from the material world to a more digital profile

OK, so I was a Luddite? Or maybe playing (too) safe? I avoided going on social sites like the plague. But last night i saw my mate Gary what is on all these tings like twits and linkds and all. he advocated them. I don’t know why but thur tis. He took my wordpress url and linked me to his contacts, so that’s a potential 1500 more folk looking in ere. And if you are one of em let me know cos I want to know if these systems work. So Gary was saying that what you do is ‘follow’, well following was never my strong hand, I prefer to follow (oops) my own path, which has always meant I am the nerd up front who is ploughing thru the jungle with me machete and it’s bin ‘ard. It’s a difficult path bein a pie-on-ear.But that’s watti dun did. So, I had to question, what am I doing it for, why am I interested in developing a ‘follow-group? Well gary sed it gets you out there, making links, making connects, making…a netwerk? Do I need a netwerk? Apparently that’s how you gain a …repertation. And without one you’re nobody. Why a repewt-nation? So folk can ‘get’ wat yer doin. OK so I want folk to see my work, from the past 40 years, cos I tink it’s good. Having said that I used to think Tom Phillips work was only so-so. But I see by going to hie ‘follow’ he is a lot better than i thort. And his book on Dante wat he rote from translating Dante then illustrated, which Gustavo said I can go see, is apparently a bit astounding. then I look at my stuff, yes it may be good, but not astoonding. Why? Well I could never afford to give it all the time needed to astoond ye. There wer always summat gerrin in th’way. Like gerrin a job, doin yer job, gerrina tersificat to prove yu cud do that job berrer. And nobody ever paid for my stuff, which may have given me time to mek it stound yez? 

So anyway, if my spellin asn’t put yu orf then I shall continue next time. Am just awaiting Gary’s mates to come on board before I extend my path and invite more to foller me. well not me, my ‘stuff’.

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My hero Jimmy McIlroy

I designed a 3D piece to celebrate the career of Jimmy McIlroy, the maestro who Stan Bowles said was his biggest inspiration and I believe MUST have also inspired George Best.I am trying to galvanise a campaign to have it made. There would be spin offs like a small maquette for sale in shops. Ideally I would like to see place outside either Burnley or Stoke F C or maybe outside the National Football museum. I want something to be done during his lifetime, although the days for that are growing less as he has just made 82! As an artist I would do all the fabrication..

I did approach Burnley about 3 years ago and they had me visit them said they wanted it and showed me where they would put it. But then when i told them what it would cost to make and deliver to the ground they never replied, despit their telling me that it would cost them nothing as they would sell bricks from the pedestal to fans who would have their names put on. I think also it could be installed in Northern Ireland. He is one of the longest serving Irish playersImage
What do you tink?

my likes, influences and all dat stuff

I thought you may like to see this, a past article ‘published’ on canongate’s meet at the gate. I hope it all comes up in the blog on Sun Oct 19, 2008 09:00 PM GMT and posted on this blArt about a year ago, when I were ony 62!

I am an artist/writer living in the Essex countryside. I have had 20 exhibitions in Essex since 1978 and one in Burnley, my home town.

My life as an artist began at Todmorden Road Junior school at the bottom of Lyndhurst Road in Burnley when I tried (vainly) to copy the ships, cars & horses that my friends, Steve Hezzlewood and Roy Gidley, drew. Before I left junior school I wrote a piece about the reincarnation of two donkeys which I called Jack & Jenny in respect to my parents whose nicknames were the same- my life as an off-beat writer had started.

Most of my inspirations I feel have that little bit more than surface. They stand scrutiny. When you peel back the layers there’s more and more underneath. I hope you see my work that way too!

Below I shall outline some of the influences that I have taken in over my life of loving art and culture. Although I have always been fiercely independent and earnestly ‘original’ I can now, for my Gatepost, look back and joyously acknowledge a few of my sources of inspiration:

Artists, without whom my life would have been duller.

  1. Dudley D. Watkins, who created ‘Iron Fish’ ‘Jimmy & his Magic Patch’ and ‘The Horse that Jack built’ plus ‘Oor Wullie’ for D.C. Thompson Publishers in Scotland, had a massive impact on me. He also influenced Robert Crumb big time.
  2. George Herriman ‘s Krazy Kat is stupendous and he’s supposed to have impacted on e. e. cummings and Philip Guston, also Hunt Emerson. Although I used my own phonetic vocabulary in ‘Apulone’ and ‘Applehead Lives’ I had not seen Herriman then. Now I realise he used phonetics in an ingenious way. I would rate his work as high as any Surrealist, added to which he is just so FUNNY!
  3. In 1976 Rick Griffin shook my hand saying, “Good strip” when he saw the four page Apulhed comic I drew to run alongside Bryan Talbot’s graphic novel in ‘Brainstorm 2’. I was bowled over as I admired his work on Grateful Dead’s album covers. Later, when I saw his graphic novels, I was stunned. For me he was The Best of the so-called American Underground graphic artists.
  4. Max Ernst is the daddy of all the Surrealists. He invented his own private symbols and language but his beautiful forest-scapes under strange moons really inspire me. He loved the Hopi people too, as did D.H.Lawrence.
  5. Chaim Soutine who gave me the skill to lift the paint off the canvas and to twist it around like Auerbach, who must have been influenced by Modigliani’s old mucker as well.
  6. De Kooning took Soutine as a starting point and then ‘destroyed’ his own images with a great controlled violence, challenging the (unsurpassable) Picasso and his series of incisive images of Dora Maar. I loved his raunchy grinding paintings of the ‘Women’ series which I saw at the Tate in 1969. Their work had a direct influence on my portrait ‘Red Camellia’ done in 1979.
  7. Philip Guston was an acknowledged Abstract Expressionist but turned his back on it to produce his wonderful late work of massive cartoon-like forms. I’m sure Gaylen Hansen must have liked Guston as I see a kinship between them.
  8. F.H. Haagensen was an etcher who worked in London and Bradwell in Essex during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. His energetic swirling line was an influence on Bomberg, (known to have visited him in his Chelsea studio converted from a stable), and who in turn taught Auerbach, the greatest living British artist as far as I am concerned. http://lacebyhistory.com/node/72
  9. Mimmo Paladino is a phenomenal sculptor who mixes colour, gold leaf, clay and bronze. I love his transmogrifications of animals, humans and helmets. He incorporates things like the wind and music in a 3D symbolism which links his work back to the earliest sculptures made by man in pre-history and to Kokopelli the Hopi people’s mischievous flautist. There is a kinship with Picasso’s ‘Man carrying a goat’ and his flute players too.

Music – I lived through the great 50’s & 60’s revolution which coupled with the Blues of an earlier era greatly inspired my work. From it I got that invincible feeling that an artist’s ideas could break the barriers of conformity. You may notice that most of my favourite singers have got unusual voices. Their voices put them above the norm.

  1. The Beatles and The Stones were a massive inspiration but John Lennon was ‘The man’. He was so original. His version of ‘Stand by me’ is great.
  2. I used to love Them’s ’60’s pop and a great friend of mine, Trev Cornthwaite, made me listen to this album called ‘Astral Weeks’ by a bloke called Van Morrison. BUMF! I was a Van Fan. Again his sound was so original. ‘Astral Weeks’ is still considered by some to be the best rock album ever. Van Morrison sang on St. Dominic’s Preview, ” You got to climb too high to see my point of view,” yet children and those with open hearts and minds have no difficulty relating to my work.
  3. When I first visited London as a student I went to some kind of music festival and watched a poor quality film about the whereabouts of Leonard Cohen. I loved his words and his unusual delivery. He went on to be a hero of Glastonbury 2008.
  4. At college I did a lino cut illustration to biting lyrics from John Prine’s song about Vietnam; “There’s a hole in Daddy’s arm where all the money goes”. In 2006 he released ‘Fair & Square’ with this beautiful song about “Some cowboy from Texas (who) starts his own war in Iraq”. He’s not lost his teeth!
  5. One of my greatest regrets is turning down an opportunity in 1976 to see this American new boy do a gig at Hammersmith Odeon, because he was supposed to be the ‘new Bob Dylan’ and I could only dig one! Much to my chagrin I missed the chance to see Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ tour. I love his writing which I am sure was influenced by Charles Bukowski and Tom Waits, he also liked John Prine.
  6. I once knew a guy at college in Exeter called John St Fieldj st field who later formed Doll by Doll. Nowadays he is a very powerfully voiced performer known as Jackie Leven! I adore the track ‘Clay Jug’ on his ‘Mystery of Love’ album with the poet reading on it.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SpORcSBMOE
  7. Kate Bush is phenomenal and I passionately love ‘Hounds of Love’ which was inspired by a book I read by Peter Reich about being the son of Wilhelm Reich the incredible psychologist/thinker.
  8. Colin Lloyd Tucker is a fantastic musician who has worked with Kate Bush since her youth. He does Beatles better than Beatles did and is very at home sounding similar to early Syd Barrett-based Pink Floyd. He was a member of The The.
  9. I now love ‘James’. Their music grows on me daily but it’s the lead singer’s dance that really gets me. Move over Michael Stipe!

Authors who have gotten into my head.

  1. I self-educated myself into literature after leaving the Sixth form. D.H.Lawrence ‘Sons and Lovers ‘ struck chord as I was poor working class and my mum and dad were at loggerheads. That someone from such a background could write so movingly was an early instigator to write.
  2. Henry Miller . I began reading his ‘Tropics’ books for the sex in my adolescence. However it was his later more philosophical stuff from Big Sur I grew to relate to.
  3. Kenneth Patchen was a poet whose novel ‘Albion Moonlight’ Henry Miller began reading on a visit, extended because he could not put the book down. I met Miriam Patchen, his widow, at Tate Britain. She loved my drawings of Ferlinghetti with her, and my book ‘Apulone’. In his ‘picture poems’ Patchen gelled “a simultaneous fusion of painting & poetry” reminiscent of William Blake whose ‘illuminated printing’ he greatly admired. He brought his own ironic humour and a 20th century eye with its slashes, dashes & dots. He disliked the typeset word, preferring to scribe by hand so that in his later works his words floated, hung and wandered over his pages enlivened by his fantastical imagery.
  4. Jack Kerouac was a fan of Patchen too and his work ‘The Subterraneans’ really struck a chord with me. I read it when I was missing a woman I had known and lost; my whole body was torn apart. I loved Kerouac’s stand for liberty with Neal Cassady, but was much warned off from extreme imbibing by his eventual sad end owing to his addictions.
  5. Richard Brautigan wrote these crisp surreal short stories filled with humour. I liken his writing to the paintings of Gaylen Hansen. I love the one where his gran found the geese dead drunk and plucked their feathers, thinking them dead. Next day they were walking round bare.
  6. Kurt Vonnegut Junior wrote these surreal stories stained by his experiences in the Second World War at Dresden. I love his ‘Bluebeard’ with its paint-melting then disappearing Abstract Expressionist works.
  7. Hermann Hesse ‘s little story ‘Journeyers to the East’ inspired my own tribute ‘Journeyers to the West’ which eventually became my ‘Nonogon’ stories. Also his ‘Steppenwolf’ inspired the form of my latest writing called ‘Don’t Give Up’.
  8. C.G. Jung , a friend of Hesse, wrote wonderfully about the Human Consciousness and other cultures.
  9. Mervyn Peake was such a stunning graphic artist and every page of his magnificent Gormenghast Trilogy is like a painting. There’s a great film waiting to be made!

Four Films. I don’t take the time to watch that many films but the best have the habit of repeating on you long after you watch them.

  1. Spirit of the Beehive – WOW, so powerful. I watched it in the late ’70’s in black & white tele. The image of the little girl in the long coat and big boots influenced my character Happy Apulhed. Ahed in long coat B&W stencil
  2. Withnail and I – the less said the better. I was there in the ’70’s. I was drunk too. I also demand ‘cake’ now and then.
  3. Pan’s Labyrinth – yet again WOW. Such astounding characterisation. That thing about repression and standing up to it. I may ask them to do my Nonogon stories? Why not?
  4. Meetings With Remarkable Men – stars Terence Stamp is a filmic version of the book by the same name written by G. I. Gurdjieff. It starts with an incredible contest to see who can make a note that echoes around an isolated valley. It’s about a Search for Knowledge across Time similar to Hesse’s ‘Journeyers to the East’ both of which influenced my writing and character creation. (Maurice Nicoll says “.. be aware of a great psychological country lying within us invisible to the outer senses … it is this inner country that we see and walk about in, in dreams … All our happiness depends on where we are in this country….  It is where we are inside, not outside that matters.” ‘Psychological Commentaries on the teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky’, p.1690) Gurd as a squidgerat

I chose to have Nine Nomads in a Nonogon because it fits the Enneagram- an ancient symbol referred to by G. I. Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff’s practical philosophy of going the whole hog “horses and all” has had a big influence on my commitment to get things done once I embark on a task. Equally his excursions into the extra-ordinary influenced my character-creations and my story writing.

My Back story

On leaving my Exeter based college in 1973 with my degree in art & philosophy I couldn’t stop doing my, it engulfed me and became my obsession, a never ending investigation. My time in Exeter in the early 70’s was the basis of my first self-published book, ‘Apulone’

978-0-9504267-0-9

(Apple-one), inspired by the artist-books of Deiter Rot. Compiled from my phonetic writing, and illustrated with black & white drawings and photos in 1975, it featured Apple-Head-Man (Apulhed-man) whom I had invented in 1971. I embarked on ‘writing’ books for conceptual and philosophic reasons. I was not trying to contribute to the literary canon. My work reflects pioneering thinkers in the Philosophy of Art like Max (LopLop) Ernst and Alfred (Ubu Roi) Jarry.

My images and artefacts arise out of my thoughts and actions like a stream creates pebbles and rounds off broken roots. My words and pictures are glimpses into my Mind, then through Jung’s ‘Collective Unconscious’ on to Cosmic Insight.

Therefore my art is an external manifestation of my internal consciousness and I do not claim to understand all that I do. I’ve found that sometimes when you think you are inventing a character, you are tapping into some deep reservoir, maybe ‘cosmic consciousness’, but what’s in a name? In that deep well, which I call IMROI, The Imaginal Realm Of Ideas, there seems to be an intelligence that connects with Time as a circle not a straight line. I created Apulhed, Lighteyes, and other characters. I have 9 characters, ‘The Nonogon Nomads’, who represent a group of beings who have come together on Earth to assist the planet’s living things through a testing time. My Nonogon Story is an allegory about our world and the need for all of us to give credence or tolerance to other cultures and to be watchful to the needs of the world’s flora, fauna and the Environment.

My final Tribute to Ken Campbell who died on 31st August 2008.

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2008/sep/01/obituary.ken.campbell

Ken is difficult to categorise so I left one of the best ’til last.

I went to see the late, great, Ken Campbell do his ‘Pidgen Macbeth’. Ken triggered my first one-man show at Brentwood theatre. He was like an old wily sorcerer with words and stories, I couldn’t match his experiences, my life having been so normal by comparison to his, I seemed to take so much inspiration and example from watching Ken, I felt an energy come over me which made me want to get up and ‘do’ my thing so I began to tell my stories using my art as my props.

Comments 

Guest

Date:  Tue Oct 28, 2008 04:43 PM GMT

I have followed Pete Kennedy’s work and I’m impressed how HE is the art work, by not only producing fantastic paintings but by representing his own life and mind as an exploring artist, in books and theatre. He will become very famous eventually…..

Alan Williams

Date:  Thu Oct 23, 2008 07:17 PM GMT

A wonderful way to spend 30 minutes! Thank you for sharing your story, inspirations and ‘tips’.

pete kennedy

Copyright © 1998 – 2016 Pete Kennedy. All rights reserved.

Am onto sumthink Big

I only have a few minutes so this is a quick one.

A brave friend suggested that G Batch as a name for my most recent book doesn’t give a clue as to what the inside of the book contains, the truly spiritual side. She said she understood it as an acrostic but it is too cold, too mathematical. I pondered on that and BOOM out of the ether came the answer. I shall make a wraparound overcover. On it I shall have a line drawing which goes round the pot which you can see thru the outer semi-opaque paper. On that new words.title etc. The drawing follows the contours of the pot and has dots in key points which you join up. This has led to some ideas of including an enneagram (my nonogon) and a Vitruvius man. Watch this space. Bless the dancer.

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First Site talk success but

OK, so I went to a talk at First Site the big new gallery in Colchester. It’s a stunning place with fantastic facilities but nobody came. It’s a crying shame. Such a great facility not being supported. I been going up to London, Paris, New York, Barcelona, Madrid and all to find good galleries and here is one equal to the best in the whole artworld and it’s not drawing in the crowds. Hell, I think all the art folk in london should get off their asses and come on over. i mean, we in the sticks go to your galleries, start using ours!

ann stephens reads an stephen2

There were about 3 other members of the public and about equal number of staff. Ann Stephen from Australia did a good talk about  some minimalists out of Australia. She was brave to do it with such a low audience. I was lucky to be there and i took some photos and did some drawings of her which I shall use in a future article. It links nicely to one I have just completed on Lucy Lippard. gives an Aussie angle. Eventually i shall find a way to put my articles up on this blog.

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Here’s Ann walking thru the crowds in the gallery.

There’s a bookart bloke coming to talk in 2 weeks time. i hope to persuade some of my pals in bookarts to go cos it’d be a missed opportunity if they miss him. I will put some stuff up about him next week.

fighting my own fight

I have not done any pages here this week as all of my time has been spent doing a new article about the activist Lucy Lippard. I had promised to do it back in April but was advised to get my MA completed successfully first which I done gone and done now. So, the writing thing. Although i never set out to be(come) a writer it happened on me almost by default. I kept a journal from 1969 when I kicked off the traces of my schooldays when i had been put off doing English Literature as an A level by the too seriousness of those taking it, teachers and pupils. Luckily I had a great teacher for History who as an Oxbridge graduate introduced me to essay writing wherein we referenced several sources in prep for out essays. He gave me a love of articulating an argument in written word. My art teacher at school was no great stakes at teaching the skills of making marks mean what you want them to say, David Wild at night school gave me that secret. Mr Bennet, who must have been 7 foot tall, gave me the ability to argue the point, he did so by constantly teasing me, hitting the button he knew got me flying. But David Wild was the Slade scholar who shewed me how to draw with the paint and although his god was Cezanne he never stopped my rapid rise thru the Impressionists to the Fauves and on into Expressionism. At the same time I was impressed by Gerald Scarfe and his work brought out my cruel streak and I started doing ‘caricatures’ of pupils and pop stars, in fact that streak spilled over into my portraits and I could make the bonniest woman look ugly. ask my wife. This interest in questioning appearance led me to create Appleheadman/Apulhed which was a cartoon character which I used to convey my interests. At the time I had left the security of my home in Brunlea and gone to the wilds of Exeter in Devon. There were the perpetual wars and strifes which existence seems to foster and I got really upset by the state of Biafra, Bangla Desh and Northern Ireland where Bloody Sunday had just occurred. So the first Apulhed used to have scream on his face and talked about all the world issues that were upsetting. Whilst I was doing the Screaming Apulhed stuff i went up to taklk with the editors at ‘Oz’ the underground mag which was hitting the headlines as i wanted to contribute my graphic strip to their publication. I was put into a room with Jim Anderson who explained they only printed comics ripped off from America by the likes of Robert Crumb but they liked my writing, would i like to do some writing for them. I saw myself as an artist what wrote not an writer wat drew so I firmly declined the suggestion. And walked away from what may have been a big break, or not.  Then i found that they , the issues, are never ending, they just change venue. So I adopted a more zen like approach and created ‘Happy’ Apulhed who went around observing human activity but never intervened. This led to my strip being in Sennet the newspaper of London students and later Cantab of Cambridge Uni. In my strips the written word supports the visuals. Meantime I continued my journals which I always felt would be the source of books in the future, which they would but not in the way i perceived.

Anyway, recently I have started writing for outlets like the Artist’s Book Yearbook and am looking to extend the remit because I enjoy putting together arguments and ideas to share some of the things I have gleaned. Which brings me to the Lucy article.

I admired Lucy Lippard’s life work challenging the established status quo and her impact has hit me way beyond my expectation. I never realised when I felt so attracted to go see her at Whitechapel that my connection with her was so strong as fellow subversives keen to carry on pioneering new ideas through our work and taking on those who stand for standing still. Now I am ready to fight my own fight now. By that i mean I am prepared to stand up and say my piece more on issues like the art world and other things. I did the drawing below of Lucy from observation and i found an uncanny resemblance to an African mask which was in my front room when I got home. I love all that coincidence stuff.

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Lucy drawn at Whitechapel Gallery April 2013

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Looking for my rainbow I found gems

OK so in the last couple of days I been a whinger. Whiney winey whingy woo. Even those last four words look startlingly depressing and it’s not good to express doubt & negativity openly. I did hit a bad patch. Worrying about ‘them’, those who love to await you around dark corners and hit you from behind. Then today i awoke to my new dawn. I can’t say i will never not nohow won’t whinge again, I’m a Man and men get grumpy, don’t they? Do men have men-o-pauses? So, enough, cut to the quick.

I saw light out my window and thought maybe it be breaking my fast time? White light.Whoopee, some brekker and I can watch last night’s soccer cos it comes on too late fer me to watch last nicht, a man o my age. So I walked to the curtain and flung it back. It was the light of a full moon. AND standing out bright and proud, if stars can get pride (of course not stupid unless they have a planet  orbiting around them on which the critical mass of its beings are proud then stars don’t be proud, altho some stars like say David Bowie can get proud, can’t they?) was the Great Bear, stark naked in th’sky. Well very bright anyway, very bright. And I realised my whingeing about what ‘they’ may say/said was my fear. Fear of inadequacy, fear of failure, failing to be ‘good enough’. I want to be good enough, well at least that little boy who won’t go away inside me does. He is still trying to please his mum and all that Freudian stuff. But I do not dig freud anyway, much prefer Jung and even Wilhelm Reich altho the latter did become a bit of a control freak I love his book , ‘Listen Little Man’.

But, to the point. I realised it wer my Fear. I thought I had dealt with that asshole. But it comes back. Self doubt and concern for future. Then i remember my buddhist thing, there is not any need to fear, why, becos, because, be-cause of your own life- do not let ‘them’ get you down because no matter what they say or don’t say ‘It’s too late to Stop Now!’ Thanks Van. When I quote someone I hear the accusation that am ‘re-iterating’ ring in my ears, don’t they know about the new big thing in ‘art’? Appropriation. That’s where they take swathes of stuff someone else created and re-present it and say it is theirs. I never do that, yet, but I do intend to for my commemoration of the Burnley ‘pals’ who were sacrificed in 1916, you’ll have to wait fer that. Anyway, I am on my way and nothing can take away what I have learned, what I have achieved and what I have done/made. like Major Tom I Am out there. Like Van said, ‘they gotta climb too high to SEE my point of view’. He meant like Martin did , the view over the hill, Pendle hill.Tonight I saw the view that banished my doubts. The full moon and The Great Bear with his belt of Orion and his dangly sword, the Great Warrior lighting up my horizon reminding me that the piddling pettiness and barbed arrows of some are as needles off the back of Gulliver. Cast ‘they’ adrift and sail on to your destination, well not yet, i ain’t going nowhere yet before i complete a few more of my books and all.

Now am thru that phase and come striding out the other side shedding skin like a snake leaves behind its past I must finish on some high notes, crescendo. I was looking for a rainbow photo to place in this pete’s (piece). And i couldn’t find it but i found more than that I found a genius. Robert Lenkiewicz. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21640622

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I was lucky one day he allowed me into his place and we spent a couple of hours chatting. The man was a GENIUS and I don’t say that lightly. He was astoundingly talented and had vast Knowledge. I won’t go into detail, but believe me it’s true. He was a Rembrandt scholar and his work was as a modern Rembrandt. But ‘they’ chose to ignore him. What chance can a minnow like me have? I regret not asking him if i could paint him, like i did Topolski several times, Feliks T. was another tremendous talent ignored by the art world, really.

Finally I would like to share a comment made to me about my article in the Artist’s Book Year Book recently which was from a much respected source,

‘Your article is a remarkable documentary; lucid and unaffected, despite the fact that it records, in some detail, an impressively intellectual endeavour.’

There now, ‘everything comes to he who waits’, no fear no worries. Have a good one as they , well actually not ‘they’, say.

Bless