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Robert > < Newton

> Calvert <


Below you'll find a selection of statements by Calvert, that have been compiled from interviews, articles and letters.
Whereas the CALVERT ACCORDING TO CALVERT section is focusing mostly on statements on his work and influences, this section is gathering fragments on 'broader' subjects, like his view of the modern-media-world, new technologies, pop-culture etc.

  To get this evergrowing assemblage of words
into some sort of shape, the following statements
fragments are broken up in three parts:

  • The World according TO Calvert / BELOW

  • The World according ON Calvert

  • Calvert according to Calvert


    "I don't like to be too serious -
    I think if you were too serious about being alive in this century
    it would just be too serious for words!"

  • ...the importance of being serious
  • ...R.C. - the inventor of the Walkman?
  • ...on new technologies, genetic engineering and scientific progress
  • ...Conspiracy Theories
  • ...on economic control; the great manipulative forces of the music-biz, the perspectives and possible commercial-conspiracy of the Computer & R`n R industries:
  • ...on new forms of economic and 'cultural' power - and on future-forms of control in a Media-over-saturated (or rather mediated) society
  • ...the blindness of the POP-ular culture for contemporary
          developments in the media and politics
  • ...on the British underground
  • ...Science Fiction and the role of Rock music
  • ...the Moon landing and the space age

  •   On the importance of being serious:

    "I think that a lot of the things that I`ve actually said in public and probably a lot things I`m saying now have to be taken for their humour value rather than their attempts at being too serious.
    I don`t like to be too serious - I think if you were too serious about being alive in this century it would just be too serious for words!"

    Robert Calvert - the inventor of the podcast? - surely a visionary of futuristic media-forms and news distribution systems - just read today's digital Guru's - they're saying exactly the same - only in the form of bits and bytes - and only some 20/30 years later..... - from an article in 1973:

    "The is my new invention" - showing me a cassette machine complete with earphones.
    "I`m going to patent it, because I think it`ll catch on. At the moment people seem to think it`s silly to be seen wearing a set of headphones plugged into a cassette while reading the paper in the tube.
    But what the GPO should be doing is offering a news service which you can plug into with your cassette overnight, so that come the morning, you can listen to the latest news on your tape."

    On his own attitude towards new technologies and the effects of scientific progress and just one of the grim perspectives of a new human condition that genetic engineering & the creation of artificial life are offering:

    "I am not at all opposed to scientific progress, but what I am opposed to is the possible misuse of scientific discoveries which is the main danger we face. We are now living in an almost infinitely scientifically possible world.
    When you look at the advances that we know have been made already in, say, biology, we have to look very carefully, there have to be very strong controls over what is done with this knowledge. The possibility of creating human beings in test-tubes has been around since the fifties.
    What is being made availbale to the public now, I don`t think is necessarily indicative of what actually is availble to scientists in research laboratories who haven`t published their papers yet. The prospects are quite terrifying that a human being can actually be created.....

    It seems likely to me that they have already found a way of being able to create human life without the necessity of the womb being involved at all - I am sure they can do that. (...) I think it does fundamentally question what a human being actually is. It enables the possibility of human life being considered to be extremly expendable if it`s extremly creatable.
    I mean, if you can create a human being without any trouble at all then why should you worry about getting rid of it.
    (...) Obviously you can`t say "stop doing this", nobody`s in a position to say that it is absolutely categorically wrong either.
    This is what`s quite frightening about it - there`s nobody who`s in a form of moral position to judge on this.
    Having come this far from escaping religious governings, where do we stand?"

    On the (still) very "fashionable" subject of conspiracy theories (which does gets more and more important...):

    "I've got this dreadful Conspiracy Theory...(...). In 1981, we live in a society where it is absolutely possible to control the weather, and that is something.
    People were telling me a week or so ago that I am really paranoid. I was going round saying that I`d been soaked through to the skin on two successive days at the same fucking time exactly.
    I went out on a nice day, like this, and suddenly at 4 o`clock in the afternoon it goes black, nearly , and hailstone came thundering out of the sky for five minutes, then it goes back to being normal again, and I thought, what the fuck is this?

    The next day it happens again and I was saying weather control experiments are being made, and everybody was laughing. A week after that, there wa a big piece in The Guardian about a weather control station sitauted somewhere in the country where they've been working for years on how to control the weather, and they've now reached the point where they can release their findings, and the results of their experiments, to the public.
    They didn`t mention that they`d been doing it on those two days, but I know they had been. It's obvious they were.
    There's no science fiction about it. It's something they've been working on since the fifties. They can do it now. They can do anything with the weather. They were doing it when we had those big scorching summers, that was weather control experiments being successfully pulled off. I get a feeling for these things, you understand. There was all this talk in the papers then about the climate changing, and there were conflicting ideas. Someone said the New Ice Age was coming, another scientist said, no, it's the Tropical Age. That was a smokescreen to conceal what they were actually doing. Now it is there in black and white. I cut the piece out, I've got it in my file. There's a picture of a scientist who's actually head of this department. They are doing it!"

    On economic control; the great manipulative forces of the music-biz, the perspectives and possible commercial-conspiracy of the Computer & R`n R industries:

    "What is interesting about the modern music world is the way that fashions which are created in boardroom meetings in huge record companies seem to be lasting for less and less time. Originally there was rock 'n' roll I for many years, then there was this big thing with the mods for some years, then there was the psychedelic revolution which lasted for about five years, which was ousted by punk which lasted for just over a year, followed closely by the New Romantic movement which lasted three months, which is now going to be followed by the jazz-funk summer which I predict will be lucky if it stands on its feet for two weeks before September comes 'round, and that might well be the complete end of rock 'n' roll altogether, and the beginning of a new era of television, which I'm looking forward to very much because I spend a lot of time watching telly. I watch videos all the time. I've got stacks of films; I've got about twenty tapes upstairs with videos I haven't seen yet.

    THE ROCK 'N' ROLL BUSINESS HAS ABSOLUTELY FUCKING HAD IT! It's going to be astonishing how quickly what has been our cultural reference point for the last fifteen years is just going to vanish. It's just going to be kept alive as a cult, but the actual masses are going to be concentrating on another totality different area of home entertainment. It won't be records. I mean video discs, videogrammes, 50 channel TV satellites, all this. Music is going to be shoved right into the corner as a forefront of culture. Things change but not at random. I was talking to Chalkie Davis, the photographer, the other day at this Sunday Lunch with a lot of people from the entertainment business who were all rabbiting on about their work. We were talking about what was going to Happen this summer. We knew what sort of summer it was going to be. This summer is going to be a jazz-funk Summer. Without a doubt. Everyone's going to be going I round talking in a jazzy inflected way, like, "Stay cool", all that's going to come back for sure. The style of dress, the music, is all going to be geared to it. This has already been planned, probably the result of board meetings at high level places where these huge financial transactions are made. That's only the music business. I mean, if you can imagine that on the scale of international economy where they decide what the next major industry is going to be, where all the money is going to be channeled.

    There's no such thing as a recession or a depression. The money is just sunk down a new vein which is under absolutely perfect control, it hasn't gone anywhere. It's value has been changed deliberately and shifted to a different area of concern. I'm convinced of that, and I'm sure it's something people will begin to get information about. I read the business news now. I cut bits out of the Observer Business News to support these feelings. I'm building up a file on it. Actually, that is another subject worth sending up. It's like gangsterism on a vast scale, the bootlegging era, where people who were campaigning for the lifting of the prohibition laws in America were being shot down by the gangsters, and, sort of, disappearing because they would have put them out of business. That is the basis for the sort of economy I'm talking about."

    On new forms of economic and 'cultural' power - and on future-forms of control in a Media-over-saturated (or rather mediated) society:

    "Economic control is going on. You can't have anything as massively influential as money floating around the world without people at work at ways of controlling it, in the way they can control the weather.
    You can certainly control the time a recession happens in a country to get ready for some new economic take-off in another direction. It seems to me that people are saying now that the entertainment world is going to pick up in a big way because we are entering a recessive, almost depressive stage of economy. Last time it was seen was the thirties. Busby Berkly took off with his masses of unemployed dancers in these visual epics. The same thing is going to happen again, and I think this time it's absolutely under control. The whole thing, the electronic home computer video boom is totally in the hands of financiers influencing the economy to the extent where they can create a vacuum to fill with new product so it goes whoosh, like that, and all the investments are being sucked into this new boom which we are all going to see very shortly. As quick as lightning total changes are going to be happening in the economy of home entertainment.

    I watch videos all the time. I've got stacks of films; I've got about twenty tapes upstairs with videos I haven't seen yet. When I finish work (I work at night - I'm definitely an insomniac). I work these peculiar hours between ten at night to five in the morning which may not seem like long hours to people who do real work, but the rest of the time I'm thinking about it. After I've finished, I get into bed and put a tape on and watch about three movies before I go to sleep. I can't get enough of them.
    I can see that the market's going to be for people of a more mature age because they're going to be the ones who can afford the stuff. But when the prices come down, kids will be buying it, especially young kids, about 7, 8 or 9. They'll be in their bedrooms with their own little videoprogramme machine, that'll probably play disc and cassette. You'd probably buy it for the price of a reasonably cheap record player from Woolworths, along with the latest equivalent of 2OOOAD comic played on video.
    I think that if all this technology gets going quickly enough to catch attention, then we'll be so busily wrapped up in watching stuff on TV that they wouldn't have time to, worry about starting wars or fighting one another. I think that that would suit a lot of governments.
    It's just the same as totally obliterating people, really, to have them locked in their rooms with their private TV screens
    . It's a horrifying thought for paranoiacs everywhere.
    Actually now there's an interesting thing, Orwell actually called that thing that watches you a telescreen, and he wrote that in 1948. But that is probably a more desirable way of controlling the population than blowing them up, to keep them locked in their rooms.
    Wars were actually, generally, the play things of a small minority of individuals with their private armies. The film 'Charge of the Light Brigade' shows you Cardigan and his sort of army. I mean, he had to do something with it. There was a scene where he went and cut down a pacifist speach-maker in the street who was talking against wars, because it would have put him out of business. I think that wars were started by chieftain originally, to prove their worth between themselves, involving these massive armies of followers, just dragging people into their private disputes. I've got a feeling that it's something we might've outgrown now, although it has a fascination, it is a good subject to make movies about. But I can't really imagine a lot of my generation jumping into uniform and wanting to go out and fight wars with each other. I fucking know I wouldn't do it!"

    On the New Wave and it's conservative and the blindness of the pop-ular culture for contemporary developments in the media - 1977:

    "Hawkwind is an experimental group at a time when rock music is very conventional; very conservative. That's the thing that puzzles me about the "new wave".
    It's produced by kids who grown up with the media at their disposal and yet still their view of the world is so old-fashioned.
    Their political ideals seem to be based on really outdated ways of thinking; influenced by George Orwell. They still believe that a 1930`s vision of the future applies for our time.

    "Big Brother is watching you" is nothing to the subtle techinques that are already being used. The new wave is the most conventionalised influence I`ve ever noticed in any art form at all. To my mind the psychedelic era was the most creative with new adventures in lifestyle and music style; pharmaceutical experiments.

    I tend to be against trends (which is why he`s dressed like a solicitor's clerk), because it's denial of individuality.
    There are people now who are so trendy they can't like anything unless it`s been OK'd by the trend, and they end up being unable to form an opinion.

    During the acid-rock period there was a new approach to the music but now it`s all gone back to the three minute pop format, even the current avantgarde use it.
    I'm really not even sure if rock is the answer anymore."

    On the "Days of the Underground" and the unlikeliness of a revolutionary outcome:

    "Well, there wasn't any danger of "drowning in the days of the underground" because I don't think it was in any way ... the dangers of a revolution taking place were limited by the amount of drugs that were being used by the people involved in the underground, and they were just too stoned to pose a serious threat.

    One of the main reasons why there will never be a political revolution in this country, is that the security systems of this country are so deeply aware and entrenched in control that there`s absolutely no chance that any group could overthrow any government that`s in power. (...)
    ...but I think the underground movement in a way was sort of revolution but it had no way of expanding it`s influences into the rest of society at all."

    On SF and the role of Rock music - from an interview in " Beat"; 1976 by Gary Cooper:

    "Yes, I think that there is going to be a boom in Science Fiction generally and that this will be reflected in Rock music.
    I've got a feeling that, in any sort of art, realism isn't going to tell you anything today - it's not a real world we're living in, it's a Science Ficton one and Rock will reflect that if only because Rock music is this generation's literature"

    On the Moon Landing, the space-age & the space-age-poet:

    Getting to the moon, I think was an fantastic achievement.
    I tried to convince people at the time that it was more fanstastic than "Crossroads" or whatever else was on telly - a lot of people weren`t that interested.

    I always thought as a boy that the landing on the moon - which I know was going to happen in my lifetime, I was convinced of it - I thought it was going to change the whole consciousness of the human race, but in fact it didn`t change anything at all, and it makes you wonder whether contact with aliens is going to change anything. (...)

    ...but whether I am a poet of the space age, is obviously a question that will have to be answered when the space age actually is in progress and has been reviewed from a future perspective."

    more QUOTES:

    Calvert according to Calvert  - - -  The World ON Calvert
    biography   NEWS bulletin
    works / part I / II / III   works / part IV / V / VI
    words / lyrics   collab-relations
    Mike Moorcock   R.C. & Hawkwind
    Calv-ART   the spirit behind
    the spirit's home
    contact the spirit
    ...bug me...