they a hippy band with a loony
saxophonist? When I bought the album and heard the lyrics
to all the songs, I realised that this was imagination and creativity
well beyond most banal pop song lyricists.
A little research
uncovered earlier Hawkwind / Calvert records, and the wonderful
solo albums Captain
Lockheed and the Starfighters & Lucky
Leif and the Longships.
These two albums
are timeless. I still listen to them and smile - picturing the situation
with the confounded
Right Stuff and Ejection
I will hold dear forever.
In late 1982
I moved to London and started to correspond with Bob after having
been put in contact by Brian Tawn.
Bob was a haphazard correspondent (reflective of his life in many
ways), but we finally met for the first time at a Krankschaft gig.
Refined, even debonair in conversation, he had the pleasing quality
of listening as well as talking.
keen interest in the work I was doing (microchip design) and had
an incredible ability to grasp high tech. concepts very quickly.
I saw him at just about every London based gig he did with the Starfighters
and Krankschaft from then on, and enjoyed his Queen
Elizabeth Hall gig immensely. It was apparent to all just how
excited he was about this gig - he regarded it (justifiably)
as recognition of being a "true artist".
between us covered topics as varied as computers, genetics (well
Tube Conceived!), the gossip of Margate, various memories, Scargill
jokes, leather riding boots (I was very envious of his pair), W
and Z bozons, and importantly, the pros and cons of pet goldfish.
Neither of us had any, by the way. Digital recording (and its sterility)
was another favourite topic.
on a subject, he would engage in nothing else, and follow it through
to a sometimes weird conclusion. I remember him talking (for some
reason) about Honeywell computers with an amazing amount of disdain,
even dissecting the name and pouring scorn on it, yet afterwards
happily revealing he had never had anything to do with Honeywell
or their computers!!!
Regardless of his mood (which tended to range from nervous and frantic
myopia pre-gig to exhausted but relaxed post-gig) he was always
courteous, and never played the "rock star" archetype. Indeed, his
wife Jill was usually with him, and his first concern was most often
That his death
was premature is stating the obvious, and I miss him dearly. There
is little doubt that he was approaching the threshold of real success
and the material he left behind only shows the potential of what
things might have been.
I am sure he is up there,
showing Einstein and Copernicus the three card trick....
I also met Lemmy
at a Hüsker Dü gig at the Marquee, standing by a cigarette
machine. I asked him: "Do you ever see Bob Calvert these days?",
to which he replied:
"Only in the Funny Farm - he is the only bastard I know who is
crazier than me!!"
He then related the Viv Stanshall
incident to me with pleasure!! <