OK so it’s Time forra Change

I have rarely ever made attempt to contact famous folk but this time I felt that the subject matter is so beautiful I wanted to share it with Annie so I am adding this about Annie’s songs after I heard her on Beeb last night (I did write it in a hurry):

Dear Annie,

I must just share this with you. I am listening to your talk with Johnnie Walker. I need to tell you that Once , back in the day, I had an astounding thing happen whilst listening to your album with ‘Why?’ on as I drove thru the night from Essex to Burnley in Lancashire. I was almost alone on the road and drove up the M11, M1 and across the Pennines to my home town. I had been told that my father was about to die and I should get there as soon as I could.

It was by chance that your music was playing and that album in particular, I had not planned it in any way. But, as I drove I felt the songs were talking to me personally, in my situation. ‘Why’ was one obvious question in my mind but more pertinently the one about angels came on and I felt it was for me and my father, I had known he had not got long to live and had been visiting him for 5 weeks at the weekends, then returning to my work and young family. Indeed the final time I saw him alive my dad said to me, ‘Go back home now son and look after your family’. I had thought it was almost like final words and it seemed he must have known it was. It was ten days or so later when the call came, I had been unable to get back the previous weekend to see him. Your music and the words of several songs sang to my heart and soul and gave me great strength to drive that drive.

ann words

these are some words I heard as I drove that night

 

Then an amazing thing happened. I was near Sheffield and had taken a turn off one main road and was heading for another. I came to a roundabout and a voice said, ‘Carry on round it’s to the right’. I knew better, It was not, it was straight on. So Straight on I went. The wrong way, heading in toward Sheffield rather than heading up to further North. (Hey, the song ‘Oh God’ has just come on as I type).

annie words 2

you can see how these words were so pertinent to me at the time

I had to drive about 5 miles before I could turn back and take the turn the voice had said to. I realised that voice must have been my dad. We talked like that as we drove and he invariably knew better than I.

The time was important. When I arrived at the hospital he had passed away a couple of hours before. He would have been watching me from an unharnessed by the earth boundaries. I believe when we die we are released from our bondage. The spirit becomes free. Wherever that soul goes on to, it has a while when it can see it’s close ones. He must have smiled and known I would have to find out the hard way.

Now you’re talking about Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, one who I love too.

Thank you for the angels

Love

Om Mani Padmi Hung

taf side view

Sandstone head of my dad created after he died from the stone he would have worked with as a steepljack in north-west England

These strange after death synchronicities do happen, and often. The day after I wrote this small memo to Annie Lennox I was reading in a book about John Cage and came across this story. Kathan Brown, who had helped Cage to make prints at Crown Point Press, San Francisco where he made hundreds of prints between her invite in 1978 and his death at near 80 years old in 1992 said, “I haven’t told anyone this before… It’s an unbelievable coincidence, but true. When I came to work the morning after Cage died…it had rained the night before. I looked down to see a large clump of mushrooms growing through a small crack in the concrete near our doorway, right there on a downtown sidewalk in San Francisco.” Mushrooms had featured a lot in his prints.

So it’s not about what Am going to do, it’s only about wattam doin Now and this is warram doing noo. THIS. I Am not copying anyone else except maybe my former self, my earlier stuff. Wenni wrote Apul-One I wern’t  copying Joyce (Carey nor James) altho I had red Thinagain’s Awakenup about 6 or 7 yearns afore. NO. I wernt copying Juoyce. That’s impossible!! I could never copy Joyceunless I photocopy him or use some other image copy device. Even if I handwrote/typed the whole of Joyce I wouldn’t be writing like joyce, that’s impossible cos Joyce wrote from his experience and his knowledge and his perspective and I write from mine experience and mined knowledge and mind perspective. I live now, today on 27.12.2013 with my birth in Glasgae and my education by Miss Howker, Bill Josebury and David Jury. I have experience like lighting fires on waste ground with Michael Read to try to heat up a meat& potato pie he had found on a building site that day, it didn’t work but we still ate it (not, I spat my part out eugh, I tink he et his). Joyce never had that experience in my home town with or before me. His experience base differed. His was a vast knowledge of words, mine being vastly minor by comparison, he knew and understood Greek and Latin along with several modern languages including French and Irisht. So, when he played with the alphabet to create new combinations he was doing it from a position of strength. Me I always do it from weakness, comparatively. I could never retain stuff, I could read a great explanation, understand it, take it in, swallow it THEN always forget it, almost completely. So every day is like a new start for me re-learning so many tings. And I didn’t copy Lennon or Lear or Swift or anyone else. They surely influenced me but the 26 letters of the alphabet can be applied whateverwichway I see fit.

 I tuk this photo of Kenny Goldsmith at Whitechapel 2011, he copies one way or anudda.

 Image

http://djhuppatz.blogspot.co.uk/2008/08/kenneth-goldsmith-new-york-trilogy.html He actually copies off stuff, calls it Appropriationismisticzen, (he doesn’t!) he copied a whole New York Times and published it as his own and says:

‘I am spending my 39th year practicing uncreativity. On Friday, September 1, 2000, I began retyping the day’s New York Times, word for word, letter for letter, from the upper left hand corner to the lower right hand corner, page by page. Today, November 10, 2000, I am approximately half way through the project. I intend to finish by New Year’s Day.

The object of the project is to be as uncreative in the process as possible. It’s one of the hardest constraints an artist can muster, particularly on a project of this scale; with every keystroke comes the temptation to “fudge,” “cut-and-paste,” and “skew” the mundane language. But to do so would be to foil the exercise.

…never have I faced a writing process this dry, this extreme, this boring.

John Cage said “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.”

I’m interested in a valueless practice. Nothing has less value than yesterday’s news paper. I’m interested in quantifying and concretizing the vast amount of “nutritionless” language; I’m also interested in the process itself being equally nutritionless.

Retyping the New York Times is the most nutritionless act of literary appropriation I could conceive of. Had I instead, for example, retyped Ulysses, there would have been too much value, for Ulysses*, as we all know, is a very valuable book.

I took inspiration from Warhol’s “Empire,” his “unwatchable” 24-hour film of the Empire State Building.’

THAT’s a copy, THAT is to iterate. NO, I may make reference to, be inspired by, quote others but copy I do not. I did a poster paint copy of a Lautrec when I was about 17 cos my school art teacher advised me to but I wouldn’t try to copy say a Blake (William NOT Pedro) or an Auerbach nowadays cos that would be soul destroyin for me, I have my own ways of painting, my own drawing style etc. *The funny ting is, what you see ritten abuv in the first paragraph before I found the quote I downloaded from KG! Funny that he should refer to joyce and Cage both of whom I referred to in my handrit notes fer this blog, Has he bin copying me?

So. I have now been making my art for over 45 yearlings now. I tried many differing ways to make art etc. Altho I’ve received many well wishes I never got no refun to squak abart, I always remain acashtraptied. So, I have to look at watti did and have to conclude, it’s (warri dun) not goodenuf! No Krappe abart me being appreeshiated and atmired, no no no no, I’ve had ernuff and am pigstik on it, no more krap, like the Beetles sayd singingly at their top of marypoppin voices, “I Want Money, I Want Mo..Ar..Arney” cos preciatshum can’t buy me noah inks and tinks.

So, what will be that change? What will be the ting thet gets me out there in the mass conshusnez? I mneed a common conshensis to “Get Byed By A Lot Of My Frinds” ( that’s Brummie for frends). Wennam Six Feet Door.

Well this year I shall bring out my new Skwidjerat book. It’s going to have probli 3 score an ten images in and some garbled writ like wat this is. Why? Cos it dunt marra worri dae, it’s bound to fail. So I may as wheel dae warri wunt.

I have so many old manuscrips fer buks I shall have to work thru em systematically. I shall do my new Skwidjerat book ferst for sure. Then I tink I shall beging th’Genius series. I have to do my Burnley 1916 before 2016.

Altho I got at least 3 new article ideas I shall forgit em til am aksed to do em, by whatever publicayshun. That way I can plan my books as nobody will expect em nor have any time limit to meet.

Also, I do want to find a place(s) to make various forms of print,; stone litho, and a form best for my my new Skwidjerat book. I do have a book I want to do letterpress but it’s got naughty werds in it, so I may find finding a printshop hard. The werds are only naughty cos they are mostly old engerlish or celt or old saxon derivinged. And they became taboo or relegtated, the book features most all ofit, four letter werds. Like tuck with an ef instead of a tee. The buk is about the ludicrousness of making those werds taboo etc. Thay are werds dammit. Oh, damn is one too.

I have now gotten a number of really diffrunt folk in my radar of havingred or influesing me: Dietre Roth, Ofcourse Joyce, Kenneth Patchen, Flem o’Brien, John Cageless, Herr Hundretwaters, and I am going to USE their influences in evri wey I can werk out. I have nothing to live up to, nothing to prove, my outcomes will be wat they will. One of them is this payge. Stay with me if you willst. Choose to reed me or ignore me. Leev now if you can’t be bovved.

Translation (see my profile below for the reason I am doing this translation)

OK so it’s Time for a Change

So it’s not about what Am going to do, it’s only about what I am doing Now and this is what I am doing now. THIS. I Am not copying anyone else except maybe my former self, my earlier stuff. When I wrote Apul-One I wasn’t  copying Joyce (Carey nor James) although I had read Finnegan’s Wake about 6 or 7 years before. NO. I wasn’t copying Joyce. That’s impossible!! I could never copy Joyce unless I photocopy him or use some other image copy device. Even if I handwrote/typed the whole of Joyce I wouldn’t be writing like Joyce, that’s impossible because Joyce wrote from his experience and his knowledge and his perspective and I write from my experience and my knowledge and my perspective. I live now, today on 27.12.2013 with my birth in Glasgow and my education by Miss Howker, Bill Josebury and David Jury. I have experience like lighting fires on waste ground with Michael Read to try to heat up a meat & potato pie he had found on a building site that day, it didn’t work but we still ate it (not, I spat my part out eugh, I think he ate his). Joyce never had that experience in my home town with or before me. His experience base differed. His was a vast knowledge of words, mine being vastly minor by comparison, he knew and understood Greek and Latin along with several modern languages including French and Irish. So, when he played with the alphabet to create new combinations he was doing it from a position of strength. Me I always do it from weakness, comparatively. I could never retain anything, I could read a great explanation, understand it, take it in, swallow it THEN always forget it, almost completely. So every day is like a new start for me re-learning so many things. And I didn’t copy Lennon or Lear or Swift or anyone else. They surely influenced me but the 26 letters of the alphabet can be applied whatever which way I see fit.

I took this photo of Kenny Goldsmith at Whitechapel 2011, he copies one way or anudda.

http://djhuppatz.blogspot.co.uk/2008/08/kenneth-goldsmith-new-york-trilogy.html

He actually copies off stuff, calls it Appropriationismisticzen, (he doesn’t!) he copied a whole New York Times and published it as his own:

‘I am spending my 39th year practicing uncreativity. On Friday, September 1, 2000, I began retyping the day’s New York Times, word for word, letter for letter, from the upper left hand corner to the lower right hand corner, page by page. Today, November 10, 2000, I am approximately half way through the project. I intend to finish by New Year’s Day.

The object of the project is to be as uncreative in the process as possible. It’s one of the hardest constraints an artist can muster, particularly on a project of this scale; with every keystroke comes the temptation to “fudge,” “cut-and-paste,” and “skew” the mundane language. But to do so would be to foil the exercise.

…never have I faced a writing process this dry, this extreme, this boring.

John Cage said “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.”

I’m interested in a valueless practice. Nothing has less value than yesterday’s news paper. I’m interested in quantifying and concretizing the vast amount of “nutritionless” language; I’m also interested in the process itself being equally nutritionless.

Retyping the New York Times is the most nutritionless act of literary appropriation I could conceive of. Had I instead, for example, retyped Ulysses, there would have been too much value, for Ulysses*, as we all know, is a very valuable book.

I took inspiration from Warhol’s “Empire,” his “unwatchable” 24-hour film of the Empire State Building.’

That’s a copy and that is to iterate. NO, I may make reference to, be inspired by, quote others but copy I do not. I did a poster paint copy of a Lautrec when I was about 17 because my school art teacher advised me to but I wouldn’t try to copy say a Blake (William NOT Peter) or an Auerbach nowadays cos that would be soul destroying for me, I have my own ways of painting, my own drawing style etc. *The funny thing is, what you see written above in the first paragraph before I found the quote I downloaded from KG! Funny that he should refer to Joyce and Cage both of whom I referred to in my handwritten notes for this blog, Has he been copying me?

So. I have now been making my art for over 45 years. I tried many differing ways to make art etc. Although I’ve received many well wishes I never got any refund to talk about, I always remain strapped for cash. So, I have to look at what I did and have to conclude, it’s (the things I did) not good enough! Don’t give me any Krappe about me being appreciated and admired, no no no no, I’ve had enough and am pig-sick of it, no more Krappe, like the Beatles said in popular song at the top their of voices, “I Want Money, I Want Money” because appreciation can’t buy me any inks and things.

So, what will be that change? What will be the thing that gets me out there in the mass consciousness? I need a common consensus to “Get Bye By A Lot Of Help From My Friends” (that’s Birmingham slang for friends). When I’m Sixty Four.

Well this year I shall bring out my new Squidgerat book. It’s going to have probably three score an ten images in and some garbled writing like this. Why? because it doesn’t matter what I do, it’s bound to fail. So I may as well do what I want.

I have so many old manuscripts for books I shall have to work through them systematically. I shall do my new Squidgerat book first for sure. Then I think I shall begin the ‘Genius’ series. I have to do my Burnley 1916 before 2016.

Although I’ve got at least 3 new article ideas I shall forget them until am asked to write them, by whatever publication. That way I can plan my books as nobody will expect them nor do I have any time limit to meet.

Also, I do want to find a place(s) to make various forms of print; stone litho, and a form best for my new Squidgerat book. I do have a book I want to do letterpress but it’s got naughty words in it, so I may find finding a printshop hard. The words are only naughty cos they are mostly old English or Celtic or old Saxon derived. And they became taboo or relegatated, the book features most all of it, four letter words. Like tuck with an ef instead of a tee. The buk is about the ludicrousness of making those words taboo etc. They are words damn it. Oh, damn is one too.

I have now gotten a number of really different folk in my radar my having read them or their influencing me: Dieter Roth, Of course Joyce, Kenneth Patchen, Flan O’Brien, John Cage, Hundertwasser, and I am going to USE their influences in every way I can work out. I have nothing to live up to, nothing to prove, my outcomes will be what they will. One of them is this page. Stay with me if you can. Choose to read me or ignore me. Leave now if you can’t be bothered.

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i Am driven to write. Part 2.

Let’s put the record straight. It could be said my being placed in the bottom klass on switch from Junior to secondary school, which I had mentioned as a positive because it had made me the rebel without a clause, imagine, if the system had embraced me I might have become an accountant, like Trevor did. In fact I wish I had never mentioned it, it was a real Pandora’s box. But learning from mentioning it:

  • Don’t go back you might find a bee in yer bonnet.
  • We make our own ‘views’. It was dead and buried it was me that brought it up, dredged from a lost memory or at least something I had shoved under the magic carpet of ‘life guz on’.
  • But also, REJOICE in the fact I was top boy! It never happened again. (Oops there I go again, telling lies being negative. You know what floats to the top?… oooh stop it, the lotus stays on top.) 
  • we are the result of Self & Circumstance!Image

Only 14/20 fer ‘mental’, everyone says i’m good at being mental, that’s obviuosly a mitsake.Miss Howker, by the way, was an old battlaxe, not big on positive praise, once it is alleged she whacked three boys at one swatch with a Loooong stick, everyone wer scared of her. She told me be top before you leave or it’s broken bones, so, not one to tempt providence, I needed my legs for football, I made sure I wer top,, cost me lotsa pennies in bribes. 12 years later she visited my big exhibition in the town library and said as she walked out, ‘Very Satisfactory’. Actually there’s some pork pies in that sentinces. Forgive me Shanta.

My perceived self-mis-placement was probably more down to me than the system. I had obviously hung back on making my assault on the summit! This, sadly, was a lifetime skill I never lost, meaning that so often by the time I had gotten into top gear they’d moved the goalposts and altho my aim was true the goals had moved on. That only made me more angry, so I spent my life being frustrated, I never learned, until now of course, to get in early, do the job and get out before all else had woken up to the fact there was a job to be done. Am I blartin on? OK, job done, move on. Like the Buddhists say, let go. So, Am lerrin gu of all the angst, am cumin thru, a new me tha Happy Man. Learning from my perceived mistakes, happy wid my lot tot. Worra lot I got too. After only 50 years am letting go, am forgiving whoever was responsible and even, in particular, even the most culpable one, myself, for being too late at the gate! Now I am going to be ‘normal’. Well not really normal just normal normal. Not an accountant. But I do need to look to ways of making ends meet.

Success is not just to do with learning from failure it’s to do with how you deal with adversity. Learning the lessons of life and applying your learning to what comes up; failure, adversity or even triumph because believe it or not, Success is just as difficult to cope with and move on from as Failure.

Believe me.

So where was I? I was blarting about writers wat wer ‘driven’, like Dickens, he blathered on endlessly on the page, behind the lectern, had he been alive today he would have been on TV, on the Net, Bloggin, tweeting and all. Willy Shakespeare too he went on a bit altho I’ve read none of it (you littul liar) well the bard didn’t even spell words consistently, see the original manuscrips, spellin hadn’t bin formalised back then, has it ever? The Pilgrim Father’s descendants don’t even have an ‘o’ in honour! At least Charlie D. wrote a Christlemas story, one that touches the heart.

But there I go again rambling on like Hank Williams, ‘When the Lord made me she made a rambling man’, Oh squawking abart Kissedmass that reminds me of Alexandra Elene Maclean “Sandy” Denny and her beautiful song about a painter, I think I Am that painter:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qU9lmPy2uh4

Why don’t you have your brushes any more, I used to like your style?

I see no paintings anywhere and there’s no smell of turpentine.

Did it really have no meaning?

Well I never thought I’d hear those words from you.

(The painter said)

I couldn’t even tell you all the changes since I saw you last.

My dreams were like the autumn leaves, they faded and they fell so fast.

In fact as you say the snows are here and how the time it slips away.

And I’m glad that you did pass by, I’ll have another try. It’s another day.

I knew Sandy’s auntie, well not very well, she worked in the office at St. Luke’s College Exeter in 1973 when I was looking for someone to type my dissertation (that rambled on too) and she told me Sandy wer her niece. I now recall she put me on to a young typist who, having typed my essay up about J W Dunne’s ‘Experiment With Time’ and some links I saw between ancient Vedic ideas and Modern Science, said she had never suspected such intelligence in me. Well I had to disguise that, what with my image as a jack-the-lad. I mean, I had to exist in the weel woild; playing soccer, drinking beer , chasing birds, none of which I (can) do now. I’m just intelligent. But I’ve learned that maybe the most intelligent keep mum about it, they don’t blather on, they meditate, sing mantras and sing to the silence of the Void. Ommmmm…merry Crissmouse.

I cannot stay stum about my habit for the last many years of playing Van’s track with the line in it, “23rd of December covered in snow,” which I try to remember to listen to each 23rd of December.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEty27_8XBY

It reminds me of the back in the day Van was so ‘up there’ that I used to go out and buy every album he released as near the day it came out as I could. Most of the Tupelo Honey album is even better than that track.

I’m taking a break now for a few days no mare blabbery woo, til nex yeer when you’ll be able to sing the beatles song to me when I’m sixty four, but only if you still love me by then. You godda luv me when you see this picture. Have a nice break from mi Blart.

Image

(c) p d kennedy 2013 too

Intriguingly, i Am driven to write. Part 1.

The best think that ever happened to me was being top boy in the class in the final term of my year 6 (junior school) in 1961. Two girls beat me; Ann Whittaker and Susan I can’t recall her name but her dad was a headmaster… Mr Brown I tink. There were 45 in our class, a big class in about the biggest primary school in the town. So, when it came to moving ‘up’ to the all boys gwamma school you’d think I’d be placed amongst the top pupils? But No. I wer placed in the bottom intake class, 1C, with that dunce Bilkinton, who was always bottom boy, usually above the bottom two girls. The rebel was created. I knew summat wer rong and it wernt ma spellin!     I never found the reason or cause for my being mis-placed. It may just have been something to do with my handling of the infamous assessment by IQ system invented by psychologist Cyril Burt’s of whom the Galton Institute ( they are advocates of selective education and the euphemism known as public schools which are not open to the public only to them what can afford the fees and remain a signpost of the British Class System still so prevalent in politics and many other walks of life) begrudgingly  says, ‘The only proper conclusion is that the charges that Burt deliberately falsified his data cannot now be sustained, true though it is that much of what he published in old age was badly presented and perhaps even culpably careless.’. My parents didn’t lodge any complaint, naively believing that the gwamma skewel knew what it wer doing. It did, ruining my formal education at the outset. Don’t give me crap that the exams at the end of year 7 could get me re-placed in the top (alpha) stream. NO! the bomb had exploded. I was on the outside.

A nomad, a renegade running with the Red Injuns, seeing thru the *Ranch Owners’ disingenuous ruling veil for the first time, although, feeling bewildered cos I didn’t have the words or concepts to help me understand what had happened. I had found out the hard way that the Ranch Owners didn’t know everything like they tried to make it appear they did. The more I found out the more I saw their views & opinions were based on shaky grounds. Prejudice is almost always part of human decision making. As you become wiser you see that there is always more to learn and that we (humans) will never learn it all. The Universe is an Open Book.

As a castaway I started to see that the Red Injuns too had had a bad deal, that they too had had what was rightfully theirs taken away. (*the status quo, the leaders, the ones who set the curriculum, those who called the cards)

I could have maybe dug in and become more determined to show them bastads the error of their ways by being the best, the most brilliant pupil, but I didn’t have that kind of support, my parents lor’ luvvem, thought the skewel knew best so there was never any debate. Of course they prompted me to do my best, always, but you know and I know how conditioning works, the top class got the cream of the teachers, the ones best equipped to guide them forward towards what was considered (erroneously as it happens) by Ranch Owners to be the top, the ivory tower, Oxbridge. If you weren’t an Oxbridge candidate you were already on a sliding scale, potential uni-entrants came next and at the very base was 1C, the dross, the bane of the school which the skewel had failed so badly with in a previous year group they’d created and even deeper pit, class 3D with Knighty and his outrageous clan, whose disdain for authority was the thing to aim for, maybe with a tad less criminality. I was nearly always a good honest lad but like most umans gullible to being misled.

I reacted to the poorest teachers the skewel could find by playing the fool. I mixed with the real dross and learned their tricks. The die was cast. I now kicked against the grain putting my two Kes like fingers up at hierarchies and by corollary putting their backs up against me. My book Apul-One was an instinctive rebellion against the school system and a pre-emptive strike on the literary status quo.

apul001
The wraparound cover I designed for my first BAM (Book Made By Artist) in 1975.

 

Now, in late 2013, reading David Robey’s intro to Anna Cancogni’s translation & re-arrangement of Umberto Eco’s Open Work I am given the wherewithal to explain to myself and your self what I did and continue to do. Apparently according to Eco, who is giving me a language to be able to explain watti dun to you (& 2 me), says on poetics (poetica) is ‘the work’s artistic purpose’ and that poetics are central to the discussion of all modern works of art. The fact that we all (seem to) suck in what is in and around us at the time is borne out by my own practice. Robey says (p14) [The modern scientific universe] refuses to be hemmed inby any ideal normative conception of the world. It shares in a general urge toward discovery and constantly renewed contact with reality.’ And (p13) Robey says , ‘ certain intellectual currents circulate imperceptibly until they are adopted and justified as cultural data which have been organically integrated into the panorama  of the whole period.’ So, like when I sped up my writing by quikspelling in the early 1970’s I first guessed something thousands of folk would choose to do when they unshackled themselves from ‘correct’ spellin. Text-Talk. They didn’t do it to follow my example but they did do it to deliberately circumnavigate the what Barthes^ calls the fascism of language.

And of course its teachers and those with vested interests to prevent a massive upsurge in the use of words in ‘print’ which may threaten the status quo. The ‘poetica’ of this artisriter* was to create a work of art which would be free from editorial & other censorship and control, Apul-One is an Open work, in other werds, you and I both will make what you will of it.

(^In fact Clerc says Barthes was an ‘artist-professor’ at the end of his preface in The Neutral. I would say no, not an artis-prof, no, more like Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor, Barthes like a lot of his French clan, was a goof ball, mad as a hatter, that’s why I feel an affinity to him, I like hats. My own philosophy tutor at St Lukes was a bit crazy, Bill Josebury, bless his soul. I think the tutor that Michael Caine played in Ejucating Rita must have been based on Bill, always drunk, totally wired to the moon but possibly the most intelligent human i met so far.)

(*the artisriter who ‘knew’ he’d be rejected by all that is the Establishment in 1975 and beyond, altho naively believing he could overturn that prejudice. Now 38 years on and still not accepted nor ever will be I rejoice and ‘Stay Calm And Carry On’ thank you Colin Lloyd Tucker.)

Okay Dokay. So. It appears we do reap what we sow, sew, so. This blog and blartin stuff seems to me to be the most effective way I’ve found to get my art out to a ‘public’, it’s the best way this poor boy has achieved thus far. I say poor boy but Am not as poor as I was when I couldn’t afford a penny gobstopper. After 30 years in teaching I got 30 grand a year. Louis Saurez gets 100K (in 2013) for having a bit of bite in his step soon going up to 200K they say, that’s a week! Any rate I started off poor and like Sea Sick Stevie says I still got most of it left. But you know that I am driven; to write, to learn, to read, to seek- new or reinforcement of existing knowledge. And then(less) driven to communicate what I have found, or just have. So I write, I draw, I (sometimes increasingly less often however) paint, print, talk, listen (surprised?). that’s why I like to blArt. I s’pose it’s a bit like rambling on in the pub (I no longer imbibe) or talking over the fence/doorstep. It’s human communication. It’s gone on since Socrates & Plato did it with their mates. Gurdjeff did it. (Sadly) Hitler did it. (Did Stalin? Maybe less I tink he probably spent too much time NOT doing it, chatting away, cos someone would have said, ‘Hey Stalin yer a twit,’ or something like that. Some probli did but cos he wer such a twot he topped ‘em, thus he never learned from the exchange. A bit like Gollum in that scene, talking to his self again, but Stalin didn’t have the self-guilt-side of himself, just two megalomaniacs, it’s a wonder he didn’t top himself in anger!) and maybe Mark Twain, Jon Swift, Chas Dickens, Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Brautigan…maybe they all wer driven. I’m just about to get my Noddy car out and drive up Wood Lane and down Sheet Way. G’nite.

Of Self & Circumstance

We are victims and beneficiaries* of self & circumstance. *A new character, an optimist called Benny Fisher-Rees? ©pete kennedy, watch it!

We arrive with whatever faculties we are blessed or cursed with, then ‘life’ offers up whatever circumstances it happens and we learn or unlearn from them. I love that saying attributed to Arnold Palmer, “The more I practice, the luckier I get”. It’s so true. It’s not so much what you’ve got, it’s more the what you do with it that makes the difference. My old headmaster, for whom the lack of respect is mutual, thought I had very little to offer, although he tried several times to beat some sense into me from the bottom up, in fact the welts from one side of my thighs to the other which changed colour over the next few days from red to blue to brown to purple were a kindly premonitional introduction to Abstract Expressionists like Rothko. I have tried to make the best of the little I had according to him. Not done bad for a poor boy from a 50’s housing estate built to house the riff raff post second world war baby boom.63 now and I have had one article published and in a world where every little helps the editor saying, “…and it looks good. It’s a very entertaining read.” was like manna from heaven because affirmation is hard to come by, for a poor boy. Today I found a note saying that someone called Carla Saunders, in San Francisco area, liked my earlier blog called Hemmed-In. More manna from a mama? Oddly my birth mama lives or did in the San Francisco area, she’ll be in her mid-eighties now, and I think maybe I am still trying to please her though I never saw her since I was 2 but that is down to circumstance.

So I want to say something (summat) about my writing (style/process/ability) in this blog. In fact what I shall write below is the way I have kept a journal now for 44 yearns. My journals are full of these swopping my ideas back and forth (like that beautiful passage in the film Lord of the Rings where Gollum is squawking to his self) passages intermingling what I know already with new knowledges etc. Weighing and balancing up my take on things. So, developing the theme of circumstance, I may have said to myself oh kay had one published stop now when you’re (yor) winning, but no I carried on and there’s a second article coming out soon and am looking to do a third, 4th  and on, but that leads to all the hassle and disappointments which go with the pitch. Heh Heh (said the mouse Ignatsz(?) in Krazy Kat – Herriman’s comic is still the beat EVER). So I make pitches and so many editors ignore them, don’t answer or say no. Bukowski must have felt like this? Well no, not really. But John Kennedy Toole (JKT) did and he felt so badly he took his own life purportedly cos he couldn’t find an editor willing to publish his manuscript for A Confession Of Dunces. His mother touted it around and one publisher loved it enough to publish it. I know the frustration of doing stuff and seeking backing etc in the field and not getting it in any meaningful way (see my track record with the arts council, oops sorry there is none). Luckily I believe in the Dalai Lama’s advice, ‘Never Give Up’, altho I did decades ago with the arts council and all of their ilk. I did weaken recently with a local landmark gallery and they declined my pitch for a paltry sum saying that it, my bid, wasn’t deemed to further my career, what career, so never no more will I darken the door of begging for backing. No thanks pleez it only meks me sneeze (ta Ringo). JKT’s title to his posthumous book was taken from one of the most influential writers of all time, Johnathon Swift’s “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that dunces are all in confederacy against him.” Which reminds me of one of my previous titles for a proposed book, “I Told You I Wer’ A Genius”, which will one day soon(ish) be coming out in a series of artisbuks^, or if not I want it on my gravestone!.

^I get so fed up of typing the words artit’s books, look see how hard it is!

I just realised…

I have realised the other day 14.12.13 how and why the late Layer based writer John Atkins couldn’t see how my writings didn’t need a narrative. (In fact the narrative in my writings is my life.) But. Reading Umberto Eco’s ‘Open Work’ has explained the fundamental difference between John and me. He worked from A-Z. I don’t. His narrative in his books is very much pre 20th century in concept; begin middle end. Mine is more an open work; rarely begins, all middle, sans end. I can bring his comments about narrative (how he suggested Apulhed in Wonderland  & I can appreciate his realisation (which he had instinctively) that my work  was (a bit) more like (say) the American ‘school’- Kerouac etc, whose poetry didn’t have capitals etc, more like the concrete poems of the late 19th century French and later Dieter Roth et al.

Apparently Ozick  http://www.rtlibrary.org/the%20shawl.pdf said ”All writing is presumption of course, since no one knows what it is like to be another human being.” and I’ve been looking at the art of writing and giving speeches with some deep and fascinating discoveries. As is my wont I am reading many books at once which include Barthes, Eco and seeing Dot Lessing on ‘Imagine’ the other night, well not her her ghost, well it was her when it was filmed but the audience only ever saw a ghostal tv image and then she died so the ghost in the machine is ‘real’ (?). Anyway so here is what I found:

In Eco’s Open Work  ed. Robey, ‘…to test Valery’s declaration “il n’ya pas de vrai sens d’un texte” (there is no true meaning of a text) Tindall eventually concludes that a work of art is a construct which anyone at all, including its author, can put to any use whatsoever, as he chooses.’

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674639768

So, that makes my finding out that Barthes had ‘around eight hundred little notecards…containing bibliographic indications, some summaries, notes …the whole accompanied by several commentaries, cassettes…computer discs…on which are recorded…the totality of 26 hrs of oral presentation…in accordance with his view that written discourse should take precedence over the oral form’ most interesting. http://www.scribd.com/doc/36196704/Roland-Barthes-The-Neutral I do a ‘talk’ which is much more than a talk, it’s a piece of performance art, the likes of which I’ve been putting on sporadically the length and breadth of this fair country since 1973. What fascinates is the way real life situations as opposed to sitting in front of a computer typing in badly generate incredibleness. I was one of the lucky ones to see several times Ken Campbell’s ‘talks’. WOW, there was a GENIUS. Maybe I shall do a blog about him sometime, one of the greatest story tellers of all time, what influenced li’l ole moi meme self ‘ere, din’t ee.

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My portrait (accepted but not hung by the RA) of John Atkins & Ken Campbell having coffee after west end production ‘Art’.

And then there is Bill, of the Drummond clan.Doris Lessing said, “…a writer…a machine for exploring experience, we plunge into experiences”. and A S Byatt says Lessing created a ‘Fragmented form’ thru The Golden Notebook.

(Watch out for my forthcoming article in The Blue Notebook) I would love to get all that material and create an artisbuk! More to the point it’ll influence or rather support my own ideas on such productions and on how one can present speeches. My work has always been fragmented, by life itself, and I am now ready to take it out, to have the experience of putting my words images and artefacts in front of folk and sharing their reactions et al. By the way for a small fee and expenses I can come to ‘talk’ to your group.

My New Concept: A Piece of Peace For Tibet.

Minimalism was merely a moment.

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Lucy Lippard drawn during her talk at Whitechapel Gallery London

There once was a movement in art named by some as ‘Minimalism’. Lucy Lippard says, “My 1966 exhibition ‘Eccentric Abstractions’ was an attempt to blur boundaries…between minimalism and something more sensuous” (Tate Papers 12 2009). Learning about Lucy confirmed my suspicion that the Minimalists moved onto better things, usually, (although I am not sure about Carl Andre, I feel he got stuck). Others like Eva Hesse, Robert Smithson and Lawrence Weiner went on to develop their own takes on ‘art’, mostly moving on to ‘Conceptual’ art. It is my belief that in the wider sense all art is conceptual, but there was a ‘movement’ which moved towards the concept, maybe even just a piece of writing outlining/proposing a work, became the work of art. Lucy’s words confirmed for me that my own writings/journals from 1969 to date were (as I always knew), ‘art’. Lucy told us, “Conceptual  art opened up new ways for artists to identify actively with what he/she was making, including performances, street works, video and other ephemeral rebellions against …the ‘precious object syndrome’” (ibid) “Preparation of natural phenomena; reframing of factual material in personal patterns; biography and transformation, primarily of self… are core delineators of Conceptual work…” (see p68 Lucy Lippard’s Numbers Shows, ed Cornelia Butler). My work in the past 40 years falls very much into the above quotes and I Love Lucy for helping me find the contextual phraseology with which I can now see myself, after 44 years of being ignored by the art establishment. Despite repeated requests (in my early days, maybe the first 10 years) for consideration in the form of grants and exhibitions I never received any support (tho’ I did weaken recently and applied for a grant from a local landmark gallery with the same result as of old, no thanks). Thankfully I, like Lucy did, gave up applying for ‘help’ and worked first as a postman, with similar results to Bukowski then as a teacher, to gain money to survive and create my contributions. I was always ‘driven’ to make ‘art’, it was my disease, my madness, I never gave up because I always believed I had something to bring to the party even though I was so often seen as only a barred gate-crasher whilst the likes of Ermin made their ‘copy-of-Louise-Bourgeoise-beds’. Now, she is welcome to lie in it because you make your bed and …I hear there is an art magnate looking for a new bed. I can’t believe I said that.

Lucy also re-awakened my interest in the sorry state of world affairs and prompted me to get up off my backside and be involved, again. So when Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela died last week it got me thinking.

I sent an email to the Breakfast Show because I felt quite strongly about the work of an artist called Harold Riley who they had on whilst considering the death of that great peace-full negotiator and emblem Nelson Mandela who was instrumental in dismantling Apartheid and transforming South Africa into a multi-racial democracy:

Dear Charlie and Louise,

Just a little note about the work of artist, Harold Riley, who told such a lovely tale of Mandela. His two paintings were lovely too BUT as an artist I would like him to know my feeling that his, what he called, ‘earlier’ one was infinitely better than his so called final piece. The earlier one was stunning!

Being an artist I am aware that sometimes we try too hard. Even the great Constable did that, you will notice his pencil sketches, sometimes as big as his final paintings were often much better.

As a boy of about 13 in 1963 I used to get up in my home town, Burnley, to go do my paper round about 6am. I actually saw a Knocker-Upper man doing his rounds at c.5-30 am, it would have been a vital service in days of old and it did last into the early 1960’s.Best, Pete Kennedy.

This elicited the following polite reply.

‘Thank you for contacting BBC Breakfast. We try to read as many emails as we can. We get a huge number of them and can’t guarantee that we’ll feature your email on the programme.’

I thought maybe he’ll not see my comment so I then sent it to the Salford Gallery which has a show of his work on. I await their reply.

Interestingly, whilst listening to Riley I mis-heard something he said which is an interesting take on the way we (only) hear what we want to hear. I thought Riley said that Mandela asked him if it was true that folk really went round knocking people up (they actually used a long pole with a bit of ‘wire’ shaped like a snake tongue which they would use to tap carefully on the upstairs window of shift workers in the local cotton mills and coal mines) on Riley’s affirmative reply he said, I thought, “I think I do that kind of thing”, which meant to me that he was waking mankind up to certain things, which indeed he did. However on listening to the interview again I now think Riley said that Mandela said, “I think you can’t do that kind of thing”.  Interestingly, a man who had spent time in Robben jail should believe that knocking men (and women!) out  of bed was not acceptable when in Lancashire they would have known that there would be penalties if they did not turn up to work their shift on time.

Peace For Tibet?

Every large land mass has a man who can help it move from one era to another moving from a primitive combative psychological state to advanced harmonious thinking with stately actions replacing belligerence.  It can be compared with each of us growing up, we had to learn to ‘stick up for ourselves’ and ‘fight our own corner’.  (When I look back on my life it’s my evasion of conflict and my more benevolent actions I am proud of although sometimes like Mandela I had to be ready to fight fire with fire. However usually everybody suffers then.)

India had Ghandi who spent time in South African jails. “On 10 January 1908 Mahatma Gandhi was arrested for the first time in South Africa for refusing to carry an obligatory identity document card commonly known as the ‘pass’. In 1906, the Transvaal government promulgated a new Act forcing registration of the colony’s Indian population. At a mass protest meeting held in Johannesburg on 11 September 1906, Gandhi adopted his approach to non-violent protest commonly known as satyagraha (loyalty to the truth) for the first time. thousands of Indians were jailed including Gandhi; some were even shot for striking.”(SAHO)

South Africa had Mandela who spent time in Robben Island.

China had the Dalai Lama who spends time in India, exiled from his homeland.

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Dalai Lama during a TV interview what I drawn him from.

They said on TV last week that few men have endured oppression with such little rancour as Mandela, apart from maybe Ghandi and Tenzin Gyatso, the present Dalai Lama. Whilst the two former are dead the latter is very much alive.  Similar to Mandela it is banned to have images of Gyatso and to quote him is an offence in Tibet. I believe that China needs a courageous leader like F.W. De Clerk, someone who will take up Gyatso’s suggestion that China embraces Tibet’s people not as a subjugated minority but as equal partners in a China which has a multi-racial democracy too. China needs to adopt Mandela’s words, “Never again will this beautiful land (Tibet, China, Africa) experience the oppression of one people by another. Let bygones be bygones.”

The Chinese will of course point to Britain’s legacy all over the world of vandalism, robbery, subversion, theft and all, but, let’s let bygones be bygones. The English have heinous crimes in their past; Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Africa, India, China, Tibet, Afghanistan, the list goes on but on behalf of the English Aristocracy, for it was they who enslaved the populace in the beginning and forced the peoples of its subjugated parts to fight in creating its ‘empire’, I beg the countries of the world to forgive (not so) Great Britain and move towards peace in our time, all over.

Some other countries too have been closed and held back by dictatorships; Chile, Argentina, Greece, China, Syria, Iraq, Sri Lanka to name a few. There is a need to open up and allow negotiations. After all wars there has to be negotiation and reconciliation. Why not forget the in between stage of having a war and just negotiate and reconcile first. Of course humankind has this penchant for fighting, wherever two people are together there is the possibility for argument and conflict but remember what some great spiritual leaders in the past have said too, that wherever people gather together there is the potential for peace and harmony and connection with the greater spirit of the universe. Whether we call these people inspired, blessed, bodhisattva, chosen, no matter what they are called they are special and they point their fingers toward harmony between all peoples. Peace Be With Us. And all that jazz.

Hey. I nearly forgot! I want you to check out this most beautiful link to a Tibetan blog drugmo.wordpress.com Just go down thru it til you find the poem she translated to English about Tibet by  Tsering D. Gonkatsang. You could read it as you watch the video, preferably the one with beautiful Tibetan words. OR just listen to the Tibetan voice and watch the INCREDIBLY beautiful land which is Tibet unfold before your eyes. Then read the poem.

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Dalai Lama opening the Peace Garden, London, Imperial War Museum grounds.

All of the above images are of course my own drawings and remain (c) pete kennedy 2013.

Hemmed-in-ness.

Feeling hemmed in.

When I was a little boy I often felt hemmed in. I was living in a small northern town I call Brunlea in North West England in a bowl surrounded by hills. No I didn’t live in an enamel bowl, but I did wash in one before bed. The clouds would lift up over the hills and drop their payload in the basin, most of it on my head it seemed at the time. Often we weren’t able to go out in the street & fields to play. If we did we would get saturated and drying facilities were sparse. Woollen jumpers would smell foul when you had to put them back on damp. So we stayed indoors. Once outside there was still a feeling we couldn’t venture across the main road as it might prove fatal if we were careless. Eventually once we passed 11 year old we could cross and play football in the field on the other side but we rarely adventured into anyone else’s fields or towns until we got to 15 or 16 when we dared go into nearby towns to find girls who may go out with us. The local girls suffered from a disease called familiarity breeds contempt. They’d seen our snotty noses thru junior school and remembered my long underpants showing beneath my short shorts. They too looked outside our streets for their new boyfriends. Then we hitch-hiked to the new outdoor pool at Skipton, then to London then to Woolacombe but we always came back to Brunlea.Once me and John arrived back from London about 4am and were so pleased to be back on home soil we laid down in the middle of the road outside the hallowed Turf Moor Footbal ground, worshipping the cobbled street.

Then I got to college in Exeter, hitchhiked there too. Became (quite) good at art, became a teacher, retired hurt near 40 years later and at last became a real artis. Got an MA and had my first article published. But I still felt hemmed in. I was doing Ashtanga Yoga today and my mind gently pondered between the puffs and grunts and groans (mine) on my Hemmed-in-ness. On breakfast tv I had seen an old woman playing genga a game with little wooded blocks. I thought, ‘What I’m doing is pushing blocks of wood away. I’m ‘hemmed in’ metaphorically by blocks, mind blocks? My own blockages…I felt hemmed in when after 20 years of trying to be good at ‘art’ I found no buyers, takers etc. I felt hemmed in in my teaching job as it seemed to prevent me being ‘an artist’ but when I became an artis for 4 years I got hemmed in by the lack of finance and my apparent lack of success. Surely after 30 years with all this skill I should get recognised etc. Stuck again in my street not daring to go across that big main road into the field of opportunity. Then I crossed the road and I found it was no easier in the field as there were hundreds of others like me; talented, hard-working, striving etc. Now and then one would seem to break away, get some invite, get some momentum, get ‘nominated’, win a prize, sell some works etc. So I said I must leave this field I need a vehicle, I’ll try to get an MA which will give me passage. I gained my MA and met new people and I still went to Ashtanga Yoga feeling hemmed in. Why? well once you get one article published, once you sell a picture (thanks Anna) you want to sell another. And the list goes on. Then they say that’s it no more articles sling yer hook, leave the nest go elsewhere but there is no elsewhere. Is there?

But there is. I was reading an article about my new favourite working methods, artist’s books, and the bloke mentioned another journal and I thought let’s look and I did and it was good. Now I had hope on the horizon, something new to set my sights on. I was finding my own two feet , I didn’t feel so hemmed in, there are other fields, towns cities countries but of course there’s no place like home. Home is where I write draw paint print blog makes books etc. It’s where I gather my thoughts it’s where I perform my magic, so don’t bring me down (says home).Don’t say you’re hemmed in at home. In fact don’t say you’re hemmed in by your human frailty gerrup and gerrat em. Maybe someone will eventually be daft enough to say yes we’ll have one…an art-tickle a picture an art-e-fact or just one of my less-tooth smiles. So now am no longer hemmed in, in fact am turned out. Not hemmed in by (self) doubt, by other’s critique, by being ignored being lauded being damned being praised.

I see myself running across the fields and over the mountains. I’m running alongside Mr Salinger, I’m looking over the mountain Mr Luther King, I’m seeing what’s on the other side(s).They are there waiting; Steve H., Clive, Little Christopher, my uncle John, my Auntie Madge, my Geordie Mam, My Swansea Taff, Roy the Moose and Don (Doreen) his wife obliverate. I know they are already there with Gram Parsons burning hickory wood and now smiling at my un-hemmed-in-ness. So are all my mystic friends in G Batch except the Dalai Lama but he’s been there loads of times with all the past Rinpoches. I’m on my merry way chasing…chasing lacewings, winter butterflies, dragonflies. Sea-horses and of course dolphins. Chasing my own sweet dreams.

Oh and by the way Gustavo said I can put this picture on my blog, so I have.It’s mostly artist’s books by Tom Phillips. My G Batch is in the background.Image