Talking about Originality & my Plaice in the Art Ocean, outside the Fold.

Hey, some really intelligent folk are enjoying my blartinon, which makes me enjoy it too. I tink maybe I should do dat ting and make it easy fer ya to contac me by email, there’s a ting yu can dae.

Talking about Scotland and original flair (in my case flare) which their players used to have in ’s bucket loods, their youth training in football has apparently improved after a slide backwards over the previous period of 30 years or more. In my day footballers had balls and they played on the streets when they were knee high to Jackie Charlton who also played on the streets wi’ his bro in Ashington where Jackie Milburn had played before the Second World War. In fact my cousin Richard played on the island of grass on his hoosen estayat in Mooorpet hinny, (tings had moved up from the streets by then), and Jackie Milburn came out in his, well he must have been in his 50s, ancient, hey watch it I played into my 50s.  We were, as a yoga friend said to me recently, street urchins. Who’s that bloke what likes chewing other players? Plays for Liverpool. Well he were a street kid too, that’s why they can’t contain him, they just cannot predict where he will go to. Me and Kenny, you could predict us, but you couldn’t stop us. We would approach you on the right, lean to the right, then stoop left and leave you standing me and Kenny would, and of course Jimmy Mac the Burnley wizard. He wer better than Kenny, and me. Anyway Scotland, where me and Ken hail frae. They just wernt producing no more Kenny Dalgliesh magic not never. Watch that space cos tings are changing. I wer listening to Neil Warnock talk about the recent development of Scottish Youth football from the bottom of the pit with kids having all the original flair kicked out of them to fit into the limited vision of the game’s bosses. Warnock praised the Scottish FA for its vast recent improvements and I saw some similarities with ‘Art’.

The demise of the arteducationworld because of their reliance on ‘sameness’, started sadly for me, with the moves in the late 1960’s to ensure ‘standards’. They began to make GCE ‘O’ level a must have, several if possible. So an artist like Alan Aldridge, who had a major influence on graphic art, and they say John Bratby too, would not have gained entry to art college had the new rules been in place earlier. Since then the entry requirements have continued to rise. Then of course there is the problem of adherence. Adherence to the state of the art of the day. Henry Moore became old fashioned, Caro was the big boy now. I remember going into Burnley art college about 1968 to see a full time student on a pre-dip course. He was busy taping up a canvas, ‘straight edge, the latest thing from  the States’ he informed me, altho I wer already informed. I read Studio International every week in the school library and was aware of all the stuff that was rising to the top…I had visited the Tate and seen the real thing and had decided I wer not going to follow no American school, I wer sticking to my own guns. Which at that time were loaded by Matisse’s late collages, and the work of the Fauves on one hand with Scarfe and Dudley D Watkins on the other. I also stayed in David Wild’s ‘life’ classes to learn how to paint those darned nude women. (David had more pages in Alan Aldridge’s second Beatles Illustrated book than any other artist BUT he chose to stay in or near Burnley not London and consequently was left standing in a field with his paint brush in his mouth.) I had to plough my own furrow, which I did despite my finding myself far out in deserted fields outside the fold like David did. Richard Morphet, once Curator for Modern Art at Tate (before the BIG Tate wer begun, said my work wer very ‘German’ I asked him to purchase some, he wouldn’t, I offered to give him some, they wouldn’t. It’s to do with validating, they can’t accept a gift in case you use that acceptance as validation and/or ‘endorsement’. I once had a lovely letter from Nicholas Serota when I moved up to him about ten years after asking RM, he said in the letter that they wer interested in principal in having some of my art and in some legal jargon warned me not to tell anyone. Then he passed me down to his deputy and I wer passed down and down and then the janitor had to take responsibility to say they wer not interested. In fact it wer the flea on the janitor what said no, go away, don’t darken this door no more. I tink it wer the same janitor as the one in the Hollies song in the 60s? Did you know the drummer wer from Burnley?

Then I took the flea out of my ear and I aksed it, are you related to that flea the spirit of which Bill Blake once did a skinny little picture of? And the flea said, I cannot answer that query you furry fairy gotpater for fear of discriminating and you know what that means! I said yes and went to seek out Blake to arsk im misen.

It wer a bit of a mystery to me why RM had likened my werk to ‘German artists’ until earlier in March 2014 I popped up to the exhibition in The Britischt Museo featuring graphics by the likes of Baselitz and there I saw images almost identical to some works I did in the 80’s, which RM never saw. I knew Baselitz’ style was close to mine only he did his onto canvas upside down, identical technique to some of my works, but the difference wer, he wer German and his work cost more. I discovered my images wer also uncannily like some of Pencks too.


sketch from Apul-One 1975

But really, my track record doesn’t fit the bill. I didn’t transit thru all the correct channels, the right colleges for Diplomas in art (later degrees) and then RA, RCA, Slade etc for post graduate. I thought that just living a life and dedicating to ‘art’ wer enough, silly me. Best I can be considered is ‘self-taught’, ‘outsider’ naïf, art brut, a blaggerartis. My perpetual strive to be good, to master, say, the art of portraits in oils, were hard earned and more than once my work was compared not just to German Germans but to British Germans like Auerbach. There was a reason, we had the self-same influences, not that I copied him. His tutor was Bomberg, one of my heroes, I met his sister, surely that makes me ‘good’? Bomberg’s hero was a man called Haagensen, I knew  Haagensen’s widow until she died at 95, surely that makes me good? Rembrandt was another joint hero and so wer Soutine probably. Neither of them went to the blue ribbon British colleges but both of em did ok, Soutine even has a statue near on on the Paris railway stations.

No I didn’t wish to go thru the sausage machinations like young footballers did in Britain, all churned out with the same predictable style or stamp. I ate drank and slept art but the keepers of the galleries didn’t appreciate the sacrifices nor my accomplishments which wer hard to acquire, to them I wer just another sosige, an they dint like home grown organic sosiges. Wat kant spel.


I am not knocking art education out of hand as there has been a boom since 1945 and this country produces a high number of talented artist in many fields. But I am knocking the closed doors of the art market. Many if not most of my own influences came from across the waters east and west. My modern influences are mostly European and American, not British, and that went for the written word as well as the visual world.

Let me look at some; Arshile Gorky, Hundertwasser, Alan Davie & George Condo have all inspired me lots. Altho I have developed my own vision I see stuff in their work wat I aspire to. It’s not to do wit copying, plagiarising nor appropriation. It is to do with feel, difference, specialness. Applying method, techniques, skill acquisition to my own body of werk.

Gorky was influenced by Picasso (who wasn’t?) & Cezanne. Hundertwasser was influenced by Klimpt & Schiele. Davie by Van Gogh and Australian and other aboriginals. Condo just takes the p out of everyone, mimicking and making everyone outrageously ugly. I am influenced by everything I see. Which helps me to introduce my Squidgerats. They are amalgam. They amalgamate everything from my life; visual, historical, psychological, experiential and everything that has happened to me and the world I inhabit. In them I can do portraits, landscapes, still life, all in one go. I can extemporise imageslike a jazz player does notes. My colours, where I use them, can be apparently random but in fact after a lifetime of looking at art my colour sense is quite well developed. I do however choose to use colours that clash, see the banners I did in previous blarts with words on about the six mystics. Eventually I shall do a glossary with as many of my squidgerats sketches in as I can, there’s hundreds so that’ll take time. I hope to produce two squidgerat artist’s books within the next year. They are beautiful, formidable, obsessional. (note in those 3 werds there are three differing ways to ‘say’ the ‘l’ sound, ‘ull’).

Obsessed I is wit changing tings, re-arranging tings, re-phrasing tings. And my squidgerats do all of those tings with visual ‘reality’, they take the tings which hit my eyes then brain and re-present them in apparently impossible combinations.they are my Dante, my Blake, and my Patchen, in effect they are my originals, my life works. Everything else is merely support material, experiments, trials, learnings etc.

Now I understand why I feel I was driven.

all images & werds (c) pete kennedy 2014ImageIllus Yellow faced ww1 man

 I was able to go to Colchester’s Headgate Theatre on Friday night to see a play called The Accrington Pals. It was very well acted and brought back my own memories of the folk I met in my life who had fought in one of the two world wars. The area in Lancashire where I spent all of my schooldays was particularly badly hit as a consequence of the war. They were grouped together in what was named the Accrington Pals Battalion, (although I know from a Burnley man, who entered as a sergeant was sent to Egypt, Gallipoli then the Somme and survived to be demobbed as a lieutenant in 1919, that Burnley folk felt it demeaning to be grouped under the name). It was probably named Accrington as that is closer to the front of the alphabet, one of millions of bureaucratic stupidities. ‘Pal’ is the name we call our friends up north, “O’ reight pal ‘. Although the cast made valiant efforts at doing the ‘northern accents’ they didn’t stand a chance. The colloquial pronunciation I was lucky to hear in my youth either from the then OAPs who still lived there, or their grand-childers who would respectfully mimic them to maintain the wonderful sounds are very rarely heard anywhere today, a dying tongue, altho the accents around the area still are ‘northern’ and distinctive to each area. Oddly, the Burnley accent is much closer in sound to the Halifax one acrosst the border in sunny Yorkshire, and is very dissimilar to that of Blackburn and nay, dare I say, Accrington. Burnley folk do indeed hail from different settlers of old (owd) but here is not the place to ‘gu inta thet’.

Now I feel I understand the passion that drove me on through thick & thin to be the man I was to become, became, I Am.


and the surrounding towns saw the brunt of World War One with most of their youth slaughtered, or left bereft of brothers, lovers, husbands, fathers. Annihilated by the incompetence of the generals and the blindness of the political morons who manoeuvred the Brits into the mayhem and used the population’s (mostly) men (from all around the ‘Empire’) as if they were like subuteo players, only this was no game but it was a deadly reality!

Ironically they say that some of the ‘pals’ did indeed break thru the machine guns on the first day of the Somme, but on arrival they were leaderless and had no instructions on what to do next. They probably were killed when the Germans re-grouped once they realised the incompetence of the planners. (Didn’t history repeat with the invasion of Iraq that Tony Blair and Blackburner Jack Straw sent the Brits into? Yes, it repeated in at least 2 ways. It wer also a local politician, the mayor of Accrington apparently, whose idea it wer to put together the Accy pals battalion and secondly, the Yanks and Brits (?) had no follow up plan once they had so successfully ‘invaded’ Iraq, and we know the consequences of that, wasn’t that also another 5 year debacle, or was it 10? Nothing changes does it?)

I watched the documentary last Tuesday named, “

This documentary shewed the horrific length men go to to kill each other. The fading and incompetent Austro-Hungarian Empire,( whom the Germans said were akin to a corpse shackled to their backs), held the high ground in the Alps and when the Italians chose to fight against them both sides seem to have used similar tactics to those in the trenches of France etc only their dig was into mountains! They created tunnels and runways in the mountains and fought a war vertically! Beggars belief. The above documentary came on air minutes after I had seen news that Putin had ordered a take-over of Crimea, it seems nothing changes. I had a nightmare that night for sure.

The documentary gave me the most incredible insight into that horrendous passage of near universal conflict but from the East of Germany where the ‘Germanic (Tuetonic)’ peoples took on their hated enemies the ‘Slavs’. It shewed me once and for all Britain really did have no need to enter the fray as it was Germany’s desire to deal with past hatreds in the east which drove their war machine. Although Britain’s entry into it would have seemed to the Germans an unnecessary intervention they had been developing a vastly superior approach to ground based war and it concomitant need for digging in deeply, so deeply that the British bombardments before the Somme were almost useless as the Germans were so well bunkered in they just waited for it to stop, thus they knew exactly when the charge would begin, then they came out from hiding an proceeded to slaughter thousands of ill-trained badly led Brits. Even the French fared better in that battle as they were able to radio their battery of big guns and give precise locations of the deadly machine gun posts and then these were hit directly, allowing the French to live and make more successful attacks and to die another day. The Brits had no such communication and allowed tens of thousands to run on to the machine gun fire. In 1961 my great uncle Ned who fought for the Bedlington terriers (not) told me that when he turned to tell his primary school friend the bloke on his right had copped it, his mate was dead too.

neds gang

that’s me great uncle ned from Bedlington with my little sister on his knee back in 1963

Actually 61, but that don’t rhyme wit knee

And our parents of our generation, we wat wer 50’s born, were drafted into the forces to do it all over again, this time with the japs thrown in too. My dad wer in the  Air Sea Rescue, his bro and Roy’s dad wer in Burma feightin Japs and Dunc’s dad wer taken when he was part of the rear-guard at Dunkirk in 1940 into slavery in a stalag in Poland for the duration. You may say ‘slavery?’ well cutting rocks for the rest of the war seems like slave labour to me. I just heard today that of the 76 men who escaped in the Trojan horse tunnel the Germans executed 49. Dunc’s dad didn’t escape as such. He was force-marched westward as the Russians approached, then when they came too close, for some strange reason, their captors scarpered (?) leaving him and his ‘pals’ abandoned east of germany! As the late great Kevin Ayres said, ‘Nice guys, meet em everywhere’.

I am going to be doing limited edition artist’s books on the two world wars about the parts played by Burnley folk I knew, certainly by the anniversary of Somme.

My grandpa in his 40’s at the outbreak of hostilities was put in the Irish part in Brit army then felt he had to leave Eire for Wales after being injured. He was blinded in one eye fighting in the trenches but the army said it wer nowt to do wit the war so he got no damages even tho he spent time in Bristol hospital in 1918.

By the time we arrived in Burnley in 1953 it was a microcosm of the whole of GB with its Irish Catholics and its Protestants. There was rivalry, sometimes fights but, thanks be, not the bombs and sectarian killings. But it was ‘hard’ in Burnley and you had to shape up or make yourself scarce and I learned the hard way, to shape up. So I came out (of Burnley) into the bigger (or smaller-minded?) world punching, weaving and dodging my way to the…bottom? To find there are some good folk down there, salt of the Earth, my background made me able to talk with most everybody from most walks of life and more importantly, to learn from what I found.

Luckily the powers that be did not join the yanks in Vietnam so I weren’t conscripted or I may not be sitting writing this now with the same mindset (and am a little old fer it now, altho, you never know, they may change the rules for the next bout). I never went to war but i was taught by veterans from both, 14-18 & 39-45 ‘conflicts’ (cos that’s what they call war now so we don’t ‘get’ that it’s really a war). Meeting and rubbing shoulders, indeed supping a pint or two, with ‘vets’ made me who i was. Their legacy was loud & clear and it drove me to strive to be different. Am still striving.

So to this week’s gallery visits? I went up to the big smoke and saw the Beyond El Dorado show at BritMuseum. Full of wonder. And even better cos I had read the catalogue, not cos it informed me, no but cos it shewed me the artefacts in full colour only to my great delight the actual ones were smaller than those illustrations. Almost tiny etc …

Previously I popped into the Swedenborg society to try persuade them to stock my book ‘G Batch’ and was persuaded by Richard Lines to buy a copy of ‘The Arms Of Morpheus’ which I couldn’t really afford but my gullibility and thirst for knowledge over-ruled my wife’s order NOT to buy any more damn books (don’t you go tell her now). It wer worth it when I read Richard’s article on Madame Guyon which gave me the best explanation yet of Wm. Blake’s parents influence on his tinking. Etc

Then finally I popped into the Baselitz bit in BM but I shall go on about all o that in my next blart. Time has run out and I want to post this blag now.

ps I have been told of this song by Mike Harding about the Accrington pals since I blarted yesterday so I am adding it to the post

You would find some of the comments made on utube by folk who listened to the son. In fact another ting which has had a major influence on my approach to life was when, as a kid of about 10 years old, I used to go into St Catherine’s (high) church on my own and I was fascinated by the paintings around the walls of the stations of the cross. I think I said to myself there and then that one day i should do art as good as them. Am still striving.

In the book I am planning to pay tribute to those who fought, on all sides, I intend to use an etching by a German artist. They suffered a bit as well and were led by men just as stupid as the Brits. Then it got worse and my dad, his brother, Roy’s dad and Duncan’s dad had to go and sort it out. The fact they survived is one reason I am typing this.

Ironically, some of my favourite artists are Japanese and German. But I shall leave those until another blart.


A visit to the second Hadleigh artist book show 15th March 2014

OK so I drove over to the second Hadleigh artist book show because Wendy Allen was doing a table and I wanted to catch up with some friends I have made over there in the last couple of years. I was going to make a whistle stop visit and out and back ‘ome so I could go to a new show at Sculpt gallery.

But I got hooked again and stayed all day talking with old friends, well not so old I only met most of em in the last 2 years.

First person I set eyes on was Chris Ruston. I really love the work she does it’s fantabulous. She does these books full of exquisite monoprints. To say that in no way can do justice to their beauty. She uses very thin paper and I would call it decalcomania plus frottage, both techniques introduced by Maxt Ernst when he declared easel painting with brushes to be dead. What Chris does beggars belief. Some of the best Artist’s Book work I have so far seen, and I seen quite a lot now. Funny ting is she was pegged back to 3rd place by two book-makers from the same Hadleigh stable in a national competition!

It was wonderful to find that Gwen Simpson was adjudged First place after the trouble she encountered on an MA course which has really upset her. To see her given such credence is wonderful. Second place went to Karen Apps (?), I tink. All 3 did wonderful work which thoroughly deserved acclamation but I wonder about all the others who entered the competition, they must have cried ‘FIX’, altho, of course, it weren’t! you can see their work at their site


Windy’s bream beaver buk

But that’s not the only reason I loved it. As I toured the tables I kept seeing such high standards. It’s not my intent to cover every exhibitor, this is just a flashing blart, not one of my long drawn out incredibly deep ones.

Wendy Allen had bravely decided to go on her own when all of her fellow book-makers from the Colchester based group Gambit, still recoiling from being turned over by a turned page lot, all weepy, decided not to go to Hadleigh so Wendy was left high noon and dry, the nasty bandits, I can say that cos I was one of them, the one with the mask on the horse called Hopalot. Sorry Wendy. In fact it was a plan to give you the opportunity to shine which your work surely did. I even bought one of the bream-catcher (that’s dream-catcher actually) books Wendy did.

She does these lovely little tings, in small editions, very understated calm and full of thought. She said she had had a great day meeting folk, talking about her work to visitors and learning.

So, learning. The best ting about NOT exhibiting was that I could walk around at will and just meet folk. I looked at a book made to mimic a wallpaper samples book by Barbara Brown. She had screen-printed images of her family from grandparents to grandchilders using repeat images. Then, at the foot of each page she had placed a strip of repeat images generated on photoshop of individual members of her clan. We had a discussion about one particular image which worked well and had become the visitors’ favourite. We said it is often not predictable which of our works will become popular and the ones that do are often a surprise to us.

Next table was Sandie ‘Artysan’ Cottee with her able help Pauline Davidson who allowed me to make a little book. Sandie uses rubber stamps and photos in her books and has two machines which enable her to pierce holes to ring spiral bind her books, a skill I shall investigate as some of my work uses ring binds. She also puts lots of insertions into her spines and maybe some bits of beads and other dangles. Simply by adding accoutrements to your book you are altering the concept of what is book, changing the notion of a book from a penguin paperback to ‘something else’. At hadleigh several artists use the altered book idea extremely well and I overheard Gwen Simpson mention Tom Phillip’s Hummemento (I specialise in altered werds as yu gnow!). Phillips has a great track record in artist’s books and I feel sure one of his inspirators is also one of mine since I saw his books in the Hayward show of 1973, Dieter Roth.

Rot inspired me in 1973 when I saw his screenprints at the Hayward which were my main interest as I wer doing screenprints at the time in my art course. I have always believed it best to change your prints with each pull, I never ever wished to create a whole series/edition with identical prints as is the ‘norm’. Rot did this too so in him I thought I had found  a soul mate, which indeed I had and he wer much closer to me than I thought , this becoming apparent 40 years later. I had seen his self-published books at the show and on seeing them, a couple o ears later, I thought, well he did his own ting so will I and I brought out Apul-One. Now apulone has changed spellings in it as I wer writing in shorthand (mine) for speed of gerrin werds down and also cos I cum frae Lancashire born in Scotland so my spelling reflected those roots. What I never realised, cos as a student I couldn’t afford to buy his buks and I still cannot buy those 70’s ones as they are astronomical now, he also used changed spelling when he wrote in Engerlisht, not cos he wer german but cos he chose to. So we were twins and I dint kno. Also, he wer a good looking guy in his 20’s and he became a ugly bloke, which is summat I have found we all have to put up with. But seriously, he did have real trouble coming to terms with those changes, booze helped him cope, the main difference is, I don’t any longer do booze, and my good looks are returning (not). Also, as brad Freeman pointed out, neither Roth nor Ruscha were the first to do artist books, altho I would argue the former was the biggest influence on altered books, and prints, in the modern era. An obvious pre-cedent was Willaim Blake who not only printed some of his books as one offs, to order, he would colour them differently, or at least his wife did. F H Haagensen is another printer who often changed his images as he worked an edition. And then there is me.

back to Hadleigh with the beautiful porcelain books of Margaret Cooter. I didn’t see her wonderful ‘book’ on a banner on the wall behind her until I had spoken long time with her and accepted her invitation to handle the light pottery ‘books’ she has made. One had some spirals on and some strange marks which I likened to bookworm and she seemed very pleased with my reference to the holy ones. She has a blog at which I must admit I’ve yet to visit but look forward to. When my eyes alighted on her banner ting I loved it. She has taken cutting from mostly the Grundiag in long strips folded over so they are stronger then stitched on a backing sheet to make this long wall hanging which I loved.

Finally, cos am in a hurry to see the last days of the ‘Beyond El Dorado’ at BM, I came to the table of the mother & daughter team called Swains. Lola’s workis a lovely form of prints of tings like lapwings to accompany words from her husband’s poems. I loved her marblellous covers on her small sketch books. Louise, the youngest of the clan on show, has re-typed a story by Poe and highlighted certain words then bound it in traditional style, rather well. She also does collage type images with cut and pasted werds, lovely stuff. Bye for noo.

D H Lawrence and my dreams (part 2).

On the night of 2.3.14 I dreamt one of those ‘back at school’ nightmarish dreams, which for me as an ex-teacher are twice as bad. A 63 years old schoolboy taking GCE/GCSE. I was supposed to paint a portrait which I was very confident of doing but dream-time circumstances conspired to make it difficult with all manner of tings ganging up to prevent me exhibiting my prowess. Weird. A smarmy man (similar to one I knew when I worked as a teacher and to Master Cameroon PM) offered me ‘help’ but I suspected it came with strings attached. Then, when I awoke, I needed a pee. OF COURSE dreams seem to occur (at least in my case) when my belly is full, seemingly as a result of pressure on …well I don’t really know…cerebral cortex? (Cerebral codex, that’d be a good title for a book, oh shut it Pete you have plenty of titles, too many by half.) Surely someone out there has done research into the link between the bowel and dream instigation? I am aware that ‘they’ (the scientists, whoever they are hmph) say that the light people report seeing on returning from the brink of dying/near death experience (NDE) is ‘only’ a function of the brain closing down, chemicals doing what they do naturally as the system closes down resulting in these apparently miraculous visions. ‘They’ seem to be putting a dampener on the idea that when we die we move toward the light and in some cases of NDE the returnees say they see folk they have loved appear, maybe beckoning or just welcoming them. Tosh say the scientists, or at least they used to. My friend Sophia Psychiatrist says that a lot of thinking is at present going into the idea that the theories on the dying process coming out of ancient times in some cultures like Buddhism are being given a lot more credence. I do not know from research or even reading the results of research, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I still have a lot to learn. Whereas I can see the logic of there being no life (mind/spirit) once the body has ceased functioning and is clinically dead. Of course there would then be no operating machine, no route for thoughts to take from brain down cerebral cortex to operate parts like mouth and voice box, so it stands to reason the spirit has no operating system. The wonderful better than a computer mind has no speakers, no receivers, no transmitter, no fingers to type his blart any more etcetera so how can it live on in a ‘mind’ or ‘spirit’ form? That is reasonable but the universe/existence is not all reason-able. There is a lot to say it is run by chaos. William Blake called the god of the Jews and Christians Urizen (You Reason) and likened ‘his’ advocates, (apparently Blake thought Newton to be one), to the Gnostic demi-god, a god who was created by higher forces but who had created the physical realms (by mistake)> against this ‘REASON’ Blake had Imagination, or an intuitive creative process untrammelled by the prison of reason. Pirsig in ‘Zen & The Art Of Motor Cycle Maintenance’ talks of the romantic mode (primarily inspirational, feelings rather than facts predominate) and the classic mode (proceeds by reason & laws). ‘They’ talk about right and left hemisphere tinking. The right side is the creative one and the left side is the rational. The right hemisphere drives the left hand and the left hemisphere drives the right hand. Many ‘artists’ tend to use their left hand. Leonardo even used to write back to front. He was one of the rare specimens who seemed equally at home in both hemispheres so he designed helicopters and submarines whilst giving the Mona Lisa a Hitler moustache. Oops, no, that was Duchamp who exercised his right hemisphere by doing Dada actions and his left brain doing chess moves. Duchamp once said (lecture 1958), “To all appearances, the artist acts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time & Space, seeks his way out to a clearing.”

Buddhists talk of the Middle road, which in an ideal world I would traverse but sadly I am a romantic thinker. This is evident in my frequent forays into mis-spelling (breaking the code), my constant returning to making art with its subsequent financially poor outcomes. The ‘artist’ invariably needs an accountant. I do not make art as an accountant. I don’t assess the market for a gap, I do the tings I see fit at the time. These have often proven 20-40 years ahead of the field. Which usually does not put butter on the bread as the world is mostly conservative (wit a small ‘c’) or distrustful of innovation, unless of course it serves a purpose. I know someone who makes stained glass tings. Beautiful geometric patterns on hexagons. But nobody buys them. If they were made into cuboids and had a light fitted in then they would sell at stores like Harrods.


what do you tink about this then?

I took a sleep-break after the word ‘Harrods’ and guess what? I dreamt. I dreamt we were in a car between our home and Chompsferd on a hunt for our son. We had allowed nay encouraged him to go on a ‘walk’ in the hills which were snow covered but looked more like the hills around the Pennines than the hill at Danbury. He was only about 6 years old in my dream, he’s older than that in ‘reality’. He was stuck out there and we were making frantic efforts to reach him. All manner of obstacles were preventing it. (In fact he does need rescuing at present so it wasn’t such a stupid dream.) Another dream about being thwarted too. I do get to feeling thwarted in my waking hours. I often feel, ‘If only they would do this then I could do that’. But NO! No no no, don’t say no say YES, yes, I CAN. I was down the garden t’other day doing some totally stupid self-imposed task which most of the whole wide world would say, why on earth is he bothering to do that? When I had a moment of realisation. It’s not that important what you do, or what what you do’s seeming relevance is. Whilst I wer doing that ting I looked at the trees, I heard the cackle of the woodpecker, I soaked in the freak high temperature for mid-March. I was in fact relaxing from all them tasks which we (seem to) ‘have’ to do. I was in fact enjoying myself doing ‘nothing’ (nutting at all babe). I mean, I am 63 and retired, so I don’t have to do nuttin.Notwithstanding double negatives and returning to ‘reason’; do giant squid and blue whales reason? Of course they exist and they die and return to atoms as do hu-beings. Hey, maybe we call our type of creature hubeings, that’d get rid o the stupid gender issues, hey that may be the first great idea. Or, maybe ube-ins?

I’m not just an ugly face. This ting in me what drives the pen. Some of the action may be instinctive? I’m not sure putting words on page with a mark maker biro is instinctive? It is nurture not nature. Communicating maybe natural? But, inside my head, as well as tinitis, seems to live a tinking entity. The ego, the id in me is a Gurdjeffian Idiot.


(Did yu know that Kate Bush’s family were into the big G.?)

So this entity tells me you gotta do tings today. Go to Hadleigh book fair, send those books to the british Library archives, drink anudda gulp of that tea from that cup. It appears the Buddhists say that ispart of the monkey chatter, it’s also necessary for planning & directing this ube-in machine, put your clothes on have a wash, oops wrong order, that’s age fer ya. But, there comes a moment when all the monkey chatter stops, the heart stops, the blood don’t pump round no more. Dead to this world. Or not? NDE’s tell stories of floating above the dead body and watching grievers (or celebrators, ‘good the Idiot’s gone I can have his empire. What no money, only…writing and drawings. Spirit or no spirit a ubeing lives on in the works, this you being me, moi-meme, mySelf, I Am! And D H Lwarence lives on his work being one of my original inspirators, and that other Hopi admirer, Maxt Ernst, good ole Lop Lop himsen.

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

WOW, I saw today thet some inspired idjet in New Zeeland has visited this blart. I don’t know why but where is it? So I checked out which blart they had looked at and it is this one about me and my pants. I forget a lot of what I done. I re-read this and thort, well, I think it should be re-plugged. There is a massive amount of stuff going on ‘ere. I noticed a spell error, I called my unpublished tome ‘Shrewd Iriot’ but I like that so remind me when I re-do it to re-call it Iriot. Enjoy. Or squirm, it’s up to you.

apulhed tingling

I just got back from the Oxford book fair. It was good to see all the bookarts blokes and birds. I won’t bore yez with a blow bi blow report. Just that a handful of real nice folk said wonderful things about my work. Finance wise it was for me a dud as the cost of travel and stopovers far outreached the tenner I got in sales. But, it’s networking and learning I went to do and did. I saw Simon Brett  pick up a prize for the second show running. He reminds me of my old mate the late Steve Hezzlewood thought now by some to have been a genius of making those tiny soldiers for war games.  IF he hadn’t joined the police and IF he had just been the artist he should have been Steve would have done stuff like Simon. And Martin & Maureen at Extraordinary…

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D H Lawrence and my dreams (part 1).

Reaching out for ‘recognition’/back-patting is vainglorious. Just do whatever you do do well. Fact is- the ability to do anyting at all is an achievement.

No need to worry or fret, just do it. And if that reaches out to others fine. Stop chasing, calm down, have some cheese I told myself recently. I had been ‘doing’ too much, buzzing around like a blue assed fly. I forgot, I am way down the merry way and I need to rest awhile and better enjoy the view and the memories my journey has provoked. I have had a wonderful life. My endeavours did take me places & people where others didn’t get and I have chronicled the trip now the trick is to bring some order to the journal, Kennedy’s Chronicles or maybe The Despatches Of O’Dorke?


 there’s more to O’Dork than meets the eye


My new mantra is: ‘Pressure’s Off. Calm Doon. Relax & Enjoy It All’.

I believed I was one of my Nonogon Nomads (Nonogonomads), Knewt Hoboken Orion*, on a Silver Steed Surfin The Solar System.


But really I was ^Rhody O’Dorke, an Idiot abroad.

(*Symbolism in that name; Knewt=Scandinavian leader Knut & amphibian stage of evolutionary chain/water dragon. Hoboken= Wanderer, my surname- Kennedy the Hobo. Orion= the cosmos, Orion was a star /constellation which the ancient Egyptians focussed a ‘peephole’ from the great pyramid on, an African tribe knew of its existence long before the modern telescope.

^Rhody is the Irish version of my Grandad, Roger’s name, O’ is cos he’s Oirisht, Dork cos he’s an Idjet, but do not forget Gurdjeff & the Sufis believe the Idiot is the Wisest.)

Yet there is a Poet

Calling from the inside

Reminding me of

A young lad named

Maurice Saul

Mr and Mrs Saul had two sons

One of em called Maurice

He wer a proper Boris

T’other wer called Dennis

I don’t need to tell yer

Of course he wer a Menace

To keep a long story


I can see him now

Doing handstands down the steps

Sadly I remember his brother

Because of his untimely death

He had contracted two diseases

On a school trip to Spain

That they could ill afford

It wer the combination killed him

Mrs Saul was a sweet soul

Prima gravida I believe

She continued her life of grief

Still remaining very kind

Her husband sadly

Took it rather badly

And every night

Came home drunk in tears

I used to see him

From my bedroom window

As he staggered up the avenue

And looked up the steep incline of mud

In front of his missing son’s home

He would take a run

And half way up

Would stumble back to the start

Only to try again in vain

Beaten he would walk

The long way round

Up the steps

Along the pavement

Bless the souls

Of all the Sauls

I loved them all

And still do today.

Talking of my working class background methinks of D H Lawrence who hailed from a Nottingham colliery home. I am not so interested in whatever social & sexual taboos he may have impacted upon with his work, more on his travels and the places he chose to go to. In particular he went to live near to and observe the Hopi people whose artefacts I (and others like Maxt Ernst) have been fascinated with since the early 1970’s. Also, I discover, DHL stayed in Tuscany seeking out the Etruscan legacy. Of all the places I wish to visit before stepping off this mortal coil two at the top are Arizona & Tuscany.

It seems to me that affinity comes thru time & ether to entice me/us/you on to see important human endeavours. It’s like plugging in. also, sometimes I feel like a finger or a small group watching over me beckons, leads me on to clues, clues to what I am still unsure. What I do know if I follow my hunches, or their fingers, I find new stuff, new pastures in which I can run around and even better, rest, and take a look, see if I can see what it is I am searching for?

Recently I have been ‘tidying up’ my tut, the 50 years of piles of stuff what I accumerlated often tinking, ‘One day, I shall find a use for that’ or, ‘Can’t let that go cos as you know you always need it as soon as you lerrit gu’. (I don’t need correc spellin nor gwamma wennam squaking to misen! Sod off) It took so long to make it, the heap, I need to sort it as fast as you can, as the stones say, ‘You’d better Move On’. Doing it not only gives me the feng shui satisfaction of tidying up and finding tings I also get ‘ideas’ and sometimes I even makes new ‘art’. Trick is not to be curtailed nor constrained by one’s previous predilictions nor prejudices. ‘I CAN DO’ is the mantra. I can do anyting. Do not let previous limits falter me. Open up your wings and fly.

ps The Jimmy Cliff song at the top of this blaat is amazing not only cos it’s about a man’s determination but also cos , I never knew this, he did it at Muscle Shoals*, before Bob Marley made it ‘big’. (And hey! I too saw Bob Marley before Bob Marley made it ‘big’ at Rolle College Exmarth) there is a wonderful Storyville doc on Muscle Shoals on iplayer shown last nicht, wow, I saw some of my most loved singers on it AND, the Stones did Sticky Fingers there. pps whereas I love Susan Boyle but she should not have tried to do ‘wild horses’!

*Rick Hall was the task master at Muscle Shoals and his mantra was to fight on regardless, ‘My life was based on rejection. I wanted to prove to the world it was wrong, that rejection all passes with time, things change’. onwerds and upvards.

watch out for the nex part o dis blatch nex week

Where to go, next?

I have plans for about 50 buks, well 20 then, but none of em will sell. I’m unconcerned about that. Yep, I do get pithd-orf now and den but that’s really to no avail. I have always believed. Believed, that I can appeal to a world-wide audience. Lennon did, Dylan too, now it’s my turn to Dance Better Than Jagger


an very early zen happy apulhed sketch, note the nose is vertical not orie-zen-tell

before I leave this party.  Some may tink me vainglorious just for my belief in my own ability, but that belief gotta start sumwur. Mine started 39 years ago with Apul-One.


1975 Chompsferd Weakly Bluespaper- the first and last review i ever had, so far

I had enough belief then to publish it and carry it all around England from Newcasle to Bournemuth, from Leads to Liverburd. I found out the hard way that it don’t come easy. My first discovery, you know when you pop into a big bookshop and they have loads of books by say Pullman on display, say about 20 of his latest release. Then the national papers and magasines and TV and nowadays all the ‘social’ media talk about it and its merits and maybe de-merits. Well that doesn’t happen to you when you publish your first book, nor yer second nor yer therd. In fact it doesn’t happen, ever, so far maybe never maybe probli, (don’t care) [dat’s why I keep going on about it abart eet].

So, (I told you ‘so’ is the new way to start a sentence, so there it is agen) I went into each bookshop expecting that if they accepted my book on sale or return (that reminds me, some bookshops like the one at the bottom of that long hill by the bridge in Durham never paid up nor returned my A1’s nor did I ever return to pick them up, well, I wonder if they still keep the money from the sales or the returns, I tink I shall pop up and see them) but they all said yes or no and those wat sed yeah said we’ll av 2 copies or maybe tree. What? I say in return, there’s a lot of returns here, but as yu know it’s cheaper to get a return, anyway I say, whatabout the big display what makes andi warhols create his repeated images and makes the punters buy the books? And they say, sorry mate we only take 2. One shop in the Kink’s road Chelsea said who are you then, I sed am PK (nuts) and they say but who are you I said it says on the cover, they say never heard of you no we don’t want any. And talking abart Warholla I went to the old Tate shoppe, twas around the corner then from the Tate (Brit now) and I aksed them will you display my book, they said who are yu (we bin ere before) No they say we don’t have unknowns. I say but I’m Britisht and you only got foreigners in your window, that bloke Warawhoola. They say but he’s nearly famous (this wer 1976) and you’re NOT (ever gonna be). I say well of course cos twits like ye never gie’s a job (tanks Yosser, I am still looking! Did yu ever gerra job whacker?) So I learned the hard way it’s best not to try at all but as you are well aware I am a stubborn cuss. I never gave up, yet, but it’s a card up my sleeve and it would be so easy to use it. Where is it now, oops I must have washed it in the washing machine (have you heard Kate Bush’s ‘washing machine’? she’s madder than I am. So, no big displays. That is until about 1977 when I brought out ‘Applehead Lives’ then Martins in Maldon did a display for about a month as a local artist ting, sold nowt. Well not much.  Anyway, I thought I was on an upward curve but you discover no matter what you do, no matter how successful it be the next ting you do you start again, from the beginning. Cos so much goes on everybody firgits.

I keep producing stuff in the hope of some form of remuneration one day but I don’t allow those hopes to alter my vision of what I want to create nor its content. Its contents are fixed in my ever-moving on mind altho, the fact tings remain in there, on paper, in plans and eventually do arrive, in a form be it book, ‘paintin’ print artefact, whatever means in some ways my mind is not forever changing*, well, at least some tings remain pretty constant. *have you ever heard the album by Arthur lee and Love called ‘Forever Changes’, it’s a classic.

I was real lucky way back in the early 70’s I was up in London for a college rugby match and Love were playing at Goldsmith’s college. He rarely ever played England, but I saw him then. Arthur lee was one of the real greats in rock music who sadly never got ‘recognised’ as widely as say the Stones or the Dead. His influence was widespread. Jimi Hendrix played on some of Love’s recordings as he made his own transition from big band to rock. I saw Love around the same time as I read Kerouac’s small book, The Subterraneans, and they both dug deep into my consciousness. In many respecs it wer that buk bi Kerouac wat med me wanna rite. Wenni say rite I may by sum be taken to meen rong cos I don’t put a double-you in it innit. (I was watchin a Michael Wood programme of late and saw some anglo saxon (hand)writing and they actually did write a word with 2 u’s in it, a double u.)

So I have these ‘buks’ I intend to do/make, codenamed/working title, ‘Genius’ and ‘Squids Crawls’, these are the two next biggies. They’ll both be much fatter than G Batch was. I have a series of relatively small books  plus some what I call ‘Littul Buks’, which are ideas I have had and think ‘oh, one day I must make an edition of them’. Whatever comes out of the sausage machine called Pete’s hands (they once blew up just like Cumberland sosiges, they just BLEW UP!) will only arrive on tables at artist book fairs etc when I get my needle out and start making.  Now my Red Lion bookshop show is over, it’s like being released, from some kind of bottle or bind, I can now start to wonder which direction to move next. Then of course I must put my money where my art is and create the digital gallery. I tink doing Genius and SquidsCrawls will in fact ease my passage into the digigall because those two ‘buks’ have a lot in them from the rooms that’ll eventually become the gallery in the clouds.


I have just had a breakthrough, in my mind, and that’s wur all breakthroughs start, in the mind. This is it! Mark my words, watch did space THIS is ‘it’.