Guiding Lights.

Life is like a deck of Cards. It depends not so much on which cards you find in your hand but in how you might use them, or see them. There was a lovely song by Don Williams in the charts in the late 1950s, I was so much younger then, I Am older than that Now!

It used to make me cry because of its triumph of fairness over apparent blame.It had a big effect on my view of the world. I loved the way the young private had remained calm in the face of wrongful accusation, I loved his explanation and the singer’s revelation at the end. As a young boy, about 11 years old when I first heard it, I was well schooled in the Christian faith in both protestant and High Church, I loved the smell of incense wafting around near the altar and remember going around fascinated by pictures of the twelve stations of the cross, I wanted to be able to make images like that one day. My first sculpture ever was a plasticine pulpit made to show I too could make a pulpit like the boy last week who’d gotten so much praise. I took part with other 11 year olds to help create a mural about Jesus and I still keep the wooden cross with the brass Christ on which I saved my pocket money to buy.

Later, during my 6th form RE studies I heard about how the bible had not been written down during Christ’s lifetime and about some mysterious documents which had been found in pots near the Dead Sea. I gradually became aware that there were religions other than Christianity which also advocated goodwill toward humans and I spent many hours reading on different beliefs from different parts of the world. At college in the early 1970’s I was into Eastern ideas, they had become fashionable and in the mid-70’s I had read Hermann Hesse’s classic called Siddhartha about the young man who later became renowned as The Living Buddha. Last Wednesday night (27th November 2013) I made my way with a companion across London to watch a man called Sogyal Rinpoche talk. I have read his book, ‘The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying’, a couple of times and had found it an incredible help in my own take on the thing called death. Much better than my earlier reading of Evans-Wentz’s book ‘The Tibetan Book of the Dead’. The latter being written about Tibetan ideas by a well-meaning American and the former by a Tibetan brought up in and by their tradition. I had watched Sogyal on UTube and loved his relaxed way of conducting his talks and his apparent use of humour to lighten the load of the ideas he puts out. I was curious to hear him ‘in person’ in the same way I am sometimes curious to be there at a live gig by a singer or poet or actor etc. I feel I did learn quite a lot and felt some good feelings but I shall come back to that after my report on the rest of a very busy day.

At 11 am I walked into the Chelsea College Artist’s Book Archive to be shown some books by Gustavo Montero its chief archivist. I showed him some books I had made recently and he showed me some of Tom Phillips works. I had come to see the full hardback 1st edition book Phillips had made about Dante’s Inferno. Very impressive it was too. He showed me some of the various prints inspired from that book in small folders and several different versions of Humument. A new book for my delight is by George Brecht which composed of many different sized printed words and images contained in a box all of which for copyright reasons I am not allowed to share images of.

Whilst perusing these different ways of presenting the word the notion arose in me to ‘publish’ some of my 1970s writing in its original handwritten form, maybe even with added colour and various smudges, shifts and overprints which would make it illegible and obfuscate reading, more artwork than literary so the words become just shape and pattern like, say, a Mark Tobey painting. Then to make a legible, simply typed version available on an E Book. That would move my books even further into being ‘artworks’, but as there is always a text, a context and ongoing description it would be churlish not to let people find it in ‘readable form, whether they want to access it or not.

On hearing about the two short films, one describing the ideas behind the pot and its contents the other of my mask event talk with its famous scene of an idiot dancing, made around the time of the Final MA show Gustavo saw some stills and reckoned it would be a good idea to post edited down versions on U tube which I shall do when I learn editing. Of all the unique one off books and my new book ‘G Batch’ that Gustavo saw it was the concertina card book of the clay tablets in my pothi (Tibetan style book) which he liked most. He is into the work of Ed Ruscha who makes cheap, or did, publications in editions of c.1000 and Gustavo liked the ‘solution to the problem’ I had invented to get the words on my clay potis out to a public in a cheap accessible form.

So, back to Sogyal. Finding the Rigpa centre for the first time was quite a challenge but we arrived in good time. Sadly as we would need to leave to catch a train connection we would have to leave before the event concluded so we had to move from our cushions at the front to a place at the back. But Once Sogyal began to talk there was an amazing atmosphere of calm and serenity which he seems to generate. His talk has long pauses where he may be trying to remember what he had to say but more likely he deliberately slows things down slower and slowly slower til you are waiting expectantly for the next comment. He makes lots of jokes. He definitely doesn’t want you to approach serious subjects like death without a smile on your face. He talked about accepting death rather than fearing it and how serious life is but that there is a need for humour. It seems to me that’s a compassionate humour, an accepting what is was, what will be will come, Become. Be Calm & Carry on as my friend Colin Lloyd Tucker sings.

His message seemed to be about the difference between what we thing is real and what is really real. He used the story of the Tibetan sky as an analogy. He talked of the conceptual mind, the one we live with most of the time and the Buddha nature which is deep inside us. He likened the conceptual mind to the clouds furling and behind them the blue sky which is permanent [outer] space, infinity. He said to contact that real nature of mind we need to be natural [just] Be yourself. Whilst meditating don’t interrupt your mind with instructions just relax and allow it to be.

I believe that I saw some things during the session which I shall try to explain. I am using my way with words my play with words here, not Sogyals:


Real-I-Say So On

It’s Real I say Shone

The Real I say shone (The Light)

So, I say I saw the light here, I sat there and saw sensed what I call ‘nuances’. These are my ‘beliefs’ or my considerations, not necessarily anything Sogyal said. I had been looking at ‘spirit’ over many many years. I did a comic which you can see in my book ‘Apul-One’ where author Paul Brunton was in the Great Pyramid overnight and he saw two lights coming toward him like sentient beings who spoke with him. And that was what I felt when Sogyal talked of past masters, buddhas, who gather round and watch [over] us. I call them the Wise Ones or the Watchers. There is a mantra, ‘Om Mani Padme Hung’, which if you say it , to yourself, or out loud or even in a group, will summon the community of buddhas to your side. I know some folk, many folk will be thinking that I am a poor misguided soul by now, but I really do think there is something in it. And my belief doesn’t hurt anybody, in fact I hope it can help somebody, me at least. Whether Brunton thought ‘buddhist’ when he ‘saw’ his watchers is debatable but I don’t perceive them as denominational! Spirit is much bigger than human divisions. So, let me finish before you go to sleep.

An Astounding Revelation arrives in the strangest of ways.


I can see an incredible ‘spirit’ being in this painting/collage of ‘the Dalai Lama standing in front of a Tibet mountain’ that I produced which ‘appeared’ without my intervention. I am not going to point it out but it is there for those with eyes to see.

Sogyal was talking about what Buddhists call your ‘Buddha-nature’, about if you look inside there you can find your ‘real’ nature, the constant self, the one which is not blown in the wind nor changes with it. I scanned around the room, I listened to the silence which Sogyal could bring to the gathering, and I let my mind go…allowed it to think of the possibility that they were gathered and ‘watching’, the wise ones that is. They are there.                Forever.

I mentioned the watchers on the first page of my book Apul-One in 1975 when I wrote the last chapter which in fact became the first. I know I didn’t know then why I was mentioning them, I remember thinking , ‘you idiot, what’s all this about ‘watchers’ but part of me insisted on keeping it in. It was about a greater benevolence which watches waiting for me to tune in, to become aware and mind-full or rather, ‘void’- mind-less. And here I was on Wednesday 27 November 2013 sitting as cross legged as I can manage. In about an hour’s time my companion was about to get all esoteric on me when all of a suddy she said we are all air, water, earth & fire, but she hadn’t said that yet when Sogyal said something which resonated at a very deep level, a profound level which showed me his emphasis on humour is in fact so much deeper then we think. He started to joke about ‘guru’ the word which he said in Tibetan means ‘donkey’. Then he mimicked the sound of a donkey bray. He moved on saying about his words [to us], ‘A few droppings…and I want you to cherish them….relish them.’ He was still playing the donkey. He was giggling and waiting for us to ‘get’ what he was saying. I got it alright on more levels than he meant it, or did he? Obviously he was being self-deferential, kicking off any hero-worship, quite rightly and semi-ridiculing himself, and us for being there, so serious. And he is still playing the humour card. [Gurdjeff does it by saying we are all idiots and he, Gurdzhiev, is Arch-idiot, the King of all Idiots.] BUT, for me Sogyal had said something which in fact made profound sense to me and I think that is what enlightenment is all about. It Is very individual, it’s personal and this was so personal. He was talking of the donkey droppings being as pearls of wisdom.

The title of my 1975 book for which Apul-One is the sub-title is, ‘Standing On The Bannister Contemplating The Ways Of The World And The Farting Donkey.’

 I bid you good night.


ps you can see my two books at my friend Kevin’s books site if you go in and scroll down about five books at

pps On Wednesday night Sogyal Rinpoche talked about the word ‘donkey’ being the Tibetan translation of the word ‘guru’. A donkey can sometimes (erroneously) be called an ‘ass’. An ass is sometimes (metaphorically) the substitute name used for ‘arse’. Sogyal said his words could be seen as ‘little droppings from a donkey’, which I compared to the original title of my first self-published book in which I reported I contemplated ‘the farting donkey’. So, IF you buy that book, what would that make you seem to be? Someone who likes listening to a man (albeit in his early 20s) who was talking through his donkey. And you know I keep saying I Am 63, old, now? Well age, like Einstein’s theory, is relative. Let me tell you a story which is sad but truly wonderful. My father was dying in a hospital and I was sitting around as he dozed and I could hear two ‘old’ female patients who didn’t know I was nearby, and didn’t know me anyway, they said, “ Have you heard they brought Odd-Job Jack in?” “Yes. They say he won’t recover.” “He used to mend my roof, he never charged very much.” “Yes. They say the good die young.” As I reflected on this chance conversation I thought how beautiful is that, they were talking about my dad. He was 73 year old.

taf oil

Artasblag. Blagasart.It’s a Big Blart.

I’m Bloggin, just Bloggin and I Know you like blogging it too! Thank you Bob Marley. (In about 1972 we stood and watched him at Rolle College Exmouth play about 3 hours before he became ‘famous’, there were about 30 of us. We were lucky, I just kept downing my pint and wiggerling to the sound, went to the bar, gorranutha pint, wiggled back to Bob and his wailing alongsters. I never thought to bring my camera nor invite him and his boys to play football in the afternoon. Talk about missed opportunities.

Now I am taking the blog line, I still take photos but I had to stop playing football about five years ago. Not before I had the chance to play with my veteran side against Jobserve at Upton Park, twas like playing on a billiard table. Lovely.

Now am changing the name of what I do in this blog. It’s a Blart. Blog-blag art. It’s mine, It’s my art as blogs. Artasblag. Blagasart. Back to blart. I blurt my blart!

So, I drop the name blag, too similar to brag, I don’t like to brag but I do like to celebrate achievement. My blart creates and celebrates. Ok, so, I did some articles and may do some more, I got some in the pipeline but they are a distraction from my real creativity. That happens as I paint, draw, write, print etc. My creativity is a happening process, it’s in process. Compiling a blart is a process in which I bring together old and new ideas and ideas come in the process of the bringing together.

Now I am back on the main trail, being a bookman, making up my buk…s. They come in many forms. I have just started my new buk. It has images in it like this


I began making images like that back in 1968

I have been meaning to ‘publish’ them in some form ever since and now am as the Stones sang, ‘Just A Step Away’. In fact it’s coming thru quicker than I ever hoped it would, that first new squidgerat buk. I don’t think it’ll be in the shops by Christmas. Maybe by May it will be BABE? Am chuffed to bits. In a way it’s a getting one thing out the way so I can plough on thru to the other side, did Jim Morrison sing that? And by the way don’t nobody nick the name, It’s mine all mine. ©pete kennedy2013 and way back way way back. I wouldn’t say that but someone in Ghana has nicked my apulhed name, well they’ve temporarily borrowed it cos they can’t keep it cos I invented it, way way back.

Also you can get my recent book, G Batch, from the following link:

just open the link and scroll down it’s about the third book down. My friend Kevin at Allbooks in Maldon has kindly put the book up on his site. If you look at the image of the title page you’ll ‘get’ why I called it G Batch. Some folk have said that that name don’t reflect the contents, too mathematical, so when I do a wrap-around cover I shall re-name it something like, ‘Inside the jug’, what’s inside? The whole of existence. That’s inside the jug, but in my book it’s just an intro. Kevin is also doing a link to my 1975 buk, ‘Apul-One’ in the near future.

“There’s not many books that I’ve read from cover to cover, honestly, very few, but Apulhead is amongst that few. It still resonates with me 30+ years later, I don’t think you’re ever the same after reading it…and I mean that in a positive way!” Alan Williams said of it on Aug 10th 2013. But let’s move to the near past. To the spate of books which I did for my MA. I need to tell you about them:

G Batch, about which Burkhard Quessel of the British Library has said “Anyway, I found and opened it now and must say that it is really quite a beautiful book.”, was like my ‘commercial’ version of the etchings and prose poem I did for my reaction to Jackie Leven’s rendition of Kabir’s astounding poem, Inside this Clay Jug.

Jackie died recently but luckily I had been able to catch up with him in a small folk club in Southend. He told me not to leave it 30 years before we meet again because we would both be dead. Sadly he didn’t stick around long enough for me to get back to chat some more. My whole Clay jug project is dedicated to his memory. I’m crying now just thinking of him and I have seen grown men cry listening to his stuff, other than clay jug. He really touches chords. Ian, IF you can watch this link it will show you Jackie as he performed in 2011 he uses that deep vocal growl from the depths of his Experience. His Experience was profound and he’d really been around.

It is a sad reflection of society that he was not more lauded in his own lifetime, but, that is the way it goes. He did skirt with fame as Doll by Doll and hated it so he spent most of his days as a troubadour. I admired his tenacity. When I saw him at Southend, I thought, where does he stay? Why does he do this? I never got to ask him. Enough people of quality, like Mike Scott and Robert Bly appreciated him. Anyway, he inspired me to do my clay jug stuff. The pot you see on the cover of the G Batch book was made at the start of the project when I intended my ‘book’ just to be six scrolls in a pot, reminiscent of the Dead Sea Scrolls. As I rolled thru the learning curve I came across such a vast body of knowledge and I learned so much, about my Self more than anything, and about all sorts of incredible ideas and their sources that I decided to make some ‘books’ which could also carry the ideas and which themselves would have beautiful qualities.

The first ‘book’ was a poti/pothi, a Tibetan style of book where they don’t necessarily bind the pages, altho sometimes they have holes in each sheet and the sheets drop onto metal spikes in a pile which is then covered on both sides with wooden supports. Sometimes they may bind the sheets with a thong of leather instead of the rod. I decided that my pages were not to be paper but fired clay like the cuneiform tablets the first alphabet was scribed into in Uggarit. So I created a clay poti with some symbols which I cut into the wooden top, a copy is on the back page of G Batch which you can see on Kevin’s site. This would cost you a lot of money to buy and as there is only one I decided to make a book of the writings on each of the pages in a card version, this is now available as a concertina book. The Chinese were making Buddhist concertina books hundreds of years ago so I thought that would be an appropriate way of presenting my pages which are each a condensing down of the ideas of six men I call ‘mystics’, those names represented in the title, ‘G Batch’ .

I also did a series of ‘banners’ which also have some words related to each mystic on. I deliberately made them really hard to read, more ‘word as art’ than word as message! I also used a style of layout reminiscent of the likes of Bochner whose exhibition I saw in 2012 at the Whitechapel. These and the clay poti book with the card replicas will be on display at my next show at The Red Lion bookshop, Colchester in February 2014. Watch this space for more details.

After the clay poti I decided that I wanted to make images of the six ‘mystics’;

G…iorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev (more often known as Gurdjeff)

B…euys Joseph

A…ngeli Silesii

T…enzin Gyatso

Carl… Gustav Jung

H…ermann Hesse.

Which I did from various sources including photos I took of the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, when he came to open the Peace Garden in London and drawings I did of him whilst he was on television. The one of Joseph Beuys I did to put in a pitch to do a T shirt for the show at Royal Academy of his work but it stumbled on the refusal of his estate to allow images of him to be used. Funny that, a man who said everything is art and we can all be artists having his legacy so corrupted. I suppose that’s life, or death. Anyway, I did a series of collages from which I did some master drawings which you can see at Kevin’s site, as they are the main illustrations in G Batch. I then transferred these drawings onto zinc plates and did several etchings copies of each onto Somerset paper. I had to blind emboss a triangle to simulate a ‘folio’ for each print and a rectangle on each sheet for the prose poems I did about each mystic. Karen Harrison says of the ‘poem, “ It’s a brilliant transformation. Maybe it’s a prose poem. I can hear the musicality in the word sounds now. And it’s got a core, maybe like a pot. It must be the dance metaphor weaving through it. I found this version quite moving, (no pun intended!)”

The prints of the words I put onto kozo Japanese paper using an inkjet printer and then had to work out how to stick the extremely fine print onto the Somerset paper base. This I did using Japanese rice glue. And it wasn’t east to get the beautifully finished look. I lost several etchings because the wordprints crinkled. So, now I had 3 ‘good’ sets of the whole pages, two I kept as long sheets and one set I tore carefully in half so leaving a rough edge like you get on the other sides from the paper-making process. Now I had one set which I could ‘bind’ like a book. I tried several different cover ideas including my favoured one a ‘secret Belgian’ form which Mike Sullivan had said would allow the prints to sit flat as the pages were turned. BUT I decided that I did not want to stitch the prints together, they are lovely separate so, having seen many (many) ‘books’ were not stitched in the beautiful book, ‘A 1000 artist’s books’

I decide to build a pouch to hold my prints inside a book cover. I had a model of a small book I had bought in Bruges which had leaves covering the cover and as I had a lovely castor oil plant I decided to use the leaves from that on my cover. To stop the prints flopping around I created a way of binding them in using two leather straps and two little brass studs. I was also able to use a bay stick on the spine similar to the little stick on the spine of my Bruges leaf book.

bukartobjet 002the big leaf book

But that ‘book’ again would cost you hundreds nay thousands of £s  or $s or yens to buy so I did G Batch for the normal person.

I still have lots to say about my recent books and future plans but it’s sunny out and my fingers are aching from all this tapping of the type. So, I shall close for the day. Enjoy.

OOOOPs I fergot!

I fergot to tell you what I dun wid the other two copies of my etchings batch! So, here we go agen. One of em, the least good un or the one with most mistakes, I just rolled and scrolled them into the pot. They cum out at exherbitions and stand like tin soldjas..

north sea scrolls at JDD

And t’other lot, well I call them my ‘Flat scrolls’ a contradiction in terms cos you cannot get flat scrolls cos scrolls are scrolled up documents. Anyway they are in a claret colored burlap covered portfolio what I med. And they may or may not be a book and I don’t give a.. ducking and diving has always been my business.

jo2 042

I didn’t mention my ‘Enbuk’, well that’ll be the day said Buddy Holley. An udder day. My Enbuk is a series of ring bound books with all the notes I did on the run up to making the Big Leaf Book and the pot and all the stuff during my MA course year 2. It’s designed like a catalog I bought at the Dieter Roth show at the Hayward gallery in 1973. The books fit into a plastic box. Since making it in 2013 nobody yet no-one has shown any interest in buying one. Sad that. Mind you nobody has bought any of the work at all. I do it for love.

Fame and Spirit

A cretin’s indiscreting?

 Something strange happened this week, I popped into a Farleigh Hospice charity shop after visiting my dentice, that’s my way of treating myself! I was on the prowl for a cd with some interesting music on. I found a copy of one by John Taverner, so of course I bought it. I got home and played it while I recovered from the evil dentist’s rooting around in my gob. On the news that night I saw that Taverner had died that day. I hear some muttering ‘mere coincidence’. But I believe synchronous events to have strong & powerful meaning. During the night Lennon got assassinated I dreamt a skunk had jumped on my back and no matter which way I twisted and turned I could not reach to pull or shake it off. Synchronistically Chapman was a skunk.

I believe in ‘spirit’ and that some have Spirit which is spirit with a capital S not just spirit, which everyone has. When humans die spirit seperates. There is some (cosmic) law which states, at least on (our) planet Earth that once departed (from the portage device (our Body) we/that spirit can no longer make a physical contact. I don’t understand why but there it is. Like I cannot understand why planet Earth is so isolated in ‘space’/the Universe. It’s almost as if we (our spirits) have been (somehow deliberately) ‘sentenced’ to isolation. I believe we can see Earth bound existence as either Positive or Negative, depending where our spirit is ‘at’ in terms of development. And development in terms of millennia not decades, again I don’t ‘know’ why. However there are Higher levels both for and in us, other than ‘us’ or me mySelf I. Back to Taverner…There was some sort of ‘link’ between us, as indicated by that synchronicity- I could have bought the cd any day before or since, but on the very day he died is a bit much- these links occur, sometimes thru physical contact and sometimes thru the spirit at work. We ‘tune in’ to the work others do. In Taverner’s case I saw a performance of his work at St Paul. I never actually saw Lennon, just loved his music and writings. Significantly I also did ‘portraits’ of both. The Lennon one is in an earlier blog.


This is my Taverner, where I utilised his visage to represent Thomas Plume in the mural that I did in Maldon, Essex with a bunch of children. It’s still on the side of a house near the junction of Cross Rd and Fambridge Rd if you want go see it. It’s not my work, it’s drawings the kids did which I then enlarged and transcribed onto an 8×4 board, then they helped me to paint it using high quality acrylics which still retain their colour 9 years on.I added some images to represent famed historic characters of the Maldon area like Plume, Britnoth,  

OK so my apparent faux pas during Andrew Roth’s talk when I asked out loud with my mouth, “Isn’t he dead?” about Tadanori Yokoo, because I believed that sadly he was. Well, it seems my faux pas wasn’t so foolish after all. Returning to a Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain book about the Japanese artist, whose graphic works I admire after I did a study on them in 1972-73, it seems I had been misled somewhere over the past 40 years. And by Yokoo himself! Actually around the time he was accompanied to New York by Daido Moriyama with whom and from whose photos taken at the time A. Roth did the book he was showing us at First Site. On p125 Yokoo says, “I’m so terrified of death that I killed myself through a desire to be reborn. I even had an announcement of my death published in the press…my wife…was asked [as part of the plot] to go into mourning. Death is an abominable thing we would do anything to dispose of,…I wanted to get closer to death through my fear of it, and cast aside that fear…we should view our lives in this world as playacting.” In fact that is a theme I saw running thru A. Roth’s talk, especially in the books by David Wojnarowicz, Rimbaud In New York and in Pretend You’re Actually Alive by Leigh Ledare whose mother seems very much to view her whole life as an act and is viewed voyeuristically by her son as an act.

So maybe my indiscretion can be forgiven?

But talking about death. Which I shall do more when I blag about Sogyal Rinpoche to report on his Tibetan Buddhist ideas on the Inevitable, and when you read that one you’ll see I am not being ‘morbid’. (Talk of death is a serious taboo, probably seen as worse than ‘expletive deleted’s, in the West whereas the Tibetan Buddhists and some other cultures actually look at death in a creative and more positive way.) I want to dwell for a moment on my own mortality.

Despite my attempts to convince myself that I’ll live forever I shall inevitably step off this mortal coil from this incarnation soon enough. I Am 63 years young. (Six and Three make up Nine, all vital numbers in Gurdjeff’s cosmology). Granted good health and clean living, avoiding accidents and (more) disease I may add another 20 – 30 years more or less active creative living. Even so in 30 years from now I will have passed thru the car to the other side to paraphrase a statement attributed to Lennon. So, I have already lived between two thirds to ¾ of my ‘life’ this time around. I have spent at least 2/3 of my 63 years as an adult whose main interest was making his ‘art-output’. That output has been even by conservative estimate, ‘productive’. Although much of it has failed to see ‘light of day’ in publication or exhibition and my total exposure on TV has been 60 seconds on Anglia about my Maeldune show in 2007 and even less on National ITV in a shot of me laughing during one of Ken Campbell’s shows about science which the producer chose to also use during the credits. So, 90 seconds of ‘fame’. Warhola reckoned I am owed 3 and ½  minutes by right. I’m working towards that.

My Blag Pages


Ok. So, I been doing this blag a week or two now and it does get compulsive. Now I find myself forever checking how many folk have visited, who is commenting, following and all. All of that is pretty much a waste of time because, I have work to do, my ‘werk’. Although, having been checking, it seems not a lot of folk are popping back to some of my earlier blags, they get lonely you know! This is not a rehearsal, it’s real art. Art I hear you cry, yes this is part of my art. This blag. That’s why I write the way I do, with creative manipulation of letters in and as word. So, if you go back and see some of the earlier ones you will get the drift. Most of the blags so far have been done when I see a need. Not ‘planned’. And that’s good in its own way, organic.

A good note I must share is that First Site have seen the need to work on the marketing of the gallery. They are looking to appoint a marketing manager (?) and I looked at the job brief. I am sure I could do about a hundred of the tasks but am lacking in about 7,354. So I won’t apply, am too old anyway, am ‘retired’ and doing what I worked all my life for, my own art. More good news, a little bird tells me that one of the lecturers at the Courtauld Institute’s MA course thinks very highly of First Site and encourages his students to go loolk for themselves.

And talking about my ‘art’. I have just scanned thru my previous blags and I don’t seem to have said ought about the range of publications that came out of my MA studies. So in my next one I shall list ‘em and indicate what they are about. I have mentioned G Batch already and that has just gone on sale at a bookshop in Maldon, Essex and is being put on his webpage for sale. More in the dedicated blag to follow.


For my sins at school as one of the most irritating pupils you could ever meet, especially if you were , in mine and other pupils’ eyes, a crap teacher, I was condemned to Teacher’s Training College so I could put my money where my mouth was and show them how it was done. I must have been a crap teacher too if you consider how many irritating kids I had to try to tolerate. However they were massively outnumbered by the great kids who had learned to tolerate me. Anyway I digress. What I was on about is that at St Luke’s we were told about ‘Aims & Objectives’. Although that led to great debate amongst us trainees, and remember we were the dross what couldn’t get enough ‘levels’ to go to proper uni! So it were hard trying to get ought into our thick skulls. But what I understood was ; the ‘Aim’ was the end you were aiming for, so for example, a cake; the ‘Objectives’ were the stepping stones on the way to achieving the Aim, the ingredients of the cake. OK.

So what is my aim with these blags? Well to be honest, to flag up my work and ideas. Why? so as to maybe gain a repertation and generate some interest which may instigate some incoming funds to offset the amounts that have gushed out of every orifice of my accounts to fund my ‘projecs’. And i suppose the blags I list below are the objectives? So when folk read them they gain a little insight into what the hell am on about? Why? Well what am on about is interesting. (?). I think it is becos I spent 45 years pursuing it but i may just be prejudiced. It’s true that when you set out on a journey you know not where you’ll end up. I never thought my pursuit of art would lead me to mystics. I never knew when i learned how to write with a dip pen at junior school one day i would be typing onto a computer with 3 fingers many of the words i learned to spell and mis-spell. One of the things I go on about is the ideas of a bloke called Gurdjeff. I am back reading around that old charlatan. Another bloke, I think, yes AnthonyGeorgeEdward Blake looks like a bloke’s name, let’s call him Age, Age Blake. Now I was skimming thru his book, ‘The Intelligent Enneagram’ and on p54 he says,”An aim has promise of fulfillment; an idea has the potential to be realized; and a seed contains the fully developed plant.” BUT we need to tend to these things with consummate care. That’s why I am saying my what (I think/intend) what future blags will be below. I intend to do a weekly blag topic-ting. Each ting will come from my stable of interests, some of which are ongoing in previous blags. I shall list ‘em, not that most of ‘em will mean much to you until I do a blag abart ‘em. (Oh by the way ‘blag’ is my Essex drawl for blog, I am a nationalised Essex boy now cos I lived ‘ere longer than I did in my home town!) Here’s the list, altho the order will differ and shift:

  • My MA publications
  • An unfinished Masterpiece inspired by Schlemmer.
  • Sogyal’s book and talk
  • Lucy wings it all along
  • Nono-Stories
  • ‘62’ the first photo part of my book on The Genius of RoD.
  • Squidgerats writings
  • The Dieter versus Ed dichotomy
  • Prints
  • Lorry heads in bronze

That’ll keep me going for at least 10 weeks. On top of that I’ve got several ‘new’ books am working on. They won’t be all hand-printed and bound, they’ll be more like G Batch, commercially printed and maybe but not definitely bound by my fair fingers.

So watch this space.

ANDREW ROTH’s Talk at First Site last Saturday

Imageandrew unwraps his books

Andrew Roth came over from New York and did a talk  about his Artist Book publications under his ppp imprint. This was the final talk in the Xerox show series. And proved fortuitous for me for several reasons. It was a real highlight to see such a big player in the artist book field in Colchester. It has added a lot to my proposed article on First Site. But more importantly It gave me an insight which will astronomically impact on my understanding of the constitution of artist’s books which I will conceal until my 3rd proposed article for UWE about a split which has become apparent to me. This split is fundamental, involves how people consider books and how people ‘make’ books. It reflects issues in the interface between the ‘art-world’ and everyday life. After 45 years poking my nose into ‘galleries’ I detect a definite ‘us and them’, it’s not nuclear physics, it’s obvious. I perceive that folk like Lucy Lippard (see my proposed 2nd article for UWE) spent a life time working to break down the barriers. The world of artist’s books has brought the opportunity and practice which can seal the rift, especially with the energy that emanates from UWE, Bristol.

On the day after I visited First Site to see Andrew Roth I took this photo

Imagecrowds at First Site

 of the gallery’s entrance packed with people, a sight for sore eyes which I would love to see more often. However they were there for a church meeting, not to view the art of Xerox on its final day. For Roth’s talk there was an audience of less than ten which is a tragedy when you think that David Jury ran a Book Art MA for several years within 100 metres of the gallery! There are so many folk who should have been there who would have been fascinated by Roth but as someone pointed out First Site’s promotion programme has a high degree of stealth. It’s similar to the USA’s use of stealth bombers. You never hear them as they come and go about their business. This is for me, and I have to say from my viewpoint, a tragedy. First Site has enormous potential for both the local community for national and international art and film and performance and all sorts too many to mention. For some reason it has not yet caught the popular imagination. As a friend of Tate for 40 years, recently withdrawn cos I can’t afford it, I was lucky to be able to go to Bankside when they were preparing the gallery and what an achievement that was. To turn that vast area into a national mecca of art was almost impossible I thought as I looked at the remnants of the old industrial building. It would take a miracle not just of logistics but cultural perception to attract people into such a space. And, they his the ground running and have not stopped since. First Site has been dogged by issues and perceptions which clogged their early years. The controversy over the build, the lack of access for cars, the kids outside commanding the area off-putting potential visitors all contributed to a slow start. Only the dogged have continued to connect. At both talks I went to, Ann Stephens had about 6 and Andrew had about 10 listeners. The gallery itself is reminiscent of an empty church in an isolated village. Usually the wonderful staff seem to outnumber the visitors. This is a tragedy with so many colleges and galleries in the area with good rail links, the town station is literally 5 minutes walk. Within 60 miles you have Ipswich, Norwich, Cambridge, London, Sudbury and Aldeburgh, all full of folk who love art etc. Somehow the imagination of those people has to be touched. Somehow they have to be informed about what they are missing. I for one would prefer to travel to Colchester rather than to London. And London based folk need to know it’s only and hour to Colchester if and when the trains are running. Hell, I have travelled to London a thousand times in the last 40 years to see art etc, get off yer asses and travel to Colchester. I’ve been to Edinburgh, Cambridge, Norwich, Bruges, Burnley, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Vienna, Tours, New York chasing galleries etc. Come on, come to Colchester!

And the staff at First Site are great. They have Michelle Cotton as head Curator whose knowledge and daring ideas should be commended. (Feb 2015- I have been told Michelle has been given a curatorship in a big gallery in a big German city whose name I forget. This is sad for us but good for the gallery as it can add the fact that staff move onto bigger things!)  Her ground breaking catalogues for the recent shows are a real treat. The choice of exhibition content is designed to put Colchester on the map in quality and subject matter related to the 21st century state of the arts. The attendants who watch over the gallery spaces are always keen to share their knowledge of the work on display. The bookshop is so well stocked with recent books on art. The café is wonderful with good coffee and the food is fresh with nice crisp chips. It is a great space to go.

Back to Andrew Roth who showed us several books from his stable:

Takuma Nakahira ‘For A Language To Come’

David Wojnarowicz, Rimbaud In New York, 2004 ( I loved this book of photos and it was lovely to see his mask of Rimbaud so reminiscent of the series of masks that I did for my end of MA Talk in Colchester on 3rd August 2013.

Imageme in a mask event

I was unaware of Wojnarowicz’s mask. Gave me the idea to do a mimic book of me in Colchester etc wearing masks but I have been told I have more original things to finish first.

Daido Moriyama, 71-Ny, 2002 (Apparently Daido came over to NY with Tadanoori Yokoo an artist I studied in the early 70’s and Andrew happily corrected my wrong assumption that he is no longer with us, silly me.)

Leigh Ledare, Pretend You’re Actually Alive

William E. Jones, Killed

All of which may be controversial because of some of their content but all are first class in their production. I am sorely tempted to buy a copy of  “In Numbers: Serial Publications by Artists Since 1955” about artists operating at the peripheries of mainstream art-cultures as Roth points out ‘a neglected art-form that is neither artists’ book nor ephemera, but is entirely its own unique object.’


I play..I pley..I ploy..I emploi word.

A friend has pointed out that I have been making my blog stuff difficult for people to understand because of the combination of personal phonetics and stream of consciousness. I am doing my epistles in that form because I find it to be so user friendly, I love the immediacy and the way folk can make comment, interrupt, intercept etcetera. One of the reasons I can care-less in my use of words, apart from believing there is vast scope for play, is that as a newly elected 63 year old who no longer cares if and when he ‘makes it’ I felt the context was and is emancipating.

These blogs are written in a style which is meant to be playful and not constrained by (even my) editorial overseeing. I do not see my writing..ritin..wrightin as obstacle, rather I see it as crafting words, altho I accept my chisel may be blunt and my output more like an expressionist art than a pre-raphaelite. Obviously it goes against the grain. 3 artists I like who go against the grain; Alan Davie, Phillip Guston & Gaylen Hansen.  Davies was against the groan of modernist artists in Britain like Sutherland and Piper. Guston was against his own groin, against his Abstract Expressionist phase. And Hansen was against the whole of the artworld’s grange.

They follow their own stars. As a wordwright I too follow my own star. Yes there are pre-decessors like Joyce and maybe Kerouac both of whom I love their use of and abuse of word. My personal preference is a poet/writer/artist called Kenneth Patchen who was much admired they say by the Beat poets. I love the way he combines words and image. The trouble with being a groundbreaker is we have to break some eggs to cook our stuff.

Now a lot of us do it apparently intuitively, we appear to be innocent of what we are doing. During the past 40years I have deliberately employed ‘chance’ or ‘accident’ in my mark-making in the picutures I make or the letters I use in words. Although often these things are really not chance etc, they are either considered orbased in experience. As a maker of output for over 45 years you can imagine I’ve had a lot of experience of ‘making’ (some say making havoc). So nowadays when I play with words marks ideas paint print it’s grounded in experience. You cannot ‘try’ to be different, spontaneous, unusual, these things have to arise from your action. It’s not productive neither conducive to producing quality if you are forever thinking/fretting about your next action, it needs to be free of constraint. When I paint portraits from a model I use what I call ‘pull and push’, where I would begin with very liberal mark making and then pull them in tighter to reflect the subject. Same with words. This form I use in my blog is ‘free’ of constraint (mostly). I am not definitely doing every word as a personal phonetically changed spelling (just) to be awkward and stop your flow of reading or consciousness . If I were every word would be different from the norm, and that is not the case. I do edit my stuff before and during typing it. I don’t edit ad infinitum, like Beckett did. The blog is about release, I release my ideas, when it is no longer liberating I shall desist. I play with words, just that and that only now and then. I am building up to create a book based around my Squidgerats drawings & play with werds. I believe it will leave all my previous efforts standing, the best thing I ever produce. Creating the images , which are essentially linear, will give me a bank from which I can make more paintings, prints, animations even. Groundbreakers back to Leonardo and Michael Angelo invariably ‘do’ a lot which we common folk can’t ‘get’, ‘like’ ‘see’ etc. We all have a picture in our mind of say a Rodin, a Moore, a Miro but each creative does a thousand times more than that simple picture we hold in our minds. Isaac Newton for example, he did more supernatural stuff like alchemy than the ‘science’ which has been preserved. William Blake, he wrote thousands of often densely scripted poems and prose pieces but most folk just recall his feet on Pleasant Lands or his Tyger Burning or his Lamb so sweet.


Remembrin them

The fathers and mothers of many of my contemporaries fought inWorld War 2, some I never knew about in my youth. My daa was in Air Sea Rescue. Roy’s dad walked from the jungle of Burma a very thin man in need of some northern pies. Duncan’s father was captured at Dunkirk and became a slave of the 3rd Reich breaking stones in Poland when He was forced marched at the war’s end then abandoned as the Russians approached.Gus’s dad rescued his future father in law from the shark infested Atlantic as he helped defend the convoys. Our parents had lived to tell the tale and bring us into this world. My dad said nothing about his experiences, but I was told later it was a dirty war. Dirt and mud and millions dead make memories of the First World war almost unbearable. My great uncle Ned spoke softly with no malice of his days in the trenches.I wrote the piece below for Meet at the Gate a couple of years back.

Less we forget, oops we forget.
Dedicated to; Harry Patch, William Stone, Henry Allingham.
For the survivors from two world wars, and those who did not pull through. illusn, warrior
Madeleine showed signs of being a talented writer in Year 9 when aged 14 she wrote this poem:
No Man’s Land
The vacuum between good and evil;
man and monster;
victory and defeat;
Between hell above and hell below.
All men that step there sure-footed,
All those who stride out, and the others-
Whose last reluctant motion,
Lands him in the vast ocean of souls.
Slowly absorbing, consuming, devouring, entwining,
Bullet and body alike.
Like a crippling tower he falls,
His last breath to be of blood and dirt,
As his face is enveloped in the land all men dread, yet yearn to own.
No man’s land it is, and will always be.
© Madeleine Kennedy 2008

haunted warrior ww1

It makes me cry when I read it and no doubt I will I will look on with pride as a friend reads it out at the village Remembrance Day service. I would love to read it aloud myself but I get overcome with emotion which is intensified by my good fortune at having known so many who survived and my sadness for those on all sides who did not.

I missed the Second World War but was fortunate to live with two people, and get to know others, who came through it. My mum, Jenny Dickinson, was in the WRAF stationed first in the Oxford then Ipswich area.
illus My dad Jack was in RAF Air Sea Rescue on the Suez canal and ended his war in Aden now the Yemen, which was a hotbed like Iraq today. His time in the middle- east gave him great respect for its people especially Egyptians for their peaceful demeanour and the Sikhs for their cleanliness and fighting prowess.
Lest we forget, and we do, thousands of peoples from the West Indies, India & Africa and other British ‘Empire’ countries, fought on both sides in both world wars not to mention the African Americans and ‘Indians’. Recently I heard a tale about how the Navajos were used in American ‘Intelligence’ to convey messages in their native tongue which is so distinct from all other languages that the Germans could not decipher it. Our countries conveniently ‘forgot’ these efforts after the war with racial prejudice continuing for many years in the activities of the Klan in USA and the difficulties immigrants from the West Indies and other Commonwealth countries were to experience here. The fact that Obama, the next President of USA is mixed race, or black, will perhaps usher in a new dawn of mutual respect amongst all peoples. Sticking my neck out I would love it if Obama would invite Bin Laden to talks about an end to all the killing, let’s get together to make this world a better place. (ed. He didn’t, did he?)
Neither parent told me directly of their own hardships during the war but the way they conducted their lives set an example for me. Honesty & trustworthiness, dedication to task and a refusal to be defeated all came from their example as did respect for others and having fear of no one, especially authority figures. My father was fearless, they called him ‘Big Taff’ in Burnley and I heard it said that “He had muscles in his spit Taffy.” He taught weight training, ran ‘physical culture’ shows where I saw Bernard Stone ‘The Silver Statue’ ripple his muscles to music long before Tony Holland won Opportunity Knocks with his muscle control routine. I also got to shake hands with the then Mr. Universe Earl Maynard who later had small parts in Hollywood movies as a baddie. In my mid-teens I was doing work outs with weights long before sports halls got equipped with multi-gyms. We used disc dumbbells and a metal bench my dad made. He trained us to do repeats of eights with weights inside our capability building strength & resilience rather than bulk. I never developed muscles like him but when he last saw my son as a 3 year old he must have observed that his prowess had merely skipped a generation. During the day he was a steeplejack and demolition man with a licence to knock down chimneys with his hands and/or explosives. Whilst working in Glasgow the year of my birth there 1950 he lost a close buddy who fell from top of a factory chimney, after that he never fully committed to close friendship. Yet he had great love for and was loved by many who knew him. He often came home covered in soot which he would clean off his face using margarine and newspaper. It left mascara like lines around his eyes but I never heard of anyone who ventured to comment disparagingly! Miners in Burnley used to bear the same mark of their day jobs. I had the good fortune to work a few weeks with him on some factory chimneys during my breaks from college. I used to read Sons & Lovers in his van during my lunch breaks. He never wanted me to be a steeplejack and I could understand why so I became a teacher of which he was proud.
My mum, Jenny, I believe, lost a pilot friend during the war but never spoke about it her only war memories being the beauty of Oxford city. It was her uncle Ned from Netherton who most impressed me. Coming from the North East he had been in the trenches during World War One and told me a remarkable tale. He had joined up with a friend who he had known since starting school. When a mate on his side took a bullet he turned to tell his old school chum on his right only to find he had been killed too. Great uncle Ned survived to tell me about it in 1961 because machine guns pause slightly between bullets. Ned got lucky like Harry Patch, William Stone and Henry Allingham who have survived to this day and amazingly represent one of each of the 3 services.

neds gang
This week on television I observed Dan Snow’s deep embarrasment as he tried to come to terms with his own feeling of a need to apologise to a descendant of a soldier who died as a result of his great grandfather’s lack of attention to reality during the Battle of the Somme. Dan has no guilt attached, he was not there, but it was fascinating to hear aired so prominently the fact that so many had died as a result of their leaders’ incompetence. Almost as long as I have lived I have cursed the ‘leaders’ on all sides in the First World War. I wish I could go back in time to that famous impromptu game of football played on Christmas Day 1914 between soldiers from both sides in the mud of the trenches and say, “OK chaps, Happy Christmas the war is over”, especially if I could time it to intervene when the Brits were winning by the odd goal.
In some municipal building, in Bishop Stortford I believe, there is displayed in a glass cabinet a trophy awarded to the local townsfolk for their part in ‘the war to end all wars’ from the Lord of the Manor. I was shaken to find the date inscribed on it was 1815, the end of The Napoleonic War. War has a way of continuing regardless of best intent as we witness today in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 110 year old war veteran, Harry Patch is quoted in this week’s Radio Times (w/e 14nov) as saying that he remains scornful of anyone who seeks war over peace, “War always finishes with both sides sitting down and talking; why the devil don’t they do that beforehand?” he asked.
illus- This idea was echoed at this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival by the writer James Ferguson who wrote “A Million Bullets” after meeting the Taliban in Afghanistan. He says that there is only one way to end that war too, and it means talking to the Taliban.
I believe Lennon was sincere in his refrains, “Give Peace A Chance” and “Stop The Killing Now”. Some may think he was a dreamer but he was not the only one. I for one hope and pray that one day all ‘leaders’ will heed his suggestion to ‘Imagine’. Peace be with you.

lennon an boms

Today I heard the Brits sent 100,000 to Korea and a thousand died. Luckily they declined the call to Vietnam or I may have tasted battle.I still hope that Lennon’s words in Imagine will come true.That one day soon they will leap frog the wars and go straight to the reconciliations and rebuildings. Om Mani Padme Hum.

my past pages from the net

Before you read this you must understand it is an historical document. A human being goes through so many changes and they say in 7 years you become a totally differing entity, so, I am not responsible for everything that bloke Pete said in the stuff below. But it’s still my copyrite of course.

Below is the second website I ever set up, you will find it if you google apulhed. Sadly it don’t show up well and globalnet have not taken it off the net yet. So I am putting a better version on my blog today. My blog and other digital site stuff is of course always

© pete kennedy 2013

I notice an African set up has nicked my (copyrighted/copyrite) name apulhed. There is no way they invented the name. I have irrefutable proof that the name is my creation. Apulhed is one of the titles I invented to name my character, AppleHeadMan in the early 1970’s. IF my African friends want and are prepared to pay my way I would love to visit their fair clime and lecture on the Life of Apulhed-Man.

I shall attempt to place all the images watti used in the 2003 site, hey, another anniversary for an aspect of Apulhed looms!

This was the greeting, a bit changed now, that I sent out to my millions of lisseners back near the beginning of the 21st century:

1st of January 2003:

“Happy nu yeer to all my appi fans!

may all yor daewoos be goodness and mersi doorin all ob 2003 lob frae petro”


The above is a rework of an image I created in screen print back in 1972. What took some weeks to create using hand cut stencils then can be manipulated in seconds on computer now. I’m aware that any of the images that I post on the www can be downloaded and re-done by anyone, many of whom would be infinitely better than me on digital packages. I still claim origination and copyrights on all of my creations. If you like them by all means print them off and enjoy, but do not use them for commercial purposes unless you seek my permission first, and get it! For many years I would not put my stuff on the net as I never managed to make any money from it in the first place and I would of hated someone to make a fortune from my stuff and not count me in. Now I’m aware that people only want your work if you are famous, and I’d not get famous thru normal publishing, so now am intending to post up images on a regular basis. Enjoy.

then a from a bit further back in august 2002:

The Apulhed Site at last! © pete kennedy 2003

This is my new experiment at making a worthy site.

I’m doing it by the book. Front Page for Dummies.

My usual way is to pick up a little info then apply it haphazard and hope that eventually i get there. But so far that has not produced anythink worthy, nor what i can return to and regularly change et al.

So am working thru and see if that improves it.

MY CREATIVE WORK (The writings, graphics & ‘performances)’.

Appleheadman Screams’ [1971]


The first ever public showing of Appleheadman was a series of repeated images of him Screaming in disbelief at the results of conflict. The images were screenprinted and each one had additional images drawn and painted with a different topic in the ‘brain’. [T Shirt was available, but sold out!]


Apulhed graphic ‘Wimp-hero’ [1972]


Appleheadman quickly became Apulhed as a result of his creator using a strange illogical phonetic based on a northern English dialect and a few stray Americanisms. He became a regular feature in Exeter University’s student newspaper, later having spells in Cantab [Cambridge] and Sennet [London].

Unlike his comic world predecessors our Wimp-Hero appeared powerless to change the wrongs that he witnessed in the world; he had no superpowers, he was badly drawn and incapable of spelling correctly.


The “Apulhed Masque” [1973]: St Luke’s College drama studio gave birth to the first Apulhed masked event.

Standing on the Bannista Contemplating the Ways of the World And the Fartin’ Donkey.’ Or Apulone[1975] Isbn: 0950426709. [meaning the first Apulhed book]. A self published book of thoughts, observations, dreams, & ideas written in idiosyncratic personalised phonetic and illustrated with drawings and photos created by Apulhed’s creator. Included free gift Apulthenk badge.


 1979: Manuscript for ‘The Shrewd Idiot’ strongly considered for publication, first by Wildwood House then by John Calder, but it was destined to wait, not forever I trust. As ‘The Shrewd Idiot in the Quagfog’ it joins ‘The Dull Jodrell’ [Apulhed’s Esoteric Enlightening, self-published in July 1994] and ‘On Becoming an Artist’ [1990] as one of the greatest Trilogies of self-discovery never released.

[These ‘books’ were not written phonetically, although there are changes to spelling and a creative play with words that indicates the working of a non-conformist who is both untrammelled by conformity and not harnessed to any literary norms & convention! ]


Apulhed Lives’ [1976]- self-published comic/graphic story, an Awakening to the Hopi tribal people of Arizona introducing ‘Lighteyes’. When the late GREAT Rick Griffin shook my hand and said the comic I did for Brainstorm Comics in 1976 was, “A Good Strip”, I was in heaven with my Hopi people!


 A strange premonition of Spielberg’s ‘Close encounters’. Includes several illustrations to Van Morrison songs: Astral Weeks, T.B.Sheets, Moondance, Listen to the Lion, Wild Night, Redwood Tree, & Veedon Fleece. Also written in Apulhed’s personal phonetic style.


Coloured 2″ badges of Apuldolls, Apulsphinx, Akashic Apultree, Cosmic Child Apulhed, and Flyingsaucereyes. [1976]


Happy Apulhed [1979] Creating the definitive icon: the simply drawn Happy Apulhed character, a humorous ‘comic’, badges, T shirts, greeting card designs to launch Apulhed as the new symbol for creative cosmic thinking featuring the shrewd idiot slant on life with a benevolent humour.

A note from the author:

My name is Y. A Twerp, And I’m Yet Another Idiot trying to make it thru. This page was renewed in August 2002. If you have surfed in to it please let me know, just drop me an e-mail. Here is a photo of me pushing all the books I still got left from my last publishing adventure.



I have spent 30-(now 48) years making art. There is a variety and richness to my work. My output ranges from graphic drawings, oils & acrylics, screen & lino-prints, masks, sculptures including a stone – carved head for my father’s memorial. My t shirt designs have been remarked on in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and in Buckingham Palace, where my work is known to the Surveyor of Her Majesty’s Pictures. I was invited to submit designs for the Van Dyke t shirt by the Royal Academy Enterprises. All this and I have yet to make any income from my art. Surely this says something about the status of art in Britain! The body of work done over 30 years is a substantial statement of my artistic integrity and despite being totally ignored stands as witness to my creativity.

I shall continue to publish my own output thru this site and blow my own trumpet and produce more.

‘Just can’t wait any longer for the sign’ – thank you Van the Man.


Van, as Listen to the Lion,  a great source of inspiration in my early adult life.

and thank you Bruce the Boss for the following lines:

‘…just sitting around waitin’ for my life to begin

while it was all just slipping away

I’m tired of waitin’ for tomorrow to come’

AND I’M NOT “WAITING FOR MY MAN” I’ve waited for far too long. I’ve been and done training for this, training for that- getting qualified, all the time waiting for the nod, waiting for the door keeper to let me in! Truth is, there is nowhere behind the door it’s an empty room. NO I have my werk, forget the rest.

My own “Werk*”, is about ‘creative consciousness’: Finding it. Realising you have found it. Then using it/applying it.

A lot of the Images and Artefacts that I create are Personal & Related to my own Experience

Some are Archetypal, related to the Experience of All & Everyone.

*(Please note that throughout my writings ‘werk’ is the word I use to denote the creative work I see as my chosen /preferred occupation to differentiate it from my vocation, where I go to carry out my paid professional capacity as a teacher. I have come to understand the strange assisting capacity having a ‘normal’ job has on my creative process, I enjoy my job and the daily grind actually provides the steely metal of the ‘Quick’ – as in the quick and the dead- which is a contradiction inasmuch that the energy and time given to my job are taken away from my creative input the my werk. Consequently I have produced very little output, when compared to say Picasso or James Joyce, but my werk is really that of a human who functions within the bounds of ‘normal’ experience. My ‘struggle has been to produce werk under constraints of, and the strain of  ‘other commitments’ but like the words above from the Man  and the Boss you just gotta Do! Thank you too Uncle John the working class man.)

My search [can you help?]

Although I try, I cannot do it all alone! I am looking for:

Outlets: galleries, theatres, colleges, libraries, bookshops, village halls, community centres, business centres, anywhere there may be an interest in my creative ideas that is willing to pay my expenses and a reasonable fee for my time.

With all that help I might just become a significant player in the New Millennium, without it I might Succeed alone, and apples might start to talk! (p.s. This appeal was on my original pretty poor site for two years and I got no offers, come on you can do better than that.) pps, i still got no offers 10 years later in 2013, why not just give up you twerp?

My Show at Colchester library during January 2000 successfully launched my Nonogon Stories and a cd of music for the show. In June 2000 I took part in the Maldon 2000 celebrations in Maldon High St. where we danced an abridged version of the “Nonogon Nomads notorious Showdown with Beehellzeebug the Arch-Villain”. Throughout the day children made masks of the Nonomads and the Arch-Villain, which were worn in the Procession at the end of the day.

This blodge I’m doing: will include  the history of Apulhed, the least famous superstar of the 20th century, and and you can get me on .


As I now have a day job very demanding it is too my webpage publishing will initially be slow, but now I’ve mapped out the various parts, rest assured, it shall grow.




My claim to a plaice in the Pantheon with my Pantstillon. My 2 recent ‘talks’ and an Oxford visit

I just got back from the Oxford book fair. It was good to see all the bookarts blokes and birds. I won’t bore yez with a blow bi blow report. Just that a handful of real nice folk said wonderful things about my work. Finance wise it was for me a dud as the cost of travel and stopovers far outreached the tenner I got in sales. But, it’s networking and learning I went to do and did. I saw Simon Brett  pick up a prize for the second show running. He reminds me of my old mate the late Steve Hezzlewood thought now by some to have been a genius of making those tiny soldiers for war games.  IF he hadn’t joined the police and IF he had just been the artist he should have been Steve would have done stuff like Simon. And Martin & Maureen at Extraordinary Editions would have loved his Napoleonic figures. Steve could tell me what colour buttons a soldier would be wearing on a day in the battle of Waterloo. His knowledge was as good as any academic historian but he applied it into his designs as Simon does his. But enuf reminiscings.

So, this blod is meant to place my 2 recent ‘talks’ and my 45 years as an artis where I belong:

I was going to use my word Pantstillon in the title but I didn’t think it fair on the reader who I couldn’t expect to follow my crazy drift. Pantstillon is my play on Pantheon? Nothing to do with me losing my troosers if they wern’t tied on. So, hanging on by the seat of my pants, let’s go…

Way back around 1962 a man arrived at my parent’s house on a motor bike from Anglesey, Bernard Stone, The Silver Statue. Some of you may recall Tony Holland a muscle control man who won Opportunity Knocks several times but won’t know that Bernard was scheduled to be on it first but had to withdraw when his paint dried too dangerously as he awaited the call to go on stage. Holland was the substitute. I think Bernard did get on but everyone thought he was a copyist and he got nowhere on it, but in fact he was the real McCoy. His rippling muscles covered in silver under the spotlight were astounding, the shame is I do not think there is any film footage. It goes to show that the best do not always break through. Which brings me to me. Funny that. But I am not joking because I can say with some conviction I never made it. I am 63 now and I don’t care. I MAY make it before I die or like Bill Blake after I bin dead lotso years, but I never made it in MY lifetime, the one I just lived, the one where I wer pumping and able to work on all cylinders, those days are GONE now, Now I just work on the reserve tank. The work I did over the last 45 vyears was done in a vacuum. Always doing it, never selling, always having to look elsewhere to earn my crust. One sad thing is that success breeds success and if yer not successful then you don’t have no gas fer yer tank. So, take all the greats like Chagall, Miro, Tapies, Hundertwasser, they all reached a point where they could just wake up, do art, sleep wake up do art sleepwakesleep   and so onwards and upwards. Me, it was a struggle, I knew it was and I was prepared to but not for 45 years. But I did. And some folk still see me as a novice! No! I am not a beginner. I Am a player. Have been for 45 years. I have this joke, I thought I missed the boat when in fact I was the skipper. Without me the boat went no-where. Now, like Utnapishtim the captain in the Epic of Gilgamesh *, I have been sailing 45 years and I have covered some…water. Sometimes I invited others on board and not many came but those what did do share a great trip, what with all them artworks and books and prints and sculptures and all. ps- most of the books are still in manuscripforms, but that will change soon enough before I die or like Bill Blake after I bin dead lotso years.

*I read,( as in ‘red’ I think the way the langwige is wrote is stupid cos, like read- I read a book last week is spelt same as I read this blod now) Epic of Gilgamesh as part of my literary self-education when I left the 6th form in 1969. Indeed I was born the day I left the sixth form& school where they hated me , like when I was offered a plaice and chips at St. Luke’s college the head said, ‘I don’y understand why they offered you a plate o chips’thinking to himsen, ‘cos the reference wotti gev wer crap and get those sideboards cut off you working class batsard’ (he didn’t know I cud reed minds) after shaking the shackle off, being ‘schooled’ was a nightmare but I should thank ‘em cos they magnified the need in me to kick against the grain/brain. I think maybe I had ‘guidance’ from another plane cos I red E o G, Finnegan’s Wake, Sons and Lovers and they all awoke the writer/riter in me…

My plate’s in the Pantstilleon part2 (or My Place In the Pantheon)

a mask beuy So, in c.1965 Joseph Beuys‘performed’ his piece about explaining art to a dead hare (he never invited me to stand outside the room when he locked it from the inside cos he knew I would have banged on the door so hard to awaken the dead…hares on the back of his neck) and he covered his face in goldleaf *(which he had often used in his sketch books). His performance involved analogy, metaphor, myth and the dead hare not the stag what he had intended to use but it didn’t turn up cos it wer killed on route. I never had heard of beuys when I did my performance with masks of Apulhed in st Luke’s theatre in 1973 at the end of my course.

apul mask 1st

The audience were given apulhed masks and a sheet o paper and a banda sheet and a pen. After talking about the paranormal I aksed them to read my mind (like I did the head teachers) and draw what they thought I thought. These were quickly bandad off and each participant got a copy of the book of stapled A4 pages. Some photos were taken of the masked men and women. I suppose that was my, well in fact second artists buk. The first was a ‘catlogue’ for a dance performance at Rolle College which had a photo I had taken of these young women dancing with knitted masks on their heads to look like spiders, choreography lecturer Phil Tushingham didn’t mind when I stipulated as a bind they had to be two of those tags which had metal at the end and green cos my B& W photo was printed dark green. So the apulhed masked event paranormal document was my second artist’s book. And I made my first mask in year 4 way back in 1959 when the teacher said to use up some old art folders we could make animal masks so mine was a lion. I had been brought up on The Lone Ranger and Batman and I went on to do Apulmask-Ins at Sandon (c. 1975, Blue Boar Maldon c. 1978 and Burnley Library in 1981. Then they stopped. But I did some mask things with my Squidgerats in the early 80’s and then in 1999-2000 I did the Nonogon masked show with dancers. As my MA drew to a close I was asked if I would like to do a talk, I think maybe the idea was some sort of description of my ideas in the work I did but I decided to a mask in with music and readings and dance. As the day approached, August 3rd, I realised the first masked show was almost exactkly 40 years to the day/week/month. So this ‘talk’ was a low key event, NOT. The project it ‘celebrated’ was the Clay Pot and its six mystics and mySelf. So, seven masks, my prose poem ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ music for the dance, pre-recorded readings, a camera to film the event and the audience, hats, other props, cameras in the audience, some new artist’s books, a biscuit fired pot, a hammer, a Tibetan yellow hat and an Irish stoat hat, or stawt.

So the talk began with me not talking, which was a spoof on me cos I am reputed in some circles to talk too much. The talk which Colin Lloyd Tucker produced was pre-recorded plus some music some of which which was his, like his wonderful ‘Stay Calm’. The lyrics were carefully chosen to tell the story for me along with some pertinent poems which I played as I stood still or did some basic tai chi moves or a snippet of dance.I played a recital of the prose poem and wore the different mystic’s mask as each of their verses came up and folk in the audience donned their mask to fit the poem’s main character/mystic/hero.

pol an bob

I grabbed a couple of the participant cameras and photod them in the masks which for me was the best bit, seeing someone in my mask of Jung or Gurdzhiev. Then I told them to ask questions, power, and when they refused I suggested questions that I wanted to hear me answer and I made them really hard. Anyway we got through and I went round waking them all up before I did a little dance after one verse finished ‘are we human or are we dancers?’ which was the hardest Q so I danced instead of answeringit. The only difference between mine and Beuys talks was he became very famous and his art generates money and space to be shown in and books , oh sorry I do buks, and he met the Dalai Lama who I can only talk about and photograph when he opens peace gardens but that is wat IS or was.

So, I always knew I am an awkward son-of-a-bitch cos I always challenge the norm, the canon, the what was accepted, expected, & considered essential whilst simultaneously striving to achieve high standards in my outputs. My MA final work was considered by some to hold spiritual aspects which is no accident cos in my notes I showed a connection with William Blake through using a golden thread and his notion that the best in art is spirit.If you read (reed) any of my books it’s obvious I have always been interested in the ‘other’, the ‘out there’, ‘the difference’. I have pursued knowledge of other cultures’ ideas and incorporated them into my art. I deny the accusation of ‘re-iterationismfinement’, ‘copying’ even ‘appropriationism’.NO, I accept that I have been ‘inspired’ by creativity over a wide scope including Warhol (repeat image, use of mundanemoment), barnet newman (fields of colour, zips, philosophy) but I also see inspiration in the work of childers and mentally ‘different’ people.I discovered (wikepedia-on Beuys- Jim Watkins post 19.7.2010):

The prophet is one who embraces /embodies  an “alternative consciousness”…[they] serve to criticize in dismantling the dominant consciousness and energize persons & communities by [promoting moves toward another consciousness]. See Walter Brueggemann- the prophetic imagination. Beuys said, “when I speak I try to guide that power’s impulse into a more fully descriptive language, which is the spiritual perception of growth” The intervention of speech and conversation into his visual works plays a meaningful role in ‘How to explain pics to a dead hare’. The hare has symbolic meaning in many cultures, Germanic tribes saw it as a symbol of fertility. The gold mask Beuys wore during his performance saw gold as a symbol for the power of the sun, wisdom, and purity, and honey as a Germanic symbol for rebirth. For Beuys ‘Honey on my head of course has to do with thought. While humans do not have the ability to produce honey, they do have the ability to think, to produce ideas. Honey is an undoubtedly living substance- human thoughts can also become alive, honey was the product of bees who, for Beuys (following Rudolf Steiner), represented an ideal society of warmth and brotherhood. Gold had its importance within alchemy. All of this is from wikid.

‘Gold had its importance within alchemy’ transformation and transcendence which my whole project ‘Inside this clay pot’ is about. I have quoted from these Beuys sources not to gain kudos nor benfit but to help understand that we (creative) all ‘tap’ into ‘stuff’. As a teenager I realised artists like Henry Moore, Matisse, Van Gogh and Soutine, writers like James Joyce and Henry Miller were tapping in to what I later called ‘creative consciousness’ in my unpublished book ‘the Shrewd Iriot’ watti rote tween 1976-81.the possibilities there are enormous. Lennon, Bob Dylan, Bruce Boss, Van Man, Baby Bowie, Ken Campbell, all tap into the source. Lennon said he did not write his songs but acted as a channel through which they came.By tapping into that source I have generated some volume of output myself over the past 45 years, often to no apparent advantage other than knowing that I did it. The art world, those that handed out grants at the art council, the Beeb, and every other institution ignored me and still do.But I am saying here and now that I feel sorry that they overlooked my greatness! I Amn’t saying there that I am ‘great’ i am applying a buddhist mantra to love myself which is something I so often om-mitted. Another buddhist feeling is of sorrow and compassion for them as they ‘know not what they do’. They more often than not ‘Know’ Didderley Squat as they like all of us are conditioned to follow, to follow trends and leaders and all that crap. So, my kick against the grain is an attempt to find MY own way. Trouble is when you do discover new ways or approach things in ways you have discovered outside the norm, trouble is, nobody ‘gets’ it. I have often said, I did my first book, Apul-One and like the Catcher in the Rye I went running off with it in my hands cos I wer free! But then I turned around at the end of Wigan pier and I found I was all alone. This is not a vainglorious cry for help, attention recognition sales success fame fortune and all that. It is just a revelationto those who did not ‘get’ it earlier. And by the way quite a few did see it, like Quentin Bell, and Miriam Patchen. Now I intend to help others to see. By publishing my own back catalogue which is what convinced me that I was already tapped in, entapped not entrapped. Today I Am angry at being ignored and I Am coming out with my fists flying like a fuselier’s muskets shots sho there. Stay Calm And Carry On.

footnote- I find the use of a blodge wonderful because of the (apparent?) freedom it brings. No editorial, no judgement just let my mind go on a run around the experiences I have been lucky to have. Mind you we make our own ‘luck’. Like an old golfer called Arnie once said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.”

*In October 2015 I did a skit on Beuy’s Dead Hare piece with my own ‘Explaining Joseph Beuys to a dead woodpecker’ at Firstsite in Colchester. As I had already painted a black Zoro mask on my face I couldn’t use gold to do the Beuys impression so I used the black face paint.

OK so gather round


OK so. Now I’ve got you on the bait am going to delve deeper, stay with me, don’t worry, be happy and all that stuff. I coined a word today, am always playing with word and meanings. ‘familiarism’ like say, apulhed seems stupid as a word and concept until you get familiar with it. As do ‘mickey mouse’ and ‘tintin’ and ‘snoopy’ and then onto more difficult things like ‘gnostic’ or ‘Gurdzhiev’. All of those words are strange unless and until you become ‘familiar’ with them. The first 3 were ‘cartoon’ characters. All of them carry a life-view, a take on life or a way of dealing with issues etc. So do the last two words ‘gnostic’ & ‘Gurdzhiev’, each have the same- carry a life-view, a take on life or a way of dealing with issues. It’s just that most of us are not familiar with them. Now.

I am starting to log into social networking sites. I think it’s to do with that networking thing which has always formed part of human need and function. Meetings and gathrings*, nowadays in the digital clouds of Twits and Linkds.  Gurdjeff who was a bald bloke with a big white moustache watti drew on a previous blog, talks a lot about ‘connecting’ in his massive tome, ‘Beelzebub stales to his Grandson’. Don’t try reading it cos it’s too big and too complex and too hard to comprehend. But it is very important I tink. It’s like a good film. It arrives in your consciousness and seeps in and later, years later, you go,”Oh G. said that in ‘Beelzebub’s Tales’’ or tails cos ‘Beelzebub’ has a tail. He relates how groups throughout the history of humankind have had meetings where they come together to, meet. From the United Nations to local councils, from the bike boys to the gathering at Khamar Khiid (a monastery in the desert an hour’s drive from Sainshand, Mongolia folk and monks met for the ‘enthronement’ of the 9th Noyon Khutaght or ‘Tulku’. This new incarnation of Danzanravjaa an artist, teacher, playwright and mystic who was according to Sue Byrne’s article in Tibet Foundation’s magazine about Mongolia rising from a (soviet) shattered past and its re-emergence of Buddhism ‘renowned throughout the Gobi desert’. Now all of that may seem umfamiliar to you, and may indeed make you tink you are definitely reading a wrong blog, but bear with me, if you haven’t already gone. It’s unfamiliar to me too. BUT, that’s precisely why I look into it. I WANT to learn about the unfamiliar, why, because I believe we need to be shaken out of comfort zones. My specialism was art but I realised it was only a key to the door of the unfamiliar. Like the surrealists, they opened a door and let us peek in, as did Duchamp and Maxt Ernst earnestly. So by looking into that article on Mongolia I realise there are other countries and other histories outside the ones we are inculcated with. And in the case of Mongolia, they were a Buddhist nation and before that a warring lot and then the Soviets took over and then they fell and then there is now, a return to Buddhism. So which is more powerful? A conqueror like Ghengis Khan or Russia or Buddha? Now Gurdjeff what you may not have been familiar with before I mentioned hoim was also a searcher after knowledge. And apparently he strode acrosst the Gobi desert on stilts with some mates who were looking for remnants of the very culture that gave rise to Buddhism in the Gobi desert. I know that beggars belief, but that’s what am here for.

Now I am not pushing Gurdzhiev’s work and ideas, I am not an acolyte, but he had this notion that there are forces at work in our lives which we don’t fully understand, call it Fate if you like. A ‘something’ pulling the strings, making things occur, like amazing connects. Jung called it ‘synchronicity. I talk about it a bit, just a bit, in my new book, ‘G Batch’. I read many books to glean the information which underpins G Batch and it encapsulates a lot of knowledge in a simple compressed form, that is except the prose poem about the six mystics, of which Gurdjeff is one, where the prose is extremely densely writ.


That’s enough for today.

(*er I know I mist the er out and I missed the issed out of myst, it’s a real Mr.Ree! me)