Robert Calvert

Arthur Brown

> He was, as are many artists, a mixture of dare-devil irresponsibility in his life, and responsibility to his art.
This bright-eyed exuberant child energied cynical fellow was full of enthusiasm. He was a true artist to my mind, beleagured by life's onslaught, and confused by its vagaries.
This lead to a hilarious but alarming incident.
He had himself committed to one of our then fashionable mental-homes. When he came out he came to visit me.

His red hair had been cut to 1/4 inch. He sportred black leathers and wore black flying boots. He had been subjected to chemicals and shock treatment.
He was still speeding out of his skull.
It put me in mind of Vivian Stanshall, leader of the Bonzo Dog Band. A year previously he, being subjected to depressions and mystical symbols, committed himself also to the same mental home. When he came out, his red hair was also 1/4 inch long. He too sported black leathers and flying boots. I wondered if it were some effect of the shock treatment that made them seem like unlikely artistic twins - especially as they both carried rather snazzy black briefcases. <


Arthur Brown recalling the incident when he introduced
Calvert to Stanshall at the latter one's home:

Viv Stanshall - live w. the Bonzo Dog Band on German TV> I determined to introduce them. One early afternoon found me taking Robert to visit Vivian's suburban domicile "Chez Gevêra" (as Vivian's signpost announced). We entered and were met by Viv's wife who entertained us with information about Vivian's turtles.
I must preface the incident by saying that Vivian was one of the most fearlessly rude persons I have ever met. He could insult anyone deliciously, and seemed to take delight in it. Robert was no slouch in this area either. So I thought, being both artists of a like temperament, they might understand each other.
I stayed downstairs, listening to turtle-news, while Robert went up. He had been up there less than a minute when we heard a dreadful commotion.
There was the sound of breaking glass. Through the downstairs window I could see something flying across the lawn - obviously thrown through the upstairs window. Suddenly, Robert appeared, running speedily down the stairs with Vivian in close pursuit. Vivian shouted: "And don't you ever come back again!", as Robert scampered hastily down the path.
So much for artistic camaraderie!

Apart from this, I worked with Robert on Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters. I don't remember much about it, except he gave me free rein melodically, whilst requiring an accurate performance of the text - i.e. he gave me the backing tape in the studio and said 'Sing to this one'.<

Asked by Lee Broughton on the same subject, Brown replied:
It was because we did various concerts in the early days when Hawkwind were just starting out. In those days, they would support Kingdom Come.
Robert just liked our theatre and we got to know each other. He was real fun.
A real artist - if you know what I mean - in the classical idea of what an artist is.'

more infos on ARTHUR BROWN
- an extended outline of his career up to his newest activities -
with more contributions by Lee Broughton -

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