Robert Calvert - Test Tube Conceived

Robert Calvert - Test Tube Conceived

In Vitro Breed./The Rah Rah Man./Telikinesis./I Hear Voices./Fanfare For The Perfect Race./On Line./Save Them From The Scientists./Fly on The Wall./Thanks to The Scientists./Test Tube Conceived.

DMCD 1010

Robert Calvert

I was born in South Africa of English parents. My father`s in the building trade - a kind of "Meisterbuilder" in the Ibsen tradition. We moved to England when I was three, and my parents went back when I was in my teens. My first band was when I was 15. It was called "Oliver Twist and the Lower Third", and we played round the Margate dancehalls. The next outfit was "Mordecai Sludd and the Others". We were kind of satirical - a bit like the Bonzos (Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) though it was a lot earlier. Unfortunately, there wasn`t a lot of demand for satire round the dancehalls, so we had a rather rough time. I remember I used to wear luminous socks... Then I turned very snobbish and decided to be a poet instead of a singer. I even got snobbish about music for a short time, decided it was an inferior form. I used to enjoy sitting in churchyards and reading Verlaine, Keats, Shelley, Dylan Thomas. God I was naive! I thought you could make a living as a poet!

When I moved to London I had an exhibition of environmental poetry at the Roundhouse "Better Place to Live" exhibition. I got involved with the underground as soon as I came to London. I looked on myself as a kind of anti-literary establishment guerilla. I hated the weak impact of straight poetry, and realised that the only way to get through to people is through music. I began working for "Frendz" writing fiction. I'd known HAWKWIND before they even formed, and we shared some anti-establishment attitudes. I still don`t like iambic pentameters. I am more interested in what a poem can do - what a piece of music is good for. What I liked about Hawkwind is that they were experimenters you could understand. You either liked them or you didn't - there was no "should" about it. I remember my time with HW as an endless succession of flashing gigs. I wrote a fantastic hymn to the sun at Glastonbury Fayre, and lost it the same day. That really was the high point of the British Underground. Looking back, it`s impossible to put things in any chronological order. Everything happened at the same time. Really, only someone who`s seriously experimented with pharmaceutical agents could understand....

I know that I'd only like to be a star like George Bernhard Shaw - durable. A rock star's got such a short life expectancy, and it's difficult to change direction. I'd always like to be fluid. I won't be a star till I'm over forty. Which is cool - neither was Shaw!"

(Robert Calvert, 1945 - 1988.)