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.
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!
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.
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).
Above photo by Maxine Wynne
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
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:
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).
(für Google-Übersetzung ins Deutsche siehe unten englisches SkriptJ)
First I embarked to Germany to learn more about Performance Art (PA) skill then I went to see some key practitioners in the world of books in London, my feet hardly touched the ground even tho’ my mind and body were deeply rooted to the earth during the PA workshops- 8 hours a day for 4 days.
Somnambulant Rogue AllowsAmbient Sound To Seep Thru His Very Soul.
I felt a bit of a Rogue abandoning all my responsibilities at home to embark on a 4 day workshop in a foreign country (Germany) with the wonderful duo VestAndPage
(VAndP ) but I decided to Allow myself to venture to Dusseldorf because I love what they bring to Performance Art so much, they create a beautiful Ambient backcloth in which the participants feel comfortable and adventurous, all getting drawn in, so much so they fully engage in the Somnambulant atmosphere with vigour and apparent ease.
In one exercise we were asked to write about our experience so far, then to choose a small number of words which we would consequently make ‘actions’ for. So, the challenge was to enact ‘Somnambulant’, not such an easy task but I mind-set myself to walk like a zombie in a film. VestAndPage don’t make ongoing judgements on your choice of actions, they let you ‘do what you do’ but you do it with some enthusiasm as you know the whole group will be watching when you are to take the floor solo and enact your moves. Rogue, Allow & Ambient presented me with slightly harder visualizations, but I found some moves which I shall be exhibiting during my ‘gig’ on 5th November at Colchester Arts Centre along with pieces I had planned before I went to Dusseldorf.
In Wuppertal I made a pilgrimage to see the place where Pina Bausch used to lead her dancers. I had sweet & sour feeling as I looked at the apparently abandoned building as “the company is on tour in USA. Kind regards. Ursula”. But I was able to visit book binder Roger Green who kindly showed me many of his book projects and if I ever have the wherewithal I shall go back to attend one of his workshops, altho’ I won’t go by train again as the journey takes up to 12 hours each way, even with the 3 hour wait at Stansted a flight would be less time consuming. Trying to ascertain the train connection times for my homeward journey proved nigh impossible at the information desks in Dusseldorf and before that even with the Eurostar phoneline ‘help’ people. In the end it was Patrick at Hostelworld who said in his matter of fact way, “What’s the problem? Just get on a train (to Koln) then onto the next one to Bruxelles”, which is exactly what I did and I had 4 lovely sunny hours in Bruxelles where highlights were the Tintin shop and Montana, a graffiti shop where I saw – Mater Museum: by Vincent Glowinski (Author), Agnès Debizet (Author) and Joe Sorrenby Gingko Press. I sat in the sunny square eating a scone bought in Koln, drinking a coffee I bought with my last 2€ coin and listened to a woman playing beautiful oboe.
I would stay again at the Hostelworld as their place was comfortable and breakfast was good. I must remember however to ensure that I stamp my ticket BEFORE boarding the train, I forgot on the journey back from Wuppertal to Dusseldorf (altho’ I was tired and a bit cold) and as sod’s law would have it that was the only time the guards boarded my train in 12 local journeys! There’s a 60€ fine if they decide to apply it but they can make allowances for dim foreigners (Brit-victims of the Brexit fiasco) who cannot read the instructions on every ticket!
I learned so much from my meeting with book artist Sam Winston, we are partners in crime with words! We both undermine the canon. We each play wit werds in our individual ways. It’s so re-invigourating to see a kindred-spirit’s ‘play’ with the written hand-scribed word (often in pencil). He suggested maybe I do more with existing (manu-scrips) and less with future texts; whereas I had (gladly) signed off from all the versions I wrote in the 70’s of The Shrewd Idiot (SI buk) he hinted maybe not, maybe do more buks from those scrips. And as for my future tomes, lessen the content, be selective so they’re more discreet, which would be a lovli idea, especially for the viewer.
Sam does in fact do a lot of ‘Performance Art’ and he is well aware of that but does not utilise is in the remit of his output, it is merely a means to an end. For me Performance Art (PA) has become an integral part of my remit along with and inside of my books. Doing PA in fact makes it harder as I have to learn how to do it better but that’s not really a problem cos PA opens up the side of me which loves to flaunt around, the dancer in me, the exhibitionist, the dare in me, the chance-taker, adventurer but it also helps put my books’ contents out there by inviting folk to look at the books and also see some of my physical interpretations on what I think is important in them.
It’s great to have my A4 version of The Shrewd Idiot on sale at the wonder-full bookartbookshop @Bookartbookshop à Londres! Am set to do a gig thur on Jan 26th 2018. Tanya has suggested it be a celebration on the centenary of my father’s birth, which is a wonderful idea and I shall prepare a PA to remember him with, incorporating mentions I made about him in The SI buk.
For google Translation into German below:
Übersetzung ins Deutsche:
Was für eine anstrengende Woche hatte ich!
14-21 Sept. 2017
Zuerst habe ich nach Deutschland begonnen, um mehr über Performance Art (PA) Geschick zu erfahren, dann ging ich zu einigen Schlüsselpraktikern in der Welt der Bücher in London zu sehen, meine Füße berührten kaum den Boden, auch wenn mein Geist und Körper tief auf die Erde verwurzelt waren während der PA-Workshops – 8 Stunden am Tag für 4 Tage.
Somnambulant Rogue Erlaubt Ambient Sound, um seine Seele zu sehen.
Ich fühlte mich ein bisschen ein Rogue, der alle meine Aufgaben zu Hause aufgab, um einen 4-tägigen Workshop in einem fremden Land (Deutschland) mit dem wundervollen Duo VestAndPage zu beginnen, aber ich habe mich Erlaubt, nach Düsseldorf zu gehen, weil ich liebe was sie zur Performance Art bringen, so schaffen sie einen wunderschönen Ambient-Backcloth, in dem sich die Teilnehmer wohlfühlen und abenteuerlich fühlen, alle werden eingezogen, so dass sie sich in der somnambulanten Atmosphäre mit kräftiger und scheinbarer Leichtigkeit engagieren.
In einer Übung wurden wir gebeten, über unsere bisherigen Erfahrungen zu schreiben, dann wählen wir eine kleine Anzahl von Wörtern, die wir folglich “Aktionen” machen würden. Also, die Herausforderung war, “Somnambulant” zu verabschieden, nicht so eine leichte Aufgabe, aber ich habe mich in die Lage versetzt, wie ein Zombie in einem Film zu gehen. VestAndPage machen keine laufenden Urteile über Ihre Wahl der Handlungen, sie lassen Sie ‘tun, was Sie tun’, aber Sie tun es mit einiger Begeisterung, wie Sie wissen, die ganze Gruppe wird beobachten, wenn Sie das Wort Solo nehmen und Ihre Bewegungen zu tun . Rogue, Allow (Erlaubt ?) & Ambient präsentierte mir etwas härtere Visualisierungen, aber ich fand einige Züge, die ich während meines “Gigs” am 5. November im COLCHESTER ARTS CENTER ausstellen würde, zusammen mit Stücken, die ich geplant hatte, bevor ich nach Düsseldorf gehe.
In Wuppertal machte ich eine Pilgerfahrt, um dort zu sehen, wo Pina Bausch ihre Tänzer führte. Ich hatte süßes und saures Gefühl, als ich das scheinbar aufgegebene Gebäude ansah, als “das Unternehmen auf Tournee in den USA ist. Mit freundlichen Grüßen. Ursula “. Aber ich konnte die Buchbinder Roger Green besuchen, die mir freundlich viele seiner Buchprojekte gezeigt hat und wenn ich jemals das Wohlergehen habe, werde ich zurückkehren, um an einem seiner Workshops teilzunehmen, auch wenn ich nicht mehr mit dem Zug fahren werde dauert bis zu 12 Stunden pro Strecke, auch mit der 3-stündigen Wartezeit bei Stansted wäre ein Flug weniger zeitaufwendig. Der Versuch, die Zugverbindungszeiten für meine Heimreise zu ermitteln, erwies sich an den Informationstafeln in Düsseldorf und davor sogar bei der Eurostar-Phoneline “Hilfe”. Am Ende war es Patrick bei Hostelworld, der in seiner Sache eigentlich sagte: “Was ist das Problem? Fahren Sie einfach in den Zug (nach Koln) und dann auf den nächsten zu Bruxelles “, was genau das war, was ich tat und ich hatte 4 schöne sonnige Stunden in Bruxelles, wo Highlights waren die Tintin Shop und Montana, ein Graffiti-Shop, wo ich sah – Mater Museum: von Vincent Glowinski (Autor), Agnès Debizet (Autor) und Joe Sorren von Gingko Press. Ich saß auf dem sonnigen Platz und aß einen in Koln gekauften Scone, trink einen Kaffee, den ich mit meiner letzten 2€ Münze gekauft hatte und hörte eine Frau, die schöne Oboe spielte.
Ich würde wieder in der Hostelworld als ihr Platz war komfortabel und das Frühstück war gut. Ich muss mich aber daran erinnern, dass ich mein Ticket vor dem Einsteigen in den Zug stempeln kann, ich habe auf der Rückfahrt von Wuppertal nach Düsseldorf vergessen (altho ‘war ich müde und ein bisschen kalt) und wie das Gesetz des Gesetzes das hätte Wächter bestiegen meinen Zug in 12 Lokalreisen! Es gibt eine 60 € Geldbuße, wenn sie sich dafür entscheiden, sie anzuwenden, aber sie können für Ausländer (Brit-Opfer des Brexit-Fiaskos), die die Anweisungen auf jedem Ticket nicht lesen können,
Ich habe so viel von meinem Treffen mit Buchkünstler Sam Winston gelernt, wir sind Partner in Verbrechen mit Worten! Wir beide untergraben den Kanon. Wir alle spielen wit werds in unseren individuellen Weisen. Es ist so re-invigourating zu sehen, ein Verwandter-Geist ‘Spiel’ mit dem geschriebenen Hand-geschriebenen Wort (oft in Bleistift). Er schlug vor, vielleicht mache ich mehr mit vorhandenen (manu-scrips) und weniger mit zukünftigen Texten; in der Erwägung, dass ich von allen Versionen, die ich in den 70er Jahren von The Shrewd Idiot (SI buk) schrieb, abgesehen hatte, hat er vielleicht nicht angemerkt, vielleicht noch mehr buks aus diesen Scripts. Und wie für meine zukünftigen tomes, vermindern die Inhalte, selektiv, so dass sie mehr diskret, was wäre eine lovli Idee, vor allem für den Betrachter.
Sam macht in der Tat eine Menge ‘Performance Art’ und er ist sich dessen bewusst, aber nicht nutzen ist in der Aufgabe seiner Ausgabe, es ist nur ein Mittel zum Zweck. Für mich ist Performance Art (PA) zu einem integralen Bestandteil meiner Aufgabe zusammen mit und innerhalb meiner Bücher geworden. Das macht PA in der Tat macht es härter, wie ich lernen muss, wie es besser geht, aber das ist nicht wirklich ein Problem cos PA öffnet sich die Seite von mir, die liebt zu flaunt herum, die Tänzerin in mir, der Exhibitionist, die Wagen in mir, der Chance-Taker, der Abenteurer, aber es hilft auch, den Inhalt meiner Bücher da draußen einzuladen, indem er die Leute einlädt, die Bücher zu betrachten und auch einige meiner physikalischen Interpretationen zu sehen, was ich in ihnen wichtig finde.
Es ist toll, meine A4-Version von The Shrewd Idiot auf den Verkauf an der Wunder-full bookartbookshop @Bookartbookshop à Londres! Am 26. Januar 2018 soll ich einen Gig thur machen. Tanya hat vorgeschlagen, dass es eine Feier zum Hundertjahrfeier der Geburt meines Vaters ist, was eine wunderbare Idee ist, und ich werde eine PA vorbereiten, um mich daran zu erinnern, indem ich die Erwähnungen einbeziehe, die ich über ihn gemacht habe Die SI buk.
Naming things also means everything & nothing like the famous conundrum about a doctor:
A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the nearest hospital. The doctor comes in and exclaims “I can’t operate on this boy.”
“Why not?” the nurse asks.
“Because he’s my son,” the doctor responds.
How is this possible?
The answer is in the ingrained assumption that the word ‘doctor’ denoted a male practitioner which in the ‘old days’ it usually did. The assumption was ingrained over centuries of the ‘male-dominated’ world which allegedly no longer dominates the ‘norm’ but in the collective mind it seems the natural assumption falls to the male interpretation. Now this is not an article about doctors nor prejudices, I am merely pointing out that altho a name is important it often misleads our perception, even when there is no intent so to do.
I mention this because I have been involved in making art & books all my adult life which is (on paper) 50 years, in fact 56 when you take into account I made my first book as a ten year old (of course I weren’t a adult then tho) as an end of summer term project at Tod Road Junior School and my first comic, Big ‘Ead was in that book which had old wallpaper as a cover. In my first year at Gwamma Skewel (as an ex pupil of the old grammar school system I firmly believe that they are a relic of a past (male dominated) culture, so no don’t bring them back, but you’ll ignore me anyway, won’t you Tess?) I made more sophisticated books with bookcloth spines and all. In my 6th form I made my own sketch books, had to cos I couldn’t afford to buy one. At (teachers’ training) college I made several books for projects and did my first concertina book with 6 screenprints in which I have just ‘published’ in an A5-ish book.
Then I taught how to make books to the kids in my classes but didn’t make my own again til I embarked on my MA course in my sixties after retiring hurt from my role as a ‘teacher’. You may ask, “What’s he on about?” well my answer is I’ve always been making the contents of books and sometimes the books themselves book I am not a bookbinder per se. Many of my ‘books’ tease and stretch the definition of ‘book’ which takes me back to my point at the head of this piece, What’s in a name?
There’s a term ‘Artists’ Books’ which is quite popular nowadays denoting an infinite variety of ways to make and stretch the curve in what a book can be. There are a growing number of Artists’ Books Fairs or markets etc. I’ve frequented a few but my work doesn’t sell in droves so I cannot really afford to have a stall unless I wish to make some new (networking?) links thru meeting new folks and advertise my wares, basically I have to tell myself, “This is like a holiday Pete. You’re running a table during the day then ‘after hours’ you can take a look at a place you wouldn’t necessarily visit, like say Oxford, Newcastle or even Edinburgh. Recently I was able to walk around the Bristol Artist Book Event (BABE) [wearing my new Apulhed mask] and witness the wonderful atmosphere and the way so many folk of like mind share a big space and fill it with beautiful artistic output. I spoke with a couple from Kent but have forgotten their details, so if you’re out there I’d love to connect up and discuss making 3D masks! The people who make the books are very talented and ‘artist’s books’ are a wonderful vehicle for all manner of ideas and projects and many of them are beautiful objects. Some of my work falls under the category too but I prefer the term ‘Books Artists Make’ (BAM) for my works.
I know that not everyone involved in artists books claims to be a artist but I did before I realised am not a artist, I am a man, I am me! But all my adult life I been involved in ‘art & writing’ but once again, What’s in a name? What does ‘art’ mean? What does ‘writing’ mean? In my case they both often meant under-mining or undermining or under-mine-ing. I would undermine my own stuff, I would often do something real good then undermine it with my next work.
I have this penchant for undermining, reaching under, looking past, looking beyond. I think it came from doing ‘History’ with the late David Clayton at school where we were encouraged to question things and this continued in my Philosophy tutorials with the late Bill Josebury at St Lukes. I hated the art dept at my college so I did everything I could to undermine the tutors. I disliked the politicians in the early 70’s like Thatcher who did her infamous cuts in Education then went on to destroy mining communities so I did scathing cartoons about their lack of consideration or conniving. One of Thatcher’s best buddies was Pinochet and she must have learned a lot from his methods, he, like other dictators smashed the poets, artists and educationists. So when it came to undermining the book, wow, I was in heaven.
Tim has produced a wonderful box of prints, which may be called an artistsbook of The Book of Disquiet. https://twitter.com/halfpintpress Launched on Thursday 6th April it’s on display in the window at the Bookartbookshop near Old Street station, London. It’s difficult to describe but it’s very beautiful. Fernando Pessoa wrote his book (never published in his lifetime) during his final days on lots of ephemera and Tim has printed Pessoa’s writings onto many ephemeral objects like beermats, pop bottle labels, stamps, pencils, lolly sticks. This is a labour of love. He did 50 boxes/copies for sale and sold out almost immediately! I bought two packs with for pieces in each and they seem to be beautifully printed but Tim’s attention to the detail of Pessoa’s writings is astonishing.
Pessoa had a strange view of What’s in a name?, he invented what most of us call alter-egos but he coined the term, ‘heteronyms’ to explain his use of a myriad of ‘characters’ in his writings who spoke with different tongues and names in his work. Fernando Pessoa says ‘my habit of placing myself in the souls of other people makes me see myself as others see or would see me…’
By strange coincidence I had come across Pessoa’s work for the first time ever a couple of weeks before this launch at Bookartbookshop as I was doing a poetry workshop (the same night as the launch!) at the Poetry school in Lambeth led by Saradha Soobrayen:
Session 4 Pessoa Task (for Thursday 6th April): Describe and create heteronyms to unlock hidden parts of your writing…
Pessoa’s on his term ‘heteronyms’. “A pseudonymic work,” he explained in a 1928 article, “is, except for the name with which it is signed, the work of an author writing as himself; a heteronymic work is by an author writing outside his own personality: it is the work of a complete individuality made up by him, just as the utterances of some character would be.”
Now you know my tendency to undermine don’t you? I’ll finish this blArt with my own slight consternation at Pessoa’s notion that a writer can, ‘write outside his own personality’? I tend to agree with this comment from the goodreads link above, that Pessoa wrote from 4 differing aspects of himself. ‘It is sometimes said that the four greatest Portuguese poets of modern times are Fernando Pessoa. The statement is possible since Pessoa, whose name means ‘person’ in Portuguese,…’
The activities of Pete Kennedy, Performance Artist Bloke, Book Creator & retired artist.