Category Archives: CAS

Impregnable BBC, Tate Too!

Every week I see famous folk sit on programmes at the Beeb and talk about their latest book. I turn to my wife and assure her its ok they’ll be doing a special feature about my book(s) tomorrow. But as you know tomorrow never comes. I decided to do something about it instead of moaning all the time. I shall write to a book programme at Beeb I thought. So I prepared this letter:

To “Open Book, BBC Radio 4, Broadcasting House, London W1A 1AA

I am an artist/author and have recently written, illustrated, designed and published a new book, The Shrewd Idiot. I would like to have it considered for a slot on your book programme. Below are two blogs about its launch in Colchester Arts Centre. I shall be doing another (London) Launch at the Book Art Book shop near Old St station on 26 January 2018

The first blog is about the launch gig:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/shrewd-idiots-book-launch-at-cac/

This second one has some great photos of the gig but you’ll have to skip all my mention of a Van gig I went to see in Birmingham. I live near Colchester so can get into London easily if anyone wishes to see my book(s).

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/am-entranced-all-over/

Then I went on th’Internet to get the email of someone I could send it to. Their page politely informed me that they don’t review books but I could join a writers group and write to a title then submit it to see if I could gain a commission for a play or drama etc. But that’s not what am interested in. I’ve done the writing, laid out the pages and published the book to my own high expectations and I just want a couple of minutes on The One Show or Graham Norton to talk to the viewers about my efforts and the books’ contents and the beautiful (I think) art in them. But like you, I know it’s never going to happen.

hens teeths

*[I know, you know, we all know my chances of getting ‘exposure’ in any institutional outlet; galleries, TV, radio, shops etc is about as possible as hens growing teeth…and I mean big teeth like a lions! But I like to embarrass them by having the temerity to arsk to be let in. In fact I have had considerable ‘success’ over the past 50 years since I began my work as a thinking adult and am not complaining.]

And The Tate too!

Each time I publish a book with an ISBN number I show it to reps of the Tate bookshop, the most recent being of course The Shrewd Idiot the guy got back to me and said, “I can see great effort has been expended but it’s a pass from me I’m afraid.” I can understand his reluctance because afterall they wouldn’t sell at Tate cos am not famous. It’s not just Tate that’s hard to get a foot in the door to. It’s most all of them, I know, I have tried for 50 years. I had to learn to do without them. I survived. I already had more than 21 solo exhibitions in my adopted homeland, Essex. In some quarters they call me Burnley Pete. But I only lived in Bly for 15 years, 1954-69 and I have lived in Essex since 1973, that’s 44 years and counting. However you can take the boy out of Lancashire but you can’t take the Burnley out of this lad. I still speak in th’dulcit tones of ma home town and am proud to have spent my formative years there where I learned a lot.

I do have some good news, Rough Trade. Rough Trade have taken a copy of The Shrewd Idiot into their Brick Lane shop and placed some stuff about it on their website. Here’s a link to it: https://roughtrade.com/gb/books/the-shrewd-idiot

The story in The Shrewd Idiot predates the start of Rough Trade’s trading (1976) as the book’s about my days between Burnley & Exeter & Bournemouth between 1969-73. And I have it on good authority that the book takes you back to the early 1970s, like a time machine.

After my gig to launch the book at Colchester Arts Centre I had a debrief with the Honorary Doctor who runs tha place and he said I should cut it to 20 minutes and he’ll consider finding it a slot sometime. That gives me incentive to go back to my drawing board and tighten the whole thing up. I learnt a great deal doing it there and I know what not to do next time and what I’d aim to do to improve it.

JAt & KC almost done
John Atkins, Dylan Thomas & Ken Campbell meet to discuss alien life out there.

Talking Colchester there’s an exhibition of work by the members of The Colchester Art Society on at the Minories and I had two prints accepted and hung. They did not hang my surreal portrait of John Atkins talking about UFOs with Ken Campbell cos it was rather big, which is a shame, cos John was one of the town’s favourite authors ever. The bloke smoking is the ghost of Dylan Thomas who John used to play darts with in London when he was editor of Tribune. Here’s the obit I helped prepare for the Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/may/18/obituary-john-atkins

Ken appeared at Colchester Arts Centre several times and was one of the HonDoctor’s favourite ever performers. They’re both up in the clouds now talking to their hearts’ content. Bless them both, I loved them both.

Someone else we loved, Pauline, a friend for most of the years we’ve lived in Essex, (who used to teach in the Maldon area before moving to Colchester), died last week from the effects of cancer. Pauline was renowned for her dry wit and for ‘calling a pot black,’ because she pulled no punches when commenting on hypocrisy and false values… she also called her black cat Boudicca. Sadly she won’t be able to go to her second daughter’s wedding in a few weeks’ time, which she was hoping to do, but she was there to help her daughter choose the dress. Bless her too. She’ll be watching from a safe distance.

That reminds me of a lovely story about the great physicist Richard Feynman. He had married a woman who was the love of his life but she contracted a life shortening condition whilst still quite young. Feynman continued to communicate to her after she died and eventually sent her a parcel on which he put, ‘Address unknown’. Saying,

“My darling wife, I do adore you.

I love my wife. My wife is dead.

Rich.

PS Please excuse my not mailing this — but I don’t know your new address.”

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/02/i-love-my-wife-my-wife-is-dead.html

That’s beautiful, like Feynman was too. He makes science seem possible, he enthused me to look at science AND he played bongos. On that bong I shall finish.

a snow on buda sm
Buddha in the snow today outside my house

And as the snow takes over throughout Britain, if you find yourself hunkering down with not so much to do, why not go back to look at this blArt I did summarising my year of 2015 in which I became an OPA (Opsimath Performance Artist). https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/lookin-back/

 

Advertisements

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.