Category Archives: Society of Bookbinders

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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Bookbinding and beyond

I valiantly attempt to meditate, am still trying after all these years but am not very good at it, yet. I was intrigued when I read this in Brain Pickings: ‘Oftentimes during meditation, I am visited by flash-memories dislodged from some dusty recess of my unconscious — vignettes and glimpses of people, places, and events from long ago and far away, belonging to what feels like another lifetime.’ Maria Popova.

I have experienced exactly that, I remembered my own first visit to the Lake District during a deep restorative yoga relaxation session with Catrina. I saw that as strange but very understandable. In some ways the significance of that one memory was that the trip was with my junior school at the end of my time there and it was the first time I had been anywhere away from and without my mum and dad (Jack & Jenny K.).

10 TRY'D

The Society of Bookbinders (SoB) Conference 2017

I audaciously sent my bound version of Inside This Earthen Vessel with David Jury’s beautiful letterpress renditions of my six poems into the (SoB) Competition & it was included in the (SoB) Exhibition (organised and set up by Marie Doinne and Mylyn McColl) where it was in good company. It happened to be the biggest height & width-wise in the show. There were however many exceptional entries and I particularly liked the two books entered by Rahel Scheufele (Switzerland) who won the Second Prize & Third Prize in ‘Fine Binding’.

Sumi Perera’s ‘soundwave scroll & boxset’ called 28 or not 28 was for me one of the best in show as she not only bound her cd in a box but also created a very beautiful round box for her scroll.

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Also I loved the cover, which was all I could see in the display cabinet- and I would have loved to have seen inside of Daniel Wray’s Koi Karp & Chips.

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In fact the method of display disallowed showing insides of books which for me is a shame as the insides must make up 50-90% of the book. In my case I made the bind to house the prints! And the prints are high quality letterpress the words being very meaningful too.
a vessel buk at SoB3a sm

 

The Catalogue has excellent design and layout by Mel Jefferson who also won the People’s choice award.

I was lucky to be able to attend several talks about different aspects of Bookbinding where I was astounded by how little I know:

Kathy Abbott A ‘Tomorrow’s Past’ Modern Conservation Binding in Limp Vellum www.kathyabbott.biz I learned so much watching Kathy’s talk in which she informed me that EVA is the best adhesive to use as it conserves better. Very instructive about making a ‘pricking temple’ and how to score creases from the mid-page out to top/bottom.

Roger Green – Making a Drop-Back Box www.buchbinderei-green.de I recently made my first book-box which had a ‘lip’ around the box, Roger’s had no lip and it was much stronger.

Renate Mesmer – Medieval girdle bindings. Renate’s incredible intro to making girdle books was quite stunning, concomitant with someone who works at the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

Consuela (Chela) Metzger –the ledger book. Chela showed me the making of  a cover in parchment with all sorts of tacketing.

John Mumford – Islamic bindings John gave a fascinating talk on how books were made after Constantine became Roman Emperor and felt the need to have ‘50 new churches decked out in shimmering gold and jewels which also adorned the parchment bibles that had to have heavy wooden boards on to keep the parchment flat.

Christopher Harvey- Old Manuscripts, Working Books, Changing Structures – Aspects of Book Conservation at the College of Arms, London www.college-of-arms.gov.uk Chris spoke well of the collection housed near St Paul’s in London where he tackles, ‘support & structural issues of the paper book-blocks’.

Peter Bower Adventures with Books: Investigations into Book History using Paper Analysis. Peter’s talk about his detective work in paper analysis was fascinating.

Paul Johnson – Pop Up Books In a way I saved the most intriguing til last. Paul showed us how he goes about making his incredibly complex one-off ‘pop-up’ books.

I was lucky to sit next to Monique Lallier during the formal meal in the Ballroom at Keele Uni as she proved to have a good sense of humour, as did her husband Don Etherington who told me he was an amateur binder and me being ignorant believed him, the joke was on me Don. It turns out that Monique does the most beautiful bookbinding and if I work hard for the next 50 years I may catch up with her. We also found that we read the same books, Book of Joy by Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu and Red Notice by Bill Browder, what a strange coincidence. Next I must read her book on binding which she did with her husband!

After attending the above talks and demos in just 2 days I was knackered but much better informed about some of the skills which are out there. So, I am sticking my girdle book under my belt and, like Bunyan’s hero Christian, I’m setting off on a long road down Bookbinder’s Way. First stop may be Wuppertal in Germany (Pina Bausch’s dance place) where Roger Green has his bindery. He lives about 30 minutes train journey from Dusseldorf where I hope to be later this year to benefit from Vest & Page’s workshops in Performance Art (PA). Verena & Andrea (who are V & P) are two of the very best PA practitioners and I am hoping that just being there and getting guidance from them will help me move forward in the arts of Performance Art!

Am gonna need as much help as I can get as am doing some of my own pieces at Colchester Art Centre on Nov 5th as part of a launch for my Shrewd Idiot books.

Talking of Colchester Art Centre I must congratulate Ant & the team for setting up a great show of photos taken by people who live out on the streets in Colchester. It opened on Friday night in the Old Bus Depot which is a big old dusty near derelict site but I love old bus & lorry depots, something about my youth when we used to go frequent them when it rained and we couldn’t keep playing football in the backstreets until the rain abated. So, shelter for me as a kid, and now shelter for the artworks made by people who could benefit from better shelter in today’s world.