HW: Bob Calvert: Freq and Live at the QEH

Paul Mather paul at CSGRAD.CS.VT.EDU
Tue Mar 19 10:37:36 EST 1996

On Tue, 19 Mar 1996, Chris Bates wrote:

> I think that this shows the true limitations of rock as a serious
> art form. Real art, it seems to me, is capable of holding a mirror
> up to society, or to each individual, and allows us to learn
> more about ourselves and our world. When rock musicians try to
> reflect the world their message is misunderstood or is painted in
> such black and white terms that it soon becomes trite and jaded.

I don't know about art, but I know what I like. :-)

Unlike some of his other "political" work, I don't think Bob did a very
good job on _Freq_.  Unless you have the cultural context, the recorded
interludes don't make much sense (as evidenced by some opinions from our
American subscribers).  (That's also why I think many of the political
references in Floyd's _The Final Cut_ will fly over the heads of many
non-British listeners.)  I can easily see why some people would find them
boring, having no knowledge of or emotional attachment to them.  They're
hardly seamless, either.

> The miners strike of 1984-85 was the final death throws of labour
> in its fight against capital in the UK. Capital won because the
> labour and trade union movement as a whole was ground down by repressive
> legislation and the fear of unemployment. I haven't got the album
> and haven't heard it for years but I'd guess that the *NUM guy*
> is Arthur Scargill, the bete noir of the capitalist press, who
> was undeniably RIGHT :-(

I was born and raised in the North-East of England---a place that has
received *more* than its fair share of the shaft from the Tories.  I lived
through the miners strike.  My home town (South Shields) has (had?) two
pits at Boldon and Westoe.  (Westoe was shut down, but Boldon *might*
still be operating, I don't know for sure.  It was a sad day indeed when
they blew up the pit head building at Westoe---a visible landmark
throughout the town for as long as I can remember.)  Memories of the miners
strike still run deep.

I don't need you to tell me about the miners strike, thank you very much.

Everyone laughed when Arthur presented his "hit list" of pit closures.
Yet how many of them remain open today?  His words rang true.  Few can
deny that.

Btw, are you sure that the NUM guy is Arthur Scargill?  If it is, Bob did
him a great disservice.  Arthur is a very good orator, but the person on
_Freq_ sounds anything but.

> If you want goo, political rock that stands up as art, IMO, give
> a listen to *The Plague* by DEMON. A brilliant statement on the
> collapse of society caused by unemployment

If I stumble across it, I'll give it a spin.

> Up the workers :-)

Not that there are many of those left. ;-)



obCD: The Bevis Frond, _New River Head_

e-mail: paul at csgrad.cs.vt.edu                    A stranger in a strange land.

More information about the boc-l mailing list