Friend, hero and photographer Joe Stevens sends me gems from his archive occasionally; this shot of the graphics master Barney Bubbles with counterculture mover and shaker Jon Trux was taken at a Hawkwind gig in one of the underpasses of the newly erected Westway in the summer of 1971.
It was among the images Bubbles assembled in one of his brilliant record packages, the fold-out sleeve for Hawkwind’s second album, X In Search Of Space.
Stevens remembers Bubbles putting together the record cover in the offices of Frendz, the underground magazine to which he contributed, particularly in its initial incarnation as Friends. The publication – Stevens was house photographer – occupied premises next door to 307 Portobello Road, where Bubbles based his Teenburger design studio in the late 60s.
Trux was Frendz editor and an important figure in the British underground; he also staged the gigs under the Westway and was central to the Greasy Truckers, a loosely organised mob he and the late Louise FitzGerald ran out of 293 Portobello Road (once home to I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet and in the late 90s a branch of Johnson’s The Modern Outfitter).
The Greasy Truckers put on live performances and events and are commemorated on a couple of vinyl compilations which were put together with the energetic scenester Dave “Boss” Goodman. I cherish my copy of the 1973 Live At Dingwall’s Dance Hall, recorded at the Camden Town venue not long after it opened. Is it still going? The last time I went there – ten or so years ago – I had a horrible time but in it’s day (the 70s) it was a fabulous hive of activity.
What was great about Greasy Truckers, Trux and Hawkwind – still going strong by the way with Dave Brock at the helm – was that they didn’t run and hide from the establishment of the motorway which cut a brutal swathe through their west London neighbourhood. Five years ahead of The Clash they adapted the bleak street level spaces under the bypass to suit their needs as Ballardian backdrops for spaced out, drugged up gatherings.