work these peculiar hours between ten at night to five in the morning
the rest of the time I'm thinking about it. After I've finished, I get
and put a tape on and watch about three movies before I go to sleep.
This is the most bizarre thing - the birds are singing outside and there
are movies on TV." - R.C.
This list of Calvert's
works is broken up into six parts.
This part [ III ] includes the works from '76 to '78.
jump straight to
part I / II
/ IV /
V / VI
ASTOUNDING SOUNDS; AMAZING MUSIC -
Lp with Hawkind
After a guest appearance
with Hawkwind at the Reading Festival in late '75 Calvert rejoins
the band, now as their permanent lead singer, influencing the band's
style a lot. He becomes famous for his qualities as an entertainer,
his talent for improvisation and the eccentricity
and theatricality of his shows. He creates a performance for each
song using countless props and costumes. Hawkwind's
Atomhenge model, which is used throughout the 1976/77 tours, is
a gigantically extended molecular model that stretches over the entire
stage and serves at the same time as a projection element. Calvert
writes all the lyrics
and has a far-reaching influence on the music of the band. But at
this stage the group consisted of 8 members - and there were obviously
too many wanna-be captains on board - so the album gathers a strange
mixture of styles due to the fact that almost every member delieverd
a song. Though the quality is varying it contains two absolute highlights:
the fascinating Steppenwolf
- featuring some of the the best lyrics Calvert ever wrote and the
paranoid and driving 'Reefer Madness'
However, the struggles that were lying ahead were probably inevitable.
3 of the 6 members were shown the door by Brock and Calvert - now
sharing control of the band - and for good actually, as the next
record became their true Meisterwerk.
Read Calvert's comments on the story around his Steppenwolf
lyrics - steming from Hesse's book. > More pics and infos on ASTOUNDING
SOUNDS... > More on the
artwork for ASTOUNDING - by Tony Hyde and Barney Bubbles - one
of Britain's most influential designers. TRACKS: Reefer Madness
(illustrated - plus sound) / City of Lagoons / The Aubergine
that ate Rangoon / Kerb
Crawler / Kadu Flyer / Chronoglide Skyway / - the new CD-release
by Griffin features also: Back
on the Streets / Honky Dorky / The Dream of Isis
STAR THAT PLAYED WITH LAUGHING SAM'S DICE
A one-act stage-play
which had its first night in London in 1976. It was restaged in Oct.
1985 (directed by Paul Jerricho) and in May 1990 (directed by Marc
Stewart and Simon Tyler).
The story takes place in an airplane over the drop zone of a military
training area. It is based on a significant incidence in Jimi Hendrix“
life during his military service: Hendrix enlisted at age 17 in
the US Airborne Paratroopers. He made 25 jumps and was inmidst his
training when suddenly becoming afraid of his next jump... - refusing
to step outside, because an inner-voice told him so...
His antagonist in this play, Sergeant McNulty, 100% red-neck-military-machine,
tries to persuade Private James Marshall Hendrix out of the plane
and into the sky. Alone together on this exercise flight, private
and sergeant fight their own war over their opposing American dreams.
On his last jump Jimi broke his ankle and injured his back. He was
released from the Army only to make the much greater jump into the
rock-music arena, entrancing the psychedelic and various other generations
to come - before his final leap into the musician's pantheon. > Read some illustrated
reviews of the performances in '76 and '85. 'THE STAR...' wasn't
the only time that Jimi Hendrix incinerated Calvert's imagination:
at Twilight is a short prose-text he wrote on Hendrix and Noël
Coward...watching some of us from up there... >Voodoo
Child (animated. poem & sound files - a lot of very
wothwhile data...) - Calvert's ode to Hendrix; from Centigrade
232 - incl. a soundfile of Calvert's live-cover version
of Purple Haze. >NEWS; 18.
Pentameters Theatre, London presents: "The Stars That Play With Laughing
Sam’s Dice" by Robert Calvert
presents the first production in 20 years of this fascinating play,
about a little-known and formative episode in the early life of Jimi
Hendrix, and the first production of the play since the death
of the author in 1988.
The play was written in 1975/76 and was first produced by Leonie Scott-Matthews
at Pentametres Theatre in 1976.
More infos HERE >NEW: read
of reviews of the 2005-staging of The
The Pentameters Theatre in London did it once again...
as part of the theatre's 40th anniversary and in memory of Calvert,
who died 20 years ago, the Pentameters team produced yet another staging
of "The Stars..." - and not only that... they made it into
a wonderful double-bill, as they also premiered Calvert's short dialogue
at Twilight. Hat's off to Pentameters and especially
to Léonie Scott-Matthews who directed and produced these shows.
THE milestone record
of Calvert and Hawkwind - showing the songwriter team Brock and Calvert
on the peak of inspiration. A new and tighter line-up, Calvert / Brock
/ House / King plus the new fabulous bass-player Adrian
Shaw are performing a number of all-time HW classics. Energetic
and - with a very modern approach. This album is certainly on the
height of it`s time and was a
strong influence for a lot of upcoming New Wave bands - though
they probably would`ve never admitted it then.... Every band member
seems to be on the peak of his abilities and the chemistry between
them is just perfect.
Calvert`s subjects range from new technologies / post-nuclear wastelands
/ the threat of Islamic fundamentalism / an ambiguous review of the
lost and commercialised "Days of the Underground" to the
subtle ironies of "Quark, Strangeness and Charm". With this
record the band finally received the long overdue critical acclaim
they deserved. Melody Maker even chose "Quark...." as the
single of the month - and the band eventually appeard in Marc Bolan's
TV show to play that track. Other classics are the oriental-style
sabre-dance 'Hassan I Sahba' and the hypnotic 'Spirit of the Age'
- for which lyrics Calvert made use of two of his best poems: The
Clone's Poem and The
I know that they are a bore, these "must have" recommendations
- but this REALLY is one! > Find Calvert's comments on
the album on the QUOTES
pages. > And yet more infos on QUARK... >
READ a review
of QUARK from the NME, July 1977.
TRACKS: Spirit of the
Age / Damnation
Alley / Fable
of a Failed Race / Quark,
Strangeness and Charm (illustrated - plus sound) / Hassan
I Sahba / Forge of Vulcan (instrumental) / Days
of the Underground / Iron Dream (instrumental) >
NEWS: July 2004: HAWKWIND - the unstoppable
pioneers of space/sci-fi rock - are shortly releasing their
new album TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER - it will also contain a new version
of the classic QUARK-track Spirit
of the Age - feat. Matthew Wright as guest vocalist. The
new version of SPIRIT OF THE AGE will also be released as a single
- and on top of it the band has produced a video
to accompany it's release. More infos on it's production can be found
232 - poems
is the temperature at which writing paper burns rather than
book paper. It's meant to signify the writer destroying his
rough drafts." -
A first comprehensive
overview of some of Calvert's best poetical works up to this time.
Though he is mainly remembered as a musician, Calvert saw himself
primarily as a poet - so this publicaton was extremely important to
any science-fiction poems in the book, oddly enough. I've written
several but they were pruned out when I was finishing the collection.
For years I've wanted to put out a definitive collection of poems
and therefore one had to be extremely ruthless with the final choice."
(from an interview in 1977)
In a unique manner Calvert combines scientific / futuristic themes
with his private views and obsessions on a highly emotional level
- interspersed with his ironic and sarcastic overtones.
Creating intense imageries and lucid, sometimes frightening visions
of the human formulae, in the future. However not all the poems are
focusing on scientific
One of the many outstanding pieces is the
legend of ezra pound
- a marvellous combination of poetical tension, biting wit and surreal
imagery that culminates in the evocation of Pound's traumatic experience
when he got imprisoned by the American troops in Italy - 'for offences
against the air', as Calvert put it - ending his life wandering through
the corridors of his daughter's castle and "...firing at the
echoes of the past with his guns of silence." -- just one short
example of Calvert's talent for crafting astonishing word-imagery.
Another example of his wide range of themes is the poem Fly
on the Screen, which, in describing a seemingly trivial, day-to-day
incident while watching at the omnipresent set. Calvert proofs his
unique talent to combine (media-)critical and analytical views (which
were again quite ahead of his time) with his poetical talent - while
describing a phenomenon (and it's far-reaching consequences) that
a number of post-modern philosphers wrote stacks of books about...
- all packed into just 4 verses.
The book is out of print today, as all of Calvert's writings - which
is a definite SHAME - but hopefully, this will change soon.
In 1986 Calvert read CENTIGRADE 232 on tape and released it on his
private mail order service named Harbour publications. Though all
of the poems are recited in quite a calm and almost restraind manner,
these performances bear a brooding intensity - often mixed with superb
humorous (I'd say 'Calvertian') undertones. A good example for this
is his hilarious piece on Winston Churchill as a rock star:
"There's one called "Churchill's
Secret Rock Deal" - which was actually a headline dealing
with one of th younger Churchills, not Winston, working out some deal
with Franco over the Rock of Gibraltar. It was such a beautiful idea
it made me think of a poem about Winston setting up a record contract."
> NEW: a memory-report of the Centigrade
232 book-launch-event - read all about the strange incidents way
back in 1977. (and in case you think that the cover of the book is
quite misleading in terms of it's content, you are actually quite
right - however, it wasn't in terms of the book-launch...) > You'll find a broad selection
from the 'Centigrade 232' poems on the WORDS
pages. > Several poems are presented
on separate, illustrated
including soundfiles of Calvert
them. Find the whole collection at Calv-Art. > Switch to some comments
on the story of Ezra Pound and a planned stageplay project on him.
you'll find Calvert's outstanding poem on Pound] >
In 1975 Calvert won the Capital Radio Poetry Award with one of the
poems feat. in CENTIGRADE 232: CIRCLE
LINE - HERE
you'll find a transcription of the live-phone-call, when the Capital
Radio's DJ delivered the good news to the poet himself...
a lost stageplay on
Donald Crowhurst and Brian Jones
is a mysterious project... - As most artists whose creative output
is as enormous as Calvert's was, he toyed with a number of ideas,
concepts and plans - and inevitably, a lot of them never got beyond
that stage. This stageplay, however, actually seems to have
been realized. Around 1977, shortly before the release of Centigrade
232, his first extensive volume of poetry, Calvert mentions
this stageplay a couple of times in various interviews - and he
also stated it's been already completed. From the details given
here one should assume it was - however: so far the manuscript never
showed up. Then again: a lot of Calvert's original manuscripts a.o.
material seems to have disappeared or went m.i.a. along his troubled
The play - as described in those interviews - is confronting two
protagonists who came from quite a different background - but -
according to Calvert - were facing similar problems and... eventually
"found" the same cause of death (by drowning): Brian Jones
and Donald Crowhurst.
This play shows once more Calvert's fascination for the lone,
ambivalent and tragic hero - and this time he has chosen even
two as the play's protagonists.
lot of the things that were happening to Brian Jones were happening
to Donald Crowhurst. The play is full of strange circumstances because
they were both driven to a kind of suicide by inadequacy and the
drive of ambition for fame. They were carried along by the publicity.
The point I`m trying to make in the play is to show the pressures
individuals have to put up with when they`re faced with big organisations
like the whole Rolling Stones machine or the Sunday Times.
At the end of the play Brian Jones and Donald Crowhurst meet up
with each other after they`ve died and they have a kind of underwater
conversation." (R.C. in an interview,
as it's surely known, drowned in his swimming-pool, shortly after
he received his pink slip - i.e. being sacked as the Rolling Stones'
guitarist. (Needless to say that there are rumours around that he
was killed...). The case of Crowhurst is a more twisted one...
Crowhurst was running an electronics company, he saled navigational
equipment and various of his own inventions in these areas. He was,
a most inventors probably are, and ambitious man - but his company
had fallen heavily into debt and he felt he'd never received the
recognition he deserved. So, in 1968, when the Sunday Times organized
their "Golden Globe Challenge", a round-the-world-yacht
competiton, Crowhurst figured this could be his chance to achieve
fame and the much-needed money (5000 £ for the winner).
Crowhurst knew a thing or two about sailing - but apparently not
enough for a trip like this. Still he managed to find a sponsor
to build his self-designed trimaran-boat. But the time was to short
and on the 31st of Oct. '68, when he kissed his wife and 4 children
goodbye, he was setting out on a boat which was far from perfect
- it wasn't even functional. Things were bound to go wrong - and
they did in a rather odd and finally tragic way. The problems must
have begun shortly afterwards. Screws going loose, the steering
gear breaking down, incoming water everywhere....
Crowhurst soon realized he wouldn't have the slightest chance to
win such a race - but he couldn't face the prospect to return home
and admit yet another defeat - and this was not only because of
the personal humiliation but also because in case he'd back out
of the race he had to buy the whole boat from his sponsor, thus
getting into even more debts... - So, he figured he had to fake
his way through the competition and thus began to write a 2nd, faked
log-book and feeding the home-front with infos of his own invention.
By sending false positions and weather reports he kept the media
and his family under the impression that he was in fact leading
the race - and for the time being he was hailed as the new national
hero. But things got even more twisted and tragic.... - His initial
plan to pretend to come in 2nd or 3rd, thus gaining recognition
but escaping the greater attention that might uncover his betrayal,
also went wrong. The by-then leading boat capsized and he received
reports of the great reception waiting for him. A no-win-situation
of the worst kind...
In the meantime Crowhurst apparently got more and more obsessed
by some ideas he had picked up from one of of the few books he had
on board: Einsteins theory of relativity. Adding a few twists of
his own imagination to Einsteins
theory on the speed of light et al - he soon began to see a possible
exit out of his lonely, desperate situation...
Together with his faked logbook, Crowhurst must have invented a
new world of it's own - and the blank, wide-open sea surely is a
good place to do so and get lost in it. He began to write an extensive
philosophical essay into the logbook - he wrote about God, time
and infinity... - coming to conclusions such as:
does not allow God to sin any sins except one - thats the
sin of concealment."
Was it a total self-delusion, was it pure desperation? A moment
of clarity - or even enlightenment? Whatever it was, around the
1st of July '69 "it" finally made up Crowhurst's mind
to abandon his ship and go overboard.... - 10 days later a British
postboat came across the "Teignmouth Electron, Crowhurst's
trimaran. The crew discovered the logbooks and found the captain
- and his chronometer - missing...
you'll find more material on this missing project: interview snippets
of Calvert, links for the whole story of the gone-astray-would-be-super-sailsman
Donald Crowhurstand - and the life and death of Brian Jones - Calvert's
two heroes underwater.
the last album the band recorded with their best line-up; featuring
the wonderful, but sadly enough only track Adrian Shaw contributed:
Other highlights are the haunting and driving Robot
(in which lyrics Calvert quotes Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics),
the heavy, paranoid Death
and the wonderful, melodic High
which is based on J. G. Ballard`s novel
of the same name and addresses the darker aspects of the human-life
in the cities - the alienating, and in effect de-humanizing effects
of being gathered in a (quite common) architectural structure -
or rather life-form: the sky-scraper. The further one descends into
this metaphorical ladder of evolution the more he slips back into
a primordial, beastly state of being. The skyscraper as the perfect
symbol for man`s inability to overcome certain "killer-instincts"
- wrapped into an even more disconcerting melodic and poetical beauty.
Themes like the urban alienation became in fact some of the major
subjects of up- coming New-Wave bands like Joy Division, Bauhaus
etc. - Shortly after the recording the band split-up and PXR5 was
only released after the next album. > More infos on PXR5. TRACKS: Death
Trap (flash-animation w. sound)
Sam's on Mars (illustrated - plus sound)
/ Infinity / Life Form /
HAWKLORDS / 25 YEARS ON
Lp with Hawklords / Hawkwind
Due to contractual
reasons the band changed it's name to Hawklords for this album after
they re-formed with a new drummer (Martin Griffin), bass-player (Harvey
Bainbridge) and keyboarder (Steve Swindells). The album contains a
collection of powerful compositions - and again mostly written by
the duo Dave Brock and Robert Calvert. Calvert's ironical skepticism
and fascination for new technologies is again the subject of various
songs and he also offers a wonderful ballad: "(Only) The Dead
Dreams of a Cold War Kid" - which is sublty evoking some intense
imageries and the dreary atmosphere of a post-and-cold-war European
Unfortunately after the next tour this collaboration of Calvert
and Hawkwind ended. Dave Brock and Bob Calvert certainly brought
the best out of each other during those much too short 4 years.
None of them ever reached that musical strength again for such a
long period. > NEW: An extensive, illustrated
feature on the concept behind the 1978 Hawklords tour for which
Calvert invented a brillant piece of a visionary concept:
PAN TRANSCENDENTAL INDUSTRIES - "Reality You Can Rely On". > More infos on the HAWKLORDS
album. > Read an extensive
article / interview with Calvert and Mike Moorcock from that
period / Nov. 1978. > See some exclusive photos
from the Hawklords gig at Leicester de Montford Hall,
1978 TRACKS: Psi
Power (illustrated + sound)
/ Automotion / 25 Years On / Flying
The Dead Dreams of a Cold War Kid
Age of the Micro Man
...this list is
as complete as it can be from the informations I've gathered so far.
If you know of any other works that don't appear on the following page/s,
please get in touch.