Tag Archives: pete kennedy

Gee Vaucher/Penny Rimbaud/Firstsite


This is my first blog of 2017 because I have been so immersed in making my new Shrewd Idiot deluxe edition which I shall talk more about in the near future but now a long overdue look at the work of Gee Vaucher & Penny Rimbaud which has resounded around Firstsite Gallery in Colchester since last November and will continue to permeate that space until sadly on 19th February the show(s) will end.


I have been thrilled by the breadth & depth of their works and will try to exhibit some kind of overview here. If you have not seen the show of Gee’s imagery get down to the gallery and don’t miss an incredible show. This is what I believe that gallery was built for. I believe that Gee & Penny are both native Essex folks who have been steeped in ‘art’ all their adult lives and both made considerable contribution to the fields they have ploughed, sown and harvested. I’d say this could take the prize for the best show so far at Firstsite being at least as good as their wonderful Bruce McLean show (but I still cannot afford the catalogue for that show at £25!). The ground covered by the Vaucher & Rimbaud collaboration is vast and I have struggled to get the words down to cover the bits I have seen and witnessed because there’s been so much going on. Gee became involved right from the hanging and with all of the planning of various films, workshops and concerts which have accompanied the show.


I missed the open evening and the first event I attended was Gee’s film called ‘Angel’ in which a 14 year old girl stared into the camera for a long long time.


Gee Vaucher with Angel in the post film talk.

It is a powerful piece which grew out of Gee’s several images of childhood painted onto large canvasses which you can see in the exhibition.

Gee was interested in the loss of that innocence which occurs when young girls get to an age of transition from primary to secondary schools when they just have to toughen up to survive. Angel was a good model. She was able to sit still and in contemplation despite her old sister being in the background as a distraction. Angel is several years older now but this was her first viewing of the film and a sort of propulsion into a star position which she took with poise & grace.


The Exhibition

Gee’s show on the walls is full of works done over the past 40 years with her extensive and varied media. It seems she excels at any medium she adopts. For those faint heart-ed-ones amongst you I should say that much of her work is challenging with little concern for any timidity. Gee ain’t presenting the human form like a Botticelli.


She reveals all and cuts all into collages of bodies and animals which she extends into beautifully strange sculptures. I shan’t even try to explain in words what she does, just let her visual vocabulary speak for itself like she was outspoken in the 70s & 80s against the inconsiderate and/or ill-considered policies of the likes of Reagan & Thatcher. Her political satire is devastatingly cut throat on issues like the Vietnam war and the sending of Americans to kill maim and be killed and maimed.


The Publications

Under the publisher name of Existential Gee and Penny have designed written and printed many books and small format works. As with all their work there’s a difference and a good quality that pervades. The exhibition catalogue with an intro by the new Director Sally is a snip at £15 I think.


The Events

I didn’t attend all and there’s still one or two left to go to but I was really impressed by the ones I got to.


Penny Rimbaud brings commitment and a great deal of gravitas to his content and delivery.

I loved the ‘orchestra’ at his performance of his ‘Requiem’ poem. He once said in an interview, “Benjamin Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ is probably the greatest musical/lyrical influence of my life. As a young kid I was a chorister and met Britten when he conducted and I sung in what I think was the first British performance of his ‘Spring Symphony’. It was this event that introduced me to his music and it wasn’t long before I first listened to the ‘War Requiem’. It completely bowled me over. As a ‘war baby’ my early years had been filled with tales of war, all somewhat tinged with the ‘glory’ of it.  The ‘War Requiem’ told a very different story. Britten’s passionate  settings of Wilfred Owen’s profound (anti)war poems touched me deeply at every level and introduced me to ideas of pacifism which became so central both to my life and to my philosophy (even if at times I have doubted it!!). It was this piece of musical genius that taught me at a very early age that one could say ‘no’, and, indeed, had every right to do so.

In his ‘The Pity of War’, with music on cello by Kate Shortt and Liam Noble on piano, his reading of Wilfred Owen’s words was very powerful & evocative, sending me to read the originals where Owen compared the advocates of war and the victims of that cause to the biblical Old testament’s Abram and Isaac with a very differing outcome! When the god of WW1 gave the leaders the nod to prevent the Death throes, in Owen’s words:

‘But the old man would not so, but slew his son

And half the seed of Europe, one by one.’

Leaving the Ram of Pride triumphant and intact.’

The Discussion

A highly knowledgeable panel of:

Stevphen Shukaitis, at-gee-talk-stevphen-shukaitis-sm


Brandon Taylor, at-gee-talk-brandon-taylor-2-sm


Rebecca Binns a-becky-binns-at-gee-talk-sm

&  George Mackay at-gee-talk-george-mackay-sm

discussed the different aspects of Vaucher’s works on 1 Dec 2016. Rebecca Binns is doing a PHD about Vaucher’s and she brought a feminist perspective to the proceedings. Brandon Taylor has written books which include observations on her collage, indeed in the French version of one a collage by Vaucher is used for the front cover. You missed a good debate about her work but I can show you some photos that I took of the event which was introduced by Firstsite’s new(ish) curator Stuart Tulloch.stu-tullock-sm

The Gallery

Gee made full use of the wonderful facility at The Firstsite Gallery with stunning red flags inviting visitors in to her really well hung and presented work throughout. Firstsite Gallery has a much maligned history and this series of events & the main exhibition ought to go a long way to establish it on the map of must visit spaces in this country. It’s a great gallery!

Sally Shaw, the new director has a healthy demeanour and a listening approach and I wish her and her staff well for a great future which the town of Colchester needs. Sally has said anyone with ideas please come forward and put them to her as the job is still massive to take the place forward.



342843DavidBowie LADA Workshop

projected image of Earth at Klanghaus gig Colchester Saturday 23 sept 2016

342843DavidBowie is the name of minor planet (asteroid) from the outer region of the asteroid belt, approximately 2 kilometres in diameter, 342843 DavidBowie 2008YN3 is still flying around up there, and will be for billions of years! 342843DavidBowie is also the name of a ‘Bowie Stargazing and Performance Writing’ workshop which Simon Persighetti & Katie Etheridge ran on behalf of LADA from 22-24 September 2016 beginning with the first day at Colchester Arts Centre and the next two days at Firstsite Gallery. It was eye-opening for me in several ways and I thanked K & S:

10:00hrs (25.9.16)

“Dear Katie and Simon image000

these images (below) are from my tiny mobile facility. Hope you enjoy.

I really enjoyed being with youse over the past tree days, I got so much from the course.

I loved ‘getting’ that my writing is valid as Performance Art (PA) and all the potential possibilities of incorporating it into ma PA, also my ‘script’ (as it stands) for the Sommboys piece which is still very much work in progress BUT NOW I SHALL DEFINITELY INCORPORATE THE WRITTEN WORD into ma PA and spoken with much more ‘authors-oratory’.

I am reaching the climax of producing my ‘new-old’ buk about my 4 years as a student (of life and thought) at Exeter 69-73 and as I walked to ma car Isabel gave me the word ‘interrupted’ and I realised thet that is watti do, I interrupt my (altered spellingly) written scripts. Now I shall be able to really fly.”

K & S took us thru a number of different ways ‘Performance-Writing’ can be used:

  1. Challenge the 2 dimensionality of the book.
  2. Unfolding emerging text witnessed by the audience.
  3. Record & edit ‘sound & vision text’ in any way using technology- sonic, audio, video…
  4. Site installed text
  5. Writing for the digital environment including blogging.

And we had plenty of opportunities to try out several of these methods.

I liked it when we split up into different roles; Oracle, Questioner, Scribe, Messenger, Voice and the rest were Audience. This led to some great pieces of improvised use of words which came over to each participant in a variety of hearings. If you were the Oracle you could occasionally hear the Voice saying words you said earlier because the Messenger had picked up words from the Scribe and spoken them into the Voice’s ear who then spoke them into a mike and they were transmitted. If you were the Scribe you’d be listening to the Oracle and then you’d hear the Voice say some words you’d written earlier but it’d be in danger of knocking your concentration cos you were still scribing. Fascinating listening for the Audience.

You can add a screen onto which the scribe can type the words instead of handwriting them so the audience gets the thing as a visual too.

So I can imagine new (for me) ways of delivering the ‘script’ (as it stands) for the Sommboys PA piece as well as my Shrewd Idiot book which is written in the first place as a journal.

The three days also paid homage to the work of David Bowie and we all submerged ourselves in various ways in his Inspiration.

So much so that last Thursday 23rd Sept we went to an isolated house overlooking Abberton reservoir to stare at the incredibly full star tapestry. It was so dark and clear I could not see the Orion constellation as there were so many stars behind it they made it difficult to pick out even Orion’s belt which is apparently an asterism. http://earthsky.org/tonight/good-sky-trick-orions-belt-points-to-starsirius We talked about a newly discovered asterism which is shaped like the zigzag shape Bowie famously wears on his head on the Aladdin Sane cover of 1973. It almost drove me (I’m a lad) insane trying to focus in on the specific stars of a constellation on a £75 telescope whose tripod legs kept shifting. In the end I gave up trying to be specific and just homed in on an area of stars and said to myself, I need to get onto a bigger better telescope. So my star gazing has finally begun. All this naming and categorizing of star patterns is fine for those who need it, there’s parallels in most everything that UBeings engage in, but for me it is to do with immersion. I try immerse ma sen in ‘life’, take out what I can and represent it as best I can in the various fields I find my self labouring in. Oh, I wrote a poem about that, the way the art establichsmunt has always turned a blind eye to ma werk and all:


I am a poet now but I ain’t got the degree

Ah So ‘They’ won’t hear me

I am a writer now but I ain’t got the degree

So ‘They’ won’t read me

I am a artisbloke now

I always have been

(a has been?)

But I ain’t not got the degree

So ‘They’ won’t see me

I do Performance Art now but I ain’t got no degree

So ‘They’ won’t watch me

Now I got a Masters now

But ‘They’ still can’t hear me

‘They’ still can’t read me

‘They’ still can’t see me

‘They’ still can’t watch me

Because nobody has told them I’m good enough

‘They’ can’t read between the lines

And ‘They’ can’t see that for themselves

Listen ‘They’ don’t have ears to hear

Nor do ‘They’ have the senses to watch

But after all is said and done

‘They’ ain’t of any significance

‘They’ don’t make ma art(s…s…s…)

And in the end

It’s no matter what ‘They’ say or don’t

As I leaf it to Posterity now

Because ‘They’ missed out this time around

Didn’t You!

Did Ya?

During the workshop me and Daniella did a cut out writing piece which I thoroughly enjoyed doing contrary to my initial thoughts on doing ‘cut ups ‘like Brion Gysin did’ (Brion invented the cut and paste but only after the surrealists had invented it in the 1920’s) and Bowie used the technique as did Lennon. http://www.thewhitereview.org/art/the-idea-machine-brion-gysin/ Here’s our result:


Murchison me wit Daniella

Dedicated to lovely little Petrie Murchison a woman I used to talk with at my college in Exeter in the Art department as we both worked in print-making. I wonder where she is now?

I enjoyed working with Kate & Daniella on our final project in the last two days. We began by using the much unseen and underused windows at ground-level in Firstsite. We were looking at using three helmets; one from an aboriginal people (like the Hopi), one from deep sea divers of the 19th century and of course one from the 1960’s space astronaut adventures which inspired both Bowie and Kubrick. We, using Katie’s words, made an ‘Elegant Synthesis using the word DIVE’ (as yu know elegance isn’t my norm). They got me to lay in the window and put up the four letters in dive one after the other whilst everyone else stood watching from the bottom of the steps outside. This was lovely cos it actually utilized an part of the architect Rafael Viñoly’s design which was intended to be a beautiful feature but which is so rarely seen or appreciated because for strange and stupid reasons the whole field outside the gallery on the old bus station side is out of bounds when really it should be one of the biggest boons. The gallery cannot be walked round from the outside because the gate is locked to this side with the windows at floor level which therefore cannot be seen into and that’s what they’re designed for because you can’t see out them from the inside unless yer doon on th’knees like what I wer.


Katie in character as a deep sea diver

On day 3 we three worked to change the ‘Elegant Synthesis using the word DIVE’ into a longer piece with masks what I made using minimal materials and time. We presented our piece wearing the masks which was real hard on Daniella cos she wer suffrin badly from hayfever or sum otha allergy ting. The best ting in our performance was when this little girl about 4 year old in a white costume with a pointed hat seemed to feel she could improve it by just being there and she did! Also someone else was just behind us doing their thing which we were unaware of but the audience enjoyed that intervention too too. Katie did a reading onto a sound recorder and she played it back alongside reading it aloud. Daniella, who hails from Peru, did a lovely piece about shamans in America who apparently dance to the shape of different constellations where she had sentences on bits o paper which were stapled onto a red cord which she placed in a cupboard and she pulled out handing one end to one audience member who passed it along to the next and this continued until the story was told and she placed the cord and words back in the cupboard. This brought up the cords we had referenced during the mask-performance; shaman’s cord to the unknown, divers cord to air, astronaut’s cord to the module and of course reference to the umbilical cord of humanity (UBeings).

Next we watched Debbie & Laura do their Fem-Space piece which was their Creation myth with feminine principals and principles. Re-writing the old masculine myths and ending with the patriarchs being projected out of the goddess’s daughter’s nether regions after being composed of her vomit of the geometry that her mother had regurgitated to feed her, it’s a convoluted but rather powerful story which reversed the creation myth order from male to female. [This tale was not dissimilar to the creation myth of the Gnostics who had a woman equal partner the male god who created this Universe in an act to materialize life whereas previously life had had no material being.]

Then we were tired.

folk clambered onto the bus on which Neutrinos played music before skipping off to the next space in the looming depot.

We went to eat in a Lebanese restaurant and on to a magic bus what took us to the old derelict bus depot in Colchester where the Neutrinos and Klanghaus entertained us and half of Colchester’s cognoscenti. It was an amazing arrival of what I would call ‘real art’ in the town as they walked us thru the shambled old structure singing wonderful words like My Face Is Wet From Pissing Into The Wind. Which I know all about having spent much of my (creative) life doing so myself. (see ma poem ‘They’ above)

Stone the Crows flew in for the night!

I won’t try telling the tale of Klanghaus just show some tiny snaps what I took with my inadequate mobile camera what actually provides me with some wonderful images.

this is an amazing ‘face’ which my camera managed to ascertain from the woman who peeked out from under the bus by the tyre. I think it’s astounding. A kind of collaboration between me as artis, old mobile as veru low quality device, the woman from Neutrinos face and what digitising does.I looks like one of Oskar Schlemmer’s models.



a Do Don Ko

Peter The Pink Painter

Do Don Ko Don Don = Left Right Left Right Right when you’re hitting drums at Strathen’s Taiko Drumming Centre. http://www.taiko.co.uk/  That’s where I found myself on Saturday & Sunday last weekend. Two days of banging those drums and I feel I got a good feel for the form, now I need to continue to practice the 4 sets of sounds I was introduced to, keep my hand in so to speak.

Neil & Miyuki, two leaders who took us thru our paces on the Taiko drums

It cost me loadsa munni; the flight, the new case what fitted into both easyjet & ryans racks, the B&B (even at ‘performers’ rate), the cost o food to fill ma face, the workshop cost, travel around Glasgie, entry into the Grosvenor cinema fer two films and galleries like the Mackintosh replica hoose in the Hunterian Gallery, shoe leather and muscle fatigue as I traipsed the streets over the 2 extra days (and nichts) taiko-wkend-11

that I took to see the city in which I was borned back in 1950 and left sometime in ’52-3 never to return til now. Pete’s Personal Pilgrimage you could say. I learned a lot, saw a lot, did a lot I don’t usually do, ate a lot of veggie food and black pudding but nae haggis.

a haggis flying into glasgow airport, honest!
The Infirmary wherein I was born, you see it as a palace or a concentration camp from Mervyn Peake’s Titus Alone.

I was up in Scotland on a personal pilgrimage to my birth city and I walked so many miles to get a feel of the place by the time I arrived back to my digs on the penultimate night the pads of my feet were sore and I was feeling exhausted, but it was worth it.

I visited Renee Mackintosh’s replica hoose at the Hunterian gallery and saw where Damian Hirst may have took his inspiration (it’s called ‘referencing’ now) for those cabinet exhibits he done at Tate Britain.

The man in the hat, that’s me in the cabinet (no am not the babe).

And the calf in Kelvingrove gallery which may have been the one he ‘references’ in his cut up animal cabinets.


The Hunterian museum was amazing with a deathmask of the Dr Hunter who set the place up from proceeds raised when he took his medical business to London and became the first surgeon to advise artists at the Royal Academy about how the body is made up.


There were also a chair used to test the student on which they sat. It had a sand dropping thing, not an hour glass cos it only lasted 20 mins! Hell, even when i did my B?Ed exam at Exeter Uni Hall the tests were in two 3 hour sessions! 20 mins would have been bliss.

The best part for me was being welcomed into the Glasgow school of art library where I was able to rest on my final day in the company of thousands of great books. I particularly loved reading David Lynch’s book about big fish. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Catching-Big-Fish-Meditation-Consciousness/dp/1585425400 as a result of reading it (quickly) I can see I’ll be doing my own meditation soon! That will be a miracle cos normally when I stop moving, I sleep.

They also have some artisbuks butti couldn’t see any without first ordering them days in advans, and I did not have days to spare in Ad Vans. Here’s one tho’  by

Adrian Wiszniewski




Jeopardy On Road & Roof

Just a quick note, no blArt this week cos am off to ma birthplace in Glasgow first time in 62 years! Am going on to Mugen taiko to do a weekend japanese drum session.

I have sent out the first chapter of my book to be The Shrewd idiot on Dropbox, so if you’d like to see it drop me a line. Then I can send yu a link to the file which is 137MB. The book will be different again cos i have to reduce the wordsize so the scans of the typescript look better on the page.

Below is a previous blarty pants winge about the driving on Britain’s roads.

My life may have been in jeopardy thrice last week. I was on me way to Tai Chi, a peaceful martial art practice when going down this back country lane I saw a tiny car coming toward me in a one and a half car road and they could have pulled over in to a carpassby which was on their side (two women in blue short sleeved shirts which indicated they were in some kind of uniform) but seemed to want to squeeze by me in non-existent space. As the layby was on their side I just continued driving which seemed to rile the driver who glegged at me aggressively. I drove on and stuck my arm out of my window pointing to the layby. THEN, she stopped and began reversing at speed. Nutter?

a jeopardy rd
Distance tween A to B must be at least 15, maybe 20 m. How does a vehicle travelling at 30 mph get that far in the time it took me to drive across the road (A-C) which is about 3m over which I never dawdle?

Next I was returning home and as we approach a right turn into our village there’s a bend up ahead which cars come round that we cannot see but so long as you don’t dawdle, if there’s no sign of a vehicle as you look normally there’s plenty of time to whip into the right turn. Not that near fateful day! Noo Noo. The only way a car is going to crash into me is if they’re going over the 30 limit and CRASH he nearly did! From around the bend around which he cannot see either and he should be taking due care as it is well into a 30 limit, came flying a big four by four with some sort of caterpillar truck in a trailer on his back end and he didn’t have time enough to stop. I had stopped, thinking, “If I carry on I’ll run into him”. I was now in his lane. He then did a manoeuvre which was the only one which could save his trailer going into him and him and all going head on into me. He turned his wheel right and went into the opposite lane where luckily the other cars hadn’t arrived yet. So we all escaped serious injury and that. But people do drive too fast and I am probably guilty of same sometimes altho I try to stick to speed limits and drive with care. But many don’t, then they wonder why the ditches are so frequently occupied by cars with ‘police aware’ signs?

Then there’s the danger of trying to fix a long broken double glazed window. That may seems fairly straightforward yes but not so when you got to be standing on the top of a pitched conservatory roof. Our window’s been damaged for years. I never contemplated mending it cos I cannot do plastic double glazing can I? Or can I? Nowadays we have utube vids to tell us how to do it all. And kind glaziers who’ll give advice in the knowledge that when you fail after hours of heartache they’ll be called in to fix it. And hours of heartache it was. I mended the locking mechanism so that the handle works for the first time in years. I got the replacement window for a good price. Then you just pop out the stays and drop in the window and pop back the stays BUT it doesn’t say in the vids that those stays won’t snap back into the corners very easily, nor do they tell you that they won’t easily pop back into the tinychannels they’re supposed to snap back to. And trying to do it while balancing on an 18cm bit of wood beneath which the glass beckons. And trying to force plastic which won’t be forced into gaps that seem too small and you have to bend the stay out and try to get it into the mitred angle of each corner and if one isn’t in perfec the rest don’t stand a chance and you’re pushing against a half open window and then the stay pops out suddenly and you lunge forward and the stay drops and slides down the roof and you have to go thru th’open window down onto the chair, down the stairs and out in the yard to retrieve the stay then retrace yer steps back onto the roof and after doing that twenty times three of the four stays pop out at once and slide in different directions off the roof and you have to ask yersen do I call the man in now or do I have just one last, a hundredth last, go? And on that go the thing just slides gently into place and you can clean the window and go off to Zumba which you nearly forgot about.

If you don’t at first succeed try try again.

Or maybe call the man in earlier?

I was going to compare all three jeopardies to things I have had to deal with in the art world but that’s too much of a manoeuvre and the analogies wouldn’t necessarily be understood. Except the last one maybe, “If you don’t at first succeed try try again”? Well I applied that so many times I believe that’s why my wife finds me always trying.

But, ‘you win some, you lose some’ may be a better analogy?

So, I’ve survived long enough for this my 200th blArty piece. And it’s the first without any images…unless of course you see words as images…well some folk do.

Well alright I succumbed and put some images in.

And am wondering if I shud start a crusade or maybe nowadays the word campaign is preferred to crusade? A campaign to slow cars down on all our country roads. It’d be to little avail cos drivers out there all think they are Stirling Moss still, don’t they. And the bigger the truck the faster they drive?

Which reminds me I saw a lorry take the (blind from both directions) bend nearest the letter B, he took it so fast he went about 2 metres over into the other side. Luckily the woman coming the other way was far enough back from the bend that he did not hit her. It was not a small truck, it was BIG, am sure it shouldn’t be on that road. I happened to be going his way and he sped all the way to Colchester then, when it drops to a 30 mile per hour zone he continued well above that, I lost him cos I stuck to the rulkes. I know I never stick to the rules in ‘art’, well it’s not going to kill or maim anyone if I delibritli Miss Spell, is it?

So an old friend of mine who read ma blArt sent these words today, “I find it very interesting how much danger centres round transportation and the acquisition of a vehicle licence [it seems?] is a licence to kill!… It does tend to be a good argument for an expanded and free safe public transport system…. maybe in another millennium? The frustration and anger folk express through their vehicles has always fascinated me…the shift in personality which a vehicle seems to exacerbate in a negative way I find quite extraordinary.”

His idea for an expanded and free safe public transport system may be possible in some parts of GB but no way can I see it ever coming to Essex where the local bus picks up in the village once in a blue moon, AND they threatened to stop that service recently! Publice transport and cycle safe roads? maybe in another millennium!

Layout 1

Midnite Ramblin?

1 full moon on Mckel shed sm
August Moon over McKell roof

This blArt’s about how some folk fail to present their wares and/or themselves in the best light, whilst some folk just present themselves and it seems like whatever they do just works, like Jagger did, or still does? I mention Mick Taylor, I think the best by far guitarist the Stones ever had who never looked anything special because I think he is more interested in making beautiful music whilst Jagger, Richards and Woods are all more like a band of gypsy troubadours whose image is more vital than what they play out. Jagger struts and swaggers and minces and dances very very badly most times, but he looks great doing those tings. It’s the way he tell it!

Great item Poor Presentation!

I was driving along one weekenday and listening to Brian Matthew’s Sounds of the Sixties and he played Simon Dupree and the Big Sound. He said Dupree’s group had had several attempts to have hits before to no avail with blues stuff and that this was essentially a one hit wonder. So right he was. In this vid we see Dupree presenting the song ‘live’ in a really poor film but he sort of takes the mick out of the song, which must have made him lots o dosh.


Sad really cos it is truly a great song with evocative words but it shows that as we move thru life we don’t always know which of the things we churn out are in fact the quality items. Sometimes it’s obvious to all, like Bowie’s China Girl, but more often than not it takes time for things to tell, to gel, to sell even.

Here’s an Infinitely better production of Kite:


Talking of presentation, there’s Mick Taylor who probably made the sound of the Stones during their most productive and successful phase (for me). He was understated and seemed to take a back seat behind Jagger and Richards eventually succumbing to the trials and tribulations that followed the stones altho’ not dying like the man who’s shoes he filled, Brian Jones.

I have always thought the version os ‘Knocking’ on Sticky Fingers is one of the best tracks they ever laid down and was convinced Taylor was the mainstay of the sound. This vid shows that was the case and Mick Taylor is still knocking and playing great with the stones at Glastonbury recently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpwsTyD6XQg

Here’s more with his version of Jimi’s Red House


This is supposedly his ‘best ever solo’ in this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1liXLeYFhSs

with Carla Olson (who’s she?) see http://www.nickdrake.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=5577

Which brings me to another thing-fame! Carla is obviously good and highly thought of but I hadn’t heard of her til today, which brings me back to the start of the blArt, it’s to do with the way you are presented and again, it’s to do with the way you tell ‘em.

jagga struts 76 sm
Enter a caption

Jagger struts and swaggers and minces in my 1976 photo.

So, I’ll keep tellin em as long as I can sometimes in word,or paintings, or in photos. Maybe one day I may do my own ‘Kite’ or play my ting like ringin a bell, just like Johnnie Winter did! Meanwhile I continue to practice.




Golden moments Weekender


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

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

OFF- Olympics Fall Farces  –

some sad things at the Olympics too:

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

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

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

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OAP- Old Artis Pete- Has a new logo

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

a lorryhed

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

lorryhed on side

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

a blythe talk sm

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

a jd + medal

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

1 pete an ken 2 best sm

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

a liz on sax

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

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

a pete in frunt o Aud 61 sm

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


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


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


Simpler blog part 2.

OK so I have stopped attempting to change the world (for what I consider the better…after all that’s only my opinion, innit?) and now I just do ma simpler blArt.

This one’s about:

My old windsurfer board, Colchester Art Society’s (CAS) forthcoming 70th anniversary show, a talk at Tate Brit, my pose for Benton Hall challenge, a general celebration of life, oh and a decision by 14-18NOW against supporting my work which I’ll put first as I don’t wish to end on a down note…In fact it’s not a downer, it’s a relief.

I asked 14-18NOW if they could see their way to support my idea for a book and a  Performance Art PA piece about the part played by ordinary folks in WW1. I am determined to do both things and, like I have always done, create them from my never ending personal financial store which presently is my pension. I have this crazy idea that at 65 I can do all the things I never managed to do (much, apart from 21 solo exhibitions including lots of new (PA) bits over the years between the 70s and when I retired hurt frae teaching in 2009 or should I say re-tyred, or even retried?) whilst I had to work a day job to feed my wife and 2 and a half kids…the half being the cats, hamsters, wabbits and occasional bird from budgies to those damn tweety little tings, oh and guinea pigs and silkies…

[Pete this is not being simple!

OK, I’ll not wander off the topic, I believe ‘digress’ is the correct werd]

So, my idea is to write a book which talks about all the folks in my home town who were scuttled off to war in 1914 and put images of them in from their obits in the Burnley papers of the day. Then I had this idea to build a ‘trench’ with two turrets, one each side of the stage and then I play Tommy and Gerry, scurrying back and fro giving the other waller some hell and getting myself blown up as both men. Then I had this idea to have dummies made of the aristocrats who created the war and machinated its continuous slaughter using donkeys to lead the lions in the trenches (as they say). Audience members would have been invited to throw tomatoes at the dummies whilst emitting slang low life curses about their megalomania. But it’s a stupid idea anyway and as 14-18NOW so aptly put it, “We … regret that we have decided not to offer you one of our co-commissions.  We did not believe that your project would have the reach and impact that we are seeking for our final season in 2018.” Neither did the plans of the generals on all sides in 14-18THEN!

What do I know about potential reach? All I do know is the men and women who suffered so much tween 14-18, then some more in 1926, then more in 39-45, then some in the miner’s strike…

(so well portrayed by Ken Loach https://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/jul/20/ken-loach-documentary-first-screening)

…all deserve to have their stories told. But not from the ‘official’ viewpoint which so often has belittled the millions who were sacrificed. It has not been ‘playing cricket’ to let loose on the war-mongers who would send thousands of men over the top to be mown down by machine guns, not just once then stop it after realising the fruitlessness of it, no but many more times. A dead strategy leads to dead men and annihilated towns etc. It is happening now in Syria. And Ukraine. And Tibet. But nobody talks about it. And that is what my ‘play’ would be about. So in a way it’s good to not get support cos it relieves me of sticking my neck out and getting banned for 40 years like Ken Loach did and I don’t have 40 years left to play with anyway. So, that’s it then.

a board s

My old windsurfer board:

It sure looks like I am trying to sell it butNO! In fact I am trying to overcome my reticence of clearing out unused tut. I have kept and accumulated everything that came into my life, except people of course, of those I just have memories, at least for the time being, until that goes too. So you can understand when I tell you that I cannot open my studio door let alone work in it. I had to stop windsurfing several years ago cos my hands were suffering and I couldn’t hold the boom. But there is the board, hoarded. Yesterday I plucked up the courage to put it out for sale on our front, it didn’t sell yet cos our front is quite obscured in a little village, but it’s the thought that counts (my ability to sell don’t count that’s fer sure, never has).

My pose for Benton Hall Olympic challenge photo?

Well who wouldn’t want a free month membership? They asked us to pose in sports gear and put an image up on the Benton Hall facebook site so I wore ma Tai Chi top and took ma Tai Chi sword and did a pose, see below. The photo what gits the most ‘likes’ wins a month free.

A show & tell talk at Tate brit?

Last Friday I went to Tate archive where this Irish lad brought out some letters written by Vanessa Bell, Michaels Rothenstein & Nicholson and some drawings by Paul & John Nash and Robert Graves from around about 1418then. I went up cos I were researching my Somme Boys idea (again) and I thought it may cast more light on those dark times which indeed it did. I heard the phrase ‘Lions led by Donkeys’ for the first time from the mouth of that very same Irish lad. And the phrase resonated with my synopsis that the war was created and run by megalomaniacal monarchs and twits from the so-called ‘Upper Classes’. It was good to see John Nash’s sketch of some fat generals coming round to inspect the troops. And fascinating to see how Vanessa fought to be able to give conscientious objector Duncan Grant a home and job during the war, if he’d been from a working class family they’d have just jailed him. I always saw it as crazy punishing people who didn’t want to kill other men but war is like that innit, you gets medals for killing when in peace time you’d get hung (in 1418backthen until hanging was abolished, in England, they still execute folk in some countries but.

[Too heavy Pete]

The Colchester Art Society’s (CAS) forthcoming 70th anniversary show opens this Saturday for two weeks.


It’s 48 years since I first submitted any work for an Art group summer show, that was back in me home toon of Burnley in 1968 where i had two portrait paintings (I promise to dig out the one I still have) accepted and mentioned in the Burnley Express, so I should be good at submissions by now but I found recently you still get those nerves as to whether your best efforts will gain the nod of acceptance from the group. Then I said to myself, that nervousness is a deep rut learning thing (see Guy Claxton on that) and it’s like a bad habit, have more faith in yourself, you’re no longer that 17 year old novice. I don’t like joining groups. Especially after my history of failed attempts at the RA show where after about 5 submissions I finally had two accepted by the panel and then they weren’t even hung. RA sent me a letter congratulating me and said it were an honour to be ‘awarded’ ‘Doubtful’ status. That had cost me about £120 to NOT be seen by the RA visitors etc, some honour. So I never bothered again. I know, the nation’s in mourning, but I can’t be throwing away 120 quid every time _carriage & submit fees). One year I know someone who paid to submit an artist’s book there and they cancelled the category after allegedly not having enough entries in the division, but they din’t reimburse her.

Recently I was persuaded to join CAS recently and submit some artworks fer their show which I did and much to my delight they’ve accepted 3 works and hung two very beautifully. My tribute oil of local writer John Atkins and national hero funny man Ken Campbell stands or hangs rather in a space which you can’t help but see as you enter the big main room and even tho I say it myself [Nobody else would you tweet] it looks real good. All those hours slogging away over a lot of turps, linseed oil and canvas on dark lonely nights has eventually paid off.

a CAS submit aug 16 jAt + ken sm

This was one of two painting as accepted by the RA in 2005 but not hung, that’s why I have RA Doubtful after my name on ma cards. [Now, you’re slippin back Pete]

I won’t mention the fact that my brakes failed just after I had delivered my work to the Minories in Colchester because that would worry you too much, but they did. And it’s funny innit how such a simple thing can have such unsettling consequences. Not that I managed to crash or ought like that, but just driving yer car up to th’garige to have them tell you you got a leaking brake pipe or summat and then you place the car in the compound and get a lift off yer wife to your business for the day and then at the end of the day the garage rings and says that you didn’t leave the key and you say I most certainly did and they say just check your jacket pockets sir and you do and there they are those sneaky keys what just must have jumped back into my pocket. So the car won’t be done today obviously.

What’s a general celebration of life then?

Well of course I didn’t have a prang, that’s enough to celebrate innit? And I took more photos of beautiful tings this week.

a chili guru 2 s

Guru cat contemplatin

aha shiney sword sm

Well he may not be so beautiful but he keeps trying.

snoop rainbows

Here’s Snoop having a rest unda a rainbow in our ‘ouse, which is a very very fine house, with two cats in th’yard…

sunset monster sm
sunset over West Ham ground at Stratford last Friday night.

OK I realise this was not a simpler blArt, I’ll try harder nextime.

Bye fer noo, I bid you good night, or g’day wherever you are.