Category Archives: a fairer country

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 https://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/jul/20/ken-loach-documentary-first-screening)

…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.

http://www.colchesterartsociety.co.uk/page_2249082.html

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.

 

 

 

 

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I’m not that interested in Party Politics

Post on Sunday 3rd May

OK in this run up to a general election in GB I have a lot to tell yez.

This is where I was at 4am on 5.3.15- I pick up books on Virginia Woolf (by Quentin Bell) and Bert Irwin and think about the ‘talent’ and the way we fight for or pursue outlets for our vision. There are so many talented humans that I could not even keep up with reading about all of them.

In contrast we in Britain are daily blasted by the so called ‘neutral-balanced-fair’ BBC television and national press with images and reports about the leeches on society called ‘politicians’ far outweighing their effectiveness, well their positive, good quality effect anyway. I see less reports about artists, writers and other creatives in fact there are relatively few and we usually have to wait up late to see them and they are more often than not presented by one or two people who went to Oxbridge. I don’t wish to be inundated with what one Tory Tosser says about how the country’s problems are all the fault of the other parties and vice versa. I want those who guide the country’s footsteps to be focussed on doing a good job rather than driving ideologies and party one-upships. I swore when Thatcher was in power that if she got back in I’d leave the country, I never did, but why should I it’s my country, at least since my grandparents immigrated from Ireland and their ancestors came over with the other Celts from Europe and their ancestors came from India and before that Africa. We are all immigrants be blowed. As you can see I am holding my tongue about my opinion of politicians.

Then there’s the dirismic dirge of the so called class system in Britain, which still rages on epitomised by the Conservative Party which was propelled to power after the Blair & Brown incompetence allowed Conservatives to bring right wing ideology to the fore again. I fear for GB. It appears that all that was fought for and seemingly achieved between 1900 – 1976 with sacrifice in two ‘world’ wars, general strikes, the 60’s and pre-Thatcher 70’s has been obliterated by ‘Thatcherism which continues in Cameron’s and his public schoolboy lot. There’s been record numbers of people evicted since the Conservatives took over. The rich get rich and the poor be damned.

I prefer not to participate but you get drawn in, last night I watched an incredibly informed programme about the emancipation of women. It really brought to light the stranglehold held by ‘men’ (predominantly led by upper class twits from the public school and university system who became ‘leaders’ of government (govern-meant?), armed forces, church, industry etc including the exploitation of women (including sexual servility) and children (mines & mills) and of ‘Empire aka Common-wealth’. The upper class twit which fought hard to prevent the workers and women being part of the process of decision making has returned with a vengeance. Top down model prevails. What to do? What can I do? Little really in direct terms, little else but survive. Churn my own cabbage patch, create my art output. With all I have striven for my output has its own voice. I carry the torch lit by my parents Jack & Jennie Kennedy born 1918, participants in the second world conflict. And the likes of Roy & Don Fraser and Gordon Horlock, Ted Walker who were also there, fighting for GB’s survival and sadly for the Empire too, which collapsed after 1945.they all thought they fought for a fairer society and most died without seeing the advent of Cameron’s boys altho they did witness Thatcher whose policies these tarts follow.

Trouble is there’s no real chance of one of the smaller parties like the Greens getting enough votes to topple the power structure, so a vote for green is almost a lost vote. IF I am wrong please let me know. I am only 64 and just over a half and I still have little idea or interest in Westminster. I love what I have seen of the SNP leader Sturgeon. She seems human, sharp, informed and heading for an important place at Westminster, but altho am a Scot I cannot vote for her/party. Milliband doesn’t seem to have captured the popular vote and I can hardly think of another Labour politician of any whumpf. LibDems burnt their boats on all sides and are heading for political wilderness.

I am tempted not to vote but that’s apathetic and shows no respect for those who battled for the right of voters etc.

It is apparent to me that GB is a divided country in several ways. Scotland would like to be free of and outside the control of Westminster. The rich like to run away to tax havens with their financial gains. The poor can’t afford to even buy a first house nor meet the rent. I grew up thinking that things were getting better, a more even society and that ‘dream’ was blasted away by Thatcher’s lot who began the interference with state education which continues with a vengeance today and has spread into many institutions even hospices. I fear for the Health Services and social services and state benefits. The three leaders of the three main parties are all public school products. The characters have disappeared from politics.

The best I can do is to carry on doing my art & writing for my own satisfaction despite the dysfunctional political state of this country.

I hope whoever wins the election will run the country fairly and help make life betterer. I hope they make the life of our galleries and theatres easier to run with more support. I hope they ensure fair wages for all and an end to excessive zero hours jobs. I hope they can create a more inclusive system of governing which brings in the qualities of other even opposing parties. I hope this country can gradually become a better place, a meritocracy rather than a jobs for the ones privileged to get privileged access to ‘education’. The idea that students have to run up massive debts to get an education is wrong, a country MUST HAVE a highly educated and informed population and education is a lifelong mission. When I was growing up in the 50’s moving slowly from the strictures of post world war 2 rationing of food and money we were led to believe if we worked really hard and ‘got qualifications’ we would do well and help this country to grow better. I am not sure if it happened in my working life, or if it will in my childers’ lifetimes. Bob Dylan said in the 60’s John Kennedy told him what you need to make the country grow- Anita Eckberg, Sophia Loren…country’ll grow.

I am not using any art works in this blArt cos that’ll show what the world is without art, a lot duller.

My old mate Chris sent me this after reading the above blArt:

“Well said Pete. I’ll be voting Labour and door bashing on election day to remind people like me to vote Labour. But the real politics is said through art. I understand now, at my advanced age (the owl of Minerva flies only at dusk), that art is everything and it says everything so succinctly which is why the Tories always give art such a bad time. Keep blarting and arting, Pete because you and it are a force for good.”

Thanks Chris, altho I still don’t know where to place my vote. In the area where I live the sky is rather blue. So, if there is a Labour candidate I’ve not heard much from them. Have had a couple of pamphlets thru me door from other groups. AND one from a Conservative politician in another area because she seems to have so much money behind her she has even put up wooded boards with her mane in white against a blue background. Somebody knocked one down but it was re-erected within hours.

The Staggering Effulgent Effrontery of The Frockwearer Man.

Today I made the Beatles age of 64, never thought that song may apply to moi! I am posting an old foto of this old fart wherein I still got as much hair as I want and all me tooths, that’s the tooth. As reglia followers of this blArb know, I don’t look the same man now!

pk larfin birtdae bouy

Pete aged about 22

Also, on me boithday, I had choices and I chose to do my classes as usual; I got a great mat for doing Vinyassa Yoga with Sam in th’morn, she really push us thru our paces but so gently you hardly notice what yer doing til you suddenly find your left toe in your right ear and Master Ch’n returned after several weeks away to try teaching me Tai Chi. His patience with me is astounding as I am such a thick-head when it comes to taking in anything which is repetitive and ‘form’. But they say it’s good fer ya as ye gits older and older, Tai Chi that is. It’s a funny ting but when i try persuade my kids in their mid-twenties to take on the challenges and benefits of tai chi & yoga they just mock me. They don’t know what they’re missing.

SEEE– The  Staggering Effusive Effulgent Effrontery of Grayson Perry and His Smashing Pot on Channel 4 really impressed upon me this week in the ch4 show wherein he talked to several people who had had life-altering activities in recent times. I must apologise for grouping him, in a recent blArt, alongside Ermine & Berst, I was really really wrong, he is an extremely good artist which I already acknowledge (even though he draws unwell or rather ham-fistedly his imagery is ‘different’, it is worked and it is interesting) but the sum of his output, which must now include being a television presenter, is quite stunning. His broad reach of technique (and his knowledge of different arts and cultures) is impressive. His way with people and his calm questioning of their motives and self-view are also highly informed and seem very natural, maybe coming from his real-lating-ships with his cross dressing and his sessions together with his wife’s psychotherapeutic knowledge?

I done a phew wrong tings this week like on Thursday I posted my first video on utube http://youtu.be/OUkrryYo8AU and getting excited at actually having done it I then posted two more before gaining reaction to the thirst. Gavin said, ‘There’s a thin line between deep & dull’ and my videos aim to be deep but came over rather dull. No bounce, no dance in the words as I read them with some difficulty. The words in the poems are put together and re-manipulated over a prolonged period of thinking and study and consideration and changing and re-moulding and all. the video was slapped together impromptu-ly and doesn’t do justice to the words. However, I must thank my friend Dave Doughty for pushing me into doing the thing to the ultimate aim of posting up on utube which now I have cottoned on to how to, I shall do it some more. Whether I need to use utube or not is a different question? I can probably upload video to my blArtspot on wordpress, we’ll have to see. I don’t think my utube video is about to get as many hits as Susan Boyle did, is it. Her voice on the first day after her stunning performance on X Factor was a revelation, my voice on the vids is just, dull. I have sent it out to about 20 folk and the resounding silence seems to say sumptin to me and I shall be back, that’s not a threat it’s a promise, am working on them, I tink I know watti need to do. My old mate DW has made it very clear.

As it happens I got a copy of Jackie Leven’s The Mystery Of Love Is Greater Than The Mystery Of Death cd http://www.discogs.com/Jackie-Leven-The-Mystery-Of-Love-Is-Greater-Than-The-Mystery-Of-Death/release/1106041 with the beautiful track Inside This Clay Jug on with Robert Bly, American Poet, reciting Kabir’s poem. NOW THERE’S A VOICE! WOW. Bly tells the poem in such verve & enunciation, so articulating the simple words, so describing them with his mouth instrument. There’s something to live up to, to aim for to aspire to and I have a very very long way to travel. I cannot even recite my own words, the readings had no life in them. I hope, like when alcoholics realise their dependence, now I have realised my crap skills I shall begin to rectify. Watch this space if you can bear it. watch this too for a lovely mention of the three harmonious faiths of China; Buddhism, Confusianism & Taoism. I sometimes, recently, have wondered if i am barking up the right tree with my new works on the clay jug theme. this wonderful trip down the yangtse says YES, yse pete you are on the right trail.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04mj989/sacred-rivers-with-simon-reeve-3-the-yangtze

They say Wilko Johnson has had his cancer taken away, ‘Big as a baby’ he said the growth was. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-29727632 They had only given him only a few months to live then Addenbrookes found it was a rare form which they could cut out and they did. Hoe excellent is that, int that gud? I took some great photos of him back in the late 70’s, in Chompsferd of all places!

 wilko hands in waistcoat sm

Also Simon Bacon, whose sculptures have been on at Sculpt Gallery Tiptree and with Debra at the Affordable art fair in Londres is gud news too. Simon did his MA at the same time I did mine and I loved his work then. I am so glad he’s started to sell.

 2si 5

On Sunday I popped into Londin toon and did a dummy run for when I have to get to the RA for 08.30 hrs in November. I dropped into the Poetry Library, Southbank, London (they recently bought my latest book and one I did in collaboration with the world-renowned author on ‘typo’ and a mean letterpress printer himself, David Jury) and I checked out some E E Cummins. What I find interesting, altho I know little about his background I expect he must have been fairly well off to get to Harvard in 1911, what I find interesting is that I (who were poor) went to college for 4 years and in a way I was therefore given the time to think and write. Which would have been a rare commodity to a working class boy back in the time of WW1 & 2. So, in the 1960’s when there seemed a lot of hope that our world would grow out of wars and become a better place, despite Vietnam, I was allowed to stretch my mind in philosophy and art etc. I retired from my day job in c.2009 and have since returned to my dreams, as a writer artist (altho I must say I never stopped ‘making’ my outputs). The reason I mention it is cos therefore, I had similar opportunities to much more ‘privileged classes’ of previous generations. I think my book of 1975 was in fact a pioneering piece;

ap 001

totally my own work, self published and with altered spellings. The pioneering was not so much in the content as in leading the field in artists book, I published around the same time as some significant players whom those who study artisbuk  in the States will be aware of were self publishing etc.

I used altered spelling in the above book (1975) as you can see from its title attached, the yellow cover, title in handwritten ink. Recently I have returned to use altered spellings, which in my private journals I never stopped doing, but I now find that there is a whole range of possibilities with its use. Miriam Patchen commended me on that book, made some reference to her friend E E Cummings. If you go into my ‘about’ at the top of this blUrt you’ll find her comments.

Watch out for my next BLART, it’s gonna be a big appropriation from Neil Young, John Peck and others. the ubu site is all about appropriation nowadays but Picabia appropriated Neitzche in the early 20th century and i appropriated Picabia in the recent collaboration with David. Hee Hee.