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.
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.
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.
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.’
A highly knowledgeable panel of:
& George Mackay
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.
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 is the name of minor planet (asteroid) from the outer region of the asteroid belt, approximately 2 kilometres in diameter, 342843 DavidBowie 2008YN3 is still flying around up there, and will be for billions of years! 342843DavidBowie is also the name of a ‘Bowie Stargazing and Performance Writing’ workshop which Simon Persighetti & Katie Etheridge ran on behalf of LADA from 22-24 September 2016 beginning with the first day at Colchester Arts Centre and the next two days at Firstsite Gallery. It was eye-opening for me in several ways and I thanked K & S:
“Dear Katie and Simon
these images (below) are from my tiny mobile facility. Hope you enjoy.
I really enjoyed being with youse over the past tree days, I got so much from the course.
I loved ‘getting’ that my writing is valid as Performance Art (PA) and all the potential possibilities of incorporating it into ma PA, also my ‘script’ (as it stands) for the Sommboys piece which is still very much work in progress BUT NOW I SHALL DEFINITELY INCORPORATE THE WRITTEN WORD into ma PA and spoken with much more ‘authors-oratory’.
I am reaching the climax of producing my ‘new-old’ buk about my 4 years as a student (of life and thought) at Exeter 69-73 and as I walked to ma car Isabel gave me the word ‘interrupted’ and I realised thet that is watti do, I interrupt my (altered spellingly) written scripts. Now I shall be able to really fly.”
K & S took us thru a number of different ways ‘Performance-Writing’ can be used:
Challenge the 2 dimensionality of the book.
Unfolding emerging text witnessed by the audience.
Record & edit ‘sound & vision text’ in any way using technology- sonic, audio, video…
Site installed text
Writing for the digital environment including blogging.
And we had plenty of opportunities to try out several of these methods.
I liked it when we split up into different roles; Oracle, Questioner, Scribe, Messenger, Voice and the rest were Audience. This led to some great pieces of improvised use of words which came over to each participant in a variety of hearings. If you were the Oracle you could occasionally hear the Voice saying words you said earlier because the Messenger had picked up words from the Scribe and spoken them into the Voice’s ear who then spoke them into a mike and they were transmitted. If you were the Scribe you’d be listening to the Oracle and then you’d hear the Voice say some words you’d written earlier but it’d be in danger of knocking your concentration cos you were still scribing. Fascinating listening for the Audience.
You can add a screen onto which the scribe can type the words instead of handwriting them so the audience gets the thing as a visual too.
So I can imagine new (for me) ways of delivering the ‘script’ (as it stands) for the Sommboys PA piece as well as my Shrewd Idiot book which is written in the first place as a journal.
The three days also paid homage to the work of David Bowie and we all submerged ourselves in various ways in his Inspiration.
So much so that last Thursday 23rd Sept we went to an isolated house overlooking Abberton reservoir to stare at the incredibly full star tapestry. It was so dark and clear I could not see the Orion constellation as there were so many stars behind it they made it difficult to pick out even Orion’s belt which is apparently an asterism. http://earthsky.org/tonight/good-sky-trick-orions-belt-points-to-starsirius We talked about a newly discovered asterism which is shaped like the zigzag shape Bowie famously wears on his head on the Aladdin Sane cover of 1973. It almost drove me (I’m a lad) insane trying to focus in on the specific stars of a constellation on a £75 telescope whose tripod legs kept shifting. In the end I gave up trying to be specific and just homed in on an area of stars and said to myself, I need to get onto a bigger better telescope. So my star gazing has finally begun. All this naming and categorizing of star patterns is fine for those who need it, there’s parallels in most everything that UBeings engage in, but for me it is to do with immersion. I try immerse ma sen in ‘life’, take out what I can and represent it as best I can in the various fields I find my self labouring in. Oh, I wrote a poem about that, the way the art establichsmunt has always turned a blind eye to ma werk and all:
I am a poet now but I ain’t got the degree
Ah So ‘They’ won’t hear me
I am a writer now but I ain’t got the degree
So ‘They’ won’t read me
I am a artisbloke now
I always have been
(a has been?)
But I ain’t not got the degree
So ‘They’ won’t see me
I do Performance Art now but I ain’t got no degree
So ‘They’ won’t watch me
Now I got a Masters now
But ‘They’ still can’t hear me
‘They’ still can’t read me
‘They’ still can’t see me
‘They’ still can’t watch me
Because nobody has told them I’m good enough
‘They’ can’t read between the lines
And ‘They’ can’t see that for themselves
Listen ‘They’ don’t have ears to hear
Nor do ‘They’ have the senses to watch
But after all is said and done
‘They’ ain’t of any significance
‘They’ don’t make ma art(s…s…s…)
And in the end
It’s no matter what ‘They’ say or don’t
As I leaf it to Posterity now
Because ‘They’ missed out this time around
During the workshop me and Daniella did a cut out writing piece which I thoroughly enjoyed doing contrary to my initial thoughts on doing ‘cut ups ‘like Brion Gysin did’ (Brion invented the cut and paste but only after the surrealists had invented it in the 1920’s) and Bowie used the technique as did Lennon. http://www.thewhitereview.org/art/the-idea-machine-brion-gysin/ Here’s our result:
Murchison me wit Daniella
Dedicated to lovely little Petrie Murchison a woman I used to talk with at my college in Exeter in the Art department as we both worked in print-making. I wonder where she is now?
I enjoyed working with Kate & Daniella on our final project in the last two days. We began by using the much unseen and underused windows at ground-level in Firstsite. We were looking at using three helmets; one from an aboriginal people (like the Hopi), one from deep sea divers of the 19th century and of course one from the 1960’s space astronaut adventures which inspired both Bowie and Kubrick. We, using Katie’s words, made an ‘Elegant Synthesis using the word DIVE’ (as yu know elegance isn’t my norm). They got me to lay in the window and put up the four letters in dive one after the other whilst everyone else stood watching from the bottom of the steps outside. This was lovely cos it actually utilized an part of the architect Rafael Viñoly’s design which was intended to be a beautiful feature but which is so rarely seen or appreciated because for strange and stupid reasons the whole field outside the gallery on the old bus station side is out of bounds when really it should be one of the biggest boons. The gallery cannot be walked round from the outside because the gate is locked to this side with the windows at floor level which therefore cannot be seen into and that’s what they’re designed for because you can’t see out them from the inside unless yer doon on th’knees like what I wer.
On day 3 we three worked to change the ‘Elegant Synthesis using the word DIVE’ into a longer piece with masks what I made using minimal materials and time. We presented our piece wearing the masks which was real hard on Daniella cos she wer suffrin badly from hayfever or sum otha allergy ting. The best ting in our performance was when this little girl about 4 year old in a white costume with a pointed hat seemed to feel she could improve it by just being there and she did! Also someone else was just behind us doing their thing which we were unaware of but the audience enjoyed that intervention too too. Katie did a reading onto a sound recorder and she played it back alongside reading it aloud. Daniella, who hails from Peru, did a lovely piece about shamans in America who apparently dance to the shape of different constellations where she had sentences on bits o paper which were stapled onto a red cord which she placed in a cupboard and she pulled out handing one end to one audience member who passed it along to the next and this continued until the story was told and she placed the cord and words back in the cupboard. This brought up the cords we had referenced during the mask-performance; shaman’s cord to the unknown, divers cord to air, astronaut’s cord to the module and of course reference to the umbilical cord of humanity (UBeings).
Next we watched Debbie & Laura do their Fem-Space piece which was their Creation myth with feminine principals and principles. Re-writing the old masculine myths and ending with the patriarchs being projected out of the goddess’s daughter’s nether regions after being composed of her vomit of the geometry that her mother had regurgitated to feed her, it’s a convoluted but rather powerful story which reversed the creation myth order from male to female. [This tale was not dissimilar to the creation myth of the Gnostics who had a woman equal partner the male god who created this Universe in an act to materialize life whereas previously life had had no material being.]
Then we were tired.
We went to eat in a Lebanese restaurant and on to a magic bus what took us to the old derelict bus depot in Colchester where the Neutrinos and Klanghaus entertained us and half of Colchester’s cognoscenti. It was an amazing arrival of what I would call ‘real art’ in the town as they walked us thru the shambled old structure singing wonderful words like My Face Is Wet From Pissing Into The Wind. Which I know all about having spent much of my (creative) life doing so myself. (see ma poem ‘They’ above)
I won’t try telling the tale of Klanghaus just show some tiny snaps what I took with my inadequate mobile camera what actually provides me with some wonderful images.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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 20 min glass
The Blackstone Chair
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
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?
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[You don’t see Lorryhead like this cos he’s sitting in a lotus position (what I cannot do, yet) in the glass case.]
The opening was good with Robert Blythe (of Akenfield fame) giving an inspired speech.
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.
I thank Paul who took some great snaps of me in front of my pic with the dog licking me.
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.
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!
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…
…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.
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.
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.
Guru cat contemplatin
Well he may not be so beautiful but he keeps trying.
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…
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.
As you know many of my BlArts are about pretty heavy stuff and strange stuff and stuff most folk aren’t bee arsed abArt most of the time.
This week I am taking a much simpler look, more direct, at (my experience of) life.
Mostimes when I come to ‘write’ I put my concerned hat on and go, ‘Now, what’s concerning me now?’ but there’s a lot goes on of beauty in ma life what I don’t blart on about like:
When I did my first degree I did a dissertation about modern Japanese art and I came across their paintings which were so like photos. Why bother painting it when you can take the photo, on a Japanese camera even!
Here’s some flowers with raindrops on
Rainbow lights, they come into ma living room early morning when the sun shines, nice.
I made a friend this week, but only for a couple of days. Twas a big old bumble bee. I found him swimming, or rather, drowning in my cats’ drinking bowl.
I plucked him out one day last week and put him safe. Next I found him walking round in some clover.
I noticed walking was his only means of gerrin about cos one of his wings was badly damaged. So, if he’d tried to fly he would have only gone around in circles like a whirly dervished bee. The following day I found him back in his swimming pool again! So, I put my bronze medallion life saving into action and pulled him out agin. Put him safe agin too. Or two. Next day I found him curled up and died. Well, I got him two extra days on this planet, maybe he’ll return as an Olympic swimmer?
and here’s a flower pic I took a couple of weeks ago in the Tibetan Peace Garden in the Imperial War Museum.
In the past two weeks I have been to the Imperial War Museum and the House of Illustration in London to watch Simon Armitage then David McKean talk about and show their respective works on WW1 respectively. Armitage in his poem referenced Virgil’s use of the bees and it made me think, ‘Yes, tings like bees would continue to try to survive despite human folly’.
McKean was altogether more comprehensive in his use of insects and birds in his INCREDIBLE graphic-novel-BOOK called Black Dog inspired by the First ‘World’ War and work of Paul Nash. I shall dedicate a full blArt on DMcK later when I have had time to digest all he said and created in the book alongside some great photos of his face and limbs moving thru the discussion of his work.
I must offer that Black Dog by Dave McKean is, for me, the best! It’s such a powerful piece, incorporating such hugh delicacy, that I feel as if I am in the company of a giant in his field who makes the BFG seem tiny. I have had long-standing admiration for the Underground comic art of Rick Griffin since the 1970s but this Black Dog has stolen his place at the top of my thinking. Here’s my rendition of D Mc in a drawing I did of him then played with in PShop.
I am busy working the photos I took into a series of ‘portraits’ which I shall add words I wrote taken from what ‘Dave’ was saying and hope it gives a graphic story of the evening worth looking at. Here’s another image I have worked up. At some time I shall print them off and work into them with other media like pen and paint, but meanwhile this is done in photoshop where I still haven’t worked out how to draw with the natural flair which comes with my years of crafting my turn of hand.
I must tank DMcK fer allowin me to tek snaps and do ma skitches too whilst he tried to consecrate on his words & tings. Here he is troyin to concentrated milk:
Now for someting com-peterly diffrunt:
Latest update on myShrewd Idiotbook:
I have now completed the layouts of my Shrewd Idiot book and in the good feeling that has dawned as a result of the culmination of what amounts to 40 years work I have been self-reflecting. My printman says he can give it his attention come august 22nd which gives me a bit of time to dig out about 40-50 images I am going to add to it in colour, the bulk of it is B&W wid justa modicum of red, on drafting film which wiil add both the images and a palimpsest [The noun palimpsest originally described a document, such as a page from a manuscript written on parchment, that had been rubbed smooth so it could be used again, with traces of the original writing showing through. The word still carries that meaning, but ancient manuscripts are rare these days, so you’re more likely to hear palimpsest used to describe something that has traces of early stages showing through…Vocabulary.com, which seems appropriate for my SI pages in which I am re-using (scans of) typed pages from my 1978 manuscript along with handwritten additions and alterations and a few comments from the older me what is now. In fact only a Stupid Idiot like what I am would bother to ‘publish’ the work in the way I have laid it out. It has indeed been a very arduous process in which I scanned the typing, then cleaned up every page so the cut & paste line didn’t show and dropped in copies of the drawings I used to do in my ‘notes’. It would have been infinitely easier to have had the whole of the words re-typed digitally and then worked into a new layout but I had to suffer for my art! Trouble is it’ll also make the potential reader/buyer suffer too and many will be put off by its form. I have chosen to ignore all those considerations, I’ve always been stubborn with an inbuilt determination to make things hard for myself, in the name of ‘authenticity’. I should really heed the words of Walter Matthieu (born Matuchanskayasky on October 1, 1920, in New York City to impoverished Russian-Jewish immigrants) in one of his final films, Kotch(er) 1971, where he says that sometimes it’s best not to be so honest and that honesty can be and is sometimes too brutal, but, I never learn do I?….Do I ? On the contrary, I am learning all the time; I take things into consideration then eject them for my better plan, which more often than not seems foolhardy, hence the Shrewd Idiot! I am hoping that the beautiful presentation of the book will invite scores of punters to pirchase it, yes that’s pirchase as in pirspire (try doing that without wordcheck killing it!). One of my heroes, Brian Clough, before the demon drink took his judgement, used the same strategy as me when he said he would
listen to his player(s)’ points of view, then
carry on and do what he intended to do before they expressed their differences of opinion.
Hero! He won the Euro-Cup twice with a load of players most of whom had passed their sell by dates and a few greenhorns at Notts Forest. That was no fluke, Forest never did anything worthwhile after his demise.
So buy my buk you pirfec puntas cos I knows warramonabArt!
Choreographer Rosemary Butcher, who has died recently aged 69, once commented: “I’m not particularly interested in accessibility. Staying easy isn’t going to move anything.”
In 1965 the liberal arts college at Dartington, in Devon, launched a new theatre and dance studies course and she enrolled as its first dance student.
In 1968 she travelled to the US on a two-year scholarship and, studying at the schools of Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, received a thorough immersion in the mainstream of American modern dance. But it was when she returned to New York and began working with members of the radical dance collective Judson Church that she found the aesthetic that inspired her own dance-making.
The Judson philosophy was encapsulated in the opening line of its manifesto “NO to spectacle, no to virtuosity … magic and make believe”. But, just as important to Butcher, the Judson choreographers were closely involved in the experimental strategies of new music, film and visual art, and it was within this crossover culture that she saw her own career taking shape, rather than in the world of pure dance. (Guardian 20 July 2016).
I was fortunate enough to attend a number of classes in the Martha Graham technique run by Molly Penn when I was looking for something to substitute for football at St Luke’s college in Exeter in the summer months of 1972. Molly accepted me in altho I was pretty damned useless. It did lead to her asking me to design the dance production of her take on Catulli Carmina wherein she used the same structure as the Black Mountain college had with 3 people doing the production; a artisbloke (me) a dance person Molly, and a music person whose name I forgits nah (Peter O’Brien you goofball). cf Rauschenburg/Merce Cunningham/John Cage. This event is chronicled in ma Shrewd Idiot buk and this will be one of the big images in it, innit!
The image at the top is an incredible piece of synchronicity. I was planning this blArt and sitting early morning with my pen in my hand and I looked up at the fireplace, We have a crystal in the widow which sometimes sends rainbow patches of light across the room. THEN this apparition appeared. A gentle glowing on the candle which looked like it had lit up inside. As if i had lit a candle in memory of those who died, on all sides, in that onslaught known as the Battle of the Somme. I could hardly believe my eyes. This lighting effect has never occurred before. Eerie but beautiful. Bless them all.
This week the Burnley Express, the local paper which along with the Burnley News reported on the war at the time (1914-18), carried these words this week:
‘On the morning of July 1st 1916 men and boys from Burnley were among tens of thousands of soldiers ordered to go “over the top” only to be cut down by German machine gunners. More than 100 soldiers from the town were among the 57,000 British Army casualties suffered on the first day of the battle alone.’ (John Deehan firstname.lastname@example.org 27.06.2016)
Throughout 2016 I have been working toward a commemoration for those who fought in the horrendous human waste that was called the Somme battle (1July-18Nov 1916). I create images & words which I use in my own hand made ‘artist books’ and in my own ‘performance art’ pieces (PAP) where I create scenarios and enact ideas + events using my body, masks and other props to illustrate a story. I wanted to do my PAP around 1 July in somewhere like Burnley my home town, or Newcastle, my mother’s home area where her parents lost (my grandparent aged) relatives two years before she was born in 1918 and I met survivors of the conflict in 1961 or Colchester which is my adoptive home of culture. I did put feelers out but, like Paul Simon in his song The Boxer (hear a beau rendition by Mumford & son- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAl-vZsswb4 ), ‘I get no offers’, not even a come on from the whores of 7th avenue!
The way I see it I have ‘til Nov 18 2016 to do a piece for it to carry true resonance for those slaughtered as a result of the total incompetence of the ‘leaders’. Because these things take time to organise I don’t believe it’ll get done this year but then I have ‘til 11.11.2018 to at least fall within the compass of the century after WW1. I shall continue to find the venue and any backing to do my PAP but I am not holding my breath. I even approached the 14-18now group but I get no answer, maybe cos am not very famous, or maybe not very good! https://www.1418now.org.uk/
That’s no sour grapes of wrath it’s just a forlorn whelp in the wilderness!
Oh how history repeats itself; the ‘leaders’ of Britain’s government, Euro MPs (particularly Farage who rarely turns up to do his job and when he deigns to does so only to undermine the institution he was elected onto to represent the English people), the Labour(ing) and the England FA + their latest ridiculed manager all exhibit those same incompetencies today!).
I am going to blArt some of the words from my research and ideas about the Somme + the issues around those years of unnecessary carnage on which I would base my PAP. If there’s anyone interested out there please get in touch.
I found this startling blog called ‘In The Dark’ in which the writer mentions that the men were made to continue running towards machine guns- “Rather than calling off the attack in the face of the horrific slaughter, the powers that be carried on sending troops over the top to their doom for months on end. By the end of the battle (in November that year) the British losses were a staggering 420,000, while those on the German side were estimated at half a million.” https://telescoper.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/the-flowers-in-the-field-the-somme-remembered/ .
The imbeciles who organised these ‘battles’ (no, let’s call them mass murders) were the same social group that ‘led’ soldiers into battle in Africa against the brave Zulus at Rourke’s Drift and Isandlwana 37 years earlier, only in that case it was the Zulu leaders who sent their warriors in waves unprotected against the barrier of guns with the consequent carnage that ensued. (‘Isandlwana, the battle that rocked Victorian Britain; at which the Zulus wiped out a substantial British force’) Despite victory at Isandlwana the Zulu forces never recovered and they had to capitulate to the Europeans, who brought concentration camps to Africa during their internecine Boer War the victors of which then introduced apartheid.
Here’s the ideas I would base my PAP on BUT whereas the topic is of the greatest seriousness I do intend to add an element of sardonic humour, livening up the topic with surreal reflection as the famous sketch by Blackadder did, using the maniacal monarchs as objects of derision. I won’t say exactly how but think of fairground games like ‘ring toss’ and ‘bean bag tossing’ at tossers:
I have been reading about the Ancient Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians who all were involved in internecine wars and all succumbed to the Greeks (of Alexander The Vainglorious) who themselves eventually fell down under the inhumane slaughters that emanated from Rome. It seems to me (it’s not rocket science) that, like disease, war is a human condition, it goes with the patch!
I would have hoped (European) wars would have ended after Napoleon was incarcerated, or after WW1 or after WW2 but it never did. To name but a few; Burma, Korea, Vietnam, Biafra, Bangla Desh, Iraq & Afghanistan and now Syria’s war which is reminiscent of the carnage of the two ‘World Wars’. A triumvirate of my heroes, the present Dalai Lama, G I Gurdzhiev (G.) & Lennon, (illus)all advocate(d) that Ubeings (my word for Humankind which is gender absent or all equally inclusive) stop doing conflicts, which G. called mutual self-destruction.
The First World War was fabricated by monarchical maniacs who ‘ruled’ various ‘Empires’ which had been created by stealing land from and enslaving various indigenous populations throughout the world in the previous 3-400 years. When they turned their corporate venom onto their own peoples the carnage was incomprehensible. These “leaders” all thought they could use their mass-populaces as ‘cannon-fodder’ and they proceeded to do so and nobody was able to reverse, nor prevent, the carnage. The populations were led into the conflict believing it was for god & country when it was obviously for the dim-wits who ‘ruled’ them and the so called privileged ‘upper-class’ of each country to maintain their status quo, which many still maintain even in 2016, the present government of UK being a prime example.
Their Moronic Majesties Maniacal Madnesses; Wilhelm II Kaiser Bill Frederick William Victor Albert of Prussia, George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert)GB, Nicholas II, Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov Russia, Franz Joseph I Austria- Hungary, Mehmed V Reshad (Ottoman Turk Sultan), & President Raymond Poincare (France).
Their Moronic Majesties Maniacal Madnesses led to the start of WW1 and its continuation despite the obvious insanity and mass murder it exhibited in battles like; Ypres, Verdun, Somme, Passchendaele & Gallipoli! The incompetence of the generals and the blindness of the political morons who manoeuvred the Brits into the mayhem and used the population’s (mostly) men* (from all around the ‘Empire’) as if they were like subuteo players, only this was no game but it was a deadly reality! Now I understand why I feel I was driven.
*I believe thousands of women also took part as nurses tending to the horrific injuries. “Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS). It was founded in 1902 at the time of the Boer war and in 1914 was less than 300 strong. At the end of the war four years later it numbered over 10,000 nurses.” from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26838077
My Performance Art about the Somme is a tiny but explosive reminder of the destructive power held by military forces. The ability to decimate has increased a million fold in the hundred years since 1916, so beware taking the armed solution.
In my PAP (Performance Art Piece) A hundred yearns ago
I have ‘Tommy’ in the trench at the Somme*, July 1st 1916.
Ironically the word somme comes from a celtic word meaning ‘tranquil’!
Tommy gives a monologue in which he talks of finally having won this horrendous war.
‘No more maniacal leaders cos we won’t let them rise again! About a hundred years ago we fought Boney Fart & his Grenouilles in a war to end all wars. We have the Russians who beat off Boney attacking Gerry on the eastern flank and they’ve never bin beat and they forced General Prittwitz to run but they lost a million men. Someone has to halt the Huns and today is the day with God’s blessing it will be done. Today, this very day, we’re bombarding Bismarck & Bill the Bosch. There’ll be nowt left o’n ‘em. Later we go over the top to clean them up and this damned war will be over. Then I’ll go back home to my sweetheart and see ma little babe. There’ll be no more wars after this one.
Some madman called Lenin has urged our allied troops to turn their rifles against our officers and start a ‘socialist revolution’, but he’s no leader is he? I know our generals have made mistakes but now they got it right and this nasty trouble will be over by tomorrow. Listen. The bombardment has stopped……There’s the whistle, Over the top to victory!’
Over the top he went on July 1st 1916…and the rest is His Story.
There is a modern context to my PAP as well. War is still used by ‘leaders to attempt to gain ground physically and metaphorically. We shouldn’t ban the bomb, we should banish all wars.
ps if (& when) I get no offers to give a home for my PAP I shall hire somewhere and damn well do it out of my own devices. It’s the least I can do to commemorate the poor sods who were taken in that horrific battle of the royal families and other elites of Europe.
The recent ‘leaders’ who took nations into wars are still prevalent, some (or should I say Somme?) examples; Thatcher & Blair although they pale into insignificance against the Bushes snr & jnr, Saddam Hussein, Gadhafi, Putin, and maybe the worst of all, the man responsible for the mass of the population of his country leaving their destroyed cities to risk crossing oceans in small dinghies Assad. Believe me their moronic majesties’ bequest is still very very real!
This looks like a very moving installation. It gives a small powerful emanation of the hurt which must have been felt on all sides, in many nations.
Haig and the high command really messed up in more ways than one. They had intelligence reports that an area of the front was very vulnerable yet they attacked across the whole front. Ironically the war may have been ended and millions of lives saved if only Haig had been a more competent tactician and used that intelligence (gained from German POWs who told of a weakness in their defences) although it meant the Germans would have purportedly ‘lost’ the war (there could be no victors in that cataclysm!) the gain would have been an end to the carnage. Instead they added to it then added some more in many more such battles until 11.11.1918.
Also someone high up made a fundamental error at 3am that day by phoning a message of good luck for the impending attack. That message was listened in to and the German gunners were alerted across the whole front, with devastating consequences.
Haig and His Highly Incompetents must have seen the disaster unfolding rapidly but instead of calling the attack off continued it until November 18th. Men from all over the world deemed dispensable. Not to mention the many Germans who were massacred in the initial explosion (“A queer dull thud” as one soldier witnessed at the time.) from the mines laid by sappers deep under the German command at Lochnagar. The sappers were taken from those who worked in the pits of Britain, they dug down deep under the German line to lay the biggest store of explosives ever laid. The ‘job’ was fraught with danger as German soldiers were also digging deep.
I think we need to make work about the war to help us understand the futility and the waste – and the fact that we never learn…’A Book artist from Australia
Thanks for your reaction ABafA.
I sent that out to about 100 folks, many quite good friends, since Thursday and do you know! You are th’only one that’s made any comment.(Ignore that I’ve had 4 now. Also my wife and son tell me I shouldn’t expect any reactions at all, ‘people don’t react to things they see in newspapers normally, so why should they react to your blog you old fart?’)
Just before i went to my computer i were tinking about my blog and my gripes about bad leadership and I thought, ‘d’y know, the same stupid stuck up twits are in charge today, and the same right wing thinkers (not, I don’t believe they can be called ‘thinkers’)) are i/c the Press. Nothing has altered’. In fact the 1960s seemed a time of HOPE. Atlee brought in the education act in 1945 which educated me, then I was taught to teach by intelligent humanists who said, let your students find their way to their passion and then take them to the top of the highest mountain and push them, LET THEM FLY. But since then it’s gone backwards and the public schoolboys (Like Gove, Boris, Cameron & Osborne) have a strangled-hold on the Asylum whilst Labour again display disarray and the LibDems are dead in the water, despite being instrumental in stopping the public schoolboys worst intentions whilst they were in coalition. I think I’ll move to Australia, or Canada, or even France, anywhere to escape these clods! Pete
One friend’s reaction flags up a rather rude reaction to brrrExit: Look at these posters with Boris on by Billy Childish, be care full cos he used a word what is naughty. It refers to the sex organ on a pig and is originally from Old English (I think):