I awoke about 3am on 2nd March 2022 and a strange thought crossed my mind about the convoy of military vehicles sent into Ukraine which for reasons beyond my ken I thought of as ‘his lethal payload’ which is not a term I’ve ever dreamed of nor considered in the 70+ years I’ve lived.
I coined the phrase ‘His lethal payload’ to carry the meaning and outcome of the Russian intent and it cannot be just the misguided work of a leader gone mad; to carry out such a mission required the complicity of tens of thousands. The parallel with the invasion of Poland & France by Nazi forces in 1939 is uncanny. A leader led by paranoid delusions who had stifled all opposition and in this case has practiced destroying cities (and the inhabitants) in Syria has other parallels too; with Stalin, Pol Pot and the North Korean’s leadership. This is the scariest military action I have ever heard of and the poor people of Ukraine are about to go through an annihilation planned by the Russian ‘leader’ and his cronies. Megalomaniac is not a term too severe to describe the ‘leader’ preparing such a lethal onslaught and the lapdogs that carry it out. The ‘West’ is doing something parallel to Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler and the consequences will probably lead to a conflagration into major war between Russia plus its allies and NATO forces. Even if that doesn’t occur it’s almost inevitable that thousands of brave Ukrainian defenders are about to die, many already have. This trajectory must be prevented by all means possible. Essentially the ‘leader’ has to be ousted somehow; he’s lost his marbles.
I looked at a man called Charles who was talking to me on a London bus, that is his job, talking to passengers, and the more we talked the more relaxed he became and the simple thought crossed my mind that he was, ‘Happy in his own skin’, his happiness, or relaxedness was contagious which can only be good for London transport’s passengers. Now Charles’ skin happens to be black, my skin is termed white and we were getting on like a house on fire and I believe that is not only the way it should be but it’s only natural. We are two men inhabiting the same planet with very different histories but more likely than not we are descended from the same woman who roamed the plains of Africa over 40 thousand years ago. So why do we ‘look’ so (apparently) different? Well of course, skin colour. According to internet sources:
‘The skin is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of about 20 square feet or 2 square metres, it protects us from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold.
Cells in the deepest layer of your epidermis , (the outer, nonvascular, non-sensitive layer of the skin), divide constantly to make new cells. The new cells are pushed towards the surface of your skin. They eventually die and become filled with keratin, an exceptionally tough protein. Keratin provides your body with a durable overcoat, which protects deeper cells from damage, infection and drying out.
Cells on the surface of your skin rub and flake off steadily and are continuously replaced with new ones. About every 30 days, your body produces a totally new epidermis.
Your skin contains specialised cells called melanocytes are located in the epidermis, covering the true skin or corium. They produce the pigment melanin, a brown substance, which absorbs some of the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Fair-skinned people only have melanin in the lower layers of their epidermis. People with dark skin have larger amounts of melanin in all layers. Freckles and moles are nothing else but small patches of skin with more melanin than in the surrounding area.’
I love all that. In those words from the Net are so many levels. The ‘outer layer’, that is what we see and seeing is not understanding, in fact really seeing is a form of mis-understanding, or pre-conception. You see, the skin which covers Charles and me is only temporary, it changes every 30 days. Now his and mine genetic and ‘social’ history do not change, they stay where they were, our ancestry and the trail our predecessors traipsed is written in the sands of time, or more legibly and often mistakenly, in the ‘his-story’ books. History is frequently written in a skewed, one-sided way, often to give a slant to show the superiority of one group over another. So, for example, the imperialists we refer to as the ‘Romans’ re-told or rather, re-wrote, the recent history they ‘re-membered’ and like previous ‘empires’ they put a slant on things. They omitted the Hannibal’s lot, probably because the Carthaginians (Hannibal (247-183 BC), Carthaginian general, son of Hamilcar Barca*, whose march on Rome from Spain across the Alps with his 90,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry and up to 40 elephants remains one of the ‘greatest feats in military history’) gave them such a fright they couldn’t bring themselves to remind themselves of how close they came to being totally defeated in 217 BC rather than 500 years later. *That’s interesting, Barca being the name of Hannibal’s dad. BECAUSE they always say they don’t know where the Catalonians came from and there it is the answer. Hamilcar Barca’s family came from Carthage and conquered Spain! From there they were able to take a pot at Rome. But it’s not such a big leap to see how their descendants took over the ‘Barca’lona area, is it? Now the Carthaginians were descendants of the Phoenicians who were once a great powerful group in the Mediterranean who spread culture trade and the alphabet we use. They too were written out of history, this time by the Greeks who only overcame the more cultured and powerful people of Crete and Thera after a cataclysmic upheaval in 1420 BC totally destroyed the latter and brought the Cretans to their knees so the Mycenaen Greeks were able finally to overpower them and take their craftsmen, including metal workers who designed great helmets and suits of protective wear for battles, into slavery.
So, the outer layer of his-story is merely that, a layer. And it rarely goes deeper than skindeep. Skindeep is really only another word for prejudice, preconception, misconception, misinformation, misunderstandings. And, I believe, the trick is to look inside, to delve deeper than the outer skin to perceive the human being there inside. Things are frequently not what they appear to be and this appears to be a blog about skin, colour and all but in fact it is really about my visit to London last Saturday. Charles also told me that he had seen the Christian and Muslim faiths from each inside and now claims no religion except a certain benevolence toward his fellow humans. It was refreshing to meet Charles as I wended my way back home after a day built around a little workshop in print at the Courtauld run so well by MA student Marian Casey and RA schools tutor Hen Coleman.
I had a couple of hours to spare before I joined the group so I wandered down Charing Cross Road peeking into the bookshops. To my delight I found a pop art book (T&H) edited by Lucy Lippard about whom I wrote an article in UWE’s recent Blue Notebook for a meagre £5 which I could afford. Saw a book of poems by Peake which was £20 but resisted it. Then popped into a rare books shop where I found a copy of Bukowski’s poem, ‘Crucifix in a Deathhand’, priced at £650. It’s a very beautifully made book from an edition of 3100, signed in dayglo ink by Buko himsen. Listen to this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiEHzCs2W3o, Tom Russell’s rendition of the poem.
Strange, Bukow is a good poet, he cuts thru all the crap and even throws crap at you. My most popular blArt is the one I posted on Bukowski. Seems to attract visitors from all over the world. Buk is truly not what it seems when you see pictures of him, read his writing etc, by all perceptions he’s an ugly brute, yet no, within his poems often there is a deep humanity and understanding of the human condition. Interesting he uses crucifix…Roman empire crucified tens of thousands, but only four or five are remembered, Spartacus, Jushua Ben Genasareth & Barabas who was a Zealot- a freedom fighter v Roman occupation to name but three. The Roman Empire had an horrific track record in uman rights, yet those same nerds who denigrate Buko worship their ‘Classical’ lit etc. Whereas, Carthage, and Crete both produced stuff far superior to Rome. Not a lot of people know that.
not alot o peeple know this song by the late great jackie leven https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThH0bMhZ7Jg
I love it particularly when the poet David Thomas comes in with his strangely sad tale of the fishes’ tail, ‘the bridge is too twisted I’ll fall off the side….’ Beware next time you look at koi.
The lovely ting about the Courtauld doing tings like dis print workshop and another poetry one soon is revealing how that institution is itself not what it appears to be at first sight (which reminds me, Bruce McKlean (who won the John Moores award for his painting of koi, which he told us took him about half an hour to paint, maybe my 14 years spent on my new work of Venus Stares is a little excessive, never mind, i just won a prize on wordpress which was the honour of being allowed to answer a question which was would i recommend wordpress to others? well I wouldn’t use something I won’t recommend, would i? and there is a fish or two in my picture too, luckily it’s swimming under her arm)
is at first site gallery in Colchester on Saturday July 12th). It’s not a staid place at all, it’s brim full of life and activity. Anyways I found myself joining in with all the others who were inspired by their new MA show (see my previous blArt about the pull & push of print)
this was a print made using the mould material to take a mould and then printing from it. The idea of taking a pull from a surface was inspired by the work in the MA show.
and suitably provoked into running round the Courtauld making rubbings to make prints from. I had snapped some beautiful images of Koi in a park nearby on the way in so I found various fish like shapes in stone, wood and metal and did a montage of the results. It makes me feel very happy in my own skin too.
ps I know this blArt is being posted a little later this week but I bin bizzy an oi? We also went up to Norwich to see the Art BA shoiws and I shall do a little blart abart thart too soon, like and interim blog (sumtin abart a bog in Jamie’s place there).
Back to the digicage symposia-um at firstsite Colchester*. OK it was indeed a fascinating syncosie-um with about 40 attendees. I was pleased to talk to Elli who said she regularly pops down from London town to the gallery, ‘It’s just like another part of London on the train (but you’ve got the lovely countryside on the way)’. I really hope she is a pioneer, a scout. Once Londoners and Liverpudlians and Mancunians and all points of the compass hear that the Romans have been ousted, maybe they will beeline for firstsite Colchester. It needs to be frequented. It is a wonderful occurrence. A gallery like that is a boon to the whole nation, I kid you not, you can count galleries like that on, maybe, two hands, there’s not that many. It is akin to a Tate or a Hayward. But they do need a public face-lift. The connect is dis-connected. Unlike tate mod it didn’t hit the ground running and still suffers in the local press and community, it is not a trend place to go yet, I say yet cos am really hopeful this changes and the forthcoming Bruce McLean may help ease the gallery into a better space. Actually if it had been built on a hill or somewhere folk can see the damn thing it may have caught the imagination more quickerly.
This syntoesinium was another daring display of forward thinking by people there in the gallery’s innards who tap into the pulse of what is happening in the world out there away from firstsite Colchester, but also IN every area, digitally. firstsite Colchester brought Kim Dotcom (watch this face) to ‘us’ in this phase of its development by Simon Denny and the Gallery of Modern art Vienna http://www.mumok.at/ , who I believe own the stuff. Is it art? Yes it is (not?), well it is alright, cos you see in the 1970s even receipts became ‘art’ and DimDot Bom has received a few unwelcome guests in his time, many from that quiet little colony across the Pacific from his New Zealand home in the good ole boys drinkin wiski and rye land the USof A FBI with machine guns and all the other stuff thay used to corner Bin Larder. The Fedbis were a bit annoyed wit Dimboy cos he wer pirating movies and making millions of, dollars. He lived in a mansion complex similar to the dictatoe wat got ousted in Ukraine and they say that nice man in Russia (wat our Bonnie Prince don’t tink much of) also has a Brimdotbomb stately home too too. Funny how they all want what Dimbo has got. In fact I tink I shall settle on Dimbo as it has a resonance with a flying elephant and I like that. So Dimboy’s fortune, which is in the exhibition in piles or heaps like Carl Andre bricks in the Tate, is REAL, it’s physical dollar bills, now confiscated and now returned to him as his lawyers battle it out in America. The model he used to make film and music available on its release for free (ish) is now adopted by some of the companies which own the copyrites, he showed them how to market in the Digicage.
Then James Bridle stood up and talked about Wikipedia (did you know , Jimmy Wales said, a wiki is a website that anyone can edit (whitch can be changed), and wiki-leeks is nuttin to do wit wiki-pedias) and drone spyplane-bombers which he had drawn out with tape in various places. He also makes abstract art designs in books from the ‘maps’ all your smart phones create as you journey around and they connect with all the other users in any area you pass. This was a fascinating day in which many of my blindnesses, failures to ‘connect’ or stay in touch and oversights were adjusted. Two women even tried persuading me that Traced Ear Hermin is not as bad as she seems. Well one woe-man’s sealink can be anudda man’s flaw.
It’s not going to help any of us to say I’m not joining in or I won’t be effected cos you’re already in it. Everything has a digital input, from the design of this pen (yep I prep mi blart wit a pen) to the news on your screen (I wer on Anglia news once fer abart 2 minute minutes, my andy Wahol minit o fame). Being a late-Luddite who is still wonderous as to how these aeroplanes can stay up ,in th’air, I find it astounding how in some cases a photo can be taken in papua new guinea then it can be on my breakfast table in say, the Guardian (if I could afford it) within hours or on my tv (?) within minutes. For me, who used to go to, say, Earls Court to see and photo the Stones (1976) on a Nikon F film camera, come home, develop the film, go into my darkroom & print it in B&W then try to sell it and mostly not succeed,
in fact always not suck seed, to see everyone now can clik their favourite pop band tonite, send it up to the cloud within seconds where someone in papua new guinea fowl can can pick it up on their mobile digiting and print it as a paper copy if they want to be bothered, why bother (thanks Mark Knopfler) why bother when you can view it at will on an ipad then skim on to , say, a new Hockney tree thingi or a film released by Warners after they learned from Dimcombo-Notso-Dim-as-he-looked.
And then you get to tinkin abart values. What’s a ting worth? That dress that Marilyn Monroe wore is worth more than the same design worn by my Auntie Rosie. Jo Beuys suet is Wirther Haftmann more than mien. That provenance ting! One day this pen will be wert more then your pen yawort? (don’t call yer vreedas warts, it’ll put them orf- get lost Blarty Wartman- sorry, am having troble wit my altered eagle) STOP
The nice ting is I real eyesed we’re in it (digicage) am no longa bovvad (concerned consternated) cos I know it dusn’t matta. There is no matter (for this mad hatter). There is no real money (Dimboi gorrit all) It’s gone digi. So as long as I can afferd a loaf & a cuppa, I need no more.
It, th’obsession, becomes extreme. Why am I sitting here blArting at 4 am? Becos you becom obsessed. You are drawn in. in to that digital world which is co-habited by Tron & Bruce Willis (Fifth Elepants) And why do we still use the old language? Based in Latin wot those roman aliens brought is it not?) wi (fi) (fo) hum hmmmmm do we yewse dat ole langwich? No, I wont, I wont yewse it no more, no moor, no mare no mur.. I re-fews. I (am) refuse, I meen ref-use I mene thet’s rub-isht. The old ones ar da beast STOP, stop agen. St-art. It’s art. It’s a blArt.
But when yu try to brake…free from the auld langitch, it’s ard. There’s formal ties. Form all he tees. For all its tease. You see the auld langwitch has its uses, its youses, its you ses, you sed, you say to bed we go, to bog on off. I extemp-poor-eyse. I bleev there will there will be a move away from the old constrictions of the auld lang signs. After all was it Bartays or that other bloke who said language is power, yep it werim, he said langage is powwow. And by spellin crectli yu ar in a power-clutch. So this is my revolution. My revolt shun. But be careful, revoltin leeds to exploding. Witness most evri revolution exploding; French, Russian, Egyptian and so on.
I play wit werds yu know (altho yu may not av noticed?) I was pleying wit wirds for this blArt and beeb 4 did a doc on Dylan Thomas. He played wit werds too tout two or tree or henry moore. I know his play was so much better nay greater than minah berd words I hold mi hand up to that. Give us a big hand. I do. I don’t know much about poetry (altho yu may av noticed?) BUT I recognised Under milk wood as Dylan’s masterwork. Look out for Under Milk Wood on iplayer. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p01x5k4n/under-milk-wood
And I gave up once before in the 60’s I thought I would leave the music ‘form’ alone cos nobody would better Lennon and Zimmerman and all so I chose 2b an artisbloke…the rest is His Story (not mine). But this time I’m not for stopping chasing my dreams and skeems to be the big blArty poet too
Toot toot to you
And the same wit nobs on
To you too toot.
I thought you’d like to share my pride in what Krzysztof Fijalkowski said on seeing one of my recent blArts ‘Your blog is certainly a treasure trove of ideas ! I’m impressed with all that work and thinking.’ Krzysztof is Senior Lecturer, Fine Art at Norwich University of the Arts which is rated top Specialist Arts Institution in the UK (National Student Survey 2013). No wonder when its doctors dish out such confidence boosting descriptions!
Also me old mate Duncan has reacted to this blArt, I love how these tings strike chords and energise folk to get up and go, and he ses i can post his feelings which are:
Sublime bursts of blarty wordplay which project out of your orb like solar flares reaching across space, mostly to be deflected by Earth’s magnetic field, but some get through:
The blarty rearrangement of words just creased me up and my amusement was just an entrée into seeing how an expected word arrangement that habit has frozen, is massaged into an alternative meaning that pokes fun at or questions the frozen form. It is a liberating experience- equivalent to listening to a great comedian’s skewed view of the world, a jester’s jestering……
Traced Ear Hermin
wi fi fo hum hmmmmm
Mangle on, big blArty poet
Other goodnight Irenes Duncan likes, which you’ll have to find in utube cos am unsure how many links am ‘allowed’ to mek here:
Jerry Lee Lewis and Van, Tom Waits, Leon Russell, Ry Cooder, Johnny Cash, Bob Hope,
*Not sure why the Roman invaders called colch Camalodinum? Maybe their camels didn’t like the weather there? Maybe they were sent peculiar by Boobicca’s incursions. For that matter I’m not sure where ‘col’ came from? There’s a river Colne, maybe that’s it. But as always I digress.
A lady called Max has answered my blart with som info on how Colchester got its name. She also made some lovely encouraging comment on the blarty ting:
Your mind is amazing Pete. All that knowledge roller coasting in your head and soaring from one thought to another. I can see how hard it would be to switch off and meditate. I look forward to reading your blogs. The way you play with words and the brilliant humour that shines through.
By the way, the Saxons called Colchester Colneceaster, the Roman fortress of ‘Colonia’. In folk etymology, Colchester was thought of as meaning Cole’s Castle. In the legend, Helena (now the patron saint of Colchester) was the daughter of Cole. She married the Roman senator Constantius Chlorus, who had been sent by Rome as an ambassador and was named as Cole’s successor. Helena’s son became Emperor Constantine.Helena was canonised as Saint Helena of Constantinople and credited with finding the true cross and the remains of the magi.
This is recognised in the emblem of Colchester: a cross and three crowns. Still can’t find out where ‘Col’ came from.
So you see, you’ve got me investigating on my digital device and I really should be reading extracts from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind!
Max said it were difficult to leave a comment so am adding a contac form below-
They mentioned at the symposium about how printing 3D machines can be used to make guns, but, a better future use is they can now make a cervical cancer camera on a digi-printer! That means in remote areas of the world they can ‘print off’ a camera to help detect cervical cancer and treat it early. See click, about 7 mins in!. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0465p7b/click-31052014
We are now living in the digital cybernetic age it’s easy to say but less easy to ’get’, to under-stand, to comp-rehend, to fully appreciate. We are living like the players in The Fifth Element and Tron, altho my wife doesn’t wear a bandage outfit and I am not shooting thru space in a super-fast car. But the D C Age is upon us, like stone age tools and bronze age (BC), iron age, Age of Empires, Steam age, nuclear (AD) age tools were the state of the civilisation for humankind over several thousand years, now it is digi-tools (DC). I am contacting you with a digital post, a blogArt ting-a-ling.
Now that impacts on all we do but most of us are blissfully, sadly to an extent, unaware of the possibilities open to us, others are overwhelmed by them and slaves to social media and the lucky ones (?), like good Buddhists, stay in the middle track, using D C Tools and still swimming in the rivers and walking thru the woods. I went to a ‘symposium’ at firstsite in Colchester this Saturday and it was really good. BUT. Part of the amazement was a tiny inkling of how much we live in the D C Age (Digital Cage?). It’s hard to get a handle on it all. Like the size of the universes. Like the vastness of the Information out there and in there in this computer’s accesss to the ‘cloud’.
One shift, and we can’t make shifts if we have not prepared and are unready for a shift, as in my ‘art’. In fact I been going thru shifts since I began to make art*, I have shifted, now I use digital means to create , or rather re-create/rework/revisit/reappraise/reprise, re-PRIZE, prise my art out of it’s hiding or its rut or its anon etc. One of which is to have my images printed on an inkjet printer then either leave it alone or get stuck into it onto it, enhance refine it mess it up destroy it and make it anew. Now I am starting to talk in MY tongue, like when I change the spelling of words which leads me into some amazing discoveries. So, I am free-ing up. at last. But I still will do lino cuts etc, old school, I insist. [*At first I had a reasonable amount of ‘control’as I went thru my impressionism, fauvism, matisse cut outs, soutine phases, that was all by the early 1970’s. Then I invented apulhed in the 70’s and unbeknown to me I became a pop artis. And I composed my first self-published ‘buk’, apul-one, in 1975
and my ‘writing’ joined my images as my ‘art’. Then I went thru 40 years of playing with my ingredients, sometimes like an alchemist, sometimes like a buffoon. I insisted on keeping some ‘old-world’ aspecs to my ‘art’; lino-print, screen-print, oil paint, acrylic, bronze but I slowly introduced tissue paper, chicken wire, old clothes from my wardrobe and Oxfam, then ‘dance’ then ‘reading’ and on. But now I realise most all of them ways of working are the ways of ‘others’. I proved myself as an oil painter, a pen sketcher a writer of correctly spelt words and all those things. Now I see I can and do use very different ways to produce my outputs.]
self portrait in digi-media
D C world has become the world in which we move and have our being, my parents both born 1918 knew little about Alan Turing, many of you probably know little of Alan Turing, come to tink of it I know little of Alan Turing but I do understand he kind of invented computers and his genius was overshadowed by his being gay which in those days was illegal. Anyway, his glory came like so many recipients of the V.C., posthumous. And whether he ‘knows’ he has that glorification, who knows, maybe the Dalai Lama? In 1987 whilst at Cambridge Institute I typed my essays on a bbc computer, nightmare. Only relatively recently has the Bill Gates and Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak revolution become available to me/you/us. But it’s as if they were alien invaders bringing a vast change to people Earth. Let me cut to the quick.
In ‘art’ we saw Hockney and the whole graphic novel world and pixar began using ipads etc. Many people, most from 10 to 60 years old? use social media now. The G P O is dead.
The symposium at firstsite (http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/coming-soon-simon-denny-the-personal-effects-of-kim-dotcom )included people who involved in their present shows like Simon Denny, Alexandra Domanovic and then they had various ‘experts’ in related fields like James Bridle and Kieran Long. The fields it related to are to do with copyright/ rite, right! And piracy. Kim Dotcom is a man, a big man, who thought it ok to rip off movies and let you access them free to start with. His idea of immediacy was something which ‘public’ want, immediate access, preferably free. Quick Fix. Anyway, he made billions, some of which was confiscated when the fbi went into his golf club sized mansion complex down in Aussie-land-down-under tootin machine guns and all. (How can the fbi operate in Australia!)
Then the legal eagles get to work and most of his stuff has now been returned, apparently, ask me if I care. But it’s all to do with values, worths and provenances. And of course I am interested in that. (Did you know someone in Africa has stolen my name, or one of them, apulhed? The evidence is in google search, take a look duck.) but in a way dotcom’s case is only an analogy, just a kick start for the theme of the symposium, a big theme, so big it is the whole of existence in a way. They were talking about the vastness of information we can access now, about wikepedia and how that can be a very creative media as used by James Bridle in his (artist? books) http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/09/a-book-made-from-wikipedia-edits-to-the-the-iraq-war-entry/63175/
In fact the question as to whether JB is an artis or not is pertinent to the history of art since at least the sixties when art became (also) the writing , the note, the typed page and in Weisner’s case the manhole cover writing. (You can see jimmy wales talking to Andrew Marrs here http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04647bc/the-andrew-marr-show-01062014 at c. 20 mins in)
When I say the whole of persistence I mean art is persi-stance (Percy’s Stance, Perseus dance, shut it blarty boy), but seriously folks (siriuslee Foulkes) in a way the www is an analogy for the, for Everting out there and in here. The Akashic record on the web. The Cosmic Mind is BIGGER than the web, wow, and that’s BIG. Like this blooming bleeding blArt (yes all this typing is making my fingers bleed). Bridle touched on the bigness with his Iraq war book piece, but more so with his maps of the links his iphone made when he was on a trip across England which produced a record, on his phone, of all the folk using their phones as his train passed within a certain distance of them! You can pop and see the books he made using this data here; re James Brindle shorttermmemoryloss.com/portfolio/proj…
Like a Buddhist would say, we can’t know everything that is happening, IF we only knew say 1 per cent of everything our brains would explode, or would they? They are pretty incrediable tings brains. And one of the tings what came out is we so underuse our resources. I deliberately did not take any photos at the symp cos I wanted to make a point to firstsite that they need to get that sorted out, but I shot myself in the foot as now I have no images of the event to use in this blArt. Another ting (annudda twing) was the idea of catalogin or inventoryising which came up when Kieran Long from the V&A got going on how they are collecting tings used everyday-nowaday…s. It also came up in conversation with the visiting London based artist Ellie, who remarked on the contradiction at Edinburgh’s modart gallery where they are trying to inventorise all the tut Paolozzi left to them and are showing his studio in a clean tidy space where it was really a dirty old ting.
Drawn by pete kennedy at Tate 1994.
So, the d c age lets me sit ere (listen ear) and relay my reactions to the symposium and you can read them in a flash as you access your digital media, you can even react, make contact etc. my blArt is being read in Turkey, (I write in turkey, not really it’s pigeon), Antipodia, USA, Saudi, Morocco, Germany, Italy & Denmark (tanks Mette?) to list a phew. I find that amazing. OK in my case , as a writer performer on the blArtist stage there’s only a handful of you (sorry I called you ‘only’, I don’t mean to demean, I actually glad that you handful do come in) what am saying is the ‘social media’ is being accessed by millions. Bridle mentioned millions in his talk when he pointed out that Shenzhen the city in China where Apple have their paraphernalia made was 30 thousand strong, it is now over 10 million.
So, in China, the d c age is like the industrial age was in Europe, all the mass of people are on the move with the requisite rise in disenchantment etc which comes with such unsteady ill-planned social migrancy. Mass exploitation, by governments, local politicians AND Apple are also leading to disasters in Bangla Desh where they make clothes for the western marketeers. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/26/bangladesh-clothing-factory-safety-agreement-compensation-closures . I mention these cos they are consequences of the thirst for fast knowledge and fast clothing. Ironically as Kieran Long, V&A, pointed out, those workers in Shenzhen whose work trousers, the design of which for each factory is different and they all wear, even when not working as a badge of identity. He has a pair of Primark jeans made in the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh the week it collapsed and the first 3D gun printed on a laser cutter. Both these last items bring up issues, lots, but he mentioned ‘provenance’, the pants being more valuable cos they were made that fateful week. Then the printed gun, it’s maker had one which he had actually fired so Long bought it as its provenance is greater. Made me tink does that mean that the gun which Burroughs shot his wife with has greater ‘provenance’ than…eugh, makes me feel …sad. I thought we had left 1984 in 1984, but obviously NOT. We are now somewhere Orwell and P K Dick never imagined. We are in the d c age (in de cage), and it can be very scary unless you can say stop! Hang on a minute. I want to go walk in the wood, swim in the sea, do Ashtanga Yoga, get my head out of these screens, just sit around a table and talk. I am going to stop here, end of part one. IF you are intrested, see part 2 in a day or two.
all images & werds (c) pete kennedy 2014Illus Yellow faced ww1 man
I was able to go to Colchester’s Headgate Theatre on Friday night to see a play called The Accrington Pals. It was very well acted and brought back my own memories of the folk I met in my life who had fought in one of the two world wars. The area in Lancashire where I spent all of my schooldays was particularly badly hit as a consequence of the war. They were grouped together in what was named the Accrington Pals Battalion, (although I know from a Burnley man, who entered as a sergeant was sent to Egypt, Gallipoli then the Somme and survived to be demobbed as a lieutenant in 1919, that Burnley folk felt it demeaning to be grouped under the name). It was probably named Accrington as that is closer to the front of the alphabet, one of millions of bureaucratic stupidities. ‘Pal’ is the name we call our friends up north, “O’ reight pal ‘. Although the cast made valiant efforts at doing the ‘northern accents’ they didn’t stand a chance. The colloquial pronunciation I was lucky to hear in my youth either from the then OAPs who still lived there, or their grand-childers who would respectfully mimic them to maintain the wonderful sounds are very rarely heard anywhere today, a dying tongue, altho the accents around the area still are ‘northern’ and distinctive to each area. Oddly, the Burnley accent is much closer in sound to the Halifax one acrosst the border in sunny Yorkshire, and is very dissimilar to that of Blackburn and nay, dare I say, Accrington. Burnley folk do indeed hail from different settlers of old (owd) but here is not the place to ‘gu inta thet’.
Now I feel I understand the passion that drove me on through thick & thin to be the man I was to become, became, I Am.
and the surrounding towns saw the brunt of World War One with most of their youth slaughtered, or left bereft of brothers, lovers, husbands, fathers. Annihilated by the incompetence of the generals and the blindness of the political morons who manoeuvred the Brits into the mayhem and used the population’s (mostly) men (from all around the ‘Empire’) as if they were like subuteo players, only this was no game but it was a deadly reality!
Ironically they say that some of the ‘pals’ did indeed break thru the machine guns on the first day of the Somme, but on arrival they were leaderless and had no instructions on what to do next. They probably were killed when the Germans re-grouped once they realised the incompetence of the planners. (Didn’t history repeat with the invasion of Iraq that Tony Blair and Blackburner Jack Straw sent the Brits into? Yes, it repeated in at least 2 ways. It wer also a local politician, the mayor of Accrington apparently, whose idea it wer to put together the Accy pals battalion and secondly, the Yanks and Brits (?) had no follow up plan once they had so successfully ‘invaded’ Iraq, and we know the consequences of that, wasn’t that also another 5 year debacle, or was it 10? Nothing changes does it?)
I watched the documentary last Tuesday named, “http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01rp9vv/The_First_World_War_Shackled_to_a_Corpse/
This documentary shewed the horrific length men go to to kill each other. The fading and incompetent Austro-Hungarian Empire,( whom the Germans said were akin to a corpse shackled to their backs), held the high ground in the Alps and when the Italians chose to fight against them both sides seem to have used similar tactics to those in the trenches of France etc only their dig was into mountains! They created tunnels and runways in the mountains and fought a war vertically! Beggars belief. The above documentary came on air minutes after I had seen news that Putin had ordered a take-over of Crimea, it seems nothing changes. I had a nightmare that night for sure.
The documentary gave me the most incredible insight into that horrendous passage of near universal conflict but from the East of Germany where the ‘Germanic (Tuetonic)’ peoples took on their hated enemies the ‘Slavs’. It shewed me once and for all Britain really did have no need to enter the fray as it was Germany’s desire to deal with past hatreds in the east which drove their war machine. Although Britain’s entry into it would have seemed to the Germans an unnecessary intervention they had been developing a vastly superior approach to ground based war and it concomitant need for digging in deeply, so deeply that the British bombardments before the Somme were almost useless as the Germans were so well bunkered in they just waited for it to stop, thus they knew exactly when the charge would begin, then they came out from hiding an proceeded to slaughter thousands of ill-trained badly led Brits. Even the French fared better in that battle as they were able to radio their battery of big guns and give precise locations of the deadly machine gun posts and then these were hit directly, allowing the French to live and make more successful attacks and to die another day. The Brits had no such communication and allowed tens of thousands to run on to the machine gun fire. In 1961 my great uncle Ned who fought for the Bedlington terriers (not) told me that when he turned to tell his primary school friend the bloke on his right had copped it, his mate was dead too.
that’s me great uncle ned from Bedlington with my little sister on his knee back in 1963
Actually 61, but that don’t rhyme wit knee
And our parents of our generation, we wat wer 50’s born, were drafted into the forces to do it all over again, this time with the japs thrown in too. My dad wer in the Air Sea Rescue, his bro and Roy’s dad wer in Burma feightin Japs and Dunc’s dad wer taken when he was part of the rear-guard at Dunkirk in 1940 into slavery in a stalag in Poland for the duration. You may say ‘slavery?’ well cutting rocks for the rest of the war seems like slave labour to me. I just heard today that of the 76 men who escaped in the Trojan horse tunnel the Germans executed 49. Dunc’s dad didn’t escape as such. He was force-marched westward as the Russians approached, then when they came too close, for some strange reason, their captors scarpered (?) leaving him and his ‘pals’ abandoned east of germany! As the late great Kevin Ayres said, ‘Nice guys, meet em everywhere’.
I am going to be doing limited edition artist’s books on the two world wars about the parts played by Burnley folk I knew, certainly by the anniversary of Somme.
My grandpa in his 40’s at the outbreak of hostilities was put in the Irish part in Brit army then felt he had to leave Eire for Wales after being injured. He was blinded in one eye fighting in the trenches but the army said it wer nowt to do wit the war so he got no damages even tho he spent time in Bristol hospital in 1918.
By the time we arrived in Burnley in 1953 it was a microcosm of the whole of GB with its Irish Catholics and its Protestants. There was rivalry, sometimes fights but, thanks be, not the bombs and sectarian killings. But it was ‘hard’ in Burnley and you had to shape up or make yourself scarce and I learned the hard way, to shape up. So I came out (of Burnley) into the bigger (or smaller-minded?) world punching, weaving and dodging my way to the…bottom? To find there are some good folk down there, salt of the Earth, my background made me able to talk with most everybody from most walks of life and more importantly, to learn from what I found.
Luckily the powers that be did not join the yanks in Vietnam so I weren’t conscripted or I may not be sitting writing this now with the same mindset (and am a little old fer it now, altho, you never know, they may change the rules for the next bout). I never went to war but i was taught by veterans from both, 14-18 & 39-45 ‘conflicts’ (cos that’s what they call war now so we don’t ‘get’ that it’s really a war). Meeting and rubbing shoulders, indeed supping a pint or two, with ‘vets’ made me who i was. Their legacy was loud & clear and it drove me to strive to be different. Am still striving.
So to this week’s gallery visits? I went up to the big smoke and saw the Beyond El Dorado show at BritMuseum. Full of wonder. And even better cos I had read the catalogue, not cos it informed me, no but cos it shewed me the artefacts in full colour only to my great delight the actual ones were smaller than those illustrations. Almost tiny etc …
Previously I popped into the Swedenborg society to try persuade them to stock my book ‘G Batch’ and was persuaded by Richard Lines to buy a copy of ‘The Arms Of Morpheus’ which I couldn’t really afford but my gullibility and thirst for knowledge over-ruled my wife’s order NOT to buy any more damn books (don’t you go tell her now). It wer worth it when I read Richard’s article on Madame Guyon which gave me the best explanation yet of Wm. Blake’s parents influence on his tinking. Etc
Then finally I popped into the Baselitz bit in BM but I shall go on about all o that in my next blart. Time has run out and I want to post this blag now.
ps I have been told of this song by Mike Harding about the Accrington pals since I blarted yesterday so I am adding it to the post https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTpjOfEgPGk
You would find some of the comments made on utube by folk who listened to the son. In fact another ting which has had a major influence on my approach to life was when, as a kid of about 10 years old, I used to go into St Catherine’s (high) church on my own and I was fascinated by the paintings around the walls of the stations of the cross. I think I said to myself there and then that one day i should do art as good as them. Am still striving.
In the book I am planning to pay tribute to those who fought, on all sides, I intend to use an etching by a German artist. They suffered a bit as well and were led by men just as stupid as the Brits. Then it got worse and my dad, his brother, Roy’s dad and Duncan’s dad had to go and sort it out. The fact they survived is one reason I am typing this.
Ironically, some of my favourite artists are Japanese and German. But I shall leave those until another blart.
I been having these strange dreams of late about being there, being on time, being responsible for doing things ‘right’ making sure things get ‘done’ by others by being there to the bitter end to ‘see it through’. I am sure Sigmund, Gustav & Wilhelm would have a field day on me. As they would concerning the paranoia (paranoya, altho I tink paranoia is a lovely spelt word) I shall squawk about further on. I often awaken from these dreams and reflect on possible interpretations, do they have any relevance or meaning in my life. And of course life is what you make it, so to an extent my understanding of the dreams is important to a certain extent. Last night I dreamt I rescued a poodle (?! I don’t like miniature poodles, I like the bigger ones better but I prefer an Irish Wolf) which was standing at some traffic lights in that busy metropolis we find ourselves in in dreams. I was driving, as it happens a lovely Renault 5 which my wife had and lost years ago when some idiot cut across her when he was turning right and it was her right of way, so the loss value couldn’t replace it as it was a special car,(in fact it would have been even harder to replace my wife as she is rather special too and I am not saying that just to impress her cos she never reads this tripe as she calls it) but that’s not relevant to this story, only in its irrelevance is it at all relevant. And you know in dreams where you can stop and scoop a poodle who’s waiting at a traffic lights up under your left arm as you are running past? Well I did. And this elderly couple (they were probably younger than my 63 but I still think I am 16) saw it all and offered to help. There was a pet shop just over the road and I indicated they should take it there and off they set. Somehow then I had abandoned my (wife’s) car at a BUSY crossroads with quadruplequintiplet yellow and red lines. As I walked toward the pet shop (WHY? To check they had got there safely with the dog? I looked back and a traffic cop was about to book me so I pleaded on behalf of the dog’s needs and altho he didn’t understand what the hell I was going on about he pointed to the clock and said % minutes. So I set off at pace going the long way round the block (why I have no inkling) and that involved me running at hundreds of miles per hour and vaulting fences and and and then I came around to the pet shop to see the couple walking calmly in, they didn’t need my help. Oops it’s been over five minutes so I looked across the road and the car was gone. Some of my dreams are premonitory. I had better be careful if I see a poodle waiting at a crossing. So the lessons in the dream are, leave the poodle next time, it knew what it was doing, it didn’t need rescuing. Also, IF you rescue it then pass it over to an elderly couple who are in fact younger than you, leave them to get on with it. But the real lesson is, don’t get involved, just watch, we are living a life, we are here, now, on this planet taking part in an existence but we don’t have to interfere. Before you rescue the dog ask it, ask it if it needs rescuing or on second thoughts don’t even go there, move on round the corner may be a real emergency where all your first aid training can click into action. And seconly, learn to delegate, but with grace allowing them to do it themselves, you don’t have to do it for them once you’ve delegated. I did a management course (at Danbury actually DMS) under David Evans and Vernon Traffic, they were heavy so I asked them to gerroff) once, so I know all the theory. It was the practice I had trouble with.
But that has nothing to do with what I wanted to say today.
I have a new exhibition opening on February 3rd at red Lion Books in Colchester so I have been trying to alter the prose poem I did about the six mystics in my recent book G Batch. Although I was pleased with the end results I knew they were difficult for anyone not versed in the same literature as I had been steeped in to understand as they were not about everyday things and each individual ‘poem’ was a condensation of a large amount of information about one of the ‘mystics’. I thought they may come across better as songs but I have no experience as a song writer. So I thought I would take the originals and try to de-mystify them, take out as many difficult words and passages as I could and substitute them with more universally comprehensible things. If that is possible concerning the subject matter? I don’t like making my poems rhyme and I rarely write them to a beat or a rythme. So, songs are going to be difficult unless I can persuade a friend who is one of the best songwriters in the world to advise me. Bob Dylan for one uses such differing words and makes them rhyme. I put it to my song friendly friend and to my joy he didn’t dismiss the idea out of hand, so it remains to be seen if he would like to involve. He would have a big job on his hands made more difficult by my new versions. In fact, I may just write them as new ‘poems’ and read them on the day of the ‘signing’. Watch this space.
There’s a lot of activity in the lights from my computer plus’ connecting to the Internet altho’ I am not logged in. I wonder sometimes if (more likely ‘when’) the See Aye Aye spies on me. They are pretty certain to have an interest in my activity as I have criticised various presidents and their foreign policies in my blogs. But they are not alone, apart from criticising every poor quality teacher I ever witnessed I criticise the Roman Empire, British and anyone else overly despotic. Rulers and leaders almost always see a need to be Authoritarian’ to various degrees and tipping the balance is easy, witness; Churchill, Hitler, Stalin, Kennedy (if you don’t believe me read Chomsky), Nixon, Two burning Bush dynastyans (funny that nasty comes out in that unsuccessful attempt to combine Dynasty & eons. Well it felt like eons, South & Central American covert wars and then the middle east and Africa. Blair, Pol Pot, Hirohito, Mao, the list seems endless and that is ONLY the 20th century. The Buddhist thing would be to forgive and have compassion for them, but I am afraid my karma and my anxiety are both deepened as I cannot help dwell on past atrocities, more in a desire that humans would one day learn from past mistakes, but it ain’t going to happen. Even the Buddhists had at least one monster in their camp, Asoka, who was instrumental in the spread of Buddhism in its early days was ‘a cruel and ruthless king who converted to Buddhism’ who created ‘edicts, inscribed on rocks and pillars, proclaim Asoka’s reforms and policies and promulgate’ in an attempt to make ‘an empire on the foundation of righteousness’. Quotes from link below http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/ashoka.html
So, there we have the notion of redemption of evil acts by eventual good actions? Could we place any of the above in the same situation had they converted to a set of peaceful ideas? Well we may never know. Shh…It happens throughout human history long before Rome, Britain & the USA were invented empires came and went; Phoenicians, Phrygians, Scythians, Hittites, Mayans, some of whom the Romans cleared out. And the Roman model was adopted first by Britain, (Hitler tried but his empire was short-lived, as was Mussolini’s attempt to revive Roman glories, mostly in Abyssinia (Sadly genocidal) and my own father fought the Italians in Port Said during the Second world war) the the USA in Vietnam, Laos and all. It seems to be a human condition, or should I say a male condition, would the world be any better if it wer run by women? Well Boudicca wer a good effort, but then thatcher blew that idea. Often it arises when groups of humans feel aggrieved and determined not to let it happen again, they gang together build up weaponry and go attack another group, making pre-emptive strikes against others deemed possible threats (see ‘Listen Little Man’ by Wilhelm Reich). It still happens, most recently in Central African Republic, Syria and the forgotten one in Tibet. And it goes on without being known outside like the internal one in Portugal which was ongoing in 1966 when the great Eusebio played a blinder for his adoptive country. I never knew until he died recently that Portugal was in the grip of a dictator who when the whole football world was offering Eusebio loads o money he couldn’t leave Portugal because of a ban on movement by the military dictator Salazar. Not a lot o people knew that.
Even Buddha was apparently confronted with and indeed is said to have used his ‘authority’. He changed the idea prevalent with the previous popular religion of the Brahmins as they saw no escape from the wheel of karma and there is one story where he declared his feeling for their ‘blind acceptance of Vedic tenets as immutable wisdom., “Like a chain of blind men…is the discourse of Brahmins. He who is in front sees nothing, he in the middle sees nothing, he who is behind sees nothing…”‘ There is also the story of the gang of six, young monks who ‘paid scant respect to the elders of the sanga (community) and were ever inclined to quarreling and strife and disputation. (quotes from ‘Gem in the Lotus’ by Abraham Eraly) It seems that similar to Gurdzhiev Buddha refused to set a final infinite set of rules for his sangha. Dispute and quarrels are allowed. I have seen exhibitions of the way they discuss for ‘exams’ where the teacher sits cross legged and two novices make their points one after the other each finishing his statement with a loud demonstrative handclap and bringing one foot down with a stamp. As an ex-teacher (not of buddhism) I would find it amazingly difficult to adopt and maintain such a position, where my head is below the students arms. This is very brave and shows great patience and trust, and control.
On a more personal note, the times I saw myself subject to the whim of a head of department/section/line manager/school are too numerous to mention. Some jerk gets it into their head, say that ‘you could do better/more/something instead of the perceived nothing you do (despite your results being the best in school, it’s only art and anyone can paint). That is why, I realised, I have those recurring dreams. The zen thing is to let it flow, say to myself, ‘It occurred apparent to me but they probably thought they were just doing their job’s worth, it happened (or appeared to) it has gone (for me I am re-tired) so let it go. Don’t worry, be happy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv-Fk1PwVeU
I am now in preparation for my next exhibition. I am working on the ‘songs’ idea, I love the idea of Blake and Whitman singing their poems in the street and river. I love all that.
I have to consider the arrangement of my exhibits. Glass cabinets or not? I need to inform folk it’s happening and invite some to my ‘readin & telling’. I intend to tell some (background) stories about say the day the Dalai Lama opened the Peace garden. For what it was worth. Most folk in Britain London Colchester haven’t even heard it exists. Apparently it’s wonderful now as the plants have no doubt grown highly. I may tell how I created designs for t shoits at the RA for the Beuys exhibition but his family/estate vetoed any use of his image on merchandise, and he, being the advocate that we are all artists!How I discovered the Silesius poem in a charity shop called Emmaus just down the road from the Red Lion bookshop. Also I found a reference to it in Barthes’ book ‘Neutral’! but it’s only a mention. I could say am about to add to the six mystics another 3, Blake Schopenhauer & either Swedenborg or Toshihiko Izutsu. Watch this space. Sorry am late this week, or last week.
Happy Apulhed surfing on the Leeds to Liverpool canal just passing thru Brunlea over the Culvert Bridge.
(c) pete kennedy 2014
I said in my most recent blogart that I’d been trying unsuccessfully to learn how to meditate and I had found a meditation on the Four Immeasurables* which decided me to try this meditation exercise which concentrated on them; *Loving Kindness, Joy, Compassion, Equanimity. I also said erroneously that ‘meditation is difficult cos you do nothing’, erroneous cos in fact it’s even harder than that, you actually have to do something very difficult, especially for me, STILL your mind. Stop the chattering of the monkey mind as they say.
One of Tavener’s last pieces was a song to SHUNYA, also called SUNYATA meaning ‘luminous emptiness’ or pure untrammelled ‘openness’.
I hinted at the fact that I had loosened the grip of my own expectations by thanking some folk for some adverse criticism but taking the advice of Tata Madiba I realise now that I have to do more. He said, “To be Free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
I remember when I was preparing for my Book Exhibition at JDD’s studio last October when I planned to do a ‘reading’ from my prose poem, ‘Inside My Clay Jug’ and the idea dawned on me that there may be one or two folk in the gathering who had no liking or respect for my poem and who may voice those feelings. I remember saying to myself, well if that happens you need to be prepared. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So I was a bit better prepared when I found much to my amazement there was one heckler there, my wife. Whatever her opinion, it’s not any good asking cos she wouldn’t say anyway, but she saw my reading the poem as unnecessary. I’ve heard about the enemy within but that seemed ridiculous. However, like Mandela said we need to learn how to “live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Wow that’s hard. Actors and actresses (when did actresses suddenly all become honorary ‘actors’? tell me) learn to take the critic’s opinions, it’s part of the training. They also learn, if they are doing live performances to fend off the blows graciously, like Billy Connelly did (not!), especially in Australia. Life’s a constant renegotiation, a compromise between misunderstandings, a best fit, a learn-to-live together thing.
Anyway as they say in the song, If You Can’t Stand The Heat Get Out The Kitchen. In fact one of my resolutions is to cook some more, which won’t be too hard as I didn’t cook at all for a long time.
So, as I embark on a new round of putting my work out there in 2014. I hope I can apply these new found skills in dealing with the rough and the smooth, the criticism and the praise. I’ve been saying for some time I’m different, I do Do difference. To help me move forward I’ve been looking at different cultures since way back, well, in the 1960’s. As a youngster I was fascinated by earlier cultures and by taking History I looked to learn more about Egypt, Assyria etc but the English exam system concentrates on Europe.I did a bit about Israel in A level R.E. and heard about the Q documents and the Dead Sea Scrolls for the first time. Masada is a stunning example of the Roman Empire’s way of annihilating a group using astounding engineering skills and them writing it out of history. They did it to Carthage, one of their most dangerous rivals, razing that civilisation to the ground. I was lucky to see Dan Snow’s programme on New Year’s Eve about how they destroyed the Dacians (like you I’d never heard of the Dacians! So the Romans were indeed effective) in central Europe when they didn’t really need to be so severe but wanted to set the Dacian rebellion as an example of something they would not tolerate.
So, in 105 AD Trajan built a mile long stone bridge across the Danube then besieged the Dacian capital of Sarmizegethusa, cut off the water supply and when the town surrendered Decebalus killed himself he razed and burned it to the ground. The, and Dacia, which corresponds roughly to modern Romania, was occupied as a Roman province.
This rule by tyrannical oppression was adopted by many later empire builders like the Brits, Stalin and Hitler. I won’t bother to name the massacres carried out by these empire builders as they are well documented elsewhere.
On the other hand Snow said that the Romans learned not to always destroy their rivals. In the now desert land around Petra in North Africa they set up a trading centre manned of course by a series of barracks. It must have been a thriving fertile area with at least 20 thousand inhabitants which I presume collapsed after Rome was razed by the tribes who had gathered together to defeat it.
The vainglorious overthrow of cultures which had less devastating technologies & techniques for war (like the Brits in Tibet) has always mortified me. I prefer the way Peter O’Toole, bless his socks, does it in Lawrence in Arabia or the twins in tandem do it in Connery & Caine’s Man Who Would Be King. They found the so called ‘primitive & inferior’ cultures could have more than enough to handle and indeed had a lot to teach ‘em. I once met, or rather accosted a very famous individual. I know that I said in my last blart that I rarely impinged on the space of ‘famous’ folk but I did ignore that rule once near the National Portrait Gallery in Londres with my young son when I spotted a man in the strangest green trousers you’ll ever see standing tall talking to a much older man. He was Richard Harris and I was an artist who did portraits of folk with interesting visages and character, so I approached him and handed my card to him. I don’t know why I bother with a card as I never got any business from it. People look at my cards and invariably go, ‘That’s a wonderful card’, then put it away forever and a day. Richard said when I asked him to contact me if he would like a portrait, ‘Thank you Pete I’ll think about that.’ How did he know my name? I thought. Then I realised he’d read the card in an intake of breath and called me by my name with the outtake. I loved Harris’s Celtic nature, that madness I am part of myself, that insane ability to do the impossible. Who else other than Harris could have taken a song everyone and their dogs had rejected with words second only to Procol Harum’s hit about waiters floating across the floor for incomprehensibility and turn it into a classic? MacArthritis Park:
they tell me that he only chose the song cos everyone who was anyone had rejected it.
As it happened in the USA, a spiritless place with blood on its hands, with the decimated indigenous injuns still living in poverty* as do the original (even called Aboriginal) populations of Australia and Tasmania. Younghusbandman the conqueror of Tibet eventually took to mystical religious beliefs, maybe the spirits of those he killed slaughtered came back to possess him? In fact as the Tibetans, when they realised the force they faced was too great, turned their backs and walked away being sent to their Nirvanas by a hail of British bullets. The rich heritage of the Americas, going back like the Australian aboriginals tens of thousands of years, which was so totally unheeded during their genocide which took place with the equally stupid slaughter of the buffaloes in the 19th century, is now being increasingly unearthed and revealed. The USA had better sort it act out, I suggest making reparations to past ‘foes’, something they rarely consider and the list is long; Cuba, Vietnam, Korea, the indigenous peoples, the list goes on. Look at what happened to the Mayans. When the pendulum swings the worm turns. Africa, China and India are all on the rise now, all of them still troubled by things the imperialists left behind, mostly divisive partitions and setting of false boundaries causing generations of internal disputes. I am making myself scarce, even tho my ancestors, including my dad, played their roles in the Empire’s Conquests as previously subjugated subjects, I am disappearing myself, into SHUNYA. I declare myself a Buddhist tinka searching for the Void, Nothing or as Apulhed might say Nuttingness.
*I understand some injuns do have their finger on a fortune, is it Las Vegas area? Well, the fact they appear to have re-invested some pay-back money for the whites stealing their land in what? Gambling dens isn’t it? Well that is an indicator of how bad things got for them. And the bigger they are the harder they fall as the saying says. All the Empires bite the dust eventually. Tink about it. Rome, Assyria, Egypt, Mongol, Mughal, Hittite to name but six that have disappeared.
(quote the Shelly poem from the Italian bk with brian eno in)
Asoka was a vicious tyrant who as it happened saw the Light. He took up the ways of the Buddhists and found his own piece of peace spreading the words and ideas of Buddha as far as Egypt and Israel where some writers feel that first the Theraputae then the early Christians adopted the ideas. Even Buddhist peaceful civilisations like those at Gandhara and Dunhuang on the silk road http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunhuang
‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains, round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundlsee and bare
The loan and level sands stretch far away.
P B Shelley 1817
“Ozymandias” may have been a corruption of Rameses II, ruled Egypt for 67 years in the 13th century BC who defeated the Hittites, the Nubians and the Canaanites and had massive statues made to commemorate his majesty. These enormous sculptures had been lost beneath the sands before the 19th century invasion of Egypt by the French under another self-appointed ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte, who devastated lands and eventually brought ignominy upon his loyal forces and effectively made the French incapable of self-defence* as a consequence of the vast loss of population that occurred in his battles and campaigns to rule the world.
*witness the French capitulation to the Prussian invasion in 1870 then its need for outside intervention to prevent it happening again in 1914 then the massive prolonged push by the Allied forces to oust Hitler who had steamrollered over France in 1939. Yet for some strange reason the main thrust of French consciousness is apparently anti-English?
The book that may have informed Shelley of “Ozymandias” was thought to be “The Ruins” (1791) a French treatise on why civilisations fell by the Comte de Volney. I know the enigmatic Sphinx was built for different reasons to Rameses monuments and was possibly thousands of years older but it too was almost totally submerged beneath sand. In the 1970’s I was fortunate to be asked to contribute a comic to Brainstorm 2 by its publisher Lee Harris. The Brainstorm Trilogy was Bryan Talbot’s arrival on the world graphic novel scene. I met Rick Griffin the genius of American Underground comic art at the launch as Lee had invited him over to it. Of my four pager Rick said only two words as he shook my hand, “Good Strip”. So, I could stop now, it would never get better than that. Indeed it was about to get much much worse, and the outcome was my withdrawal from the ‘comic’ fraternity but not before I got wounded by the barbs and editorial knife of one Marc Proops of the piss yellow suit. Despite Lee & Bryan liking my next offering enough to insist against his desire to take it out of the next comic he lost it on the way to the printers. Oddly it did turn up several months later and I am including it here because the world needs to see it. No really, it is about the Sphinx and that mystery of the Watchers. I am not complaining that it was edited out but I am a little angry that I gave up so easily. In fact I did not stop creating ‘comics’. I moved on. I was working on a graphic novel with my Apulhed character in it on a holiday to the south coast. I called it Apulhed & the Grockles. It wasn’t so bad but I decided after talking with retail outlets like Martins that I could not afford the outlay and the risk attached. It would not have sold anyway. There is a reality out there. You have to be famous to get published etc etc etc. I did try to get Apulhed ‘famous’ but that’s another story. The thing that grew out of The Grockle comic development was a new style Apulhed, one I could draw quickly and who could be animated more easily. He became more zen. He started to have a more zen acceptance of the human story with all of its ups and downs. But that is another blog.
The activities of Pete Kennedy, Performance Artist Bloke, Book Creator & retired artist.