Friday, 21 December 2012

Church of Hawkwind - Saying Goodbye to Huw Lloyd-Langton

Graham's look back on yesterday's funeral for guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton, held in Stalbridge, Dorset..

I first saw Huw play guitar with Hawkwind on the highly-rated 1979 tour. That was the tour that spawned the "Live Seventy Nine" album (believe it or not), and Huw's return to the band made a helluva difference to the band's sound. It was his guitaring on the 1980 "Levitation" album that prompts many Hawkwind fans to rate it as one of the best albums, if not the best, that Hawkwind have ever done.

It was a severely wet drive from North Devon, under dark skies on almost the shortest day of the year, for me to see his final appearance.

Some music was playing in the background as we took our seats in the pews. Being somewhat unused to churches, I was looking around at the fluted pillars and arches (built around 1390, by the way, when Richard II was on the throne) and generally taking stock, when I realised "Space Chase" (from the "Levitation" album) was playing! Strange hearing Hawkwind being played in a Church of England parish church - but then, Huw was a Christian.

[The above is a stock photo, as it was requested by the family that cameras were not used at the service.]

The service proper got off to a fairly conventional start.

There were some Scripture pieces and that one from Corinthians (13:4) that sounds like "The Black Corridor" narrative. (Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not envious or boastful...)

Then a tribute from Kris Tait (Kris Brock) and a performance of Huw's "Dragons & Fables" by Dead Fred (of Inner City Unit) and sung by Mr Dibs

Tributes by Andrew Briggs and Huw's daughter Kirsty followed.  Where I was sitting, I had difficulty hearing - it's quite a big church for such a small town - but I remember Kirsty's reminisce included a mysterious reference to a gobstopper (known as a jawbreaker in the US). We then listened to "Amazing Grace".

Dave Brock then gave a tribute, sounding just like he does on-stage or on radio interviews: laid-back and comfortably cheerful. It was kind of weird hearing that oft-heard voice in such an unaccustomed setting.

In reference to Huw, Brock declared, "He's 'up there' now! With Calvert [vox]... with John Harrison [bass]... and Jason Stuart [keys]!  They'll be wanting a drummer next...!"

He then said he was going to sing "Hurry on Sundown" and invited us all to sing too. As a song inside a church it works very well, of course. Huw didn't write it, but he often performed it onstage. The last time he did so was at Sidmouth Folk Festival a few months ago, alongside Dave Brock.

Some prayers followed. I was amused to find I didn't need to refer to the Order of Service for the words to "The Lord's Prayer," whereas for "Hurry on Sundown" I did have to glance down at it a few times, for my line cues. (A bit embarassing, as I was one of those wearing a Hawkwind t-shirt, and should know the words to a Hawkwind song that's been around for 44 years!)

Then Dead Fred played keyboard piano for "When the Saints Go Marching In" and it was a very jaunty version... we were all singing it and over half clapped along as well. Soundwise, it was kind of like those evangelical events seen in parts of America, and at the end there was a general cheer and applause.

And, after that high point, it was time for the Rev. William Ridding to conduct the commendation and committal... and then the coffin, topped with a wreath in the shape of a guitar,  was conveyed out of the church for cremation.

Farewell, Huw.

The above vid is Huw's appearance with Dave back in August, doing "Hurry on Sundown".


  1. Hello, this is Kirsty, Huw's daughter, This was my speech (as you didnt hear it) so you know what the gobstopper thing was all about!

    First of all, on behalf of me and my mum I would like to thank you all for coming.My dad,How do you begin to find words about the loss of someone you held so close in your heart?I will try...I was and always have been a daddies girl, I can remember when I was very young and we lived in Woodingdean, Brighton, my dad sitting on the sofa watching snooker with a roll up in hand and me next to hi with my head on his shoulder watching it too - I didn't understand it, but I wanted to be near him and like what he liked.Dad was the most loving, caring, thoughtful and kind father anyone could have, he taught me so much about life, and I could go to him with anything. His love of all animals has passed down to me and I was always amazed that he could capture the heart of any animal - big or small.Dad was and always will be my hero, he always made me laugh when I was down. He picked me up when I was at a low - I can remember one time he came over to one of my flats after I had been on the phone to him upset about something or other, I opened the door and there he was stood there with his cheeky grin handing me over an everlasting gobstopper - it had to be the biggest one I have ever seen!! Needless to say but I never did finish it!I am so proud of my dad, for who he was and what he stood for and for what he has achieved.I love him some much and I know that he loved me too. I am so proud to stand here and say he was my dad and I am his daughter.Again, I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who have come here today to celebrate in his life, but most of all I would like to say thanks to my dad.Thank you for everything, I love you.God Speed

  2. Hi, Kirsty.

    Such a beautiful and personal eulogy that could only come from someone so close to the amazing soul that was Huw. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wonderful report from Graham with a deeply honest and emotional reply from Kirsty of which any father would be proud. Yes, important and edifying stuff - many thanks to both of you.

  4. Hello kirsty, Had the great pleasure to speak to your dad several times at his gigs, he always made time to acknowledge his fans in a friendly way ....he will be missed so much ..i feel so privileged to have met him just for those few minutes each time..god bless him and you . steve a fan.


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