And writing not typing today

OK, so you’re a guinea pig, or a monkey, anything that indicates experiment. This is a trial run. I am not waving I’m drowning said Stevie Smith in her wonderful poem. So, I’m not typing I’m writing! I often spend too long at the keyboard typing up, (tie pin) my notes. Yes I do prepare this drivel. I hand write it foist den toype it up. (Up what I cannot imagine) Anyway today I thort, just scan the notes cos you can. So here goes, it’s in the can. Hope you can read it, this is an experiment, and am not calling you a ginee pig nor a mankee, just making an analoogie.

ps I’ve had several regular readers contact me today and say they find my hand-writing rather difficult to decipher. It’s bad enough for them, and you maybe, but iI got to live with that inarticulate hand! I have to read it, you choose to try. OK, so, I am going to type it up, but not tonite. I shall do it during the week. So, maybe come back Wednesday for a deciphermentationally better reading. Sadly, it’ll be the same old stuff, but legible. Before that i have to type up some notes about my new two ‘artist book’ projects as I’d like folk to know a bit more about what they are about before the Whitechaple book fair, what I dint gerra table at, but i know someone what did.

So, below. Below is/was the new style ‘blArty  bits’ in my own inimitable  hand. Don’t despair if you can only see small ‘pages’, just move yer cursor over the page you wish to read and clik, it’ll open up as a full, readable (except where my hand has made a poor definition of the word!)  petes o prosidy (pitzaprozidy). In fact I am trying out this method in prep for a future, not too distant I ‘opes, artisbuk wattam werkin on (which am going to have to re-think now).

ritins p1 30814smkb

ritins 30814smkb

ritis 30814smkb


I did a little drawing in my notes. That’s what I done since 1969. That’s where i developed the first Apulhed drawings. They were always lodged into my written thoughts.

Talking about those teacher prats I witnessed in my life.

This blArty is not so arty
A bit more clarty but
I felt dese tings had to be said
Even tho thur so sad
But like a good
Tai chi teacher
Once Tole Me
My nega-tiv
Becomes mi posi-tiv

beauy street sunset smkb

As the sun set on my teaching ‘career’ I look back on many great experiences and surprises. One of the biggest happened early on when I realised the educator learns as much from the learners as the learners learn from the ejucaytas.

Some teachers are great. They teach their subject and they inspire you to great things, they give example how to act how to conduct yourself just by being themselves. See my earlier blart:
Others are not so good. They try to get you to conform to some prattish canon only they understand or think they do. They try to force kids to get it right, do it this way not that etc. all they do is damage in the classroom and turn kids off, make them into rebels. So the reason I becAMe such a rebel is their fault. I should be thankful to them in a weird Buddhist way. I had this distaste, nay venom, neigh vergin on hatred for authority figures by the time I left gwamma skewel. In fact that was wat drove the ritin of my first self-puberlitsched buk in 1975, Apul-One, wid its non spellin and all.

ap 001

A form of ‘up yourn, ya tossa’. I now, after all these tears, realise that it underpins so much of the chagrin which seemed to burden my shoulders ever since ‘schooldays’.
As a youngster you witness these things and you sense or know they are ‘wrong’ yet your only (apparent) way to counter it is (it seemed at the time) to be madder than they were. So they never knew what your next move would be, whether it may be violent which is what they expected or peaceful which always surprised them, unseated them, when I did not (over)react to provocations. There were corporal punishments back then (in the 60’s) some of which I knew I ‘deserved’ for my cheek.
Once, when about 14, I upset the geography teacher, Herbie Geebiees I think his name was, he had that tight Brylcreamed hair combed back in short waves, he deserved to be upset. Anyway I was pranking about and he said he were going to pump me, go and get ‘Oscar’ he told me. Oscar was a size 11 base of an old pair of plimsolls which you had to bend over to and submit to 3 or 4 whacks in front of the class. I mean it was a point of honour to be pumped by some prateacher. Anyway, because I was a good boy what went to ‘dinner time clubs’ I knew that in the drawer where Oscar lived there lay his tiny companion, ‘Little Oscar’ what wer about a size 3 sole of pump-base. Now I saw a ruse, I would arrive with ‘Little Oscar’ which I did and got guffaws and gasps frae the crood. Then I went dutifully back to get Big Oscar and submitted to an extra ‘pump’ for my sins.
Another famous incident, the head had just said in assemberly not to throw the snow as there wer ice in it. So this merry prankster saw an opportunity to hail his classmates with snow&ice from the field as they huddled obedient to the head’s instruction in the doorway, I had a right laugh. Little did I know the head of PE Perrywhak was on his way and they knew that and it wer too late to stop now when my last ball hurtled into the crowd which had a big smile on its face as the teacher opened the glass door and my iceball hit him square in the face. Kennegly, follow me, bend over, Three pumps, did that hurt he said? Of course not said I and of course it hurt. But I knew I deserved that, in that old fashioned way. And that was the way they tamed me, that’s why I became, of all things, a teacher isn’t it? No not to pump pupils but to show it could be done sans pumps. But really it wer those who abused the old system who taught me most of what NOT to do.

Bolscrost was a proper bully. He chased Cookie around the class pumping him at every turn when Cookie had begged him not to exercise the punishment for not handing in homework as he had a boil on his asp. Merciless that may be but worse was the way he treated Riley the class truant who never did any homework. So one day he got Riley to bend over by the old iron radiator, so that as the weight of the strike went thru his body causing him to bring his front end up Riley’s head would strike the rad. Bastad. And as 15 year olds we didn’t know how to prevent it other than jumping on Bolscrost, watch out old boy, I never forgit.

Then there’s my 6th form tutor Reinneighs. He hated me cos I refused to pay the 30p ‘voluntary contribution’ to the sports fund for two years. I was making the point, it was voluntary. Finally he arrived at my right side asking for it just as they handed out the History ‘A’ level papers. I think he was hoping I would give him what he deserved so I would get carried out in a straight-jacket but by then the early hippie love and peace vibe had overtaken me and he survived and I got an ‘E’ in that exam. My course work was good, I was taught by a hero of mine called Dan Playtown and for my essays I used to get between 15-17 on 20 all thru the 6th form which is a good deal higher than an E. Altho Mr Grovelips recently brought back 3 hour end of year exam in his great public school wisdom I am for obvious reasons a believer in bringing the two years of ongoing study into the mix when a student’s work is assessed. But of course I only taught in primary, secondary, tertiary, special school and adult evening classes for 20 odd yearns and got a B/Ed Hons., an Advanced Diploma in Special Education and a Diploma in Management Studies, so what would I know, not as much as that nice Mr Grovelips hell no. I should never have stayed on into the 6th form anyway it were a right darkole, I should have left and gone to art college, but in those days we usually served our time. And I did at least beat the victores ludorum lad, a tall fart called Mallardson what couldn’t play futty for fudge, in the high jump in the school sports. I always wanted to reach up high.
Then, when I began to teach I witnessed a  teacher called Stain (that wasn’t his main name) and his nasty ways. We were questioning a young lad in the foyer about some minor misdemeanour and I momentarily looked away to turn back to see the kid gagging and holding his throat. Apparently Stain had hit him with the side of his hand in the throat when I had been distracted. Stain wer in th’territorial army so he knew how to tame these recalcitrants. Stain wer a little short stumpy bloke with a head nearly as wide as his shoulders and it wern’t full of brains. He obviously had a chip on his shoulder too, or a bag o chips. Now, because I hadn’t seen it I had no proof and he knew that. Back in those days I felt I couldn’t take it to the school leader, who was pretty ineffective anyway, but nowadays I would most definitely call the man to task. In fact it got worse. Several years later the prat went and accidentally broke a kid’s leg in a student v. staff rugby game. County banned all such games after that.
These types see themselves as the door keepers but really, really now, they are not fit to be floor sweepers. The best I can say is that I learned from them the way not to be.

I saw Alan Moore on Channel 4 news last week. In the interview the reporter asked him why he addressed some pretty obnoxious issues in his storylines? Moore said that these things go on and there is a need to get them out there, talk about them rather than brush them under the carpet, open the debate and work out ways of tackling potentially solving them. So, a couple o weeks ago I did a blart about ‘good’ teachers, those who act in positively friendly ways to influence. But, like Moore points out, there is a good side and a bad side to most everything, a yin and a yang which intermingle as they pass into one another. My Tai Chi master was explaining to me about the art of ‘push hands’ and he said you ‘sense’ the other participant’s moves and when they move to overpower you, you sway and disarm the force. I think that is yin, giving way to yang? Then he said, ‘My Yin becomes my Yang’. So these ‘stories’ based in my own experience are me exposing some unethical deeds, like Moore I am talking about them, not hiding them. The perpetrators need to be revealed. To do that I suppose I am applying a yang force. These men were bullies who used their positions to attempt to get others to conform to their set of values. Good or bad values it doesn’t matter if the methods you use to inculcate others into your canon are unethical. It may be questioned if I am right to reveal these issues from my life? Well really I should maybe have ‘gone thru the proper channels’ nearer the time (1960s & 70s) but as always back then and now, I did the best I could. In fact my ‘standing my ground’ brought about the heinous interruption at the start of a public exam. I still cannot see how that guy could have been brought to task by the authority figures of the day.

Bullying still occurs every day and I saw and was subject to various forms of bullying when I was in the work place. At the time these things can be hard to handle, cope and manage. I was brought to my psychological knees by one head-teacher and what made it worse was it was a female. I couldn’t cope and eventually after the union proved toothless I left that job, even tho she recanted her errors and said I could stay, forever. Hell was not for me I went elsewhere searching heaven which I found bits of but always under the covers you might get another glimpse of hell. Which is what Alan Moore deals with, or not. I think just addressing it, outing it, exposing it, making sure they don’t get away with it without others knowing they are doing it is the best way to curb it. So forgive my excursion into the dark zone. Like my great predecessor, Spike Milligan, you may notice I also add some humour. At least I think I do.

And to end on a positive note I wer watching Kate Bush on beeb4 lasnicht and wow watta star!

the second link below is her singing a song in which she mentions Gurdjeff! Listen carefully, she mentions him at about 1min 40 seconds in, ‘They read me Gurdjeff…’ The they she refers to is her parents.

footynote- I have altered the names of the players mentioned above not so much that their identities can be disguised but because I don’t wish to face them down in any arena. They had to live with their mistakes. We had to live thru them. and, I suppose, nobody’s perfec.

Meet my top ten artis at Comica Fest comic market last Saturday.

The featured image at the top is from my 1976 comic, Applehead Lives which i used to sell on markets and all but had to give up on to tek a ‘day job’ to survive in the rough old werld out thur.

Necessary disclaimer note- I did not have time to gain permissions for the illustrations below that are not mine. Actually I have not included any yet, gonna aks permissions. All mine are of course (c) pete kennedy 2014.  I hope you people I have borrowed them from don’t mind as I am using them to advertise you. IF anyone objects get in touch and I shall take them out.

I felt like Owlsley at Kesey’s place when I was at the British Library Comicon market on Saturday 16th august. Owlsley was a chemist who had made millions of & from LSD tabs in the mid-sixties. When he turned up at the Merry Pranksters, (upon whose escapades in their magic bus and on various hallucinatory drugs the Beatles film Magical Mystery Tour was based), place nobody recognized him. But they soon realised he was the real ting. I felt like he must have felt when he first showed up. Like him I have spent years working in a vacuum creating magic. Now I am back with my work in what is now called ‘artists book’ form. I showed my ApulGold book

bak pages

to a few stall holders and they all seemed to love it. But originally, mid-70’s I wer publishing my own ‘graphic novel’ and comics in the shape of Applehead Lives and Happy Apulhed.

ahed burnley surfer

I stood selling them on Camden market and down Earl’s Court at the Stones’ concerts In 1976. I had faith that by ‘doing my own ting’ I would ‘make it’ but I had to retract for a while (28 yearns) to gerra ‘day job’ to keep the wolf frae th’door.I was a pie on y’ear back in the day when not a lotta people were doing that. Now there’s hundreds on ‘em. And they’re doing fine, on cloud nine. Next year I shall start bringing out my new set of ‘books’ based on my working titles, ‘Don’t Give Up The Day Job’ and next month am bringing out my new publication, Six Earthen Vessels. I must try set up a shop here so yez can perchance purchase them.
The standard of art and quality of publications now is incredible altho like Peter Stanbury said to me there’s something really nice about the old comics we did on cheap paper which was all we could afford. Nowadays with modern print we can have our work printed at a fraction of what it cost me to produce Applehead Lives in 76.

kachinas on cliffHopi kachinas

black&white images were all we could afford back in the 70’s!

And colour is no longer astronomical. So, I may soon make some of my earlier work available in ‘full colour’ as colour was always my ting and I could never afford to produce my stuff in colour. So when I flood the market with my work from the past, blame Paul Gravett for inviting me up to see Comics Unmasked! Thanks for your kind hospitality Paul, the show were gud.

I know you shouldn’t have ‘favourites*’ but I am choosing ten from so many I saw and met and squawked to at the Comicon market on Saturday. Cos I couldn’t possibly cover all of em.

In reverse order (but that’s not a value judgement folks) here is my most favouritest folks what I met Saturday:

10. Gareth Brookes the Black project . Gareth is a man and woman after my own heart. The man in him does lino cuts and his female side does embroidery. His startling combis of the two old fashioned methods has led to quite a magnum opus.
9. Vincent Hunt (Red Mask). Here is a young man after my own interests, extra-terrestrial possibilities. His red mask is an alien what lives on his main characters face. My aliens were just visiting, not living on my face. Altho I did transmogrify into a Squidgerat in my First Squidgerat Show at Brentwood Theatre in the mid 90’s where I wore a mask, but it didn’t live on my face.
squidgerat kin smkb
8. Christian Jelen does stuff close to my art with a lovely little book about the thoughts of the Dalai Lama which was picked up by DL’s team and printed in India fer dissemination to all of his fans. He also does lovely characters what are sitting in lotus positions, reminiscent of Robert Crumple’s Mr Natural in a moment of meditation. I luv all that and I too do yoga and tai chi and all them tings too.
7. Seeing Poetry twas lovely to see Louise Crosby’s work much of which seemed to be in answer to the poetry of Clare Shaw. Good collaborations here. Then I found that Louise comes from near Hebden Bridge, one of my most favourite-est haunts in the whole of England.
6. Yi-Miao Shih I liked Yi Miao’s rather quaint drawings and in the link above she even draws an apple like what I first drew the apple what became Apulhed! And in fact if you look at her work in her tumblr site it is as if she has stolen hundreds of my drawings from the 70’s and put her own slant on them. We must have been sawn from the same block(head?)
5. Geeked Mag Just shows how silly I am. I really loved the magazine and chatted up the ladies what runs it giving them all the patter about my being a real good artist and writer and all o that saying why don’t they ask me to contribute and they played along with this old fella and said maybe they might and then I see their website and see it’s a feminist ting? Can I still play if I bring my feminine side girls?
4. iella Iella does wonderful stuff. She shows me how I can bring together all my differing sides because that’s what she has done with stunning effect. Love the murals. Love the mixing of say pencil sketch with acrylics.
3. Amber Hsu what an astounding and unassuming woman! Such phenomenal talent and it says on her site- Amber Hsu is a Chinese-born, US-raised, UK-based writer and artist. She is a graduate of Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design. She also has a degree in Biophysics, a minor in Classical Studies and a Masters in Comparative Literature. I would love to have just some of that talent and track record! And she thanks me for the postcard swop, wow. I wouldn’t have dared suggest a swop if I had known how good she was.

ambr hsu pdf copyThank you Amber!

2. Atlantic Press do some of the best artist books I have seen by any publisher. They have a keen eye for originality and give the artists’ work beautiful presentation in lots of differing ways.

I tried to send a link to this to Philidda but it failed. Tell her I told DJ about her quoting him and he were happy about that.

1. Andy Barron is making simple but beautiful little books called ‘om’. I see them a link to the profoundly wonderful work of rick Griffin in the 70’s. He has put loads of ‘comics’ up on the net foe all to see. It seems that is the way to go nowadays.

andy barron om frm pdf

this is Andy’s lovely screen printed cover

Thank; I must thank Qeurstret for all her advice on setting up shop, one day I shall do it.
And all the lovely folks I met, including Dr Martin the inventor for all their observations and suggestions. Oil Bee Bach!
*In teaching we all learned not to have favorites, treat em all the same they said at St. Lukes, and I did try all my teaching life to do that though usually it wer kids at the two ends of the ability range I (secwetly) favoured; the best and the least best, particularly if they were trying their best. My next blArt is not so much abArt art as about bad teachers a kind of part 2 to my blArt before this and it’s got some negative stuff in it, so don’t look at it if you believe evriting should have a positive take. That’s just a warning.

I were a teacher once but am recovered now I met R. A .

As we all know that some teachers are prats but I am not talking about them, they steal enough of our time as we live thru their dross. Not a lot of people know how hard it is to become a (good) teacher. I don’t  witch to go on abArt it but it is important because a good teacher begets students worth their salt in goldust. And on rare ocassions oops occasions (get it right!)  when the teacher gets it right the pupil improves on the teacher. The pupil goes far whilst the teacher (just?) teaches some more. My friend Ian,


he taught Rob in Art in Tamworth (of all places). Now Rob has gone far, very, very farout. Ian has been happy doing his thing whilst Rob was happy doing everbody like George Lucas and Kate Bush’s tings. And Ridley Scot and Dr Whose too name a fuse. Last week I wer lucky enough to get to visit Robert Allsopp at his workshop and what a revelation.

roba an the a sm kb

It’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory except for props for Royal Ballet, Star Wars and Ridley Scot productions like Gladiator. All these talented folk beavering away making moulds and takes then adding soft materials and wires to give effect so they remain light weight in feel but massive in impact. Whilst the other teachers in Tamwart were telling Rob to gerra proper job IEP Woollard were saying no Rob, you do what you want to do and if it’s making masks do it, and he did, many hundreds of them including Queen Padmé Amidala in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. When you see plastic masks and helmets and plastic wings  which look more real than the real tings themselves then it’s likely it’s rob wat dunnit, well Robert’s workshop has dunnit really cos Rob cannot do it all. There’s masks for several productions of ‘Wicked; London, USA, Germany etc and that’s a whole lotta monkeys. So Rob becomes the teacher and shows others how to do it for him.  Now we all dream, us artisfolks, of getting that big break and ‘making it’ and Robert went an dunnit. Like everyone who truly made it he knows it’s more to do with graft than inspiration. And a production line for all those performances from stage to 3D movie is more like a sweatshop than a sweetchop. Am not sure how far many of my ex-students have gone? Maybe youse could let me know? One girl I taught on Canvey and gave her the only 100% grade I ever gave looked like she would go far, but you never know.

I had to stop teaching because of my  r.a. condition and when that condition improved  I decided to return to my own education, which I been doing ever since but it started with a master’s degree course in Art & The Book under the watchful eye of David Jury what became my tutor.

portrait o DJ smkb

DJ, as we’ll refer to him from now on, had mastered the book in several differing ways introduced me to the ‘artist’s book’ what despite my 30 yearns in teaching I knew not a lot abArt, in fact nuttin atall. He shewed me how to do layout and typesetting using Quark quack, I say quack now cos Quark seems to have fallen behind in the race to capture the market in Engerland for design packages. But now I do my book designs on Quark as I cannot afford t’other one.

cover of six mystics intro
cover of six mystics intro

I wrote, designed and published a book (G Batch) to help folk understand all the ideas in my MA project about ancient writings in pots and on tablets. In it I had written a rather complex poem about ‘Six Mystics’ and after I became a (little) matster of bookish arts I decided to do some readings and nobody knew what I was talking abArt so I decided to re-write the darn tings so folks can understand em and I did and folk say they can. Then I decided to do them in the shape of pots, poems as pots not pots in poems, I know that sounds potty or poetry or prose. Call them what you want I don’t mind and everything I do is influenced, has precursors. My writings and my arts have both been inspired by folk who were inspired by folk like Jarry and Maxt Ernst, I like to call him Maxt cos a friend of mine called Chris(t) Lennard is a cockney fella and he always put Cockney ‘t’on the end on Max when he said it and I found that quite endearing so Max is now Maxt, tank yez Chris…t.

chri len maxt

Chris was in fact the person what made me do the first ever Apulhed ‘comic’. T’wer his Enfield mafia ting i couldn’t refute.

 But when DJ saw them he was writing a book about concrete poems, shaped poems and all. So he took a big interest in what I was doing and read them carefully. He loved the words and said could he do a letterpress version. Those words were heaven sent to me as I was wondering how I could ever get it done in letterpress. So now we are doing a collaboration. David’s print enhances my writings and my writings may help david to use wood letters he has collected but never used. And so it goes on, the student master ting.

So over the years this teacher (and it took 4 yearns on no pay to learn to teach badly some may say but I kep going on ‘in-service training to keep up and refresh although truly I been so immersed in seeing art and making art I didn’t need any art courses) has always made ‘art’ and stuff as an example of the creative process.

And it’s the same with Ian and David, they both do their art ting. Ian, what also taught me wet photography back in 1971-72 before he became a real teacher bloke, has taken some immaculate photos recently of the Japanese prima ballerina at Birmingham Royal Ballet and more recently of mountain leopards and tigers in zoos. David (DJ) does letterpress and writes books for T&H and udders and Artickles fer others and is presently working with his ex-student (what is moi) on a new letterpress book.

And then there’s my latest teacher bloke, Master Ch’n, Tai Chi Defence man where I go to in my spare time when am not learning Ashtanga Yoga with Gareth Chandler, Vinyasa Yoga with Sam and Zumba what is taught by a load o young women, no, I want no sympathy, somebody’s got to do it.  Master Ch’n probably the most patient graceful person what I have ever met so far who is teaching me the ‘form’. Very meticulous he is. Starting again and again and again with the first steps. You repeat and re-peat  then re-pete again and again and again then some more. Now I never been into repeating myself (repeat pete, no!) except for football skills like kicking the ball against a wall fer hours and hours alone cos nobody else wer around, kicking against next door’s wall interminably, then heading it back and forth with the same wall, trapping it. I forgot I did do that. Master Chen is 69 now, looks about 50, has strong muscular back but no big strenuous musculature. He is calm and quiet. He smiles all the while and watches. Seems to have eyes in the back of his head. He teaches facing away from you, one to one, and he knows when you are standing wrong or getting the feet wrong, he knows without looking, seemingly. He has a permanent smile on his face, possibly cos he knows more than you’ll ever know about tai chi and all that stuff like push hands swords and sticks. I’m 63 now and I don’t tink I’ll ever catch up with Master Ch’n, in fact I KNOW I won’t. Cos a good teacher always stays one step ahead of the best pupils and I am nowhere near the best, that’ll take weeks. In Master Ch’n’s case it’s more like one lifetime ahead I tink, or should I say ‘tinker’?

Talking about Tinkers, me ole mate DW took the image featured at top o this blArt on the day the BIG old moom came closer to Earth than for many years.

Meeting with David Jury, the secret work is out.

David Jury and me used to meet about once a month to chat over coffee. I showed him my new artist book preparation where I was putting my six ‘mystics poems’ onto the page each laid out in the shape of a pot. DJ was just completing an article about writers who did shaped typography and he was intrigued when he saw my new work. On reading them he liked the words and my form of presentation. Being a cheeky fella I asked him if he might write a small crit so that I could place it on the back of my book so that potential buyers may get a gist of what my words were about and he wrote:
“Pete Kennedy’s words are contained in six ‘Earthen Vessels’. But none of these vessels is whole, their bases, by varying degrees, are missing. In fact, it quickly becomes clear that all knowable laws are absent. So what is it that holds the words together?
The more you look the more you read, the more you read the more you look. Their occasional dramatic change of scale: ‘Namaste’ and ‘I Am a Buddha Now’ rightly dominate whilst their additional ‘weight’ causes them to slowly fall, like sediment, towards the bottom of the jar… that does not exist. These vessels are spine-tingling.” Follow that Pete I thought.
Shortly afterwards he suggested that maybe he could do a letterpress version of the poems as pots for his summer project, would I be interested?
Interested, I had been wondering how I could do a simple letterpress version myself to take to the Wayzegoose book fair in Oxford this October and I would be chomping at the bit to see the wayshegoes with DJ’s version and we immediately embarked. My offer to help with the mucky jobs was politely declined as DJ see the process as essentially a contemplative and private one. Miles Wigfield, chairman of the Oxford Guild of Printers, observes that this is not unusual amongst letterpress enthusiasts who like to work on their own. So he began.
The first print took several weeks to complete as DJ had to work out how to get the pot shape I had accomplished using Quark. He asked for one of my drawings of a nice shaped pot and said he’d use it as a kind of template to outline his layout. He was fascinated with the notion that the pot itself although hinted at didn’t ‘exist’. This was in keeping with his own readings of Buddhist books where everything is in fact an illusion. He liked the way the words seemed to accumulate like sediment in a vessel. Vessel is a word I had adopted partly because it denotes jug, jar, pot or any other container which the ancients may have used to protect their precious objects in. Going even further back earthen vessels would have been amongst humankind’s earliest ever artefacts. That age old play between what is attractive to the eye and useful as an object which peaked with the design of Concorde and began with the design of a bowl to drink or eat from, that mix of meeting the designer’s needs in terms of available or newly invented technologies and the users requirements was probably solved earlier in pots than in the drawings of woolly mammoths on cave walls. My interest in pots, triggered initially by my curiosty about the Dead Sea Scrolls opened out to discover that many communities from India to Afghanistan and later into China had incarcerated valuable objects and/or sacred documents in pots then either buried them or secreted them in caves. The first writings were cuneiform on clay too. This led to my desire to create words in the shape of pots because of its deep ancient resonance.
Take a look at a previous blArt I did for more info about my pots:
DJ has a long time fascination with letterpress and has collected some old wood fonts which he had not previously been able to use. Now, with the change of fonts and their size in my work, he is able to blow the dust off and use them. This all benefits my writings for the pots which are always in flux anyway and now have been re-written, almost weekly, to fit the new needs of the collaboration. Working with DJ has been invigorating. Initially I had faced my own challenge to shape the words into pots now DJ took on the mantle for his versions and where I had merely increased the size of the Bodoni bold font to denote important words and phrases DJ began to use very differing fonts to his main Bodoni. I had used full stops repeated to make up some spaces in order that I did not have to re-write or add too much to my original ‘poems’. DJ pointed out that every space is potential for making a mark or statement, every space is valuable. He began to introduce strings of shapes to substitute my dots. He soon saw that the knots or strings were not adequate, didn’t look good. So, he said it’s a shame not to use letters in those spaces, maybe in a smaller font? To begin with he had tried using words like ah and om but that wasn’t enough. Maybe we can put in a ‘sub-text’, do you have any other poems we can use. Well yes, as it happened I was typing up and re-doing some other poems, poems I sometimes write about everyday things, thoughts and observations on the way my life is going or went or should have gone. Much simpler than the mystic poems which were the result of hundreds of hours of study and contemplation, writing and re-writing, reading to a ‘public’ re-appraising starting again and so on. Yes, that sounds great, send some to me and I shall see how they fit. And fit they did. So the first print now has a sub-text too which adds several layers of meaning which ever way you read them. The page as a whole now becomes a fascinating mix of visual and contextual meanings. You can read the poem in its original then the subtext or read the whole of it as one or don’t read it at all just enjoy the visual effect.
Soon enough DJ was wanting the words to break out of the sedimentary base of the pots which don’t exist. Another compositional device creating more interest, more possibilities to ‘play’ and arrive at more exciting results. By print 3 DJ started to turn some of the words upside down or reverse them, now they become multi-dimensional.


Poem one is inspired by the writings of Herman Hesse. Poem 2 by the life of the present Dalai Lama. Poem 3 is about the deep mythological interests of C G Jung.
Although I was unsure when to reveal to the eagerly awaiting world or artist book and letterpress enthusiasts news of our collaboration David had no such qualms and on Wednesday 30.7.14 he gave a talk to a small gathering of letterpress enthusiasts at The Waiting Room in Colchester (which I could not attend cos of my weekly commitment to Ballroom Dancing. One day I am hoping to replace Lewis Smith at the top of the podium, although I am not as athletic, young nor handsome as he I am determined to topple him. You know me, I never let a small challenge overawe my dreams). The talk was well received and I thank Clare Marsh for sending me these two images, one of DJ flying and one of two of the prints we have made already.


I haven’t asked DJ what it’s like working with me but the smile on his face speaks volumes.

Now, on 25th Aug 2014 DJ is nearly finished with his letterpress edition of six of my poems. Each one has gotten more adventurous and it seems he has had a wonderful time pushing the boat out and using wood type he has bought but never used over a number of years. we should be ready to show the world the outcome in September sometime. Each print has it seems come up better than the one before so much so that it seems the first one is almost conservative, almost staid. but not quiet, i mean quiet not quite!

watch out book fairs here we come; whitechapel-DJ’s table 1st