|the works of Robert Calvert / annex|
Centigrade 232 - the book launch
[a memory report by Sandy Cameron]
launch took place way back in 1977 at Battersea Arts Centre in London.
Punk was all the rage then, but the theme of the evening seemed to be a sixties style "happening".
I wasn't quite sure what to expect as I'd only ever seen Calvert in Hawkwind mode and the only poetry readings I'd been to were quite starchy events. But this one was different, there was no formal seating only a few chairs scattered about and performers and audience were mingling about like it was a party.
Calvert was there dressed in a plain black suit, waving around a long cane cigarette holder, though I couldn't be sure whether it was actually a cigarette in there or something more exotic. Judging from the smoke haze permeating the air I think it was probably the latter. He'd invited along some fellow poets of his acquaintance - Pete Brown of Cream fame, Daevid Allen of Gong, who was too rat-arsed to do anything and Gilly Smyth who performed her piece naked except for a covering of multi-coloured body paint. It was that sort of night.
The evening progressed
in merry mode with performers jumping up on stage to do their bit.
I have met people
who were not present at this event who have related to me the version
they have heard of this particular incident. It seems to have passed into
folklore as a sort of "CALVERT-THE-MANIAC-RUNS-AMOK-THREATENING-AUDIENCE-WITH-LOADED-GUN-SHOCK-HORROR".