Tag Archives: exhibition

Artist Books & Stories at Slack Space

The exhibition of artist’s book work in the old police station in Colchester has started with a bang of readings last Thursday night in the blizzard outside conditions but still about 30 folk turned up. This event flagged up this National storytelling week and it was well worth it. I was unsure what to expect altho I knew a lot of the bookartists were good I had no idea who was reading. The show was set up very well and the works look great. I shall list some I like below. Then the readings began at 7pm, 5 poets and writers; Steve Ovel (poet), Candyce Lange (writer), Natalie Pfeffer (poet), Pete Kennedy (poet, printer and prancer), Pete Smith (story teller).

 bloke sm

Steve Ovel warmed the mike first, some of his poems seethed and what a lot he had got. I really liked several but I would suggest he finishes his next reading on a high note not down in the dumped relationship darkness.

sheena sm

Candyce Lange with her American drawl read her short story beautifully. For me there were touches of the way Bukowski reads. Her story was well crafted and held my interest, I really loved it and was shaken when she revealed that she had written it in a couple of hours.

eng lady sm

Natalie Pfeffer read her poems beautifully and once again they were well crafted. I wasn’t taking notes so I cannot recall a word of them but she was impressive.

me dignify smUglihed

Pete Kennedy that’s me, well all I can say my reading from the combined texts in David jury’s letterpress version of my poems went down really well much to my surprise as I felt I was following some experienced practitioners whose word-smithing was excellent. Even my little jig went down well.

paulas peter best sm

Pete Smith then told a story, ‘The Waterfowler’, this is national story telling week after all. He was lovely. He told the tale of how a man who used to shoot geese for a living from a punt and how he got lost during a shoot to be guided home by a mysterious man in a long black cloak a floppy hat and an upside down pipe. It warmed the cockles of me heart.

Artist’s books show

What a lovely little show! Paula MacGregorpaula sm

and the other volunteers at Slack have mounted this widely varied selection of books really well using the limited resources at hand. I thank them for all the hard work and dedication it must have taken. A special mention must go to Chris Clarke – who is responsible for the ‘mathematical equations and the unique logistics of hanging the work’.  He is also a very personable bloke what has offered me advice on how I can improve my ‘talk and prance’ act! And of course my abject apology for accusing him of setting up the wrong track on Thursday nicht! I had just zoomed into the clouds reading the amalgam poem and I did not recognize the music so I hurled some nearly expletive deleted…s at him, something about not being able to get the staff… which he took graciously in his long stride (he’s about 6 foot 4!) and he put the next track on and THAT was the wrong ‘un, so there i were blithering away and he got it right and am sure I heard him whisper, ‘Shut up you twinkle toed prancer, just DANCE!’, but then again maybe he didn’t? Bless him.

Paula MacGregor has some lovely assemblages of interesting items picked up from second hand shops which she combines cleverly with her knowledge of making books. I liked the use of scrolls.

 pauls mcgregor buk an scroll sm pauls mcgregor scroll in cabnet sm

Sandie Cottee I think I am right in saying Sandee uses a ring binder machine to create some of her books which feature lots of collages. Many of her books ‘tell stories’ using ‘upcycled materials’.

 sandie cottee sm

Karen Dennison Karen is mainly a poet but she like to illustrate hers and others’ work. She is working on multi-layered imagery. I added the layer of the windows reflected in the glass.

 karen dennison blue sm

Helen Armstrong Bland has done some brave complex folding using maps and images of people in which her stories emerge in ‘reconstructed narratives’.

 armstrong bland babymapper sm

Chris Rushton makes astounding books with dyed papers which she tears and folds in complicated ways sometimes adding words in her exquisite hand. Texture, pattern and shape abound.

chris rushton folds an werds sm chris rushton sm

 Wendy Allen has done really tiny but significant books of late using letterpress and stitching. She is another book artist using the ancient art of scrolls but with an intricate swirl of stitches alongside words.

 wen alen table sm wendy allen unscrolled sm

 Ailsa Clarke has only one book in the show but it is very beautiful it’s hand-drawn words and marbled paper with careful folds enhanced by ‘scarlet thread’ looks like a bridge astraddle a river.

 ailsa sm

David Howe has sent in one of his unique ‘books’ with pages in a grid made of twigs which echo the window panes. His use of natural materials and the play of textures, pattern and space is always exciting. It is possible to read the words but I see them more as another texture, woven words symbolising signs for language.

 david howe sm

Miranda Campbell has also used things from the woods to hold her beautifully curved stories on paper strips. Her ‘normal’ bookwork is ace and then she makes these wonderful book-sculptures.

miranda campbell swirls sm

Paul Garcia has taken to book-binding like a mathematician takes to Escher’s work and his output has the twists & turns of that Dutch master printer especially in the lovely red ink of his Celtic Knotted illustration. His attention to detail in his leather sculptured book in a box with a concave hole produced by the receding holes growing smaller reminds me of the apple shaped holes in my book ApulGold which is replicated in his rendition into which Garcia has put an infinite amount of skill and dedication into his work.

 paul garcia celtic not sm

paul garcia holes sm

Pete Kennedy (talking about me) has put in a new concertina book showing images which he took of barges in the early 1980s. The quote from Joseph Conrad rings around the red sails. Also showing is the original jar shaped composition for the pages of Inside This Earthen Vessel.

 pete kennedy barges sm

David Jury has brought his wonderful version of Inside This Earthen Vessel which Paula has exhibited alongside the original. This set of prints show David’s requisite skill as a letterpress printer. Also congrats to Paula MacGregor and Pete Smith for the hanging. I love the posters of David’s letterpress set up which show the difficult task he had bringing together all of those differing fonts.

 david jury sm

Sally Chinea has made some beautiful book-sculpture stories with which I complete this short report

.sallie chinea box sm

sal chin newspaper figs sm

The image of the cells at the back of the police station tells its own story of the history of this remarkable place.

cells sm

Happy in my own skin.

fish montage sm kbI looked at a man called Charles who was talking to me on a London bus, that is his job, talking to passengers, and the more we talked the more relaxed he became and the simple thought crossed my mind that he was, ‘Happy in his own skin’, his happiness, or relaxedness was contagious which can only be good for London transport’s passengers. Now Charles’ skin happens to be black, my skin is termed white and we were getting on like a house on fire and I believe that is not only the way it should be but it’s only natural. We are two men inhabiting the same planet with very different histories but more likely than not we are descended from the same woman who roamed the plains of Africa over 40 thousand years ago. So why do we ‘look’ so (apparently) different? Well of course, skin colour. According to internet sources:
‘The skin is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of about 20 square feet or 2 square metres, it protects us from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold.
Cells in the deepest layer of your epidermis , (the outer, nonvascular, non-sensitive layer of the skin), divide constantly to make new cells. The new cells are pushed towards the surface of your skin. They eventually die and become filled with keratin, an exceptionally tough protein. Keratin provides your body with a durable overcoat, which protects deeper cells from damage, infection and drying out.
Cells on the surface of your skin rub and flake off steadily and are continuously replaced with new ones. About every 30 days, your body produces a totally new epidermis.
Skin colour
Your skin contains specialised cells called melanocytes are located in the epidermis, covering the true skin or corium. They produce the pigment melanin, a brown substance, which absorbs some of the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Fair-skinned people only have melanin in the lower layers of their epidermis. People with dark skin have larger amounts of melanin in all layers. Freckles and moles are nothing else but small patches of skin with more melanin than in the surrounding area.’

I love all that. In those words from the Net are so many levels. The ‘outer layer’, that is what we see and seeing is not understanding, in fact really seeing is a form of mis-understanding, or pre-conception. You see, the skin which covers Charles and me is only temporary, it changes every 30 days. Now his and mine genetic and ‘social’ history do not change, they stay where they were, our ancestry and the trail our predecessors traipsed is written in the sands of time, or more legibly and often mistakenly, in the ‘his-story’ books. History is frequently written in a skewed, one-sided way, often to give a slant to show the superiority of one group over another. So, for example, the imperialists we refer to as the ‘Romans’ re-told or rather, re-wrote, the recent history they ‘re-membered’ and like previous ‘empires’ they put a slant on things. They omitted the Hannibal’s lot, probably because the Carthaginians (Hannibal (247-183 BC), Carthaginian general, son of Hamilcar Barca*, whose march on Rome from Spain across the Alps with his 90,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry and up to 40 elephants remains one of the ‘greatest feats in military history’) gave them such a fright they couldn’t bring themselves to remind themselves of how close they came to being totally defeated in 217 BC rather than 500 years later. *That’s interesting, Barca being the name of Hannibal’s dad. BECAUSE they always say they don’t know where the Catalonians came from and there it is the answer. Hamilcar Barca’s family came from Carthage and conquered Spain! From there they were able to take a pot at Rome. But it’s not such a big leap to see how their descendants took over the ‘Barca’lona area, is it? Now the Carthaginians were descendants of the Phoenicians who were once a great powerful group in the Mediterranean who spread culture trade and the alphabet we use. They too were written out of history, this time by the Greeks who only overcame the more cultured and powerful people of Crete and Thera after a cataclysmic upheaval in 1420 BC totally destroyed the latter and brought the Cretans to their knees so the Mycenaen Greeks were able finally to overpower them and take their craftsmen, including metal workers who designed great helmets and suits of protective wear for battles, into slavery.
So, the outer layer of his-story is merely that, a layer. And it rarely goes deeper than skindeep. Skindeep is really only another word for prejudice, preconception, misconception, misinformation, misunderstandings. And, I believe, the trick is to look inside, to delve deeper than the outer skin to perceive the human being there inside. Things are frequently not what they appear to be and this appears to be a blog about skin, colour and all but in fact it is really about my visit to London last Saturday. Charles also told me that he had seen the Christian and Muslim faiths from each inside and now claims no religion except a certain benevolence toward his fellow humans. It was refreshing to meet Charles as I wended my way back home after a day built around a little workshop in print at the Courtauld run so well by MA student Marian Casey and RA schools tutor Hen Coleman.

I had a couple of hours to spare before I joined the group so I wandered down Charing Cross Road peeking into the bookshops. To my delight I found a pop art book (T&H) edited by Lucy Lippard about whom I wrote an article in UWE’s recent Blue Notebook for a meagre £5 which I could afford. Saw a book of poems by Peake which was £20 but resisted it. Then popped into a rare books shop where I found a copy of Bukowski’s poem, ‘Crucifix in a Deathhand’, priced at £650. It’s a very beautifully made book from an edition of 3100, signed in dayglo ink by Buko himsen. Listen to this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiEHzCs2W3o, Tom Russell’s rendition of the poem.
Strange, Bukow is a good poet, he cuts thru all the crap and even throws crap at you. My most popular blArt is the one I posted on Bukowski. Seems to attract visitors from all over the world. Buk is truly not what it seems when you see pictures of him, read his writing etc, by all perceptions he’s an ugly brute, yet no, within his poems often there is a deep humanity and understanding of the human condition. Interesting he uses crucifix…Roman empire crucified tens of thousands, but only four or five are remembered, Spartacus, Jushua Ben Genasareth & Barabas who was a Zealot- a freedom fighter v Roman occupation to name but three. The Roman Empire had an horrific track record in uman rights, yet those same nerds who denigrate Buko worship their ‘Classical’ lit etc. Whereas, Carthage, and Crete both produced stuff far superior to Rome. Not a lot of people know that.

fish wet sm kb

not alot o peeple know this song by the late great jackie leven https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThH0bMhZ7Jg

I love it particularly when the poet David Thomas comes in with his strangely sad tale of the fishes’ tail, ‘the bridge is too twisted I’ll fall off the side….’ Beware next time you look at koi.

The lovely ting about the Courtauld doing tings like dis print workshop and another poetry one soon is revealing how that institution is itself not what it appears to be at first sight (which reminds me, Bruce McKlean (who won the John Moores award for his painting of koi, which he told us took him about half an hour to paint, maybe my 14 years spent on my new work of Venus  Stares is a little excessive, never mind, i just won a prize on wordpress which was the honour of being allowed to answer a question which was would i recommend wordpress to others? well I wouldn’t use something I won’t recommend, would i? and there is a fish or two in my picture too, luckily it’s swimming under her arm)

venus an some fishes

is at first site gallery in Colchester on Saturday July 12th). It’s not a staid place at all, it’s brim full of life and activity. Anyways I found myself joining in with all the others who were inspired by their new MA show (see my previous blArt about the pull & push of print)

fish polystyra sm kb

this was a print made using the mould material to take a mould and then printing from it. The idea of taking a pull from a surface was inspired by the work in the MA show.


and suitably provoked into running round the Courtauld making rubbings to make prints from. I had snapped some beautiful images of Koi in a park nearby on the way in so I found various fish like shapes in stone, wood and metal and did a montage of the results. It makes me feel very happy in my own skin too.

fish rusty sm kb fish wood sm kb
ps I know this blArt is being posted a little later this week but I bin bizzy an oi? We also went up to Norwich to see the Art BA shoiws and I shall do a little blart abart thart too soon, like and interim blog (sumtin abart a bog in Jamie’s place there).

The revolutin-airy will not be tooroor-eyesed! Nor bush-whacked by bandits.


Five dames turned up for the second redlionbookshop talk. Louis Armstorng’s ‘What a wonderful world’ did not resound thru the rafters as I couldn’t bring my stereo set up. No music this time to soothe the atmospheres. But the poet in me turned up. my trouble is he won’t go away and even today ! (17th) I am/he is altering and adding to the poems about ‘Six Mystics’ which I read a rendition of last Saturday (15th). Interestingly, I do believe the poet is helping me. In the Gurdjeff poem he said I can fit in a thing about compassion which has arisen in my thinking. The idea that compassion is a flame which you cannot extinguish. I did have a line where G. went to Tibet , the fount of compassion, but now I have changed that to,

‘Climbing Tibetan mountains

Open range of the Snow Lion

To the flowering flame of Compassion’

I added to G’s last verse more of the senses, realising… realising I can do that why, because, I can!

‘Feel the everlasting flame of Zoroaster glows

Within each of us with eyes to see

And those of us with ears to hear the bee…s

Straighten up and smell the breeze’

I had also moved the lion of snow sentence from the Dalai Lama poem so I could add the idea of charity to his this morning when the poet told me to have Faith, Hope And Charity evident in the poems, which are as one, a group.

‘A refugee

Escaping into the charitable arms of his neighbouring India’

We rarely know what it is that drives us to create (our creativity) that may dawn on you as & if you develop. I didn’t know when I left school in 1969 that one day I would attempt writing poetry. Also that some of my writing would be about the meaning of (our) reality. I am neither preaching nor proselytising I’m just attempting to ‘think’ as lucidly as I am able.

These days I have, at last, found time to go back thru some of the writings I did (in my journals) back in 1979-80. Around that time I was a self-employed artist-writer working on The Shrewd Idiot and feeling the birth pangs of my First Squidgerat project. In order to try make some money, knowing it would take a long time for any funds from a book to kick in and that my own vision of ‘art’ and its products did not appeal to a mass audience, I was printing sweatshirts for schools and producing the first (Maldon) Barge Calendar. It is interesting to read the same complaint I wrote about the costs of putting on an exhibition, never mind its relative ‘success’ in the eyes of visitors and media, were then as now above the monies that it generated into my bank account. To all extent and purposes, if I were a wise man, I should have given up/in. And I am in an identical position today. To put it in a nutshell, my work doesn’t sell. So the sensible ting to do? Give up. Full Stop. But I fail to put my brakes on and I refuse to pack it in. vaingloriously I continue writing and making ‘art’. Like Olympic skater Robin Cousins said ( I think it wer im wat seddit), ‘If I don’t win anything people will see me as a madman’ then he won gold. Well I may not win any golds, they are like hen’s teeth anyway in the arts and it seems are reserved for the already famous, those already well catered for financially. There is a wonderful comparison between the late Tom Finney’s record and that of the present day footballer wayne rooney who has just signed a contract for £300 grand a week when Tom an infinitely better player got £20. Also Finney was never booked nor sent off, (he never tupped no-one but he would have nutmegged em! auteur’s note, nutmeggin is a nicer legal form of tuppin), rooney has had both, several times. Age wise I am a lot closer to Finney and I think I retain some of his dedication to the cause. I do it cos I love doing it.

I am 63 now and won’t have much time to break thru with any aspect of my work before I follow Tom and lots more of my heroes but I am not crying nor asking sympathy. I have given it a good go and shall continue so to do. I have some ideas on how to bring works, which have been in the pipeline for up to 35 yearns, through into a form which I would be satisfied represents my abilities, ideas, originality etc.two tings I must point out.

1. the zen master Ikkyū (1394-1481)wrote

Writing something

To leave behind

Is yet another kind of dream.

When I awake I know that

There will be no one to read it.


“fucking flattery, success, money.

I just sit back and suck my thumb.”

― Ikkyu, Crow With No Mouth


2. ‘Being Flynn’ a film with Robert de Niro in, there is an incredible film! And its arrival in my life was coincidental with my final prep night before I did my second reading at Red Lion bookshop Colchester last Saturday.


photoshop of the poet created by C C (thanks CC for revealing the real me to me!)

The film is about a relationship triangle between a young man and his present mother and absent father who is off chasing his dream to be another American genius writer. (I’m not American so don’t worry about me!) It is hard hitting and was the worst prep I needed when preparing to (pretend to be) a poet the next day. It helped me realise the stupidity of believing I can be a player. I mean, look at that idiot above, would you buy an etching from him, or a car for that matter?

So. I been round the houses, the trees, fields etc several times now. I started in 1967 with a Henry Moore exhibition at Tate, just Tate, there wer no Tate Mod then just ‘Tate’.That made me decide to be an artis chap. My art, that I have done since then, speaks for itself. I am getting tired of talkin. From now on I talk about other tings. Am no longer flogging a dead horse. The donkey’s given up farting now. And another reason nobody came to my readings. I am so goddamned ugly (but not so ugly as Jagga), no really. My Celtic name means Ugly Head (creator of Apulhed).


a recent photo of the auteur

Remember ugly by name ugly by nature. I’m the one what used to tup the captain. I should have bin the captain! I was captain of Brun house team and the Wednesday league team Scrubbers what won the cup that season. That’s as high as the establishermont would allow me to go. And my lack of financial and critical and academic success, I have to admit, is my own fault, it’s my karma, I shouldn’t have tupped the captn. (For my Buddhist friends, please don’t get me wrong, it wer only a gentle tup. Not like one o me shin shatterin tackles. But no, I won’t go in to them.


Alf Tupper (my alter ego) in 1969

First the Sound of Silence (part 1) then A Bridge Over Troubled Water (part 2)

Silly stupid me I just went into my blart from yesterday and found one of the reasons nobody came to my ‘talk’ yesterday.


notice? In one fell swoop I undid all the work I did advertising the ‘talk’, I somehow put 2nd Feb instead of 8th. There’s plenty of other reasons for the demise but that is beyond belief, the incompetence of it.

So after 3 blarts about it with the correct date on the flyer which I also distributed in card copies, 200 of em (which cost me 30 quid), at precisely 3pm yesterday the venue was deserted.


the room was ready but void of folks

I been a miner for a heart of gold long time now but to quote the words of a 15th century lama quoted by Sogyal Rinpoche’s wonderful book The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying with slight alterations:

Do not feel sad for me

The riches found in myself have made the minds of others happy

These are the words of my heart

So, my reaction to finding myself alone was, well stoic is not the right word, neither is forlorn. I don’t do it for Lorna. Strangely I didn’t mind after the initial pang of feeling deserted. The sound of silence should have been a clue as I have heard it before, before the abortive show at Rheingolds in London, my only ever London gig. Nobody came then either, so I packed away the props and jumped into Merrijeff’s car, he drove us back to Essex I got home about 3 am and still went to my dayjob next day cos that is what you do. But I learned from (not) doing that show. Recently I have twice seen internationally acclaimed speakers talking to an audience of less than 10 at First Site. See: https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/andrew-roths-talk-at-first-site-last-saturday/



I was stoical when I spoke to them, trying to alleviate their pain, but they at least were being paid. And now it was my turn. At precisely 3pm I told myself the show will go on, break a leg. You have to perform even to an audience of one and here I was standing in front of/between None. I had attained my nirvana, earlier than I thought, in circumstance unexpected, I thought I had a massive loyal fan base, I had reached the void. So I began to rehearse, next week I shall get the date and time correct, it’s 4pm Saturday 15th February be there or be square. In fact there’s another international talk at First Site at 2pm so I shall go to that with the other 9 folk and I shall direct them to my gig straight afterwards, no excuses accepted.

Then at 15.12 hrs two people walked down the stairs and I could see they were coming to my show. Maybe we are not alone? Maybe my guardian angels are watching over me? They agreed I should begin again so I did and we all enjoyed the show. And Alex took some incredible photos of me in all my silly hats. I’m singing a happy song and I’m feeling on top of the world.

pete clot capside

best from Ugly Head Ole Man

This is me in the hat I wore to read the ‘Beuys poem’

well my Celtic name may be Ugly-Head, but I was not aware I look like my name now

(see my blart later this week for more explanation)

Where do I go from here? Well, ‘Next time’, Sarah said, (she was busy selling (not my) books upstairs), ‘bring a smaller cd player’ and I may.

Let’s take a look at my priorities, rightly or wrongly, in life.

I’ve spent a dis-proportionate amount of my income on books & art over the past 40 years. If we count hours on the job as collateral I should be a millionaire by now. My mother Jenny, bless her big now absent heart, once (1972) sent me £20 to buy essentials during my 4th year at college doing B/Ed in Exeter. By then I had already mis-managed my ‘education’ several times but I was rectifying my mistakes, or so I believed. Working my socks off to prove to ‘them’ I was the real McCoy. I had ditched my 3 favourite things in order to concentrate on my studies. I had sent my girl away saying I did not have time for fripperies like women, I ceased playing football altho on the cusp of breaking into the St. Luke’s 2nd XI after starting off in the 6th XI and I had ceased to drink beer, all things I was to eventually re-instate but my reward ‘on paper’ was negligible. I did in fact earn a 1st, that is, I gained a very high grade from the internal markers and the two externals both up-graded my efforts considerably. However. I was awarded a 2nd. My philosophy tutor Bill, a man identical in character & traits to the tutor played by Michael Caine in Educating Rita, bless his Brummie soul, tried without success to tell me why that occurred. He did tell my dad over a pint (not to tell me tho, tho he did in fact tell me too) that people were getting PhDs with the likes of what I was churning out.

It took me 40 years to find out why! I found out. My old pal IEPW let it slip in a conversation that they couldn’t allow him to have a first as his was technically a re-sit. There we have it, after 40 yearns of not knowing nor comprehending why. Technically my degree was a re-take. On entry to the college in 1969 I was eligible to go straight into the new B/Ed as a 3 years course but there were so many prats allocated to teaching it, (for public school numbskulls who couldn’t get into the staff at Oxbridge, second base was St Lukes) , I withdrew. I couldn’t hack prats, not then not now not ever, I did have a penchant for tupping them, so it was a safer route to withdraw. And there is the rub, when I re-embarked, having to do an extra year for my sins, technically I was entering as a re-sit. Nobody made that clear, or if they did I wasn’t listening, I just wanted to show them I was good. I dived into an 18 hour day 24/7 abandoning all previous pleasures and totally dedicating to the study and output required in ‘art’. Luckily I also invented Apulhed then but that was in the early hours after my college work was done. I did a similar ting a couple of years ago and once again fell short of the mark, even tho again the external apparently made positive remarks about my work. I only ever got silver when really I was a miner for a pot of gold. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh44QPT1mPE

I wasn’t even allowed to play for the 1st XI at school because I tupped ( and what’s wrong with a little tup between sworn enemies?) the future captain in year 11 during a hard fought house match between my team Brun (believe me it was my team, I used to rally the players during the week and if they didn’t wish to play they had to see me, and you know what I (used to) do to prats who couldn’t be arsed to turn out for the house, don’t you, well, what’s wrong wid a gentle tump in yer face?) and his, Ribblesdale. Or maybe I have to admit 48 years later that I really wasn’t good enough, although the facts dispute that idea, look at the record, 2 years on the trot in the 2nd XI I wer top scorer. No, my face didn’t fit with the head of chemistry who selected the team, with Brawn of the broken…pride, well he shouldn’t have run at me with intent after I clipped his ankle. I suffered for that in me Karma, took me 40 years to realise it was they that missed out.

Anyway, I spent that money mum sent on…Studio International subscription, even tho I couldn’t afford to feed mysen, I’ve still gorrem all, worth a mint now (not). They say it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the way you play the game. And what you learn from the experience. I shophose I shudda learned that life is not fair, but , man hears only what he wants to hear, paul simon said that, but he probli nicked it.

So in part 2 I shall put the rest to rights and tell you a bit more about my show yesterday and its prospective follow up next Saturday, gerrit right Pete, 15th Feb at 4pm, that’s 16.00 hrs, just after all ten of ye comes out of First Site. Let me know this time if you intend to be there. Break the silence.

Also those (you 2 stars) who turned up for the reading having only had untold hints from my person and my blog as to what to expect. I hope you get something from it worthy of remembrance.

I am grateful to Sogyal Rinpoche’s writing which I have adapted a poem from.

There is little way of knowing that what he says about the fate of those left in Tibet has been, there is no way that I know to assess

how many have died and or been stripped of their dignity and freedoms. The Maoist Chinese knew full well that to completely destroy a people you must obliterate its culture and this they have done apparently in Tibet. However, Tibetans are a practical lot and they have voted with their feet over the past 60 years and by doing so they have re-built their cultural heritage all over the world. What was once a secret country, before the British punctured that, is now much more open to the world as far as the Dalai Lama http://www.dalailama.com/  and his people in Dharamsala http://www.dalailama.com/teachings/dharamsala-guide are concerned.

I just realised, We rarely if ever hear about Amnesty International making the rounds in Tibet! Do they? I don’t know.

This ‘reading’ is not intended to be an awareness raiser for the plight of Tibetans. BUT I have gotten so much from their work for my life, and death, that I am allowing the issues or rather the mis-uses to become more apparent.

I have written an article, due out in The Blue Notebook in April, which talks of how seeing Lucy Lippard talk has prompted me to get on my soap box and support things I believe in. And I believe in Tibetan Buddhism. It inspires me greatly. So I thought I should put my money where my mouth is. Although, I don’t have money. So I shall do all I can to promote the Tibetan cause through my art, my blart and my books and tings.

Other tings which have influenced and inspired me are of course the other five ‘mystics’ who are in my ‘poems’. The Nag Hammadi Library http://gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html  and lots of books written around its contents, some of which I bought in Red Lion bookshop, like Elaine Pagels.

Joanna Drucker’s books have been inspirational in informing me about the Alphabet.The British Museum and Library. Some rock musicians like the Killers, Neil Young, Annie Lennox and Jan Garbarek. And thanks to all my blog ‘follows’ folk. i am adding a contac form cos, cos lots of folk are now visiting ( The most popular tings I blagger on about are; exhibitions, artist’s books & Buuddiist idees. And it’s great to see folk coming on board who may never meet me or see my work in the flesh. But if you live near Colchester, it’s on display, well some of it is, come and see it. You are coming in from the USA, Antip o’ideas, Slovenia and even frum Brunlea. But not many of yez make any observations and i would like to know (to an extent) who is coming into my parley and (maybe) some feedback like, how I may make it better? would you like me to cover any other ‘stuff’? is there anyting I do what I have not given enough insite into? and any other issues. Finally, IF you are wending yor way to my ‘talk’ this coming Saturday, let me know somehow, so I can get more nervous as the numbers hit the …sky. Bye Bye Blackbird

look at me in my Oirisht hat

A change in my habits- I am giving good notice of an event, for your diary.

My new exhibition opens at Red Lion Bookshop, Colchester on Monday 3.2.14.

As I prepared for it I sent Peter Donaldson, the joint owner with his wife Sarah, some information which he may be able to use on his own social network to advertise a show in his gallery. My idea was to scan thru the pages of past observations made by professionals and public on my various exploits in Colchester over the past 20 years. I knew I had had two big shows, 1994 and 2000, but had forgotten some of the stunning remarks that have been made. I don’t know what Peter chose to use yet, but I decided to put them on my blarrt, so my readers, who are not that many to make it a ‘public’ domain, (believe me at present you are a pretty [well at least not ugly] select group). That being the case I have taken the liberty to use one or two comments which were shared to me in reaction to various recent works. I do hope that none of the people who made those (wonderful) comments mind me putting them out there? I just wanted to show anyone who looks at my work and feels, somehow, they find it to be good that they are not as alone as they may think. They are in good company. And that is a source of great joy to me because those who know me well understand that the flourish and flair that you see in my output did not come easily. It was 90% effort and 10% innate talent. (My grade at GCE art in 1966 was level 6, just a scrape of a pass. It was my worst result except in maths. So, being an awkward son of a bitch, and not having a chance as a mathsmatritionist, I chose to pursue a career in art, fool that I was, when really I could have been a geologist as I got level 4 in that. I never made it easy did I?

So below are the words for my poster/flyer, followed by some comments.


Word & Spirit, an Exhibition of Books

(and related stuff) by Pete Kennedy from

Monday 3rd February to Saturday 23rd 2014 in Red Lion Bookshop, 125 High St, Colchester, Essex co1 1sz phone: 01206 578584 open hours: Monday thru Saturday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. Also at 3pm on Saturday the 8th February Pete is doing a small performance of new versions of the poem ‘six mystics and one self’ from his new book ‘g batch’ An Introduction To The Clay Jug Project (on sale in the shop).


Six ‘words about the mystics’ vinyl banners in mind blowing colours hang on display alongside Pete’s clay pot with words embedded around the neck from an ancient Indian poem by mystic poet Kabir with six scrolls inside (a reference to the ancient tradition of keeping knowledge safe by hiding valuable manuscripts in pots). Six etchings of six mystics will be on display on the wall.


The unique pothi ‘book’ on clay tablets will be on display (but not for sale) with a cardboard- concertina book of the words from the clay pothi (available to buy).

Pete’s year-long notes and sketches for the unique handmade book ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ (nfs) will make up the boxed ‘Enbuk’ (for sale) comprised of six comb-bound A4 books in the style of Dieter Roth.

Contact Pete on blart@apulhed.co.uk for more details.

Visit Pete’s weekly blogart at:


Some back stories about Pete, his work and previous Colchester shows:

1994  Ray Rushton, renowned critic in Essex forestalled his retirement and wrote about Pete’s exhibition at Colchester, Trinity Street Studios:  ‘Here is a lively set of exhibits with the artist being so linear dedicated that the division between drawing and painting falls into oblivion. It is open black line throughout-whether depicting, in lounging energy, his hero Feliks Topolski (naturally) or members of his family…But perhaps the best oil here, ‘Pol with Cats and Roses’, is also the only true painting in which line and mass are equally spread. The grey cats in particular, are finely modelled …’


1998 June, Miriam Patchen, American poet Kenneth Patchen’s muse & widow wrote, “What superb drawings…(they) are strong proofs of your special quality as a meaningful artist.”  Then in August 1998 she wrote, “Apul-One is a marvellous tour de force. Your spelling is a wonderful way of helping people not to slide over words. This is truly delightful slowing the reader so he’ll think a bit. Teaching and writing! How do you manage both?”


2000 Pete was chosen as Colchester Library’s First Millennium Artist Exhibitor with his ‘Nonogon Story’. Opened with a dance featuring music designed by Pete and composed by Mick West & Mark Newby Robson in which 13 children danced the parts as Pete read the story. After that a multi-media exhibition of masks and Nonogon Character art ran for 3 weeks. Inez Bain wrote in the visitor’s book:

‘This would be superb material to take into schools, theatre visual workshops etc! Definitely brings out fun yet could send positive messages to youngsters- to images they would identify with- it’s wasted in library only!

2001- ‘I was impressed with the scope and ambition of the project. You have clearly spent a great deal of time researching and developing the project and there is much that would work well in a television drama. ‘Comment on Pete’s Nonogon Play script from Gemma Few, BBC Drama Serials.

2013. ‘I received your package yesterday, with the beautiful G BATCH. I look forward to reading it at leisure, but the production is wonderful.’ Nancy Campbell, artist book maker and poet.

Burkhard Quessel, Curator, Tibetan Collections at the British Library said about G Batch, ‘I have found and opened it now and must say that it is really quite a beautiful book.’

Ian Walker, an old school friend of Pete’s teenage year’s said recently on receiving a report about the ‘Talk’ given after his MA had finished, “Great photos. It sounds to have been a very interesting event. I would have loved to have been there and to have seen the reactions of the audience.  The photo of him sat down with his masks around him took me back to our youth – his “far away face”. His wicked smile. His “sod you I don’t care what you think about my work. I know it’s good.”  Pete is Apulhead. Apulhead lives!

The internationally respected artist’s book-art’s exponent David Jury said of the article Pete wrote for the Artist’s Book Year Book 2014-15 (ABYB UWE Bristol) published in October 2013, ‘Your article is a remarkable documentary; lucid and unaffected, despite the fact that it records, in some detail, an impressively intellectual endeavour.’

Imagelucy on my mobile

Finally, last but not least, Lucy Lippard, much renowned USA critic,  commenting on a new article Pete has had accepted for The Blue Notebook  Spring Edition 2014 wrote, ‘I just got the article which I found lots of fun. Look forward to seeing your books in the flesh at some point.’

Last night (26.1.14) I was watching the Review show and what was being talked about stirred me up, emotionally. Forty years of  being rebuffed ignored condescended deflected by the ‘art world’ came soaring up to the surface and I got straight onto my blog and blarted. I must remember not to do that in the future, i must try to put some space between my viewing things and my reaction, to calm the vituperance which has gestated in me over the past 45 years. I recall Seamus Heaney saying that we need a job and poetry is the thing we do, if we are lucky, as a blessing. In my life, it was teaching that I did plus a number of other jobs which kept the wolf from the door and then I did my ‘arts’. I do believe you need to get out there and do things in the real world to gain insights into it and learn how to communicate with real people. Anyway, that is all behind me now. I can and do concentrate all of the time I am not doing yoga, tai chi, zumba, light gym and sawing wood for our fire on ‘art’. I do think however if I had had some work ‘accepted’ or ‘bought’ over the past 45 years it would have helped to generate more. Like now for example, I cannot really afford to go do ‘print’ or even make books to the spec I set myself. Maybe that’s good as as always i have to be ‘creative’ in working ways to be creative.

I am trying hard to get out onto a circuit doing my ‘talk’, so watch out art colleges etc, I’m coming at you with my lance and my trusted companion Sancho Panza on my wobbly horse what I stole from the set of Warhorse!

so Don’t read any further if you are of faint heart or dislike whingeing poms! Addition or Postscript:

This evening I watched the review show which I never watch much (wachmutch?) and they were praising up the new martin creed show at Haywerd. They were talking about how he won’t get stuck in a box or a hat, how he keeps his media wide open and turns from one to another etc. And I sat there and I thort, well isn’t that the very thing I done fer farty yearns? Isn’t it exactly that the ‘Arts Crownskill’ criticised about me, the fact I couldn’t be categorised or boxed or madhattered? In the 70’s! and in 1999 I designed my Nonogon show which used so many media, including films created by Field Merrijeff and dance choreographed by that girl who did a scene in bed with Harry Engfild? With music I designated and which was created from my directions by Mark Newby Robson and Mick West. Have not I been thur and gone and done it, many times. But when I ask the tate or any other gallery to consider me as a contributor they say, after long consideration please re-arrange this well known fraser or shaying, “Off ferk.” I’m still not bitter, I’m a budding bud-hist and I don’t imbibe.

My forthcoming show

John Doubleday has kindly offered me a space at his studio to show the work I did on my recent MA course, plus some.

The books will be on display for two weeks. If you are anywhere near Great Totham or Wickham Bishops which are about 5 miles from Witham and 20 miles from Colchester, you are welcome to pop in. E mail me if you want to meet me there and I can chat to you about the ideas in the works.Imagethis is the pot with scrolls around which is the subject of my book G Batch and one of my exhibits.