My Oeuvre Is Not Opuscule!

My Red Lion Bookshop show ended today Saturday 1st March. It was real good to meet some new people who had not seen the work before. Strangely, to me, the single ‘pages’ of the cardboard pothi were the most popular items, which goes to show how much i know! I would have said they would have been the least popular. I still have a lot to learn so, onwards and upwards up the mountain, still learning to enjoy the view, not to whinge too much about parking charges and stupid road systems and and well, just don’t whinge ya olde whiner.

And here’s one of the poems what I rote for the new reading last week:

Don’t Give Up, Things Get Better One Day

The fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso,

Bodhisattva of Compassion, Ocean of Wisdom, Refugee

Exiled from his home Land in Tibet he had to flee

From his home country…y…y

Escaping into the charitable arms of neighbouring India

Do unto others as you would have Others do unto thee

Meditate on the clear Light of the Void

And everlasting undemanding love

Om ha vajra hung

Padma guru siddi hum

Truth and justice and human understanding

Will triumph in the end

Over Ignorance and Despair

When the Oppressor finally sees the Light

Everything is always changing

We are interdependent and need one another every which way

Nothing stays the same forever

And in the end, all Empires eventually fade away

You must Never give up

Things will get better one day

Things are getting better in every way

If you follow the path with the heart

See the Wu Li Masters prancing

Just lights moving and dancing.

All of us are merely bundles of energy

Tripping along our merry way…yeah…yay…yeh

When I began to write and draw back in the late 1960’s I never suspected that one day I would write and draw about the nature of reality and humanity’s place in it.(Plaice swimming thru it?) That dawned on me after I had done two new readings of the latest versions of the ‘Mystics’ Poems’ from my book G. Batch. I also create this blarty ting, I mean I begin with some note in a sketch book then type up the first edit, adding and taking away as I go. That I can write and illustrate this blartart is the result of over 50 years of practice writing; first efforts at primary school where I learned to write, secondary school learning to write essays, the academic development thru B/Ed* degree, Adv. Dip in Education at Cambridge Institute, DMS at Danbury Management and the latest effort at my MA studies.

* B/Ed was always considered a second rate degree anyway, look at the gradings, there were no part 1 and part 2’s as in ‘normal’ degrees, just 1st, 2nd and fail. And B/Ed fell between three stools (stools, that has interesting connotations, especially in Dieter Rot’s hands, or gloves), it wer neither an art degree nor a philosophy degree, it wer a bit o both, which didn’t make it any easier studying for it as I had to learn both disciplines to at least Bachelor standard, and that caused me some pain as I felt the need to work about 18 hours a day for a year. In a way that was a masochistic self-punishment, self flagellation, I took to wearing a hair shirt too, for my being so stupid from 11 years old on at gwamma skewel where I sensed, correctly, I was an unwelcome guest but didn’t have the nounce to see the only way was out and instead of going do Art at Burnley Art College I stayed with my oppressors, maybe cos they promised to whack me with a stick every day or pump me with an old plimpsoll. I say plimp cos of the blimps that used to pump you, do you remember Gwimes? Little short assed bender. He would put a chalk mark on the pump, hit yer ass then attempt to hit the exact cross mark with his next swipes. I suppose he’s dead now, reading my blarts and feeling guilty, little wings acrumpled. Anyway, I did get him. We used to play 5 a side football in the gym during the sixth form and he came joined the staff. He had difficulty walking to his afternoon classes, don’t remember him returning the next day.

Alongside these ‘qualityfercations’, (all of which assisted the skill but also built up a resolve deep inside to kick against stifle-ment), I have 40+ years of ‘personal style’-writing out of which most of my blart starts. One way or another I have learnt how to get the words (werds) on the page then manipulate them until they say what I think they should mean. Barthes would deny me that saying that you the reader puts their own interpretation on my words and that is blindingly obvious (what are these guys paid for?) as your experience and take is different from mine. Eco (Umberto to his friend, he’s only got one, me) would encourage that different slant as he advocates the idea of a work being ‘open’ to interpretation. I also write poetry, again some would say not so, but I do. The quality of my poetry is to be judged by others not my self, I only write, and recite them. Poetry like painting is so difficult to assess and in a way I guess the measure is whatever turns you on, if it doesn’t strike your chord then leave it alone, move on elsewhere, there’s plenty else to go look at. Take Dylan Thomas, I love to hear him reading his stuff even tho he adopts a rather stuffy bbc accent but if I try to read his stuff from the page I get bored witless. Except for Under Milk Would (well woodent yew?). The rules I apply are mostly intuitive. I watch the words and ask if they convey what I am trying to say.

Where to now?

A Massive Retrospective?

‘A Life-Time’s Werk’ or ’the ‘First Forty Sicks Yearns of Fail-lure’ note  do you know the maxim ‘it’s so bad it’s good’? well mine would be, ‘He’s Such A Big Failure he’s Fine (Art)’.

I need a big gallery with a good deal of gall, or ball. First Site would be an ideal venue, I could fill it and do a massive muriel on that ‘Leaning Wall Of First Site’ and with so many facets to my work I would have lectures and performances and community involvement et al.

Of course they aren’t up to the challenge, it would break their hearts if I even proposed it, they’d go into paroxysms and never recover, so am not offering.

Believe me this idea is not over ambitious, I’m not suggesting Tate, nor Hayward, yet. But I  do realise the futility of approaching them. I know that to be true, just look at all the letters of rejection I have had from Tate, Cork St., Bath, Glasgow, my home country Brunlea and all over since leaving college with my coveted B/Ed (Class 2) in 1973.

In the real world I wouldn’t stand a chance of pulling off my greatest coup de grace, I guess my best bet would be a coup de foudre, but am too durned slow nowaday to do anyting sudden and I like my actions to be slow but sure rather than amazing, like a good leak, I seep in.

HOWEVER, I can do this alone (ish). The alternative solution is potentially more powerful and could reach into so many more of your homes. Do it digitally. A massive exhibition retrospective of the output from my 45 years efforts in creativity, PLUS I can create all my books as ebooks and put up short films of some past performances. I could even re-make certain parts, like the Brentwood Theatre ‘Talk’, The First Squidgerat. I can even make the aborted Rheingold ‘talk’.

This is the most fantastic breakthrough. I can even do visual surveys of the artists and books which inspire me; D D Watkins, e Jeffrey, rick griffin et al. There must exist some way of doing visual sampling which is ‘legal’ like the sampling of sound bites they do in the music industry.

So, watch this space for developments for my digital gallery.

The galleries etc in the ‘real’ world, don’t worry abart them, they can get along without me and I don’t need them so I am not wasting one more second’s time doing it for real, digital is my domain from now on especially when you see the luminosity which comes from the screen generated by light in the images, pure light rather than ink. In a way, my record on the digital screen is like a tiny part of the Akashic record.


my old apulhed as a tree of knowlige, 1976

The Akashic record records every breath you take, every utterance you have made and every thought you have, well my diji-art shows a tiny aspect of the thoughts, ideas and outputs from my life on earth since 1950. I been lucky being born at the half way point of a century, I was aware that my work would, if I lived long enough, straddle two centuries, and I did live, tho some may say I didn’t live fully yet, I lived past 2000 when I was the one selected to kick start the library gallery in Colchester into the new millennium. I heard Muddy Waters describe his body as the one house he was gifted with, and my house has many art-filled-rooms in it, some of which I shall reveal on my diji-gallery (dijigall, I like the gall bit rather than gal, as gall is like you gotta hev sum gall boy, a lot of balls’, so it’s dijigall from now on.

Ever since I fell in love with art c.1967 my life has been covered init, art in all its forms. I am (still) besotted by it. It is a vast world. Even before Van Gogh (the first Van in my life, I never knew Van the Man was lead singer of Them until I heard his Astral Weeks c. 1968) & Gauguin, the two instigators of my understanding that art had more to offer than even Leonardo (whose cartoon in the National Gallery I had sat and stared at for at least an hour when I was eleven year old) Grunewald, Breughel Bosch Rimbrandt Goya and Lowry, even before Henry Moore (Tate retro c. 1967) and Matisse (Hayward retro1968) I was beginning to ‘get’ that art was where I was heading.

Luckily my art interest wasn’t confined to the great masters. I loved illustrators like Rackham, and ‘comic’ artists like D. D. Watkins and e. Jeffrey. It was not confined to just visual art, I also began to look at writers and output from other cultures, writers like Vonnegut, Brautigan, Peake and all came my way. And music, luckily I was a teenager in the 1960’s. So I saw and heard the explosion which brought Led Zep, Pink Floyd, It’s a Beautiful Day, Zappa, Beefheart and all. and later I listen to Garabarek, Philip Glass. I had played violin for a couple of years so I had an ear for the squeaky sound.

Now I shall start to look into how I can create my dijigall, so, watch this space. You’ll be able to visit it from the comfort of your own comfortable space. And you’ll soon understand, if you have eyes to see and ears to hear (you’ll need a dictionary I tink), My Oeuvre Is Not Opuscule!

let me know what you tink (very few if any ever do!)

Thanks to me ole mate DW he sent this reply using the contact slip below:

“Strong passion there, for your manifesto for the ‘PK dijigall’  (Digital Gallery). You have the balls and the talent, Pete, may your spirit waft through the web, like a wind!

“I’m like wind pouring down hills into the city
whatever I do is beyond whatever’s been done”


which also reminds me of an old Van D. Man quote when, in the 70’s, he said, ‘you gotta climb too high to see my point of view’. Being as I wer well into Van back then I saw it as a positive ting. He was getting into all sorts of alternative stuff and no doubt had come across zen. He was also the object of much ignorance and critical remarks about his actions and supposed transgressions of the code of being ‘famous’, like Salinger he was not fond of being a media plaything etc, so the media got its own back by negative comments. I’ve never been as famous as Van was, so I don’t have a working knowledge of the expectations. It is one of the ways I got lucky by NOT having success in any wider sense. In my next blart or two I am intending to look at relative success and at my own lifelong output. I am never saying I should be ‘recognised’ like say Picasso was or Lennon etc, no, but the point I shall be working on is that there are many very talented folk who don’t get a fair crack of the whip. My ‘art’ went thru stages over a 45 year period. Some I chose to embark upon, others were brought to me by the state of the art(s) at the time.

DW knows better than many, most, maybe all about the length, breadth and nature of any ‘talent’ I may have/had. For a long time my work may have been influenced by the desire to do something which would sell, have appeal, but most of my life I feel lucky to have been an awkward sod who usually stopped doing it if it got ‘recognised as good’. That’s either chicken, or brave, or stupid or genius.

My Fear Of Failure…I Don’t Do Fear Of Failure.

a ghostly figue sm

This is a re-blArt of an old bloggart it’s like a ghost of tings to come.

the original posting was 2014 but it’s still pertinent.

first ever prize

Way back in 1960, when I wer 10, I won my first prize, maybe my last too, in a flower show. I came 4th in a scone cooking competition. Above is an image of my tercificate. About 50 years ahead of the game what with all these celebrity chef tings going on nowaday. I never won nowt since, but I may still win sumting, never give up hope do ya?

Sometimes I do ‘get lucky’ and today FEBRUARY 21, 2014 I found out Red Lion Bookshop have extended the exhibition of my work until next Saturday. (see flyer below) And another ting, I had my first visitor to my blart from Russia today. Welcome comrad.

It wer all downhill after such heady heights, I just knew it would be because like Seasick Steve, I can’t lose what I never had!

Failure is a familiar friend, but not too familiar please.

‘don’t remind me of my failures … I have not forgotten them’ Sang Jackson Brown, who is second only for sad, tho surprisingly not depressing, lyrics after Len Cohen but the latter is the best ‘poet’ by far (Neil Young came therd). And he wears a hat like me.


I do have a bee in my bonnet and it’s coming out, in this and my next blArt.

Theodore Zeldin says on p16 of his book An Intimate History of Humanity

‘The Renaissance [mine of which I Am about to announce] was based on the new idea of the importance of the individual. [and it led to Modernism] but this was a fragile foundation because individuals depended on constant applause [don’t we just?] and admiration [give me more] to sustain them. There is a shortage of applause in the world, and there is not enough respect to go round.’ He continues on p17, ‘A good part of the process has been the process by which artists have been recognised as expressing the feelings of people they have met….When individuals have looked beyond their familiar surroundings…they have discovered many strangers share their emotions and interests.’ And ‘To find a new sense of direction (we) will need to incorporate the certainty of failure, if failure is expected, and studied, it need not destroy courage…humans may have more options than they currently believe.’

I shall be offering up one option a few folk have already anticipated in my next blart, watch this space (between my ears? For surely, ‘Only a fool fights a battle he knows he cannot win’ (Ghengis Khan is attributed with that.) And I am about to embark on such a battle, Fool that I appear to be. But, there’s method in my madness.

On the back of my first buk, Apul-One it said ‘testimony from the greatest failure of all time’ or something stupid like that, stupid cos yours truly wrote it, the crit that is, as well as the buk. Well I didn’t exactly write the buk as cut and paste it from my own existing journals written most days of my life since I wer about 19 year old. The only bit I ‘wrote’ for Apul-One was the first couple of pages which in fact are possibly the best pages? And it weren’t really a ‘novel’ or nowt like it, the writing was indeed testimony, testimony about my life up til then, well a small part of it. The testimony was like a piece of ‘art’, it testified my doings and thoughts and ideas, very much like my self-portraits in oils at the time would testify to where I was ‘at’. And my Apulhed ‘comics’ testified my more focussed thoughts on ‘issues’ to begin with and later on a ‘zen’ approach to life with the Happy Apulhed strips. Happy Apulhed is lodged in Tate artis buk arkive alongside Apul-One, thanks Maria White for your long-sightedness, thanks to you those two publications were the first tings Tate bought from me.

I tried desperately hard to be a ‘success’ even tho’ Georgia O’Keefe says being a siccess is unimportant. I gave up the day job in 1976 to pursue my various arts only to return to the (teaching) fold 5 years later, broke, no nearer my declared aim of being ‘recognised’ before I die, attempting to spit in the face of the classic mantra, ‘an artis’s work is only recognised after (s)he’s dead’. But the mantra still engulfs me. Sod it. In my awaiting-to-publish masterwork, ‘I Tole Yu I Wer A Genie-Arse’ I kill me off, or at least ‘disappear’ my alternate ego Rhody O’Dorke, but again to no avail, nobody wants to puberlisht it. Well if I were you I’d buy the stuff now cos when I killed O’Dork off it was a metaphor but I swear before I die I shall burn all of my extant artworks and notes fer buks and all. Maybe blow the whole bloody kybosh up? and some young up and coming artist can film it, from a safe distance, then sell it to Tate to replace Ermine’s bed.

Say, call it, ‘Kennedy’s Deathbed Throes’ (throws) cos they like beds in Tate.

They (Tate et al) certainly do not like any artis with a bit of originality in ’em. Apparently ‘originality’ went out of fashion with the ‘Mothballing’ of the Modernists, cos in case you don’t know, the Brit Pack and all the stuff Saarki bought is called ‘Post-Modernist’ (Pr)artwork. I’ll say it agin, am not bitter, just broke. And a Prartwork must copy Duchamp, The Pratwork Paradigm is  don’t tink you can shift from the Duchamp paradigm just Do Dee Do Duchamp time and again til yer blue in the face.

In fact I wrote the crit on the wrap-around sleeve of Apul-One as a spoof, cos the kid wot rote Apul-One had not failed, far from it. Altho he wer a snot-nosed ‘avenue-urchin’ (the 50’s built housing estates dint av streets, itwer avenoos it was, and they wern’t back to back terraces, they wer built on muddy (yellow) hills, and it wer always raining cats and dogs) brung up in poverty. The writer, or collator of Apul-One couldn’t afford penny lollies on the way to or from school nor dinky cars (at two and sixpence ha’penny) like the slightly better off working class boys, their dad’s being plumbers, decorators and small factory owners. No, his daddy wer a steeplejack-cum-demolition man, contrary to popular opinion they didn’t get ‘danger money’ and when it rained they couldn’t climb up 200 foot chimbleys and then they dint get paid. The lad wat rote Apul-One just scraped thru the 4th year at St. Luke’s on a meagre part grant, left college and got a teaching job near Chompsferd then spent his first year’s wages on beer and self-publishing Apul-One. Publishing was not his big success but writing the werds, creating the necessarily B&W images that went into Apul-One with his pen & camera, were his great success.

When he wer 11 year old he had wanted to learn how to develop and print photos, he bought the DIY book, but couldn’t afford the chemicals etc., had to wait til he wer 21 when IEP Woollard showed him the process. He couldn’t draw fer toffee aged 11, 16, 17 then at 18 the miracle began, Burnley artist David Wild, Slade Prix de Rome winner, led him into his first paintings of nude models and whoosh, off he went inventing Appleheadman & all. it was only for the sake of keeping cost to a minimum that he didn’t put any colour work in Apul-One cos there wer plenty of colour in his art back then*. Even so, a self-published book with images in was pretty rare back then in 1975 making him a pie on the ear. Hollands pies went on to sponsor Burnley F C, ask Pete to show you the shirt. Indeed Apul-One has been quite a success over the years and has opened doors for its auteur.

*Now you can see the works in glorious colour in my new  A3 bespoke bound artisbuk- Pete Kennedy 1968-73.

Here’s two significant reader’s quotes about Apul-One:

‘There’s not many books that I’ve read from cover to cover, honestly, very few, but Apulhead (he meant Apul-One) 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 2013

Miriam Patchen widow of American writer Kenneth Patchen wrote, “Apul-One is a marvellous tour de force. Your spelling is a wonderful way of helping people not to slide over words. This is truly delightful slowing the reader so he’ll think a bit. Teaching^ and writing! How do you manage both?” August 1998.

^I once was a art teacher and folk would ask me, ‘How do you relate so well with these (mostly working class) kids, particularly those who struggle?’ well, I was one myself, a working class struggler, “I started off a struggler and I still got most of it left.” But I understand the field, having been through it and out the other side, I understand it better than yer below average education minister or any Oftdead inspector.

That lad went on to have over 21 solo exhibitions (he wasn’t too keen on group shows) tween 1977-2013. Every one a failure financially but triumphant in terms the propulsion of folk thru the doors who really appreciated admittedly his sometimes weird work with many who expressed their positive feelings in the various visitor’s books. Of course you have to consider failure if you stand up and be counted and the best trick I know is to look apparent failure in the eye and thank it, for the lesson learnt or the ‘I won’t be doing that in that way again’ etc. Every show I do shows me a light at the end of the tunnel which I can aim for. A light which beckons me on, trying to improve my output and the way I convey it. If you couldn’t get to the Red Lion Bookshop show I am sorry we didn’t get to meet. If you missed it don’t worry there’ll be more. What do you mean that’s what you’re worried about? Now you’re talking like a failure cos it’s too late to stop me now.

Here’s Brunlea group Chowamba Wamba with their massive hit which could have been my life mantra (its only had 4,097,056 views on Utube!):

Bet you didn’t know one of this lot from Burnlea called Bacon Rind or summat went to the same gwamma school as moi meme (I learned French there and also got 20% in Latin in the second year (8) and they wouldn’t let me take Latin ‘O’ level). He wer there bit after I left tho, so I cannot claim to have been a direct influence, but he may have seen Apul-One inth’skewel library.

ps if you cannot afford to buy my buks apul-one and G Batch you can order them from your local library. They have to try to get them if you put in an order.

I shall add the two new isbns for the A3 & A4 versions of The Shrewd Idiot soon to this grid.

Pub Date
G BATCH an Introduction
Kennedy, Pete
Apulhed Products
Kennedy, P. D.
Apulhed Products

Think of my buks like hot cross buns:

hot cross buns,

hot cross buns,

one a penny two a penny

hot cross buns,

if you ha’n’t got a penny

then a ha’penny will do

if you ha’n’t got a ha’penny

God Bless You!


By the way Saturday 22nd Feb (2014) is the last day you can see the Red Lion Bookshop Exhibition of my jug etc. You can still buy those beautiful posters (1.5.2017)

what do ye tink abart dat then, ‘just like that’

And did you see the BBC 2documentary?

Vindication at last for all of my jug ideas and my poems! wow

this flyer is deliberately blinding, inspired by mel bochner’s work:

an red lion show turd4  flyer_Layout 1

27 April 2017- I was lucky to be in Londres on Thorsday  delivrin a copy of my A3 Shrewd Idjet to my lifelong mate D. Walker and I stayed up to go to the launch at The British Library by Live Art Development Agency (LADA) of the online version of the erstwhile mag-


“The performances we cover have been called Fringe Theatre, Performance

Art, and Community Art. We are responding to…a vastly increased interest in these things”

In ISSUE (1 – JUNE 1979) I read Rob La Frenais’ Interview with the late great Ken Campbell and was fascinated to ‘hear’ Ken talking about the ‘conspiracy against imagination’. I had never heard of this alleged the conspiracy but the idea, which according to Ken was mooted by Aldiss, helps me to understand why (my) originality has been accepted byt artworld in almost all of its manifestations (as John Prine once said in a great song of his*), I was “About as welcome as a new Walmart Superstore” in their domain!

Let’s see how KC tells his tale to the first ever THE PERFORMANCE MAGAZINE:

RL: Why did you go into science fiction?

KC: Because of the conspiracy against imagination . . . begun in 1939.

RL: Where in 1939?

KC: Britain.

R L: What, at the start of the Second World War?

KC: Yeah, that’s right, the war started then as well.

What the conspiracy against the imagination will tell you, after 1939 you either wrote the so-called ‘serious novel’ which must know how things work, must not predict how things will go. Otherwise, after 1939 it’ll be placed in a lurid-cover SF death-camp and be sold on the railway stations and reviewed on the wrong pages of the Sunday papers. See what I mean? …we’re talking about a time when imagination is denigrated.

Talking about ‘Proper thought’, the conspiracy comes from Proper thinking, and all government monies, (like Arts Council subsidies) comes in an anti-imaginative direction since they ‘re part of the whole Proper vision of stunting the imagination, which began in 1939.

When the Arts Council closed down weekly reps, that was to stunt the actor’s art, I would think, wouldn’t you? Brian Aldiss hadn’t pointed out that the conspiracy against the imagination began in 1939 at the time I was doing ‘Pilk’s Madhouse’ I suppose I was training my mind to receive Aldiss’s words. I guess he might have told it to a few people. Perhaps he chooses who he tells it to.

Ken then went on to tell us the subject which was to become one of his big themes in future years:

RL: Back to ‘The Warp’ ( You said it was “going to make everything else in theatre look like bollocks”. Did it?

KC: Yeah, I think … thought so. Yeah. Yes. Clearly. That was a visionary statement, that was before ‘Pilk’s Madhouse’, wasn’t it?

RL: Can you tell us about one thing you might do in the future?

KC: (Long pause) The Fermi Paradox.

R L: What is the Fermi Paradox?

KC: Nuclear physicist, isn’t he? Enrico Fermi.

Enrico says, since there’s umpteen billion million of ’em (planets) like us,

where are they (ETs)? That was Enrico’s question…Now Fermi says, now where are they, then?

ken cambell and neil oram + words
I was lucky to see Ken perform his incredible one man shows about 10 times and also draw him and also did a drawing for him for his ‘Violin Time’. John Dowie bought a life-size sketch I did of Ken at a Philip K Dick convention!

Thanks to LADA & the now no longer published PERFORMANCE MAGAZINE for enabling me to access my old friend Ken’s prophetic words!

This is a re-blArt of an old bloggart. I got 2 new ISBNs to update to you, but that’ll be another blART

The revolutin-airy will not be tooroor-eyesed! Nor bush-whacked by bandits.


Five dames turned up for the second redlionbookshop talk. Louis Armstorng’s ‘What a wonderful world’ did not resound thru the rafters as I couldn’t bring my stereo set up. No music this time to soothe the atmospheres. But the poet in me turned up. my trouble is he won’t go away and even today ! (17th) I am/he is altering and adding to the poems about ‘Six Mystics’ which I read a rendition of last Saturday (15th). Interestingly, I do believe the poet is helping me. In the Gurdjeff poem he said I can fit in a thing about compassion which has arisen in my thinking. The idea that compassion is a flame which you cannot extinguish. I did have a line where G. went to Tibet , the fount of compassion, but now I have changed that to,

‘Climbing Tibetan mountains

Open range of the Snow Lion

To the flowering flame of Compassion’

I added to G’s last verse more of the senses, realising… realising I can do that why, because, I can!

‘Feel the everlasting flame of Zoroaster glows

Within each of us with eyes to see

And those of us with ears to hear the bee…s

Straighten up and smell the breeze’

I had also moved the lion of snow sentence from the Dalai Lama poem so I could add the idea of charity to his this morning when the poet told me to have Faith, Hope And Charity evident in the poems, which are as one, a group.

‘A refugee

Escaping into the charitable arms of his neighbouring India’

We rarely know what it is that drives us to create (our creativity) that may dawn on you as & if you develop. I didn’t know when I left school in 1969 that one day I would attempt writing poetry. Also that some of my writing would be about the meaning of (our) reality. I am neither preaching nor proselytising I’m just attempting to ‘think’ as lucidly as I am able.

These days I have, at last, found time to go back thru some of the writings I did (in my journals) back in 1979-80. Around that time I was a self-employed artist-writer working on The Shrewd Idiot and feeling the birth pangs of my First Squidgerat project. In order to try make some money, knowing it would take a long time for any funds from a book to kick in and that my own vision of ‘art’ and its products did not appeal to a mass audience, I was printing sweatshirts for schools and producing the first (Maldon) Barge Calendar. It is interesting to read the same complaint I wrote about the costs of putting on an exhibition, never mind its relative ‘success’ in the eyes of visitors and media, were then as now above the monies that it generated into my bank account. To all extent and purposes, if I were a wise man, I should have given up/in. And I am in an identical position today. To put it in a nutshell, my work doesn’t sell. So the sensible ting to do? Give up. Full Stop. But I fail to put my brakes on and I refuse to pack it in. vaingloriously I continue writing and making ‘art’. Like Olympic skater Robin Cousins said ( I think it wer im wat seddit), ‘If I don’t win anything people will see me as a madman’ then he won gold. Well I may not win any golds, they are like hen’s teeth anyway in the arts and it seems are reserved for the already famous, those already well catered for financially. There is a wonderful comparison between the late Tom Finney’s record and that of the present day footballer wayne rooney who has just signed a contract for £300 grand a week when Tom an infinitely better player got £20. Also Finney was never booked nor sent off, (he never tupped no-one but he would have nutmegged em! auteur’s note, nutmeggin is a nicer legal form of tuppin), rooney has had both, several times. Age wise I am a lot closer to Finney and I think I retain some of his dedication to the cause. I do it cos I love doing it.

I am 63 now and won’t have much time to break thru with any aspect of my work before I follow Tom and lots more of my heroes but I am not crying nor asking sympathy. I have given it a good go and shall continue so to do. I have some ideas on how to bring works, which have been in the pipeline for up to 35 yearns, through into a form which I would be satisfied represents my abilities, ideas, originality etc.two tings I must point out.

1. the zen master Ikkyū (1394-1481)wrote

Writing something

To leave behind

Is yet another kind of dream.

When I awake I know that

There will be no one to read it.


“fucking flattery, success, money.

I just sit back and suck my thumb.”

― Ikkyu, Crow With No Mouth


2. ‘Being Flynn’ a film with Robert de Niro in, there is an incredible film! And its arrival in my life was coincidental with my final prep night before I did my second reading at Red Lion bookshop Colchester last Saturday.


photoshop of the poet created by C C (thanks CC for revealing the real me to me!)

The film is about a relationship triangle between a young man and his present mother and absent father who is off chasing his dream to be another American genius writer. (I’m not American so don’t worry about me!) It is hard hitting and was the worst prep I needed when preparing to (pretend to be) a poet the next day. It helped me realise the stupidity of believing I can be a player. I mean, look at that idiot above, would you buy an etching from him, or a car for that matter?

So. I been round the houses, the trees, fields etc several times now. I started in 1967 with a Henry Moore exhibition at Tate, just Tate, there wer no Tate Mod then just ‘Tate’.That made me decide to be an artis chap. My art, that I have done since then, speaks for itself. I am getting tired of talkin. From now on I talk about other tings. Am no longer flogging a dead horse. The donkey’s given up farting now. And another reason nobody came to my readings. I am so goddamned ugly (but not so ugly as Jagga), no really. My Celtic name means Ugly Head (creator of Apulhed).


a recent photo of the auteur

Remember ugly by name ugly by nature. I’m the one what used to tup the captain. I should have bin the captain! I was captain of Brun house team and the Wednesday league team Scrubbers what won the cup that season. That’s as high as the establishermont would allow me to go. And my lack of financial and critical and academic success, I have to admit, is my own fault, it’s my karma, I shouldn’t have tupped the captn. (For my Buddhist friends, please don’t get me wrong, it wer only a gentle tup. Not like one o me shin shatterin tackles. But no, I won’t go in to them.


Alf Tupper (my alter ego) in 1969

(part 2) A Bridge Over Troubled Water

all images and writing is (c) pete kennedy 2014 except the Sogyal Rinpoche quote which is flagged up.

I had already written part 2 before I bloggod part 1 and it began, ‘They say it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the way you play the game. And what you gain from the experience.’ Then Dancer at heart sent me this after I blarted part 1:

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” ~ Khalil Gibran Very apt after last Saturday. Thank you Dancer. I have a lovely one from the Bagadish Vida :”the secret of human freedom is to act well, without attachment to the results.”

Therefore I am happy now, that’s a fact. I had looked back on my old visitor’s books and one lady said to my Chelmsford 2004 show, “One of the most interesting exhibitions I’ve ever seen!” It takes a lot to write that about a stranger. Anyway, that helps me realise, I do not need to hanker for any good remark/mark/accolade etc. Just continue to ‘live’ and do what I am able to do.

Now I shall continue with my planned part 2 in which I began with a mention of my 1975 buk, ‘Apul-One’, that mention was because I think ‘Apul-One’ was my 1973-74 subliminal reaction to being snubbed by the system tween 1961-73. I ‘knew’ there was something not right, amiss, out of kilter etc. Where I perceive an unfairness I tend(ed) to fight, harder. So I spent 40 years fighting with my art/writing. To no avail? No! because those with eyes to see have seen the avail in my travail. I believe to my soul (like Van) that what I did/do is good quality. I love what I do. I may still be in the 2ndXI but I score some beautiful goals.

That’s where am at pretty baby (Van agen) say it loud am happy and am proud (James Brown, almost)

and if Prince, with his mega fame, can choose to play to tiny audiences, who am I to disagree.

Thank you two shooting stars, you know who you are and thanks for taking some great photos of me as I ‘performed’ in them silly billy hats. When I sit there reading my trying poems I don’t feel so silly at all, that is my art, Now. It’s to do with connecting and we certainly did that. And what was your reward? Two of my silly old badges from the 70’s, badgeart. Thanks for being my bridges. On Saturday 15th am going to get up and do it again Amen (Jackson Brown)

Way back in 1965, wenni wer about 15, I did weights wid me dad who were a weight trainer bloke. I was doing very well. He took me to Manchester and introduced me to the then Mr Universe, Earl Maynard, a bit before Arnie, and Earl shook my hand (very gently).


 (not PK copyrite)

Earl Maynard played the baddie in a few Hollywood movies but he had the gentlest handshake imaginable

My dad had me show him my six pack and Earl said keep it up, which of course being a 15 year old I didn’t and a bloke called Schwartzennegori or somting took my place on the podium.I gave up too soon. In 1981 I gave up playing football in teams cos I thought I wer too old. Twenty years later I started again as a ‘veteran’ and scrolled lots of goals. It’s a bit like riding a bike. I obviously hadn’t scored my fill so ‘they’ made me score a few more. In both 65 and 81 I hadn’t cottoned on to the Dalai Lama’s mantra, ‘Never give up’. I have cottoned on now so am not for giving up in a hurry.

Even so, my ‘art’ is about to take a volcanic shift, away from all this spirit stuff and back into my surreelroots, my Squidgerats. The Tibetans are masters of the strange world. Their images of demons and past buddhas etc are phenomenal.


a Tashi Lunpo ‘black hat’ dancer

In a way their ancient art, especially their costumes are what I aspire to.

I been tinkin about what it is that drives me to make ‘art’etc, why bother, why try at all in the face of a world so preoccupied with its own survival , the weather, the economy, the government’s incompetence on socially sensitive cut to the quick, I cannot afford to be an artist writer any more, or at all, or ever really. I’ve made vainglorious effort in the past 40 odd years now and I feel like Wm. Blake and Dhona must have felt, fairly disappointed.

Blake must have known for obvious reasons, his work was better than the likes of Reynolds and Gaysbrovva and he died in abject poverty. Altho he was greatly appreciated by some and was to have a massive influence from Samuel Palmer to Patti Smith, he was forgotten for a long time after his death. Dhona would have been gobsmacked when he met Buddha with the latter’s ideas being counter a lifetime of dedication to the life of a Brahmin who did not believe in any Enlightenment (the ‘no-need to return’) with its potential to step off the wheel of Samsara. Buddha’s idea humans can leave the eternal cycle of re-birth was revolutionary. When he said to Dhona, I am a Buddha now he was revealing a way to get off Samsara’s wheel. In the ‘poem’ below which I shall attempt to read on Saturday I am talking about that meeting:

Destination Dust

Dhona the Brahmin was a mendicant monk

Who asked Shakyamuni-Siddhartha-Gautama,

“Are you human or one from Gandharva

Or are you a god or maybe a Yaksa?”

“Brahmin everything that’s created passes,” he replied,

“Go peacefully to your destination,

Strive diligently Dhona, t’ward your transition,

Which is escape from Samsara’s wheel of Suffering*

In the dispute after Guatama’s passing away

Dhona did, intervening, say,

“The message of the Blessed Buddha is

Still peace and forbearance today.”

Thereby the leaders of Mallas’ Land

On whose soil Shakyamuni had died

Reluctantly released the relics

To be divided into eight different domains

Each claimant then built a monument

Which each in time turned to rust

Vindicating Buddha’s declaration that

Everything passes to ashes and dust

Up on the road near Montagnola

A Wandering Writer named Hesse heard the tale from a mendicant monk

Then he recounted the story to me and to you

In a book which he had named  ‘Siddhartha’

End/Chorus:  Shakyamuni saw the Light and

How we can escape Samsara ’s spinning wheel

Shakyamuni said, “The Light glows within each and all of us.

I Am a Buddha Brahmin, I Am a Buddha Now.”

Strangely, for us, he added that you can choose to step back on the wheel (merrygoround) in order to help other beings to get off it. Who in their right mind would want to do that? Personally I see Earth as some form of punishment for something, I know not what but this planet and our mortality seem so isolated. There’s planets out there we cannot reach or even hear beings on them. Unless the likes of Swedenborg and Paul Brunton are right in saying we can make contact thru spirit? In my dream of existence I hanker, I hanker for contact with the billions of planets out there. Gnostics may tell us that they are (the planets) ‘material’ and therefore created by the Demi-God and as such are secondary to spirit anyway. That’s a hard mouthful to swallow. Let’s try. I believe we are spirit and if we are and that spirit can ‘travel’, there must be places far beyond Earth to see. Now, we cannot see everything this Earth has to offer so why bother about the billions of other planets and their beings? I got enough to cope with here.

I withdraw my challenge, I retire, I am not playing any more. I shall do my ‘talk’ then that’s the lot tot. I want to be a mendicant monk but I would reclude. (Can we do that? Is it a word?). I do not need to go to any more galleries nor shows. I have accumulated enough stuff which I shall spend the rest of my days sifting and sorting. I was not hankering for fame and fortune but my 40 odd years has not impacted on the bigger picture. You won’t find reference to my work in any books, except my own publications. The galleries perpetually ignore me, everywhere laughs when I ask them to take my work on board. They have catatonic fits when I suggest they buy my works, or even stock them in their retail outlets. However, my apparent injustices pale into oblivion against those inflicted on Tibet, the Chinese yoke crushing them for 60 years and the Chinese leaders say we cannot talk about that!

All of the following words are adapted from Sogyal Rinpoche’s wonderful book The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying with slight alterations.

65 years after the Chinese invasion of Tibet the world is ignorant of what happened:

The terror, destruction, and systematic genocide the Tibetan people have endured. One sixth of its 6 million population have been murdered by the Chinese. Vast forest has been cut down, its wildlife massacred, rivers polluted by nuclear waste, 6500 monasteries lie gutted and destroyed. Tibet’s people face extinction and the glory of their culture in their homeland has been entirely obliterated. From the 1950’s on atrocities  have been committed with spiritual masters and nuns as prime targets. In Kham province the Chinese said they were going to ‘punish’ (torture & kill) an old khenpo(abbot) and sent a detachment of soldiers to his hermitage to arrest him. They began to bring him down on a mangy old horse. As they descended he began to sing. Shortly before arriving at the army camp he stopped singing, closed his eyes and the party continued in silence. In fact he had quietly passed away. What gave him his fearlessness and the joy to sing? Maybe his song was like this, written as a last testament by a 14th century monk:

The Immaculate radiance

…my compassionate lord Padma-samba-hava

Draws me on to join him

My delight in death is far greater than

That of traders making vast fortunes

Or those who vaunt their victories in battle

Or sages who have entered their rapturous absorption

As a traveller who sets out when it is time to go

I shall not remain in this world any longer

But go to dwell in the deathless bliss

The Grand Luminosity is dawning

This life’s show is finished

My karma is exhausted

All worldly things are done with

I am an aimless beggar

Who is going to die as he likes

In an instant I shall recognise the Essence of Being

Sorry, to hear the rest of this poem you will need to come on Saturday. I am going to be talking about that in my talk along with approaching ideas on how to cope with our own mortality. (Do you still wish to come?) Actually you are going to laugh when I tell you there will be lots of laughter at my talk!

And to end this preparation for my talk. I asked myself today, Why? Why bovva Pete, why do you want to perform? You could blame or thank the Tashi Lunpo ‘black hat’ dancers! I was so inspired by their work I wanted to do performances with masks more. Oh yes, I shall utilise masks on Saturday, not necessarily wear them, but they’ll be about. And I have used masks previously, in some quite successful ‘performances’ here’s some pics.


mask from the First Apulhed Mask-In 1973


Squidgerat mask from The First Squidgerat Show, Brentwood Theatre in the 1990’s


Gurdzhiev mask from the Six mystics and One Self show Colchester 2013

First the Sound of Silence (part 1) then A Bridge Over Troubled Water (part 2)

Silly stupid me I just went into my blart from yesterday and found one of the reasons nobody came to my ‘talk’ yesterday.

notice? In one fell swoop I undid all the work I did advertising the ‘talk’, I somehow put 2nd Feb instead of 8th. There’s plenty of other reasons for the demise but that is beyond belief, the incompetence of it.

So after 3 blarts about it with the correct date on the flyer which I also distributed in card copies, 200 of em (which cost me 30 quid), at precisely 3pm yesterday the venue was deserted.


the room was ready but void of folks

I been a miner for a heart of gold long time now but to quote the words of a 15th century lama quoted by Sogyal Rinpoche’s wonderful book The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying with slight alterations:

Do not feel sad for me

The riches found in myself have made the minds of others happy

These are the words of my heart

So, my reaction to finding myself alone was, well stoic is not the right word, neither is forlorn. I don’t do it for Lorna. Strangely I didn’t mind after the initial pang of feeling deserted. The sound of silence should have been a clue as I have heard it before, before the abortive show at Rheingolds in London, my only ever London gig. Nobody came then either, so I packed away the props and jumped into Merrijeff’s car, he drove us back to Essex I got home about 3 am and still went to my dayjob next day cos that is what you do. But I learned from (not) doing that show. Recently I have twice seen internationally acclaimed speakers talking to an audience of less than 10 at First Site. See:


I was stoical when I spoke to them, trying to alleviate their pain, but they at least were being paid. And now it was my turn. At precisely 3pm I told myself the show will go on, break a leg. You have to perform even to an audience of one and here I was standing in front of/between None. I had attained my nirvana, earlier than I thought, in circumstance unexpected, I thought I had a massive loyal fan base, I had reached the void. So I began to rehearse, next week I shall get the date and time correct, it’s 4pm Saturday 15th February be there or be square. In fact there’s another international talk at First Site at 2pm so I shall go to that with the other 9 folk and I shall direct them to my gig straight afterwards, no excuses accepted.

Then at 15.12 hrs two people walked down the stairs and I could see they were coming to my show. Maybe we are not alone? Maybe my guardian angels are watching over me? They agreed I should begin again so I did and we all enjoyed the show. And Alex took some incredible photos of me in all my silly hats. I’m singing a happy song and I’m feeling on top of the world.

pete clot capside

best from Ugly Head Ole Man

This is me in the hat I wore to read the ‘Beuys poem’

well my Celtic name may be Ugly-Head, but I was not aware I look like my name now

(see my blart later this week for more explanation)

Where do I go from here? Well, ‘Next time’, Sarah said, (she was busy selling (not my) books upstairs), ‘bring a smaller cd player’ and I may.

Let’s take a look at my priorities, rightly or wrongly, in life.

I’ve spent a dis-proportionate amount of my income on books & art over the past 40 years. If we count hours on the job as collateral I should be a millionaire by now. My mother Jenny, bless her big now absent heart, once (1972) sent me £20 to buy essentials during my 4th year at college doing B/Ed in Exeter. By then I had already mis-managed my ‘education’ several times but I was rectifying my mistakes, or so I believed. Working my socks off to prove to ‘them’ I was the real McCoy. I had ditched my 3 favourite things in order to concentrate on my studies. I had sent my girl away saying I did not have time for fripperies like women, I ceased playing football altho on the cusp of breaking into the St. Luke’s 2nd XI after starting off in the 6th XI and I had ceased to drink beer, all things I was to eventually re-instate but my reward ‘on paper’ was negligible. I did in fact earn a 1st, that is, I gained a very high grade from the internal markers and the two externals both up-graded my efforts considerably. However. I was awarded a 2nd. My philosophy tutor Bill, a man identical in character & traits to the tutor played by Michael Caine in Educating Rita, bless his Brummie soul, tried without success to tell me why that occurred. He did tell my dad over a pint (not to tell me tho, tho he did in fact tell me too) that people were getting PhDs with the likes of what I was churning out.

It took me 40 years to find out why! I found out. My old pal IEPW let it slip in a conversation that they couldn’t allow him to have a first as his was technically a re-sit. There we have it, after 40 yearns of not knowing nor comprehending why. Technically my degree was a re-take. On entry to the college in 1969 I was eligible to go straight into the new B/Ed as a 3 years course but there were so many prats allocated to teaching it, (for public school numbskulls who couldn’t get into the staff at Oxbridge, second base was St Lukes) , I withdrew. I couldn’t hack prats, not then not now not ever, I did have a penchant for tupping them, so it was a safer route to withdraw. And there is the rub, when I re-embarked, having to do an extra year for my sins, technically I was entering as a re-sit. Nobody made that clear, or if they did I wasn’t listening, I just wanted to show them I was good. I dived into an 18 hour day 24/7 abandoning all previous pleasures and totally dedicating to the study and output required in ‘art’. Luckily I also invented Apulhed then but that was in the early hours after my college work was done. I did a similar ting a couple of years ago and once again fell short of the mark, even tho again the external apparently made positive remarks about my work. I only ever got silver when really I was a miner for a pot of gold.

I wasn’t even allowed to play for the 1st XI at school because I tupped ( and what’s wrong with a little tup between sworn enemies?) the future captain in year 11 during a hard fought house match between my team Brun (believe me it was my team, I used to rally the players during the week and if they didn’t wish to play they had to see me, and you know what I (used to) do to prats who couldn’t be arsed to turn out for the house, don’t you, well, what’s wrong wid a gentle tump in yer face?) and his, Ribblesdale. Or maybe I have to admit 48 years later that I really wasn’t good enough, although the facts dispute that idea, look at the record, 2 years on the trot in the 2nd XI I wer top scorer. No, my face didn’t fit with the head of chemistry who selected the team, with Brawn of the broken…pride, well he shouldn’t have run at me with intent after I clipped his ankle. I suffered for that in me Karma, took me 40 years to realise it was they that missed out.

Anyway, I spent that money mum sent on…Studio International subscription, even tho I couldn’t afford to feed mysen, I’ve still gorrem all, worth a mint now (not). They say it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the way you play the game. And what you learn from the experience. I shophose I shudda learned that life is not fair, but , man hears only what he wants to hear, paul simon said that, but he probli nicked it.

So in part 2 I shall put the rest to rights and tell you a bit more about my show yesterday and its prospective follow up next Saturday, gerrit right Pete, 15th Feb at 4pm, that’s 16.00 hrs, just after all ten of ye comes out of First Site. Let me know this time if you intend to be there. Break the silence.

Also those (you 2 stars) who turned up for the reading having only had untold hints from my person and my blog as to what to expect. I hope you get something from it worthy of remembrance.

I am grateful to Sogyal Rinpoche’s writing which I have adapted a poem from.

There is little way of knowing that what he says about the fate of those left in Tibet has been, there is no way that I know to assess

how many have died and or been stripped of their dignity and freedoms. The Maoist Chinese knew full well that to completely destroy a people you must obliterate its culture and this they have done apparently in Tibet. However, Tibetans are a practical lot and they have voted with their feet over the past 60 years and by doing so they have re-built their cultural heritage all over the world. What was once a secret country, before the British punctured that, is now much more open to the world as far as the Dalai Lama  and his people in Dharamsala are concerned.

I just realised, We rarely if ever hear about Amnesty International making the rounds in Tibet! Do they? I don’t know.

This ‘reading’ is not intended to be an awareness raiser for the plight of Tibetans. BUT I have gotten so much from their work for my life, and death, that I am allowing the issues or rather the mis-uses to become more apparent.

I have written an article, due out in The Blue Notebook in April, which talks of how seeing Lucy Lippard talk has prompted me to get on my soap box and support things I believe in. And I believe in Tibetan Buddhism. It inspires me greatly. So I thought I should put my money where my mouth is. Although, I don’t have money. So I shall do all I can to promote the Tibetan cause through my art, my blart and my books and tings.

Other tings which have influenced and inspired me are of course the other five ‘mystics’ who are in my ‘poems’. The Nag Hammadi Library  and lots of books written around its contents, some of which I bought in Red Lion bookshop, like Elaine Pagels.

Joanna Drucker’s books have been inspirational in informing me about the Alphabet.The British Museum and Library. Some rock musicians like the Killers, Neil Young, Annie Lennox and Jan Garbarek. And thanks to all my blog ‘follows’ folk. i am adding a contac form cos, cos lots of folk are now visiting ( The most popular tings I blagger on about are; exhibitions, artist’s books & Buuddiist idees. And it’s great to see folk coming on board who may never meet me or see my work in the flesh. But if you live near Colchester, it’s on display, well some of it is, come and see it. You are coming in from the USA, Antip o’ideas, Slovenia and even frum Brunlea. But not many of yez make any observations and i would like to know (to an extent) who is coming into my parley and (maybe) some feedback like, how I may make it better? would you like me to cover any other ‘stuff’? is there anyting I do what I have not given enough insite into? and any other issues. Finally, IF you are wending yor way to my ‘talk’ this coming Saturday, let me know somehow, so I can get more nervous as the numbers hit the …sky. Bye Bye Blackbird

look at me in my Oirisht hat

There will be…laughter.


Some of my banners in the Red Lion Basement.

If you intend to come to the show at 3pm  Saturday, 2nd feb (tomorrie)

bring a camera an flash a lot

I can’t stand all these places where they ban photos etc

Well I been writing all these poems

Each and every day

For myself poetry is a play with words, emotions, memories & ‘tuning’ ins.

here’s another one i wrote:

There will be…laughter.

(But not m/any seats at the reading today, it’s standing only, excep fer me of course, man o’ my age and all of that.)

It’s bin raining here all night long

But your pain will dissipate in that rain

I just awoke from another dream

Wherein a friend I knew

Back in 62

(1969 actually but two rhymes wit new!)*

A rugby player from York

Coming from Brunlea, (did you know that?)

I didn’t know where York’s shire was back then

They said it was acrosst the border

Where the heathen lay

And I didn’t kick a ball that shape anyway

I think his name was John

And he’d just been crouching down

When an egg shaped ball hit his back

You could see the mark of mud

I thought there will be blood

As I tried to explain

Why I hadn’t caught the wobberly ting on its long trajectory

He said he would give me a vasectomy

well he kicked it I pleaded

I couldn’t intercept its flight

And it looked like we were going to fight

Then we laughed amongst the serious

As I awoke I realised

I’ve laughed a lot in life

Despite the trouble and wife

But don’t you get delirious

Just because it rhymes

with serious

So you think they all should rhyme

Each and every time?

Whoever it was told you that

Must be some kind of prat

Talking of Take That

Their songs all rhymes

There’s no ecscaping that

But it doesn’t mean they’re any good

So mark my words if you can

Cos you’re never going to ghetto

Just one more cornetto

Outta me

Now don’t just stand there laughing

At my small enterprise

It’s not laughter I hanker

I just want the prize

For outsmarting that Yorkshire flanker

*reminds me of Zimmerman’s use of rhyme

26, 27, 28,29

‘Gonna make your face

Look just like mine’

He was mimicking Cassius Clay on one of his early albums

He went on to tell of an imaginary talk with JFK:

‘I said John

What do we need to make the country grow?

Brigit Bardot

Anita Ekberg

Country’ll grow’

Talking of poetsongsters, way way back in 1970 Neil Young’s After The Goldrush came out. I liked several tracks and his plaintive voice with simple arrangements. Below I am putting in a copy of his handwriting at the time, there’s hope for me yet! Mine looks positivelycalligraphic next to his, but I must admit him to be a better song-writer, singer, musician, performer, farmer, Canadian than I am. Tomorrow the words in this clip will play a part in my ‘talk’.

silver spaceships and seeds

‘I dreamed I saw the silver spaceships in the yellow haze of the sun’, he sang, well I can see the ships but, no sun !

Talking of space, listen to this lovely song from my late friend Jackie Leven whose song ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ sparked off my Clay Pot projec

I once asked John Atkins, one of Colchester and Norwich’s famous literary sons, how can I learn the rules? How can I learn what is acceptable in writing poems? He told me, ‘Nowadays Pete, anything goes. Look at the beats in America. And then there’s concrete poems.’

There’s a lovely quote from Kahil Gibran on Red Lion site this week:

‘Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.’ – Kahil Gibran, born on this day (6feb?) in 1883.

talking about prats in hats, don’t expec me to wear one like this today


but I just might

when talking about the lamas’ plight

and flight

with lotsa bite

The norm of the Artist’s Book is there is no norm in Artist’s Books.

As my new bookart exhibition opened on Monday in Colchester I was asked to try to define an artist’s book. An impossible task i think but I shall try to indicate some of the possibilities. the good news is that Peter Donaldson has agreed to let me do more than one ‘reading’, so the tousands of you who cannot make it this Saturday have at least one more opportunity, sorry about that.the time for the second ‘talk’, Saturday 15th Feb,  is going to be different, it’s at 4pm, so that I can attend a talk from 2-3pm at First Site about the Agnes Denes show there.


Nowadays people would have you believe an artist’s book is ‘like this’ or ‘like that’ or ‘like the other’ but no, it’s not ‘like’ any set thing. To some folk Artist’s Books are ‘craft’ and the preference is letterpress but really the field is wide. Open to development & interpretation still and that is why I love it so. Jayne Knowles did these beautiful jewellery like ‘books’ precisely because she was a jeweller-type. Miranda Campbell makes beautifully crafted leather bound books but also, for me even more beautiful, because so exceptionally different assemblage material sculptural ‘bookartobjects’. I made a book from six clay tablets in pothi form. Some books are like origami folds, some are BIG some are small many are not bound at all, just sheets, some in order some not, sometimes in boxes sometimes in folders. Some are scrolled, some folded over several times, some intricately bound in as many ways as can be imagined; perfect, Coptic, Japanese stab, blind Belgian, the list is as endless as the people are creative. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with a book traditionally bound in the age old way with folios, thread, tape, glue or no glue etc.

Artist’s Books are made from almost anything. John Doubleday has one made from a stop tap box with a figure in it, the box opens like a book to reveal a man revealing himself (but he could have been relieving himself, just as funny). This is a one off, what is called a unique object, as opposed to an edition. Editions come in any number from 2 to say 2,000 or 2 million. Some artists take pride in making every aspect of their artist’s book, the paper, card, covers, folios, stitching et al. some artist’s books are mostly photographs, like those produced by Andrew Roth and in David Jury’s Morocco with its Humphrey Spender photos and carefully placed typo.

Lots of artist’s books are made from unusual materials & objects.

The field is wide open. Still some people support the notion they have to hand printed; letter press, screenprint, etching etc, whilst others use the wider variety of photo-reproductive processes available nowadays.

There’s a wonderful book full of many differing artists books

It gives some indication of the many different styles out there but I feel is only the tip of the iceberg. It seems that Coptic is a very popular form for binding. See Anna Johnson’s one about bookworms and Anglo Saxon riddles.


I hope that helps explain a bit about what artist’s books might be.

My Red Lion Bookshop Basement BookArt Exhibition 2014.

In order to bring someting new to this 2nd show after completing the Masters i Am re-working my prose-poem into ‘six mystics’ songs’, making the complex words & ideas more rhythmic & singalong with sense & meaningfulness. I never writ no song before altho I have extemporised words and sung ‘em in my head. I’ve listened to thousands of songs thousands of times, mostly pop, Philip Glass is my favourite classical then maybe Tavener and Colin Lloyd Tucker is my favourite songster. These words are not like many songs, they’re impossible to sing and some even rhyme, Really weird for me!

I am using the same work, in a new setting with new bits like the hooks that hang the banners, which are someting to behold.


look at the hook!

Like so many of my shows the best part is never seen by most of the visitors who go round the standing exhibitions, in my case that’s usually only what is left after the (more important) launch. In this case a recitation at 3pm on Feb 8th. The ‘appearance’ (of the artist and friends) at my shows in Exeter, Burnley, Brentwood, Colchester Millennium and Masters and in Great Totham is usually a vital part of the whole kerbang. For this show I may do several appearances wherein I shall at least ‘recite’ the ‘songs’ and sign the books each Saturday if P. & S. allow me to. I think it’ll be fun to read the songs. Altho am still werking on the werds am ver pleased so far. I have taken the original prose-poem, which face it is very difficult for the reader mostly cos I condensed massive tracts down into a few words. The process to alter those werds has bin fascinating and shows what can be done by someone trying like watti am.

I often have werds images and movement in my shows, sometimes I use famous tunes and other times I’ve commissioned real musicians to create noises telling stories setting scenes and to dance to. Whilst wondering whether to use song in this show I went to the ‘Beyond El Dorado’ show at British Museum. I adore the catalogue as I feel such affinity to the pre-Columbian works. I saw faces with mouths wide open apparently in song. Singing & music was a vital to un-Europised (eyesed)  peoples, compare to Ancient Egypt, Assyria, Asia Minor. Gurdjeff recorded much music & dance fast becoming lost in his day. Zumba is popular right now (believe me) but it doesn’t hold a candle to Gurdjeff’s dances. I have been able to re-approach my prosepoem words after a period of gestation, now I just jest with them and without changing (much) the meaning of the words, in fact adding to in some cases, I have made them so much more accessible and funny in some cases.

I recall my revered art teacher from the 60’s, David Wild, a BIG man with a big beard reminiscent of Walt Whitman, a wonderful artist who used to sing quite elaborate song which, being into Led Zep, stones Doors string bands velvet undergrounds and bad mothers of inventions, I ignored.

Now 55 yearns after I realise what he were doing. A natural creative (you can see his drawings in Alan Aldridge’s beautiful compilation work of the Beatles Illustrated lyrics) spirit with a very big heart and he probably couldn’t stop himself, singing came naturally as it did with Blake & Whitman.

ImageWhitman as Apulhedman

I never saw Whitman singing in the river nor Blake in the streets and parks of London but I can see Whitman in Wild now. Everyting we do is recorded (somewhere) in Time. Why worry if some jerk is watching you from a hidden camera. I hope they see me sing my song.

I finished setting out the exhibition on Saturday and it looks good.


pot wid 2 scrolls,

you will have to visit the show to see the rest

A woman happened by on Friday, said she had felt a call to come and see. She told me her name and I said hey you are in one of my poems and we engaged conversation. She was fascinating and fascinated by the work, so much so she even bought someting. Told me her daughter had refused an internship offered by Banian Burst. Told me about a female mystic, Tess of Avila-ville,  who wrote ‘The Interior Castle’ pre-figuring Carl Gustav Jung.

I never sold a work prior to a show before, not often during nor even afterwards. So, a good start. And if it’s all that sells, so what? It’s a small triumph. And shop assistant Becki overheard our conversation mention Gurdjeff and she brought over an image of a painting her partner did of G., it is wonderful. Synchronicity Sings a Song fer me!.

and this is wonderful send off for an old man