Tag Archives: wilko johnson

Every snowflake lands in its own place

I am pleased to share that Alice Springs News online in, Australia, ran a beautiful article (most of which I compiled) about an old friend of mine Ken Perry who died recently titled, “Jindalee Pioneer Ken Perry dies”. (December 5, 2015) http://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2015/12/05/jindalee-pioneer-ken-perry-dies/

The opening paragraph helped me understand even more the essence of Ken’s achievement. The editor, Erwin Chlanda, was a pilot who had flown over Ken’s radar installation on many occasions so he has a good knowledge of the terrain. “Intruding aircraft can fly just a few feet above the sea, below the cover of microwave defence radars: In order to track this threat, with his expertise in microwave, Ken Perry oversaw the development and production of high frequency surface wave “over-the-horizon” (OTH) radar, with a huge antenna spread for a kilometer or so on the ground off the Yuendumu Road, north-west of Alice Springs and a second similar facility is north of the Plenty River Road.” Getting some recognition and spreading the news about Ken’s accomplishments is not my main aim in life but it arose out of my admiration for the way he ran his life and his great modesty and generosity of spirit. Ken was alive with intelligence and was always thinking of his family and how he might help them progress. All of his daughters became graduates and his grandchildren seem to be trumping their achievements with first class honours at some big universities in a wide range of subjects. Ken never emphasised how clever he was, he would just rally round them all when they were growing up and help them to understand maths and science in particular. He lived his interests and shared his abilities.

I think that is a good way to go about my life too. Of course my main area has been in Art and ken was not au fe with ‘art’ so he would ask searching questions about my latest zany idea until he got a better grasp of what I was saying or hinting at.

My aim has been fairly constant over the years, to bring a lively enquiry into the field of creative art and to create ‘original’ works. Over the years it became clear to me that nothing is ever purely ‘original’ cos everything has precursors and all of us are inspired by or detest earlier example and we either pick it up and run with it (appropriation?) or attempt to do the opposite. On 1.12.2004 I was looking back on my Nonogon Show in Colchester library in 2000

my poster nonosho 2000 sm

 and planning an assault on Tate Modern with it which as you know didn’t happen yet. More importantly, when I make these dastardly plans I often reflect on where I been and wur am goin. I wrote these now very prophetic words, “My public personae would be like a mix of Joseph Beuys, Ken Campbell and Keith Haring.” Well, in fact, I drew like Haring before Haring did, so there’s no surprise there. I was already looking into Beuys and was very intrigued by Beuy’s antics, I was drawn to ‘performance art’ before I had a real idea of what it was about. I watched Ken Campbell perform at Brentwood theatre where he would often prep his stuff ready for his London shows. I remember walking into one and being bowled over by his strange props. It struck a bell in my head which is still resounding, or is that what they call tinnitus? I think that my projection about my future persona is still playing out.

  • I read somewhere* this week that we, us Ubeings (that’s my non-gender word fer Umans) are not like we often see ourselves like a standing stone person/personality forever set, we are more like a flowing stream or river that is constantly moving and shifting as we alter with the passing moments the sum total of which make up each of our lives. Or as the Tibetan Buddhists put it, this Bardo of Living we find ourselves in (or don’t for that matter). I love this comment on life from a zen master, “The snow falls, each flake in its appropriate place.” In other words, there is a meaning to every thing that happens even if we don’t understand it to begin with (that reminds me of Tai Chi), turn turn turn you whirling dervish. Or just listen to Judy Collins when she were young https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3kKqfTjsj0

*Deepak Chopra said via Carla McKay, “we all tend to see our bodies as ‘frozen sculptures’- solid, fixed, material objects- when in thruth, thye are more like rivers, constantly flowing patterns of intelligence…”

  • I have just made a lovely shift which combined my desire to meditate along with my gathering ability at yoga. I get so stressed out when I can’t ‘meditate’ and I am pretty incompetent at yoga’s bends & twists. But I sat down on the floor and had Garbarek playing with some musicians from Pakistan going. I thought you should meditate in ‘silence’ not with music? Well no, I’m leaving this music play. OK, so go into a lotus? No I cannot. OK somewhere as close as you can? Yes but that hurts the little protuberances on the outside of my feet. That’s life, suffer! OK, so I sat as long as I could suffer it. Then I said why don’t you move your feet? Place one foot under yer bum, stretch the other out and lean forward like you try to do in Ashtanga? That’s not meditation. Is it not? Actually let go, just do it. So I did and I held it awhile then swopped sides meantime ‘meditating’, well trying to concentrate on my breath and trying to get stuff out of my head that didn’t seem appropriate. Actually I spent some minutes moving into positions I learned in various yoga classes in the past 4 years. Then I thought, hey, I am enjoying this, I’m enjoying doing my yoga and my med, with an emphasis on MY. So for the first time ever, I found myself doing my own adaptation of the things I tried so hard to learn. I can do what the teachers say when am there, but when am here I will continue to experiment, and enjoy!
  • There’s a wonderful 93 minute documentary on Wilko johnson’s acceptance that he had terminal cancer on BBC Imagine series which I find very uplifting. he says, “I am a feather for each wind that blows.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06qqrk9/imagine-autumn-2015-5-the-ecstasy-of-wilko-johnson I was lucky to see Wilko in th’early days of Dr Feelgood when I took my  famous (NOT!) photo of him.wilko hands in waistcoat tiny Wilko holding Apulhed.
  • Finally just a bit more about yoga folks. I am almost finished Carla McKay’s Reluctant Yogi and over the past 4 years I have moved totally away from the gym to concentrate on Tai Chi and Yoga where she says, “unlike pumping weights or running a marathon, yoga gives the body a complete workout increasing endurance, building strength, stretching all the muscle groups (whilst preventing injury), and stimulating organs…” I’d drink to that if I drank! Having given up booze 4 years now I realise it was the inner soul preparing me for my journey down Yoga Way turning into Tai Chi twists. McKay also says that K. Pattabhi Jois who developed Ashtanga yoga out of Hatha yoga by adding a dynamic flow called vinyasa lived until he was 93, that’ll do for me, I have 28 years left, should give me time to get known on the Performance Art circuit. I contacted Live Art in London very near to where  I live. I was hoping to pop in to chat with some real players but got told to wait til next summer and then join them in their workshops, “Please do sign up for our newsletter where you’ll receive useful information about our work and other Live art opportunities and keep your eye out for calls for next year’s DIY programme – artist-led workshops.” I was hoping to do some performance art stuff before that, otherwise what i learned at IPA may disappear into my mists of time. Krishnamurti says we got to just go with the flow, like the river does. He revealed his secret to life, “Don’t mind what happens” he said. Or doesn’t maybe? (cf Wilko’s feather blowing in the wind.)
  • listen to snowflakes dancing
    Here’s Debussy’s beautiful original version
  • and Tomita’s electronic take on it at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM7X4mHEmPw

Namaste

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The Staggering Effulgent Effrontery of The Frockwearer Man.

Today I made the Beatles age of 64, never thought that song may apply to moi! I am posting an old foto of this old fart wherein I still got as much hair as I want and all me tooths, that’s the tooth. As reglia followers of this blArb know, I don’t look the same man now!

pk larfin birtdae bouy

Pete aged about 22

Also, on me boithday, I had choices and I chose to do my classes as usual; I got a great mat for doing Vinyassa Yoga with Sam in th’morn, she really push us thru our paces but so gently you hardly notice what yer doing til you suddenly find your left toe in your right ear and Master Ch’n returned after several weeks away to try teaching me Tai Chi. His patience with me is astounding as I am such a thick-head when it comes to taking in anything which is repetitive and ‘form’. But they say it’s good fer ya as ye gits older and older, Tai Chi that is. It’s a funny ting but when i try persuade my kids in their mid-twenties to take on the challenges and benefits of tai chi & yoga they just mock me. They don’t know what they’re missing.

SEEE– The  Staggering Effusive Effulgent Effrontery of Grayson Perry and His Smashing Pot on Channel 4 really impressed upon me this week in the ch4 show wherein he talked to several people who had had life-altering activities in recent times. I must apologise for grouping him, in a recent blArt, alongside Ermine & Berst, I was really really wrong, he is an extremely good artist which I already acknowledge (even though he draws unwell or rather ham-fistedly his imagery is ‘different’, it is worked and it is interesting) but the sum of his output, which must now include being a television presenter, is quite stunning. His broad reach of technique (and his knowledge of different arts and cultures) is impressive. His way with people and his calm questioning of their motives and self-view are also highly informed and seem very natural, maybe coming from his real-lating-ships with his cross dressing and his sessions together with his wife’s psychotherapeutic knowledge?

I done a phew wrong tings this week like on Thursday I posted my first video on utube http://youtu.be/OUkrryYo8AU and getting excited at actually having done it I then posted two more before gaining reaction to the thirst. Gavin said, ‘There’s a thin line between deep & dull’ and my videos aim to be deep but came over rather dull. No bounce, no dance in the words as I read them with some difficulty. The words in the poems are put together and re-manipulated over a prolonged period of thinking and study and consideration and changing and re-moulding and all. the video was slapped together impromptu-ly and doesn’t do justice to the words. However, I must thank my friend Dave Doughty for pushing me into doing the thing to the ultimate aim of posting up on utube which now I have cottoned on to how to, I shall do it some more. Whether I need to use utube or not is a different question? I can probably upload video to my blArtspot on wordpress, we’ll have to see. I don’t think my utube video is about to get as many hits as Susan Boyle did, is it. Her voice on the first day after her stunning performance on X Factor was a revelation, my voice on the vids is just, dull. I have sent it out to about 20 folk and the resounding silence seems to say sumptin to me and I shall be back, that’s not a threat it’s a promise, am working on them, I tink I know watti need to do. My old mate DW has made it very clear.

As it happens I got a copy of Jackie Leven’s The Mystery Of Love Is Greater Than The Mystery Of Death cd http://www.discogs.com/Jackie-Leven-The-Mystery-Of-Love-Is-Greater-Than-The-Mystery-Of-Death/release/1106041 with the beautiful track Inside This Clay Jug on with Robert Bly, American Poet, reciting Kabir’s poem. NOW THERE’S A VOICE! WOW. Bly tells the poem in such verve & enunciation, so articulating the simple words, so describing them with his mouth instrument. There’s something to live up to, to aim for to aspire to and I have a very very long way to travel. I cannot even recite my own words, the readings had no life in them. I hope, like when alcoholics realise their dependence, now I have realised my crap skills I shall begin to rectify. Watch this space if you can bear it. watch this too for a lovely mention of the three harmonious faiths of China; Buddhism, Confusianism & Taoism. I sometimes, recently, have wondered if i am barking up the right tree with my new works on the clay jug theme. this wonderful trip down the yangtse says YES, yse pete you are on the right trail.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04mj989/sacred-rivers-with-simon-reeve-3-the-yangtze

They say Wilko Johnson has had his cancer taken away, ‘Big as a baby’ he said the growth was. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-29727632 They had only given him only a few months to live then Addenbrookes found it was a rare form which they could cut out and they did. Hoe excellent is that, int that gud? I took some great photos of him back in the late 70’s, in Chompsferd of all places!

 wilko hands in waistcoat sm

Also Simon Bacon, whose sculptures have been on at Sculpt Gallery Tiptree and with Debra at the Affordable art fair in Londres is gud news too. Simon did his MA at the same time I did mine and I loved his work then. I am so glad he’s started to sell.

 2si 5

On Sunday I popped into Londin toon and did a dummy run for when I have to get to the RA for 08.30 hrs in November. I dropped into the Poetry Library, Southbank, London (they recently bought my latest book and one I did in collaboration with the world-renowned author on ‘typo’ and a mean letterpress printer himself, David Jury) and I checked out some E E Cummins. What I find interesting, altho I know little about his background I expect he must have been fairly well off to get to Harvard in 1911, what I find interesting is that I (who were poor) went to college for 4 years and in a way I was therefore given the time to think and write. Which would have been a rare commodity to a working class boy back in the time of WW1 & 2. So, in the 1960’s when there seemed a lot of hope that our world would grow out of wars and become a better place, despite Vietnam, I was allowed to stretch my mind in philosophy and art etc. I retired from my day job in c.2009 and have since returned to my dreams, as a writer artist (altho I must say I never stopped ‘making’ my outputs). The reason I mention it is cos therefore, I had similar opportunities to much more ‘privileged classes’ of previous generations. I think my book of 1975 was in fact a pioneering piece;

ap 001

totally my own work, self published and with altered spellings. The pioneering was not so much in the content as in leading the field in artists book, I published around the same time as some significant players whom those who study artisbuk  in the States will be aware of were self publishing etc.

I used altered spelling in the above book (1975) as you can see from its title attached, the yellow cover, title in handwritten ink. Recently I have returned to use altered spellings, which in my private journals I never stopped doing, but I now find that there is a whole range of possibilities with its use. Miriam Patchen commended me on that book, made some reference to her friend E E Cummings. If you go into my ‘about’ at the top of this blUrt you’ll find her comments.

Watch out for my next BLART, it’s gonna be a big appropriation from Neil Young, John Peck and others. the ubu site is all about appropriation nowadays but Picabia appropriated Neitzche in the early 20th century and i appropriated Picabia in the recent collaboration with David. Hee Hee.