Archives for category: Peter Hammill

Untitled digital photograph, 2012

Untitled digital photograph, 2012

On Friday, fog became irresistible as a subject. There were a few days the week before where everything was swathed in a thick mist, but I was ignoring weather at that point. When I finally decided I could do something with the fog, I waited too long and it had dissipated. Probably a lucky escape – pictures of foggy London, anyone?

Contempt, 2012

Garage, 2012

Sleeper, 2012

Commuter, 2012

Nobody’s Business is the fourth track on Peter Hammill’s 1975 album, Nadir’s Big Chance. Nadir was my way in to Peter Hammill and Van der Graaf Generator’s work. I’d admired the record sleeves for a long time before – they were outlandish and ugly in some ways, but I loved their rejection of “normal” imagery, and I was sure the music would reflect this obtuseness. I listened to Nadir’s Big Chance twice before deciding it wasn’t for me. A bit too seventies, and a bit well not exactly proggy but pretty difficult to listen to. I put the album aside for a good year and got on with my life. Then I got ill and spent a lot of time in bed, listening to old CDs and Nadir somehow made it to the top of the pile. Argh, I thought as I listened to the first track, this again, but track two, The Institute of Mental Health, Burning was just the right side of strange-sounding and had laugh out loud lyrics. It was the lyrics that hooked me. They were written by Chris Judge Smith to whom I am very grateful, because I listened to the track over and over, and eventually made the leap to listening to and then loving the whole album (and from there the whole of Peter Hammill’s catalogue and everything by Van der Graaf Generator). You can read more about the album here.

Shutters, 2012

Rapt, 2012

On the corner of City Road, opposite the entrance to the police station, stood a wooden billboard. The day before, he was certain it had advertised British Gas. Today it read, “Morning Worms,” in foot-high, san serif capitals.

Golden Promises is the first track on Peter Hammill’s 1980 album, A Black Box. You can read more about the album at – it’s a massive and lovely resource jam-packed with lyrics, interviews, videos, and audio clips.

Still Life #1, 2012 (digital print)

Untitled digital photograph, 2012

I don’t think Peter Hammill, Van der Graaf Generator’s singer and main songwriter, ever wrote a song about fruit. He’s written about oysters, octopus, squid, but not fruit (feel free to correct me). The song Still Life is a science fiction short story condensed into seven minutes and twenty-four seconds and explores the horrors of eternal life.

Still Life is the second track on Van der Graaf Generator’s 1976 album, Still Life. You can read more about it here.


All the above pictures are of a bookwork called 16: Fear of Flying (1991), which was produced in an edition of 10. There was only the one hardback version, the rest came wrapped in black plastic, sealed with a date sticker.

Flight (comprising: Flying Blind, The White Cane Fandango, Control, Cockpit, Silk-Worm Wings, and A Black Box) is the eighth track on Peter Hammill’s 1980 album, A Black Box. You can read more about it here.