Tag Archives: galleries artist books

last blArt to BABE

C G Jung spent most of his life investigating the nature of humankind in its dreams and distant past. He was an advocate of the I Ching and a Gnostic thinker. In some ways Jung was an exile from his contemporaries and his own daimon. ‘Since my contemporaries understandably could not perceive my vision, they only saw a Fool rushing ahead. A creative person has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and driven by his daimon.’ (Memories, Dreams & Reflections, p356)

Pete Kennedy is just an Idjet in a Jug who looks a bit like old Jung did but hasn’t got his pedigree!

mystic pete

So the fool called Kennegly set himself up to do a short ‘performance’ at BABE cos he thought it were a long time before it appened. BUT. It’s appening this weekend coming and he’s reading some poems what he wrote about the artist from Cleves called Beuys who was himself a bit of a Fool rushing ahead into ‘talks’ with his blackboard under his arm.

blakbord bee

So Kennegly is doing Beuy’s life-history in a poem or two or tree. The blog below gives a little bit o backcloth, or should I say a broad canvas.

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/inside-this-earthen-vessel-poem-6-shaman-beuys/

Hope to see you there.

a flyer back

psThere will be beautiful evocative music composed by Luke E Walker https://soundcloud.com/luke-e-walker/clay-jug-back-story behind the readings which adds atmosphere and an element of chance. Keifer said, ‘To be an artist you need to play & Dance’ or words to that effect. Chris Wilder (?) an assistant in the making of The Bigger Picture’ animation which came secondish in the Oscars said, ‘You go to these places to make dreams come true…’ That’s why am doing ma ting at BABE and hopefully later this year at The Baltic. I’ll bee dancing and prancing like Jagger did (altho am not as ancient as he is! tho nearly yam) with a wing and a prayer on the ledge with Mr G (urdzhiev)

Sure ting

The only ting am sure about is I’m unsure. I was certainly uncertain in my notes what I wrote in the early 1970s and it’s not a lot clearer now. I have had moments of clarity which I hope to capture in my new version of my old manuscript working titled ‘The Shrewd Idiot’.

pete in a1

 

Since my last blArt, where I saw that it’s been 40 years since I ‘published’ Apul One and it’s darned time I produced Apul Two, I been searching for and thru my manuscrips, typescrips, editscrips and all. WOW whattalot I got. So much that it engulfed me awhile but am thru the rabid rapids now and am in clear water I know wattam gonna do. Put them away til after BABE cos they dragged me away from my prep for BABE. Blew me off course. Not a bad ting tho, I needed to step back. Now I have a strategy and a plan for the 2015 edition of the Idiot who was never very Shrewd. I am going to take the words as they exist and re-present them in a way that should garner interest from future ‘readers’, what may be you! So, my task would be to put the source material down on paper in stimulating ways that I have seen or learned in the intervening years. I found some incredible images and words. In the 70’s I didn’t know my ass from me heed. I didn’t have the insights of having lived 64 and a half years that comes to me now. I had experienced life, quite a lot really and, coming from ‘down in the boon docks’ I were poor, I’d been to college and had some doors opened allowing me to peep and then they shut and said go out and find some work poor man or ye starve etc. But the doors of my mind had opened and I was chasing something, I knew not what though…and the search continued and took me to some very strange places. I found some drawings which I did as preps for the images in Apul One, bloody weird stuff, even for my output. Now I look at them and wonder. Is these the work of a deranged mind? Maybe. But I was tapping into my sub-conscious looking for material to work with and boy was there some strange stuff down there. Think of Dali and go deeper and I was plummeting a bit deeper, partly cos he and his like, Wifredo Lam, Victor Brauner, Maxt Ernest, they had gotten deep but I were going to go deeper. See illusn.

swim 2 venus sm

Also I were lucky cos I carted my little old Nikon F everywhere I went and then processed my own B&W photos. I did some incredible shots at the roundhouse in Camden of French dancers and actors which I would shoot on slow exposures so the images came out ‘moving’. These would make incredible big pictures, prints or oils etc.

 bolero dancers

Watch this space. More images and artists books….

Now I’m Dancing with a wing and a prayer on the ledge with Mr G(urdzhievjeff) again, on the tip of a leaf with Rabindranoth Tagore. Practicing for BABE http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/babe-2015-bristol-artists-book-event Sees ja thur!

To Celebrate 40 years of Apul One

To Celebrate 40 years of Apul One

I just realised it is almost exactly 40 years since I created my first artist’s book Apul One in 1975 so there must be cause for some celebration. I was talking to a late friend’s son on Friday and he said that he had taken Apul One to university had read it several times and it had been a bit of a cult ting there. Wish I had known at the time I would have gone there and done a talk etc. Strangely it’s not the first time the book has had ‘cult’ status. Lucien Nunes once told me he had done the same at the Haberdasher’s school. Those of you who know it will know it’s a bit of a strange book. It’s not at all like what a book should be. But it’s me, or it was me, then. I produced it as a kind of scream in the wilderness after working my balls off at college to gain my degree and then beginning to approach the galleries only to find a blanket total non-interest. I predicted accurately as it turned out that that would continue through my life. So I created my own gallery in the shape of a book, or buk as I called it. It could only have b&w images cos colour were too expensive and even then I spent all my savings on ‘publishing’ it. If you want one I shall be at BABE in April and maybe at Baltic in July and I am tinking of creating the long delayed publication of the follow up The Shrewd Idiot in time for the autumn, or Fall as you acrosst the Atlantic would say. I am going to chat with my printer today as to how he can print my plans for it. It’ll be an artist’s book and probably on semi-transparent paper so the pages show thru each other.

Here’s some images of the making and publicizing of Apul One in 1975-76.

The first cover

a1 orignl cova

The wrap around cover front

a1 wrap front

The wrap around cover back

a1 wrap back

The wrap around cover front & back original idea

a design fo A1 wrap cover

Sketch for the image of Apulhed on front cover.

apulpol

Write up for Apul One by Peter Andrews

a1 PA rite up

 

Underground poster for Apul One

a1 tube poster

Point of sale poster for Apul One

a1 is shop poster

John St Field aka Jackie Leven 1972

jacky leven 1972

Now funnily enough in one of the ‘comics’ in ApulOne there’s a sketch of Jackie Leven. It’s incredible to think that it was a song by Jackie Leven which triggered all of my recent books about ‘knowledge’ in pots in the last few years. Jackie sang ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ by Kabir

.

So now the book is in the British Library and the Bodleian along with the national libraries of Wales, Ireland and Scotland because it has an ISBN number, nevertheless if you can’t afford the extortionate price I charge feel free to aks for it there. And I could have represented all the home nations at sport IF I had been good enough at anyting! However it’s in the Tate Artist’s Book Archive on merit having been chosen by Maria White in 2008. My old mate DW did loads of searching yesterday and found all sorts of link to ‘apulone’ on the internet, ta Dunc. You can find Apul-one
Standin on the Bannista Contemplatin the Ways of the Werld & the Farting Donkey

at:

Word Power Books:

 

http://www.word-power.co.uk/books/apul-one-I9780950426709/

 

and

 

WorldCat:

 

http://www.worldcat.org/title/apulone/oclc/16287781athenk

and finally here’s the badge, you know the saying ‘got the badge’!

Anselm’s alchemy: Books of lead fly in the R.A.

keif bukbird merged

flying lead  books

If you glance upwards as you climb the stairs in the RA you’ll see books made of lead seeming to lift off under wings of lead. That, is, MAGIC! And it continues thru Keifer’s show in which he transforms lead into gold leaf, makes an horrific mantrap look like a spider.

 a trap

[editor’s note- Sorry, that’s the best I can do, I cannot find an image of the painting cos a little SS-Oberaufseherin, Miss ‘More then me job’s Worth’, came and stopped me taking photos and I cannot find it on the web. I detest the policy some galleries have, most in fact, of prohibiting photos, music & theatre do it too. It’s counter-productive. The more folk can see the stuff the more folk are invited to go see it ‘in the flesh’^ see foot o post.]

But she couldn’a prevent me from drawing the damned tings

a mantrap colord

L’Origine du monde, pencil sketch by PK after AK 19.11.14

  a Kiefer pyramid

 In ‘Sand from the Urns’ (from the net) he creates brick monuments from paint and sand on canvas which reminisce pyramidal monumental forms and pays tributes in them to Paul Celan* http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/paul-celan  & his lover,  Ingeborg Bachman http://marjorieperloff.com/reviews/songs-in-flight/ . [* never heard of either, so I still have a lot to learn].

for celan + a jug

For Paul Celan by AK, the picture in the exhibition is a bit better than my sketch but now I have added color it looks more like the real ting (not!). aks me if I care, I don’t like Keifer’s art, I love it! And you may notice I have snuck a jug in too.

Whereas van Gogh drew in ink, Auerbach draws in paint but Keifer does both AND he draws in lead, shellac, latex, wire, sunflower as he transforms form like a magician. His translations of what makes a book are astounding to me.

Now for some images what I took at the conversation he had last Thursday morning peppered with words from Imagine Keifer http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04pzt6g/imagine-winter-2014-5-anselm-kiefer-remembering-the-future

 a scales

 The artists I admire most turn out to be ‘thinkers’ like Rauschenberg, Schwitters

keifa 11sm

and of course Keifer who said , ‘Nietzsche said, “You know the philosopher has to stand, we have to dance” The scale of (my work) is the product of the dance.’

 keifa 3sm

This image shows the scale of many of Keifer’s images.

 keifa 5 points sm

Look down there at what that bloke from Burnley (who Hamburg knocked out of the European competition at the quarter finals in the 60s ha ha) has done he’s made a pictorial pun of me balancing different selves, or is that shelves, or am I being a selfish fish?

He’s re-arranging realities, make him an Academicien like what I is.

 keifa 8 balances 2 selves + color sm

‘When you are an artist you know you have to connect things in a different way. This is what artists do, they create a new connection between things’.

{^ another ed’snote, not for you if yer not into football, the beautiful game- One massive example of prohibition going wildly counter to the intent of the prohibitor is my home town football club, Burnley and the reprehensible policy of the then chairman Bob Lord, who was also a big noise on the FA. He thought if he banned the TV cameras from Turf Moor more folk would visit the ground to see live matches on match days. He was wrong. At the time Burnley were one of the top two clubs with Spurs, a fact that remained the case for several years in the early 60’s Burnley were bigger than Man U and Liverpool then! Look what happened. TV cameras do the opposite to what Lord thought, they publicize a club and folk flock to see them. Burnley faded away after Lord, in another of his marvellous decisions, sold local hero Jimmy McIlroy, to lowly second division at that time Stoke. Burnley dropped to the foot of Division 4 and nearly shot out of the league altogether whilst close rivals Man U & The Bill Shankly Pool went on to be European Champs. So if & when you come to any of my shows etc bring yer cameras!}

It’s my Blart and I’ll try if I wanna.

BlArt & BATCH Explained?

It’s a New Dawn.

I have decided to re-blog this old blart cos it sort of explains some of my ideas, where they arose and all. I am lucky to have been given a 20 minute slot at BABE in Arnolfini Bristol next April http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/babe-2015-bristol-artists-book-event during which (4pm on the Sunday) I shall be doing one of my little ‘talks’, which are not talks at all but some form of performance. I have done that kind of thing since 1973 when I did the first Appleheadmasked-Event. I reserve the elephant of surprise so I don’t tell what am going to be doing to nobody but believe me I plan these tings well. I make it look like it just happened, but it didn’t, in fact I awoke planning the ‘talk’ fer nex April at 6am today, I don’t plan to plan it just appens. The lovely ting is, Chris Leonard, who was instrumental in getting me to do the 1973 ‘Apulhedmask-In’ has already expressed his intent to attend! Nice. I look forward to seeing you Chris.

chris leonard

However, this reblog, as there’s a lot more traffic on my blart nowadays I thought I would just let you see why it’s called my blArt. And why my book about spiritual tings is called a Batch, which in fact does no justice to the content and several people have arsked me to re-name it, which I may in a reprint.
G BATCH contains the initials of the men I call mystics inside the book, G is for Gurdjeff etc. I also like the reference to ‘batch’ which for me is a group and in digital spiel is also used for a group. Funny that. Oh and don’t worry about my ‘talk’ being too serious cos it will be, and it will be funny too, I call them seriously funny, or they’re just funny, seriously. Namaste.

apulhed tinking

I’m Bloggin, just Bloggin and I Know you like blogging it too! Thank you Bob Marley. (In about 1972 we stood and watched him at Rolle College Exmouth play about 3 hours before he became ‘famous’, there were about 30 of us. We were lucky, I just kept downing my pint and wiggerling to the sound, went to the bar, gorranutha pint, wiggled back to Bob and his wailing alongsters. I never thought to bring my camera nor invite him and his boys to play football in the afternoon. Talk about missed opportunities.

Now I am taking the blog line, I still take photos but I had to stop playing football about five years ago. Not before I had the chance to play with my veteran side against Jobserve at Upton Park, twas like playing on a billiard table. Lovely.

Now am changing the name of what I do in…

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When I went doon to Oxford toon

Just gate-crashing two ‘parties des chimpanzes’ doesn’t make me a member!

 I give up. No, that does not mean I am giving up but I am stopping chasing & struggling to get ‘noticed’, the forlorn hope of breaking thru into the in crowd (who wants to rub shoulder with the likes of Blokeney, Ermine, Buerst and all?) in the ‘gallery’.

In 1975 when my assault on the walls began I could maybe have been called an angry young man cos they wouldn’t give my work the light of day even tho many folks loved my product. Then, over the tears you realise ‘they’ don’t know more than nor even as much as you, they just (maybe, probably) went to the right school, just like the politicians who run the show. And talking about the right schools. I have a bone to pick with the Bodleian. (Ian Watmore on leaving his post of CEO at the ‘dysfunctional’ F A is reported to have referred to it as a chimpanzees’ tea party, which is similar to what I saw in the two Oxford places I visited this weekend. Only chimps are invited to tea, not chumps like me!)

The wayzegoose book fair was a pretty useless flop for me and Wendy, except for an opportunity for me learning what i need to do to improve etc, no sales.  Overall Oxford trip wer a good experience really, with some downs. Had to fight toot & tail to get into Bodleian on a reader’s card. And altho there are Kafkaesque aspecs to the Bod set up, once inside the Bod I was treated really well by the librarians who ran around showing me how to find things. I also have to thank Alan Brown for all his help getting me information about the collections and the way in! I LOVED seeing some of the Rot then Keifer buks, I now KNOW where my main thrust must be in future. Collaboration with DJ will no doubt bring more out of me in that ‘ancient’ vein if he can stand the strain of working with this idiot, but my next few buks are a return to my theme of original, surreal and unsettling subversive stuff. I see myself as an under-miner, a sapper really, but do those I sap see me as a sop? That’s good cos i can catch them unawares. Funnily i got 4 ‘likes’ overnight (6 now, thanks to all of yez that ‘liked’ this blArt!) for a pretty wingey blog, plus one ‘follow*’, all of which adds to the circle I am creating of interested parties. Thanks Maureen for saying this is humourous & informative too!

* You know if you press ‘follow’ you’ll get notified (not certified) of all my future blArty bits. Tread carefully won’t you. It appears 34 folks out there follow this  heap o’ thorts. Tank yez all, makes me feel good too. Makes me feel that all the effort what goes into doing this weekly blarting is getting thru, at least to 34 folks in this wide wonderous werld.

http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/the-material-word-the-6th-poe-86763

The Poetry Library at Southbank will be displaying the collaboration book in November. Altho there is a question flying around, can you see it? Is it a book? Is it a Blogger? Is he a Flybyniter? Or is he just a Fly Writer or a Flawed Bloke Flying by the Seat O’ his Pants? Well, the question whether my book of poems done with DJ is a book or not is surely already answered in the article I did for The Blue Notebook Vol 8 No 2, April 2014 Lucy Lippard’s Activism and Artists’ Books Activate Me. ‘To codex or not to codex’ that is the question Lucy Lippard’s loose leaf catalogues helped me solve. The article considers the need or no need to bind sheets to make a book. It comprises a brief summary of Lippard’s talk Exhibition Histories on 11.04.13, a consideration of B. S. Johnson’s book The Unfortunates, the work of Don Celender in the BABE show in Bristol’s Arnolfini in April 2013. Also, an introduction to some of my own artist’s books some of which incorporate loose leaves.’

My boxed artist’s book called Apul-Gold Metamorphosis with careful attention to font size as well as considering paper, dimension and feel. It has alternate card and semi-transparent pages. The box is black with gold around the edges resembling an old bible but when opened it is more like a jewellery box with felt surrounds and gold ribbons.You can turn the loose pages which are, ironically, sequential because the holes in each page grow gradually to reveal a golden (moulded plastic) page with words on sculpted from twigs making the ‘word’ material or ‘real’. Behind this sheet is the final surprise, a sculpture of Apulhed.

jo 080Left- concave sculpted face, right- word as material object, on penultimate page.

Also my most recent book adorned with castor oil leaves on front and back which opens like a ‘normal’ book but inside houses seven prints in a pouch which are ‘bound’ in place by two strips of leather. All of the materials used were carefully considered to show textures and colours which resonate with the subject matter inside- the story of six mystics and their words (which is a precursor to the new books ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’) kept in a pot like the Nag Hammadi scrolls .

bukartobjet 002

Both of my bookartobjects were made with the clear belief that books do not have to be bound nor sequential which Lucy’s catalogue laid the foundations for with Johnson’s book adding more weight to the idea being published as a book in 1969.

So am trying to say the codex ‘bind’ was a late entry, there were other forms of bind long before it; potis, copper rings (we used brass rings to ‘bind’ the new one at Whitechapel), scrolls, metal amulets, steles just to name a phew!

bod wow cloud

The Bodleian is an amazing ‘national’ collection not open to hardly anyone, not even scholars like myself unless they can prove they cannot access the stuff they wish to see anywhere else. Now there’s a ting. If you have an ISBN on a book you have to send a copy (free) to the Bodleian (and several other libraries), but we (plebs) cannot gain entry to the Bodleian yet it houses an uncanny stock of mint condition books, as you can imagine, cos if you have an ISBN on a book you have to send a copy (free) to the Bodleian! So the Bodleian houses several books of mine yet under normal conditions I cannot access that library. I did after several phone calls and lots of bits of paper manage to gain entry for two days which was the saving grace of my weekend in Oxford. So after all I am pleased I left a donation for their collection of my new book, Inside This Earthen Vessel, although I really wanted to show it to Alan Brown first before the woman who allowed me a 2 day pass whipped it away rather hastily before telling me that I had to pay for the privilege of entering the collection. Now my book sells at £15 and I tink she was after £6, and I pointed out that there is a hardship clause in the rules and I am hard-shipped (I have no wage, no income source, that’s not a weep it’s a fact). “Do you have evidence of your benefits, entitlements & allowances?” No cos I don’t claim any but all I have is a small pension, which in fact obviates any entitlement i may have. I wouldn’t wish to have a state handout any how, I prefer my freedom to be poor yet not have to look over my shoulder to see if any ‘benefits spies are watching me. As it appens, Citizens Advice worked out that because i have a small pension I would only  be able to get £12 a week from the state even though I was eased out of my 10 year job cos my body had contracted RA, no not the other chimp’s party at the Woyal Acawemy, no I got Rheumatoid Arthritis and after its worst stage was over and a series of heinous drugs had given me ‘remission’ I would not be able to hold a teaching job with all its stresses and strains and i wouldn’t get one anyway cos am too old and am nearly 64 which made me not old enough to gain a reader’s pass free umph, am not bitter I stopped drinking 3 yearns agonow am back on dandelion & burdock. “Doesn’t count cos here its 65 and I can see from your d o b yer under age you’re only 63”. Well am 64 in a couple of weeks. “Doesn’t count”. So I said maybe I should charge yer fer me buk? “But you just gave it to us”.

pk selfizeebugthe bug in me

However, I spent several hours perusing books which very few had looked upon, so I s’pose I should be happy. For example, a 1966 copy of Dieter Roth’s Mundunculum, numbered 1 of an edition of 122, seems like it has never been opened. Intriguingly this copy has been given a dark blue traditional hard back cover, so totally unlike anyting Rot did, so far out from his way of working that it’s actually good! It’s a bit like be-knighting Michael Jaggerd. You see, Rot is his name and Rotit is his nature. Rot the lot of it seems to me to have been his modus. He undermined everything, even his own work. Picasso did the same. Only Rot’s Progress was unchecked. His earliest work was exquisite, much like Vasarely, with words as concrete poems thrown in. Not a lot of people know that, or care, cos as time went by Rot’s own denigration thru his work of his work stuck and others, those who decide the canon, couldn’t ‘get’ him so they ignore him, so you don’t tend to see Rot next to Appolinaire and Picabia in the annals of concrete poetry(?). And anyway that’s the way he would have wanted it, I tink. He undermined, he dug the dirt, he pretended to be ‘logical’ like Wittgenstein but in fact he was being anarchic like fluxus.

ox logic

mind Rot don’t trip yu up doon Logic Lane

His Mundunculum says it has a correlation tween sign & letter, but does it? And when it does he undermines that too by giving it extra layers. I think I know what drives an artist tinker to be so unhelpful, I do it myself, we don’t wish to be understood I think I know what drives an artist tinker to be so unhelpful, I do it myself, we don’t wish to be understood and if in a moment we feel some are understanding it we shift. I know it’s stupid but I can’t help it. It is part of my personal insecurity which is part of my inbuilt nature acquired from my infanthood when tings were not so good I know Freud would have a field day but there it is. So in a way the artist is getting his own back, saying, well you made it damned hard fer me so I shall do the same fer thee. The role of art-Is is to question, but where the physicist and the mathematician will question with logic the artis can question with illogic. There is a history here, as with all things, nothing comes from nothing. I suggest Tom Phillips wer influenced by Rot and I see now, looking at Schwitter’s Merz werx, Rot wer influenced by Schwitters.

http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2013/dieter_roth/works/mundunculum/

 drot mun numbd

But it was a revelation to me. Roth was working on this form of book in the 1950s and it seems significant that tom phillips called his book humument http://www.tomphillips.co.uk/works/artists-books/item/5286-a-humument

Then it got worse. I had booked a table at the Wayzegoose book fair in the ill-conceived idea that my collaboration with David Jury over the summer and the wonderful book he produced would steal the show. But no.

ox table corn sm

They stuck us up in the furthest corner of the event to which very few punters came (it doesn’t seem to have been advertised) and only a tiny percentage got as far into the bowels of Oxford Brookes to even realise our table was there hidden behind a big advert for another stall which was better placed anyway. I sold two postcards. My colleague, Wendy Allen, who made two tiny but beautiful letterpress books sold didderly squat (not a lot).

ox 010

So I learned a lot, mostly, that you got to be selective, very. Just don’t go to a place thinking you can change the scene. If they specialise in old school then they don’t want to see new stuff, do they, well at least they didn’t there.

 bzb light sm

Talking about new stuff, I have been producing what I call ‘original’ stuff since 1969, stuff what is new to most of the known world out there cos most of it only ever reached a radius of about 10 miles from wherever I lived. From now on in this bollogart artis blArt am going to be presenting, or re-presenting, my endeavours from the past 45 years. I shall upload images and ‘stories’ and views of others so you can at least see my work.i gave up pursuing ‘publishers’ years ago and did my first self-published book in 1975, a practice I intend to step up now. But don’t expect me to do beautiful books like Chris Rushton at Hadleigh books does. http://www.chrisruston.com/ No am not able to be so meditative in my production. My next few books will be bringing the backlog of book ideas I bin developing now since 1972; Apulhed, Squidgerats, Nonogons, Venus Stares, and all. Altho I do have one clever hexagonal ‘shaped book’ in mind as a development from the Inside the Jug series.

All images in this blog are mine except the copy of the book by Dieter Roth, I hope that his foundation do not mind me putting it in as it is flagging up the wonderful work he did.

 

Meeting with David Jury, the secret work is out.

David Jury and me used to meet about once a month to chat over coffee. I showed him my new artist book preparation where I was putting my six ‘mystics poems’ onto the page each laid out in the shape of a pot. DJ was just completing an article about writers who did shaped typography and he was intrigued when he saw my new work. On reading them he liked the words and my form of presentation. Being a cheeky fella I asked him if he might write a small crit so that I could place it on the back of my book so that potential buyers may get a gist of what my words were about and he wrote:
“Pete Kennedy’s words are contained in six ‘Earthen Vessels’. But none of these vessels is whole, their bases, by varying degrees, are missing. In fact, it quickly becomes clear that all knowable laws are absent. So what is it that holds the words together?
The more you look the more you read, the more you read the more you look. Their occasional dramatic change of scale: ‘Namaste’ and ‘I Am a Buddha Now’ rightly dominate whilst their additional ‘weight’ causes them to slowly fall, like sediment, towards the bottom of the jar… that does not exist. These vessels are spine-tingling.” Follow that Pete I thought.
Shortly afterwards he suggested that maybe he could do a letterpress version of the poems as pots for his summer project, would I be interested?
Interested, I had been wondering how I could do a simple letterpress version myself to take to the Wayzegoose book fair in Oxford this October and I would be chomping at the bit to see the wayshegoes with DJ’s version and we immediately embarked. My offer to help with the mucky jobs was politely declined as DJ see the process as essentially a contemplative and private one. Miles Wigfield, chairman of the Oxford Guild of Printers, observes that this is not unusual amongst letterpress enthusiasts who like to work on their own. So he began.
The first print took several weeks to complete as DJ had to work out how to get the pot shape I had accomplished using Quark. He asked for one of my drawings of a nice shaped pot and said he’d use it as a kind of template to outline his layout. He was fascinated with the notion that the pot itself although hinted at didn’t ‘exist’. This was in keeping with his own readings of Buddhist books where everything is in fact an illusion. He liked the way the words seemed to accumulate like sediment in a vessel. Vessel is a word I had adopted partly because it denotes jug, jar, pot or any other container which the ancients may have used to protect their precious objects in. Going even further back earthen vessels would have been amongst humankind’s earliest ever artefacts. That age old play between what is attractive to the eye and useful as an object which peaked with the design of Concorde and began with the design of a bowl to drink or eat from, that mix of meeting the designer’s needs in terms of available or newly invented technologies and the users requirements was probably solved earlier in pots than in the drawings of woolly mammoths on cave walls. My interest in pots, triggered initially by my curiosty about the Dead Sea Scrolls opened out to discover that many communities from India to Afghanistan and later into China had incarcerated valuable objects and/or sacred documents in pots then either buried them or secreted them in caves. The first writings were cuneiform on clay too. This led to my desire to create words in the shape of pots because of its deep ancient resonance.
Take a look at a previous blArt I did for more info about my pots: https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/a-change-in-my-habits-i-am-giving-good-notice-of-an-event-for-your-diary/
DJ has a long time fascination with letterpress and has collected some old wood fonts which he had not previously been able to use. Now, with the change of fonts and their size in my work, he is able to blow the dust off and use them. This all benefits my writings for the pots which are always in flux anyway and now have been re-written, almost weekly, to fit the new needs of the collaboration. Working with DJ has been invigorating. Initially I had faced my own challenge to shape the words into pots now DJ took on the mantle for his versions and where I had merely increased the size of the Bodoni bold font to denote important words and phrases DJ began to use very differing fonts to his main Bodoni. I had used full stops repeated to make up some spaces in order that I did not have to re-write or add too much to my original ‘poems’. DJ pointed out that every space is potential for making a mark or statement, every space is valuable. He began to introduce strings of shapes to substitute my dots. He soon saw that the knots or strings were not adequate, didn’t look good. So, he said it’s a shame not to use letters in those spaces, maybe in a smaller font? To begin with he had tried using words like ah and om but that wasn’t enough. Maybe we can put in a ‘sub-text’, do you have any other poems we can use. Well yes, as it happened I was typing up and re-doing some other poems, poems I sometimes write about everyday things, thoughts and observations on the way my life is going or went or should have gone. Much simpler than the mystic poems which were the result of hundreds of hours of study and contemplation, writing and re-writing, reading to a ‘public’ re-appraising starting again and so on. Yes, that sounds great, send some to me and I shall see how they fit. And fit they did. So the first print now has a sub-text too which adds several layers of meaning which ever way you read them. The page as a whole now becomes a fascinating mix of visual and contextual meanings. You can read the poem in its original then the subtext or read the whole of it as one or don’t read it at all just enjoy the visual effect.
Soon enough DJ was wanting the words to break out of the sedimentary base of the pots which don’t exist. Another compositional device creating more interest, more possibilities to ‘play’ and arrive at more exciting results. By print 3 DJ started to turn some of the words upside down or reverse them, now they become multi-dimensional.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Poem one is inspired by the writings of Herman Hesse. Poem 2 by the life of the present Dalai Lama. Poem 3 is about the deep mythological interests of C G Jung.
Although I was unsure when to reveal to the eagerly awaiting world or artist book and letterpress enthusiasts news of our collaboration David had no such qualms and on Wednesday 30.7.14 he gave a talk to a small gathering of letterpress enthusiasts at The Waiting Room in Colchester (which I could not attend cos of my weekly commitment to Ballroom Dancing. One day I am hoping to replace Lewis Smith at the top of the podium, although I am not as athletic, young nor handsome as he I am determined to topple him. You know me, I never let a small challenge overawe my dreams). The talk was well received and I thank Clare Marsh for sending me these two images, one of DJ flying and one of two of the prints we have made already.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I haven’t asked DJ what it’s like working with me but the smile on his face speaks volumes.

Now, on 25th Aug 2014 DJ is nearly finished with his letterpress edition of six of my poems. Each one has gotten more adventurous and it seems he has had a wonderful time pushing the boat out and using wood type he has bought but never used over a number of years. we should be ready to show the world the outcome in September sometime. Each print has it seems come up better than the one before so much so that it seems the first one is almost conservative, almost staid. but not quiet, i mean quiet not quite!

watch out book fairs here we come; whitechapel-DJ’s table 1st

Amalgamations and Collaborations

A week in the life of Blarty O’Dork

My Six Vessels Artists Book’s progress.
My new artist’s book, Inside This Earthen Vessel which is a re-write of the poem in my earlier book, G Batch about six men I call mystics, is nearly ready to go to press. I have set the ‘poems’ in Quark in the shape of pots or ‘vessels’ which makes them like concrete (or rather, ceramic) poems. I think I shall call them my ceramic poems. Concrete poems started by the likes of Apollinaire and Alfred Jarry are set on the page in various shapes rather than the traditional set in normal typographic layout. A friend of mine who has been big into typo for ages liked them so much that he suggested we do a collaborative publication in letterpress later on using the poems. I shall keep you posted on that progress. My version is all but completed ready for my printer to run off 50 copies, which is a mixed blessing cos I am going to be doing all the trimming and folding and that’s no easy task. Here is the first one.
INSIDE THIS EARTHEN VESSEL
Destination Dust
Dhona the Brahmin was a mendicant
monk….. Who asked Siddhartha (Gautama
Shakyamuni, Tathāgata) “Are you human, one
from Gandharva?……… Are you a god or maybe a
Yaksa?” “Brahmin everything that’s created passes.
Strive diligently into your transition, go peacefully to
ward your destination. Escape from the Spinning Wheel
of Samsara.” During dispute when Guatama passed away
Brahmin Dhona, intervening, did say….“The message of the
Blessed Buddha Is still peace & forbearance today.” Thereby
the Malla chieftans of Kusinara….. On whose soil Shakyamuni
had died. Reluctantly released the relics to be divided into eight
domains….. Thereby each claimant built a monument……Which
every time turned to rust Confirming Siddhartha’s message that
Every… thing… 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 which he called
‘Siddhartha.’
Tathāgata shewed how to escape the Swamps of Samsara and
Suffering. Tathāgata said “Namaste. The Light
in me Greets the Light in thee. I Am a Buddha Brahmin,
I Am a Buddha Now.”

The ‘a’s with the little ting on top just happened, so I have left them as I really like them.
Copies of the book should be available before the end of August. In time for the Oxford ‘Wayzegoose’ book fair where I have gotten a table near my birthday in October. “ Will you still need me. Will you still feed me. When I’m sixty four? Ba bum boom, les Beatells.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDt26gJYVB4
The new book has several mentions of key belief systems but it’s not any way a religious book. It’s about looking at the wonders of existence on this little globe using the insights of some men who spent their lives dedicated to trying to help human beings see more clearly, the six ‘thinkers’ (or maybe better called ‘tinkers’?) in it being:

G.iorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev

B.euys Joseph
A.ngeli Silesii
T.enzin Gyatso
C.arl Gustav Jung
H.ermann Hesse

The first letters of each name give the title of my Introduction to the project in an earlier artist’s book, G Batch.I could have included others like William Blake, but my time was limited to one year to complete that project and I had to be selective. The nice ting is this new book and my collaboration both grew easily from all the work I did at the time. There is even a wider scope book in there but Thames & Hudson’s reader in ‘Spiritual’ etc books couldn’t imagine that anyone out there would buy it in big enough numbers. I believe they would, it’s just that the publishing world has little imagination, like the art world- galleries etc. I approached the Museum Of Modern Art NY with my image called variously Venus at the Stairs or Venus Stares because they own two of the images which inspired me to do that image, Schlemmer & Lichtensteins, but they send a rather rude and ignominious reply to anyone who has the temerity to approach them:
Sirs and mesdames,
at the end of April 2014 i send a package with my image of my picture to see if I could galvanise an interest on your part to buy one. I sent it by air mail to: The Museum of Modern Art
The Department of Painting and Sculpture
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
In the light of not having gotten a reply by today, 16July 2014 should i take it that your gallery has no interest?
Hello.
Thank you for contacting The Museum of Modern Art.
Please note that the Department of Painting and Sculpture’s acquisition and exhibition programs are developed from within the Museum. Due to the large number of unsolicited submissions we receive, we can only respond to those which the curators express an interesting in pursuing.
Sincerely,
The Museum of Modern Art

And from a gallery in Germany which happens to be having a Schlemmer show right now, a fact I was as usual blissfully unaware of when I suggested they buy my pic:
Dear Mr. Kennedy,
Thank you for this information on your work inspired by Schlemmer. However: as you may presume, our exhbition is already fully set and it is a retrospective on the artist Oskar Schlemmer only.
Sincerely,
I.Conzen Kuratorin für Klassische Moderne
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

I remember back in the early 80’s on their first(?) album Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits mentioned a friend who had made it, ‘In the Gallery’. At the time I was an ‘artist-bloke’ making and teaching art and related skills and I recall thinking well am not ‘In the Gallery’ yet, maybe one day? That never happened. I’m flagging up my chagrin cos it’s no good me saying in 20 yearns time ‘Why did you not let me in?’ and you telling me you didn’t know I wanted to be considered. In fact, my old mate IEPW has reminded me that ‘galleries’ are commercial enterprises, they are never going to let anyone in who isn’t ‘recognised’ and/or in one way or another, famed. So, I am barking up the wrong tree again. They are never going to let me in, in fact my biggest claim to fame is my ‘originality’ and that my friends is exactly what they do not want. They want the things which have been tried and tested, vetted and decided upon by key decision makers like Saatchi, the money, the last ting they want is someone who is always changing tack, always searching for the new.

There are those who tell me that being in the gallery is not all it’s cracked up to be (whatever that is; being ‘seen’, bought, considered, added to the list etc). Like Lucy Lippard who started, after gaining a degree in curating (?), at Momany and spent much of her life advocating being ‘outside the gallery’, I heard her say it in a talk a year or two ago, albeit from the stage in one of London’s ‘important’ galleries.

VIP I have to correct the mistake above. Lucy has gently informed me that she got ‘just an MA in art history’ rather than curating. I had carelessly assumed her degree to be in curating from her early role at MOMA. (As you will suspect I am trying to avoid digging a deeper hole here when I say) I have only respect for Lucy and her long standing relationship within and without the world of art. I first came across her writing in relation to Eva Hesse, an artist whose work I love and of whom Lucy was a friend and advocate, I think…be careful now…take nothing for granted Pete. Since then I have studied, slightly, her work in relation to the likes of Robert Smithson and her Numbers Shows. I was lucky to listen to and draw her at the Whitechapel gallery a couple of years ago. When I say I drew her it was without her knowledge or consent as I draw folk when the institution dis-allows photography so I have a visual record of a person at an event. As you may guess visual memory is important to me.

lucy for blog 29714 smkb

I’m a sad bastad me. Sad cos I tried so hard to break through into the world ofart, I mean you gotta be sad to even try, why not get a proper job?

What’s interesting is how tings move on. I never used to see my ‘writing’ as part of my ‘art’ but recently I have learned to understand they are one. In the same way, for many years I saw my ‘comic’ or graphic drawings (of Apulhed and Friends) as separate from my oil paintings and now I understand they are one. I used to wonder how I could amalgamate one skill or form in with another across a wide range, then I realised they are not separate, they are one. In my last blog I did a newstyle ‘comic’ in which I began to incorporate the photo-image with the drawn image. Expect to see more amalgamations, and collaborations, as the stopper is out of the champagne bottle.

A Blake workshop
On Saturday I went to a workshop by a Blake scholar whose prints from his own re-makes of Blake’s copper plates are in every important Blake collection all over the woild. The workshop ‘Printing in the Infernal Method’, led by Professor Michael Phillips, took place on Saturday 26 July 2014, at Morley College. Michael explained the mystery behind Blake’s method of creating the prints for his books. He dispelled myths about Blake’s techniques. Fundamentally Blake could mirror write on the tiny plates (c.70×112 mm) from his youth. Michael carries his own little bottles of pigment, limited to the exact colours Blake used, and linseed oil. He mixed the ink to its optimum mix. He then applied the ink to the small copper plates which he explained were created from a number of sources close to the original plates all of which are lost. He told us of a little boy who Blake taught how to make a plate.
http://williamblakeprints.co.uk/making_the_plates.html

michael phillips daubing

Michael the master Blake printer daubing delicately.

Luckily for posterity the boy had kept what was a postage stamp sized plate in his box and it passed to descendants. On the back of it was an old Blake image which has given Michael an exact measure of the depth of cut Blake used to incise the image then use two dips into sulphuric acid. 1.125 mm deep is all he did. Michael scotched the rumour that Blake had used rollers to ink up his plates, no because they were not invented whilst he was working. He used a leather dauber. We were allowed to have a go and man is it difficult. I used my most delicate touch and that was too much, I got well told. Then Michael did four prints from each of 5 plates each diminishing in tone until the final pull, which now had 3 mini-blankets on whereas the first pull had one, was almost inkless. I learned so much from Michael and have to thank him for his patience and knowledge.

blake chimney sweep print smkb

The Chimney Sweep.
You can see how kak-handed my daubing was where the grain shows in the ‘white’ areas.

Also
I love the work of Stephanie Wright http://www.sculptgallery.com/item/single/2282/stephanie_wright_compot which i saw in the new summer show at Sculpt gallery near Tiptree in Essex. Her pots cum found objets sculptures are refreshingly original and humour-filled. If you care to go to her website she does quite a range of ceramics but the ones in this gallery are my favourite.

On reading Ezra Pound

Rhody O’Dourke once asked me, ‘Where do I stand-sit now in the world of mice & men? How’m I doing Now?’ I just told him shut up whilst you still can O’D man.

Well am reading Ezra Pound (£) (Agenda 21st anniversary issue) which made me smile where it said his name in Japanese made him smile as it means, ‘This picture of a phallus costs ten yen.’ That made him a Ten Cent Dick Head? Now when I try to read Pound I feel like some folk must do when they try to read me (poems like ‘Six mystics’). But. Nothing comes from nothing. So, to read my work you need to have done some, work. We begin (our development as ‘readers’, writers, artists) at the beginning and layers are laid as we progress or digress or impress. I believe seeing people who are ‘good’ at what they do doing what they do is vital.

On seeing Ken Campbell on stage, back stage, and elsewhere was like watching a diamond glint. His story about a rose by any other name is similar to that one above about Pound’s name.  I saw him at Brentwood theatre where he would run thru his one-man shows first before moving on to bigger venues like The Cottesloe, Festival Hall, London. It was called ‘Violin Time’ and he featured a beautiful Vietnamese violinist called Teo-Wa Vuong. He asked me to do a picture which he used as the climax of his ‘hilarious and mind-boggling trip’ but he gave me no notice and I didn’t even have paper the size he wanted so I stuck together several sheets of A4. He wanted an image of Teo-Wa with a rose between her teeth and one of himself bending down with a rose emanating from his person. He said ‘You are the artist, you can do this for me’. (I had done a drawing which he posed for at the Philip K. Dick convention a few years earlier, sold it to John Dowie at a knock down price) So this master story-teller built the whole show up and it ended with the revelation that Teo-Wa Vuong, when spelt correctly meant something like ‘A face like a beautiful rose’ but if just one or two letters were mis-placed it could mean, ‘A rose sticking out of my backside’. So he said I should draw him with a rose coming from his derriere. I said ok, you bend doon over thur and draw you I shall. So, he did bendoon. About 3 minutes later he said thet’s enough and stood up leaving me to finish it off from memory. I hadn’t completed it when his show began so I snuck in when it were fini and passed it down to the stage from the back of the theatre. He saw it coming and said, Oh, the post has arrived and put it down onstage til he were ready. Then at the end of his gig he delivered his punchline, ‘Here’s a picture of a rose sticking out of my backside’.  It brought the house down as all of Ken’s shows in his later life did.

ken campbell backstage sm kb

(Image of Ken Campbell outside theatre)

Talking of roses, Umberto Eco wrote The Name Of The Rose and funny as it may seem the book is not about Sean Connery and a young apprentice who chooses not to become a monk. It really is about Eco’s fascination with language. He is first and foremost a linguist and a great writer in the field of semiology (he makes Ferdinand de Saussure almost comprehensible!). His ‘Open Work’ is seminal in understanding the place of the arts in our world.

Now, what is so fascinating about the works of Ezra £, Ken Campbell, Eco, Joyce & me is we all ploy wit werds, make witwit wirdz and we cheep-cheap wit littul burds. As also spracht me ole mater matey, ‘If wit were shit you’d be constipated’, or was it consternated? Or complicated? Who me? Not likely me old tatoe-heed. Not that olde chessnot. Brendan O’Carroll (friend of O’Blart & O’Dourke!) what wrote ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ said, ‘If I kept me mustache. I’d look like me mudda.’ And strangely, Mrs Brown’s Christian name is Agnes, The Name Of My Own Long Lost Birth Mother.

And even stranger than that. I was thinking earlier today about a lovely song I heard whilst driving a few weeks ago on the radio, wondering if I would hear it again and it came on Steve Wright in the afternoon. It happen to be by a certain George Ezra (Not £) called ‘Budapest…a bidio’ or sumtin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xipvBh_yyl8

Time ferra poym on my nuisance called O’Blarty?

He’s got an artist’s eye but

Wishes he had two too toot tutu

He has a nostril for words

Smells words out with his nostril but

Wishes he had the nose you knows

Has an ear for a tune but

If he had one more he’d

Be able to write some toons too to to yu.

For those of you who don’t know my ‘what I do’, I once was an artis onceuponathyme, but am all reight now, now I want to make the words rythme too, but they rarely do, that’s so true. I am just designing a new ‘book’, ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’,  which should be ready for the artist’s book fairs coming up down south in September and Octembre. (At ‘In The Chapel’ & ‘The Wayshegoes’ respectively, may see yu thur?) My printer did a copy on cream paper today, looks wonderful.

a jugman in a jug

But that’s six poems about six mystics, a re-write of the ones I did in my previous ‘book’ G Batch. I’ll get them right one day. They are kind of traditional poems in that they ‘make sense’, have a ring to them and use not a little esoterica. I have written more ‘mundane poems’ over many years, since 1969 in fact, ‘poyms’ which adhere to no rules at all really. Just words jotted together according to moments in my life. They look quite simple and they are. Mostly. A bit like an artist’s sketchpad where they try things out; colour, marks, textures. Just playing with the components, often getting things off my chest. The Mystic’s poems are so much more considered. I gone back to them and redrawn them many times and am still adjusting them. When you see Dylan Thomas at work, or just peep thru the window of that little shed hanging over the cliff side in Wales you see aman obsessed with words and their order and getting it right. Obviously I am not obsessed. I am not sitting here at 05.31 hrs typing up my thoughts on poetry, not me, that’s my nuisance Danny O’Blarty, he’s blooming well insane anyways up.

Kahil Gibran mentioned that poetry is where we juggle with words. And Walt Whitman was adding to and changing his Leaves of Grass all his days. I sometimes associate Whitman (Witmun) with A. Ginsberg as the latter would have read the former (the former would not have read the latter but he did address his poems to him, and all of us future readers). Also, it becomes apparent Ginsberg was present at at least one of Dylan Thomas’s New York readings and I bet his Howl was aware of Thomas. Nothing comes from nothing or as Blarty said, ‘Nuthin cums frum nuttin Nutini!’.

Having seen the ‘copy’ of ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’ from my printer yesterday i think i shall be doing my ‘final’ print off soon as it does look great in that form. Later today I shall take the one he did yesterday and cut and fold it. I may need to tiddle about with where the ‘pots’ are laid in page but i think it’s almost ‘done’.

Arcade Fire did a wonderful show at Glastonbury. Magnificent. Inspiring. That mix of tight tension in their beat and the zany additions, altho I wish he would enunciate his words more, all I hear is sound, the lead ‘singer’ or should I say ‘drawler’ of Elbow also needs some sessions in speech therapy*. She had a bit of Bjork in there, and as hard as she sometimes is to ‘get’ Bjork must be a top ‘marker’ when it comes to performance.

Now there’s one who enunciates well, so well he pulls his mouth contortedly, Paulo Nutini. His set was sadly cut short but he is incredibly good.

*I had to have some sessions misen back in my teacher training days. They thought I mumbled too much to teach. Luckily the lady what took me had worked in Accrington#. She knew that in that area, they either bark their words seemingly quite aggressively or they speak in a soft mumbly way like what I did at that time. My daddy came from near Mumbles in Welsh Wales so no wonder I mumbly do or did. She taught me to enunciate like a brown cow now. But insisted I keep my accent. Sad that, I never was good at selling my wares.

# Accrington is part of greater Brunlea you know, they say they were all ‘pals’ during the First World War, I am preparing a little artisbuk on it for 2016.

And finally, I wer reading an old sanskrit poem and I thought I’d nick some ideas from it. It says, ‘the realities & truths of existence, the joy of growth, the splendour of action are there in one day’. I want to take that and apply it to some images I made from leaves this week. ‘The realities & truths of existence, the joy of growth, the splendour of action are there in just one leaf.’

spike leaf sm kb

Just one leaf, that’s all it took, yeh. Thank you Hollies, some of whom hailed from Brunlea you know, the drummer came from Pike Hill. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32VWELcZUMM

And that’s Graham Nash who went off and lived the dream in Los Angeles (?).

Shortly after I posted this blArt Brother Mungus* sent these kind words and a little poem: “I love the image of pottihed holding the membrane of the vessel, it is so modern in cartoon form and yet so ancient as well, you could imagine it also having been scratched on the clay 2000 years ago. Here’s a little ditty”:

Pottihed stands ajar
inside the earthen jug
his six-limbed body
holds the membrane tight
between spirit and form.

He sends out
his messenger bees
to learn and relay
the spirit from mind inside
to man outside.

MunGUS Walkerboy

Interesting, cos I related to the ‘jugheaded man in the pic. I see him as the man inside the pot etc. But he is also the man who made the pothis. Pothi man. Last year i mimicked the Eastern way of making books which they call potis or pothis. The difference with mine instead of using daphne paper shaped like papyrus leaves, I used clay with the words inscribed as they did in the earlier cunieform tablets  thus combining two ancient writing forms.

biscuit fired poti page*

and Mungus was an airy man. Funny, as i mentioned  my birt-mama  had me in Glasgui, which was the name given to it by its founder St Mungus and it means dear green place, which it is I remember.

http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3582

CRAZY LIKES CASSADY a Bit aBout aBucking Bronko Bukowski

I heard belatedly, as is my wont, that they were doing a letterpress book in a day on 24th April and of course I missed the deadline with my ‘submission to play’ which was-

MAD

LIKE

CASSADY

So I must learn to get in touch, I never did keep in touch, I am cool as a fool, no, make that tree werds; cool aka fool. I like this 3 werd ting. I spose it emanated from koans? Anyway, a friend was asking about how I write/prepare my blArts? As he sispected (hey spellcheck sod off, when I say sispected I mean sispected. Hell it’s hard to do sispected when spellchecker keeps changing the i to a u.) I don’t just write it off the top of me bonce, I longhand write it first then type it, the type-in is the first ‘edit & add’ stage then it goes on. I can ‘ed’ it again as I upload and I sometimes go back maybe weeks later and  ‘edit & add’ agin. The following three werds show how I edit my writing

CRAZY

AS

CASSADY

See what I mean? That encapsulates what I do. Those three words show how I edit and improve. The 3 I put in late were ok, but done in a rush sans gestation. Then I slept a couple o nichts on it and re-did my Buko article ready to post here and slept agen and saw that it would be better as CRAZY AS CASSADY. I wrote those tree werds cos Bukowski who didn’t like many folk liked Cassady and was like him except his drug of choice was alcohol whereas Cassady’s wer ‘speed’. In factotum speed was eventually, altho it took a LO…OO…OONG time, the death of Cassady when he decided, altho not any longer a young man, to race a alongside train, it was probably a art attack.

Actually

CRAZY

LIKES

CASSADY

May be better still.

 

I was not going to do this subject but I decided to because the centre for bookarts Bristol did an artist-buk-owski-in-a-day this week. I wrote this article on the Big Bolcher back in 2010 for canongate’s sadly defunct now culture site, Meet At The Gate. I thought those of you who know not a lot about the Big Bolcher might be fascinated by the following. I must admit I read the bio and the poetry books over the Christmas period and I am afraid they did nothing to help me have a merry time that year. In fact, every Christmas since I have been dull and unfestive. Not sure if that’s cos I gave up drinking alcohol, or the damage of seeping in Buko’s sad mindset or just age?

from my 1976 comic for brainstorm
from my 1976 comic for brainstorm Andrea See who edited the Meet At The Gate blog aksed me to review a book of poems, The Pleasures of the Damned. Bukowski Poems 1951-1993 selected by John Martin.

Review by Pete Kennedy Jan 2010. Image above (my copyrite) – Is this Bukowski as a youth?

“Dear Mother, dear Mother, the Church is cold,

But the ale-house is healthy & pleasant & warm”

William Blake wrote that and he also said it is, “the road to excess which leads to the palace of wisdom.” He may have been fore-seeing The Big Bolcher himself.

This big book, beautifully presented, with a new photo of our gnarled hero on the cover, is stimulating and enjoyable reading. Bukowski’s poems are not mystical like Kahlil Gibrans nor zen koans and Lorca influenced like Leonard Cohen. His were more downbeat with an earthy soul which climbed as high as any but with regular use of obscenities and sometimes distasteful subjects are not for the faint hearts. Len is quoted on the cover of this Canongate ‘best of the best’ Bukowski collection as saying that, ‘He brought everybody down to earth, even the angels’. Indeed he did and he dug deeper into the human condition too. He chose to retreat from ‘normal’ life doing low paid menial jobs which neither taxed his brain nor his preferred social standing, in the belly of society. I also worked in the post office awhile, and it was the pits for me too and like Bonny Face Boy says, working there helps you to ‘get’ Big Bolcher’s viewpoint. I got very upset working for nobodys who mis-used their position but that led to one of the best bits of advice I ever heard, from a good salt of the earth postman, ‘Hey Teach. Don’t expect nothing from nobodys.’ And despite his penchant for the lowest ebb of life Bukoboy was not a nobody.

Bukowski had his own influences, from e e cummings to his favourite John Fante and the great Kenneth Patchen, whose habit of accompanying his work with paintings and drawings Bukowski replicates in the limited editions he did for John Martin his long time publisher who selected these  poems to represent the work he thinks stand out.. Bukowski was driven to write finding his voice* battering away at an old typewriter, usually into the night, after a couple of six packs. Bukowski’s religion was alcohol, mostly beer but cheap wine would do. His young daughter learned to call Ned’s liquor store, ‘Hank’s Store’ as her dad spent so much time in there. He was known as Hank to his close associates. (See p334 for his ode to Marina which shows his undoubted doting for his child.) For some reason when drunk he would hanker to fight the barman, or other drunks, or his woman, the former may have been a retribution for the beatings he suffered from his father. He often comes over as reprehensible like when casting insults about Madonna to her husband Sean Penn. He compulsively sought sexual pleasure outside the norms of ‘acceptability’, asking the recent widow of his good friend Jon Webb to make love with him. Despite his low view of the human condition he had a deep hope. His poems carry a beautiful but ironic insight. Bukowski lived at a time when men were men and women were a good source of sex and food makers. In a late poem, p399, on his life he refers to all his friends, men, dying and he regrets not knowing enough (about) women until late on, too late maybe? Despite all of his faults his work was very popular by the time he died. His friend Sean Penn stayed true and turned up at his funeral. All of his life he had refused to run with the pack which gave him the outsider’s viewpoint. His was a questioning spirit which looked at all humanity with a critical eye. He was the Clown Prince of Poetry and like jesters of old he took on society, shining his torch on the soft underbelly of all our weaknesses. He acted a fool as the drunk irresponsible hurt and potentially harmful human. His main view was from the bottom with his preferred view being of the woman’s bottom! He adopted the stance of a nihilist yet he was an inveterate   survivor whose constitution refused to succumb to the consequences of his lifestyle. He had no need to wear a mask as from behind his challenged features he viewed the world with the disdain of the down-trodden. The final two sections of this book, one on his cats and then on his impending death show his ability off magnificently. His ode to a ‘cross-eyed tailless cat’ is possibly his best self portrait ever. The penultimate poem-‘bluebird’- shows he had a heart and that he deliberately treated it badly until the very end! John Martin’s knowledge, garnered over half a life-time editing out the dross Bukowski sent alongside the gems, benefits this collection of poems.

* There are recordings of his reading but it seems his earlier best ones, uncontaminated by hecklers uninterested in his poems but eager to provoke his uncontrolled use of expletives in his reaction, were not recorded. His having lived the life of a punk at the time it was just becoming fashionable was a bonus for his public image. His spoken voice was however quite sensitive. He spoke slowly because as a child he had to measure everything he said as one wrong word could result in another beating from his father. His poems are best read aloud in a deep gruff Los Angeles lilt like Tom Waits who was surely influenced by Hank. As ‘The Boss’ Bruce Springstein must have been too, “The poets down here write noting at all, they just sit back and let it all be.”(Ashbury Park.)

The book has a good alphabetical index of the poems and a list of his major works with their dates. It would perhaps benefit from a mention of the date of writing and its published source at the foot of each poem?

I also reviewed a biog of Bukbolcher:

Review of Sounes’ Bukowski book by Pete Kennedy. Jan. 2010.

“Outsiders appear like pimples on a dying civilisation…If a civilisation is spiritually sick (so is the individual). If he is healthy enough to put up a fight, he becomes an Outsider.” (‘Religion & the Rebel’ by Colin Wilson, p9.)

The above quote encapsulates a large portion of Bukowski’s life, that is until his lifestyle became the object of fascination and he became quite rich and famous and people from Madonna to female students on a dare would pay him visits. He had the pimples, acne, which along with his German nationality led to his being ostracised at school where he would not join in the sporting hero mentality and was already siding with ‘losers’. He was not afraid of the bullying that came with being rejected as at home his own father would leather him with a strop, when he was not beating his wife whose own fear led to her seeming complicity as the boy got beaten. The beaten ones develop a hardness which in turn makes them harder to beat and later Bukowski was to take glee, during his drunken stupors, in fighting the bar-tender. Maybe he saw them as father-figures and wanted to vent his mis-placed anger on them. Some of his women were ‘whores’ and/or drunks and they would tease him sometimes by going off with other men, later when his women became more reliable he had the previous model imprinted on his psyche and successfully ruined many a good relationship by false accusations. One of Bukowski’s least tasteful habits was to fight his woman, even breaking Linda King’s nose, an act which cannot be condoned but which had an inevitability considering his previous penchant for picking the dregs of society as soul mates. If you think you can hack this guy read on, it gets worse, yet you gotta love him! Bukowski was a man of little faith in his life and great hope in his work which was eventually born out. When Rohde talks about men with a lack of faith in the power of love not surprisingly with his history this epitomises him as a man who has lost faith, who lives in fear and suspicion.  Yet he had a great Humanity, and a good writer’s voice and that is what attracted me to his work in the mid -1970’s. Although I loved his poems in ‘Days disappear like Wild Horses over the Hill’, I think his best poems are among the best poems, I became disenchanted with him on reading ‘The Fiend’, a short story about a rape, in ‘Bukowski Stories. Erections, Ejaculations etc’ whose editor at City Lights, Gail Chiarrello, must have allowed him total freedom. In this biography Sounes points out that basically Bukowski was ‘pandering to his readers’ basest expectations’ and seeing how far he could push the barriers. As a 25 year old aspiring writer in 1976 I was impressed by Bukowski’s apparent freedom from editorial eyes, I saw him as a freedom fighter and free thinking writer. Which, in some ways he was, but not in his work for City Lights where he was earning a fast buck by writing stuff beneath his real ability in order to titivate. However, most of the writing was done because he was obsessively driven. Like all good writers he had something to say and it would out. John Martin at Black Sparrow Press would receive batches of poems and would sift out the weaker ones with Bukowski’s permission.  Hank left a large body of commendable work which outweighs the stuff he felt the need to do to survive.

From Bukowski’s relatively long and complex life Sounes has pieced together a commendable work which he went about researching well, following up many interviews with surviving friends, lovers and protagonists of the poet. He leaves no stone unturned in the quest to uncover Bukowski, worms and all. Although there is still an academic book to write about Bukowski and his inspirations and influences which would provide great food for thought this is a thorough testimony. Bukowski used his own low-life experience rather than explain it, as Mallarme said “suggestion is the ultimate creative act whereas to name is to destroy”. As an Outsider Bukowski hated any form of privilege, hence his disdain for Robert Creeley the Black Mountain College poet and his liking of Neal Cassady, friend of Kerouac, who he believed was madder than he was!

Finally, the book has good source notes, bibliography & index which are truly helpful. It sets out Bukowski’s life in a brisk easy to read style.

Some more quotes relevant to Buk’s stance?

“If Henry Miller is to be believed, the erotic nihilist is the most pronounced type in America” (Peter Rohde in ‘Henry Miller, Between Heaven & Hell a symposium’ p51)

In the same pubcn.- …we find in (Miller & Whitman) the same joyous and impudent glorification of the sinful life. ..they are strong, full of health, at peace with themselves… they believe in life and they plunge into the intoxification of living with a child-like brutality. (Albert Maillet, p65)

 buko an icemen

The similarity of this Ice Age sculpture from Czechoslovakia made me wonder if it is a 26,000 year old ancestor of Bukowski? Was he around then or is he a reincarnation?

Is Bukowski an Immortal?

Now we deal with copyrights. I don’t own the © on any of the tree images above, but do I? You see I have changed them, so does that make them mine? Well, I tink you got to change them so much they are unrecognizable but then let’s say I appropriated some images. I wish it to be known I have invented this following symbol (a) as it’s like a ©, but I cannot get this stupid computer to place it in a circle. But the c in a circle denotes copyrights. So, I appropriate (so I Am). I appropriate an image from a magazine, I won’t tell you it’s from National Geographica as they may sue you for looking at it. The image is one they have appropriated from a 26,000 year old sculpture-man, altho it may be a woman wot did it so I shall utilise my word for male and female humans, ubein. T’other image I appropriated frae canongate’s cover, but they won’t mind cos I just advertised their two buks about Buko. And anyway, the composition of the tree images together is mine and mine only, so therefore QED. In fact, letting you in on a secwet, I intend to do a lot of images in ‘panels’ like that, you know, triptychs and all. © pete kennedy2014

 

http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/world-book-night-2014.htm 2014 booknite video

 

http://themostdifficultthingever.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/world-book-night-special-wednesday-23rd.html a blog about bukowski by kevin Boniface