Wonderful breaking news- I picked up the first copy of my second book in my series about my college days from my binders Sullivan & Son, Colchester and it looks beautiful. I’ll only have one display copy for BABE but it’s a great sidekick to my Shrewd Idiot book. It’s got 37 images on Zanders translucent paper and is bound in an unusual way inspired by a little book that Rauschenberg made about 1954.
After my last blArt about nearly being marmalised by my big book I received several emails from folks out there showing how my stupidity generated lots of mirth, and sympathy, including one from my blogger friend Fiona in Australia.
‘Pete, Not your brightest moment right? Nonetheless I totally understand as I often think my way through things like that – only to realise I have forgotten one important element of the process that could cause my downfall!
The book is looking brilliant – when I first read your email I thought you had made some super stupid mistake with the book for which you were kicking yourself; but in a way I was pleased it was ‘only’ a glancing physical blow… Glad the nose is the only damage done. Fiona.’
Fiona, I love your bit about I maybe ‘had made some super stupid mistake with the book’. Super Stupid is one of my stop off points.
Much of what I ‘appear’ to do is not what it appears to be. So, the Shrewd Idiot (SI) appears to be a story about a budding artistfella but it’s not, it’s about the advent, and continuance thru a lifelong period, of ‘creative consciousness’. Which led to my interest in Dalai Lama & Buddhist stuff including Zen, all of which I have not explored sufficiently yet. But I tink that skirtin alongside it has changed my life, given me more grace and satisfaction that I am on the reight track. (In Burnley where am frum we say reight rather than right!) [But we don’t say reight for write, right].
Finally, if you’re still awake, I am doing a 15 min live art ‘performance’ of the book at Sarah’s BABE and have learned to edit songs on audacity which I’ll use as backing for my piece and as you say…’as I often think my way through things like that – only to realise…’ there’s a beautiful line in a Iggy Pop (Up man) song Shades, “that may be something my mind had not followed through” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehABjBdTq-Y ) and that so applies to me so many ways! As far as the book’s concerned, after 40 years I think I thought of everything. It’s beautiful cover, the texture of the flysheets, and even the colour of the page marker ribbon. It is my masterwork.
About my gig at Arnolfini during BABE on April 1st.
As always I tend to do things which are considered impossible or inconsequential by ordinary folks and agreeing to do a 15 minute ‘Live Art’ enactment of the 4 years I spent at college in Exeter tween 1969-73 may seem to those who don’t know me as rather ambitious. Well representing 4 years in 15 minutes is not as daunting for me as galvanising a crowd seems to be. Those of you who know me well know too well how shy & retarded I can be so advertising myself is not an easy task but it just got harder. During last week I was taking a look at the Arnolfini website and its publicity about what’s going on around the BABE days specifically what’s on at that weekend-
“BABE 2017 includes a mini exhibition, performances, interventions, book making workshops and more! See the series of events happening throughout the weekend.”
which took me to:http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/series/babe-2017
So I contact the gallery and say that I find there’s no mention at all there of my gig and that I am getting worried as it’s a great deal of travel and organisation that I am putting into it,
“I am putting many hours into the preparation of the music, movement, masks etc and I find it quite upsetting that my Live Art gig is not mentioned at all.
Please can you flag it up, otherwise… I’ll just be doing it just for a couple of friends.”
I attached two of the 6 masks I have prepared, plus a pretty detailed outline of the piece and that will also show that, although it is only 15 minutes duration, I am putting a great deal of effort into getting it well polished.
My concern elicited a reply which could be taken as rather disheartening although I am sure it was meant with the best will in the world, I am not disheartened, I replied,
“I understand your feeling that ‘it might just not be worth it this time?’ but I am getting a lot out of preparing it which I am sure will come in handy later, for more gigs to do with the books.
I was thrilled when Sarah gave me the spot…”
I cannot contemplate backing off now, anyway, many of my costs have already accrued.
I am very committed to this gig and I want it to enhance the weekend, to add another dimension, otherwise I would not have embarked on it. I shall keep in mind the possibility that, as the Dark Studio is such a lovely venue, there will be a few come to see me do it. They can stand up too if they like and one of the things about Performance Art (PA) is folk can come and go as they please, it’s not like a performance where people sit and watch, even endure, to the end, no PA is Live Art and the ‘audience’ can be as much part of it as the PA practitioner.
I know 2 people already who will be attending, another one and ‘three’s a crowd’!
As always, the show must go on. I learned that at the Arnolfini in October 2015 when I did a PA piece outside in the rain.
I thought nobody was interested but I continued doing ma gig and only afterwards found out lots of people were watching and enjoying it. OOZin Gloop liked it as did Paul Hurley’s friend. Nicole Murman a Swiss participant took the image above and about 80 more photos for which I am really grateful. PA is notoriously undocumented as a lot of it happens spontaneously. It’s very ‘in the moment’ and the best stuff often occurs when things appear to be going wrong, that’s when Vest & Page say, ‘It has begun’ or, ‘Now we begin’. Vest & Page happened to see me jumping in puddles with some childers shortly after I had finished the rain dance and Andrea said he thought I made a good clown, Verena said she were just getting her camera ready when the kids stopped bouncing and I bowed out.
However, my PA at BABE 2017 is well planned and I shall be rehearsing the moves over the next 10 days, this is my preferred way to work. Below is a very apt quote from Walliams & Lucas of Little Britain rehearsing:
Mine won’t (‘flow slickly’) I’m sure! And neither will my costume changes, will they?
If you can spare the time and the effort to make your way up to the 2nd floor let’s prove that the Dark Studio can attract people* in for the actions of The Shrewd Idiot and his mates, The Three Graces plus the ‘spirit master’, Appleheadman. Nay, some folk may decide to come on April 1st just to see me make a fool of myself! A Wise Fool hopefully. A bit of a Clown, a Serious Jester etcetera etcetera etcetera…
Don’t be a Square, I’ll see You there. Get it or you’ll Regret it!
(*people who have, already, either been showing their wares all day or folks who came to buy their books)