Oh Superb Woman

Laurie Anderson at Tate Modern

I headed up to London cos I needed to find Quark in order to iron over some of my concerns about a lack of contact details, it’s very hard to find out anything to do with the functions and possibilities of their package. Fortunately the man who came down to see me when I discovered their offices proved very helpful so I shall probably plough on with it.

The other reason I went to London was cos Laurie Anderson was scheduled to be at a showing of her film Heart of a Dog. We had some difficulty getting there, partly cos I headed off t’ward Tate Britain in the rain (It’s not an ‘age ting’ it’s always been like that, I spent most my life heading off in the wrong direction or up the wrong path!) and the gig was at Tate Modern.

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Andrea Lissoni talking with Laurie Anderson

It’s her take on her pet terrier Lolabelle’s death and on dying in general. It’s not morbid in any way and in fact she pays a discreet tribute to her late husband Lou Reed, playing him singing as the final moment in the film with a lovely dedication. In fact it’s about finding love, particularly that of her mother, and accepting (or accommodating) death. She also talks of being “in the gap between the moment which is expiring & the one that is arising”, a place akin to where the Buddhists ‘bring the scattered mind home’ in their practice of ‘mindfulness’ where you can find calm abiding in which ‘all your negativity is disarmed, your aggression dissolved and your confusion slowly evaporates as the awareness of clear seeing awakens in you’ through time spent in quiet meditation.

I believe that Laurie Anderson has visited these spaces over a long period in her life and those of us fortunate to watch and listen to her work can be drawn towards her peace-full places.

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You can listen to about 2 mins of it if yu go to this link and scroll down to “Watch the trailer”: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/film/laurie-anderson-heart-dog

It gives a brief impression of the lovely narration Laurie gives all of her works. She really does tell the tale so well.

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We were ushered in and luckily placed on the very back row. It is a beautiful piece in which Laurie narrates the tale of her adopted dog in its last days, which gives her an opportunity to mention at least two Rinpoches whose advice she seems to access. (Rinpoches don’t seem to come down my neck of the woods but I am sure they hang around in Laurie’s.) [Hey do a sketch of Rinpoches in Lorries! consider it done, it’s all in me mind! In fact I may already have done it without really knowing that I had. I created a 3D work which I call Lorryhead, which is a Buddha with a lorry cab for a head.]

A Rinpoche Lorry Now!

lorryhead tiny kb
LorryHead Rinpoche

About 12 years ago I bought a cd of her 2001 reading The Body Artist by Don DeLillo in which she employs her mesmerizing and soothing tones to read his book. I never got to the end of the 3 hour piece cos I rarely stay still that long but now I shall return and listen to the end. She always seems to have an aura of expectation in her vocals, as if something is about to occur and if it already did there seems to be an expectant or pregnant ‘looking back’.

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I was fortunate to be able to take a series of photos from different vantage points which I said to Laurie I’d like to use in ma blog if that was ok as I handed her my card so she can come in and see this ting and she replied, “Yes you can, do that”. And I will.

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After Words

Tell me the old old story……………………………..So, that’s how it is, is it?

I prevented the flash operating in all my shots so the images don’t have sharp highlights but most importantly nobody got upset or distracted by my flashing. Jumping Jack No Flash they call me.

There’s one or two images of her I’d like to use to paint her portrait but it’s unlikely to happen nowadays as I am a Performance Artist and Bukman Blogga Bloke norra oil painter of the auld skool. But you never know.

And then there was Chiara Ambrosia’s ‘question’ which was more of a statement of affirmation of Laurie’s film and it impact on the emotions. Chiara started and so she continued until she had finished and it seemed to tickle Laurie.

laurie anderson tate (16) toned Chiara smChiara Ambrosia

Afterwards when I congratulated Chiara on her ‘thesis’ we realised we had met before and that she was well into bookart as well as film. I got this incredible shot of us standing in the foyer at Tate with me looking like the man with the light for a head.

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Chiara stands next to a bloke with the light in his head and Mikey Kirkpatrick in the corridors of th’Tate.

I have loved Laurie’s stuff ever since I first heard her do Oh Superman and this vid encapsulates her in all her glory:

Laurie Anderson’s Oh Superman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH2x5pARGdE#t=496.136

and Bowie’s version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5dRY_EHMjU

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Thanks Laurie, Namaste

Images and writing (c) pete kennedy 2016

Thanks for the great gig Laurie and thanks for saying you don’t mind if i use the images of you.


From Vanuatu With Log

For some reason my blog about the d c age has become popular in Russia. Don’t know why but in the past 3 days there’s been 6 views of it, all from Russia. https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/so-we-live-in-the-digital-cybernetic-age-the-d-c-age-digital-cage/

 Top Views of ma blog for 7 days ending 2016-04-18:

Country Views
United Kingdom 16
Russia 11
United States 8
France 4
Germany 4
Ireland 3
India 2
Singapore 1
Morocco 1
Spain 1
South Korea 1

In fact my blArty blog gets viewed from all round the globe. It’s nice to tink that my words & images may be interesting folk from places I never even heard of like Vanuatu, a country in Oceania.

(Vanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean nation made up of roughly 80 islands that stretch 1,300 kilometres, Fiji is near it.

Anyway, back to my normal patter.

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I recommend a visit to Chris Ruston’s wonderful show of her Ammonite books at the natural History Museum in Colchester. The display is a little dark but that is for reasons of protection against the damage light can do to delicate tissue. I also had difficulty photographing it cos a nice curator woman approached me and said I had to have Chris’s express written permission to do so. Well in fact Chris sent me these great photos which I cannot equal so here they are.

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The future looks bright Chris! Love the scissors.

Another ‘copyright’ issue prevents me placing the touching poem written about refugees in 1938 by W H Auden. You can find a copy at http://www.ppu.org.uk/learn/poetry/poetry_against1.html

It is so apt for today! Take out the reference to Jews and Hitler and replace them with any of the peoples fleeing dictators and assassins and other groups who take it upon themselves to destroy rather than create and maintain. Auden’s words are totally appropriate for the way the world still treats people in fear of their lives and who have felt it necessary to traverse danger to try to reach a safe haven. Damn it, he could have written it yesterday, or even today!

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I just love the shape of this old tree stump.

To finish off I have to rejoice about my new very old cross-cut saw and the way it cuts thru wood. It’s taken some sorting out and I am so grateful to Richard saw-sharpener extraordinaire at Haydons in Braintree who sharpened and set it so that I could make these lovely pieces.

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Notice the Jackson Pollock stain done by one of the birds in ma garden!

My objective was to be able to cut up a willow tree which fell about 2 years ago and on the way I had to overcome some obstacles not least my weak muscles. I see it as a zen ting. The tree could be cut by chain saw but I insist on using the less noisy old fashioned crosscut saw. I always like to tackle the near impossible. Don’t know why but there it is. It’s an old willow tree which fell over in strong winds and it’s very very stubborn. The saw worked wonderfully on the much denser rootball from which I cut those beautiful shapes but this darned tree is taking hours to cut thru. still, I got nothing else to do, I am retired aren’t I?

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See you at the Laurie Anderson gig at Tate Modern this Friday nicht if you can get there. Bless.

Camouflage & Realisation

Camouflage, can you spell it? Yes, i…t…

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Camouflaged robin, well nearly.


I have camouflaged my work in lots of ways throughout my life. I’m not exactly sure why. So, for example, my ‘comix’ were nothing like comics. Mostly they were a different way of writing my thoughts and findings using words and picture in frames to start with but then I began to alter the squares & oblongs to, say, apple shapes and so on. Nothing stayed in its box of protocols too long.

My ‘writing’ purportedly about myself my exploits my thoughts and fears was more to do with my discoveries in ‘art’ and philosophy. What looked like an autobiography was an everyman. It chronicled the human needs of individuals to find and try to come to terms with; knowledge, a vocation, friends, outlets, notice, heroes (sport people, artists, writers, actors, singers et al), likes, dislikes and more. I kept writing regularly from 1969 to now and soon(ish) I shall release the first viewing of the latest form of my book The Shrewd Idiot. [It’s written from the notes I did between 1969-73. I wrote similar notes from 1973-date. So there’s a lot of ‘books’ that could be but won’t be made.]

It’s about a sentient being whose fears & aspirations show ‘where he’s at’ or seemed to ‘be’ in the first years of the third decade of his life. And that was not necessarily always pretty, baby. It chronicles the things one young man evidenced and attempted to come to terms with in the decade immediately after the Swinging Sixties’ when the whole world seemed to lighten up and there seemed to be HOPE for a brighter future, certainly in the culture worlds of art, music, fashion and maybe ‘writing’ where experimental work (like the Shrewd idiot) was not exactly encouraged but accepted as a legacy of the sixties. ‘The world’s your oyster’ was the mantra and once you had harnessed a skill-set you had the opportunity to flaunt it. My attempt to become a great and famous author of ‘modern’ product very nearly succeeded at the time with Oliver Caldecott, a really highly esteemed publisher altho I was unaware of that at the time, considering publishing my SI book, ‘tome’ though it was. Altho I had self-published Apul-One in those days you had to try to get a real publisher on board, now am back to self-publishing.

I wrote, drew, photographed the evidence of the world I lived in, felt, saw, witnessed, shared and all that stuff. I abandoned the normal (paid job) life in order to concentrate all my effort on this book and the book reflected the way I lived my life the several years before I gave up my job to write the book and launch myself upon the world as a full-time artist bloke. I did stay stubbornly on my ‘wanna be a artis’ track for 4 years during which I developed ‘Happy Apulhed’

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Happy Apulhed (c) pete kennedy 2016

which I hoped would replace Snoopy as the world’s most popular philosopher. When it didn’t I returned to teaching and eventually retired near the ‘normal’ age to do that and found miraculously that I could now continue the road I had ploughed so deeply during my four years out of the rat race in the late 1970’s. what I did was not that unusual, thousands have followed their dream, some made it, like the woman what wrote the Harry Potty books, some still await ‘recognition’ of their offerings. Me, I am not bothered any longer about any accolades, I just want to create my pieces and show them to anyone daft enuf to take a look. I was a (fairly) ‘normal’ (but driven) product of the 50’s and 60’s who had worked really hard to make his dream come true despite making my path even harder by my own silly selections. That’s why the ‘shrewd’ or ‘wise’ man is also the Idiot. We all make silly choices because, in life, it’s so often so hard to see the wood from the trees. But the main thing (ting) I always stuck to was an honest sincerity in everything I do/done/did. So, the nice result is that my best work from all decades has remained as fresh and as good as when I did it. The Shrewd Idiot is an indication of a life being lived with all its strength, weakness, hope and trepidation.

Then there’s the ongoing stuff which arises from my desire to make Performance Art (PA) pieces and books to accompany or project them like my Somme Boys project.

Now I have a problem. The problem being time to do the work to enable things to become real objects which folk can peruse. Well it were a problem until today when I had a revelation that I could create the ‘book’ for Somme Boys digitally and make it available through digital means. And I should be able to do my Somme Boys PA online, maybe on Utube. That also takes away the need for a venue(s) and the need for backing and permission and support. I can just do it and let the work speak for itself. Or not as the case turns out. Well as with all activities the gap between the epiphany and the making available is full of potential pitfalls and obstacles to be surmounted. But that’s what I pride myself on doing, the almost impossible.

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Cat got tired of me rantin on abart me werk.

Talking about the almost impossible I am tackling the plague of cow parsley in my ‘garden’ and the only way to get rid is to dig up all the roots and there’s millions of them. (Anthriscus sylvestris, known as cow parsley, wild chervil, wild beaked parsley, keck, or Queen Anne’s lace) But you know me, “that’s what I pride myself on doing, the almost impossible”. Am beginning to wish I didn’t write that!


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My Robin’s Camouflage is good but not so good, he thought I couldn’t see him.

Here’s a beautiful version of Van the Man doin his In The Garden : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzoktdJ_q-M

And Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes by Karen Elson & Michael Stipe


and (another revelation), John Cale on Bowie and the Trumping man. Cale says that it’ll be a disaster if the Trumping man gets into power in the USA.



Authors’ Authority.


Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent is a good mantra.

I was born Peter D. O’Kennedy (http://blogs.transparent.com/irish/an-sloinne-o-cinneide-the-surname-kennedy/ ) in Glasgow Royal Infirmary most definitely of Celtic descent. My paternal grandparents came from Cork & Limerick.

Since I left school in 1969 I been trying to ‘make a name for myself’. But I already have a name, so really there’s no need to make another (anudda). Once again I have to tell maself to STOP, just be your-self. And that’s what I am best at.

Recently whilst negotiating an article for JAB about Dieter Roth and how he far outstrips most all other ‘artist-book’ makers they suggested I focus the writing around my own work. POW, off I went into a piece about some of the great German artists and writers who have impressed upon my work which was published in JAB 38 http://www.journalofartistsbooks.org/current/ . I watched Bob Geldoff’s tele-piece on W B Yeats last night. It was very revealing and helped me to understand the poet/writer better than before. I went to bed thinking, ‘Well that explains some of my own passion and drive…It’s the Oirisht in me…it’s a cultural ting’. I slept a couple of hours and at 02.30 hours came down and wrote this, “I was born in Glasgow Infirmary of Celtic descent. I have 3 books I must achieve:

  • The Shrewd Idiot (SI)
  • Squidgeratscrawls (Sqasc)
  • Genie Ass (G.ass)

I am collating SI. It’s a labourious process but that’s by choice.

Sqasc should be more joyfull.

G.ass is going to be done in 5 or 6 parts, should be ‘fun’.

Then I can re-lease my-self to do the other books that I wish to achieve, some more spontaneous, others from already existing notes & ideas. I don’t care about the audience, just want to achieve them. ASAP.”

Then I returned to bed til about 7.30 am.

a title page for si
an unusual page from SI cos it’s actually typed into the manuscript, most pages are pcopies of old typed pages.

Last week I spoke about my work on the new SI. Am onto page 22 of 252 jpegs to vire over into ma layout. It is quite slow. But I do keep doing other tings. On Saturday I ran off to Tate Britain on a mission where I was surprised to see a painting by Tagore done in 1939! I would like to show you it but, as usual, you cannot take photos in these exhibitions, so everyone loses. I wished to suss out the Susan Philipsz very touching and evocative sound material made on instruments damaged by wars. I had an idea to ask the Tate if I can use a space there to do my Somme Boys Performance Art piece, but you know what it’s like, they’d say who are you/ are you already famous? And there’s no room at the inn fer yo laddie. I have approached the set up that supports Susan Philipsz installation, 14-18now, but am not holding ma breath. Here’s what I sent em:


“A Commemoration of the Somme

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ww1 veteran

Performance Art Proposal from Pete Kennedy

I have an idea for a piece of PA which I would like you to consider.

I visited Susan Philipsz’ lovely sound art at Tate yesterday and I noticed lots of empty spaces which I could use to do my piece. I am not thinking it could be done just at Tate but anywhere, in any town or city. I understand that you back things which commemorate WW1? I have also got an idea for an artist’s book about the Somme.

I have chosen the Somme because hundreds of men from my home town of Burnley were killed there.

I am an artist aged 65 who recently acquired an MA in Bookarts and have moved into Performance art after doing a course with Jurgen Fritz & Vest + Page at Glastonbury.

I shall make the book and do the performance art about Somme come what may but I would much appreciate it if you would support my work.

It can be done very simply with few props or a big BLOW-OUT version which would involve a mound of (something like) mud and a structure to represent a trench with inter-connecting ‘tunnel’. I have musicians who can create site specific sound.

This is developing daily as I realize more. For example, when I worked with Jurgen last October I realised I must not make it just a memory of the British losses, the Germans suffered too.

Yesterday at Tate’s ‘Artist & Empire’ I saw a double portrait by Philip de Laszlo of two Indian (Sikh?) officers, Jagat & Man Singh, who were painted shortly before they went to the Somme. It said that 1 in 6 of the allied force came from India. So now I must play ‘Tommy’, ‘Otto’ (and maybe ‘Singh’?) in my PA.


Then I moved on up to the British Library to see if I could find a copy of the Burnley Express that I saw in 1970 which was from c1916-18 and every page was full of obituaries to the dead men from the town. I want to use those pages in a ‘book’ I want to make for my tribute to those who fell at the Somme form all parts of the planet. I can’t trace the darned ting, I know it’s out there. If only they still had hard copy I could go to a library and rifle thru! I shouldn’t be considering doing books and performance art about the Somme, I got enough to do, but It’s The Way I Tell ‘Em!

Footnote to Joey B. “I was always told ‘Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent: The Arsenal.’”  David Rocastle ex-player. I think young Joey Barton should listen to David. Concentrate on playing good football Joey not jumping all over the opponent’s leg.