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

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