Category Archives: performance art

Good Chats at Bookfairs

After a busy weekend at Society of Bookbinders (SoB) in Kentish Town & Substance (SuB) (PABE Aspex Gallery Portsmouth Harbour) book fairs I was exhausted on getting back home Sunday nicht and much of Monday. As I wasn’t up to doing much (except sawing wood for my multi fuel Stanley cooker), a mindless activity, so I can chill, literally my fingers were like icicles despite gloves & scarf and all. During my wind-down time it occurred to me that the one thing I like more than making books (inc. writing and imaging and designing and getting print off and collating and binding variously) and doing Performance Art (PA) is the crack (as the lucky Irish 6 Nations Champs would say); the chat, the meeting and engaging in conversation about mutual interests with people.

So folk come up to my display of recent books at my table and peruse and maybe ask questions or make comments and I may answer then there’s the repartee + badinage. And I realised ‘that’s the thing which is most important, it’s making contact, touching the minds & consciousness’. Moments to remember. There were plenty of them at both events.

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This image was taken by The Ladies Of The Press at PABE, thank you ladies!

Particularly during & after my PA bits. People may comment and react to my books but it’s amazing looking from the ‘stage’ into their faces and to see what both organisers, (Dave Kirby at SuB & Sonia Serrao at SoB said was so lovely) the audience- attention and silence at certain points. Neither audience knew what to expect although my handout (beautifully printed at rjprinters in Maldon) did go some way to explain what I was about to do, then did. In both venues the audiences were very patient and forgiving and 4 folk said they really enjoyed it at SuB.

I love the image which The Ladies Of The Press took of YSI seated. It shows the attention given by the audience and the Japanese kimono which features a bit later on. They also took a short vid of him ‘dancing’ with The Red Dress which I shall try to post soon (the tech is beyond me, I’ll get my mate Dave to elp me). It’s lovely because the dress was falling from the coat hanger (not part of the plan) and I tenderly readjust it back onto the coat hanger. Much more tenderly than am renowned for!

One woman (Renée O’Drobinak of The Ladies of the Press) who is obviously big into theatre came up after and said it had an Ancient quality, ‘like Greek’. I think she meant the overall drama but also the humour & pathos together in one piece.

The reaction was even stronger at SoB where several (fellow book people) said it (my celebration of my dad’s life using the words of Annie Lennox) was very touching. Here’s a short vid taken by Sonia on Saturday which you can watch on Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/p/BgeD8TMjM2L/?taken-by=palaverdesigns ) . Some even remembered when I did ‘The History of Books’ in a 20 minute PA two years ago.

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Shrewd Idiot pushes his mammoth book to the tip say “I need to get this monkey offa ma back!”

I haven’t got any images from either PA gig as it stands becos, obviously, I were doing my ting and cannot be taking snaps. I saw some folks taking them so if any kind soul out thur can send me one I’ll add them to my blArt as they come. Thanks to whoever took the image above! Thanks Dave Kirby for sending it. “The Young Shrewd Idiot sits down with the Red Dress on his lap at Substance gig” is my title for it. The Young Shrewd Idiot is (of course silly old me wearing a mask which is taken from an oil painting that I painted from the mirror when I was at college. The painting is in The Shrewd Idiot (A4 at least) buk. I wear 3 simple card masks of my 1968-72 faces watti dun. The 4th mask is a pair of very special ‘shades’ which I don when am doing the Iggy Pop number Shades. The fifth and best mask is my 3D Apulhed mask, the best I ever made thus far, thanks to you Verena giving me the recipe. Am hoping one day to make the 3 self portraits 3D too, altho not totally necessary I’d like to achieve that.

Special thanks to Dave Kirby at SuB & Sonia Serrao at SoB for inviting me to take part. I enjoyed both experiences, especially as I did not get caught up in the bad snow what fell on the South West (Southwester than Portsmouth!)

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Abart my SUBSTANCE P A gig

Abart my SUBSTANCE Performance Art gig

 

Greetings from snowy Essex (altho’ it’s gone now here).

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(When I do the gig in Portsmouth on the 18th March I won’t have time to explain it so am hoping folk have read this or gotten a handout.)

To finish off telling you abart my SUBSTANCE Performance Art gig, (I wrote about most of it in my last blArty bit- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/about-the-shrewd-idiot/ ), I’d just like to add something I omitted to mention last week.

 

My dad’s Centenary Year.

Those of you who follow ma blArt will know that on 26 Jan 2018 at bookartbookshop we added a commemoration of my dad’s centenary birthdate, he would have been 100 this year on that date. It was Tanya who kindly suggested that I do something about him that day. As he was born in Welsh Wales I had to sing a bit of Tom Jones because my dad was in the Burnley Welsh Voice Choir awhile. My dad was not a wimpero like what I is, he were a big strong bloke and a steeplejack, they called him Big Taff at the working men’s club he went to for many years. So I had to sing (well I call it singing, many wouldn’t!) it in a deep Welsh voice, which was ‘ard for a wimp-ero with a normally squeaky voix. I also read some of Annie Lennox’s words pertinent to his final days, again in a deep(ish) Welsh voice (kind of).

 

I won’t be doing the reading as the spot am doing is just 20 minutes but Annie & Apulhed will join me to remember him in a beautiful little song & dance. It is a very spiritual moment as Apulhed takes us through her song The Gift (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjMBPR5H9x4 ). The song is so pertinent to my dad for a number of reasons. In the movement Apulhed mimes the words, so many of which could apply to Taffy. He worked most of his life out in the rain, it always rains in Burnley dunnit? He carried baggage from his younger days of making mistakes and in the song he hands over a ‘gilded cage’ and an ‘overcoat of guilt’, which “never did belong to him”, well some of them did but you need to ‘let go’. There’s a ‘perfect gift’ he gets from me and Camellia, those who come see the gig will maybe work out what it was. He falls from his chair and has to take a serious look at himself and he finally tumbles from his tree. For a moment he lays in the throes of death until he re-awakens to the sound of rain and he cannot resist rising up and going out in the rain again, just like he said he always would! He goes down to the water’s edge to cast away all doubts and let go. I can see him now up there with his friends supping a pint and singing songs in that lovely Welsh timbre. God Bless you dad.

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Snow on Sandstone Sculpture of my dad which I carved after he died in 1992.

It fits beautifully into the rest of my gig which is all about The Shrewd Idiot’s antics, mostly from the book of the same name which’ll be on show in two versions (A4 + A3) at my table where you’ll find me willing to answer any questions about my work unless I am wandering round with ma ApulhedMask on. Yes am afraid it’s a mask, the real Apulhed is off round the Cosmos except when he zooms into my costume to transform me during his dance! [Apulhed can travel thru time in the blink of a eye, no distance is too great, no barrier can prevent him]

There’ll be several ‘costume’ changes which I hope to do seamlessly ‘on stage’. The most obvious one is when I become Apulhed-Man, I don’t have a telephone box to change in like what SuperMan did and I need to do it with a degree of speed. I’ll be using Acker Bilk’s Stranger On the Shore during that shift and there’s a story to why that music. When I were a lad we couldn’t afford a record player. Acker Bilk sat at No.1 and we were in Morpeth during Burnley Fair Summer Hols and me and dad loved the music, so buying it was an act of rebellion. We couldn’t listen to it at home, we could hold the single vinyl and hum it tho’. That music is very dear to me.

By the way, please feel free to take photos. I am totally disenchanted with those places which ban photography and galleries which forbid you to touch the sculpture. Feel free to flash away but don’t ya toucha ma tutu!

About The Shrewd Idiot

About The Shrewd Idiot?

Can a Idiot ever be Shrewd? I believe he can. Of course I’m biased as I was that Idiot if ever there was one.

One publisher’s (Oliver Caldecott) Reader, who read an early chapter of the book in the late 70’s, said that, “Kennedy could not have written this if he had not [become wiser with age]”, or words to that effect. He also likened it to the effect Catcher In The Rye had on the 50’s University generation but as I was the Idiot I was always late and it took until 2017 before a young student woman in Amsterdam likened the book to Salinger. Well, at last. Someone else, back in 1975, a PhD student called Alun Butler whose study was on Rilke, the year I self-published (warran Idjet] Apul-One, the prequel (or follow up as the text postdates that of A1) to The Shrewd Idiot (Apul-Two), likened it to Robert Walser. In some respects these folk were seeing the Shrewd side of the Idiet. In fact his alter ego Apulhed is Shrewd, he’s the Wise One.

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The Shrewd One helping the Idiot publicise his gig

 

The idiotic side of the Shrewd Idiot used to (and still do sometimes) spell wrongly (aka Altered Spelling) or delibritli uses wrong sentince struckture and all sorts of other means of putting the reader off.

Back to my original question, ‘Can a Idiot ever be Shrewd?’ Caldecott’s Reader hit the nail on the head because the idyet left his job knowing it was the right thing to do, to write the book. It only took 40 years to get it out but out it is now! And it never was meant to be such a feature of my bookart & Performance Art and blArts (I call my blog my blArt cos it’s me ‘blatherin on’ like a BlaggArt…ist , that’s it- I’m not a Drag Artist I am a Blag Artis Bloke!

So, looking at Dave K’s blog about the line-up for Substance book event in Portsmouth on March 18 2018 https://artistsbooksportsmouth.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/substance-portsmouths-artists-book.html You’ll find 4 images of recent sightings of The Shrewd Idiot from his Performance Art gigs. Below is a short intro explaining each image and how they fit into his stuff:

Each part of the The Shrewd Idiot Performance Art gig relates a section from the book of the same name.

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Image 1. Shows the idiot aged about 20 dancing & reminiscing his old love, Rose of Exeter who is one of what have become known as the Idiot’s ‘3 Graces’, three women he knew and lost in the book. He is holding a red dress with which he dances. That is not only a going back in time thing it’s also a reference to Trajal Harrell’s dancing which the old Idiot saw last year performing his Hoochie Coochie set at the Barbican in London. In the first song the old Idiot dances to Mick Jagger makes veiled reference to Hoochie Coochie dancing when he mentions “…your mama was a tent show queen…” in Brown Sugar.

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You can see the Idjet in his new shades at SUBSTANCE

Image 2. Aged about 67 the old Idiot dances like a king for Camellia to Iggy Pop’s song ‘Shades’.

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Apulhed makes a rare incredible appearance

Image 3. Apulhed, the idiot’s alter ego appears for real and does his cosmic dance once he overcomes his fear of the humans in the audience.

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The Idiet travels back to 1969 and imagines himself young again dancing with Bluebell.

Image 4. Shows the Idiot at about 18 years old dancing for Bluebell, the first Grace (aka Gertrude) from his late teenage times. If you get to Substance you’ll have the opportunity to see all these parts of the Idiot’s persona in a 20 minute piece.

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Altho this is not the final Shrewd Idiot cover it nearly made it, just like the book’s hero!

AND you’ll have the chance to view the A4 & A3 Shrewd Idiot Books at Pete’s table alongside his other books.

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Pete’s first artisbuk from 1975

IF you go to the Society of Bookbinder’s book event in London on the 17th March you may get a chance to see the Idiot strutting his stuff with Iggy, warming up for Substance.

See ja thur!

 

 

 

 

 

‘So Here & Now’

 

I been so busy so far this year so this is my first blArt of 2018, so there or should I say ‘So Here & Now’ (It’s the only place to Be).

In the Düsseldorf 2017 review (below) I mention that I had a Book Launch scheduled for 26Jan2018 at Bookartbookshop in London which was last Friday and thanks to the wonderful select group of folk Tanya called in it went really well. Thank you all for coming and for the love & attention. All the photos of the gig are taken by Tanya Peixoto and I am forever grateful, to her. I have made some slight alterations to some, which I hope she doesn’t mind.

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Patrick J. Kennedy 1918-92

I had been honing the Performance Art lifted from the story in my book The Shrewd Idiot ever since my gig at CAC. At Tanya’s suggestion we also celebrated the centenary birthdate of my dad Patrick J. Kennedy (Taffy).

 

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Young Idiot dancing with The Red Dress

Above photo by Maxine Wynne

 

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Old Idiot blinded by the light despite the shades

Photo by Tanya Peixoto

So to the ‘Red Dress Dance’ & ‘Shades Song’ (After Iggy) commemorating some (3) beautiful girls I knew in the days I was at college

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Apulhed sneaks up on unsuspecting guest from whom the light which blinds the Idiot shines

and an Apulhed Appearance (Photo by Tanya Peixoto)

I added a reading of all the mentions I made of my dad ‘Taffy’ in The Shrewd Idiot. To top it off I read some words appropriated from Annie Lennox cd Diva which had a special place in my memory of the final day of my dad’s life. He lived from 1918-1992. He had a ‘colourful’ life interrupted by WW2 when he joined the Air Sea Rescue section of the RAF. He was a Steeplejack* and a very successful amateur football coach & he instructed many in the Burnley area in what was called back then ‘physical culture’ (doing weights) and he introduced me to Mr Universe Earl Maynard at a show in Manchester around 1965 where he told me to show Earl my six pack which as a 14 year old was highly developed. Earl said, “Keep it up!” and, being a teenager, I immediately dropped the weight training. Look at me now!

I COULD HAVE BEEN SOMEONE…Instead of a bum (Thanks Marlon).

So, instead of Mr Universe I became Master Puny of Verse! Goodnite.

[*DON’T mention Dinber my dad thought Dinber was a clown because of the careless dangerous lacks of precaution he allowed, according to Taff]

I never did a summary of my 2017 so here are the highlites of my 2017 year:

April1st2017 BABE at Arnolfini:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/an-idjet-suckseeds/

Sept2017 in Dusseldorf with Vest & Page:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/sound-seeps-thru-ma-very-soul/

Nov52017 My First gig at Colchester Arts Centre:

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

I mentioned Jo Bannon in a blArt last year but could not post any images then but she contacted me after her National Tour and said yes I can use some.

She had various leads which led from her table to electricity sources as she boiled a kettle and poured hot water into a stainless steel bowl with some cooler water in then washed her silken white locks then [for me the best moments of the gig] she used a powerful hair dryer to blow her hair away (almost).

Jo Bannon http://www.jobannon.co.uk/Home.html

 

 

Shrewd Idiot’s Book Launch at CAC

Book Launch + Birthday Celebration

It was not just a Book Launch, it was my 67th Birthday Celebration at Colchester Arts Centre (CAC) on Sunday altho’ my birthday is 27 Oct we had decided that Nov5 is an easier date to remember remember. As it turned out we forgot to celebrate ma birtdae, altho’ my wife did send a cake to CAC which my guests enjoyed. I was too busy clearing up the stage area so the next act could set up..

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Ant competing with aplomb with the Shrewd Idiot for dad dancer of the year.

Anthony Roberts gave me the invite to Launch on seeing a copy of my The Shrewd Idiot book and he also gave me a beautifully phrased introduction yesterday which made me feel real good!

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Richard Spencer who did a beautiful rendition of Neil Young’s After the Goldrush.

Richard Spencer did two songs beautifully to help me tell the shrewd idiot’s tale (of woe & glad tiding)

The Performance Art gig I did just grew and grew in the weeks (nay months) of prep as I got more excited on its approach. The idea which underpins my PA gigs is to bring my static 2D, 3D and BookArt forms to life, to have them walking and talking and most of all DANCING to celebrate life, theirs and mine!

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stage set with 3 of my 1968-70 self portrasits which each became a mask in the gig. I have not used those easels in a while now.

CAC gave me the best facilities I have ever had access to and I am very very grateful for that. Neil Thorp (the man detailed out by Mark Senior Techie who left the country on seeing my scrip) to do the Techie work was very helpful and patient with this first timer. He accommodated my script and its being crammed with different ‘tracks’ of music (which I had edited down in Audacity to give my story a running musical accompaniment appropriate to the story line and of course with a dance beat I could move to in what one of those present has kindly called ‘dad dancing’) and different ‘slide changes’ on a powerpoint I never had intended to use but it was apparently the best way to coordinate the sound, vision and lighting schedules. Ben Howard it was who organised the provision for my gig and gave me encouraging words in the weeks before. Anyway the outcome was tremendous as I looked at the stage before the crowd was allowed in.

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Although I had a poster printed on yellow paper (A3,4 & 5!) and got it distributed around Colchester, even at the Town Hall, there was something lacking in my promotion of the gig as all those who turned up already owned copies of my Beautiful Shrewd Idiot book. I did mention it (hundreds of times) in my blArt, posted a tweet about it and the lovely Daphne Sandham at Colchester Art Society put up a mention of it in her weekly newsletter to members and she retweeted my tweet. They came to see if the man in the book was for real. Well, in the book he was 18-23 years old between 1969-73, in the process of becoming an artist & teacher whilst being tamed by 3 lovely women in those years. Yes he does exist but a bit older now and not necessarily as good a dancer altho’ he did attempt to disprove that fallacious, rather libellous, definitely deleterious theory to cries of ‘dad dancing’ called in mock humour.

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The Idiot dancer from 1970, don’t be fooled by the mask he’s still in there!

He also exhibited some salacious stories about his former self(s). Some of his creations ‘came to life too’ well one did, Apulhed, whose appearance was indeed the highlight, an opinion unanimously acclaimed by the audience.

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Apulhed in all his glory  speaking to humanity asking them to mend their ways.

Here’s some images of the author dad-dancing and not caring about the consequences (in fact some of his moves were perfec Zumba).

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The 3 dad dancers taken by Christine Dixon

Here’s the Emperor Rosegon Dance Competition in full swing. The judge was a bit biased! I admit now I should have come 3rd not 1st, but whose birthday and whose gig were it any road up!

One of the best things which arose from the gig was a beautiful informed review written by Gary Malkin of the Artist’s Book Archive at Baltic, Gatesheed. I’ll ask his permission to post it next time as he gave great insight into my books, particularly The Shrewd Idiot, Christine Dixon created two beautiful handouts for the gig which I wish I had used in the advance publicity. She also came up on stage to grace the floor with her dancing skills as I reminisced about my chat up lines from the 1970s! Thank you Christine. Thanks also to Dave Doughty who acted as the Taxi Driver and the film maker. I hope to post the results of his efforts in the not too distant so you can enjoy ma gig at CAC.

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Christine putting up with my 1970s chat up.

Namaste

 

 

 

Two gigs this weekend

I am doing a very quick blArt this week as I am hard on rehearsing and preparing for my book launching gig at Colchester Arts Centre this coming Sunday 5th November at 2pm.

Am also doing a reading of Bukowski’s Poem For Dante at Firstsite in Colchester on Friday 3rd at 7.30 when the Educaid trust will be having another of their wonderful group readings in aid of Sierra Leone. No time even for yoga classes this week.

I am trying to pull together all my recent inspirations to attract interest in my series of books concerning The Shrewd Idiot.

If you have a spare hour Sunday afternoon the main activity is from 2-3 pm.

You may like to buy one of my books at a really good price too.

Here’s a couple of images I took at today’s practice. [Don’t forget to bring your camera! You can flash away til yer heart’s content cos I got no ban on cameras. That’s not to do with vanity, it’s freedom of speech, a pic tells a 1000 words.] Oh and can some of you let me know if you are coming, then I’ll get my beautiful wife to make more birthday cakes. At present there’s no way of knowing numbers cos we said no entry fee. That means no bookings so we cannot estimate numbers. But like Sophia saw at Red Lion, I’d perform (my art) even if nobody came, but I do know some folk will be there.

 

 

I don’t want to give too much away but I shall be in dialogue with my former selves and my character Apulhed will make a surprise appearance. That’s as long as he can make it from whatever part of the cosmos he’s visiting now. He’s never let me down before. Looks like he’s in Japan!

Or he may be further afield. I wake about 4am and look out my window and there above the trees I have a great view of Orion’s Belt with Sirius lurking below it.

The Shrewd Idiot books launch

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The time for my launch of my new (set of) book(s) on the theme of The Shrewd Idiot looms ever closer. Anyone who can get to the Colchester Arts Centre [It’s in the street behind The Mercury Theatre, you can park across the road at St Mary’s Car Park.] would be welcome at 2pm Sunday November 5th. entry is free I’ll be talking about my books and doing some zany Performance Art (PA) pieces which emanate from the pages of the books.

The Shrewd Idiot book isn’t entirely chronological, there’s flashbacks in it and altho I wrote it in the 70’s, I completed it in 2016 adding a final layer of comments from this man in his mid-sixties to the younger self. In this PA I have a dialogue with my younger selves too. Some of the exchanges may cause ripples of smiles because the young Idiot involves in activities the old Idiot would never admit to, would he?

Back in the early 70’s Neil Young was flagging up the issue of ‘Mother Nature on the run’ and his song After The Gold Rush depicts his dream about contact with other life forms which fits well with my work from around that time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKM5dIANXE8 so I’m featuring a rendition of his song performed by my friend Richard Spencer.

I shall talk, mime (badly), dance (not quite so badly) through the hand-made books’ content and have a Q&A session at th’end.

I also bring in devices & influences from performances I have seen recently in London, like Trajal Harrell https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/jul/23/trajal-harrell-hoochie-koochie-barbican-observer-review  and Kazuo Ohno (who was born in Hakodate City, Hokkaido, on my birthdate October 27 but in 1906 http://www.kazuoohnodancestudio.com/english/kazuo/ ), Geumhyung Jeong, Rocio Molina and Michael Clark.

As is the ‘won’t’ of many a big gallery they wouldn’t allow photos so I drew them! [altho’ you’ll see I couldn’t remember Geumhyung Jeong’s name as I sat drawing illicitly on the floor of Tate Mod.

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Geumhyung Jeong’s gig in my shorthand

That’s the trouble wit big galleries, they’re buying into PA but they have no idea what the drift of PA is! PA is an open field in which anything goes. Please bring yer camras and click away madly at my gigs.

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Apulhed during my 1st ever PA in Exeter in 1973

There’s only one extant photo of Apulhed and that was taken in 1973! But there are more now, some taken in 2017 at my Arnolfini gig of course. Thanks Tanya, thanks Hannah! See https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/an-idjet-suckseeds/

I also have Richard Spencer to sing a little at the beginning Bless his cotton socks.

Other artists who help my script are Lady Gaga, Van the Man, Iggy Pop and Bruno Mars.

The Shrewd Idiot book will be on sale in different forms; ‘The A3 deluxe version’, ‘The A4 Perfect Bound version’, The Appleheadman Sees book (A5) and the ‘A3 deluxe PK 1968-73’ which is 27 picture I did tween 1968-73.

I created Apulhed (aka Appleheadman) in 1971 and he has had many many different looks in different media like comics, children’s drama (I did a big show with 14 Children playing my characters when I was the first artist of the new millennium to have an exhibition in Colchester Library), books like my Apul-One 1975.

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The face in the Applehead is Camellia!

Here’s a cover with newly done colours of the 1979 Happy Apulhed ‘comic’.

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the original Happy Apulhed is B&W only

In this gig Apulhed will make a special appearance in a beautiful guise created especially for this gig and that I have never before used, I think it will cause quite a stir. Doors open 13.30 hrs, PA starts at 2pm (14.00 hrs) ends at c. 3pm. Then there’s 30 minutes in which I shall be around to sign any copies of the books you buys and answer any questions about my works.

a colarts nov5 poster

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As rare as hen’s teeth comments be!