|Thanks to Wilfried Schuesler for many of these clippings. Not all of them are by any means
complimentary, but then the press always were generally harsh towards Hawkwind. What I notice is
that some journalists clearly had an inflated notion of their writing abilities...
in downtown Uxbridge. It had to be Hawkwind.
Following a set by Nova, an Italian five piece who completely missed the point of the evening by trying to
throw in a little musical skill and variation which rightly got the bird, the masterly Hawkwind showed how
it's really done. Their years on the road have taught them the essential lessons: the sound must be very
loud, and though clear enough to register some variation, not so crystalline that words or instruments can
be distinguished. The industrial monotony of the rhythm is vital to provide continuity. There may be an
occasional change of key, though not by all participants simultaneously, thus keeping the audience, which
did indeed tend towards a helpless passivity during the numbers, on the alert. It should go on for a long
time. The artless simplicity of the stage movements, some interesting antique slide effects (circa 1967) and
the cultural archaeology of the use of strobe lights all culminated magnificently on "Silver Machine", one of
their more melodic pieces.
I left Brunel gasping with admiration for Hawkwind's artistry, and as a special treat, travelled home along
the North Circular via Neasden. In all, a perfect evening.
described the advent of Comet Kouhoutek, last in our solar system 70,000 years ago. There were also films
and commentary about the Pioneer space probe on its way to Jupiter and deep space, and Skylab - all to a
2001-style Strauss soundtrack. Far out!
Hawkwind at Brunel University (from Melody Maker, 27/12/75)
Brunel University, Uxbridge, is not usually thought of as a center of
aesthetic excellence, but last Wednesday it took on that most difficult
of artistic creations, The Event (or Happening, as it used to be known)
and triumphed magnificently.
The basic setting was already there in the fashionable neo-Brutalist
style. Its surroundings could not be bettered: on one side, the day and
night serenade of the traffic on an urban clearway, on the other, the
muddy counterpoint of a slow-moving stream. As a final refinement of
presentation, the university's drama department worked wonders in
coaching the stewards to simulate the boorish officiousness of
jobsworths twice their age. Thus, everything was ready for the only
band in Britain which captures the elusive essence of a December night
|Above: a reader corrects the
|Right: their drums were found
under Barnes Bridge (after a
different theft), and I think
maybe this press clipping was
Hawkwind at the New York Academy (Melody Maker,
New York: the atmosphere and audience at the Academy
was, as to be expected, quite different in nature to
Philadelphia's Tower Theater where Hawkwind played their
debut American gig. It's necessary to speak of the two
performances in one breath, for in Philly it was Liquid
Len's lights that were mainly responsible for knocking them
in the aisles, while in New York it was the constant
rhythmic barrage that brought them to their feet. The
lights, which were not run in the same formula as at
Philadelphia, seemed less relevant.
Indeed, if the New York music had had the Philly light
show, the show would have been a mind-snapper. As it
was, the crowd was cooler, less volatile and generally
younger. Hawkwind got a standing ovation from the stalls
but didn't quite reach the balconies. But the music came
out sharper and clearer, more sophisticated even, and the
group were looser and ready to rock. The technical
problems experienced in Philadelphia had tended to tighten
them up on that occasion.
"Children Playing In The Sun", one of the most recent
numbers to be written since "Space Ritual", came over
chunkier and with more sway. Dave Brock was getting a
really huge sound out of his guitar, dispelling menacing
energy. "Sonic Attack", with blue lights flashing slowly,
reached a new malevolent depth and â€œMaster Of The
Universe" left a few heads in the audience being scratched.
They didn't seem quite able to make it all out but knew
they'd experienced something.
What it was they weren't sure, but there was a big call for
an encore, with several minutes of counterpointed
clapping. The band came back on to a volley of explosions -theatrical
stagefrights - let off one by one in the auditorium. Dry ice billowed out
across the stage and into the crowd as Hawkwind thudded into "Silver
Machine", a very free version with more variation than usual. The set
lasted just over two hours and during the second half the band had
loosened right up and that's when they get their best feel.
Hawkwind were admirably supported by the city's Hayden Planetarium,
which had been booked for a party afterwards. One of the directors,
Dick Hoagland, came down to the Academy and armed with a batch of
films from his Zolex projector, gave a dazzling programme. He
Deep Fix in a deep fix - from the NME, 1975
Perched urbanely on the cistern of Michael Moorcock's toilet is a hardbound
edition of "The Chinese Agent", his one-off foray into the realms of the
satirical espionage novel. Resting upon it is Jerome K. Jeromeâ€™s hoary
"Three Men In A Boat". It's quite a pleasant little toilet, actually: non-
committal but friendly.
In the main habitation area, Moorcock is amiably hulked in an armchair
encased in a considerable acreage of immaculately faded denim and an equally
immaculate ruff of frizzled beard. With him are the other members of his
group Deep Fix: Graham Charnock, who contributed to Oz around the same
time I did and the proud possessor of a most impressive stare, and Steve
Gilmore, a lean eager-looking youth with fair hair and elastoplast reinforced
Moorcock and Co. are Not Happy. They are Not Happy because their record
company, United Artists, have refused to relase "Dodgem Dudes", the single
intended to accompany their "New World's Fair" album. Due to myriad
confusions, said track ain't even on the album, which is some kind of pity
since it em-uh - enhances the concept, with the â€œDodgem Dude" of the
title being the protagonist of the album 'n' stuff.
"We're pissed off about it...all the way down the line," murmurs The Author.
"We're protesting quite loudly," interposes Gilmore, "because we rate it and
because it's essential to the album."
"It's actually much *better* than the album," says Moorcock. "It isn't
anything particularly special, but it's much more commerical than the album
- much more suitable for a record company to release. Apart from anything
else it's just daft of them not to do it because they could probably make a lot
more money for themselves. It makes you wonder if U.A. have an awful
lot of sense about what rock and roll is about. The other thing is that the
context with the single and how we were originally told it was going to be
done, and so it was all balanced between the album and the single...we
should have put at least one of the tracks from the single on the album, but
by the time we found out that they weren't going to do the single, the album
had already been out."
"I don't really understand the politics behind it all," ruminates Gilmore. "It
*is* politics," he adds darkly. Moorcock sighs. "Iâ€™ve worked with
book publishers, magazines, film companies and record companies. Record
companies are unquestionably the worst."
Sonic Defeat - from an unknown publication, early 1974 (?)
St. Andrew's Hall in Norwich used to be a church. Flying buttresses,
stained glass windows, mammoth concrete pillars which disappear to an
airy distant ceiling. It has acoustics designed for choirboys and organ.
Electronic music is not well suited to this sepulchral nave.
That's why last week Hawkwind played several megawatts below optimum
efficiency. The sound in the boomy hall was messy in the extreme. Notes
arrived, hovered a while, departed, returned again and flew off to the rafters
Inevitably the band was more affected than the audience. When the endless
riff is being played sound control is as critical as ever. To change the most
mundane riff by one note - a technique suggestive of an organic growth
process - requires a wall-of-sound effect which is blurred at the edges but
doesn't "overlap". A strange dichotomous balance and totally beyond
Hawkwind's reach at Norwich.
Because the ear was not tickled, it rested with Liquid Len and his optics crew to hold the attention. They
did, if only by default. I have seen them work better.
A slimmer Stacia, returned from Arthur Kane of the New York Dolls and recovered from a bout of flu - itâ
€™s debatable which is the most contagious - was still one degree under. Maybe it was the coldly religious
atmosphere of the venue.
Nik Turner, splendid in silver headgear and fluorescent multi-coloured beard, is no great sax player but tries
to create sounds which intrigue and alienate rather than please. And he manages to keep a straight face
while reciting some of the most preposterous lyrics ever committed to paper. "Sonic Attack" is a scream.
Others in the band found it easier to smile.
It became apparent after an hour and three-quarters on stage that Hawkwind had accepted acoustic defeat.
But a lesson or two did suggest itself. Most obvious was that 30 minutes cut from the act would increase
the visual and aural intensity and impact of the group. There is far too much deadwood in the performance.
Perhaps that is one lesson they will fully learn on a longer American tour.
Hawkwind despite increased affluence chipping at a long-lost hippie philosophy, still have a fascinating aura,
a looming presence. Fascinating.
"Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Hawkwind Stung My Brain" - review of "Astounding", Sounds, 04/09/76
"I would say this was good if I didn't know it was Hawkwind," said a smiling face clouded behind a
mushroom of illegal smoke. This album was presented to me after returning from a forty-eight hour stint
without sleep. And in my delirious state of neanderthal awareness I found I actually enjoyed it. The effect,
when enough brain cells finally surfaced to consciousness level, may wear off but somehow in this out-of-
synch state Hawkwind seem to be making some sense.
At one time I thought these guys should have called it a day with 'Silver Machine' which seemed to have said
it all. The following product just seemed to be a variation of the same theme: Psychederelict Warlords Parts
1 and 2. Hawkwind to me represented a certain era in a certain state of mind. A group created through
environmental rather than musical circumstances. They were never built to last but gradually they began to
develop a professional attitude.
As the years went by they began to get down to business. A new management, new label and new product
confirm their new phase. The album, packaged to look like a fifties sci-fi comic, reveals a much tighter
group and celebrates the return of Bob Calvert. 'Astounding' is produced by the band with the exception of
their recent (and 'orrible) single, 'Kerb Crawler' which was remixed by Dave Gilmour and shows a much
more organised approach.
Unlike their previous comatozed meanderings this record has an air of togetherness about it. Calvert's
presence has generated a new direction and unleashed a new source of energy. He and the excellent
production are the two main factors that make this album bearable.
There are two good tracks - the opener 'Reefer Madness' and bass man Paul Rudolph's composition 'The
Aubergine That Ate Rangoon', a tantalising instrumental with more interesting effects than the 'Winds normal
Parts of the album, oddly enough, remind me of early Roxy Music and there's one section in â
€˜Steppenwolf' that sounds positively SAHB. It's still Hawkwind though. Dave Brock still plays
monotonous trembling rhythm guitar. They still sound a bit better. "And it's good for testing your stereo to"
concluded a friend.
"Sci-fi rock goes down in history" - Southend Evening Echo, 6/12/76
Self-styled Spacelords Hawkwind land their futuristic show at the Kursaal once more on Saturday. The
band has been given a new lease of life with a new record deal and the return of leader Bob Calvert. It
should ensure that they are likely to be exciting for both music and science fiction fans for many more years.
They are also to take their place in the history of science fiction. The group are the inspriation for, and
heroes of, Michael Moorcock's latest book The Time Of The Hawklords, a study of the final great rock
concert played out before Britain's remaining population of 5,000.
The band, who pay at least two visits a year to enthusiastic Southend audiences, have completely rethought
their act. At the hear tof the new show is a long, cleverly-staged piece with props - and even a joke. The
production has Calvert's lyrics questioning life on Mars with science fiction figures and astronauts in
The group's new Charisma album, Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music, is one of the best albums they have
released for a long time. Though there are only half a dozen tracks the music is terse, tight and reminiscent
of the band's 1973 Number 1 (sic) single, Silver Machine. The record has been variously reviewed as
intriguing, amazing and even as punk rock.
Review of Carol Clerk's "The Saga Of Hawkwind" (from Classic Rock, January 2005):
At last, a readable and well-researched account of the greatest space rock band of them all. The term 'saga'
is used appropriately, although the band's epic journey is through the British underground, from the spliff-
addled Notting Hill 'people's scene' of the late 60s and early 70s, through Hawkwind's accidental pop-star
phase following their trip into the singles chart with 'Silver Machine', to their new-found role as the
soundtrack to Britain's recalcitrant new age travellers.
Compiling a coherent history of Hawkwind is a daunting task: there have been so many members passing in
and out of the band at any time; there are micro-feuds and unresolved conflicts. simmering away. Throw in
a penchant for mind-altering chemicals and you're left with a version of the truth that melts and slides every
time you try to make sense of it. Classic Rock's Carol Clerk gets her head around the busts, the fights, the
scandals and the cast of larger-than-life characters such as Dave Brock, Lemmy, the late Bob Calvert, Mike
Moorcock and Stacia, so you don't have to. ****
Review of 1991 Glasgow Barrowlands gig (NME, 20/7/91):
Five years ago you tell a div by how many Hawkwind albums were tucked
away in their record collection. Being into Hawkwind was most definitely
not cool. Like any common venereal disease it made things uncomfortable
sociably for the afflicted.
Twenty-one years on from the release of their first record Hawkwind are
conclusive proof, if any more is needed, that music moves in very weird
circles. Back in fashion and back in favour, 1991 is perhaps the best year
for the Hawkers to capitalize on their huge back catalogue and an even better
year to let out of the bag some new guff. An opportunity the Hawkers must
have long since given up hoping would come; a chance of picking up some
new fans. After all, Terry Bickers' band Levitation were named after one of
The Hawkers' most successful albums, Dr. Phibes makes no bones about
absorbing the Hawkers weirder ideas, and World Of Twist have always been
getting down with the noise and confusion of early Hawkwind. Fans of
these bands are being led down a dangerous path that eventually stops
outside Hawkwind's doorstep. They knock at the door but arenâ€™t really
sure who's gonna answer their call.
Dave Brock, the band's only constant member, guitarist and vocalist
extraordinaire, looks exactly like you expect him to look. Long hair, a leather-
creased face and 70's flares. A middle-aged cat that refused to grow up.
Hawkwind are his baby; he has sacked Lemmy from the band, seen tens of
others come and go and now eventually he's got together a band who can do
justice to the legend. Hawkwind have just put out their best album for
yonks; 'Palace Springs'.
The Glasgow crowd have been repeatedly chanting their name for a good
half an hour previous to the band's entrance. My theory on 'the new
generation' of Hawkers fans has been all but shot to pieces. The audience
falls into either being old and acid-addled or dope-dirty youngsters; 'Hip'
tonight is the thing that holds your leg onto your body.
Hawkwind play a rambling keyboard doodle that stretches either (depending on the drugs) the imagination
of the threshold of boredom. The colossal film show (that eventually proves to be more interesting than the
band) sees planets colliding, lines amassing and tigers encroaching. Then the two shady figures emerge
from behind the keyboard stands and let loose. 'Back In The Box' judders and rumbles, moving up and
down the emotional scale with absurd ease.
The middle section of the set we are allowed to ignore. Partly because it is indulgent twaddle but mostly
because a female fire eater has stolen the show. Towards the end, after more bubbling but rarely boiling
operatic scores, you find yourself thinking about 'Silver Machine'. The albatross around their necks is
never aired these days. Not tonight either, where one feels it is needed, with Hawkwind running out of juice
in a big way.
Perhaps old age is catching up with them, but somehow, they still manage to pull out a corker of an encore,
with 'Damnation Alley' space rocking and reggaeing until it explodes. Hawkwind will never fail to convince
you they are important in the vast scheme of things. What I'm still trying to work out is why?
Hawkwind: We Have Lift-Off! (Melody Maker, 1973)
Wembley Empire Pool is a funny sort of gig for Hawkwind to play. Its connections with school holiday
matinees, the posters outside proclaiming the return of Disneyland On Parade, the bars, all regimentally
numbered -one even had an award for the best-kept bar of 1972 on display- all seem at odds with the image
of a "people's band".
But there was no need to worry on Sunday. The audience, looking perhaps slightly more shopworn and
certainly more boorish than usual -Magic Michael will bear witness to that- ensured that the vibes were as
good as a Sunday session at the Roundhouse.
Opening were Fruup, a Belfast band currently working their way round colleges and clubs. They're sort of
like a heavy Yes, with an excellent guitarist, Vince McKusker, who's given to taking off on high-powered
Ex-Man guitarist Deke Leonard with his new band Iceberg demonstrated right from the start that they were
a no-nonsense rock band. None of those delicate pickings during the tuning-up period, but great throaty
chords, which set the pace for their livewire set.
Danny and the Racing Cars turned out to be the Pink fairies. They unsuccessfully covered up their alarming
lack of talent with sheer noise in an abysmal performance of heavy metal music. Their set reached rock
bottom with an appalling version of the Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting For My Man".
Magic Michael came to the stage with a chorus of "We want 'Orkwind". Dressed in a pair of red trunks,
his dancing, songs and playing went down like a lead balloon, inspiring repeated chants and slow handclaps
from the audience in an attempt to hasten his departure. As his music sounded like an 'avant-garde'
serenade perhaps it wasn't all that surprising.
The Quiverland Brothers came as extremely pleasant relief. Their programme of happy boogie started with â
€œWhere Did We Go Wrong" and went through their criminally neglected single "You Got Me Anyway" and
And then...the Sonic Assassins themselves took the stage for what they described as "a general jamâ€�.
Since I last saw them nine months ago they seemed to be far more recognizable as a rock band. There's a
singer behaving like Jagger, shaking the mike stand about, a guitarist getting worked up as he solos. The
space side of their act seemed to have been toned down a little, too - though the effects are as good as ever
and the driving, throbbing beat remains the same.
On Sunday's performance, Hawkwind are without doubt one of the best heavy metal bands in the world -
more than once the Stooges come to mind. A great rock'n'roll band, and rightfully recognized as such by
the audience, who wouldn't let them leave until an hour after the scheduled end.
Robert Calvert: Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters (from the NME, 1974):
Hot from playing the Dan dare role in Hawkwind's Space Ritual, Robert Calvert now seems to be setting his
sights firmly in the upper atmosphere and shooting for a persona somewhere between Biggles and the young
The cover of "Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters" (which incidentally is the best example of the post-
Margritte school of modern album packaging since 'Tommy'), tells us in detail about the doomed love affair
between the West German defence ministry and the Lockheed Starfighter.
Aviation buffs will recall how the Starfighter, having been modified for nuclear strike capability, developed
an alarming habit of dropping out of the sky, and has killed, to date, over a hundred pilots.
On this album, Calvert chronicles the fantasies behind the facts. It takes the form of alternating rock and
roll tracks with pieces of radio drama dialogue.
There's not much to complain about with the music, it's an adequate Hawkwind spin-off. The Lemmy /
Simon King rhythm unit pump out their standard pattern like a well-oiled racing mill, and are augmented, in
this instance, by the freak-out guitar of ex-Fairy Paul Rudolph, who emerges from his Garbo-like seclusion
for the first time since "Here Come The Warm Jets".
I'm not too keen on Calvert's voice. It's a little too gung-ho for my taste, but two cuts, "The Right Stuff"
and "Ejection", stand on their own as creditable rock and roll songs. The main problems are the lyrics and
the long dialogue passages. Despite the combined acting ability of Calvert, Viv Stanshall, Jim Capaldi, Tom
Mitteldorf and Roger Ealing, the spoken material, with its Peter Sellers German and cross fade sound
effects, will really not stand up to very much replaying.
Even Firesign Theatre and National Lampoon albums have a tendency to become tedious after a few plays,
and the material of "Captain Lockheed" in no way comes up to that kind of standard. It could be that
Calvert is working, in this case, in the wrong medium. If British radio ever dragged itself out of the Mickey
Mouse format that it seems to content to wallow in, this kind of stuff might find an ideal slot as a late night
The overall feel leads one to believe that Calvert is pitching for Art with a capital A. Although it is capable
of satisfying an audience raised on Mandrax and Marvel comics, the fact remains that if Calvert's work is
going to make it through to the level of J.G. Ballard's auto-wreck obsession, or Bourroughs' terminal
paranoid scenarios, he has got to go a lot further than Freudian psycho-jokes about the airplane as a phallic
symbol, and a certain nostalgia for the wizard and Hotspur. "I'm an aerospace-age warrior, I can fly
sideways through sound" seems to miss out in boith directions. It neither makes it as jet age poetry nor as
the kind of rock and roll simplicity that Iggy Stooge achieved so perfectly on "1969" or "No Fun".
Calvert seems to treat the rock album as a simple and immediate way of presenting an essentially literary
concept. He has yet to realize that there is a lot more to it than the basic linear approach of "Captain
Lockheed" and that to achieve the multi-level density of Firesign Theatre or Zappa's "Billy The Mountain"
requires a far higher degree of thought and concentration than he has expended.
Hawkwind: not so astounding (from the Melody Maker, 25/9/76):
Hawkwind: "Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music" (Charisma)
It has always been my contention that that Hawkwind really don't know what they are doing. At last year's
Reading Festival they played the loosest set ever witnessed by man, and their albums all have that same
"Astounding" is no different to its predecessors. The Hawklords are rock'n'roll's arch-diletanttes. They leap
onto an idea, play around with it for a little while, and then discard it without ever having explored its
possibilities. Thus 'Astounding' has a cover inspired by the old science-fiction magazine of the same name.
The theme gets as far as the inner sleeve, which is decked out like the classified ads section of such
magazines. But the idea never gets onto the actual vinyl. Instead, the first track is a pastiche of Roxy
Music with its rapidly repeated piano chord and sub-Ferry vocal. "Reefer Madness" it's called, and it is a
wandering, shapeless hunk of jamming which follows no particular direction. It's a Hawkwind parody, with
even good old Robert Calvert contributing one of his monologues. One would have thought that Calvert had
more to offer within Hawkwind in the light of his solo excursions, "Captain Lockheed" and the unfairly
maligned "Lucky Leif". But Calvert becomes a clichÃ© within the band. Theme-wise, the Roxy connection
continues through â€œSteppenwolf" but eventually gives way in the face of that song's dominant riff. It
seems hard to believe that anyone would base a song around an inversion of Deep Purple's "Smoke On The
Waterâ€� riff, but the Hawklords have. Oh, incidentally Calvert weighs in with another Ferry monologue
on this as well. Very funny it is too. "I am a man wolf" he announces. And he always seemed so clean-
shaven. "City Of Lagoons" is fairly attractive, with its Hotlegs-style drumming and atmospheric keyboard-
and guitar-playing. But it's all fairly inconsequential stuff. The same mood is continued through "The
Aubergine That Ate Rangoon" but this quickly develops into a piece of spaced-out funk. Curious track,
reminiscent of the new funky Can. "Kerb Crawler", their current single, is a bit more like it. Basic boogie
with a bit of interplanetary frippery makes this the best track on this collection. â€œKadu Flyer" is a poor
attempt at melody, while "Chronoglide Skyway" is an innocent bit of nonsense. Hawkwind have dug their
musical hole and it's going to be a long climb out.
The preceding piece seems to me to be a typical music press hatchet job, which the author effectively
admits by starting out with an admission that he'd always thought Hawkwind were clueless. From there it's
just a series of lazy attempts to liken them to other artists, with not a smidgeon of recognition that
Astounding was wildly different to everything else Hawkwind had done previously. But the next piece is
far more positive and shows how it's possible for a journalist to pose the difficult questions without
indulging in prejudice.
Wind of Change (from Melody Maker, 20/3/76):
Consider Hawkwind, veterans of Notting Hill in the 1960s, now poised, in a positive mood of energy and
optimism, to scale yet new peaks of musical achievement with a new manager, new record company and a
new exotic dancer.
Gone are UA records, their managerial mastermind from the early days, Doug Smith, and the epic-
proportioned Stacia. In come "a major record company", Tony Howard, who also manages Marc Bolan,
and a young trained dance lady called Riki Howard (no relation), whose previous experience includes the
Des O'Connor show and touring with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Also returned on a permanent
basis is poet / vocalist Bob Calvert. The rest of the line-up now reads: Dave Brock (guitar, vocals,
synthesizer), Nik Turner (flute, sax, vocals), Paul Rudolph (bass, vocals), Simon House (Mellotron, violin,
synthesizer), Simon King (drums) and Alan Powell (drums).
Now halfway through a short series of college dates, Bob Calvert and Simon King take time out to explain
the band's new mood. But first, they want to make it clear that their recent planned benefit for the
Guatemalan earthquake fund was cancelled not by the band, but by the organizers. Hawkwind were upset
to hear of the fans who came along and were disappointed. "There were a couple of hundred people milling
about outside the New Victoria," says Simon King sympathetically.
"Not to mention the people milling about in Guatemala," adds Calvert.
On stage, their employment of the wonders of advanced technology has also reached new heights. "The P.
A. crew seem to have everything very professionally organized in terms of balance," says Calvert. â€œYou
can hear everything you're doing, which at first I found a bit disturbing, actually, 'cause it was so new. I
can actually hear what Nik Turner's doing, which I could never do in the past."
They are currently recording a new album "Amazing Music and Astounding Sounds", with a cover based on
a key Hawkwind concept, a pre-war sci-fi magazine's view of the future. It will be "a kind of meeting of
intellectual thought and Marvel Comics," explains Calvert.
The band's intellectual image has always been low-profile, hasn't it?
"We have a reputation for being a really thick collection of hippies, stoned out...but I think most of -all of-
the members of this band are quite articulate and very intelligent people," Calvert insists.
They do seem to appeal to a "greatcoat-and-plimsolls" market, though?
"We get letters from art lecturers, computer analysts, insurance people - grey-suited types," Calvert
counters. "Anyway, I went through the greatcoat and plimsolls stage, and I don't know anyone who didn't."
Calvert interview (from Sounds, 1978):
Robert Calvert, former Hawkwind person, playwright, raconteur, bon viveur, joyeux noel, has just returned
from an enjoyable and instructive visit to Paris at the end of which he felt he knew exactly what Jean Genet
was on about, or possibly that he *was* Jean Genet.
It happened down in old Pigalle. There was Robert, innocently conducting some research for a play to
follow up his Hendrix piece - or rather there was Robert reeling down the Rue de Martyr at the end of a
hard day and night on the plonk, susceptibly blue because a friend (female) hadn't shown up at the
appointed time, when he espied a not unattractive person (female) in a doorway doing jutting hip and come-
hither eye routine.
Tell it like it was Robert!
"It was rather silly and I'm very embarrassed about it."
Oh go on!
"Well, I was beaucoup bois" (freely translated this could be either "very drunk" or "very wooden": either
way we can take it that he was stiff in several sense of the word.) "But I knew I didn't have enough money
to pay for her services. She said she didn't believe me and we were kind of arguing about this so I pulled
out my wallet and waved all the money I'd got under her nose - and she snatched it." The oldest trick in the
book as John Wayne would say.
"I staggered off down the road in pursuit and she went into a place called the Hotel Germaine. It turned out
to be a genuine dive with guys at a table playing cards and the girls hanging round the side of the room. I
shouted at the girl who'd got my money and she said 'Merde'. Then I talked to another one who looked a
bit sympathetic and after I'd been explaining what happened for a few minutes she said â€˜Fuck off!' Then
one of the guys scraped his chair back from the table, came over and grabbed me and when I tried to fight
back a couple of them grabbed me, snatched my wallet, punched me about and threw me out."
He got the wallet back but not the money. Next thing he knew he was prostrate on his hotel bed with the
sun streaming in, a scene that put him in mind of the Tate Gallery painting of the poet prodigy Chattertinâ
€™s death bed.
"My first thought was for revenge," he said. "They wouldn't be able to cope with a sober Englishman...but
then I thought better of it." He had two days to survive until his flight home and no bread. With true
musician's resourcefulness he took up the trumpet he happened to have with him and went down to an
instrument shop to effect some kind of exchange for a guitar. There he chanced upon a couple of the frog
equivalents of street brothers who had an electric guitar and a Mighty Atom battery amp. He told them his
plan, gave them the trumpet as security and they kindly showed him to the best place to busk a fast buck.
He laid Hawkwind specialties like "Born To Go" and "Brainstorm" as well as some of his own compositions
on the passing Parisians and in a couple of hours was rewarded with
55 francs (around seven quid).
That was the survival rations seen to but then he got into the company
of some wealthier types and ended up that night at a magnificent buffet
in the suburbs feeding his face to the full. Such is the resilience of the
musical fraternity. Now he'll write the play based on the Montmartre
ethos and probably make a fortune out of it. You can't keep a Perfide
(left) and Melody