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.