Tag Archives: the shrewd idiot

MY VINDICATION Springs to Life.

 

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This is the top half of the A3 book with its ‘crash canvas’ bookcloth cover. And the raffia rim which actually covers over the stitches top and bottom. There’s 37 images within on Zanders translucent.

There’s a spring in ma steps now and I am certain I know why that is the case.

It’s because when I got on with creating the final layouts of my book(s) The Shrewd Idiot, I often wondered why I was doing this ‘labour of love’? I knew I was driven by something inside. Now I understand why it drove me. Doing the book(s) up to publication helped me ‘square the circle’. Now I feel complete.

The three books which make up the deluxe version are all now ready to go out to anyone interested in making a purchase. The latest, the last, (the late one), the A4 ‘perfect bound’ edition is in the ‘print to bind’ stage and should be ‘on the shelves’ ready for buyers in the next couple of weeks, it’s designed & ready.

This has been a project which has drawn out over the past 48 years but it’s been well worth the weight. And weight is the correct word as it conveys so much about the book. Wait is what I did to find the time and skills to complete it and it is a heavy tome(s). There are burdens within it too, it’s not all pretty and sweet as sugar candy. Some of it is decidedly sour. And ugly. But it’s a pretty true reflection of a part of a life of an early 20 year old idiot who was embarking to become shrewd and his errors are manifest as he trudges and bludgeons and blunders and bluffs his not always so merry ways. Often you see him travelling the length and breadth of England, from Lancashire to Devon and back again and again on his thumb, hitchhiking lifts in sometime dubious company. The end is not neatly wrapped and ‘happy’, the end is the beginning. And without doubt the book is honest, some may think to the detriment of this writer, not I. I reveal myself back then, warts and all, because we all live in the illusions of our lives that we create in order to cope with the illusion of life. By cutting thru the cord of my illusion by revealing ALL of my self, even the bits I would most definitely edit out now as a clickerty clix year old shrewd cookie, I break some of my self-delusion. Many of you who knew me may have seen thru my vain attempts to hide the real me back then, some may have not.

“Honesty matters. Vulnerability matters. Being open about who you were at a moment in time when you were in a difficult or an impossible place matters more than anything.” Neil Gaiman in in his foreword to All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown. He continues … “the gulf that exists between us as people is that … we can’t see, the stories…once we hear each other’s stories we realize that the things we see as dividing us are… illusions, falsehoods…”

The book(s) is the start of more books to follow which follow the idiot (shrewd or not so shrewd, it takes a long time to prove) from an 18 years old just left school so proud of how he came from nowhere in Art to gain the top prize at the end of his time there and the books are peopled by some of his works from the pre-college era.

But don’t get me wrong, there’s lots of beauty in the book even if it’s just the incredible binding done by The Sullivan Bindery. The book is not a bind, it is in fact a release, a realize, my ‘real eyes’ are opened during its pages and the life as this artibloke is truly embarked. They do say I was embarking mad don’t they.

 

The book taught me many things about my life and myself, not to mention my indebtedness to many (many) folk out there, bless ‘em all, the long and the short and the Tall. Wherever they may be. We are indebted to each other all ways.

I shall say no more than the fact that NOW, I FEEL VINDICATED the books vindicate me, especially for the time conveyed in the book when boy did I need vindication. At the time I were looking for acceptance and acknowledgement, I was even looking for love but I would never have admitted that cos even when I found it I hardly accepted it.

The second A3 book, PK The First 5 Years [Art Work] which accompanies the A3 Shrewd Idiot is now also completed as a bound deluxe edition of 10, but unlike the Shrewd Idiot there’ll be no A4 version. Sullivan & Son once again have bound it beautifully to my requests. I’ll let it speak for itself:

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This image shows the lovely black ‘board blocking’ & the title page.

Now I think I should have entitled it “The Shrewd Idiot Works” with ‘works’ having 3 meanings

  • The Works
  • He works
  • It worked.

To celebrate this new outcrop of my publishing arm here’s some lovely Snaps Of Spring Blossom and I hope their beauty seeps in to the pages of my publications by some magical osmosikal method…[methodological osmosis]?

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The 3 Graces meet Appleheadman.

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Let me explain some of the characters who will play a part in my Live Art gig The Shrewd Idiot & The Three Graces with guest star Appleheadman at the Arnolfini on Saturday 1st April at 5pm in the Dark Studio on level2 during the bi-annual meet of The Bristol Artists’ Book Event (BABE) 2017.

First let me explain why I do such things which keep keeping me far out of my comfort zone as every one that I do gives me lots of challenge. This time I am doing it to bring my new book series to life, literally! I have just finished creating 3 new books which centre on the life I was put through from 1969-73 between three beautiful places in England; my home town Burnley, my college town Exeter and my summer vacation town Bournemouth. The subject of the books is threefold; growing up, becoming a fully-fledged creator and my ‘affairs’ with three beautiful women. My books ram 4 years into 125 @ A3 sheets, my PerformanceArtPiece (PAP) rams 4 years into 15 minutes! Easy-Peasy.

I love making books, by which I mean the whole process from concept thru writing, image adding, layout, control of print, bind and materials. I love doing the PAPs. I been doing books & PAPs since 1972 and hope to go on a long time cos I have a big back catalogue of material awaiting production.

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That’s me in the batter hat with Jamie Burr in a wig during a gig at IPA 2015 photo by Jurgen Fritz

It is useless doing beautiful books if nobody gets to hear about them nor ‘gets’ what has gone into them so I have upped my Live Art side by exposing myself to a 10 days PA session with IPA in 2015. That gave me insight into what folk are doing and where my limited skills fitted in. It also unharnessed my latent penchant for making a fool of myself.

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Which brings me to the main character in my new PAP, The Shrewd Idiot (Th’S.I.). Some folk may have the mistaken notion that it’s me but it can’t be cos am not that shrewd! Th’S.I. thinks he can mime, dance, do poems, dress up and no doubt he’ll turn up next Saturday.

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The 3 Graces; Bluebell, Rose & Camellia.

The Three Graces were 3 unsuspecting women who thought the guy they met at the disco was not just a great dancer but also kind & considerate. By the end of the book they all have seen the mistake they made and slung their hooks (at the SI!).

Appleheadman, an ‘alien type’ [never said what dimension he or it’s from, actually it emanates of course from my sub-conscious but I believe that store taps into other things which we don’t really understand], who was shocked at some ‘human’ behaviours when he first saw them. Then as he studied humans he saw they also had good habits too like Rock music, Beano comics Football. These areas are some that I covered with illustrations that I created to place inside some screenprinted heads of Appleheadman back in 1972, the prints were all individual at about A1 size and formed into a concertina book. Until recently print cost would have been astronomical so I never did a smaller version for public consumption but now colour print has become a reachable price and I have made 50 copies at c. A5 size which are ‘perfect bound’ with a little embossed stamp on the cover and a mirror inside.

I hope to find time & space to show my books to those of you interested in ma books at BABE. I’m bringing a ‘view copy’ of The SI book and the only copy of PK 1968-73 along with lots of copies of Appleheadman Sees hot off the press last Tursday.

I hope you can make it.

Namaste

Pete

If you like this blArty bit there’s 2 more o ma blogs yez needs to peruse about ma new buks and the next gig:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/wonderful-breaking-news-about-the-book/

&

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/an-announcement-on-world-book-day/

See ya there!

Camouflage & Realisation

Camouflage, can you spell it? Yes, i…t…

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Camouflaged robin, well nearly.

Camouflage

I have camouflaged my work in lots of ways throughout my life. I’m not exactly sure why. So, for example, my ‘comix’ were nothing like comics. Mostly they were a different way of writing my thoughts and findings using words and picture in frames to start with but then I began to alter the squares & oblongs to, say, apple shapes and so on. Nothing stayed in its box of protocols too long.

My ‘writing’ purportedly about myself my exploits my thoughts and fears was more to do with my discoveries in ‘art’ and philosophy. What looked like an autobiography was an everyman. It chronicled the human needs of individuals to find and try to come to terms with; knowledge, a vocation, friends, outlets, notice, heroes (sport people, artists, writers, actors, singers et al), likes, dislikes and more. I kept writing regularly from 1969 to now and soon(ish) I shall release the first viewing of the latest form of my book The Shrewd Idiot. [It’s written from the notes I did between 1969-73. I wrote similar notes from 1973-date. So there’s a lot of ‘books’ that could be but won’t be made.]

It’s about a sentient being whose fears & aspirations show ‘where he’s at’ or seemed to ‘be’ in the first years of the third decade of his life. And that was not necessarily always pretty, baby. It chronicles the things one young man evidenced and attempted to come to terms with in the decade immediately after the Swinging Sixties’ when the whole world seemed to lighten up and there seemed to be HOPE for a brighter future, certainly in the culture worlds of art, music, fashion and maybe ‘writing’ where experimental work (like the Shrewd idiot) was not exactly encouraged but accepted as a legacy of the sixties. ‘The world’s your oyster’ was the mantra and once you had harnessed a skill-set you had the opportunity to flaunt it. My attempt to become a great and famous author of ‘modern’ product very nearly succeeded at the time with Oliver Caldecott, a really highly esteemed publisher altho I was unaware of that at the time, considering publishing my SI book, ‘tome’ though it was. Altho I had self-published Apul-One in those days you had to try to get a real publisher on board, now am back to self-publishing.

I wrote, drew, photographed the evidence of the world I lived in, felt, saw, witnessed, shared and all that stuff. I abandoned the normal (paid job) life in order to concentrate all my effort on this book and the book reflected the way I lived my life the several years before I gave up my job to write the book and launch myself upon the world as a full-time artist bloke. I did stay stubbornly on my ‘wanna be a artis’ track for 4 years during which I developed ‘Happy Apulhed’

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Happy Apulhed (c) pete kennedy 2016

which I hoped would replace Snoopy as the world’s most popular philosopher. When it didn’t I returned to teaching and eventually retired near the ‘normal’ age to do that and found miraculously that I could now continue the road I had ploughed so deeply during my four years out of the rat race in the late 1970’s. what I did was not that unusual, thousands have followed their dream, some made it, like the woman what wrote the Harry Potty books, some still await ‘recognition’ of their offerings. Me, I am not bothered any longer about any accolades, I just want to create my pieces and show them to anyone daft enuf to take a look. I was a (fairly) ‘normal’ (but driven) product of the 50’s and 60’s who had worked really hard to make his dream come true despite making my path even harder by my own silly selections. That’s why the ‘shrewd’ or ‘wise’ man is also the Idiot. We all make silly choices because, in life, it’s so often so hard to see the wood from the trees. But the main thing (ting) I always stuck to was an honest sincerity in everything I do/done/did. So, the nice result is that my best work from all decades has remained as fresh and as good as when I did it. The Shrewd Idiot is an indication of a life being lived with all its strength, weakness, hope and trepidation.

Then there’s the ongoing stuff which arises from my desire to make Performance Art (PA) pieces and books to accompany or project them like my Somme Boys project.

Now I have a problem. The problem being time to do the work to enable things to become real objects which folk can peruse. Well it were a problem until today when I had a revelation that I could create the ‘book’ for Somme Boys digitally and make it available through digital means. And I should be able to do my Somme Boys PA online, maybe on Utube. That also takes away the need for a venue(s) and the need for backing and permission and support. I can just do it and let the work speak for itself. Or not as the case turns out. Well as with all activities the gap between the epiphany and the making available is full of potential pitfalls and obstacles to be surmounted. But that’s what I pride myself on doing, the almost impossible.

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Cat got tired of me rantin on abart me werk.

Talking about the almost impossible I am tackling the plague of cow parsley in my ‘garden’ and the only way to get rid is to dig up all the roots and there’s millions of them. (Anthriscus sylvestris, known as cow parsley, wild chervil, wild beaked parsley, keck, or Queen Anne’s lace) But you know me, “that’s what I pride myself on doing, the almost impossible”. Am beginning to wish I didn’t write that!

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/cow-parsley-the-countryside-killer-9397226.html

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My Robin’s Camouflage is good but not so good, he thought I couldn’t see him.

Here’s a beautiful version of Van the Man doin his In The Garden : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzoktdJ_q-M

And Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes by Karen Elson & Michael Stipe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI8SpGy-P44&nohtml5=False

and (another revelation), John Cale on Bowie and the Trumping man. Cale says that it’ll be a disaster if the Trumping man gets into power in the USA.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08Dq9usJA6U

 

1969 poem in the back of an open lorry

In 1969 I wrote this poem in the back of an open lorry which had just picked up two sixteen year old hitch hiking Welsh newly-weds and a nineteen year old me.

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They offered to buy me breakfast in the transport Café cos I only had a penny left which I had been given by the girl Gwennie in Under Milk Wood (not)

Yesterday I wrote another poem on the train this time

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Not much has changed

Except my age, my experience, my prospects

I am still writing drawing photographing

As I move thru the days and years

Hoping one day to get thru

Maybe to you or

Some others

Then I popped into Tate and saw the wonderful works of Sonia Delauney displayed. And entered the Offprint art publishing fair at Tate which was great altho I only did about 6 tables of the 140.

I met some lovely folk. I met Richard Embray’s colleague at the Fourcorners table where I meant to buy their book of Paolozzi archive stuff but I never got back to buy it cos my ‘egs were laching’. I spoke with Krystine (?) at Argo Books and bought Kirstine Roepstorff’s beautiful ‘book’ Horizons of the Moving Mind which is composed of a folder, like my Inside this earthen vessel, with nine ‘repective pamphlets’ tucked inside a bit like b s johnson’s The Unfortunates. I am all into these odd arrangements in artisbuks cos I don’t like the norm. Ditto do some good books, http://shop.dittopress.co.uk/products/god-listens-to-slayer-sanna-charles-pre-order I loved their use of little inserts.

I particularly liked this one by sternberg press

http://www.sternberg-press.com/index.php?pageId=1546&l=en&bookId=440&sort=year%20DESC,month%20DESC

see also http://www.thebooklovers.info/Artist-Novels-The-Book-Lovers-Publication

and maybe this about Picabia- http://ensembles.mhka.be/items/11381

Then I met Aaron at Morel books http://morelbooks.com/Bookshop.html we got on fine and when I said I am re-working my 1970’s buk, the shrewd idiot he said yes send me some of the pages as it grows, so I shall as am getting very excited as the book develops. I am using the original hand-writings and the typewritten type as my ‘fonts’ and the words become the pictures. And the pictures will overlay the werds. I can’t ‘see’ the finished work but that ‘chance’ elememt is very exciting in the mix. He has a couple of Blake (Wm) plates and prints from them and also some work with Patti Smith who I luckily saw do her intimate readings of hers and Blake’s poems etc at the Blake Society do a couple of years ago. I like the way Aaron obviously likes the use of overlays on words and that’s the way my New Shrewd Idiot is moving, with my 70’s sketches and photos in front of the werdz and also I can scrawl over them with my hand-written and calligraphic ‘marks’ of today.

I managed to speak with Colette about my work and asked to be considered as an exhibitor at the next event, altho I’ll be a small teeny weeny fish in a BIG pond if I get a table. She introduced me to her partner who selects the table holders and both of them said they like my little buk Inside This Great Jug. And by the way last week the Saison Poetry Library has accepted a copy too.

I am pleased to say I shall be doing ma ting at the forthcoming Book fair at the Baltic in July, so I must learn the words and get dancing again. No rest for the wicked. Am also intent to make a new little buk about the creation of my big pic, Venus Stairs.