Category Archives: radar

Every snowflake lands in its own place

I am pleased to share that Alice Springs News online in, Australia, ran a beautiful article (most of which I compiled) about an old friend of mine Ken Perry who died recently titled, “Jindalee Pioneer Ken Perry dies”. (December 5, 2015) http://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2015/12/05/jindalee-pioneer-ken-perry-dies/

The opening paragraph helped me understand even more the essence of Ken’s achievement. The editor, Erwin Chlanda, was a pilot who had flown over Ken’s radar installation on many occasions so he has a good knowledge of the terrain. “Intruding aircraft can fly just a few feet above the sea, below the cover of microwave defence radars: In order to track this threat, with his expertise in microwave, Ken Perry oversaw the development and production of high frequency surface wave “over-the-horizon” (OTH) radar, with a huge antenna spread for a kilometer or so on the ground off the Yuendumu Road, north-west of Alice Springs and a second similar facility is north of the Plenty River Road.” Getting some recognition and spreading the news about Ken’s accomplishments is not my main aim in life but it arose out of my admiration for the way he ran his life and his great modesty and generosity of spirit. Ken was alive with intelligence and was always thinking of his family and how he might help them progress. All of his daughters became graduates and his grandchildren seem to be trumping their achievements with first class honours at some big universities in a wide range of subjects. Ken never emphasised how clever he was, he would just rally round them all when they were growing up and help them to understand maths and science in particular. He lived his interests and shared his abilities.

I think that is a good way to go about my life too. Of course my main area has been in Art and ken was not au fe with ‘art’ so he would ask searching questions about my latest zany idea until he got a better grasp of what I was saying or hinting at.

My aim has been fairly constant over the years, to bring a lively enquiry into the field of creative art and to create ‘original’ works. Over the years it became clear to me that nothing is ever purely ‘original’ cos everything has precursors and all of us are inspired by or detest earlier example and we either pick it up and run with it (appropriation?) or attempt to do the opposite. On 1.12.2004 I was looking back on my Nonogon Show in Colchester library in 2000

my poster nonosho 2000 sm

 and planning an assault on Tate Modern with it which as you know didn’t happen yet. More importantly, when I make these dastardly plans I often reflect on where I been and wur am goin. I wrote these now very prophetic words, “My public personae would be like a mix of Joseph Beuys, Ken Campbell and Keith Haring.” Well, in fact, I drew like Haring before Haring did, so there’s no surprise there. I was already looking into Beuys and was very intrigued by Beuy’s antics, I was drawn to ‘performance art’ before I had a real idea of what it was about. I watched Ken Campbell perform at Brentwood theatre where he would often prep his stuff ready for his London shows. I remember walking into one and being bowled over by his strange props. It struck a bell in my head which is still resounding, or is that what they call tinnitus? I think that my projection about my future persona is still playing out.

  • I read somewhere* this week that we, us Ubeings (that’s my non-gender word fer Umans) are not like we often see ourselves like a standing stone person/personality forever set, we are more like a flowing stream or river that is constantly moving and shifting as we alter with the passing moments the sum total of which make up each of our lives. Or as the Tibetan Buddhists put it, this Bardo of Living we find ourselves in (or don’t for that matter). I love this comment on life from a zen master, “The snow falls, each flake in its appropriate place.” In other words, there is a meaning to every thing that happens even if we don’t understand it to begin with (that reminds me of Tai Chi), turn turn turn you whirling dervish. Or just listen to Judy Collins when she were young https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3kKqfTjsj0

*Deepak Chopra said via Carla McKay, “we all tend to see our bodies as ‘frozen sculptures’- solid, fixed, material objects- when in thruth, thye are more like rivers, constantly flowing patterns of intelligence…”

  • I have just made a lovely shift which combined my desire to meditate along with my gathering ability at yoga. I get so stressed out when I can’t ‘meditate’ and I am pretty incompetent at yoga’s bends & twists. But I sat down on the floor and had Garbarek playing with some musicians from Pakistan going. I thought you should meditate in ‘silence’ not with music? Well no, I’m leaving this music play. OK, so go into a lotus? No I cannot. OK somewhere as close as you can? Yes but that hurts the little protuberances on the outside of my feet. That’s life, suffer! OK, so I sat as long as I could suffer it. Then I said why don’t you move your feet? Place one foot under yer bum, stretch the other out and lean forward like you try to do in Ashtanga? That’s not meditation. Is it not? Actually let go, just do it. So I did and I held it awhile then swopped sides meantime ‘meditating’, well trying to concentrate on my breath and trying to get stuff out of my head that didn’t seem appropriate. Actually I spent some minutes moving into positions I learned in various yoga classes in the past 4 years. Then I thought, hey, I am enjoying this, I’m enjoying doing my yoga and my med, with an emphasis on MY. So for the first time ever, I found myself doing my own adaptation of the things I tried so hard to learn. I can do what the teachers say when am there, but when am here I will continue to experiment, and enjoy!
  • There’s a wonderful 93 minute documentary on Wilko johnson’s acceptance that he had terminal cancer on BBC Imagine series which I find very uplifting. he says, “I am a feather for each wind that blows.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06qqrk9/imagine-autumn-2015-5-the-ecstasy-of-wilko-johnson I was lucky to see Wilko in th’early days of Dr Feelgood when I took my  famous (NOT!) photo of him.wilko hands in waistcoat tiny Wilko holding Apulhed.
  • Finally just a bit more about yoga folks. I am almost finished Carla McKay’s Reluctant Yogi and over the past 4 years I have moved totally away from the gym to concentrate on Tai Chi and Yoga where she says, “unlike pumping weights or running a marathon, yoga gives the body a complete workout increasing endurance, building strength, stretching all the muscle groups (whilst preventing injury), and stimulating organs…” I’d drink to that if I drank! Having given up booze 4 years now I realise it was the inner soul preparing me for my journey down Yoga Way turning into Tai Chi twists. McKay also says that K. Pattabhi Jois who developed Ashtanga yoga out of Hatha yoga by adding a dynamic flow called vinyasa lived until he was 93, that’ll do for me, I have 28 years left, should give me time to get known on the Performance Art circuit. I contacted Live Art in London very near to where  I live. I was hoping to pop in to chat with some real players but got told to wait til next summer and then join them in their workshops, “Please do sign up for our newsletter where you’ll receive useful information about our work and other Live art opportunities and keep your eye out for calls for next year’s DIY programme – artist-led workshops.” I was hoping to do some performance art stuff before that, otherwise what i learned at IPA may disappear into my mists of time. Krishnamurti says we got to just go with the flow, like the river does. He revealed his secret to life, “Don’t mind what happens” he said. Or doesn’t maybe? (cf Wilko’s feather blowing in the wind.)
  • listen to snowflakes dancing
    Here’s Debussy’s beautiful original version
  • and Tomita’s electronic take on it at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM7X4mHEmPw

Namaste

Advertisements

Credit is due where credit’s due!

Fairness, loyalty & dedication are three characteristics which I admire. Below are some stories where folk have not been due credit for their shows of fairness, loyalty & dedication. One is my old friend KP who in my mind should have been new year’s honours listed for the part he played in keeping Macaronis going. Then the great footballer of my youth Jimmy McIlroy who gave his fairness, loyalty & dedication to the small town I was schooled in ‘up th’North’. Examples of men who gave all to a cause yet then the cause didn’t rightly honour them. This continues my beef about our not telling people we know how we admire them as a matter of course. It’s too risky we feel, we don’t like to commit. If you feel it inside, your head, your body etcetera, just let them know, “I appreciate you/this/what you done etc”. You’ll feel a buzz when you do it and they will know you feel good about their efforts.

ken perry when younger kp when younger

I had been preparing an obituary for my old friend KP. On approaching a national newspaper which he had read every day to run it they seemed very interested to do so but when they asked one of his line managers at the firm he spent all his working life at who told them he was ‘only an engineer’ and that his name on a patent was merely for ‘an aerial’ they said they no longer had time for him. That’s their decision and they must make them but I find it rather sad that the word of someone who he had probably had to tolerate throughout his working life had now even in his memory scotched a due memorial. I believe the paper got it wrong as they misread the signs although they have been given a bum steer.

However praise be to The Guardian who have published an online obituary  http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/sep/03/ken-perry .It’s already had 105 ‘shares’ by 2pm friday. Bless.

I informed the paper that KP was very instrumental in developing Over The Horizon Radar (OTHR) and when they contact his ‘superior’ to gain an ‘expert witness’ statement the man said KP did not invent OTHR, that was done by the Americans & Russians in the 50’s, according to him, but I had never said KP ‘invented’ OTHR, just that with his input, knowledge and management some big advances were made and that he was instrumental in gaining a massive contract with the Australians to install the system in Jindalee. His managers (senior, sic) did not credit him during his work life although they kept him on for 7 years after he retired aged 65 and this ungracious chap seems to want to continue their lack of grace-full recognition. However, there are many at his company who say he saved it from earlier extinction with the Jindalee contract and it has been said that some of the 600 employees who were sent out to Australia, who by the way now say they invented OTHR, became considerably well moneyed. KP did not. http://www.dsto.defence.gov.au/innovation/jindalee-operational-radar-network

jimi maket2 sm

Jim McIlroy was brought over to Burnley as a youth in the 1950s and became possibly their greatest player of the modern era. I am certain George Best would have seen him play for Ireland in Belfast on some of the 55 times he represented his country and Best must have been influenced by Jimmy’s style of play.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_McIlroy Jimmy had affiliated with not just the football club but with the town of Burnley itself on his arrival. He never left the town even when sold down the river to Stoke in 1963 he continued living at Burnley and commuted to Stoke. Stoke was a strange place for a man courted by the big Italian and Spanish clubs (Barca) who refused the lure of big money for the meagre pittance at Burnley because he loved the drizzly cotton mill town so much, he still lives there now in his declining years.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/down-memory-lane-mcilroy-still-the-prince-of-burnley-28499825.html

Nearly 50 years after he left in a bombshell revelation that the club had transferred him to a team in a lower division the club honoured him by naming a stand after him. I want them to further honour him by erecting a statue in his honour and I have created a maquette for one for them. (this image is in ‘my burnli’ folder mi pics)Jim remained totally faithful to the club despite Bob Lord’s despicable actions. Lord as far as I am concerned ruined Burnley F.C. when he turned the TV cameras away when Burnley were a top club in the early 1960s in the misguided belief that TV would keep fans away from the ground, in fact quite the opposite was true. http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/11545047.Clarets_legend_Jimmy_McIlroy_is_the_toast_of_Burnley/?ref=mr

I am pleased to say someone high up in BFC has emailed me and asked me to send some photos and other details about my proposed sculpture to him. He added that they have already named a stand after Jimmy Mac, but really, that’s only the cost of the paint job to sign-write his name on a stand that would have gone up already. Nearly every club in the top divisions has had one, two or more scuptures erected to past heroes. Arguably there are few players bigger than Jimmy at Burnley, except maybe Tommy Boyle in the 1921 team which went the longest run at top division level of games without defeat, a record which stood over 80 years until Arsene’s Invincibles!

on a sadder note when I contacted ‘Clarets Mad’ to see if I may muster some support for the idea they got back and told me there’s at least 30 players who deserve some form of commemoration. So, I guess I should shut ma trap whilst I still can. Maybe I should make ma sculpture of my hero in my back garden, like the one of my dad who ran football teams and gave the cricket league a cup when we couldn’t afford cheese to go in our bread! Good old Big Jack Taff.

taf side view

Maybe because the program was an advert for the forthcoming Tate Pop Art show Sooke didn’t mention R B Kitaj, one of my top 10 artists of the 20th century whose skills far outweighed those of his more famous younger contemporary Hockney whom he influenced a great deal. http://biography.yourdictionary.com/david-hockney

“It is a widely held belief among those in the art world that…Jacob Kramer in Leeds viewing an Alan Davie exhibition in Wakefield in 1958 pushed Hockney towards the type of work that is considered avant-garde. Alan Davie went on to hold a considerable influence over Hockney dramatically represented by a series of ‘abstract expressionist’ canvases that Hockney produced during his first year at the Royal College of the Arts. That year, 1959, another individual that held considerable influence over the work produced by Hockney was American artist R. B. Kitaj. Kitaj’s work was of commonplace scenes as well as contemporary people and events. While Kitaj’s work discreetly affected the British Pop Art movement, it profoundly affected Hockney. Hockney’s keen awareness of the times around him is directly attributed, in many critics’ opinions, to Kitaj.” Encyclopedia World Boigraphy.

http://032c.com/2013/r-b-kitaj-and-david-hockney-collage-of-a-lifelong-friendship/  “Ron was a great influence on me, far more than anything else; not just stylistically – he was a great influence stylistically on a lot of people, and certainly on me – but in his seriousness too.” Hockney in 032c Issue #24 — Summer 2013 Page 176 – 185.

Talking of deals Kitaj had quite a raw deal from the media, so much so that a war broke out between him and the press- http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/feb/10/rb-kitaj-obsessions-tate-war Nevertheless Kitaj kept a foothold in his adopted London until his death. http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/kitaj