our maths teacher organising a school trip to see Hawkwind at Clacton Town Hall. By the way, there was no “maths” element to the trip, and I’m so glad that there was no health and safety to ban the experience. I think that probably nailed it for me.
Lemmy was still in the band, and to see him puffing on a big cigarette when they came onstage was enough to signpost me towards a world of endless possibilities. I knew then that Hawkwind were part of the same team that I had been reading about in On The Road, the same outsiderdom that Arthur Rimbaud inhabited—all of it, the great alternative to something or other. And it probably started all of this.
Hawkwind and more in the One For The Ghost DNA: