Team of trophies.

 

Real Madrid have eleven European Cups in their trophy cabinet now. (Liverpool have 5, Notts Forest won it twice & Man U av 2.)

That makes Real Madrid (Ray-Al some say) historically the greatest club in Europe, by far. Even back in 1961 when I was ten years old and playing for Tod Road Junior team in the Hartley Cup Final Ray-Al had already won the Cup 5 times, in fact every year since its inception in 1955 and we all fought to be Di Stefano, Puskas or Ghento in kickabouts in Burnley’s backstreets. I go to two finals as a 10 year old and we were joint winners of both. That’s the closest I ever came to winning a cup. Where does that place me in the ‘greats’ of football? About the same place as I am in amongst the greats in everything else- Nowhere Man.

But Don’t Give Up I hear Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush & the Dalai Lama sing. I may never have won a cup but I scored many wonderful goals and had some great achievements. Oh be Thankful!

sennacheribs prism BM image

The Sennacherib Prism 691 BC rests in the British museum for all of us to fascinate over. Their comment is:

‘Hexagonal clay prism, foundation record lists campaigns of (Assyrian king) Sennacherib until the start of his final war against Babylon, and includes a description of the tribute received from Hezekiah, King of Judah in 701 BC’. See this fascinating (despite having subtle leanings toward a biblical bias) article about the prism et al:

http://www.bible-history.com/empires/prism.html

 

I discovered it (The Sennacherib Prism) was there (at the BM) in the final week of my MA in ‘Art & the Book’. I had just about completed a major project in which I had used six men of ideas as the focus for my idea of placing ‘knowledge’ in clay pots. The project pivots around the concept of ‘six’, which in fact was a pragmatic reduction on Gurdjeff’s use of nine, nine would have increased my workload by another 50% and I had enough with six. Luckily six sided shapes tessellate as any bee will tell ya and bees also feature in the ideas of two of my ‘heroes’, Gurdjeff & Beuys.

 

For me the ancient hexagonal prism was and is tantamount to a book and at the time vowed to make a book(s) influenced by it. I love it. I cannot read cuneiform so must rely on the experts to tell me what it records. It seems to me that the view of history which we received in schools was so jaundiced against Assyria & Babylon, for reasons I shall not try to mention nor explain here, suffice to say that the region in which it was made has been at war with itself and others for millennia.  Assyria & Babylon and Persia for that matter had truly great civilisations for their time and those people arose out of a cauldron of activity in which their cultural and technological skills grew exponentially. I just love this prism. For me it represents (not in its words which are about wars and conquests but in its skills of the art of writing and making) a great human achievement. Compare it to an ipad. If in 2,000 years time a being stumbles upon an ipad & this prism I think it will be the prism which would communicate more once that being deciphers the content into its own language. The ipad will communicate little because the waves (of the internet?) which inform it will no longer be around, so it’ll be just a piece of plastic with a few words like ‘ipad’ marked on it.

My first real opportunity to make a book(s) influenced by the prism came recently when I saw an ad in Sarah Bodman’s BAN p49  http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/pdf/newspdfs/103.pdf

‘Call for artists’ books: The Great Silk Road International Artist’s Book project Organiser: International Association “Artist’s Book” Curators: Vasily Vlasov, Mikhail Pogarsky Project theme: Artists’ Books unite the world! The art of communication The international art project “The Great Silk Road” is aimed at the development of communication and cooperation between countries and peoples. Two thousand years ago, the Silk Road united the Far East and Europe and has been the main channel for the exchange of goods, technologies and knowledge. Today we offer to renew the exchange on a new level of art’s message, ideas and images through the artist’s book. The Great Silk Road is primarily a metaphor. We do not limit artists in the methods of the interpretation of this theme. We are open to any bright images and ideas aimed at communication between East and West, North and South, art and society; on building productive dialogue between countries and peoples. If politicians cannot find a common language for each other, they will have the help of the international language of art.’

BANG off I go again. I don’t have time to create any artisbuk right now, but anyroadup am gonna! And I did and I sent it to Moscow and I shall shew it to yez when I get a message from Russia saying they gorrit and they’ll have it in the show. Why did I bother to do it when am so busy working on other books like my long awaited (by at least half a dozen long term suffering friends + one or two masochists) New Shrewd Idiot? Well.

I may win a trophy like Ray-yall Madrid did? [Idjet! there’s no trophies to be won. The real trophy is being able to participate, innit?]

 

The Silk Road is what I DO! It features loud in much of my work since my MA studies in 2013. The Silk Road was much frequented and writ about by my old mate Gurdjeff (Gurdjieff or Gurdzhiev if you like) who talked of the Remarkable wise men he found tucked away in places like Bokhara and Samarkand on the old Silk Road. So I just cracked on and did it.

silk rd buk 2 sm

The result is my first hexagonal prism book. Using binds and words and artefacts together to indicate my fascinations which my bookbinding mentor Mike Sullivan kindly said, ‘…they look very exciting…’.

Everyone who sees them seems to like them. I have made 3 slightly differing versions each of which can be shown in different placements, all of which are reminiscent of ancient stupas built by various peoples moving out of India onto the Old Silk Road trail to China taking one of the most valuable of human commodities with them, ideas. And creative, beneficial, positive notions are, for me, the best.

What else happened this week?

Well I turned up at Firstsite for another impromptu lesson in break-dance from ‘Isaac’. He runs classes there as part of the YAK youth project. He’s so tolerant and patient and I have now nearly ‘got’ the first six steps in the basic break-dance form.

Blu Bella sm

I have installed the Quark2016 package and am working thru some teething issues with one of their engineers. Well I think I am, I hope she didn’t get back over the weekend cos they don’t work over (British) bank hols in India, not cos she’s given up on me as a dead loss. Hopefully once solved I shall rapidly (I hope) put my 1970’s illustrations into the New Shrewd Idiot. I got to get it finished and finally out. I have a new idea for the wrap-over cover. I have a self portrait what I done just before I left my home town for college days.

a self P 1969 v sm

I may use that with three flower picture above it representing three young women who play important parts in the book; a bluebell, a rose and a camellia. It’s wonderful where an unshackled mind takes you innit?

and in tribute to those who drowned at The Battle of Jutland, both sides.

a first poppy 2016 sm

 

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Mugenkyo Taiko drumbeats.

Like Picasso like Leonardo I have got an ‘o’ in my name!

Mine’s at the front though,

O’Kennedy

Oh my big O!

 

Like Picasso like Leonardo I make images

Like them I do the best I can

O’Kennedy

Oh my big O!

 

We do do do what we can do

When we are able

And when we are unable

To do do do what we can do

We do the best we can O.

 

The “Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers” were at Colchester Arts Centre on Thursday 19 May 2016!

 Miyuke Williams & Neil Mackie, founder members of the group.

 

“Mugen” means limitless and “Mugenkyo” means limitless reverberation, expressing our belief that Taiko has no limitations, no musical or geographical boundaries; the reverberations of Taiko (drums) spread throughout the world.

 

Mugenkyo’s aim is to develop taiko drumming as a contemporary European performing art, both in its pure form, and in collaboration with other artists & disciplines.

 

I have taken photos many years now. I have put myself out sometimes to be in the right place. This week I went to Colchester Arts Centre to try take some photos of a bunch of folks called Mugenkyo who play Japanese drums.

bang bong sm

They said yes you can, and I did do, Oh and how!

a hans up sm

They came out better than I could have dreamed so!

a 3 women drummers sm

So here some of em are so you can enjoy the sounds you see.

I sat reight at front about a metre from the drums and the noise was intensely beautiful.

a markus guhe smMarkus Guhe

I just snapped and snapped away until my battery ran out, near the end. They played about 2 hours of solid beat. Incredible.

a Stella ChanStella Chan

a brendon neil2 smBrendon Neill

Yukari Ichise + Art Lee sm

They were joined by Art Lee & Yukari Ichise from Tokara who remain based in Japan where Art is the only non-Japanese to win the Solo Grand Championship in Osuwa Daiko.

It was my privilege to observe and hear this wonderful ensemble!

London Calling

 

I spent all me life avoiding London but London’s Calling me nowadays.

I find I like wandering wondering about the streets attractive in me old age. Last time I found it like that wer when I were about 20 year old but then I used to wonder what I’d do with me life. Now I wonder what I did with it! But once again London seems to beckon with opportunity. I know from experience that she beckons falsely. Or rather she appears to offer stuff and rarely delivers the goods.  Or maybe it’s me? Maybe with my vivid imagination I get all excited and imagine maybe I’ll get that long yearned ‘big’ break’? But almost 50 years of experience has proved the break never comes. Only small, gradual, arduous, hard-earned breaks come, which often made me look like an overnight success. And often that’s how long the opportunities lasted, overnight. Break of day and they’re gone, and I missed ‘em.

bryan and mary
Bryan & Mary + old friends “Chester” West, Glynis West.

Recently I had the privilege to be invited to Bryan & Mary Talbot’s book launch at the Cartoon Museum. On my way there I donated four photos from my 70’s & 80’s photos of ‘rock stars’ to that lovely camera museum/café called The Camera Museum at 44 Museum which they have been kind enough to exhibit downstairs. My first London photo exhibition, London beckons!

So, Bryan & Mary’s book launch at the Cartoon museum proved to be a regeneration of old acquaintance and a finding new folks to share time with. It is great to see how successful they have become and it was lovely to see London mayoral candidate Lee Harris talk about the good old days when he published Bryan’s work (and mine, in BStorm 2) in the seminal graphic novel on Chester P Hackenbush in Brainstorm Comics, mid 1970’s.

Bryan, Mary, Richard “Chester” West, Glynis West, Lee Harris.Lee reminiscing

I only had ma little mobile phone ‘camera’ with me so these images are tiny and poor but I reckon I might do a page of ‘comic’ with them sometime? That’d be nice but right now I ain’t got much time as am working on 3 different books simultaneously (there’s reasons for that I cannot go into here), stupid I know but someone’s got to prepare my books and that pleasure befalls to me.

Here’s some low res snaps:

bryan aloneBryan stands alone

mi beachy belleComic book heroes never grow old

Sweet tattooed lady looking like Minnie the Minx.

Not only the best tattoo but also a PhD in Maths she had.

david mckean + munch

A wonderful work by Dave McKean.

It was nice to speak with James Bacon who came from Forbidden Planet to write about Bryan & Mary’s book launch (and his companion, the tattooed lady). You can see his report here:

http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/2016/comics-mary-bryan-talbot-launch-
red-virgin

People came from afar to this event and I was lucky to meet, momentarily, another of Bryan & Mary’s accomplices in the world of graphic novels, Kate Charlesworth who had come by train from Edinburgh. Kate collaborated with B & M on Sally Heathcote. http://www.katecharlesworth.com/

A week later I turned up at Colchester Arts Centre for one of the Wednesday gigs and boy was it ‘special’, thanks again Ant. Liz Aggiss presented her ‘Slap & Tickle’ show. Liz, an old friend of Ken Campbell’s, who seemed to me to be the female Ken Campbell (she took that as the compliment it was intended), was scarily AAAA-Mazing!

I loved her show in which she literally had (juggling & pingpong) balls in her bloomers. I won’t try to explain, just look at this: https://vimeo.com/151371749

Now back to ma tree boks.

Twinkle Toes Walker goes Walken

Chris-Walken

Watch this GREAT dance by Christopher Walken https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6ta5Y3xAhk

“I tink OI’ll do dat dance misen.”

step dancer2

And here’s me old mate Duncan Walker mimicking him.

Twinkle Toes Walker does a Walken.

a tinker sm

Then advises me,

“Nah then lad, tha’s gottu git thar olde buk owt.”

OK 19.4.16

So we all experience self-doubt and of course as I work thru the final prep of the final version for print of the SI sometimes I wonder if it’s worth continuing? My old pal IEPWoolard says, “Yes, you have to Pete”. Another friend, whose opinion I take very highly, talks of the ‘yes to carry on’ but also the need to make sure that when copies are ‘thesis-bound’ that there is also some stitching along the bound end to preserve it for not just 20 years but for 100 years plus when, ‘It’ll be of even more interest (because of its context)’. That’s not to say he’s saying my ‘writing’ is of a great importance, no, it’s the statement/evidence that the work brings with it of a time, a time in the early 1970’s. Now, that time is already gone, it’s history and my ‘book’ is (further evidence) of life then.

19.04.2016

I had a nice little fillip today when a member of the staff at Firstsite said of my Outlaw Pete gig, ‘It was an out of body experience.’ She had not watched my whole gig. Said what she saw was very strange. I retorted, ‘That’s good cos I never want to be perceived as ‘normal’.’

20th April 2016

I just laid page 70 into my Quark* layout for my ‘Shrewd Idiot’ (SI) buk. It happens to be 3 drawings I done back in 1971 (December) of the character I had realised that I had just ‘invented/created’ AppleHeadedMan aka Apulhed. Well in fact two of ‘him’ and one of PearHeadedWoman. The sketches fit nicely over the two pages of the SI manuscript which lay over one page of the new version. There’s lots of different links there, including the visual link of the two intersecting on the page. In fact I never again drew Pearheadgirl, never ever even to today, which is fascinating, cos Applehead could have had a constant ‘fruity’ companion thru the past 40 years. In fact in the notes on that same page I am forlornly saying that my then erstwhile girl-friend was not replying to my letters and that when we were to meet up again, as planned around my 21st birthday, it would only be ‘as friends (not lovers)’. In fact we never were to meet up again, not so far anyway. Maybe the slipping away of Pearheadgirl is a living analogy of that aspect or sequence of things which happened then did not happen in my life? [An analogy is ‘a form of reasoning in which one thing is inferred to be similar to another thing in a certain respect, on the basis of the known similarity between the things in other respects’.] The disappearance of Pearheadgirl is synonymous with the non-re-appearance of ‘Rose’ in ma life.

Quark* is one of the two big packages which offer design strategies for print layout. Although I found them difficult to make contact with I went up to their address in London and did find a human being who was very helpful. So much so I have decided to stay with them and move to their new ‘2016’ version despite the fact that my printman’s company uses a rival design package, which will cause some difficulties because one system is not compatible with the other. I am relatively unschooled in ‘graphic-design’ and have a lot to learn but I always did find ‘learning on the job’ my preferred route to skills and knowledge. Creating this new version of my SI buk is arduous, mostly because I insist on using scans of typed script from the 1980’s manuscript when re-typing it into a modern digi-form would be much much easier. All my life I tended to do things the hard way, as my SI buk still shows. Its form & content show an idiot (idjet) at work but he end result he knows will be, well let’s just say, very different. And ‘all me own original werk’.