Jeopardy On Road & Roof

Just a quick note, no blArt this week cos am off to ma birthplace in Glasgow first time in 62 years! Am going on to Mugen taiko to do a weekend japanese drum session.

I have sent out the first chapter of my book to be The Shrewd idiot on Dropbox, so if you’d like to see it drop me a line. Then I can send yu a link to the file which is 137MB. The book will be different again cos i have to reduce the wordsize so the scans of the typescript look better on the page.

Below is a previous blarty pants winge about the driving on Britain’s roads.

My life may have been in jeopardy thrice last week. I was on me way to Tai Chi, a peaceful martial art practice when going down this back country lane I saw a tiny car coming toward me in a one and a half car road and they could have pulled over in to a carpassby which was on their side (two women in blue short sleeved shirts which indicated they were in some kind of uniform) but seemed to want to squeeze by me in non-existent space. As the layby was on their side I just continued driving which seemed to rile the driver who glegged at me aggressively. I drove on and stuck my arm out of my window pointing to the layby. THEN, she stopped and began reversing at speed. Nutter?

a jeopardy rd
Distance tween A to B must be at least 15, maybe 20 m. How does a vehicle travelling at 30 mph get that far in the time it took me to drive across the road (A-C) which is about 3m over which I never dawdle?

Next I was returning home and as we approach a right turn into our village there’s a bend up ahead which cars come round that we cannot see but so long as you don’t dawdle, if there’s no sign of a vehicle as you look normally there’s plenty of time to whip into the right turn. Not that near fateful day! Noo Noo. The only way a car is going to crash into me is if they’re going over the 30 limit and CRASH he nearly did! From around the bend around which he cannot see either and he should be taking due care as it is well into a 30 limit, came flying a big four by four with some sort of caterpillar truck in a trailer on his back end and he didn’t have time enough to stop. I had stopped, thinking, “If I carry on I’ll run into him”. I was now in his lane. He then did a manoeuvre which was the only one which could save his trailer going into him and him and all going head on into me. He turned his wheel right and went into the opposite lane where luckily the other cars hadn’t arrived yet. So we all escaped serious injury and that. But people do drive too fast and I am probably guilty of same sometimes altho I try to stick to speed limits and drive with care. But many don’t, then they wonder why the ditches are so frequently occupied by cars with ‘police aware’ signs?

Then there’s the danger of trying to fix a long broken double glazed window. That may seems fairly straightforward yes but not so when you got to be standing on the top of a pitched conservatory roof. Our window’s been damaged for years. I never contemplated mending it cos I cannot do plastic double glazing can I? Or can I? Nowadays we have utube vids to tell us how to do it all. And kind glaziers who’ll give advice in the knowledge that when you fail after hours of heartache they’ll be called in to fix it. And hours of heartache it was. I mended the locking mechanism so that the handle works for the first time in years. I got the replacement window for a good price. Then you just pop out the stays and drop in the window and pop back the stays BUT it doesn’t say in the vids that those stays won’t snap back into the corners very easily, nor do they tell you that they won’t easily pop back into the tinychannels they’re supposed to snap back to. And trying to do it while balancing on an 18cm bit of wood beneath which the glass beckons. And trying to force plastic which won’t be forced into gaps that seem too small and you have to bend the stay out and try to get it into the mitred angle of each corner and if one isn’t in perfec the rest don’t stand a chance and you’re pushing against a half open window and then the stay pops out suddenly and you lunge forward and the stay drops and slides down the roof and you have to go thru th’open window down onto the chair, down the stairs and out in the yard to retrieve the stay then retrace yer steps back onto the roof and after doing that twenty times three of the four stays pop out at once and slide in different directions off the roof and you have to ask yersen do I call the man in now or do I have just one last, a hundredth last, go? And on that go the thing just slides gently into place and you can clean the window and go off to Zumba which you nearly forgot about.

If you don’t at first succeed try try again.

Or maybe call the man in earlier?

I was going to compare all three jeopardies to things I have had to deal with in the art world but that’s too much of a manoeuvre and the analogies wouldn’t necessarily be understood. Except the last one maybe, “If you don’t at first succeed try try again”? Well I applied that so many times I believe that’s why my wife finds me always trying.

But, ‘you win some, you lose some’ may be a better analogy?

So, I’ve survived long enough for this my 200th blArty piece. And it’s the first without any images…unless of course you see words as images…well some folk do.

Well alright I succumbed and put some images in.

And am wondering if I shud start a crusade or maybe nowadays the word campaign is preferred to crusade? A campaign to slow cars down on all our country roads. It’d be to little avail cos drivers out there all think they are Stirling Moss still, don’t they. And the bigger the truck the faster they drive?

Which reminds me I saw a lorry take the (blind from both directions) bend nearest the letter B, he took it so fast he went about 2 metres over into the other side. Luckily the woman coming the other way was far enough back from the bend that he did not hit her. It was not a small truck, it was BIG, am sure it shouldn’t be on that road. I happened to be going his way and he sped all the way to Colchester then, when it drops to a 30 mile per hour zone he continued well above that, I lost him cos I stuck to the rulkes. I know I never stick to the rules in ‘art’, well it’s not going to kill or maim anyone if I delibritli Miss Spell, is it?

So an old friend of mine who read ma blArt sent these words today, “I find it very interesting how much danger centres round transportation and the acquisition of a vehicle licence [it seems?] is a licence to kill!… It does tend to be a good argument for an expanded and free safe public transport system…. maybe in another millennium? The frustration and anger folk express through their vehicles has always fascinated me…the shift in personality which a vehicle seems to exacerbate in a negative way I find quite extraordinary.”

His idea for an expanded and free safe public transport system may be possible in some parts of GB but no way can I see it ever coming to Essex where the local bus picks up in the village once in a blue moon, AND they threatened to stop that service recently! Publice transport and cycle safe roads? maybe in another millennium!

Layout 1

Midnite Ramblin?

1 full moon on Mckel shed sm
August Moon over McKell roof

This blArt’s about how some folk fail to present their wares and/or themselves in the best light, whilst some folk just present themselves and it seems like whatever they do just works, like Jagger did, or still does? I mention Mick Taylor, I think the best by far guitarist the Stones ever had who never looked anything special because I think he is more interested in making beautiful music whilst Jagger, Richards and Woods are all more like a band of gypsy troubadours whose image is more vital than what they play out. Jagger struts and swaggers and minces and dances very very badly most times, but he looks great doing those tings. It’s the way he tell it!

Great item Poor Presentation!

I was driving along one weekenday and listening to Brian Matthew’s Sounds of the Sixties and he played Simon Dupree and the Big Sound. He said Dupree’s group had had several attempts to have hits before to no avail with blues stuff and that this was essentially a one hit wonder. So right he was. In this vid we see Dupree presenting the song ‘live’ in a really poor film but he sort of takes the mick out of the song, which must have made him lots o dosh.

Sad really cos it is truly a great song with evocative words but it shows that as we move thru life we don’t always know which of the things we churn out are in fact the quality items. Sometimes it’s obvious to all, like Bowie’s China Girl, but more often than not it takes time for things to tell, to gel, to sell even.

Here’s an Infinitely better production of Kite:

Talking of presentation, there’s Mick Taylor who probably made the sound of the Stones during their most productive and successful phase (for me). He was understated and seemed to take a back seat behind Jagger and Richards eventually succumbing to the trials and tribulations that followed the stones altho’ not dying like the man who’s shoes he filled, Brian Jones.

I have always thought the version os ‘Knocking’ on Sticky Fingers is one of the best tracks they ever laid down and was convinced Taylor was the mainstay of the sound. This vid shows that was the case and Mick Taylor is still knocking and playing great with the stones at Glastonbury recently:

Here’s more with his version of Jimi’s Red House

This is supposedly his ‘best ever solo’ in this song

with Carla Olson (who’s she?) see

Which brings me to another thing-fame! Carla is obviously good and highly thought of but I hadn’t heard of her til today, which brings me back to the start of the blArt, it’s to do with the way you are presented and again, it’s to do with the way you tell ‘em.

jagga struts 76 sm
Enter a caption

Jagger struts and swaggers and minces in my 1976 photo.

So, I’ll keep tellin em as long as I can sometimes in word,or paintings, or in photos. Maybe one day I may do my own ‘Kite’ or play my ting like ringin a bell, just like Johnnie Winter did! Meanwhile I continue to practice.




Golden moments Weekender


WOW! Burnley Ballerina gerl Sophie Hitchen gets a Bronze as the first ever Brit Hammer medallist! Whilst Burnley Football Club had two FIRSTS at the weekend; their first game back in the Prem and their first defeat in 2016. If they’d have been given the penalty they should have got then maybe they’d have drawn to continue their 8 month unbeaten run?

 OAS- Olympic Athletes Supreme- This time round at the Olympics Mo got Gold, Jess took Silver and Greg managed a Bronze on a super Saturday. What a feat by Ennis after having her son and all that entails and there’s no shame being beaten by a youngster who did a personal best in most of the 7 parts of her heptathlon.  In fact Thiam had knackered her arm and only managed ONE javelin hurl and it was again, a personal best. Then on th’Sunday Max got TWO golds in events no Brit had ever gotten any before, Andy fought and gained Gold again against a battling smiling tiring Del Potro who was such a sportsman.

OFF- Olympics Fall Farces  –

some sad things at the Olympics too:

The 10.000 m open water swim is so full of stupid pushing and kicking and the end is so stupid! The Greek bloke who won it didn’t hit the board correctly so he was only given second. The Brit was disqualified on the finish yet he had been battered so much on the run in.

The young Irish lad who pasted the Russian boxer in 2 of the 3 rounds only to find the judges gave it to the Russian.

And finally the farce that was the start of the Keirin cycling was better than watching Groucho and his Marx Brothers run riot.

Layout 1

OAP- Old Artis Pete- Has a new logo

And gets born again in Colchester Art Society’s beautiful Exhibition in Colchester’s Minories gallery! It appears that the old school has taken a deliberate step into a much more adventurous future and I think they have mounted a tremendous show, good for them.

a lorryhed

PK takes (his own) Bronze in the shape of Lorryhead which you’ll see in the glass case as you turn right into the first room.

lorryhed on side

[You don’t see Lorryhead like this cos he’s sitting in a lotus position (what I cannot do, yet) in the glass case.]

a blythe talk sm

The opening was good with Robert Blythe (of Akenfield fame) giving an inspired speech.

a jd + medal

Jamie Dodds got the inaugural medal for his contribution to CAS. And I had the pleasure of meeting Volker from Dusseldorf who likened my painting of Ken & John to his German great artist Max Beckmann, that’s a first.

1 pete an ken 2 best sm

I thank Paul who took some great snaps of me in front of my pic with the dog licking me.

a liz on sax

I thank Liz for making the music so well on her sax. It was lovely when she played Moondance after I had been ranting on about Van! Later she played Procul Harem’s great tune Whiter Shade of Pale.

I also learned that 3 copies of my 1975 artist’s buk Apul-One have sold in the Firstsite Gallery down the alleyway from the Minories, they never informed me though (we know that communication has never been their great forte) but thanks to a front of house girl named Alice I found out because she bothered to investigate. THANK YOU Alice.

a pete in frunt o Aud 61 sm

And that would be Poet Pete has just watched this speech by Len Cohen, it made me cry, like Len does. But I think it’s beautiful, it says it all.

and here’s another bit of Len which reveals more about the way we win & lose in life’s lessons. Like Dylan sang, ‘I once had her in the palm of my hand’, I think Len is singing of his old love, a love that never dies and the need to treasure things whilst we have them because everything is fleeting and eventually everything returns to the source.

So, if you love someone, tell them, tell them right now. That reminds me it’s my 37th wedding anniversary on the 18th August. I remember all those folks who travelled from the length and breadth of this old country to honour me & Polly with their presence. As it happens you think it’ll go on forever, that all of them will be there so you can see them again and again but life goes on and off and many of our dear friends are no longer padding on this terrain. I loved you all and thank you for all you brought to our wedding way back then. And, you can be assured, I am still trying!


Simpler blog part 2.

OK so I have stopped attempting to change the world (for what I consider the better…after all that’s only my opinion, innit?) and now I just do ma simpler blArt.

This one’s about:

My old windsurfer board, Colchester Art Society’s (CAS) forthcoming 70th anniversary show, a talk at Tate Brit, my pose for Benton Hall challenge, a general celebration of life, oh and a decision by 14-18NOW against supporting my work which I’ll put first as I don’t wish to end on a down note…In fact it’s not a downer, it’s a relief.

I asked 14-18NOW if they could see their way to support my idea for a book and a  Performance Art PA piece about the part played by ordinary folks in WW1. I am determined to do both things and, like I have always done, create them from my never ending personal financial store which presently is my pension. I have this crazy idea that at 65 I can do all the things I never managed to do (much, apart from 21 solo exhibitions including lots of new (PA) bits over the years between the 70s and when I retired hurt frae teaching in 2009 or should I say re-tyred, or even retried?) whilst I had to work a day job to feed my wife and 2 and a half kids…the half being the cats, hamsters, wabbits and occasional bird from budgies to those damn tweety little tings, oh and guinea pigs and silkies…

[Pete this is not being simple!

OK, I’ll not wander off the topic, I believe ‘digress’ is the correct werd]

So, my idea is to write a book which talks about all the folks in my home town who were scuttled off to war in 1914 and put images of them in from their obits in the Burnley papers of the day. Then I had this idea to build a ‘trench’ with two turrets, one each side of the stage and then I play Tommy and Gerry, scurrying back and fro giving the other waller some hell and getting myself blown up as both men. Then I had this idea to have dummies made of the aristocrats who created the war and machinated its continuous slaughter using donkeys to lead the lions in the trenches (as they say). Audience members would have been invited to throw tomatoes at the dummies whilst emitting slang low life curses about their megalomania. But it’s a stupid idea anyway and as 14-18NOW so aptly put it, “We … regret that we have decided not to offer you one of our co-commissions.  We did not believe that your project would have the reach and impact that we are seeking for our final season in 2018.” Neither did the plans of the generals on all sides in 14-18THEN!

What do I know about potential reach? All I do know is the men and women who suffered so much tween 14-18, then some more in 1926, then more in 39-45, then some in the miner’s strike…

(so well portrayed by Ken Loach

…all deserve to have their stories told. But not from the ‘official’ viewpoint which so often has belittled the millions who were sacrificed. It has not been ‘playing cricket’ to let loose on the war-mongers who would send thousands of men over the top to be mown down by machine guns, not just once then stop it after realising the fruitlessness of it, no but many more times. A dead strategy leads to dead men and annihilated towns etc. It is happening now in Syria. And Ukraine. And Tibet. But nobody talks about it. And that is what my ‘play’ would be about. So in a way it’s good to not get support cos it relieves me of sticking my neck out and getting banned for 40 years like Ken Loach did and I don’t have 40 years left to play with anyway. So, that’s it then.

a board s

My old windsurfer board:

It sure looks like I am trying to sell it butNO! In fact I am trying to overcome my reticence of clearing out unused tut. I have kept and accumulated everything that came into my life, except people of course, of those I just have memories, at least for the time being, until that goes too. So you can understand when I tell you that I cannot open my studio door let alone work in it. I had to stop windsurfing several years ago cos my hands were suffering and I couldn’t hold the boom. But there is the board, hoarded. Yesterday I plucked up the courage to put it out for sale on our front, it didn’t sell yet cos our front is quite obscured in a little village, but it’s the thought that counts (my ability to sell don’t count that’s fer sure, never has).

My pose for Benton Hall Olympic challenge photo?

Well who wouldn’t want a free month membership? They asked us to pose in sports gear and put an image up on the Benton Hall facebook site so I wore ma Tai Chi top and took ma Tai Chi sword and did a pose, see below. The photo what gits the most ‘likes’ wins a month free.

A show & tell talk at Tate brit?

Last Friday I went to Tate archive where this Irish lad brought out some letters written by Vanessa Bell, Michaels Rothenstein & Nicholson and some drawings by Paul & John Nash and Robert Graves from around about 1418then. I went up cos I were researching my Somme Boys idea (again) and I thought it may cast more light on those dark times which indeed it did. I heard the phrase ‘Lions led by Donkeys’ for the first time from the mouth of that very same Irish lad. And the phrase resonated with my synopsis that the war was created and run by megalomaniacal monarchs and twits from the so-called ‘Upper Classes’. It was good to see John Nash’s sketch of some fat generals coming round to inspect the troops. And fascinating to see how Vanessa fought to be able to give conscientious objector Duncan Grant a home and job during the war, if he’d been from a working class family they’d have just jailed him. I always saw it as crazy punishing people who didn’t want to kill other men but war is like that innit, you gets medals for killing when in peace time you’d get hung (in 1418backthen until hanging was abolished, in England, they still execute folk in some countries but.

[Too heavy Pete]

The Colchester Art Society’s (CAS) forthcoming 70th anniversary show opens this Saturday for two weeks.

It’s 48 years since I first submitted any work for an Art group summer show, that was back in me home toon of Burnley in 1968 where i had two portrait paintings (I promise to dig out the one I still have) accepted and mentioned in the Burnley Express, so I should be good at submissions by now but I found recently you still get those nerves as to whether your best efforts will gain the nod of acceptance from the group. Then I said to myself, that nervousness is a deep rut learning thing (see Guy Claxton on that) and it’s like a bad habit, have more faith in yourself, you’re no longer that 17 year old novice. I don’t like joining groups. Especially after my history of failed attempts at the RA show where after about 5 submissions I finally had two accepted by the panel and then they weren’t even hung. RA sent me a letter congratulating me and said it were an honour to be ‘awarded’ ‘Doubtful’ status. That had cost me about £120 to NOT be seen by the RA visitors etc, some honour. So I never bothered again. I know, the nation’s in mourning, but I can’t be throwing away 120 quid every time _carriage & submit fees). One year I know someone who paid to submit an artist’s book there and they cancelled the category after allegedly not having enough entries in the division, but they din’t reimburse her.

Recently I was persuaded to join CAS recently and submit some artworks fer their show which I did and much to my delight they’ve accepted 3 works and hung two very beautifully. My tribute oil of local writer John Atkins and national hero funny man Ken Campbell stands or hangs rather in a space which you can’t help but see as you enter the big main room and even tho I say it myself [Nobody else would you tweet] it looks real good. All those hours slogging away over a lot of turps, linseed oil and canvas on dark lonely nights has eventually paid off.

a CAS submit aug 16 jAt + ken sm

This was one of two painting as accepted by the RA in 2005 but not hung, that’s why I have RA Doubtful after my name on ma cards. [Now, you’re slippin back Pete]

I won’t mention the fact that my brakes failed just after I had delivered my work to the Minories in Colchester because that would worry you too much, but they did. And it’s funny innit how such a simple thing can have such unsettling consequences. Not that I managed to crash or ought like that, but just driving yer car up to th’garige to have them tell you you got a leaking brake pipe or summat and then you place the car in the compound and get a lift off yer wife to your business for the day and then at the end of the day the garage rings and says that you didn’t leave the key and you say I most certainly did and they say just check your jacket pockets sir and you do and there they are those sneaky keys what just must have jumped back into my pocket. So the car won’t be done today obviously.

What’s a general celebration of life then?

Well of course I didn’t have a prang, that’s enough to celebrate innit? And I took more photos of beautiful tings this week.

a chili guru 2 s

Guru cat contemplatin

aha shiney sword sm

Well he may not be so beautiful but he keeps trying.

snoop rainbows

Here’s Snoop having a rest unda a rainbow in our ‘ouse, which is a very very fine house, with two cats in th’yard…

sunset monster sm
sunset over West Ham ground at Stratford last Friday night.

OK I realise this was not a simpler blArt, I’ll try harder nextime.

Bye fer noo, I bid you good night, or g’day wherever you are.





A Simpler look at Life.

A Simpler look at Life.

As you know many of my BlArts are about pretty heavy stuff and strange stuff and stuff most folk aren’t bee arsed abArt most of the time.

This week I am taking a much simpler look, more direct, at (my experience of) life.

Mostimes when I come to ‘write’ I put my concerned hat on and go, ‘Now, what’s concerning me now?’ but there’s a lot goes on of beauty in ma life what I don’t blart on about like:

When I did my first degree I did a dissertation about modern Japanese art and I came across their paintings which were so like photos. Why bother painting it when you can take the photo, on a Japanese camera even!

Here’s some flowers with raindrops on

a mornin glorya rain on ivy s

Rainbow lights, they come into ma living room early morning when the sun shines, nice.

a rainbos

I made a friend this week, but only for a couple of days. Twas a big old bumble bee. I found him swimming, or rather, drowning in my cats’ drinking bowl.

chili drinks 2 s
cat guarding bowl from bee trespassers

I plucked him out one day last week and put him safe. Next I found him walking round in some clover.

a bee in clova s
notice his left wing is a bit frazzled

I noticed walking was his only means of gerrin about cos one of his wings was badly damaged. So, if he’d tried to fly he would have only gone around in circles like a whirly dervished bee. The following day I found him back in his swimming pool again! So, I put my bronze medallion life saving into action and pulled him out agin. Put him safe agin too. Or two. Next day I found him curled up and died. Well, I got him two extra days on this planet, maybe he’ll return as an Olympic swimmer?

and here’s a flower pic I took a couple of weeks ago in the Tibetan Peace Garden in the Imperial War Museum.

a yeller fleurs

Happy Days, no heavy stuffs