Tag Archives: Burnley

Golden moments Weekender

 

WOW! Burnley Ballerina gerl Sophie Hitchen gets a Bronze as the first ever Brit Hammer medallist! Whilst Burnley Football Club had two FIRSTS at the weekend; their first game back in the Prem and their first defeat in 2016. If they’d have been given the penalty they should have got then maybe they’d have drawn to continue their 8 month unbeaten run?

 OAS- Olympic Athletes Supreme- This time round at the Olympics Mo got Gold, Jess took Silver and Greg managed a Bronze on a super Saturday. What a feat by Ennis after having her son and all that entails and there’s no shame being beaten by a youngster who did a personal best in most of the 7 parts of her heptathlon. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/olympics/2016/08/13/jessica-ennis-hill-rio-2016-olympics-heptathlon-live-updates/  In fact Thiam had knackered her arm and only managed ONE javelin hurl and it was again, a personal best. Then on th’Sunday Max got TWO golds in events no Brit had ever gotten any before, Andy fought and gained Gold again against a battling smiling tiring Del Potro who was such a sportsman.

OFF- Olympics Fall Farces  –

some sad things at the Olympics too:

The 10.000 m open water swim is so full of stupid pushing and kicking and the end is so stupid! The Greek bloke who won it didn’t hit the board correctly so he was only given second. The Brit was disqualified on the finish yet he had been battered so much on the run in.

The young Irish lad who pasted the Russian boxer in 2 of the 3 rounds only to find the judges gave it to the Russian.

And finally the farce that was the start of the Keirin cycling was better than watching Groucho and his Marx Brothers run riot.

Layout 1

OAP- Old Artis Pete- Has a new logo

And gets born again in Colchester Art Society’s beautiful Exhibition in Colchester’s Minories gallery! It appears that the old school has taken a deliberate step into a much more adventurous future and I think they have mounted a tremendous show, good for them.

a lorryhed

PK takes (his own) Bronze in the shape of Lorryhead which you’ll see in the glass case as you turn right into the first room.

lorryhed on side

[You don’t see Lorryhead like this cos he’s sitting in a lotus position (what I cannot do, yet) in the glass case.]

a blythe talk sm

The opening was good with Robert Blythe (of Akenfield fame) giving an inspired speech.

a jd + medal

Jamie Dodds got the inaugural medal for his contribution to CAS. And I had the pleasure of meeting Volker from Dusseldorf who likened my painting of Ken & John to his German great artist Max Beckmann, that’s a first.

1 pete an ken 2 best sm

I thank Paul who took some great snaps of me in front of my pic with the dog licking me.

a liz on sax

I thank Liz for making the music so well on her sax. It was lovely when she played Moondance after I had been ranting on about Van! Later she played Procul Harem’s great tune Whiter Shade of Pale.

I also learned that 3 copies of my 1975 artist’s buk Apul-One have sold in the Firstsite Gallery down the alleyway from the Minories, they never informed me though (we know that communication has never been their great forte) but thanks to a front of house girl named Alice I found out because she bothered to investigate. THANK YOU Alice.

a pete in frunt o Aud 61 sm

And that would be Poet Pete has just watched this speech by Len Cohen, it made me cry, like Len does. But I think it’s beautiful, it says it all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIR5ps8usuo

and here’s another bit of Len which reveals more about the way we win & lose in life’s lessons. Like Dylan sang, ‘I once had her in the palm of my hand’, I think Len is singing of his old love, a love that never dies and the need to treasure things whilst we have them because everything is fleeting and eventually everything returns to the source.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_eSjxpDS5k

So, if you love someone, tell them, tell them right now. That reminds me it’s my 37th wedding anniversary on the 18th August. I remember all those folks who travelled from the length and breadth of this old country to honour me & Polly with their presence. As it happens you think it’ll go on forever, that all of them will be there so you can see them again and again but life goes on and off and many of our dear friends are no longer padding on this terrain. I loved you all and thank you for all you brought to our wedding way back then. And, you can be assured, I am still trying!

Namaste!

Somme Whelp In The Wilderness.

The Whelp In The Wilderness.(c) pete kennedy 2016

The image at the top is an incredible piece of synchronicity. I was planning this blArt and sitting early morning with my pen in my hand and I looked up at the fireplace, We have a crystal in the widow which sometimes sends rainbow patches of light across the room. THEN this apparition appeared. A gentle glowing on the candle which looked like it had lit up inside. As if i had lit a candle in memory of those who died, on all sides, in that onslaught known as the Battle of the Somme. I could hardly believe my eyes. This lighting effect has never occurred before. Eerie but beautiful. Bless them all.

candle eerie glow sm

This week the Burnley Express, the local paper which along with the Burnley News reported on the war at the time (1914-18), carried these words this week:

‘On the morning of July 1st 1916 men and boys from Burnley were among tens of thousands of soldiers ordered to go “over the top” only to be cut down by German machine gunners. More than 100 soldiers from the town were among the 57,000 British Army casualties suffered on the first day of the battle alone.’ (John Deehan john.deehan@jpress.co.uk 27.06.2016)

http://www.burnleyexpress.net/news/local/remember-burnley-men-killed-in-battle-of-the-somme-1-7983991

Throughout 2016 I have been working toward a commemoration for those who fought in the horrendous human waste that was called the Somme battle (1July-18Nov 1916). I create images & words which I use in my own hand made ‘artist books’ and in my own ‘performance art’ pieces (PAP) where I create scenarios and enact ideas + events using my body, masks and other props to illustrate a story. I wanted to do my PAP around 1 July in somewhere like Burnley my home town, or Newcastle, my mother’s home area where her parents lost (my grandparent aged) relatives two years before she was born in 1918 and I met survivors of the conflict in 1961 or Colchester which is my adoptive home of culture. I did put feelers out but, like Paul Simon in his song The Boxer (hear a beau rendition by Mumford & son- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAl-vZsswb4 ), ‘I get no offers’, not even a come on from the whores of 7th avenue!

The way I see it I have ‘til Nov 18 2016 to do a piece for it to carry true resonance for those slaughtered as a result of the total incompetence of the ‘leaders’.  Because these things take time to organise I don’t believe it’ll get done this year but then I have ‘til 11.11.2018 to at least fall within the compass of the century after WW1. I shall continue to find the venue and any backing to do my PAP but I am not holding my breath. I even approached the 14-18now group but I get no answer, maybe cos am not very famous, or maybe not very good! https://www.1418now.org.uk/

That’s no sour grapes of wrath it’s just a forlorn whelp in the wilderness!

Oh how history repeats itself; the ‘leaders’ of Britain’s government, Euro MPs (particularly Farage who rarely turns up to do his job and when he deigns to does so only to undermine the institution he was elected onto to represent the English people), the Labour(ing) and the England FA + their latest ridiculed manager all exhibit those same incompetencies today!).

I am going to blArt some of the words from my research and ideas about the Somme + the issues around those years of unnecessary carnage on which I would base my PAP. If there’s anyone interested out there please get in touch.

I found this startling blog called ‘In The Dark’ in which the writer mentions that the men were made to continue running towards machine guns-  “Rather than calling off the attack in the face of the horrific slaughter, the powers that be carried on sending troops over the top to their doom for months on end. By the end of the battle (in November that year) the British losses were a staggering 420,000, while those on the German side were estimated at half a million.”  https://telescoper.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/the-flowers-in-the-field-the-somme-remembered/ .

The imbeciles who organised these ‘battles’ (no, let’s call them mass murders) were the same social group that ‘led’ soldiers into battle in Africa against the brave Zulus at Rourke’s Drift and Isandlwana 37 years earlier, only in that case it was the Zulu leaders who sent their warriors in waves unprotected against the barrier of guns with the consequent carnage that ensued. (‘Isandlwana, the battle that rocked Victorian Britain; at which the Zulus wiped out a substantial British force’) Despite victory at Isandlwana the Zulu forces never recovered and they had to capitulate to the Europeans, who brought concentration camps to Africa during their internecine Boer War the victors of which then introduced apartheid.

Here’s the ideas I would base my PAP on BUT whereas the topic is of the greatest seriousness I do intend to add an element of sardonic humour, livening up the topic with surreal reflection as the famous sketch by Blackadder did, using the maniacal monarchs as objects of derision. I won’t say exactly how but think of fairground games like ‘ring toss’ and ‘bean bag tossing’ at tossers:

I have been reading about the Ancient Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians who all were involved in internecine wars and all succumbed to the Greeks (of Alexander The Vainglorious) who themselves eventually fell down under the inhumane slaughters that emanated from Rome. It seems to me (it’s not rocket science) that, like disease, war is a human condition, it goes with the patch!

I would have hoped (European) wars would have ended after Napoleon was incarcerated, or after WW1 or after WW2 but it never did. To name but a few; Burma, Korea, Vietnam, Biafra, Bangla Desh, Iraq & Afghanistan and now Syria’s war which is reminiscent of the carnage of the two ‘World Wars’. A triumvirate  of my heroes, the present Dalai Lama, G I Gurdzhiev (G.) & Lennon, (illus)all advocate(d) that Ubeings (my word for Humankind which is gender absent or all equally inclusive) stop doing conflicts, which G. called mutual self-destruction.

lennon war is over sm
Look what happens to you if you talk too much about ending wars, ask John.

The First World War was fabricated by monarchical maniacs who ‘ruled’ various ‘Empires’ which had been created by stealing land from and enslaving various indigenous populations throughout the world in the previous 3-400 years. When they turned their corporate venom onto their own peoples the carnage was incomprehensible. These “leaders” all thought they could use their mass-populaces as ‘cannon-fodder’ and they proceeded to do so and nobody was able to reverse, nor prevent, the carnage. The populations were led into the conflict believing it was for god & country when it was obviously for the dim-wits who ‘ruled’ them and the so called privileged ‘upper-class’ of each country to maintain their status quo, which many still maintain even in 2016, the present government of UK being a prime example.

 Their Moronic Majesties Maniacal Madnesses; Wilhelm II Kaiser Bill Frederick William Victor Albert of Prussia, George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert)GB, Nicholas II , Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov Russia, Franz Joseph I Austria- Hungary, Mehmed V Reshad (Ottoman Turk Sultan), & President Raymond Poincare (France).

Their Moronic Majesties Maniacal Madnesses led to the start of WW1 and its continuation despite the obvious insanity and mass murder it exhibited in battles like; Ypres, Verdun, Somme, Passchendaele & Gallipoli! The incompetence of the generals and the blindness of the political morons who manoeuvred the Brits into the mayhem and used the population’s (mostly) men* (from all around the ‘Empire’) as if they were like subuteo players, only this was no game but it was a deadly reality! Now I understand why I feel I was driven.

*I believe thousands of women also took part as nurses tending to the horrific injuries. “Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS). It was founded in 1902 at the time of the Boer war and in 1914 was less than 300 strong. At the end of the war four years later it numbered over 10,000 nurses.” from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26838077

My Performance Art about the Somme is a tiny but explosive reminder of the destructive power held by military forces. The ability to decimate has increased a million fold in the hundred years since 1916, so beware taking the armed solution.

haunted warrior ww1
ww1 veteran

[I have an ally in the German artist Otto Dix whose inspiring work I wish to incorporate into this piece. http://www.ottodix.org/catalog-prints/  On same website is explains most of his images are now in public domain. See http://www.ottodix.org/copyright/ ]

 

In my PAP (Performance Art Piece) A hundred yearns ago

I have ‘Tommy’ in the trench at the Somme*, July 1st 1916.

Ironically the word somme comes from a celtic word meaning ‘tranquil’!

Tommy gives a monologue in which he talks of finally having won this horrendous war.

‘No more maniacal leaders cos we won’t let them rise again! About a hundred years ago we fought Boney Fart & his Grenouilles in a war to end all wars. We have the Russians who beat off Boney attacking Gerry on the eastern flank and they’ve never bin beat and they forced General Prittwitz to run but they lost a million men. Someone has to halt the Huns and today is the day with God’s blessing it will be done. Today, this very day, we’re bombarding Bismarck & Bill the Bosch. There’ll be nowt left o’n ‘em. Later we go over the top to clean them up and this damned war will be over. Then I’ll go back home to my sweetheart and see ma little babe. There’ll be no more wars after this one.

Some madman called Lenin has urged our allied troops to turn their rifles against our officers and start a ‘socialist revolution’, but he’s no leader is he? I know our generals have made mistakes but now they got it right and this nasty trouble will be over by tomorrow. Listen. The bombardment has stopped……There’s the whistle, Over the top to victory!’

Over the top he went on July 1st 1916…and the rest is His Story.

There is a modern context to my PAP as well. War is still used by ‘leaders to attempt to gain ground physically and metaphorically. We shouldn’t ban the bomb, we should banish all wars.

ps if (& when) I get no offers to give a home for my PAP I shall hire somewhere and damn well do it out of my own devices. It’s the least I can do to commemorate the poor sods who were taken in that  horrific battle of the royal families and other elites of Europe.

Postscript

The recent ‘leaders’ who took nations into wars are still prevalent, some (or should I say Somme?) examples; Thatcher & Blair although they pale into insignificance against the Bushes snr & jnr, Saddam Hussein, Gadhafi, Putin, and maybe the worst of all, the man responsible for the mass of the population of his country leaving their destroyed cities to risk crossing oceans in small dinghies Assad. Believe me their moronic majesties’ bequest is still very very real!

In my old college town of Exeter I am impressed to see images of their commemoration of the Somme http://www.thesomme19240.co.uk/event/shrouds-of-the-somme-memorial/

This looks like a very moving installation. It gives a small powerful emanation of the hurt which must have been felt on all sides, in many nations.

Haig and the high command really messed up in more ways than one. They had intelligence reports that an area of the front was very vulnerable yet they attacked across the whole front. Ironically the war may have been ended and millions of lives saved if only Haig had been a more competent tactician and used that intelligence (gained from German POWs who told of a weakness in their defences) although it meant the Germans would have purportedly ‘lost’ the war (there could be no victors in that cataclysm!) the gain would have been an end to the carnage. Instead they added to it then added some more in many more such battles until 11.11.1918.

Also someone high up made a fundamental error at 3am that day by phoning a message of good luck for the impending attack. That message was listened in to and the German gunners were alerted across the whole front, with devastating consequences.

Haig and His Highly Incompetents must have seen the disaster unfolding rapidly but instead of calling the attack off continued it until November 18th. Men from all over the world deemed dispensable. Not to mention the many Germans who were massacred in the initial explosion (“A queer dull thud” as one soldier witnessed at the time.) from the mines laid by sappers deep under the German command at Lochnagar. The sappers were taken from those who worked in the pits of Britain, they dug down deep under the German line to lay the biggest store of explosives ever laid. The ‘job’ was fraught with danger as German soldiers were also digging deep.

http://www.greatwar.co.uk/somme/memorial-lochnagar-crater.htm

somme shrouds
Somme Shrouds in Exeter July 1st 2016

‘Thanks Pete

I think we need to make work about the war to help us understand the futility and the waste – and the fact that we never learn…’A Book artist from Australia

Thanks for your reaction ABafA.

I sent that out to about 100 folks, many quite good friends, since Thursday and do you know! You are th’only one that’s made any comment.(Ignore that I’ve had 4 now. Also my wife and son tell me I shouldn’t expect any reactions at all, ‘people don’t react to things they see in newspapers normally, so why should they react to your blog you old fart?’)

Just before i went to my computer i were tinking about my blog and my gripes about bad leadership and I thought, ‘d’y know, the same stupid stuck up twits are in charge today, and the same right wing thinkers (not, I don’t believe they can be called ‘thinkers’)) are i/c the Press. Nothing has altered’. In fact the 1960s seemed a time of HOPE. Atlee brought in the education act in 1945 which educated me, then I was taught to teach by intelligent humanists who said, let your students find their way to their passion and then take them to the top of the highest mountain and push them, LET THEM FLY. But since then it’s gone backwards and the public schoolboys (Like Gove, Boris, Cameron & Osborne) have a strangled-hold on the Asylum whilst Labour again display disarray and the LibDems are dead in the water, despite being instrumental in stopping the public schoolboys worst intentions whilst they were in coalition.  I think I’ll move to Australia, or Canada, or even France, anywhere to escape these clods! Pete

One friend’s reaction flags up a rather rude reaction to brrrExit: Look at these posters with Boris on by Billy Childish, be care full cos he used a word what is naughty. It refers to the sex organ on a pig and is originally from Old English (I think):

http://www.l-13.org/acatalog/BILLY-CHILDISH-RECORDINGS.html

 

 

 

Authors’ Authority.

 

Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent is a good mantra.

I was born Peter D. O’Kennedy (http://blogs.transparent.com/irish/an-sloinne-o-cinneide-the-surname-kennedy/ ) in Glasgow Royal Infirmary most definitely of Celtic descent. My paternal grandparents came from Cork & Limerick.

Since I left school in 1969 I been trying to ‘make a name for myself’. But I already have a name, so really there’s no need to make another (anudda). Once again I have to tell maself to STOP, just be your-self. And that’s what I am best at.

Recently whilst negotiating an article for JAB about Dieter Roth and how he far outstrips most all other ‘artist-book’ makers they suggested I focus the writing around my own work. POW, off I went into a piece about some of the great German artists and writers who have impressed upon my work which was published in JAB 38 http://www.journalofartistsbooks.org/current/ . I watched Bob Geldoff’s tele-piece on W B Yeats last night. It was very revealing and helped me to understand the poet/writer better than before. I went to bed thinking, ‘Well that explains some of my own passion and drive…It’s the Oirisht in me…it’s a cultural ting’. I slept a couple of hours and at 02.30 hours came down and wrote this, “I was born in Glasgow Infirmary of Celtic descent. I have 3 books I must achieve:

  • The Shrewd Idiot (SI)
  • Squidgeratscrawls (Sqasc)
  • Genie Ass (G.ass)

I am collating SI. It’s a labourious process but that’s by choice.

Sqasc should be more joyfull.

G.ass is going to be done in 5 or 6 parts, should be ‘fun’.

Then I can re-lease my-self to do the other books that I wish to achieve, some more spontaneous, others from already existing notes & ideas. I don’t care about the audience, just want to achieve them. ASAP.”

Then I returned to bed til about 7.30 am.

a title page for si
an unusual page from SI cos it’s actually typed into the manuscript, most pages are pcopies of old typed pages.

Last week I spoke about my work on the new SI. Am onto page 22 of 252 jpegs to vire over into ma layout. It is quite slow. But I do keep doing other tings. On Saturday I ran off to Tate Britain on a mission where I was surprised to see a painting by Tagore done in 1939! I would like to show you it but, as usual, you cannot take photos in these exhibitions, so everyone loses. I wished to suss out the Susan Philipsz very touching and evocative sound material made on instruments damaged by wars. I had an idea to ask the Tate if I can use a space there to do my Somme Boys Performance Art piece, but you know what it’s like, they’d say who are you/ are you already famous? And there’s no room at the inn fer yo laddie. I have approached the set up that supports Susan Philipsz installation, 14-18now, but am not holding ma breath. Here’s what I sent em:

 

“A Commemoration of the Somme

haunted warrior ww1
ww1 veteran

Performance Art Proposal from Pete Kennedy

I have an idea for a piece of PA which I would like you to consider.

I visited Susan Philipsz’ lovely sound art at Tate yesterday and I noticed lots of empty spaces which I could use to do my piece. I am not thinking it could be done just at Tate but anywhere, in any town or city. I understand that you back things which commemorate WW1? I have also got an idea for an artist’s book about the Somme.

I have chosen the Somme because hundreds of men from my home town of Burnley were killed there.

I am an artist aged 65 who recently acquired an MA in Bookarts and have moved into Performance art after doing a course with Jurgen Fritz & Vest + Page at Glastonbury.

I shall make the book and do the performance art about Somme come what may but I would much appreciate it if you would support my work.

It can be done very simply with few props or a big BLOW-OUT version which would involve a mound of (something like) mud and a structure to represent a trench with inter-connecting ‘tunnel’. I have musicians who can create site specific sound.

This is developing daily as I realize more. For example, when I worked with Jurgen last October I realised I must not make it just a memory of the British losses, the Germans suffered too.

Yesterday at Tate’s ‘Artist & Empire’ I saw a double portrait by Philip de Laszlo of two Indian (Sikh?) officers, Jagat & Man Singh, who were painted shortly before they went to the Somme. It said that 1 in 6 of the allied force came from India. So now I must play ‘Tommy’, ‘Otto’ (and maybe ‘Singh’?) in my PA.

Namaste”

Then I moved on up to the British Library to see if I could find a copy of the Burnley Express that I saw in 1970 which was from c1916-18 and every page was full of obituaries to the dead men from the town. I want to use those pages in a ‘book’ I want to make for my tribute to those who fell at the Somme form all parts of the planet. I can’t trace the darned ting, I know it’s out there. If only they still had hard copy I could go to a library and rifle thru! I shouldn’t be considering doing books and performance art about the Somme, I got enough to do, but It’s The Way I Tell ‘Em!

Footnote to Joey B. “I was always told ‘Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent: The Arsenal.’”  David Rocastle ex-player. I think young Joey Barton should listen to David. Concentrate on playing good football Joey not jumping all over the opponent’s leg.

A lifelong friend

A lifelong friend, Trevor C., said (3.1.16) ‘Happy New Year Pete. Even though I just about made it passed the first line [of your latest blog]! All the best to you and hope that your family are all well.’

He was referring to his lack of comprehension of my blog, but I had given him an in to his comment by saying ‘many folk may fall asleep after the first line’ in it.

The two working class boys shopping for their mum could be me and Trev but we weren’t born when this photo was taken in Glasgow (where I was in fact born two years later! Trev were born in Burnley where I settled in 1954).

gorbal boys by hardy

(image Bert Hardy 1948).

http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2013/mar/24/bert-hardy-photographs-in-pictures

pete, an mates tod rd trio

Pete, Roy & Trev (capt.) drawn from a photo of Tod Road Juniors taken by Roy’s dad when we were about to play in the Centenary Cup Final as one of the top two primary school teams in Burnley in 1961.

 This blog is about relationships.

I’ve known Trev since we were 5 year olds. We played football together at Primary and Secondary schools then for NALGO and The Old Boys’ teams after we left school. We used to drink beer and chase girls together during our teens in his Wolseley Hornet, which can be seen in the background of this group photo.

pete bly boys 1971

Pete (sporting his six pack and Lennon-specs), Steve Hezzlewood, Trev
with Stuart in foreground at campsite near Woolacombe.

Steve and Pete in the sea off Polperro, shortly before we rescued Trev who had an attack of cramp. Steve was to die in his early forties from a congenital heart problem.

a wolesley hornet

Five of us were driven back from the great festival at Shepton Mallet in it in 1970!

For many years I always would visit him whenever I returned to my home town (which I hardly ever visit now since both of my parents died). He’s one of a handful of friends I’ve kept touch with since 1955. Those relationships are precious reminders of Burnley where I went to school.

Last week’s TED lecture flagged up the vital part good relationships play in longevity. Mutual support, community, compassion* and camaraderie help support a long healthy life. https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#section_query/in%3Ainbox/15203661e1e6c780

* In his chapter called ‘Monks In The Machine’ in The Wisdom Of Compassion Victor Chan reports finding out that Richard Davidson uses an fMRI machine to show activation in parts of the brain to explore brain functions when people think. Davidson discovered that people who have a high register of an electrical signal called ‘gamma’ tend to be in heightened feelings of happiness, joyful & optimistic. He found that one monk who had done over 34 thousand hours of meditation entered a state of euphoria when meditating on Compassion, joy and fulfilment permeated his entire nature. Most of the monks showed large increases in gamma waves in their left pre-frontal cortex- a sign that they were experiencing intense periods of well-being. It may be possible to intentionally cultivate positive traits such as empathy & kindness and use it as an antidote to anxiety & depression. The Dalai Lama’s insight after 80 years of meditation is that altruism is the surest way to bring about genuine life satisfaction.

 

Since the late sixties, when I began taking ‘art’ seriously, my relationship with ‘the gallery’ has been anything but healthy. In fact it’s been heartily non-existent. It’s interesting too that this week I went to talk with an accountant cos HMRC in its wisdom (not) decided I need to do self-assessment returns on the basis that a gallery put me on its wages forms in order to gain some tax allowance on the £100 bursary they gave me. The accountant laughed at my finances which show my outgoings to make my art are easily a hundred times greater than my incomings. Which brings up the question of what a fool believes. I believed for the past 50 years that one day my art would pay back all the time and effort. It hasn’t, not financially anyway. It has in terms of my learning, my extended skill base, my fairly prodigious output (most of which I retain) and of course my job as a teacher of art which kept the wolf from the door.

I’m working on re-viewing my attitudes and expectations in order to move thru my next phase in life. Not expecting ever to sell my art, never being made welcome in the gallery nor being asked to lecture at any higher level institution must be taken as a definite, it’s not what might occur, it happened already. By doing that I am no longer chasing what I call ‘wil o’ the wisps. I can just continue to make what pleases me, which is what I mostly did all along. I intend to complete the masters of several books I am designing most of which I have written and made images for already but I won’t create editions. I am doing them to prove to myself I can. I don’t wish to create more than the master any more, there’s no need, there’s no market. The resounding silence I have received for the 3 articles I wrote for some journals and the quiet noise my books have generated in the past 40 years indicates to me that people are not gagging to see them even less own them or even write columns about them. To those of you (I can count you on my two hands) who have gently expressed your liking for some product I created, thank you, but the remainders of past books and paintings, prints, bronzes etc indicates to me it’s time to retract. I am not sad, but just being realistic. I am changing my focus, I am reading the signs more clearly. I ploughed on regardless for 50 years thinking people would eventually understand, ‘get’ what I am saying and all. Now I am going to clear the clutter in various aspects of my life, stop chasing my dreams and start taking notice of the need to weed my ground, paint my house, cook some of our food and all the things that ‘normal’ folk do which I have neglected whilst chasing the dream.

Performance Artist (PA) Alastair MacLennan once said that ‘a society gets the art it deserves’ and it seems the society I lived in didn’t deserve my work because it didn’t ‘get’ (or receive) it. Individuals, other artists, players, writers all have ‘got’ my work but society at large, especially represented by the gallery, the media and the critics, didn’t ‘get’ it. Ironically the absence of accolade & ‘success’ for my werk aided my own freedom to explore my very own path & produce outcomes untrammelled by the expectations of others.

‘In a debate concerning freedom Karel Teige discussed the relationship between society and the production of art which he saw as ironic in a society primarily concerned with profit making’. (Slavka Sverakova, p10 in Alastair MacLennan Is No 1975-1988, 1988.) In 1985 MacLennan had said, ‘Realising the bottom line is never ideological, but human; that art is not in, of, or onto itself. It’s for people.’ (ibid)

Here I want to quote some more from Slavka’s preface because it seems to me to be a perfect manifesto for my own future-work:

‘MacLennan…insists that periphery is the cutting edge of culture’ [My work has always been on the periphery, it’s even on the outside of Outsider Art! I have always stood at the side watching, trying to get in, crying cos am rejected and all those emotions which everyone who ever tried to make art feels in varying degrees. Escher^, seems not to have bothered with the circuit and his stuff has had lasting quality, I must say it’s influenced my work on occasion. One example is my etching below. (^I mention Escher cos his art was all to do with transformation from one state into another, very much like what my PA is about, creating magic moments from seemingly mundane things through interesting juxtapositions

– I PK (or DAN I OOPAPA) said that, sounds profound to me!),]

etched scheffler part

Part of my etching about knowledge

MacLennan…’the art centre is wherever you are’. [compare with Jurgen Fritz, ‘Performance Art is what the Performer declares it to be’]

Plato in Timaeus formulated the idea that ‘human dignity does not depend on a hierarchy of wealth and power. ‘Plato’s Demiurge is not an object of worship he is a builder and maker, he puts things together, joins them, blends them, splits them up, divides them’ (ibid). [Isn’t that what I always do, done, did?]

MacLennan talks of, ‘What we perceive is a certain combination of shifting qualities in a certain place at a certain time.’ [this makes the ‘event’ the art. So many Performance Artists don’t like their work to be recorded. It is what it was at the moment it happened, it cannot be replicated. Beuys said that the event not the notes left on the piano was the art]

MacLennan says he performs, ‘Installed, sited action/ritual, evolving  thru stages of transition for pre-determined durations with content engaging political, social & cultural issues…highly sensual & chaotic…as Heidegger said ’the matter-form-structure content tends to be submerged in the creator’s own participation as the source of the object’s presence’. [There, my permit to place ‘me’, costumed, masked, or in my birthday suit, in my art, my go-ahead to bring my (past*) art & artefacts into my PA! And so it shall Be.]

*’past’, it’s always ‘past’ if you make it, no matter when you make it.

So, the artist who is ‘creative’, one who creates new ideas/product/challenge, has few outlets (if any). In PA, as Jurgen Fritz (JF) and Vest & Page (V&P) said during a discussion at IPA, in order to get paid venue work you have to more or less guarantee your product is of appeal to a potential audience, in other words, reliable in a predictable form. However, one of the excitements of PA is that it seeks out & thrives upon the unexpected. As JF and V&P all indicated, when the going gets difficult/tough/surprising/unpredictable “It has begun”. The very nature of creative art is that it is challenging and it can be (delightfully/scarily) surprising. MacLennan said, “Realising the bottom line is never ideological, but human; that art is not in, of, or onto itself. It is for people.”(Performance Mag 1985 No 37 p11)

Now I understand that when I do more PA I’d need to be able to communicate with or ‘get’ to the public mind, without demeaning my ideas nor intelligence & sensibility of the watchers of course.

I shall develop some of this in ma next blog.

They say The Duke if 70’s Cool died just after his 69th birthday. Respect, The Man Who Fell To Earth has returned to the Ether from whence he came to gift us with his Ziggy songs.

a sunset fer Bowie sm

So, to my tribute to the great innovator David (Jones) Bowie. I went to see him in Boscombe in summer 1972 just as he was developing his Ziggy character on a wing and a prayer. He wore a denim jacket with some fur embellishment on the collar, which style I adopted on my return to college for the jackets worn by the male dancers in St Luke’s College Performance ‘Catulli Carmina’ in the late autumn of that year. I love his China Girl stuff best. He’ll be walking along the beach with his mam again now. Here’s Ashes to Ashes and an unusual instrumental, just watch him dance 2.30 mins in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7KSM5j4-Zg . 

About LaoTze

I like this story about LaoTze

“Patanjali and Lao Tzu came to a stream. Patanjali began to cross the stream by walking on the surface of the water. Lao Tzu stood on the bank and called him to come back.

“What’s the matter?” Patanjali inquired.

“There is no need to cross the stream, because this shore is the [as] other shore.” said Lao Tzu,

That’s the whole emphasis of Lao Tzu: There is no need to go anywhere; the other shore is here. There is no need to do anything. The only need is just to be. Effort is irrelevant because you are already that which you can ever be. Go nowhere. Follow no path. Seek nothing. Because wherever you will go, the very going is missing the point because everything is available here already.”

I’m not trying to challenge the world, it’s always been the same. Conflict happens. Underpinning that and vastly more important is Harmony. Harmoniousness has always been there. Witness the Indian master Tshengregacha’s visit to Zarathustra. They were the roots of the so-called ‘Great Religions’ but what underpins both is Belief in Spirit as One Everlasting Harmonious Being, of which we are part.

There’s a story about a king who thought he was being deceived by his wise man:

“So the king sent a caravan to a great Indian mystic, Tshengregacha, to whom came disciples from all over the world, and with the caravan went the same messengers and the same treasure that he had once sent to Zarathustra.

After many months, the messengers returned from India with the philosopher, but the philosopher said to him, “I am honoured to be your teacher but in frankness must tell you that I come chiefly to your country that I may meet the great Zarathustra.”

Then the king took the golden box containing the grain of wheat and answered, “I asked Zarathustra to teach me. See, this is what he sent me. Here is the teacher who shall teach me the Laws of the universe and the forces of nature. Is this not ridiculous?”

The philosopher looked long at the grain of wheat, and silence fell upon the palace while he meditated. At length he said, “I do not regret my many months of journeying, for now I know that Zarathustra is in truth the great teacher that I have long believed him to be. This tiny grain of wheat can indeed teach us the laws of the universe and the forces of nature, for it contains them in itself right now. You must not keep the grain of wheat in its golden box. You are missing the whole point.

“If you plant this little grain in the earth, where it belongs, in contact with the soil, the rain, the air, the sunshine, and the light of the moon and the stars, then like a universe in itself it will begin to grow bigger and bigger. Likewise you, if you would grow in knowledge and understanding, must leave your artificial life and go where you will be close to all the forces of nature and of the universe, to the sum total of things. Just as inexhaustible sources of energy are ever flowing towards the grain planted in the earth, so will innumerable sources of knowledge open and flow towards you until you become one with nature and the organic universe. If you watch the growth of this seed of grain, you will find that there is an indestructible and mysterious power in it — the power of life. The grain disappears, and in that disappearance there is victory over death.”

“All that you say is true” answered the king, “yet in the end the plant will wither and die and will be dissolved into the earth.”

“But not until it has done an act of creation and has turned itself into hundreds of grains, each like the first. The tiny grain disappeared as it grew into a plant, and you too as you grow must turn yourself into something and someone else. Life always creates more life, truth more abundant truth, the seed more abundant seeds. The only art one needs to know is the art how to die. Then one is reborn. I propose that we journey to Zarathustra himself that he may teach us more of these things.”

Extracts, with thanks from:

http://www.energyenhancement.co.uk/yoga/Osho-Yoga-The-Alpha-and-the-Omega-Vol-7-Discourses-on-the-Yoga-Sutras-of-Patanjali-Chapter-4-Be-A-Seed-Question-1.html

The one about Zarathustra comes from Edmond Bordeaux Szekely’s Book of Asha. http://www.amazon.com/The-Essene-Book-Asha-Journey/dp/0895640082

I found the yogasutra site last night and I thought I were in heaven. I saw a lacewing yesterday it flew past me onto a leaf. They are angels to me bringing messages from my father who died 1993 after he’d introduced me to one about 200 foot up an industrial chimbley.

Ailing & Aliens

Some of my friends are ailing. I near said aliens. Would that be correct? Maybe, if you think we are just passing thru. I sometimes get real bad cramp, say, in my calf at 4am, I just did. I guess am lucky (to be alive, it reminds me I’m alive!).Some of my friends don’t get cramps, they have strokes and heart problems. Yes am lucky. Reading Osho and all of that, they say don’t yearn to do the world, don’t run to get to the other side where the grass isn’t really greener. Just be there, just be. I intend to be myself Now.

I am collating buk(s) from previous books I prepared. No hassle. Keeps me off the streets. Here’s some writings I prepared (+published in my buk The Dull Jodrell, which I may do in a new revised second edition soon…ish) earlier:

dj hopi cava sm

THE DULL JODRELL DUCKS THE ISSUE

dw foto sm

It’s nice lovely coming to chez Duncan Dragonhat because everything comes together.  Despite the blocks of flats, cars and planes it’s a beautiful place, overlooking Kew.  Although you can’t see the gardens you see the trees, hear the crows and witness swan-like ducks fly three abreast over the roofs.  But it’s more than that.  Last night he gave me religion.  Not Duncan.  VAN.  Van the man. Saw him at the Dominion Theatre and it was like a religious experience.  I used to be a Van fanatic.  Now I am just into the music, so to speak.  But last night was such a beautiful experience as Van took us through his repertoire and the audience went ecstatic.

Afterwards we came back for the hot chilli Janet made and I went to sleep from 2.30 till now at 6.30.  It’s light and warm enough to sit undressed and it looks like being a good day.

And Duncan’s little library here, I don’t know where to start, books on everything and all, and he’s read them all (nearly), records galore.  One called Achalay is all original Latin American music – pan pipes, flutes and all, and his books, more ducks fly by, his books are a sight for sore eyes; just the ones I put by to look at – Russell Hoban’s ‘Riddley Walker’, Bukowski poems, Casteneda’s ‘Tales of Power’, the ‘Lunar Effect’ by Arnold Leiber, ‘The White Hotel’ D M Thomas.  There are books about Castenedas, Gurdjieff, Enstein, Krishnamurti, Buddhism.  He’s got Kerouac, Genet, Hesse, Beckett, Alan Watts, Brautigan.  To list them would be futile, so I have.  But suffice it to say I’ve already said it.  A jet plane majestically interrupts my writing.  I don’t mind but it is the sixth one in as many minutes, but in London you forget it, they’re like the bird song.  There, like the bird’s song, the slight blue sky and the mild wind moving the tree tops, and I’d like to tell you all about Duncan but I can’t, because I have, suffice it to say.

The seeds you planted grow and help you when you need it.  ‘Organisms are either in a state of positive or negative receptivity relative to their natural environment’ (Arnold L Lieber).  This quote takes me back to when I wrote about positive and negative aggression, or should I say creative and destructive use of the ‘aggressive aspect’ in all of us.  The ‘natural environment’, Dunc’s got his here, I’ve got mine in the country, so to speak.

He the town mouse,

Me the country mouse.

To begin with we knew not where we were going.  We were kids from the street, like all the rest.  We still are.  But we found the clues.  We followed our Hunches, we saw the light come shining through and it’s shining right on YOU.

Once you begin to tune in more easily, through experience of Effort, through having been there before, you begin to recognise the signs, you look for the signs, the signs of synchronicity begin to aid you.  Everything begins to fit into place.  The most unlikely things occur and become right.  That’s why developing and keeping an open mind is good.  By opening your mind (like a walnut shell pulled apart), you begin to see connections, you begin to cut through the mist that clouds the consciousness.  So; the clouded consciousness clears as your mind opens up to all aspects all around.  My mind opens up as I write this story about the Dull Jodrell.

Duncan is not a Dull Jodrell, nor is he a Shrewd Idiot, but he is a fellow Traveller, he’s with us on the Journey to the East.  He and me are about the same age, we went to the same school, we both went into college and came out.  Twenty years (53 now) we’ve known each other, helped each other, watched each other from afar.  When we get together, by letter, tape, telephone or in person, we talk at length about our various discoveries.  He understands my effort, and he sees the Path I trod.  Now and then he makes observations on my werk, suggests directions, sends books which he thinks will help.

As every creator knows, he can often find somebody to criticise or sympathise, but to find someone who he respects, who can empathize, is elusive.  I found that type of friend in Dunc.  I’ll always remember when I gave him the first part of ‘The Shrewd Idiot’ to ready. We were in the Tate at the time, a William Blake exhibition.  Duncan disappeared.  I found him when I can to leave, in tears of laughter as he read through my manuscript, rolling around the seat in the foyer.  I asked him why the mirth and he said, ‘Because it’s good, so good, it’s so good to us because we know how far you had to come’.  Here are some of his other comments:

a Duncan and the cosmic egg (1)

  ‘I have thought that I spend too much time thinking about how to view reality, which is futile.  As the Zen Buddhists say, “All that is, is”.  This is true, but you must be in a receptive state.  If, by your very nature, you are inquisitive and unsatisfied by the world view our society has trained us in then this ‘Cosmic Egg’ has to be broken and our own personal one needs to be built, otherwise we are in the garden but cannot touch its beauty.  I used to use the concept of a furrowed field, representing tunnel realities.  I strived to build up enough energy to leap onto the next furrow, gain its experience/view point, then leap onto the next, eventually arriving at a point where I’d attained cosmic consciousness and was running on top of all the furrows.

We are like displaced people, trying to get back to our world, we see it fleetingly during our illuminations, which give us energy and faith, but then we are sucked back into accepting this world.’

 dhatdkblu

Namaste Dragonhat, Avatar & Ally,

Love from D. J. O’Dourke.

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

Peter the Prancing Prattler

PETER THE PRANCING PRATTLER says, ‘I make it 7 weeks to go to the BABE weekend!’ (you just can’t shut him up). Expect to see him on a table, well he’ll not actually be on the table, alongside his collaborator, David Jury. Now David is not a Prattler no, not at all, not likely, but he’s a darned good printer of letterpress and he’ll have some of his sheets which we collaborated on last summer, for weeks on end.

Let me tell you about the ‘poem’ that David letterpress printed , (which is shown in the featured image at the top of this blArt in situ at the Slack Space exhibition in Colchester until 28th February), because it has a history and even a follow on after we completed the DJ version.

So it began with Destination Dust, a series of ‘poems’ about 6 men of ideas and actions who had impressed me on my journey thru life and art and literary stuff and exhibitions and dances and cosmologies and more. I’m not going to list them here, that’s done elsewhere. I am going to take one of them and try to show the different incarnations of my ‘poems’ about him and some drawings and other forms.

So, to begin at the beginning, Hermann Hesse. A German Nobel Prize writer. A thinker. A poet. A pacifist. A lot of my work is directly influenced by his works. Destination Dust is influenced by his books Siddhartha and also Journey To The East. In my ‘book’ G BATCH the first ‘poem’ is about Hesse.

Hermann Hesse

Whilst following the winding road toward the village of Montagnola

Near Mount Saint Salvatore a footloose exiled pilgrim full with wanderlust

HH encountered a mendicant monk named Dhona chanting a mantra

Dhona said that when he had met Sakyamuni way back when

He asked the beloved one

Sir would you be a human?

Sir would you be a Gandharvan?

Sir would you be a Yaksa?

Sir would you be a god?

To each the Bodhisattva’s reply was No Dhona

What then would you be?

I am a Buddha, brahmin, a Buddha. … All composite things decay…Strive diligently.”

 

As he watched Dhona walk his quiet way HH had the idea

To write a story called Siddhartha

So that people in the West might learn about the Enlightened one.

 

I did some readings from that poem and found it difficult to read out loud so I set about a new version which I planned should be simpler to read.

 

Dhona the Brahmin was a mendicant monk

Who asked Siddhartha

“Are you human or one from Gandharva

Are you a god or maybe a Yaksa?”

 

“Brahmin everything that’s created passes,”

“Go peacefully to your destination,

Strive diligently t’ward your transition, Dhona

Which is escape from Samsara’s wheel of Suffering

 

There was dispute after Guatama’s passing away

Dhona intervening did say,

“The message of the Blessed Buddha

Is still peace and forbearance today.”

 

Thereby the Malla chieftans of Kusinara

On whose soil Shakyamuni died

Reluctantly released the relics

To be divided into eight domains

 

Each claimant built a monument

Which every time turned to rust

Confirming Buddha’s message that

Everything passes to ashes and dust

 

Up on the road near Montagnola

A Wandering Writer named Hesse heard the tale from a mendicant monk

Then he recounted the story to you and to me

In a book called Siddhartha

 

Shakyamuni saw how we can escape

Samsara ’s spinning wheel

Shakyamuni said, “Namaste.

The Light in me

Greets the Light in thee.

I Am a Buddha, Brahmin, I Am a Buddha Now.”

 

I am unsure if it was any easier to read but I then decided to publish it in a ‘book’ in which the poems would all be laid out in the shape of a pot. The word in a vessel so to speak so I designed Inside This Earthen Vessel and proceeded to print some copy so I could fold the cover come folder in which to drop the new set of poems. Funnily enough recently I mentioned to Gary at the Baltic that there is an illustration in the book whereas all the pages bar one are ‘illustration’ where the words become the pot. Then DJ saw the book with its pots as poems and liked them enough to adapt them for his own summer project. He was careful enough to show me any changes or edits he made and slowly but surely his version arose. I am happy to say the Saison poetry library at Festival Hall bought a copy and featured it in their Open Day show.

 V1 hesse sm

You’ll notice there is now a subtext. Where I had left dots DJ wished for words and asked that I write a set of poems which would be appropriate but of a different ilk which I did by writing about my life in the northern town of Burnley. So here is the new ‘poem’

And now, the end is near

I prepare to claw

My way through

And this

I call it bliss

Has come to me

The hard way

But one thing I know for sure

One thing I want you to know

That thing

That thing is this

I did it my way

I found that bliss

Not just a kiss

I went all the way

I did not turn

I ceased to yearn

I found it my way

And now

At last I say

I have the key to untold wonder

The only way for you to find it too

Is to do it your way

I Am I say

I Am today

I was then and I Am now

I Am Real

Now and forever more

I found out my way

A bit far removed from the cultural philosophical grounds of the main poems but NOT! In fact Burnley is overlooked by Pendle Hill where the founder of the Quaker group George Fox experienced a vision in June 1652 (slightly before my time there). http://bcw-project.org/biography/george-fox

A couple of weeks ago I decided to attempt a reading of the content of the DJ version of the poem which is in some ways influenced by the typography of Kurt Schwitters and I saw that a reading would bring in some of Schwitters’ sound poetry ideas. In fact it became a very liberating and creative experience with great potential for its future.

 

Dhona the Brahmin And now was a mendicant monk the end is near Who asked Siddhartha-(Gautama-Shakyamuni-Tathāgata)  I prepare to “Are you human, one from Gandharva? Claw My way through Are you a god or maybe a Yaksa?” this And this I call “Brahmin everything that’s created passes, Strive diligently into your transition, it bliss Has come to Go peacefully t’ward your destination, me The hard way Escape from Samsara’s wheel of Suffering.” But one thing During a dispute when Guatama passed away Brahmin Dhona, intervening, did say, I know for sure One “The message of the Blessed Buddha

Is still peace and forbearance today.” Thing Thereafter the Malla chieftans of Kusinara I want you to On whose soil Shakyamuni had died know Reluctantly released the relics To be divided into eight domains. That Thereby, Each claimant built a monument thing Which every time turned to rust. Confirming Siddhartha’s message that Every That thing thing passes is to truly ashes this and I did it my way dust. On the road near Montagnola And now A Wandering Writer named Hesse heard the tale from a mendicant monk I found that Then he recounted the story to you bliss Not just a and to me In a book called ‘SIDDHARTHA.’ Tathāgata showed how to escape The Spinning Wheel of Samsara  Tathāgata said, “NAMASTE.  The Light in me greets the Light in thee. I Am a Buddha, Brahmin, I AM A kiss BUDDHA Now.”

 

And it doesn’t end there. I have written yet another version for BABE alone which will be published in my new book especially for BABE.

 

There is Hermann Hesse

A nomad exiled from his native Germany

(because he mistrusted insolent might)

who was heard to say

‘There is no reality except the one contained within’

 

Perambulating the Apennine mountains

A Wanderer searching the Door to renascence

His mind a Magic Theatre

A ‘Journeyer To The East’

He bumped into ‘mystic travellers’

Like Dhona the Brahmin

 

Dhona told him of the time

(It was around about 400 BC)

When he asked Shakyamuni

Sage of the Shakya clan

‘Do you come from Gandhara?

Are you a god?

How did you stop clinging on?

How do you emanate so much Love?’

‘Because I am no longer a Brahmin Dhona

I am a Buddha now’.

 

Hesse was inspired to write Siddhartha

Which in turn inspired the back packers

Beat poets like Ginsberg and Dean Moriarty

And Burnley beat nit Daniel O’Dourke.

Later on Jack Kerouac came to greet him

On The Road from the Wild West

 

Dance little sister dance we pray

Twirl and Swirl the Dervish way

Skip along that road with a little sway

Rolling on down to Destiny’s Day

Now you see what keeps me busy. I think this last version positively sings and dances. Hence the monicker, Peter the Prancing Prattler.

NAMASTE TO YAH

A Moanie Lisa me

Careering t’ward th’end of an era for me.

Still straining after all these tears trying to gain a foothill in the crevices of th’Arts and not sucking seeding cos the doors of the glass bead game are firmly closeted. Nobody let me in. How many times did I knock on Cork Street or Burlington house or Millbank or anywhere elsa the lioness? And really I don’t have time for calling and for crawling and for holding my hat and I couldn’t afford a hat to get a head. More often than not I refuse to knock on wood Otis nor Eddie Floyd can make me. and even when I knock on wood doors, or is it wooden skulls? And I say let me in , or gi’e us a show etc, they just laugh in ma face and say, ‘Who, just WHO, do you think you are to come rattling at my door after 47 years of making art etc? Go away and don’t darken this hallowed step no more no more no more no more’ and I say that is rather rude and they say ‘RATHER lather larder dear, shoosh!’

There’s a warning here to all the kids who enter the ‘art college’ DON’T DO IT ! th’bastewards won’t let yez in, there’s no moom in the gym. THINK very very care-fully before embarking on a career in art as ‘making it’ in ‘art’ is nearly as hard as making it in football. You can only do it fer love of the game! I don’t like artball, i loathe it. Hee Hee silly mee.

Most of the time I just made art. But, I knew early on that without outlets it wer like hissing into the wind as Rich Hamilton http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/richard-hamilton-1244 said in his catalog to the 1983 print show, ‘a mass of paper is likely to accumulate which, without an outlet, would soon clog the place up. it couldn’t be produced without an assumed public and an efficient distribution network’. My ‘studio’ and other outbuildings are crammed with my ‘pile amass paper accumulate, papa (hey a new movement, PAPA, with it I shall strip bare dada’s bride!)’ Pete’s PAPA pile of junk assaults th’art werld, fart werld is inundated wit a heap o stuff, fert wold is Annie Hi Elated, it is no more, it is defuncted and it is the ‘late’ artwoild.

Diter Rot said in 1966 decided to ‘stop being an artist’ he turned down an offer from gallerist Bruno Bischofberger of a show because he had ‘given up painting’ and was ‘sitting in a tiny place with a tiny table and am writing’. Of course it was a ruse. As he knew and stated in his bok Mundunculum the eyes have it, the eyes think they see the lamp, or the sign, ‘lamp’ for the lamp we ‘see’ is called lamp cos its tag is ‘lamp’ its sign. But what Roth says is the ‘lamp’ is itself ‘pointing’ the sign, it signifies the sign of ‘lamp’. So we are all artists, those of us who can see visually, even those who cannot ‘see’ with their eyes, because when we look we ‘see’ things; a ruler, a book etc, blind people ‘see’ a concept they have gathered for ‘book’ ‘train’ etc. But what is ‘seen’ is, Roth says, the ‘object’ sending a sign. I suppose that in reality, even Buddhist notions of ‘reality’, the object, is in fact not what it seems, it is in fact just ‘energy’ which manifests in the forms we read the signs for. Rot was well into Wittgenstein when he created Mundunculum, but he was also into satire.

But anyway, like Rot and Ernst before me am stopping being an artist, why, becos

I embarked on my ‘career’ (careering?) as a committed artist 47 years ago and really I got NoWhereerehWoN. I never broke through the barrier into ‘earning, selling, being ‘shown’ or even just bought, except for tiny sales. I am not in any books, except my own. It seems clear to me that I failed. Any ‘success’ in any future would be by proportion to my years of ‘trying’ only piddling, not even fair to middle in! My output failed to assist my progression; it has not paved my way. I started as a poor boy with no money and after 47 years am still poor, yet my output and my certificates are abundant and so are the 20 odd solo shows I have had in Essex since the late 1970s and a big yun in Burnley in 1981.

“So I have proved it cannot be done. I spent 47 years forlorn hoping I could break the code of silence, break through the boundaries & barriers ‘the art world’ fabricates and defends but I failed to do so. So bollocks to all of those people and institutions that have ignored scorned or overlooked my work. I shall give up trying. They’ve had 47 years to ‘catch on’. So sod it. The life of an artist is not so good I can tell you that for sure because I know because I have lived it. AND now I see the light. The artist is like a cursed spirit that ‘clings on’, it’s part of being an artist. Now I understand that’s not too good. The real trick is to stop clinging, to stop trying to capture image, memory, dreams etc. the trick is to just BE. And that’s what I am going to be, me, just BE. I know I failed as an artist, infinitely more than Van Gogh or William Blake. But as an educator I know I succeeded. And as an observer I did not fail, for the observer can observe without judgement. Observation is but observation, witness, at best. And I have been witness to my lack of progress, the art world and a few other things which I elucidate in my ‘blArt’ which stands for ‘a blog about art and all that stuff’.

25.12.14

So I admit it. I was a failure in my attempt to make a mark in th’art world (thart wouldnie, fart woodna, tart wooargh) altho I created hundreds of images & words in all sincerity, even when I were taking the piss I were sincere. Even my jokes were sincere. Sincerity got me not very far. I don’t mind now. I learned that success isn’t everything and it only breeds more success then you get to worrying about who’s gonna target your expensive car house jewels etc so I never had to worry, about them things. Then if you get famous etc you start to worry about your reputation. Never had to worry about that neither. So I guess I got lucky never ‘making it’. I decided to stop making new images etc but I shall allow myself to manipulate reprise etc my existing bank of images & words. The dream is over like Lennon sang then lived, or rather, died. He had seen thru the illusion. As did George Harrison. I shall present all the books I worked up since 1969. I shall use many of the images I created or ‘took’ with cameras of all types including photocopiers. I still have a lot to do. Just remember to enjoy doing it; like the man walking up the mountain needs to learn to enjoy the trip up, the trip down may be faster than he anticipated.

Oh, I fergot to say- neither walt Disney nor pixar nor bart simpson nor speilberg nor lucas ever needed the ‘art world’ (I shall call it fartwerld frum now on) nor the ‘gallery’(maybe I shall call it the Ghouleree or Goolierie?), did they? Time for me final poems of this year:

I’m rolling down that river

(Starts to the tune of The River by Joni Mitchell.)

I’m looking for the answer

Tho I know I can survive

I been searching thru the questions

Hoping one day I’d arrive

 

Am rolling down that river

And I’m still alive

 

I been struggling to get thru

Now for many years and more

I don’t really know why

Because I know the score

 

Am rolling down that river

And I’m still alive

 

No matter what you do now/ give her

Offer four and they want five

I been swimming up the river

And am continuing to strive

 

Am rolling down that river

And I’m still alive

 

There’s no need to worry

No no need no more

There’s no need for any hurry

No am not knocking on the door

 

Am rolling down that river

And I’m still alive

 

Waiting at the tunnel’s end

I been pointing to the light

It’s hiding round the bend

Just watch you may catch a sight

 

Am rolling along that river

And I’m still alive

 

and anither y’n

Just cos it rhymes doesn’t mek it a poem, duz it?

Just because it rhymes

It’s not necessarily right

Even then sometimes it may be

Shite

Just don’t darken my door

With your doubts

I don’t wish to hear them

I am no longer listening

To doubts and bouts of gouts

And shouts

Of words

That are glistening

(what rhymes wit words?

Dieter Rot would say turds*)

Ta ra diddli um dum doo

Boo boo to you

I

Am

Out

*(I wouldn’t, too rude)

 

 dan odork on mi gmail accntapuldan odork

ps I may look glum but really I am very happy, the glum look is my age, when you get to my age your face just looks glum. Glum’s a good word, I never thought of it before. No, I’m happy cos wanting to shoe in the ‘gallery’ hangs over the head of all artists like a yoke, believe me that’s no joke. Not being ‘shown’ etc seems to be a big failure. But I know my work is popular from the reactions of over 25 solo shows since 1978. I know how people react to my work. It’s just them that organise the galleries don’t, and/or they don’t care anyway, why should they. They got plenty o meat to sell. My gallery is my books. Yet I also challenge the concept of the ‘book’. Mind you so did Roth and keifer and and and, oh shurrup Pete, while you still can.

pps if you turn the image round, upside down, you’ll see an image of Apulhed, screaming.

My blArty Story

Pictures from my pArts.

I just posted my 100th blArt, now it’s time for changes. Many of my previous blArts were very wordy. I noticed by experiment that most folk prefer the shorter versions. That is understandable in our busy busy world. Folks have jobs to do and they wish to make the most of their ‘spare’ time so don’t want to be farting about trying to de-cipher the words of this idiot, especially when he plays with the spellings and the meanings and all. So I decided to do my next phase of blogs as mostly images, of which I have made maybe millions, well, thousands then. All still in my possession cos nobody likes me. (He said tongue in cheek, he hopes, ‘Am I Bovvad? Yep’. But I take pleasure from the fact that many people have liked my works in the past 47 years even tho I rarely persuaded anyone to delve deep enough into their pocket or purse to then bear the heavy weight of the coins and transfer them into my greasy palm d’or, not. Nevertheless, staying poor made me strive more.) I cannot be criticised for not trying, my wife says am rather trying anyway.

So, let’s begin, with some early works.

I used to get bored in lessons when I were 15 so I would draw folk. My Engilsh teacher Mr Dobson seemed on first impression an idiot but in fact he were a very clever man what taught me how to write proper.

dobbo

My dad was a demolition man, couldn’t afford a camera in 1967 so I drew his handy work

  northern demolition

My first drawing from a photo c.1968, Supreme

supreme sketch

I got my first commission from the head barman at the Sparrow Hawk, Burnley. He told me I would paint a horse. I said I couldn’t do horses but he were an’ard case and I knew I had to turn up with the goods or get a broken dose.

first commission

When I were doing ‘A’ level art I painted the local streets form the art room window. Lowry was an influence but I was well into Fauvism too. That’s Hapton in th’background!

byron street

So by the time  I were in th’upper sixth I saw misen as a artist, destined fer the garret no doubt. (There’s absinthe in them pockets)

self portrait as an artist

to be continued

Tribute to David Clayton (77),

a david Clayton

I hope the Burnley Express don’t mind me appropriating this image and the following words:

‘devoted former Burnley headteacher, who inspired generations of young people by encouraging them to go to university during a career spanning decades, died in September 2014’.

I remember those kindly eyes looking at me as a rather distracted 6th former in his history lessons and 12 years later when I paid a visit to him when he became the Head of the combined Boys &Girls Grammar schools just after he had bought some of my work out of my 1981 Burnley ‘retrospective’. I remember him saying to me that I had done well and that to succeed away from the ‘security’ of your home town was quite an achievement. My memory of his gentle determination in the face of challenging pupils was a constant inspiration and example when I became a teacher. There’s not many of my ex-‘teachers’ I would wish to mention in my blart but ‘Stan’ was one who I treasured, partly because he valued me and my ability, wherever that may take me. He was my history teacher at ‘O’ & ‘A’ level and during the latter introduced me to the skill of essay writing, using a pile of source books rather than relying on just one (text) book. Throughout my 2 years in his A level classes he would consistently give me 16 or 17 out of 20 for my homeworks. He famously confronted me one Monday class saying, ‘Peter, you used to be so focused but recently you seem somewhat bemused.’ I didn’t dare say the reason may have been my having played 3 games of 90 minutes in the Lanc’s mud, and visited the working men’s club on Friday, the Mecca on Saturday after doing a job on the turnstiles at Turf Moor in the afternoon and the pub plus Mecca on Sunday. I was bemused by his comment but I was actually asleep during most of his lesson even though he made history interesting.

Mr Clayton, who was born in Horwich, near Bolton where he went to school with Ian McKellan remained a lifelong friend of his even though he was convinced he was better at acting than Ian, he chose the academic route and graduated from Merton College at Oxford with a degree in history. My interest in research and writing and my self belief all started with his encouragement. In 1981 when I had a big exhibition in Burnley Library David came and bought several pieces. Bless his spirit.

Here is the note from my old pal DW in which I heard of Mr Clayton’s death, Duncan begins with a few observations on this blArt:

A breath of fresh air Pete. It is wonderful to see the budding of an artist and what is so different from someone who may doodle and splash paint for a bit at school  is that a committed artist/creator cannot stop, he is driven to keep going and the insanely artistic shape their life around their arting and oeuvreing.

The Byron Street view from the 3rd floor art room at BGS is stirring for me. I have looked that way many times, the melancholy of those slate roof tops just seeps into me, they seemed to me like a world apart from the BGS world of filtered air a preparing station for leaving our roots. Those houses seem to be edging and crowding up to the gates, but not allowed to cross, they knew we were in a transit station being prepared to forsake our terrace houses. I was in two camps, I felt exhilarated at the prospect of learning the skills needed to leave, and yet, when I looked out of that classroom window I felt a warm glow of association to my home, I felt good walking out of the school gates at the end of the day, into the warm embrace of Byron Street.
Dobo was a teacher that you only appreciate fully when you have left school and grown older, he didn’t teach as much as imbue an aura of learning and also showed how to retain ones true and honest persona.

my likes, influences and all dat stuff

I guess as more folk get into this blArt they’ll wish to know wat meks me thick? It took a long time to get dis bad, so here is a big potty hisStory of my main likes. Manaste Yorbaste

apulhed tinking

I thought you may like to see this, a past article ‘published’ on canongate’s meet at the gate. I hope it all comes up in the blog on Sun Oct 19, 2008 09:00 PM GMT and posted on this blArt about a year ago, when I were ony 62!

I am an artist/writer living in the Essex countryside. I have had 20 exhibitions in Essex since 1978 and one in Burnley, my home town.

My life as an artist began at Todmorden Road Junior school at the bottom of Lyndhurst Road in Burnley when I tried (vainly) to copy the ships, cars & horses that my friends, Steve Hezzlewood and Roy Gidley, drew. Before I left junior school I wrote a piece about the reincarnation of two donkeys which I called Jack & Jenny in respect to my parents whose nicknames were the same- my life as an off-beat writer had started.

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