Category Archives: ethics

When I went doon to Oxford toon

Just gate-crashing two ‘parties des chimpanzes’ doesn’t make me a member!

 I give up. No, that does not mean I am giving up but I am stopping chasing & struggling to get ‘noticed’, the forlorn hope of breaking thru into the in crowd (who wants to rub shoulder with the likes of Blokeney, Ermine, Buerst and all?) in the ‘gallery’.

In 1975 when my assault on the walls began I could maybe have been called an angry young man cos they wouldn’t give my work the light of day even tho many folks loved my product. Then, over the tears you realise ‘they’ don’t know more than nor even as much as you, they just (maybe, probably) went to the right school, just like the politicians who run the show. And talking about the right schools. I have a bone to pick with the Bodleian. (Ian Watmore on leaving his post of CEO at the ‘dysfunctional’ F A is reported to have referred to it as a chimpanzees’ tea party, which is similar to what I saw in the two Oxford places I visited this weekend. Only chimps are invited to tea, not chumps like me!)

The wayzegoose book fair was a pretty useless flop for me and Wendy, except for an opportunity for me learning what i need to do to improve etc, no sales.  Overall Oxford trip wer a good experience really, with some downs. Had to fight toot & tail to get into Bodleian on a reader’s card. And altho there are Kafkaesque aspecs to the Bod set up, once inside the Bod I was treated really well by the librarians who ran around showing me how to find things. I also have to thank Alan Brown for all his help getting me information about the collections and the way in! I LOVED seeing some of the Rot then Keifer buks, I now KNOW where my main thrust must be in future. Collaboration with DJ will no doubt bring more out of me in that ‘ancient’ vein if he can stand the strain of working with this idiot, but my next few buks are a return to my theme of original, surreal and unsettling subversive stuff. I see myself as an under-miner, a sapper really, but do those I sap see me as a sop? That’s good cos i can catch them unawares. Funnily i got 4 ‘likes’ overnight (6 now, thanks to all of yez that ‘liked’ this blArt!) for a pretty wingey blog, plus one ‘follow*’, all of which adds to the circle I am creating of interested parties. Thanks Maureen for saying this is humourous & informative too!

* You know if you press ‘follow’ you’ll get notified (not certified) of all my future blArty bits. Tread carefully won’t you. It appears 34 folks out there follow this  heap o’ thorts. Tank yez all, makes me feel good too. Makes me feel that all the effort what goes into doing this weekly blarting is getting thru, at least to 34 folks in this wide wonderous werld.

http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/the-material-word-the-6th-poe-86763

The Poetry Library at Southbank will be displaying the collaboration book in November. Altho there is a question flying around, can you see it? Is it a book? Is it a Blogger? Is he a Flybyniter? Or is he just a Fly Writer or a Flawed Bloke Flying by the Seat O’ his Pants? Well, the question whether my book of poems done with DJ is a book or not is surely already answered in the article I did for The Blue Notebook Vol 8 No 2, April 2014 Lucy Lippard’s Activism and Artists’ Books Activate Me. ‘To codex or not to codex’ that is the question Lucy Lippard’s loose leaf catalogues helped me solve. The article considers the need or no need to bind sheets to make a book. It comprises a brief summary of Lippard’s talk Exhibition Histories on 11.04.13, a consideration of B. S. Johnson’s book The Unfortunates, the work of Don Celender in the BABE show in Bristol’s Arnolfini in April 2013. Also, an introduction to some of my own artist’s books some of which incorporate loose leaves.’

My boxed artist’s book called Apul-Gold Metamorphosis with careful attention to font size as well as considering paper, dimension and feel. It has alternate card and semi-transparent pages. The box is black with gold around the edges resembling an old bible but when opened it is more like a jewellery box with felt surrounds and gold ribbons.You can turn the loose pages which are, ironically, sequential because the holes in each page grow gradually to reveal a golden (moulded plastic) page with words on sculpted from twigs making the ‘word’ material or ‘real’. Behind this sheet is the final surprise, a sculpture of Apulhed.

jo 080Left- concave sculpted face, right- word as material object, on penultimate page.

Also my most recent book adorned with castor oil leaves on front and back which opens like a ‘normal’ book but inside houses seven prints in a pouch which are ‘bound’ in place by two strips of leather. All of the materials used were carefully considered to show textures and colours which resonate with the subject matter inside- the story of six mystics and their words (which is a precursor to the new books ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’) kept in a pot like the Nag Hammadi scrolls .

bukartobjet 002

Both of my bookartobjects were made with the clear belief that books do not have to be bound nor sequential which Lucy’s catalogue laid the foundations for with Johnson’s book adding more weight to the idea being published as a book in 1969.

So am trying to say the codex ‘bind’ was a late entry, there were other forms of bind long before it; potis, copper rings (we used brass rings to ‘bind’ the new one at Whitechapel), scrolls, metal amulets, steles just to name a phew!

bod wow cloud

The Bodleian is an amazing ‘national’ collection not open to hardly anyone, not even scholars like myself unless they can prove they cannot access the stuff they wish to see anywhere else. Now there’s a ting. If you have an ISBN on a book you have to send a copy (free) to the Bodleian (and several other libraries), but we (plebs) cannot gain entry to the Bodleian yet it houses an uncanny stock of mint condition books, as you can imagine, cos if you have an ISBN on a book you have to send a copy (free) to the Bodleian! So the Bodleian houses several books of mine yet under normal conditions I cannot access that library. I did after several phone calls and lots of bits of paper manage to gain entry for two days which was the saving grace of my weekend in Oxford. So after all I am pleased I left a donation for their collection of my new book, Inside This Earthen Vessel, although I really wanted to show it to Alan Brown first before the woman who allowed me a 2 day pass whipped it away rather hastily before telling me that I had to pay for the privilege of entering the collection. Now my book sells at £15 and I tink she was after £6, and I pointed out that there is a hardship clause in the rules and I am hard-shipped (I have no wage, no income source, that’s not a weep it’s a fact). “Do you have evidence of your benefits, entitlements & allowances?” No cos I don’t claim any but all I have is a small pension, which in fact obviates any entitlement i may have. I wouldn’t wish to have a state handout any how, I prefer my freedom to be poor yet not have to look over my shoulder to see if any ‘benefits spies are watching me. As it appens, Citizens Advice worked out that because i have a small pension I would only  be able to get £12 a week from the state even though I was eased out of my 10 year job cos my body had contracted RA, no not the other chimp’s party at the Woyal Acawemy, no I got Rheumatoid Arthritis and after its worst stage was over and a series of heinous drugs had given me ‘remission’ I would not be able to hold a teaching job with all its stresses and strains and i wouldn’t get one anyway cos am too old and am nearly 64 which made me not old enough to gain a reader’s pass free umph, am not bitter I stopped drinking 3 yearns agonow am back on dandelion & burdock. “Doesn’t count cos here its 65 and I can see from your d o b yer under age you’re only 63”. Well am 64 in a couple of weeks. “Doesn’t count”. So I said maybe I should charge yer fer me buk? “But you just gave it to us”.

pk selfizeebugthe bug in me

However, I spent several hours perusing books which very few had looked upon, so I s’pose I should be happy. For example, a 1966 copy of Dieter Roth’s Mundunculum, numbered 1 of an edition of 122, seems like it has never been opened. Intriguingly this copy has been given a dark blue traditional hard back cover, so totally unlike anyting Rot did, so far out from his way of working that it’s actually good! It’s a bit like be-knighting Michael Jaggerd. You see, Rot is his name and Rotit is his nature. Rot the lot of it seems to me to have been his modus. He undermined everything, even his own work. Picasso did the same. Only Rot’s Progress was unchecked. His earliest work was exquisite, much like Vasarely, with words as concrete poems thrown in. Not a lot of people know that, or care, cos as time went by Rot’s own denigration thru his work of his work stuck and others, those who decide the canon, couldn’t ‘get’ him so they ignore him, so you don’t tend to see Rot next to Appolinaire and Picabia in the annals of concrete poetry(?). And anyway that’s the way he would have wanted it, I tink. He undermined, he dug the dirt, he pretended to be ‘logical’ like Wittgenstein but in fact he was being anarchic like fluxus.

ox logic

mind Rot don’t trip yu up doon Logic Lane

His Mundunculum says it has a correlation tween sign & letter, but does it? And when it does he undermines that too by giving it extra layers. I think I know what drives an artist tinker to be so unhelpful, I do it myself, we don’t wish to be understood I think I know what drives an artist tinker to be so unhelpful, I do it myself, we don’t wish to be understood and if in a moment we feel some are understanding it we shift. I know it’s stupid but I can’t help it. It is part of my personal insecurity which is part of my inbuilt nature acquired from my infanthood when tings were not so good I know Freud would have a field day but there it is. So in a way the artist is getting his own back, saying, well you made it damned hard fer me so I shall do the same fer thee. The role of art-Is is to question, but where the physicist and the mathematician will question with logic the artis can question with illogic. There is a history here, as with all things, nothing comes from nothing. I suggest Tom Phillips wer influenced by Rot and I see now, looking at Schwitter’s Merz werx, Rot wer influenced by Schwitters.

http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2013/dieter_roth/works/mundunculum/

 drot mun numbd

But it was a revelation to me. Roth was working on this form of book in the 1950s and it seems significant that tom phillips called his book humument http://www.tomphillips.co.uk/works/artists-books/item/5286-a-humument

Then it got worse. I had booked a table at the Wayzegoose book fair in the ill-conceived idea that my collaboration with David Jury over the summer and the wonderful book he produced would steal the show. But no.

ox table corn sm

They stuck us up in the furthest corner of the event to which very few punters came (it doesn’t seem to have been advertised) and only a tiny percentage got as far into the bowels of Oxford Brookes to even realise our table was there hidden behind a big advert for another stall which was better placed anyway. I sold two postcards. My colleague, Wendy Allen, who made two tiny but beautiful letterpress books sold didderly squat (not a lot).

ox 010

So I learned a lot, mostly, that you got to be selective, very. Just don’t go to a place thinking you can change the scene. If they specialise in old school then they don’t want to see new stuff, do they, well at least they didn’t there.

 bzb light sm

Talking about new stuff, I have been producing what I call ‘original’ stuff since 1969, stuff what is new to most of the known world out there cos most of it only ever reached a radius of about 10 miles from wherever I lived. From now on in this bollogart artis blArt am going to be presenting, or re-presenting, my endeavours from the past 45 years. I shall upload images and ‘stories’ and views of others so you can at least see my work.i gave up pursuing ‘publishers’ years ago and did my first self-published book in 1975, a practice I intend to step up now. But don’t expect me to do beautiful books like Chris Rushton at Hadleigh books does. http://www.chrisruston.com/ No am not able to be so meditative in my production. My next few books will be bringing the backlog of book ideas I bin developing now since 1972; Apulhed, Squidgerats, Nonogons, Venus Stares, and all. Altho I do have one clever hexagonal ‘shaped book’ in mind as a development from the Inside the Jug series.

All images in this blog are mine except the copy of the book by Dieter Roth, I hope that his foundation do not mind me putting it in as it is flagging up the wonderful work he did.

 

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‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’ Poem 6 Shaman Beuys

The LABF at Whitechaple begins this evening. http://www.londonartbookfair.org/

For those of you who have been following my recent blArts I just had a realisation. In the page about the Dalai Lama David Jury in the subtext picked up on the parallel between my being an expat from Burnley and the DL having been exiled from Tibet a notion which reverberates thru that print. I now see most all of the six men in my poems had to run from something. We are all are just passing through.

 

  • Gurdzhiev was a Russian Orthodox Christian native of Kars which was caught up in a fight between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. His father, a peaceful story-teller, was murdered by Turks during the Armenian massacre which some call a genocide.
  • Hermann Hesse was exiled from his native Germany for standing up against the Prussian military swing to arms which manifested in world war 0ne. Hesse was already famous and the authorities did not like his stance, he felt obliged to shift over to the mountains of Italy.
  • Tenzin Gyatso is still exiled from Tibet after fleeing from Maoist force in 1959.
  • Scheffler was a monk from Silesia who switched from Catholicism to Protestantism and back to avoid the attentions of the Inquisition after he wrote his inspired poem called The Cherubinic Wanderer.
  • C G Jung spent most of his life investigating the nature of humankind in its dreams and distant past. He was an advocate of the i ching and a Gnostic.In some ways Jung was an exile from his contemporaries and his own daimon. ‘Since my contemporaries understandably could not perceive my vision, they only saw a fool rushing ahead. A creative person has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and driven by his daimon.’ (Memories, Dreams & Reflections, p356) Jung + pipe
  • Pete Kennedy is just an Idjet in a Jug hiding from the ladies in Burnley what want to talk to him about all sorts of promises he made in his youth and did not no way never keep and who looks a bit like old Jung but hasn’t got his pedigree!). a odorkapul sans dork
  • Joseph Beuys, a Celtic son of Cleves, was running from his Luftwaffe past.

 

Poem 6 Shaman Beuys

‘Don’t mention the war’ said another satirist who, when he Cleese…d, his hair shot off. Joseph Beuys had a life before he became an artis. His first life, in the Luftwaffe, ended as he catapulted thru the glass between him and the outside. David deliberately paralleled Beuys bursting thru the screen with the pot bursting as it hit the ground in his final page of the poems. The subtext mentions no safety belt. A pot don’t wear a safety belt so the mention seems odd, but it refers to the fact that Beuys said had he been strapped in, according to orders, he would have been annihilated like his companion was. So once he recovered from a broken jaw and a burst skull with the help of (allegedly) some Siberian peasants who covered him in grease and wound him up in felt he forewent the Nazi cause and spent the rest of his days, not wearing any safety harness, attacking the powers that be and trying to establish a better world through the example of his outputs which, like dada after the WW1, totally rejected the maxims and mores of the previous ‘leaders’. (Phew that’s a gobful! Innit?)

Last but not least that Celt Showman what is called Jo Beuys. My mention of Halstatt & La Tene refers to large Celtic communities that dominated the landscape in Europe around 3000 years ago. He hails from near Cleves, where the Swan Castle (the Schwanenburg) still has a golden plated swan as a weather vane. http://celts.etrusia.co.uk/celtic_cultures.php I find their art & artefacts are a beautifully robust craft. http://www.pinterest.com/viziglar/hallstatt-and-la-tene-cultures/

 

Beuys refused to engage in painting onto canvas and other traditional methodologies preferring to make installations & personal appearances with demonstration and talk about his nutso crazy ideas. He used metaphor and analogy to convey his ideas which were often embodied in his materials.. he attracted attention by wearing a wardrobe which defined him and in which he could carry a lot of his artefacts, and chalk, for doing his blackboard talks.He used fat and felt as sculpture material breaking the codes of traditional materials like carved stone and moulded bronze tho he did use these materials too but more in juxtapositions of ‘found objects or objects totally out of their usual contexts. He often referred to vortexes, energy streams conducted by various materials like honey, messages carried by bees, he communicated with dead hares and live coyotes. He tried to make amends for Nazi atrocities by joining Eurasia up with his actions and outings and somehow over-riding the fact that he had been a Luftwaffe airman who survived an plane crash. DJ parallels Beuys bursting out of the plane with the Buddhist story of the broken pot which I mention in the sub-text when I said ‘I let go and this humble vase returns to dust’ ‘it bit the dust’, which is not all used in the text. This was a completion of the circle as the six poems begin with a title, ‘Destination Dust’ a reference to the fact that everything eventually returns to the original source, energy. So even the subtext move around, whereas in the first pages it is flippant and mundane by the final page it has grafted in to the main text and apart from the black humour of Beuys bursting thru the glass has become serious, considering human frailty and mortality.

ves 6 sm

The chant from the terraces which I heard as a young teenager brings the subtext into the main text inasmuch that my home town Burnley reached the quarter final of the European Cup and we did thrash the Germans, in the first leg, but Uwe Seeler and his bigger brother knocked us out in Hamburg. But McIlroy really was better than Eusebio, well nearly, he was part of the team from Northern Ireland which got to the quarter finals of the World Cup in 1958 and (not a lot of people know this) their manager Peter Doherty was my dad’s hero and I were named after him.

As manager in 1958 Doherty took Jimmy McIlroy and N. Ireland side to the quarter finals of the World Cup
As manager in 1958 Doherty took Jimmy McIlroy and N. Ireland side to the quarter finals of the World Cup

Here endeth the intro to our new books.

This was a meeting of two minds who have been ‘doing art’ for 90 odd years. Well, odd in my case, meticulous in DJ’s. For David is an ‘artist-dervish whirling around at the wayzgoose with his tweezers teasing new meanings from my words’ when it comes to working a press

For those newcomers to dis blArt the ‘poems’ in ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’ were inspired by Kabir’s poem ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ sung by the late Jackie Leven https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfiKUhS1cnI . Someone asked if my writing (in the book G Batch which underpins these new versions) deserves the title ‘poetry’? Well, it’s a beautiful question. A real poet would not have the temerity to call their words poetry, that is for history to decide. Catullus, Patchen, Angelou, Blake, Bukowski & Stevie Smith all deserve (in my book of tings) the nomenclature. No, I write, I set out some of my words as prose, some as attempts at ‘poems’ or as I used to differentiate them ‘poyms’. There is a debate about whether folks like Bob Zimmerman, Mark Knopfler or John Lennon’s words are ‘poems’? Ask Picabia or Jarry about what makes up a poem, don’t aks me.

So, if I were aksed to put what the six ‘poems’ are all about I’d say first and foremost they are an appeal for humanity to live harmoniously in peace. They show six men who represent the cultures of most of the prominent human groups. They are against dogma. The poems all represent human beings who had the balls to look at the human situation and to be brave enough to stand up and say their piece almost always standing up for the individual and their right to think and make up their own mind. The poems are my personal insight into mystical knowledge as represented in six different thinkers whose lives and work had impact on a fair number of others to this day. My poems say that, contrary to the widely held view, mystical insight is an expansive subject open to everyone. Also inside the pot (earthen vessel) is Joy & Humour, Music & Dance. Mysticism runs like veins of gold (Blake’s golden thread) through human cultures and can bring many people together when they understand we are all striving for the same thing, which is to understand why we are here and to appreciate the beauty which surrounds us on planet Earth. ‘Stop The Killing, Stop The Killing NOW’ said John Lennon before some tramp shot him. Imagine that, where is John now? He’s out there following his vision of ultimate reality and laughing his cosmic chuckle just like the Dalai Lama does. Namaste.

Let’s waltz again with Lenny:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-E53gmeO-8&index=5&list=RDye6JssTdnvw

Peace Be With You.

My Next Blog, how the 2  ‘vessels’ buks (mi littul one and DJ’s Big Y’in) and paraphernalia were received along with several other David Jury gems at the Whitechapel, 26 thru 29th September? Maybe see yez thur?

International Peace Day today, Gurdzhiev on ‘mutual-self-destruction’.

Post on Monday 22.9.14

As you can see I have brought my post a day forward, that is because a lady sent me a blog today, http://paperponderings.blogspot.co.uk/ and it reminded me that it is Peace Day today. The media what I watch Auntie Beeb Beeb See has failed to mention that! But peace is a wonderful ting, has a nice ring about it, so it should be encouraged even if it is unfashionable in some quarters. Below is the first of my runupto LABF  later this week. It happens to be, this one, about Gurdzhief who spent his life promoting harmonious living and furtherance of humanity’s level o consciousness, so I thought maybe post it today, Day of Peace and Hope that Peace will come; to Syria, to Palestine, to Iraq, to Ukraine and most of all to the people of what was once Tibet but is now called China.

So the LABF at Whitechapel Gallery opens in a few days. I am posting these last two introductions to the poems in Pete Kennedy & David Jury’s newly launched artist’s books in two lots because there’s a lot to take in in each of these last two. Like Kate Bush sang these are heavy people; Gurdzhiev and Beuys, who had a lot to tell us through their activities and books. Gurdzhiev brought a whole new cosmology from his extensive anthropological studies of ancient cultures. Beuys brought a new pair of optical lenses to view the world of Eurasia through. Both men may be considered mad as hatters (idiots indeed) but in fact I believe both had incredible wisdom and insight.

Poem 5, Gurdzhiev.

G closeme pretending to be Gurdzhiev

  1. (Gurdzhiev’s ‘followers’ knew him as ‘G’, long before social media gave us all lots of ‘follows’!) talks about his father as an ‘ashokh’ a storyteller from the tradition which goes back before the Flood mentioned in the Hebrew script. Ashokhs learned stories verbatim and the stories were passed down for thousands of years unchanged. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pseoAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA431&lpg=PA431&dq=armenian+ashokh&source=bl&ots=Ds2uEVSb-O&sig=77MItQA_WmDwlbNUtzMmEbultn8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=w04TVIDDHondaLmdgeAE&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=armenian%20ashokh&f=false The Epic of Gilgamesh tells of a flood which historically is written about in cuneiform tablets from Ancient Assyria. Story-telling, like this, (cos that is what this blArt is abArt really), relaying stories from me unto ye, was part of the way of life in the Armenian community G. was born into. They still called Macedonian Alexander (in the west ‘Great’ but in Asia Minor) ‘The Arch-Vainglorious’! G.’s ethnic background hails from the descendants of people who fought under Xerxes against Alexander, so it is understandable they were not his fans. As a result of his observations of Humankind G. saw that we (yes that’s we) all too often go blindly into war thinking maybe this time it’ll be the one to end all wars that hasn’t happened yet. His phrase for war was ‘mutual self-destruction’.

Many people have found G. fascinating because of his world view and his personal cosmology which he said was based in objective everlasting laws. He looked at human history with eyes from the east and had visited many obscure communities in his search for ‘knowledge’. He then decided to fetch his findings to Europe & America. He set up centres of learning where ‘pupils’ were encouraged to learn ancient dances to music G. wrote based in lessons learned from disappearing cultures. He may have visited the pyramids but it is certain he spent time in the secret recesses of communities across several differing esoteric groups from a wide range of what is commonly called ‘religious’ backdrops. G was initiated into the use of a mysterious nine sided star called The Enneagram

enea sign

 

which he used to organise his choreography in the group dances he did and to assist in analysing your personality. He saw similarities in the aspirations and beliefs of all the popularly followed religions. He studied faiths from the Sufi (Muslim), Orthodox (Russian Christian), Early Christianity (before the Nicene Creed), Zoroastrianism (Asia Minor), and Buddhism in Tibet, plus some.

He learnt dance movements from societies which used dance as coded messages which were disappearing with the onslaught of the modern world. He wrote mesmerising music in the company of Hartmann based on what he called eternal law. His appellation for the term ‘god’ was the Common Endless One or The Absolute, which he said was actually three in one. As well a an interest in hypnotism he studied numbers. The Absolute was the Number three, the triangle in the Enneagram. David was pleased to be able to use the other six numbers from the Enneagram in his prints because, being a dedicated letter press master numbers just have to included somewhere.

Then he put together his thoughts on the way humans could move forward in 3 main books the last of which was ‘Life is real only then when I am’, which is the last sentence in David’s letterpress version of my poem about G. and means real appreciation of life happens to you only when you are truly awake. He says humanity is in a deep slumber, a state of forgetfulness or somnambulance from which it is necessary to WAKE UP. Kate Bush even mentions his name in a song about heavy people because her parents would discuss G. at home. http://www.metrolyrics.com/them-heavy-people-lyrics-kate-bush.html

Kate is a perfec example of someone who has taken on the Gurdzhievian ting about awakening from slumber thru self-work and contribution to the creative ways of the world.

len sings in yelo&purpl

As is my ole matey Len The Master Cohen, let’s dance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sZzJAxfD-4&index=3&list=RDye6JssTdnvw

Talking about those teacher prats I witnessed in my life.

This blArty is not so arty
A bit more clarty but
I felt dese tings had to be said
Even tho thur so sad
But like a good
Tai chi teacher
Once Tole Me
My nega-tiv
Becomes mi posi-tiv

beauy street sunset smkb

As the sun set on my teaching ‘career’ I look back on many great experiences and surprises. One of the biggest happened early on when I realised the educator learns as much from the learners as the learners learn from the ejucaytas.

Some teachers are great. They teach their subject and they inspire you to great things, they give example how to act how to conduct yourself just by being themselves. See my earlier blart: https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/i-were-a-teacher-once-but-am-recovered-now-i-met-r-a/
Others are not so good. They try to get you to conform to some prattish canon only they understand or think they do. They try to force kids to get it right, do it this way not that etc. all they do is damage in the classroom and turn kids off, make them into rebels. So the reason I becAMe such a rebel is their fault. I should be thankful to them in a weird Buddhist way. I had this distaste, nay venom, neigh vergin on hatred for authority figures by the time I left gwamma skewel. In fact that was wat drove the ritin of my first self-puberlitsched buk in 1975, Apul-One, wid its non spellin and all.

ap 001

A form of ‘up yourn, ya tossa’. I now, after all these tears, realise that it underpins so much of the chagrin which seemed to burden my shoulders ever since ‘schooldays’.
As a youngster you witness these things and you sense or know they are ‘wrong’ yet your only (apparent) way to counter it is (it seemed at the time) to be madder than they were. So they never knew what your next move would be, whether it may be violent which is what they expected or peaceful which always surprised them, unseated them, when I did not (over)react to provocations. There were corporal punishments back then (in the 60’s) some of which I knew I ‘deserved’ for my cheek.
Once, when about 14, I upset the geography teacher, Herbie Geebiees I think his name was, he had that tight Brylcreamed hair combed back in short waves, he deserved to be upset. Anyway I was pranking about and he said he were going to pump me, go and get ‘Oscar’ he told me. Oscar was a size 11 base of an old pair of plimsolls which you had to bend over to and submit to 3 or 4 whacks in front of the class. I mean it was a point of honour to be pumped by some prateacher. Anyway, because I was a good boy what went to ‘dinner time clubs’ I knew that in the drawer where Oscar lived there lay his tiny companion, ‘Little Oscar’ what wer about a size 3 sole of pump-base. Now I saw a ruse, I would arrive with ‘Little Oscar’ which I did and got guffaws and gasps frae the crood. Then I went dutifully back to get Big Oscar and submitted to an extra ‘pump’ for my sins.
Another famous incident, the head had just said in assemberly not to throw the snow as there wer ice in it. So this merry prankster saw an opportunity to hail his classmates with snow&ice from the field as they huddled obedient to the head’s instruction in the doorway, I had a right laugh. Little did I know the head of PE Perrywhak was on his way and they knew that and it wer too late to stop now when my last ball hurtled into the crowd which had a big smile on its face as the teacher opened the glass door and my iceball hit him square in the face. Kennegly, follow me, bend over, Three pumps, did that hurt he said? Of course not said I and of course it hurt. But I knew I deserved that, in that old fashioned way. And that was the way they tamed me, that’s why I became, of all things, a teacher isn’t it? No not to pump pupils but to show it could be done sans pumps. But really it wer those who abused the old system who taught me most of what NOT to do.

Bolscrost was a proper bully. He chased Cookie around the class pumping him at every turn when Cookie had begged him not to exercise the punishment for not handing in homework as he had a boil on his asp. Merciless that may be but worse was the way he treated Riley the class truant who never did any homework. So one day he got Riley to bend over by the old iron radiator, so that as the weight of the strike went thru his body causing him to bring his front end up Riley’s head would strike the rad. Bastad. And as 15 year olds we didn’t know how to prevent it other than jumping on Bolscrost, watch out old boy, I never forgit.

Then there’s my 6th form tutor Reinneighs. He hated me cos I refused to pay the 30p ‘voluntary contribution’ to the sports fund for two years. I was making the point, it was voluntary. Finally he arrived at my right side asking for it just as they handed out the History ‘A’ level papers. I think he was hoping I would give him what he deserved so I would get carried out in a straight-jacket but by then the early hippie love and peace vibe had overtaken me and he survived and I got an ‘E’ in that exam. My course work was good, I was taught by a hero of mine called Dan Playtown and for my essays I used to get between 15-17 on 20 all thru the 6th form which is a good deal higher than an E. Altho Mr Grovelips recently brought back 3 hour end of year exam in his great public school wisdom I am for obvious reasons a believer in bringing the two years of ongoing study into the mix when a student’s work is assessed. But of course I only taught in primary, secondary, tertiary, special school and adult evening classes for 20 odd yearns and got a B/Ed Hons., an Advanced Diploma in Special Education and a Diploma in Management Studies, so what would I know, not as much as that nice Mr Grovelips hell no. I should never have stayed on into the 6th form anyway it were a right darkole, I should have left and gone to art college, but in those days we usually served our time. And I did at least beat the victores ludorum lad, a tall fart called Mallardson what couldn’t play futty for fudge, in the high jump in the school sports. I always wanted to reach up high.
Then, when I began to teach I witnessed a  teacher called Stain (that wasn’t his main name) and his nasty ways. We were questioning a young lad in the foyer about some minor misdemeanour and I momentarily looked away to turn back to see the kid gagging and holding his throat. Apparently Stain had hit him with the side of his hand in the throat when I had been distracted. Stain wer in th’territorial army so he knew how to tame these recalcitrants. Stain wer a little short stumpy bloke with a head nearly as wide as his shoulders and it wern’t full of brains. He obviously had a chip on his shoulder too, or a bag o chips. Now, because I hadn’t seen it I had no proof and he knew that. Back in those days I felt I couldn’t take it to the school leader, who was pretty ineffective anyway, but nowadays I would most definitely call the man to task. In fact it got worse. Several years later the prat went and accidentally broke a kid’s leg in a student v. staff rugby game. County banned all such games after that.
These types see themselves as the door keepers but really, really now, they are not fit to be floor sweepers. The best I can say is that I learned from them the way not to be.

I saw Alan Moore on Channel 4 news last week. In the interview the reporter asked him why he addressed some pretty obnoxious issues in his storylines? Moore said that these things go on and there is a need to get them out there, talk about them rather than brush them under the carpet, open the debate and work out ways of tackling potentially solving them. So, a couple o weeks ago I did a blart about ‘good’ teachers, those who act in positively friendly ways to influence. But, like Moore points out, there is a good side and a bad side to most everything, a yin and a yang which intermingle as they pass into one another. My Tai Chi master was explaining to me about the art of ‘push hands’ and he said you ‘sense’ the other participant’s moves and when they move to overpower you, you sway and disarm the force. I think that is yin, giving way to yang? Then he said, ‘My Yin becomes my Yang’. So these ‘stories’ based in my own experience are me exposing some unethical deeds, like Moore I am talking about them, not hiding them. The perpetrators need to be revealed. To do that I suppose I am applying a yang force. These men were bullies who used their positions to attempt to get others to conform to their set of values. Good or bad values it doesn’t matter if the methods you use to inculcate others into your canon are unethical. It may be questioned if I am right to reveal these issues from my life? Well really I should maybe have ‘gone thru the proper channels’ nearer the time (1960s & 70s) but as always back then and now, I did the best I could. In fact my ‘standing my ground’ brought about the heinous interruption at the start of a public exam. I still cannot see how that guy could have been brought to task by the authority figures of the day.

Bullying still occurs every day and I saw and was subject to various forms of bullying when I was in the work place. At the time these things can be hard to handle, cope and manage. I was brought to my psychological knees by one head-teacher and what made it worse was it was a female. I couldn’t cope and eventually after the union proved toothless I left that job, even tho she recanted her errors and said I could stay, forever. Hell was not for me I went elsewhere searching heaven which I found bits of but always under the covers you might get another glimpse of hell. Which is what Alan Moore deals with, or not. I think just addressing it, outing it, exposing it, making sure they don’t get away with it without others knowing they are doing it is the best way to curb it. So forgive my excursion into the dark zone. Like my great predecessor, Spike Milligan, you may notice I also add some humour. At least I think I do.

And to end on a positive note I wer watching Kate Bush on beeb4 lasnicht and wow watta star!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04dzswb/the-kate-bush-story-running-up-that-hill

the second link below is her singing a song in which she mentions Gurdjeff! Listen carefully, she mentions him at about 1min 40 seconds in, ‘They read me Gurdjeff…’ The they she refers to is her parents.

footynote- I have altered the names of the players mentioned above not so much that their identities can be disguised but because I don’t wish to face them down in any arena. They had to live with their mistakes. We had to live thru them. and, I suppose, nobody’s perfec.

on being an artist, or Not

OK, so I claim to be an artis for sure and a riter too.I propose that Grayson Perry is a craftsman rather than an artist and Damien Hirst is neither artis nor crafsman, more a factory foreman.Both are part of the Establishment & the Artworld, I am part of neither luckily despite my 40 odd years tryoing to be ‘recognized’ accepted and allowed in. Of course a big part of becoming an ‘established artis’ is being offered money and exposure, invited (in) to exhibit or comment or contribute to the ‘canon’.Obviously Hirst & Perry are ‘well in’ despite their being opposite ends of a spectrum of methodologies. Grayson cannot draw for toffee and i wouldn’t be surprised if Hirst uses toffee in one of his mass cabinet displays of stuff created for him by a factory of assistants. I’m not being catty nor bitchy, just observing from the outside. And as Perry observed in the Radio Times the validators are ” peers, teachers, dealers, critics, curators and gallery visitors” ( a motley crew). This despite him observing that, ” people who write about art are often communicating only with each other…”

Whereas GP’s curatorship at British Museum was a breath of fresh air, Hirst at Tate was like sticking yer nose in a sewer. I say that not because of his sometimes foul subject matter and mouth, I sometimes deal with not so pretty stuff, but i do believe that subjects like death are to be treated with more dignity than his conversations on video about victims of car accidents.Perry’s room full of massive tapestries may have been labour for the practitioners what made them but his drawings for me are inadequate or at least idiosyncratic. Hirst’s drawings were not apparent to me from the Tatemark shows but  his wide use of technologies and the elements of shock and distaste are evident(ly his stocking trade).

Of course nowadays you don’t need to be able to draw to be considered an artist. I won’t even bother to mention the present Professor of drawing at Royal Academy. The way you make your artist statement was apparently blown asunder by Duchamp (not Picasso as he was a traditionalist in methodologies). Max Ernst had some truly revolutionary outputs, particularly his sinister seminal collage work and his private alphabet, yet he continued to make some great paintings despite declaring that painting was dead.

So, where does that leave me? Penniless and out in the cold as always where my art is concerned. My art budget perpetually in the red for 40 plus years, supplemented by a teacher’s salary. I no longer hanker to be accepted , ironically my lack of acknowledgement by the various fields and absence of remuneration has left me or led me to be Free. To Be my Self, like a solitary bee, alone again of course. And I am far too old to be bothered about being accepted as a player. i prefer to remain with my brothers (and sisters) in the arts; William Blake, Vincent Van Gogh, B S Johnson and Eva Hesse. The only difference being they did more and better and had more talent … Oh shut it Pete,  while you can!Image