I am doing a very quick blArt this week as I am hard on rehearsing and preparing for my book launching gig at Colchester Arts Centre this coming Sunday 5th November at 2pm.
Am also doing a reading of Bukowski’s Poem For Dante at Firstsite in Colchester on Friday 3rd at 7.30 when the Educaid trust will be having another of their wonderful group readings in aid of Sierra Leone. No time even for yoga classes this week.
I am trying to pull together all my recent inspirations to attract interest in my series of books concerning The Shrewd Idiot.
If you have a spare hour Sunday afternoon the main activity is from 2-3 pm.
You may like to buy one of my books at a really good price too.
Here’s a couple of images I took at today’s practice. [Don’t forget to bring your camera! You can flash away til yer heart’s content cos I got no ban on cameras. That’s not to do with vanity, it’s freedom of speech, a pic tells a 1000 words.] Oh and can some of you let me know if you are coming, then I’ll get my beautiful wife to make more birthday cakes. At present there’s no way of knowing numbers cos we said no entry fee. That means no bookings so we cannot estimate numbers. But like Sophia saw at Red Lion, I’d perform (my art) even if nobody came, but I do know some folk will be there.
Some of the Idiot’s garb.
This is just a dummy Apulhed Mask (real one is a secret to be revealed on the day)
A former self
I don’t want to give too much away but I shall be in dialogue with my former selves and my character Apulhed will make a surprise appearance. That’s as long as he can make it from whatever part of the cosmos he’s visiting now. He’s never let me down before. Looks like he’s in Japan!
Or he may be further afield. I wake about 4am and look out my window and there above the trees I have a great view of Orion’s Belt with Sirius lurking below it.
Well it were a toss up between that and The Wise Fool. Shrewd- astute, penetrating, artful and crafty- (I tink) shrewd entails ‘wise’ altho that in fact in the definition relates to money… The Shrewd Idiot aka Pete Kennedy is (or was) that- an Idiot in a lot of his habits BUT he always knew there was a wise part in the mix because he had conversed with it on occasion; in lucid moments. “From early on I knew that ‘life’ was a serious game but I soon learned to make light of it. I frequently played the fool. Apart from rock music and sport my great loves in life have been art & humour [altho’ this tome is not (deliberately) funny], my great heroes include Groucho & Harpo Marx, Spike Milligan & Tommy Cooper.”
Another title could have been A Lucid Tosser or Lucid Idjet…L I, or Li bringing in a zen feel to it.
There’s also another possibility in David Pierce’s book, Reading Joyce where on p. 316 he says, “[the surname] Glue is in fact from Old English gleaw, meaning wise or prudent.” So The Gleaw Idiot? Maybe not. Altho’ I was born in Glesgaw…The Glesgaw Idjet… The Glasgae Idiot?
Anyway all this is too late, the books are named.
So the ‘hero’ of the buk reveals his self, warts & all. There’s big honesty, an honesty which may seem unpalatable to some but it’s part of his idiotic nature- he cannot tell a lie or be clever for the sake of deceiving.
Gail Cher wrote in ‘One Continuous Mistake’, “Fleeting thoughts … quietly shock our being. You think one, sometimes you don’t even realise it’s there…it has been…your mind contains the memory…your consciousness is no longer the same….you keep track of your philosophical thoughts, your spiritual thoughts, your pecuniary thoughts, thoughts of your loved ones…”.) Gail Cher might have written those words for the doltie/dorky hero which is my because those are the kinda thoughts he notes down throughout the book(s) named after him!
Apul-One (original cover A5)
My old Burnley secondary school friend John Walton told me after he had read in 1976, ‘Pete, you write the thoughts we all have and think we’ll write them down but never do…’ Writing was his trade and I took that as a gentle compliment.
The Shrewd Idiot (cover A4 version) Portrait of the Idiot As A Young Man
So it is not a normal book. It’s written in the first person and is purportedly about the first four years of my life after I left school nearly 19 years old.
It’s not an autobiography because it doesn’t outline my successes in life, rather the opposite, it settles on my many doubts and failings (like frequent self-abuse). It features my anguishes rather than my triumphs, not the stuff of autobios. In my life I had many and regular successes and achievements, most of which don’t make it into this rather voluminous moan-ologue. But the fleeting moments do and I believe it’s those fleeting moments that mould the person, that’s why they’re featured. It’s the challenges, the overcoming the doubts and deficiencies that maketh (wo)man. I hope I’m correct cos if am not then this is 300 pages of unadulterated drivel, but don’t worry, be happy that I wouldn’t do that to you. Over 40 years since I first set my pen to paper writing this tome long-hand from the journals I kept tween 1969-73 and after spending months doing final edits and the layout for the book before I published it I am sure there is a story there, in fact several stories within the main momentum which follows me from a green horny youth through days of satisfaction and later of loss. The book shows many relationships beginning and moving on and some ending (prematurely) with some continuing way past the book’s end.
BUT, apart from the overt stories, there’s the covert revelations. It reveals my initiations, realisations, and most of all my growth from a punchy teenager to a more reflective early 20 year old who has no idea what his future holds but knows he’s at least prepared with his accumulated skills and learnings to face most of what life normally throws at a person and from experience knows that he can cope with some of the extraordinary things that crop up now & then.
The ‘punchy teenager’ taming was begun by the first of 3 women (The Three Graces) who had a major impact on him in those 4 years. Her name in the book was Bluebell, in real life it was Cath. She was the first woman I ‘went out with’ after I left school and in effect she saved my life. She gave me hope for the future and I still received her Christmas cards until a year or two ago… they seem to have petered out now despite my writing to her Australian address to tell her I’d like to send her a copy of the SI(A4). The second grace, Rose, real life- Jane, drifted rapidly then slowly out of my life but she taught me to value patience, although it’s taken 40 years for the lesson to kick my ass. The third grace, Camellia, whose real name I cannot reveal cos she’ll bat me, is still teaching me how to behave. She’s still got a lot of work to do. So as a result of those 3 gracious ladies I became less punchy, despite for a while taking on karate (I’m yellow!), I now learn Tai Chi with Master Ch’n Lay Seng, and the last thing you do in Tai Chi is get punchy!
The other revelation is of course the art that I produced. Much of my best work from 1968-73 is displayed in the book(s). One of my greatest thrills is to have found an outlet for the imagery which otherwise would have remained in my drawer until after my death* when it’d be taken out and revealed as the work of a wonderful undiscovered talent and then sold for millions of dollars, yen, euros but not £s cos an artist is never really recognised in his home town, are they? But I no longer care that for the past 40 odd years I was unable to find a market for the works I turned out with never ending enthusiasm. Most all of them end up in my big plans-chest or a hut in ma garden and remain unseen, so the SI buks are, for me, a comprehensive solo exhibition of those works. In the A4 version you get 25 images on translucent paper (tracing paper for want of a better word) which gives what I refer to as ‘palimpsest’ views through the parts of the paper which contain no image.
*Spike Milligan said, “I’m not afraid of dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens”.
buks have been my vindication and I am so proud to present them to the world. The A4 version of The Shrewd Idiot can be bought (£45 rrp) at the Whitechapel Gallery bookshop in London. The British Library will receive one copy but the other national libraries won’t as I only made 50 copies and at that price I cannot afford to give em away.
I have now firmed up the date with Antony Roberts at Colchester Arts Centre to do a ‘launch cum celebration’ event around books. The date is Sunday afternoon at 2pm on 5th November 2017, just 9 days after ma 67th boithday. So there should be cakes and drinks and maybe me doing a couple of the performance art pieces (paps) about the books, inc The Three Graces). I must say, I’ve waited almost 40 years to do something there, I first approached the centre in c.1976 shortly after its formation, the then Principal of Colchester Art College (Atkinson?) and Tim Holden interviewed me, the former saying he thought was good but the rest o ma work didn’t strike a chord with him. They laughed at me when I said I wanted to do a show there, they’re not laughing now!
Congratulations to Sally Shaw and all at Firstsite for getting that BIG arts council grant. The gallery has moved a long way since its near demise a couple of years ago.
It was great to see Firstsite humming with at least 3 simultaneous activities last Friday night when I was lucky to be invited once again by Jim Pey at Educaid to read one of my pieces. I did a 2017 poym inspired by my 1972 set of screenprints ‘Appleheadman Sees’ which I shall read again on the 5th of November with a little brushing up. In fact I’d love to do my PA version of the song called ‘Brush’ by Colin Lloyd Tucker too too.
342843DavidBowie is the name of minor planet (asteroid) from the outer region of the asteroid belt, approximately 2 kilometres in diameter, 342843 DavidBowie 2008YN3 is still flying around up there, and will be for billions of years! 342843DavidBowie is also the name of a ‘Bowie Stargazing and Performance Writing’ workshop which Simon Persighetti & Katie Etheridge ran on behalf of LADA from 22-24 September 2016 beginning with the first day at Colchester Arts Centre and the next two days at Firstsite Gallery. It was eye-opening for me in several ways and I thanked K & S:
“Dear Katie and Simon
these images (below) are from my tiny mobile facility. Hope you enjoy.
I really enjoyed being with youse over the past tree days, I got so much from the course.
I loved ‘getting’ that my writing is valid as Performance Art (PA) and all the potential possibilities of incorporating it into ma PA, also my ‘script’ (as it stands) for the Sommboys piece which is still very much work in progress BUT NOW I SHALL DEFINITELY INCORPORATE THE WRITTEN WORD into ma PA and spoken with much more ‘authors-oratory’.
I am reaching the climax of producing my ‘new-old’ buk about my 4 years as a student (of life and thought) at Exeter 69-73 and as I walked to ma car Isabel gave me the word ‘interrupted’ and I realised thet that is watti do, I interrupt my (altered spellingly) written scripts. Now I shall be able to really fly.”
K & S took us thru a number of different ways ‘Performance-Writing’ can be used:
Challenge the 2 dimensionality of the book.
Unfolding emerging text witnessed by the audience.
Record & edit ‘sound & vision text’ in any way using technology- sonic, audio, video…
Site installed text
Writing for the digital environment including blogging.
And we had plenty of opportunities to try out several of these methods.
I liked it when we split up into different roles; Oracle, Questioner, Scribe, Messenger, Voice and the rest were Audience. This led to some great pieces of improvised use of words which came over to each participant in a variety of hearings. If you were the Oracle you could occasionally hear the Voice saying words you said earlier because the Messenger had picked up words from the Scribe and spoken them into the Voice’s ear who then spoke them into a mike and they were transmitted. If you were the Scribe you’d be listening to the Oracle and then you’d hear the Voice say some words you’d written earlier but it’d be in danger of knocking your concentration cos you were still scribing. Fascinating listening for the Audience.
You can add a screen onto which the scribe can type the words instead of handwriting them so the audience gets the thing as a visual too.
So I can imagine new (for me) ways of delivering the ‘script’ (as it stands) for the Sommboys PA piece as well as my Shrewd Idiot book which is written in the first place as a journal.
The three days also paid homage to the work of David Bowie and we all submerged ourselves in various ways in his Inspiration.
So much so that last Thursday 23rd Sept we went to an isolated house overlooking Abberton reservoir to stare at the incredibly full star tapestry. It was so dark and clear I could not see the Orion constellation as there were so many stars behind it they made it difficult to pick out even Orion’s belt which is apparently an asterism. http://earthsky.org/tonight/good-sky-trick-orions-belt-points-to-starsirius We talked about a newly discovered asterism which is shaped like the zigzag shape Bowie famously wears on his head on the Aladdin Sane cover of 1973. It almost drove me (I’m a lad) insane trying to focus in on the specific stars of a constellation on a £75 telescope whose tripod legs kept shifting. In the end I gave up trying to be specific and just homed in on an area of stars and said to myself, I need to get onto a bigger better telescope. So my star gazing has finally begun. All this naming and categorizing of star patterns is fine for those who need it, there’s parallels in most everything that UBeings engage in, but for me it is to do with immersion. I try immerse ma sen in ‘life’, take out what I can and represent it as best I can in the various fields I find my self labouring in. Oh, I wrote a poem about that, the way the art establichsmunt has always turned a blind eye to ma werk and all:
I am a poet now but I ain’t got the degree
Ah So ‘They’ won’t hear me
I am a writer now but I ain’t got the degree
So ‘They’ won’t read me
I am a artisbloke now
I always have been
(a has been?)
But I ain’t not got the degree
So ‘They’ won’t see me
I do Performance Art now but I ain’t got no degree
So ‘They’ won’t watch me
Now I got a Masters now
But ‘They’ still can’t hear me
‘They’ still can’t read me
‘They’ still can’t see me
‘They’ still can’t watch me
Because nobody has told them I’m good enough
‘They’ can’t read between the lines
And ‘They’ can’t see that for themselves
Listen ‘They’ don’t have ears to hear
Nor do ‘They’ have the senses to watch
But after all is said and done
‘They’ ain’t of any significance
‘They’ don’t make ma art(s…s…s…)
And in the end
It’s no matter what ‘They’ say or don’t
As I leaf it to Posterity now
Because ‘They’ missed out this time around
During the workshop me and Daniella did a cut out writing piece which I thoroughly enjoyed doing contrary to my initial thoughts on doing ‘cut ups ‘like Brion Gysin did’ (Brion invented the cut and paste but only after the surrealists had invented it in the 1920’s) and Bowie used the technique as did Lennon. http://www.thewhitereview.org/art/the-idea-machine-brion-gysin/ Here’s our result:
Murchison me wit Daniella
Dedicated to lovely little Petrie Murchison a woman I used to talk with at my college in Exeter in the Art department as we both worked in print-making. I wonder where she is now?
I enjoyed working with Kate & Daniella on our final project in the last two days. We began by using the much unseen and underused windows at ground-level in Firstsite. We were looking at using three helmets; one from an aboriginal people (like the Hopi), one from deep sea divers of the 19th century and of course one from the 1960’s space astronaut adventures which inspired both Bowie and Kubrick. We, using Katie’s words, made an ‘Elegant Synthesis using the word DIVE’ (as yu know elegance isn’t my norm). They got me to lay in the window and put up the four letters in dive one after the other whilst everyone else stood watching from the bottom of the steps outside. This was lovely cos it actually utilized an part of the architect Rafael Viñoly’s design which was intended to be a beautiful feature but which is so rarely seen or appreciated because for strange and stupid reasons the whole field outside the gallery on the old bus station side is out of bounds when really it should be one of the biggest boons. The gallery cannot be walked round from the outside because the gate is locked to this side with the windows at floor level which therefore cannot be seen into and that’s what they’re designed for because you can’t see out them from the inside unless yer doon on th’knees like what I wer.
On day 3 we three worked to change the ‘Elegant Synthesis using the word DIVE’ into a longer piece with masks what I made using minimal materials and time. We presented our piece wearing the masks which was real hard on Daniella cos she wer suffrin badly from hayfever or sum otha allergy ting. The best ting in our performance was when this little girl about 4 year old in a white costume with a pointed hat seemed to feel she could improve it by just being there and she did! Also someone else was just behind us doing their thing which we were unaware of but the audience enjoyed that intervention too too. Katie did a reading onto a sound recorder and she played it back alongside reading it aloud. Daniella, who hails from Peru, did a lovely piece about shamans in America who apparently dance to the shape of different constellations where she had sentences on bits o paper which were stapled onto a red cord which she placed in a cupboard and she pulled out handing one end to one audience member who passed it along to the next and this continued until the story was told and she placed the cord and words back in the cupboard. This brought up the cords we had referenced during the mask-performance; shaman’s cord to the unknown, divers cord to air, astronaut’s cord to the module and of course reference to the umbilical cord of humanity (UBeings).
Next we watched Debbie & Laura do their Fem-Space piece which was their Creation myth with feminine principals and principles. Re-writing the old masculine myths and ending with the patriarchs being projected out of the goddess’s daughter’s nether regions after being composed of her vomit of the geometry that her mother had regurgitated to feed her, it’s a convoluted but rather powerful story which reversed the creation myth order from male to female. [This tale was not dissimilar to the creation myth of the Gnostics who had a woman equal partner the male god who created this Universe in an act to materialize life whereas previously life had had no material being.]
Then we were tired.
We went to eat in a Lebanese restaurant and on to a magic bus what took us to the old derelict bus depot in Colchester where the Neutrinos and Klanghaus entertained us and half of Colchester’s cognoscenti. It was an amazing arrival of what I would call ‘real art’ in the town as they walked us thru the shambled old structure singing wonderful words like My Face Is Wet From Pissing Into The Wind. Which I know all about having spent much of my (creative) life doing so myself. (see ma poem ‘They’ above)
I won’t try telling the tale of Klanghaus just show some tiny snaps what I took with my inadequate mobile camera what actually provides me with some wonderful images.
Like Picasso like Leonardo I have got an ‘o’ in my name!
Mine’s at the front though,
Oh my big O!
Like Picasso like Leonardo I make images
Like them I do the best I can
Oh my big O!
We do do do what we can do
When we are able
And when we are unable
To do do do what we can do
We do the best we can O.
The “Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers” were at Colchester Arts Centre on Thursday 19 May 2016!
Miyuke Williams & Neil Mackie, founder members of the group.
“Mugen” means limitless and “Mugenkyo” means limitless reverberation, expressing our belief that Taiko has no limitations, no musical or geographical boundaries; the reverberations of Taiko (drums) spread throughout the world.
Mugenkyo’s aim is to develop taiko drumming as a contemporary European performing art, both in its pure form, and in collaboration with other artists & disciplines.
I have taken photos many years now. I have put myself out sometimes to be in the right place. This week I went to Colchester Arts Centre to try take some photos of a bunch of folks called Mugenkyowho play Japanese drums.
They said yes you can, and I did do, Oh and how!
They came out better than I could have dreamed so!
So here some of em are so you can enjoy the sounds you see.
I sat reight at front about a metre from the drums and the noise was intensely beautiful.
I just snapped and snapped away until my battery ran out, near the end. They played about 2 hours of solid beat. Incredible.
They were joined by Art Lee & Yukari Ichise from Tokara who remain based in Japan where Art is the only non-Japanese to win the Solo Grand Championship in Osuwa Daiko.
It was my privilege to observe and hear this wonderful ensemble!
I spent all me life avoiding London but London’s Calling me nowadays.
I find I like wandering wondering about the streets attractive in me old age. Last time I found it like that wer when I were about 20 year old but then I used to wonder what I’d do with me life. Now I wonder what I did with it! But once again London seems to beckon with opportunity. I know from experience that she beckons falsely. Or rather she appears to offer stuff and rarely delivers the goods. Or maybe it’s me? Maybe with my vivid imagination I get all excited and imagine maybe I’ll get that long yearned ‘big’ break’? But almost 50 years of experience has proved the break never comes. Only small, gradual, arduous, hard-earned breaks come, which often made me look like an overnight success. And often that’s how long the opportunities lasted, overnight. Break of day and they’re gone, and I missed ‘em.
Recently I had the privilege to be invited to Bryan & Mary Talbot’s book launch at the Cartoon Museum. On my way there I donated four photos from my 70’s & 80’s photos of ‘rock stars’ to that lovely camera museum/café called The Camera Museum at 44 Museum which they have been kind enough to exhibit downstairs. My first London photo exhibition, London beckons!
So, Bryan & Mary’s book launch at the Cartoon museum proved to be a regeneration of old acquaintance and a finding new folks to share time with. It is great to see how successful they have become and it was lovely to see London mayoral candidate Lee Harris talk about the good old days when he published Bryan’s work (and mine, in BStorm 2) in the seminal graphic novel on Chester P Hackenbush in Brainstorm Comics, mid 1970’s.
Bryan, Mary, Richard “Chester” West, Glynis West, Lee Harris.Lee reminiscing
I only had ma little mobile phone ‘camera’ with me so these images are tiny and poor but I reckon I might do a page of ‘comic’ with them sometime? That’d be nice but right now I ain’t got much time as am working on 3 different books simultaneously (there’s reasons for that I cannot go into here), stupid I know but someone’s got to prepare my books and that pleasure befalls to me.
Here’s some low res snaps:
Bryan stands alone
Comic book heroes never grow old
Sweet tattooed lady looking like Minnie the Minx.
Not only the best tattoo but also a PhD in Maths she had.
A wonderful work by Dave McKean.
It was nice to speak with James Bacon who came from Forbidden Planet to write about Bryan & Mary’s book launch (and his companion, the tattooed lady). You can see his report here:
People came from afar to this event and I was lucky to meet, momentarily, another of Bryan & Mary’s accomplices in the world of graphic novels, Kate Charlesworth who had come by train from Edinburgh. Kate collaborated with B & M on Sally Heathcote. http://www.katecharlesworth.com/
A week later I turned up at Colchester Arts Centre for one of the Wednesday gigs and boy was it ‘special’, thanks again Ant. Liz Aggiss presented her ‘Slap & Tickle’ show. Liz, an old friend of Ken Campbell’s, who seemed to me to be the female Ken Campbell (she took that as the compliment it was intended), was scarily AAAA-Mazing!
I loved her show in which she literally had (juggling & pingpong) balls in her bloomers. I won’t try to explain, just look at this: https://vimeo.com/151371749
When I saw that the Magic Numbers were playing at Colchester Arts Centre Thursday 18th December 2014 I booked tickets straight away, I thought, ‘How good is that?’ Good would be an understatement, they were MAGIC!
THE GOAT ROPER RODEO BAND opened the set with some original C&W sounds.
But the band we had gone to see didn’t disappoint, wow no, they did in fact produce magic. They played from their back catalogue many of the numbers that made them well known. They played new songs like the lovely Orbison. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Jk3pxIhAAA
This utube track gives an idea of how infectious their group antics are and the rapport they have with the crowd which was a goodly number in Colchester but must have seemed like performing in their own living room to the band. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8Y6TjdcMVM
They had fond memories of doing a 3 piece acoustic set here before and they loved the crowd so you could see they were really relaxed and in festive mood. Great set. They ended up doing a jam with members of the two opening bands with a really great version of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOm8JGy88kQ but my camera had run out of gas by then and so I missed getting images. The drummer came up to front and did a great piece on his mouth harp. It was so beautiful to see the two ladies who went with me both dancing to Neil and both grinning from ear to hear! I loved it too. I shall post a few photos for an idea of the night’s quality. Say no more.
drummer with santa
each member of the band played several instruments
the lead guitarist was in good spirits, laid back but on the ball
(or should that be the bauble?)
Oh, nearly forgottened, Happi Chrystle tae all ma reeders.
The activities of Pete Kennedy, Performance Artist Bloke, Book Creator & retired artist.