Luke Walker spent a month preparing this incredible 14 minute long video about my work and recent books. He’s done an astounding job.
THANK YOU so much Luke, it’s incredible and people are loving it already.
Luke Walker spent a month preparing this incredible 14 minute long video about my work and recent books. He’s done an astounding job.
THANK YOU so much Luke, it’s incredible and people are loving it already.
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:
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).
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.
*[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.
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.
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.
PS Please excuse my not mailing this — but I don’t know your new address.”
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.
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/
The time for my launch of my new (set of) book(s) on the theme of The Shrewd Idiot looms ever closer. Anyone who can get to the Colchester Arts Centre [It’s in the street behind The Mercury Theatre, you can park across the road at St Mary’s Car Park.] would be welcome at 2pm Sunday November 5th. entry is free I’ll be talking about my books and doing some zany Performance Art (PA) pieces which emanate from the pages of the books.
The Shrewd Idiot book isn’t entirely chronological, there’s flashbacks in it and altho I wrote it in the 70’s, I completed it in 2016 adding a final layer of comments from this man in his mid-sixties to the younger self. In this PA I have a dialogue with my younger selves too. Some of the exchanges may cause ripples of smiles because the young Idiot involves in activities the old Idiot would never admit to, would he?
Back in the early 70’s Neil Young was flagging up the issue of ‘Mother Nature on the run’ and his song After The Gold Rush depicts his dream about contact with other life forms which fits well with my work from around that time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKM5dIANXE8 so I’m featuring a rendition of his song performed by my friend Richard Spencer.
I shall talk, mime (badly), dance (not quite so badly) through the hand-made books’ content and have a Q&A session at th’end.
I also bring in devices & influences from performances I have seen recently in London, like Trajal Harrell https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/jul/23/trajal-harrell-hoochie-koochie-barbican-observer-review and Kazuo Ohno (who was born in Hakodate City, Hokkaido, on my birthdate October 27 but in 1906 http://www.kazuoohnodancestudio.com/english/kazuo/ ), Geumhyung Jeong, Rocio Molina and Michael Clark.
As is the ‘won’t’ of many a big gallery they wouldn’t allow photos so I drew them! [altho’ you’ll see I couldn’t remember Geumhyung Jeong’s name as I sat drawing illicitly on the floor of Tate Mod.
That’s the trouble wit big galleries, they’re buying into PA but they have no idea what the drift of PA is! PA is an open field in which anything goes. Please bring yer camras and click away madly at my gigs.
There’s only one extant photo of Apulhed and that was taken in 1973! But there are more now, some taken in 2017 at my Arnolfini gig of course. Thanks Tanya, thanks Hannah! See https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/an-idjet-suckseeds/
I also have Richard Spencer to sing a little at the beginning Bless his cotton socks.
Other artists who help my script are Lady Gaga, Van the Man, Iggy Pop and Bruno Mars.
The Shrewd Idiot book will be on sale in different forms; ‘The A3 deluxe version’, ‘The A4 Perfect Bound version’, The Appleheadman Sees book (A5) and the ‘A3 deluxe PK 1968-73’ which is 27 picture I did tween 1968-73.
I created Apulhed (aka Appleheadman) in 1971 and he has had many many different looks in different media like comics, children’s drama (I did a big show with 14 Children playing my characters when I was the first artist of the new millennium to have an exhibition in Colchester Library), books like my Apul-One 1975.
Here’s a cover with newly done colours of the 1979 Happy Apulhed ‘comic’.
In this gig Apulhed will make a special appearance in a beautiful guise created especially for this gig and that I have never before used, I think it will cause quite a stir. Doors open 13.30 hrs, PA starts at 2pm (14.00 hrs) ends at c. 3pm. Then there’s 30 minutes in which I shall be around to sign any copies of the books you buys and answer any questions about my works.
‘Lift me like an olive branch
Be my Homeward Dove’
On Friday night I took part in a series of readings for EducAid in Colchester Sixth form college. The main contribution was my Beuys ‘Sliding thru Eurasia’ poym. However I want to read one of Cohen’s pieces if given the time.
Thanks to Jim Pey for giving me the opportunity to ‘perform’ last night and my friends Richard & Shelley who joined me and really seemed to enjoy the evening of poems & readings in Colchester on behalf of EducAid. http://www.educaid.org.uk/
This is from my Inside This Clay Jug poems.
Here he comes now over the hill! Sliding … Gliding…
Joseph Beuys with his Celtic roots
Dancing down the backbone of England
Along the Pennine Way
Please “Don’t mention the War”
He served the Luftwaffe in the air up there
(appropriate bomber diving sounds)
We each of us has a cross to bear
He says he piloted a Stuka bomber
Then he all fell down and broke his crown.
He went flying from the cock-pit and cracked his skull
Maybe that was what loosened his slates?
So who were these mysterious ‘Tartar Shamans’
Who pulled him from the burning wreck?
They were Siberian nomads
Who wrapped him up in felt and fat
Which later on he used for sculpture, just like that!
Swooping… down to Poland on a sled
In his waistcoat with his homburg on his head
He alone put the wrongs of the 3rd Reich to bed
‘Join up’ he told Eurasia… ‘Show me your friendly nature’
‘Everyone can be an artist’ (don’t you know?)
‘Just let your honey in all directions flow
Draw yourself in to the spiral vor…text
Why don’t you come with me little man On My Magic Blackboard Ride
Meet up with Hermann Hesse
Fellow Wanderer on the mountain paths
Dancing down the Backbone of Italy
Along the Appennine Way
We are not humans We are dancers
Swirling and whirling
Along the road down Destiny’s Inscrutable Was
It was lovely to see some of the audience smiling as I moved thru mi Beuys ‘poym’ “Explaining Beuys To A Dead Woodpecker”. Funny as you look around when you’re doing summat like that. There’s a nervousness at trying to remember the words and the nuances, yet nowadays I feel can bring in some of the audience with a little look. I try to gauge reaction/interest, altho it’s never a perfect science, I think I am learning to ‘read’ an audience better. That allows me to stay with something that’s ‘working’ and move quickly on if it isn’t.
“Dance Me To The End Of Love” Len Cohen
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love
I did my take on reading the above song as a poem and I thought it wonderful how a couple of the other participants recounted their Len Cohen experiences reflected against my story of not seeing the man, whereas they had! It was not so much a mourning as a real delight in what he stood for and emanated with a panache and quite grace. I agree with the last speaker who said that he, on having the opportunity to meet and speak with LC, said thru a post event party-champagne haze, that Len was good no matter what others may think. It still applies. I loved when he did Glastonbury and gained thousands of new fans. Here he sings ‘Anthem’- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJSlpEb_jFk
There’s a poignant story about the girl in his song Marianne which is told in the Telegraph Obituary on 19.8.2016 about Cohen’s erstwhile love Marianne Ihlen who “spent her time since 1979 working in the personnel department of an oil company, painting and exploring Tibetan Buddhism.She remained in touch with Cohen, though when he performed in Oslo in 2010, she attended the concert without going backstage. But she sensed that he knew she was there.
When Cohen heard that Marianne was dying of leukaemia, he wrote to her: “Well, Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and for your wisdom … but now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.””
Now he can join her again without hurting anyone as we are all destined to travel down the inscrutable road of destiny, one day.
I was lucky to get tickets to see Dave McKean at the Tate Brit on Sunday 13th doing his Black Dog gig and talk . I am hoping to be able to get some more live images of him. Here’s one of the results from last time I saw him.
Leonard Cohen, I have been a fan since someone compared my artworks to his sad songs in a derogatory way in about 1976. I love his use of words. The way he counterbalanced beauty and high note with the beast and his low tones.
During my previous incarnation as a teacher I managed to ‘sing’ his ‘Dance me to the end of love’ to an entrapped audience of other teachers (they deserved it!). Luckily my assistant was a young Canadian who could sing well. Half way thru the ‘performance’ the Head of Science stole the show by dancing into the centre of the stage dressed in a tutu. I think Leonard would have smiled benignly!
Which he’s doing now, looking back at the human pace.
Shalom & Namaste!
LC was born a Jew and later adopted Buddhist monk Sasaki Roshi as his mentor.
all images ©pete kennedy 2016
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. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/olympics/2016/08/13/jessica-ennis-hill-rio-2016-olympics-heptathlon-live-updates/ 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.
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.
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.
[You don’t see Lorryhead like this cos he’s sitting in a lotus position (what I cannot do, yet) in the glass case.]
The opening was good with Robert Blythe (of Akenfield fame) giving an inspired speech.
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.
I thank Paul who took some great snaps of me in front of my pic with the dog licking me.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Guru cat contemplatin
Well he may not be so beautiful but he keeps trying.
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…
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.
I decided I have done too many photos when faced with the fact that I could spend hundreds of hours editing in the snaps for my SIB but really they’d take away from my intent, which was to do a buk with writings & drawings in, not a book of snaps.
2. My mate IEPW has taken some of the most wonderful photos of dancers at the Birmingham Royal Ballet but for copyrite reasons you will probably never see them. He had to sign a disclaimer preventing his using them before they’d let him take them. The good thing is the Japanese principal ballerina who featured in many of them has had a beautiful mural of about ten of the images given to her and she then gave it to her parents who have it in pride of place in Japan. There’s a cleft stick here. The copyright on the images will always belong to IEPW cos he’s the maker of those images, but he had to sign the disclaimer. It’s the ballet company cutting its nose off to spite its face. The more folk who see his beautiful photos the more folk would go to the ballet. IEPW is an ace photographer. Talk about an artist suffering for his art. He had a big old stroke a few years ago and was in th’ospital for 4 months learning how to use his limbs again. Never did get full usage back in some. But he still insists on dragging himself down to the ballet to take his incredible snaps. I hope he gets his next stage in the Royal Photo society ratings. His bird photos are second to none.
I came across the dreaded ‘ban on photography’ ting today, that thing where the place yer visiting says ‘Look No Photos’. It happens in galleries, at gigs, in museums and so many other places. In tonight’s case it was not the Arts Centre which prevented photography, it was the star attraction’s team. (I’ve been lucky to get some incredible images at Colchester Arts with permission before now, see my blog about the Japanese drumming https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/mugenkyo-taiko-drumbeats/) Photographs help spread the word about an artist’s work and can generate interest in and inform people who weren’t there.
Sorry to go on about this. Really, my life would have been a lot easier if I had never taken any photos, I’d have had more time for the important things in life like cleaning my car, house and garden.
I can understand the need to prevent flash from cameras which must distract and even hurt the actor’s eyes. There’s always an issue of care. The photo-taker needs to take care not to distract or annoy the stage occupier and of course other observers. So many times I’ve wished to record (my admiration for/love of) the work of an artist only to find there’s a ban on photography.
I went along to see Eddie Izzard tonite do his show in French. I learnt that I must do some swotting on my French, cos it’s worse than his and his is quite good. His show is really good but I think he could (and probli has) just stand and utter jibberish and he’d be funny. ‘It’s the way he tells em.’
But my decision not to take any more snaps cos I got millions I never use was reinforced by the order that went out not to take any photos of him during the show. Great. I had no choice cos I was banned from taking them and you know what am like, if I’d gotten permission to snap, you know, I would have. And that would av added another 30 or more images to my vast store. I would have used them in ma blog but now I cannot cos I not got none did i?
The best I could do on the night were to snap a gargoyle on the outside of the building what houses Colchester arts where he were playing his act in 3 tongues, German then French then Anglaise. Like I say he were very good. So is the gargoyle.
Anyway, I have decided to use up some of the snaps I took this week and there’s no bar on my doing that cos the flowers don’t say you can’t. I decided to use the flowers from my garden cos they are there now at this early summer and we are only about 9 days away from a very important moment in the calendar- the longest day!
Enjoy my flowers, just like Eddie.
I have had a spate of poppies shoot up this week.
This little fella is a subtle treasure, don’t know its name but I know someone who would.
And my hexagonal book arrived in Moscow, it’s OK.
The BALTIC market of Books Artists Make is on this coming weekend but I won’t be there. I had nothing new to show cos the SIB is taking so long to complete. I hope BALTIC books has loads of visitors, it’s a great book fair.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
See you at the Laurie Anderson gig at Tate Modern this Friday nicht if you can get there. Bless.
October 27th 2015, on my 65th birthday, shortly after doing the IPA [International Performance Association] fortnight, I become an OAP (Old Age Pensioner) and realize that I am an also an OPA (Opsimath Performance Artist). For those what don’t know (like I didn’t before I accidentally discovered the word whilst checking the meaning of ‘opulent’) an ‘opsimath’ is ‘a person who learns late in life’ and I certainly realised my love of Performance Art (PArt) late in my 50 years as a artisbloke.
A new stage name, ‘DANI OOPAPA’ or ‘OMI OOPAPA’ maybe?
It may be an idea if you read this blog about my work watti dun in 2013, it’ll let you know where am coming from:
The rest of this is about the last year (2015) & my ‘links’ (not) with some gallery spaces and it will soon go into my ‘about’ in my wordpress site. The knowledge, skills & experience I have accumulated did not come easily, it came as the result of determined effort and my desire to learn then apply my abilities. Colchester has been my cultural centre since 1975 and I have exhibited there several times; one man shows in Trinity Street gallery (1994), the main Library gallery (2000) and the Red Lion Bookshop (2014) and participation in several group shows in particular at the Minories as the Final show of my MA qualification (2013) followed by a solo ‘performance’ there.
Jan 26th 2015
On the basis of my thinking that it may be better to fill the walls with my work^, than close the gallery with the walls effectively empty I make an offer to Firstsite Gallery Colchester.
(^ work which has seen 25 solo shows in Essex since 1978 and has been loved by many of those who came into the shows who indicated their feelings in the visitors’ books),
‘Dear curators,[the head curator (MC, see below) had quit the gallery for a plum job in a big gallery in Germany leaving deputies i/c]
I was in firstsite on Saturday 17th January and I noticed the gallery is almost empty at the moment and one of the assistants told me it is not scheduled to have a new show until March- I feel impelled to ask you to give me the freedom of your walls and spaces and I’ll mount a big show based of the work I have produced in the past 48 years.
Thank you for your email and for sending your proposal for an exhibition at Firstsite.
I’m afraid that we are unable to host an exhibition of your work in the coming weeks. The galleries are committed to other activities during this period, including essential maintenance and a 5-week long residency by Maria Loboda, during which time she will fabricate a new work in situ. Furthermore, as I’m sure you are aware, our exhibitions are originated and developed over much longer periods of time and through extended conversations with the artist.
31 Jan 2015’
Shortly after sending me that short note she quit the gallery.
Here’s some links to the blArts (my word to combine my Blatherings on Art) I did about firstsite:
About Bruce McLean- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/bruce-mclean-not-trendy-but-twitchy/
Two part report on firstsite symposium- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/so-we-live-in-a-digital-cage-part-2/
Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Norwich University of the Arts gives a talk about Henri Chopin- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/henri-chopin-and-others-who-got-forgot/
The Man from New York talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/andrew-roths-talk-at-first-site-last-saturday/
Ann Stephen from Australia’s talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/first-site-talk-success-but/
Feb 2015– The ‘free community place for arts’ in Colchester called Slack Space did a lovely ‘artists book’ show:
Also in February the Art Council withdrew the funding from Firstsite gallery and I did a blog about making an offer to help the crestfallen director who on his appointment had said on being announced as Firstsite’s new director in November 2012, “The positioning of Firstsite within the local community is essential to my new role. I hope to extend Firstsite’s mission in bringing excellent art to everyone, supporting artists from the region to develop their careers and demonstrating the value that contemporary visual art brings to society.”
“To Matthew Rowe
I would like to meet you and discuss some of the issues that abide with you and the wonderful firstsite gallery along with its inherited problems and its legacy. I once had a long chat with Michelle Cotton (MC) which she began reluctantly but gradually warmed to and eventually said, ‘You should meet the new director Pete’
I also had a small article in Venue which flagged up the wonderful work of Bruce McLean and how well it looked in the space. I had tried to get Michelle to inform me about which show would follow McLean so I could prepare a longer article for Venue.
I would like to help you to move the gallery forward, why because I have lived in Essex since 1973 and taught art for many years and I see the need for such a big and potentially great space for art(s). At present it is nowhere near reaching its potential and that for many reasons, many of which you know some you may not be aware of.
So, if you would like to meet so we can talk and see if there are ways I can help please respond.
Pete Kennedy MA, DMS, Adv Dip, etc (I didn’t inc. an honor bestowed on me c.2008 RA Doubtful!) 14.2.15”.
MR never bothered to answer my offer yet the local MP and the rep of the Art Council had answered me, somewhat condescendingly I’ll have you know, the MP was ousted at the next election.
My blog abart it:
In April Matthew Rowe Director left:
my blog about it, ignore the title, that was not intended to rejoice, I felt sad about MR and MC and all them what tried to bring advanced art ideas to Colchester but their intent altho well-meant was not so well based on the needs of the local community which yes would benefit from ‘education’ into 20th century+ art but it’s ‘the way you tell ‘em’ which counts. BE WARNED there’s a lot about my work in this and all ma blogs:
Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th April
I attend the BABE book art fair at the Arnolfini where I share a table with David Jury. On the Sunday I do my reading and dance about my poems which are featured in my two books called ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’. It was performed in a room they call the lecture room but it had no atmosphere at all. Chris Leonard a friend of over 40 years who lives near Bristol turned up, my mate Dave Doughty came down from Essex to film it and two other folk came plus the gallery helper who had to be there. It was really hard mustering any enthusiasm in such circumstances but those who came all seemed to enjoy it (?). It was invaluable doing it with so little an audience because it brought home the maxim, “The Show must go on” and taught me by experience how to lift myself up when the chips seemed to be down. It was good practice too.
Ere’s ma blog on BABE.
4pm Pete Kennedy ‘readings’- Inspired by Kabir’s poem ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ (transformed from Rabindranath Tagore’s translation by Robert Bly and recited by Pete) Also, various renditions from the original book on Six Mystics- G Batch (G…iorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev. B…euys Joseph. A…ngeli Silesii. T…enzin Gyatso. C…arl Gustav Jung & H…ermann Hesse.), Inside This Clay Jug and Inside This Great Jug.
April 2015, Interim Director Anthony Roberts takes over for a year, my blArt:
I join a guided tour led by the new Director, blog:
July- I go to the BALTIC gallery Gateshead book fair and do my Outlaw Pete Intervention, everything begins to fall into place:
Baltic Artists Book Market 2015
After my gig at BALTIC I realise I am only skirting around the edges of Performance Art these past 40 years so decide to join the IPA http://www.ipapress.i-pa.org/ in October which leads to possibly one of the most momentous shifts in my thinking and doing in my whole life as a artisbloke:
Then another blog, yes it HAS started:
So, I start to try to get ‘out there’ into the PA community. I have to say sadly my initial tentative approach to LADA has been a damp squib and my attempt to contact the organisers of SPILL fest also hit the rocks. Here’s some blogs:
My links to IPA have proved much more warm and rewarding. During the ‘pop up performances’ with IPA I return to the Arnolfini and do some much more well received performance art and we use the ‘lecture room’ as a base in which to change our clothes. I did an impromptu engagement with two little boys in a puddle outside the gallery thinking nobody was watching and I got these lovely words from two of our course leaders (Vest & Page) who happened to be in the café looking on proceedings as I splashed with the kids.
“Thanks for your warmth and smiles during the IPA days – we will always remember you jumping with the kid in the little water pond on the streets in front of Arnolfini.
Keep being magic and shining, V&A
And I shall never forget their wonderful performance at Arnolfini! I was touched & inspired bigtime and I learned masses from observing them.
November I take part in the day of Performance Art at Firstsite gallery.
Next in November I had a table at the Hadleigh books fair:
And here’s a blog about my first ever article in an American Journal (JAB):
December– Interim Director Anthony Roberts leaves Firstsite before a year is up (with my artist’s math I make it 9 months, just long enuf for a babe to gestate?) BUT he managed to get over £2 million support from Art Council before he goes. Thanks Ant yer dun a great job cos you turned the old tanker around, now it’s headed in the right direction, let’s hope it don’t come aground again. What an end to the year and an era at Firstsite gallery in Colchester, these two events are the final things which Anthony Roberts oversaw as ‘interim’ Director before taking his leave! He left the space in a much better place than he had found it in.
The future at Firstsite.
Now their work begins and they’ve a lot of work to do. The gallery is nowhere near a fully functioning gallery and socially inviting/accepted place. The budge that AR gave it is just that, a budge. It requires a mammoth transformation in its view of the world, local, national & international. Maybe more importantly the local council needs to sort out the locality, that in immediate proximity to the gallery as well as the whole town which over the past 10 years has sunk. It needs imagination and creativity, just as does the gallery. The roads around the gallery, especially the closing of entry into Queen St from the High St., need urgent attention vis a vis right to drive without impunity. The parking access near the gallery needs making available and accessible. The access to and from the car park in Priory St. needs sorting as does the total access and right to use the field outside the gallery. Visitors to the gallery should enjoy complete 360 degree access to the ground around the gallery.
Postscript- I can’t, or couldn’t, detach from the idea that my art was worthy and the world did me a dis-service by not attaching to it and giving me loads a money and praise and love and attachment. Then I look see what those results brought for the likes of Michael Jackson, John Lennon & Elvis the Pelvis and I can see I don’t want loads a money and praise and love and attachment. I am now more ready to give up my forlorn attempts to be up there with the famous ones! I think myself lucky that I never made it. I no longer ‘mind’, even if I did in the past. I have had my moments, I’ve had positive feedback which has gone into the burner and helped energise me as did criticisms cos often I’d not take them laying down, I’d up and at ‘em. I’d make my next ting beat better. All the time I wanted to improve. That’s why I find myself an opsimath, a ‘person who learns late in life’, or should that be an Opzzie-Mouth in praise of Ozzie Ozbourne?)
So you see my links to galleries in the past 50 yearns has been rather limited, you could say galleries are my limited company; Pete Kennedy Galleries Ltd. However, onwards and now I’m an Opsimath! My next blog will be about relationships, according to TED they make your life last much longer if they’re good! Here’s my final blog for this lot:
What an end to the year and an era at Firstsite gallery in Colchester!
here’s Jamie and Gordon sitting regaining energy in the wonderful space.
Jamie Dodds Exhibition
Jamie’s show is a lovely compact collection of his paintings, prints and books which suits the gallery in its Essex home with Jamie’s subjects being mostly sailing craft.
Jamie seen showing G. some boat thing in one of his prints.
I was lucky to be able to chat with Jamie as we walked around the show with Gordon Wright, an old friend who used to work with him at Cook’s boatyard in Maldon back in the 1970’s. I’ll let the images tell the story.
It was a lovely re-union. Jamie’s catalogue designed by his wife with photos by his daughter is on sale at the most reasonable price of £6. Have I told you my joke about that sick squid?
Scottee is a self-proclaimed ‘Fat Gay Queen’ who does Performance Art and cabaret who put on a tremendous show for two nights in Firstsite.See this wonderful vid of him trying to fit into a box- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBshGTTApTY
His two ‘assistants’ (who proclaim their hatred for him in a hash tag, #wehatehim) kept deadpan disinterested faces all night.
Scottee introduced several other mostly gay acts, all of which were very entertaining. I didn’t remember their names but I’ll let images I took tell their tales. Top left was a talented singer who sang Adele better than Adele, but with rather changed words. The sailor is a wonderful take off of Kenneth Williams. The ‘woman’ in the yellow coat was a hinnie frae newcastle. And finally Scottee is seen swallowing a big balloon.
In my next blog I’ll be looking back on my experiences in 2015. Also I shall be completely re-doing my ‘About’ so it’s just about the last year in my art and my links with some gallery spaces. I shall post it just after New Year’s Day, so enjoy the parties and don’t overdo it!