I awoke about 3am on 2nd March 2022 and a strange thought crossed my mind about the convoy of military vehicles sent into Ukraine which for reasons beyond my ken I thought of as ‘his lethal payload’ which is not a term I’ve ever dreamed of nor considered in the 70+ years I’ve lived.
I coined the phrase ‘His lethal payload’ to carry the meaning and outcome of the Russian intent and it cannot be just the misguided work of a leader gone mad; to carry out such a mission required the complicity of tens of thousands. The parallel with the invasion of Poland & France by Nazi forces in 1939 is uncanny. A leader led by paranoid delusions who had stifled all opposition and in this case has practiced destroying cities (and the inhabitants) in Syria has other parallels too; with Stalin, Pol Pot and the North Korean’s leadership. This is the scariest military action I have ever heard of and the poor people of Ukraine are about to go through an annihilation planned by the Russian ‘leader’ and his cronies. Megalomaniac is not a term too severe to describe the ‘leader’ preparing such a lethal onslaught and the lapdogs that carry it out. The ‘West’ is doing something parallel to Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler and the consequences will probably lead to a conflagration into major war between Russia plus its allies and NATO forces. Even if that doesn’t occur it’s almost inevitable that thousands of brave Ukrainian defenders are about to die, many already have. This trajectory must be prevented by all means possible. Essentially the ‘leader’ has to be ousted somehow; he’s lost his marbles.
History tells us that there lived a man called Vlad in Transylvania (now in Romania) who purportedly killed many people. A man with the same name is in process of killing many more than his namesake. He knew exactly the consequences of his actions because he had practiced for years in Syria from which millions of people fled. (The UN estimate 4million will flee Ukraine). His planes sent missiles crashing down on cities which became bombed out ruins with people living underground trying to avoid being killed. He does this in support of a dictator who allegedly used chemical weapons in 2017.
The ‘West’ decided not to get involved because of previous errors of judgment perpetrated by Bush and his lapdog Blare. Whether that was a good decision remains to be assessed but the displacement of millions of Syrians speaks for itself.
Once again as Assad’s ally launched an unprovoked attack on a neighbour millions of people are being displaced and many are being killed including some in his 150,000 army. The big difference is that whereas in Syria they (his planes) encountered very little resistance in Ukraine there’s a determined desperation to fend off the invasion by a people who want to maintain their independence who have ground to air missilery which is giving the planes a resistance they didn’t experience in Syria.
A long long time ago my grandad fought the Kaiser in the trenches and a long time ago my dad fought Mussolini in Suez. Mussolini was a fascist like his ally by the name of Adolf. These men seem to believe that the use of military force and a plan enables them to ‘conquer’ and vanquish those they consider foes. Adolf hated Slavs and his aim was to annihilate them and in his attempt to do that he launched a massive attack on his Eastern front. Adolf seems to have been a bit dim as he didn’t learn from his own experience of war which ended in disaster for Germany in 1918. As it happens my dad was born in 1918 and 21 years later joined the Air Sea Rescue section of the British airforce to combat Adolf and his cronies. My predecessors sacrificed their liberty to live peaceful lives in order to help subdue fascist forces.
The man who is perpetrating the invasion of Ukrainian isn’t technically considered a fascist but what’s in a name? He laughingly called the leaders of Ukraine ’Nazis’ because he knows that will stir up strong emotions with some people who he also tells that Ukraine was a threat but significantly we don’t see Ukraine invading Russian soil but the Russian invasion of Ukraine is in full swing.
When I was in my pre-teenage years I discovered a beautiful book written by Ian Serraillier called The Silver Sword. It’s an incredibly moving story about some children who made the dangerous journey alone from Poland to Switzerland in search of their parents. I’m afraid that there’s going to be lone children among the millions fleeing Russian forces.
The ‘performance’ art I’m doing in my new piece at Colchester Art Centre on Sun12Sept2021 is based on the content of my self-published books with some poetic license. It has many bits of music cut (with thanks to all the songsters!) from songs which were popular back in the day and as I’m only speaking very sparsely the words of each song actually tell the story. So listen well.
“We are a music-making species — always have been, always will be — and music’s capacity to explore, express and address what it is to be human remains one of our greatest communal gifts… We evolved by coming together around the fire* every night, singing songs and telling stories — invariably, telling stories through singing songs. That’s what our ancestors did; that’s how they made sense of the world and each other; that’s how they learned how to be. It is an impulse that is still fundamental to who we are.” Clemency Burton-Hill *there’s no actual fire in my piece.
I woke at four am today 25th August 2021 and came up with some answers to things which were bugging me both short term and longer. Seems I was lucid at that time of day. Short term was solving some of the challenges* I need to resolve for my show on 12th September. *(Lennon sang ‘There is no problem only solutions’ or summat like that)
I was reading about how Michael Parkinson thought so much about Alan Whicker who he said “Played the pauses better than anyone else”. I see how important that is as I prepare for my September 12th gig in which there’s a series of transferences and instinct (or simply inexperience) makes me want to fill every space but it’s probably better to leave pause time in. The silence, no movement no sound maybe a shift of lighting, will then frame the activity.
I’m may spend some of the time just sitting on my small cane chair rather than attempting to ‘dance’ my way through the whole piece. So I’ll be like that story teller on Jackanory. Early on in the piece I have a paper fish placed on my back which recalls the time as an eleven year old it happened to me in France and now I’m going to keep it on my back as I move through any of the autobiographic parts because being the fool or rather playing the Fool was part of my adopted character trait. And it adds continuity and meaning to the piece. The fool turned, like that worm which I also carried about as a character trait, in my second year at college when I realised I wasn’t playing a fool I was in danger of being a fool. A shrewd decision to stem my foolish behaviours which is probably the advent of the Shrewd-ness in PK.
I used to be an artist but I’m alright noooOW, I did oil painting but after about thirty years I gave up flogging a dead horse because my studio was full of unsold pictures everyone loved but nobody ever bought. I hang my ‘painting’ on the portal whilst I whip it then destroy it during Sandy Denny’s No End song. I’m also wearing the red beret which mysteriously appears on my return from Paris just in time for the whip it-like-John Cleese scene. I will separate the Fool (on the hill) bit from the Kazuo Ono part and maybe use Jeff Beck’s instrumental Suspension for Kazuo and also really try to make a simple Kazuo papier-mâché mask notwithstanding the sparsity of time. I don’t think I’ll complete the new Squidgeratkin mask but I’m going to embellish the original latex one with feathers and flame.
On the long term issues it came to me why I was so upset by that JFK murder it’s because subconsciously at the time he was incremental in avoiding a nuclear war with Russian leaders. There’s been so much prevarication ever since but I’m convinced he was a man marked to die and not by Lee Harvey Oswald who was a scapegoat but by forces within America’s Establishment and the bullet that actually blew his brain out was fired from behind by a security guard; accidentally or by design. American politics just then began a downhill spiral which ended up with a LOUD Trump. The jury’s still out on the Biden administration but America is so damaged there’s probably no way to recovery. I think Lennon was murdered by a hit man too. Lennon is my Working Class Hero, the words of most of the songs are pertinent to the story
Another hero is Dudley D Watkins who created characters for Beano one was called Jimmy and he had a Magic patch on his bum which enabled him to travel through time. I’ll be sporting a similar patch on me bum.
I used to be an artist but I’m alright noooOW, I did oil painting but after about thirty years I gave up flogging a dead horse because my studio was full of unsold pictures everyone loved but nobody ever bought.
So this bloke attacked me with his puny belt but like Crocodile Dundee I got a bigger one than him but I don’t use it as a rule.
There’s a John Cleese reference too.
The Belt piece is there because it’s in my Shrewd Idiot book you’ll need to buy one to find the context.
By the way the red hardback Shrewd Idiot cost me £100 each and you can buy one today for what it cost me. R J printers in Maldon print most of my books and came to my rescue when The Trilogy was not up to standard.
The Dress piece is about Love and Loss, from ecstasy to forlorn and back again. Good Vibration is not about celebrating it was on the radio that night my first love gave me the bum’s rush.
Kazuo Ohno was an amazing Japanese performance artist I tagged a tribute to him at the end.
This week I managed to upload a really good video shot by Christine Dixon during my gig at Colchester Art Centre on 24th October 2018. https://youtu.be/pHG5KAY3nYQ
If I were you I’d ignore the first 40 seconds as it starts slowly. The show goes in three main sections; from 40 seconds to 7 min 30 secs I’m reminiscing about two old loves, from 7m35sec to 12m20secs I move to Iggy Pop’s Shades thinking about Camellia, from 12m 30secs to 19m 24secs Apulhed comes in and from 19m 25secs to th’end I remember my old dadwith the help of Anohni and Annie Lennox.
So on World Book Day I thought it a good idea to tell you about my new book which right now is wending its way from the printer in Wales to my Distributor at Gazelle in Lancaster and will be sent out to anyone who has pre-ordered it on Tuesday 9th March! One place you’ll find it is at Amazon, here’s my author page there: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pete-Kennedy-aka-Danny-OCinneide/e/B08X73S7QP
O’Dork’s Nonogon Adventure tells the tale of Daniel O’Dork (YODi) who came from the Northern English town of Brunlea, an aspiring young artist in 1969 who began creating strange characters. These ‘comic characters’ gradually became quite important in his life; one of them he named Apulhed became his alter-ego. By 1999 he had more than ten personages that he made sculptures of, exhibiting them at Colchester Library in January 2000. As the New Millennium began, YODi, now a Middle Aged Dork, MAD-MAn(master artisbloke now) had a strange dream that he went to Arizona to meet the Hopi people who hold ceremonies in underground pits called kivas. MAD-man looked around the kiva and saw many people from his own past there; it seemed he was in an extraordinary meeting peopled by his lifelong friends, comic book heroes, and Old Souls. He saw he was part of The Nonogon Nomads (a Cosmic Tribe who travel in a Nine Sided Craft called The Nonogon).). The Nonomads were gathering to take on the Vainglorious Arch-Villain BeeHellZeeBug before his forces take over the Universe! Look inside to see how they manage to control The Beast.
“Pete Kennedy is a phenomenon. He is the only illustrator I know whose artwork is completely unique, coming, as it does, from deep within, uninfluenced by the artistic styles of others. His work is a labour of love, closer to conceptual art than conventional illustration, and his deep commitment to it has spanned decades. His books are an open door into a world unlike any you’ve seen before.” Bryan Talbot (Graphic Novelist, Eisner Award winner)
“In all his books Pete mixes poetry, imagination, image, reality & surreal. I feel like I’m moving fast when I’m reading his books. Grabbing a beautiful phrase here, pausing on fabulous drawing there, being whisked off to a strange place, then he brings me back to my own identity before hurling me off into another world. It’s exciting. It’s both a real and an unreal. I loved the O’Dork books.” Gary Malkin, Former Archivist at BALTIC Art Centre.
“There are many exciting drawings of YODi’s early automatic technique (SCIMs/Sub Conscious Images), where fantastical characters and symbols seep out of his mind and squirm around on the paper, interlocking and writhing with arms becoming faces, legs becoming creatures in a maelstrom of dancing shapes. This is reminiscent of the images made on walls by Ancient Egyptians except these reflect the wandering mind-set of late 20th Century man so well documented by C J Jung rather than the stabilised images of the Nile culture. He thinks in art forms; dances and whirls to the music of the Creative Unconscious. Part 2 follows YODi into the realm of the Collective Unconscious, where he uses his developing artistic techniques to draw and paint the mystical visions of peoples and seers. We see a fluid use of portraiture reaching into the minds of the sitters, together with caricatures of alter-egos, imps, dolls, and powers of these people. He portrays a kind of anthropological imagining of their cultures and myths then he develops his own fantasy play enacted by his Nonogon Nomads. Some of these are based upon Pete Kennedy’s real-life friends and the seers that he has read about, assuming powers now, like the mystical tribes. The positioning of these spiritual forces in a geographic template is like a weather map of winds, or a gravitational force field which can be skewed around planets. Each planet here being one of his mystic beings” (Duncan Walker)
I had forgotten how to add images to my blarts, I looked into it and solved it, hooray
So today my home town team, knowing of their imminent relegation from the top division in football to division 2 which is euphemistically named ‘The Championship’, secured a scintillating 0-0 draw with Stoke. But Burnley were once a truly great team! No not the first time I ever saw them when as a ten years old boy I watched
(c) pete kennedy 2015
the best Burnley team to represent the town in modern day football emerge from the Turf Moor tunnel as Champions in 1960 when they beat Man City in the final game of the season
(c) pete kennedy 2015
to prevent Wolves winning their third 1st division title in 3 years and almost won the coveted Double two years later.
No, it was the team back in 1921, (some of which had survived the First World War just before which they had beaten Liverpool in the…
As I approach my next, much anticipated, books fair ( clik the link- https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=cfd5b16764&view=att&th=1629b285999316e9&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw ) I rediscovered this old blArt and I thought my oh my did I write that? It is a very good intro/explainor of my modus operandi in some of my werkx. It kind of contextualises some of watti do, gives some history to the way I became the rebel riter wat i becaymed.
My Shrewd Idiotbook(s) give more intro to my writins and tinkins but in them it’s by osmosis, you get the picture by looking at my art and reedin ma ritin…gerrit? So, am reblArtin ma blog. Here’s lookin forard t’Baltic buk SPAM
The best think that ever happened to me was being top boy in the class in the final term of my year 6 (junior school) in 1961. Two girls beat me; Ann Whittaker and Susan I can’t recall her name but her dad was a headmaster… Mr Brown I tink. There were 45 in our class, a big class in about the biggest primary school in the town. So, when it came to moving ‘up’ to the all boys gwamma school you’d think I’d be placed amongst the top pupils? But No. I wer placed in the bottom intake class, 1C, with that dunce Bilkinton, who was always bottom boy, usually above the bottom two girls. The rebel was created. I knew summat wer rong and it wernt ma spellin! I never found the reason or cause for my being mis-placed. It may just have been something to…
After a busy weekend at Society of Bookbinders (SoB) in Kentish Town & Substance (SuB) (PABE Aspex Gallery Portsmouth Harbour) book fairs I was exhausted on getting back home Sunday nicht and much of Monday. As I wasn’t up to doing much (except sawing wood for my multi fuel Stanley cooker), a mindless activity, so I can chill, literally my fingers were like icicles despite gloves & scarf and all. During my wind-down time it occurred to me that the one thing I like more than making books (inc. writing and imaging and designing and getting print off and collating and binding variously) and doing Performance Art (PA) is the crack (as the lucky Irish 6 Nations Champs would say); the chat, the meeting and engaging in conversation about mutual interests with people.
So folk come up to my display of recent books at my table and peruse and maybe ask questions or make comments and I may answer then there’s the repartee + badinage. And I realised ‘that’s the thing which is most important, it’s making contact, touching the minds & consciousness’. Moments to remember. There were plenty of them at both events.
Particularly during & after my PA bits. People may comment and react to my books but it’s amazing looking from the ‘stage’ into the the audience’ faces and to see both their attention and silence at certain points. Neither audience knew what to expect although my handout (beautifully printed at r j printers in Maldon) did go some way to explain what I was about to do, then did. In both venues the audiences were very patient and forgiving and 4 folk said they really enjoyed it at SuB.
I love the image which The Ladies Of The Press took of Young Shrewd Idiot seated. It shows the attention given by the audience and the hanging Japanese kimono which features a bit later on. They also took a short vid of him ‘dancing’ with The Red Dress which I shall try to post soon (the tech is beyond me, I’ll get my mate Dave to elp me). It’s lovely because the dress was falling from the coat hanger (not part of the plan) and I tenderly readjust it back onto the coat hanger. Much more tenderly than am renowned for!
One woman (Renée O’Drobinak of The Ladies of the Press) who is obviously big into theatre came up after and said it had an Ancient quality, ‘like Greek’. I think she meant the overall drama but also the humour & pathos together in one piece.
The reaction was even stronger at SoB where several (fellow book people) said it (my celebration of my dad’s life using the words of Annie Lennox) was very touching. Here’s a short vid taken on Saturday which you can watch on Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/p/BgeD8TMjM2L/?taken-by=palaverdesigns ) . Some even remembered when I did ‘The History of Printing’ in a 20 minute PA two years ago.
I haven’t got any images from either PA gig as it stands becos, obviously, I were doing my ting and cannot be taking snaps. I saw some folks taking them so if any kind soul out thur can send me one I’ll add them to my blArt as they come. Thanks to whoever took the image above! Thanks Dave Kirby for sending it. “The Young Shrewd Idiot sits down with the Red Dress on his lap at Substance gig” is my title for it. The Young Shrewd Idiot is (of course silly old me wearing a mask which is taken from an oil painting that I painted from the mirror when I was at college. The painting is in The Shrewd Idiot (A4 at least) book. I wear 3 simple card masks of my 1968-72 faces watti dun. The 4th mask is a pair of very special ‘shades’ which I don when am doing the Iggy Pop number Shades. The fifth and best mask is my 3D Apulhed mask, the best I ever made thus far, thanks to you Verena giving me the recipe. Am hoping one day to make the 3 self portraits 3D too, altho not totally necessary I’d like to achieve that.
Special thanks to Dave Kirby at SuB & those responsible at SoB for inviting me to take part. I enjoyed both experiences, especially as I did not get caught up in the bad snow what fell on the South West (Southwester than Portsmouth!)
I shall have a table at the next Society of Bookbinders fair in Kentish Town on Saturday 6th April 2019. I will do a 15 minute set wearing the beautiful Apulhed Mask.
Those of you who follow ma blArt will know that on 26 Jan 2018 at bookartbookshop we added a commemoration of my dad’s centenary birthdate, he would have been 100 this year on that date. It was Tanya who kindly suggested that I do something about him that day. As he was born in Welsh Wales I had to sing a bit of Tom Jones because my dad was in the Burnley Welsh Voice Choir awhile. My dad was not a wimpero like what I is, he were a big strong bloke and a steeplejack, they called him Big Taff at the working men’s club he went to for many years. So I had to sing (well I call it singing, many wouldn’t!) it in a deep Welsh voice, which was ‘ard for a wimp-ero with a normally squeaky voix. I also read some of Annie Lennox’s words pertinent to his final days, again in a deep(ish) Welsh voice (kind of).
I won’t be doing the reading as the spot am doing is just 20 minutes but Annie & Apulhed will join me to remember him in a beautiful little song & dance. It is a very spiritual moment as Apulhed takes us through her song The Gift (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjMBPR5H9x4 ). The song is so pertinent to my dad for a number of reasons. In the movement Apulhed mimes the words, so many of which could apply to Taffy. He worked most of his life out in the rain, it always rains in Burnley dunnit? He carried baggage from his younger days of making mistakes and in the song he hands over a ‘gilded cage’ and an ‘overcoat of guilt’, which “never did belong to him”, well some of them did but you need to ‘let go’. There’s a ‘perfect gift’ he gets from me and Camellia, those who come see the gig will maybe work out what it was. He falls from his chair and has to take a serious look at himself and he finally tumbles from his tree. For a moment he lays in the throes of death until he re-awakens to the sound of rain and he cannot resist rising up and going out in the rain again, just like he said he always would! He goes down to the water’s edge to cast away all doubts and let go. I can see him now up there with his friends supping a pint and singing songs in that lovely Welsh timbre. God Bless you dad.
It fits beautifully into the rest of my gig which is all about The Shrewd Idiot’s antics, mostly from the book of the same name which’ll be on show in two versions (A4 + A3) at my table where you’ll find me willing to answer any questions about my work unless I am wandering round with ma ApulhedMask on. Yes am afraid it’s a mask, the real Apulhed is off round the Cosmos except when he zooms into my costume to transform me during his dance! [Apulhed can travel thru time in the blink of a eye, no distance is too great, no barrier can prevent him]
There’ll be several ‘costume’ changes which I hope to do seamlessly ‘on stage’. The most obvious one is when I become Apulhed-Man, I don’t have a telephone box to change in like what SuperMan did and I need to do it with a degree of speed. I’ll be using Acker Bilk’s Stranger On the Shore during that shift and there’s a story to why that music. When I were a lad we couldn’t afford a record player. Acker Bilk sat at No.1 and we were in Morpeth during Burnley Fair Summer Hols and me and dad loved the music, so buying it was an act of rebellion. We couldn’t listen to it at home, we could hold the single vinyl and hum it tho’. That music is very dear to me.
By the way, please feel free to take photos. I am totally disenchanted with those places which ban photography and galleries which forbid you to touch the sculpture. Feel free to flash away but don’t ya toucha ma tutu!
The activities of Pete Kennedy, Performance Artist Bloke, Book Creator & retired artist.