80:8 Photography : Video : Sound : Bands : Portraits

Robert Calvert / Poet and Fighter Pilot

Robert Calvert

His father wanted him to be a poet, Robert wanted to be a fighter pilot. Or was it the other way round? Bob Calvert is the perfect example of what that over-used phrase of English eccentricity can bring to music. He would wear goggles on stage,  create a whole album about the failure of Lockheed Starfighters – an album that features some of the best riffs ever committed to vinyl and then stomp around a stage yelling ‘Zeitgeist’ at the audience. There was no PR manipulation here, it was simply the man and performer he was. I only saw him perform once. He played none of the songs I knew – instead he played songs from an EP called Freq. When he sang ‘All the machines all quiet’ his voice seemed to evoke the sound of rusted factory gates finally closing. This wasn’t about politics though, it was a man observing the sheer pathos of an institution simply coming to an end. And with it, peoples grasp on what made them who they were. It was very moving. Robert died in 1988. He would have loved the internet.

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