Tag Archives: apulhed

Abart my SUBSTANCE P A gig

Abart my SUBSTANCE Performance Art gig

 

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

1 blossom and snow sm

(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.

a sno taf 2 sm
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!

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Rainbows

Rainbows

Real & Imaginary Rainbows in MY life.

a-rainbow-from-oor-chimbley-161016

This one is a few days old when I photo’d it emanating from ma chimbley early one morning.

a-rainbow-1949

This was about the year I got borned, it was released c.Dec 1949, I wer popped oot Oct1950.

I love old comic books. Tiger Tim was great but my personal fave was Toby Twirl. The illustrators were the first great artists I was ever aware of. I was lucky as my parents could not afford to buy me them so I yearned so much to have them that nowadays, when I see them in various shops, I try to buy them. I keep on forlornly hoping that the skills will rub off on me, am still waiting. Of course I’d never do a ‘comic’ comic like they were but I do intend to re-visit my 1976 ‘graphic-novel’ Applehead Lives during 2017 and re-do it using the skills and technologies am still picking up along my merry way.

 

Performance Art Life Changer a year ago now:

 

Today I want to take you back a year to 2015 from 12 to 24th of October when I was on a lifetime best experience in any form of art that I have ever involved with.

Workshops run by Jurgen Fritz (‘JFr’) alongside others by Vest & Page (‘VanP’), which ran simultaneously, changed my approach to my Performance Art (PA). I doubt I shall ever come across such good quality inspiration again in this life. JFr and VanP were great team leaders and their respective teams were packed with people from around the world, many of whom had considerably good PA to bring to the 12 days of intensive workshops and actual PA gigs around Bristol; market, harbour and art gallery. I was privileged to both witness and participate in it and what I learned there fed into my PA part in Firstsite’s PA Day in November 2015.

The sessions gave me confidence to pick up my PA from where it had arrived and lift it to new height. It’s not for me to say how good or bad my output is, that I’ll leave for you & others to decide, but my 3 mentors gave me a will to carry on and carry out my PA with a renewed determination to be original, different and also to pay tribute to others who have gone before inspiring my work.

So today I am going to talk and show about some of the performance art I saw there done by some of my fellow participants. Altho’ I love all three of them I’m not going to talk about JFr and V&P cos you can find their work by just googling em. See- http://www.veniceperformanceart.org/index.php?page=255&lang=en

I’d like to go into some detail on Anna Kosarewska, Jamie Burr & Carol Montealegre, (I’ll get round to doing a blArt on Debbie Guinan and Robert Hardaker a little further in the future. )

All the photos were taken by and © Jurgen Fritz 2015 unless otherwise stated.

 

Anna Kosarewska,

Anna did some real beautiful PA during our time doing the course. Her best piece brought us all to tears as she commemorated several friends who had been killed during the invasion of her home country recently. PA can be a most powerful way of bringing issues into the public domain. Everything she did she did with consummate grace and care often covering her face with cloth or some other material.

anna-graspin

I loved the piece she did in the harbour on the rail track in which she used little toy soldiers. At one time her presence nearly caused some of the local workmen to have heart attacks when she refused to move from the track and a train was approaching albeit at a very slow pace, but it didn’t seem ready to halt, and she was lifted to safety by two of IPA’s organisers Eva & Fay.

anna-close-up

On Saturday evening she did some acts balancing glasses filled with water and walking dreamlike around the stairs.

Jamie Burr,

Jamie did some very moving pieces. His gig with bales of hay and a pitchfork on the harbour was gripping but best of all was his one done in the garden at Dunden where he covered himself in sloshy mud and threw water on himself from glass jars. I know that sounds stupid but it was quite incredible. Reality was suspended and I became one with a strange world Jamie established between the field and a willow den. He had set up about seven jars filled with water. About 200 metres from the den he had buckets with mud paste in them which he applied liberally to his naked body. Then he ran, followed by the whole lot of PA participants and leaders, to the den.

jamie-in-buket

He entered it and sat inside a few minutes, then picked up one jar, walked out of the den and doused himself and walked back in and sat again and did it again and again until the jars were empty and steam was rising from his limbs when he ran into the building to shower and dress himself again.

jamie-steamin

Carol Montealegre,

carol-blak
Thursday 22nd October 14:00-16:00, Castle Park Artists Alba Murcia (Spain) Nicole Murmann (Switzerland) Oozing Gloop Ye Olde (UK) Taz Burns (UK) Bojana Videkanic (Canada) Pete Kennedy (UK) Andrea Greenwood (UK) Jolanda Jansen (Netherlands) Carol Andrea Montealegre Pinzón (Colombia)

Carol at Castle Park

Carol comes from Colombia, she brought some exquisitely lovely PA ideas with her. She had these ideas like using twigs which I have seen being used by some of the big names but Carol had a special touch of her own. I loved her use of black face paint, lace on garments, leather so much so that I began to use it myself- face paint that is and my first use happened to be black (it would have been gold if I’d not first painted a Zorro mask on!) in my Zorro & Beuys+Dead Woodpecker-poem PA at Firstsite last November.

a-pete-electric-eyes

This photo were taken by Priscila Buschinelli (look at the eyes!)

a-carol-cleaning-2Photo by Pete Kennedy

But I didn’t look as good as Carol, no way. I loved the piece she did one evening as it turned dark where she blacked up and that made her teeth and eyes really stand out. She used black balloons too

(like Alastair MacLennan did, see

http://www.veniceperformanceart.org/index.php?page=186&lang=en )

but with much more beauty. Carol had brought along small props which she would drop into each of her pieces with aplomb.carol-an-jamiewriting in Arnolfini lift

 Influencers of my own work.

Alfred Jarry, G I Gurdjieff, e e cummings, Kenneth Patchen, Ken Campbell are some of my biggest influences, if I can call them that. Then there’s dances by Michael Stipe of REM and Tim Booth of James, plus Samuel T Herring of Future Islands, all of which I love.

I love the way Picasso, Topolski and Japanese Zen Masters draw in front of folk.

Masks from other cultures and my own creations in the past. These are a few of my favourite tings which you’ll see pop up in ma new PA gigs. I have been told I can do 10 minutes at the next BABE book fair in Bristol’s Arnolfini gallery in April 2017 so watch this space for development.

I shall be:entering with attitude, dancing like an Idiot wearing a Tea Cosy, drawing on the zen master’s, wearing a new Shrewd Apulhed mask and costume and, if yez aks him nice & kindly he, may do a gentle, meditative dance and do an Apul-zen* drawing himself. I am going to ask some of my friends at Benton Hall to help with the choreography.

I like the possibilities! I have also gotten a new take on my old frend Apulhed. Someone in Ghana has ‘borrowed’ the idea of Apulhed and produced lots of T shirts and tings thus illegally tampering with my copyrights. I created Apulhed way back and reserve the right to call it mine. Similarly I am now creating new ideas to play with in my ‘Apul’zone, so leaf them alone.

APULZeD

&

APULRah to Yah

©pete kennedy 2016

 Finally I saw more rainbows on my horizons:

  1. I received a (for this blArty Space) very rare ‘comment’ – see below.
  2. My previous blArty bit was my 200th.
  3. wordpress kindly informed me I have now had 200 ‘likes’, that, even with my simple math brain, is an average of one per blArt! I have always loved coincidence & synchronistic occurence and the conjunction of the fact that I had posted 200 and had exactly 200 likes is just too much.

‘GAMES On’

apul odork cleand
A grumpy Lone Worrier looking at the state of Britain’s political lies and tricks.

The Lone Worrier*

*I don’t usually involve in party politics as they are all as bad as each other but as my old public school renegade friend George Orwell said, ‘Some politicians are more unequal than others’. The Lone Worrier is an aspect of my nature I try to keep under wraps but he sneaks past my guard now and then. See below for a explanation as to why he is more than you first see.

 Greyman Actually Major Exposes Serpents

In Britain we are witnessing (once again) the deceit and self-interest of those charged with running this country. Far from informing the electorate about the issues related to staying in or leaving the European Union the conservative party is having an almighty power tussle between men who dislike each other, probably continuing feuds which began at Eton. This is so dishonest and another enormous waste of public* money. I thought my view on it, which developed whilst watching their public schoolboy debating society tactics, was that of a solitary mis-informed old man.

*(Please not in the USA that the word ‘public’ in England in the case of schooling is the opposite of its meaning in the States, in England it means ‘schools for the (so called) privileged moneyed (those who consider themselves a cut above) class, whereas in the States I am led to believe ‘public’ means what we call here ‘state’ schools in which education is entitled and free for all.)

I thought I was the Lone Worrier on this when I have been watching the lunatics who run this asylum called Westminster haul out their dirty washing and rub it in the public’s collective faces but I noticed the once ‘grey man’ of British politics John Major coming out and publicly denouncing the tactics of the upper echelons of conservatism on a widely watched tv show last Sunday. In this cliphttp://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/05/john-major-nhs-risk-brexit-pythons-johnson-and-gove his referring them to snakes in the grass was so refreshing. Merriam Webster’s definition of serpentine is also very apt.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/serpentine

(I think I am right in thinking Major helped de-throne Thatcher (whose ideological policies have been taken on by the present conservative party) by showing that her ideological (Pinochet sympathizing leanings) was dangerous to this country? see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_dictatorship_of_Chile_(1973%E2%80%9390))

On the morning of 8 June 2016 I was surprised to see Bernie Sanders waiting for the ecstatic noise from his California supporters die down. Seems he has a massive support base which to me is a hope for the USA because he seems to want to change the way politics there is run. He won’t get in this time cos Hilary Clinton has won enough votes to seal the nomination but it was fascinating seeing what has been written about him:

“Who is Bernie Sanders?

Bernie Sanders is a candidate for President of the United States vying for the Democratic Party’s nomination. He’s the longest-serving independent in congressional history, currently serving his second term in the U.S. Senate, where he represents Vermont. Bernie won re-election in 2012 after earning 71 percent of the vote. Prior to becoming a senator in 2006, Bernie was Vermont’s sole congressman in the House of Representatives for 16 years.

Bernie’s campaign is about a progressive agenda that — among other things — will create jobs, raise wages, protect the environment, provide health care for all, increase access to higher education, reform our immigration and criminal justice systems, reaffirm our civil rights, promote a more sensible foreign policy, and reduce the influence of money in politics.

Being an independent means Bernie is unaffiliated with any political party. While he’s nonpartisan, Bernie identifies as a democratic socialist.

What is democratic socialism?

Democratic socialism seeks to effectively combine free enterprise with transparent, public programs that maintain a minimum standard of living for everyone.” Go to:

http://feelthebern.org/who-is-bernie-sanders/

For me the American system closely followed by the British system has broken down and it needs massive improvement. Sanders seems like a breath of fresh air.

Am finishing this blog now with a look at the image at the top from a different point of view, 180% flipped. Now it is no longer The Lone Worrier it becomes my creation- Apulhed (Screaming). I first invented Apulhed as a naïve character who looked at the ways of this world with awe, wonder and fear (AWF). AWF he said as he saw the things that the human race were capable of doing to destroy each other and the planet. My college days ‘comics’ were done for each edition on a topical issue about which I made my comment thru the eyes of Apulhed. Nowadays I just do my blogs.

apul odork

Apulhed is wearing a headband under his hat like the one Arthur Lee of the band called ‘Love’ wore.

Twinkle Toes Walker goes Walken

Chris-Walken

Watch this GREAT dance by Christopher Walken https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6ta5Y3xAhk

“I tink OI’ll do dat dance misen.”

step dancer2

And here’s me old mate Duncan Walker mimicking him.

Twinkle Toes Walker does a Walken.

a tinker sm

Then advises me,

“Nah then lad, tha’s gottu git thar olde buk owt.”

OK 19.4.16

So we all experience self-doubt and of course as I work thru the final prep of the final version for print of the SI sometimes I wonder if it’s worth continuing? My old pal IEPWoolard says, “Yes, you have to Pete”. Another friend, whose opinion I take very highly, talks of the ‘yes to carry on’ but also the need to make sure that when copies are ‘thesis-bound’ that there is also some stitching along the bound end to preserve it for not just 20 years but for 100 years plus when, ‘It’ll be of even more interest (because of its context)’. That’s not to say he’s saying my ‘writing’ is of a great importance, no, it’s the statement/evidence that the work brings with it of a time, a time in the early 1970’s. Now, that time is already gone, it’s history and my ‘book’ is (further evidence) of life then.

19.04.2016

I had a nice little fillip today when a member of the staff at Firstsite said of my Outlaw Pete gig, ‘It was an out of body experience.’ She had not watched my whole gig. Said what she saw was very strange. I retorted, ‘That’s good cos I never want to be perceived as ‘normal’.’

20th April 2016

I just laid page 70 into my Quark* layout for my ‘Shrewd Idiot’ (SI) buk. It happens to be 3 drawings I done back in 1971 (December) of the character I had realised that I had just ‘invented/created’ AppleHeadedMan aka Apulhed. Well in fact two of ‘him’ and one of PearHeadedWoman. The sketches fit nicely over the two pages of the SI manuscript which lay over one page of the new version. There’s lots of different links there, including the visual link of the two intersecting on the page. In fact I never again drew Pearheadgirl, never ever even to today, which is fascinating, cos Applehead could have had a constant ‘fruity’ companion thru the past 40 years. In fact in the notes on that same page I am forlornly saying that my then erstwhile girl-friend was not replying to my letters and that when we were to meet up again, as planned around my 21st birthday, it would only be ‘as friends (not lovers)’. In fact we never were to meet up again, not so far anyway. Maybe the slipping away of Pearheadgirl is a living analogy of that aspect or sequence of things which happened then did not happen in my life? [An analogy is ‘a form of reasoning in which one thing is inferred to be similar to another thing in a certain respect, on the basis of the known similarity between the things in other respects’.] The disappearance of Pearheadgirl is synonymous with the non-re-appearance of ‘Rose’ in ma life.

Quark* is one of the two big packages which offer design strategies for print layout. Although I found them difficult to make contact with I went up to their address in London and did find a human being who was very helpful. So much so I have decided to stay with them and move to their new ‘2016’ version despite the fact that my printman’s company uses a rival design package, which will cause some difficulties because one system is not compatible with the other. I am relatively unschooled in ‘graphic-design’ and have a lot to learn but I always did find ‘learning on the job’ my preferred route to skills and knowledge. Creating this new version of my SI buk is arduous, mostly because I insist on using scans of typed script from the 1980’s manuscript when re-typing it into a modern digi-form would be much much easier. All my life I tended to do things the hard way, as my SI buk still shows. Its form & content show an idiot (idjet) at work but he end result he knows will be, well let’s just say, very different. And ‘all me own original werk’.

The Way I Tell ’em!

The Way You Do The Things You Do.

03.45hrs 28.3.2016

My (vast?) knowledge of ‘art’ became (apparently) irrelevant overnite becos they (purportedly) moved the goalposts when I must have had my eyes off the ball (or maybe the Jasper Johns/Pop Art target?) by their declaring ‘post’-Modernism’ which supposedly super ceded the Modernism & Classicism that I had studied and played a part of between 1968 and when the pMT (post-Modernis Tings) began (date unsure, a bit hazy and for me irrelevant).

SI littul buks

I don’t believe ‘post’-Modernism’, it’s a crap idea which seeped down from architecture into some folk’s view of art. Whatever it’s purported to be (a shift, a change, a re-direct) it isn’t because the history (of art) is a continuation. As part of the continuity we have learned that the media we can utilise is not just the old fields of oil paint, water colour, bronze and wood altho I have loved working in all of them. Nowadays it’s ok to use ANY material to create art and all sorts of differing environments. Latterly I learned that as I manipulate the words as words and image on my computer design package that’s just as relevant in making (my) art as was once my manipulation of oil with turps on a canvas.

So. My books are art and always have been. I used to feel an odd sensation when I looked at say a photo I had done or a presentation with masks and feel…t that they weren’t ‘proper’ art. My ‘pop’ art drawings/comix with Apulhedman were just as relevant as my oils of my wife. So, all my activities which I used to put into a number of pigeon holes have now become my ‘art’. They are all one. They manifest from my observation, imagination and skill.

They represent me. They re-present the ‘me’ what lives and breathes in ways and materials, some of which will outlive the entity I call ‘me’ by many centuries…

S I title an image
my 1980’s design for the cover.

The book I am working on or ‘compiling’ at present, The Shrewd Idiot (SI), has a LONG history. I left my teaching post in 1976 to format it from notes I had written, drawn and photo’d in various journals and sketchbooks since 1969. I had done my first self-published book, Apul-One (1975), from the same sources and SI was to be a more ‘normally’ spelt version of same. Its initial version was completed by 1978 and then I started sending it to publishers, two of whom (Wildwood House, then Calder), considered it for publication but eventually both dropped it. I have re-approached it several times in the intervening years and the newest version will have evidence of interventions from different times. It was never a ‘literary’ work. It was always a collection of some thoughts, observations, hopes, fears and images of one individual.

A1 bakover
Back cover of Apul-One, little has changed since.

Now the words I created years ago have become images. Most of the book is made up of images of the typescript typed up mostly by Jill (nee) Williams and boy was she tolerant of my stupid words. Drawings and other forms of image-making are a vital part of the book and that was the rub in the 70’s and 80’s when print was difficult concerning the placement of word & image in a book. Nowadays the two can sit well together and gone are the days when publishers considered it impure to set image and word together. In a way the world is ready for my arrangement of the material now but is it ready for the content? It matters not really cos am doing it anyway. But I am only going to make about 10 copies initially, mostly to give to some friends who moved thru the period it covers. The content will either fascinate or bore potential observers, I say observers cos it’s not (just) for readers in fact it may not be important to read it at all, I wish you wouldn’t cos it’s embarrassing in its revelations. It is not even state of the art in layout & presentation when you think of the beauty which David McKean brings to the page. I am deliberately not using digital layout packages, except for part of the book, becos am determined that Jill’s typing is the image of the main body of the words I wish to convey. There is a ‘story’ or ‘narrative’ which in fact continues thru all my life cos it’s uncompromisingly about the person that was me at the time (1969-1973). Altho in fact it’s like looking in a mirror cos the artist or writer sees themselves on the page as they see themselves in a mirror, unreally. (In my case somewhat unruly too) I can never see the me that you see, I only see the me that lives inside me and he hides a lot of his real self, even from me. In fact this book reveals some parts or thought of that self which maybe should be left in the archives but in the name of honest ‘journalism’ I include most of them even tho some are excruciating in their pomposity and vanity. In some ways it’s a personal writing plus images, in other ways it’s universal cos it is about one man’s efforts to come to terms with his world and find roads to explore with newly acquired abilities to add to what he brings with him to the time of the notes.

It’s all to do with The Way You Do The Things You Do, or as one old comedian used to say in a thick Oirisht drawl, “It’s the way ah tell ‘em”.

Here’s Jerry Garcia’s band doing the Temptations song The Way You Do The Things You Do.

It’s all to do with the way you do the things you do. He plays his guitar in this like Jimi did, and the Temptations were trying to emulate Jimi when they brought the guitar solo in.

just jimi sm
Oil I did of Jimi.

Jimi had a long history as a band man round America before he cut loose as a solo artis. He even cut some music with Arthur Lee’s band Love.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A11RUploW6g

Jimi and Janis Joplin died aged 27 only a few weeks apart. I watched a great documentary on Janis on Beeb 4 and it wer great the way she picked up influence from seeing the best like Otis Redding perform. She took his repeated word phrasing and made it hers. And how. How does a little lady from Port Arthur, Texas do that ting?! It’s to do with letting go into the…mystic, or whatever we call that energy level which seems unreachable to us mortals. https://www.nytimes.com/books/99/05/02/specials/joplin-obit.html

And ere’s a littul poym fer yor kerlecshun:

 

I’ve always bin abit diffrunt.

I was always out of the norm(-an-wisdom).

I meyd sure o dat

All wheys.

 

An now am sixty fibre

And I steal got no-wur man

Still at th’botham off the heath

Anni dinna care

 

No matta worri dun

Dint seam to werk

Always told me

That I wer a burke

 

Never not no gudenuf

To brake doon the gardenia

To redibrek the camel hea

Always keept on nokkin…anni cunt cum in

 

e e cummons came and wint

I surely did ma stint

I paved me clues

And I never tuched Dora

 

I wiz der runt

Of za litter azure

Like me ole whaka

Kennet Patcha

 

(hey thet rymed and thus not allured

D’y meen allowed?

No am never a loud

Man)

 

Ex hippie-pete, ‘It’s the way ah tell ‘em’.

 

This blog is ©pete kennedy 2016 (Nobody else would admit to creating the tripe on it any old how!)

It’s For The People.

 

Going back to thoughts https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/a-lifelong-friend/ on my old friend for 60 years Trev*, initially it would trouble me that my words don’t reach people like him but, on consideration, I have spent 48 years developing my words & ideas which he neither followed nor kept up with my path, why should he? I don’t understand his zone either, he was an accountant, I don’t do money, ask HMRC they’d confirm that. *Good news is Trev got in touch and said he enjoyed my last blArt.

Here’s the first viewing of one of the Apulhed Comix c.1977 that never got published in the 1970s. By 1979 I had created Happy Apulhed, a much more friendly, less eerie character.

ahed sets off color sm

When I was doing Apulhed comics at college in the early 1970s my old mates back in Burnley could explain my work was beyond their experience by saying, “Pete’s gone off to college and is full of new-fangled ideas, he’s just a bit strange but we can tolerate that because he’s…” Now nearly 50 years later I have further widened the gap. Not vindictively, just by osmosis, as a result of my endeavours but it still begs the question- If my art cannot reach ‘normal’ folk, am I missing the mark?

Nonetheless folk from all over the world do find my art interesting. yesterday I had hits from Vietnam and Sweden and my total views is fast approaching 10K. Some write and say I write well or the blog is good. But more, I feel that when I do any more Performance Art (PA) I’d need to be able to communicate or ‘get’ to the public’s minds whilst neither condescending them, nor demeaning my ideas of course. There would always be an elephant of surprise and an unsettling feeling in the outcomes I produce to keep the onlookers’ attention. Don’t want youse all falling asleep now do we?

I have been looking again at Verena & Andrea’s (Vest & Page) stuff in the vids on their website. http://www.vest-and-page.de/#!selected-works/caf0 They show by their astounding work that by comparison my work is a mere blot on the floor left by a PA Baby in his swaddling bands. (‘Swaddling’ is an age-old practice of wrapping infants tightly in blankets or similar cloths so that movement of the limbs is tightly restricted. Swaddling bands were often used to further restrict the infant. At the moment I feel constrained as if by swaddling bands and only by ‘getting’ my work out there’ will I change my garment, or maybe relinquish [most of] them.) The good news is I’ve been invited onto the Book Arts Day for The Society of Bookbinders on Sat 5th March 2016 in little old London town to do some Performance Art. Right now I’m working on a new piece, ‘Brush’, using words from Colin Lloyd Tucker’s beautiful song ‘Brush’. My friends, the Townsend Twins are helping choreograph the movement. I may also include a new rendition of Clay Jug after the beautiful poem by Kabir.

And ‘PA Baby‘ is maybe another pseudonym for me as it cover the fact that I’m old enough in calendar years to be their grandpa yet in terms of my experience in the field of PA I’m just a baby. In fact whilst at IPA in October a lot of my work brought me, and indeed some observers, to tears. In my case because I was going back into my early experiences and re-living them and also seeing that at 64 years old I weren’t about to have certain experiences again and indeed the inevitability of the changes old age will bring also weighed down on me. I got my crying in first. Some watchers cried in sympathy, some because I touched a chord and others just cried cos they were incredibly tired after 8 days of full-on PA practice with a group of strangers to start with who fast became close bonds. I still find it so daunting to think of what is out there in the Performance Art field. But it’s silly to compare. It’s like comparing a little village’s pub band to the Rolling Stones but there again the greats do look at the new stuff coming thru and like V&P are very encouraging. My mate IEPW told me that David Bowie liked Arcade Fire so much that he requested to sing with them and they accepted his offer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6c9Ejfu-iU

Also he did this with them uploaded 2 Feb 2006 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkCc_qiI7UA well now, David had another 10 years.

Deathday instead of Birthday celebrations?

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A Big Cloud of Unknowing.

When I heard of the death of David Bowie I thought to myself, they should have a day each year to celebrate him, maybe his day of dying would be the best day for an annual remembering of his creative, original and inspirational, trend-setting (in its purest form) life. Undoubtedly he did set trends.

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OM

The Dalai Lama has said, “Usually I don’t consider birthdays something important. In Tibet we consider the death anniversary more important. I think that’s quite wise. A person who made good contributions in life, then after [their] death, remember them in some anniversaries…as a Buddhist monk I believe every day is a new day, every day is birthday. The particles of our body momentarily changing, always become something new. Mental thinking, because of new knowledge & experience, also changes. So every day is a birthday. [If] we use our day in a proper way then the months & decades, whole life becomes meaningful. If you can help other, do it as much as you can. If you cannot do it, at least, restrain from harming others. That’s the essential of meaningful life.”

I’ll drink to that, nowadays my chosen drink is water.

 

The Silver Sword of Yin

I was on the roof of next door’s ‘wash-house’ early-1960’s when I heard Freda Lister sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow beautifully, it was the first time I had heard the song. There was a bunch of us kids up there on a warm summer’s day during school hols. One of the group shewed me a paperback book and said they had just read it and it was wonderful. That book The Silver Sword, (probably the first ‘serious’ book I ever read after my staple diet of Enid Blyton’s fairy & goblins and Beanos), was about refugees.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Silver_Sword

Whilst working as a consultant for NASA James Lovelock developed the Gaia Hypothesis in his book Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (Oxford, 1979). [He also claims to have invented the microwave oven.] Having invested a few paragraphs in rehearsing the improbability behind the assembly of sentient self-replicating life from a chemical soup, in turbulent conditions over immense timescales, Lovelock cheerfully resolves it all by concluding, “Life on Earth was thus an almost utterly improbable event with almost infinite opportunities of happening. So it did.” p.14 (Tim Radford Friday 27 August 2010 Guardian Science) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Lovelock

‘Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe.’ (Decca Aitkenhead The Guardian, Saturday 1 March 2008) http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2008/mar/01/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange

Before 2000 I had read various predictions that the biggest problem awaiting the 21st century would be shifting populations, from a number of causations; war being the primary one, famine and epidemics following rapidly in its wake. Now it has come to pass. War is never a solution, maybe sometimes a stopgap, but the issues rage on. Hitler thought that through war he could build a 3rd Reich Empire to rival those of Britain & France of the 19th century. He was proved wrong but at GREAT cost. My parents’ generation was embroiled in the outcomes at the time. Ted Walker, an 18 year old from Burnley who I came to meet in the 1960s, was taken at Dunkirk and effectively enslaved in a Stalag in Poland for the rest of the war then, like the childers in The Silver Sword, eventually left to walk back to Burnley. I have a postcard to prove it. And after that war there were millions of displaced people.

Dad.1939Ted in 1939 before capture at Dunkirk.

So we move to the modern day, nothing has changed, the results of war are refugees, migrants, pilgrims whatever you call people desperate to escape enough to leave familiar territories and jump aboard unseaworthy vessels after paying crooks extortionate sums of money, they are in flight, searching for some safe haven and maybe a better future.

So what do they do, the so called ‘Heads of Europe’. They squabble. They bring up all the age old prejudices. They build walls. They place razor wire on fences.

There have been oases of hope, like Germany allowing in a lot very quickly. Germany knows what it’s like to grow out from the ruins of a war which its leader had lost years before he shot himself and stemmed the advance of troops from all sides.

Syria looks like a country devastated by such a war now. I don’t need to tell you, it’s there in all the news. It seems the Head of State in Syria has no compunction about the people who live in the cities his forces bomb. There are many other forces at work there too, like the head of Russia’s ‘special forces’ is ‘advising’ the government side and has been filmed leading Assad’s forces, (purportedly), the result is that millions flee.

If only countries could use money directed for armament in building new towns in lands of plenty there may be a medium term miracle but my 64 years of living this life doesn’t indicate that’s about to occur. Even if it did there would need to be a big turn-around in the way we humans (ubeings I like to call us) treat one another. All this ‘he’s a muslim, he’s a Brit, he’s a Sunni, he’s a Sikh, he’s the other side’ etc needs to be sifted over. It’s called prejudice I think. It’s so hard for ubeings to let bygones be bygones, to shake hands and make up. So many prefer to reek revenge, an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth. Often we get pre-emptive revenge, just in case they attack us we attack first.  But violence begets violence. When we feel aggressed upon it seems a natural instinct to re-act against the perceived aggressor, the Dalai Lama and his followers walk away from that idea. In Tai Chi too, albeit a martial art from China (a lot of good does hail from China) the idea which seems so counter-intuitive for a novice like me is that you DON’T react, you go with the flow, you give ground or rather you deflect the incoming assault by using your ‘yin’ (negative/nil) force ‘against’ the ‘yang’ of the attack. So the aggressor has nothing to fight as the one he attacks offers no resistance, ‘…the Taoists call T’ai Hsu the Great Nothing‘ Hoff says in his Tao of Pooh and elsewhere he aptly describes the force of T’ai Hsu as like a cork bobbing on water and if you try to hit it it just bobs more and more as you try harder to make contact, eventually the assailant becomes tired and the cork bobs on down the river of life unscathed.

Take a leaf from the Dalai Lama’s book and promote peace. I know it’s hard to just let it go. Our prejudices rule our actions all too often.

But prejudice takes strange forms. South African leaders refused the Dalai Lama permission to attend a Nobel Peace summit because they don’t want to lose Chinese trades. China had invaded un-prepared Tibet in 1950 http://tibetoffice.org/tibet-info/invasion-after and by 1959 thousands of political refugees, including the Dalai Lama, felt the need to flee Tibet because of Chinese repression of their rights in the name of freedom for the common man from what they saw as feudal repression by an upper class dominated by religious ideas which Mao’s boys didn’t consider of any worth. (Ironically there is a regeneration of the main religions in Modern China and in Mongolia Buddhist ideas have undergone a substantial revival since it got out of the Soviet bloc. http://www.brill.com/change-democratic-mongolia )

The lines of refugees that came over the mountains into India then are comparable to those being seen coming out of Syria and Libya today but the West turned a blind eye. It was heavily involved fighting North Korea with its Chinese ‘advisers’. I have met and been very impressed by a number of Chinese people’s intelligence, yet the masses in China can do little to stop the systematic pillaging of Tibet’s resources and the subjugation of its spiritual ideas.

apulamaApulhed Spirit o’ The Dalai Lama

The Chinese leaders need to re-consider their approach to Tibet, but they won’t because [I believe] they see Tibet as a buffer to any move coming into China from the West. They have destroyed the Tibet monasteries, and continue to harass the indigenous population. Tibet had so many monasteries because they had turned their backs on war and chosen paths of peace, quite an accomplishment as they were of Mongol descent and had once conquered China, China never forgets.

Britain is not without guilt, apart from being the first country to invade Tibet (in 1903) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_expedition_to_Tibet when Younghusband slaughtered hundreds of ill-armed Tibetans who had the audacity to not want British sovereignty, now they make pacts with China. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/02/nobel-peace-summit-south-africa-dalai-lama-visa.

 ‘XXIII. Both sides stand ready to deepen understanding of each other’s development paths and strengthen political trust. Both sides emphasise the importance of promoting and protecting human rights and the rule of law and stand ready to strengthen their human rights dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect. In line with its longstanding policy, the UK recognises that Tibet is part of the People’s Republic of China and does not support Tibetan independence. Both sides agreed it is both in China and the UK’s interests to promote the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong in accordance with the “one country, two systems” principle and the basic law.’ https://www.gov.uk/government/news/joint-statement-from-government-of-the-peoples-republic-of-china-government-of-the-united-kingdom-of-great-britain-and-northern-ireland

George Osborne, Conservative finance minister is in China today, no doubt he won’t mention Tibet. You’re not allowed to mention Tibet, it’s a bit like John Cleese mentioning the war.

Chinese leaders will make a return visit to Britain in October. I am afraid none of them will hear me urge them to alleviate the repressive conditions imposed on indigenous Tibetans nor request them to allow the Dalai Lama and his people freedom to return and control their own actions in Tibet. He has said they wish for Tibetan autonomy now rather than independence.

dukar cross dukar weelDukar wheel made by Tashi Lunpho monks.

But I am forever grateful to the peace-loving Tibet people whose work I witnessed this week at a gobsmackingly wonder-full show by the Tashi Lunpho monks in London. Since their monastery/university in Tibet was destroyed under Chinese rule the Tashi Lunpho monks have built a new centre in Sikkim, South India. http://www.tashi-lhunpo.org.uk/monastery_15.html

dukar bag

I’d love to go see the Dalai Lama too but can’t afford the 70-90£ asking prices. I tried to blag my way in by telling them I been aksed to write an article for the Tibet Foundation and some up to date photos would be good, but they didn’t listen or they weren’t impressed.

dalama peace gdn smallDalai Lama at his Peace Garden.