Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Scot's Random Act of Kindness

Lovely to have been asked to contribute to the acts of kindness blog day. I know that one is doing it in an altruistic manner but nevertheless it is nice to see one's selflessness being rewarded. So, as we stand on the cusp of yet another glutinous shopping season it is perhaps a good time to not only think of those less fortunate than ourselves, but also have a recap of how last years resolutions have paned out.

Last New Year I made a promise to myself that I would not knowingly pass a single street beggar without dropping a little something into the raggedy beret, or rusting tin can acting as their self serving collection plate. This lasted but a short while before I was having to take quite drastic steps to avoid our doorway dwelling dosh demanders; you see the problem is, I don’t really carry cash, and after the first pavement er, person er, pedantically refused my offer of a credit note I decided to instead only reward buskers, who are at least providing a service, even if it is one we can on the whole do without. And shortly after this I gave up.  

Well maybe gave up is the wrong term, more a case of changing the goal posts. Why, one time in Worcester I had to take what was probably a four hundred yard diversion in order to get back to my car, making me late to collect the kids from the Grammar school. As recently as September, and in Redditch’s palm fringed shopping mall I found myself fenced in, all exits being blocked – I tried to cut through a well known stationers but to no avail. I was loaded down with shopping and in the end opted for a copy of the Economist, three Viennese coffee's and slugged it out whilst waiting for the coast to clear. Nowadays I have to drive out of town and buy groceries at small, expensive, village stores as I quite simply refuse to shop ‘n’ drop, plus it's important to have principles, right! 

Friends talk about karma and they are right. All the extra walking to avoid our whiskered and shellsuited friends meant I was in supa-dupa tip top shape by the time our second beach holiday of the year rolled around. Result, yay!

But I have learned a valuable lesson, namely that we are not so different and possibly have a lot more in common than you might at first realise. Firstly we are cash poor and secondly we are time rich. We just choose to spend it differently that’s all.  

(Scot has donated his fee from this piece to a well known coffee franchise to help support their UK tax obligations)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Ubu Uber Alles

In the end, love will endure.

Rothco as Ubu as Sissyphus...

Revolution is in the air as Rothco declares himself ruler of the Republique

sub Ubu

Rothco's followers pleasure themselves over images of their leader...

...there is fighting in the streets....

...there is dancing in the fight halls. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Ubu and Neumann

Rothco and Neumann begin frequenting coffee huses...

...they fight over women...

...and break into art galleries 

Klub Ubu

Rothco joins a meditation group...

...before going lap dancing...

...and trying lap dancing himself, where he becomes jealous of Nemann's success with the ladies

Frere Ubu (or Rothko Paints a Flower)

Whilst painting the Seagram murals Rothco becomes obsessed with his inability to paint a weed that has been growing in his studio

Tormented by his giant canvases, he turns them away, thus avoiding their mocking stares

Frustrated by what he sees as the weeds refusal to accede, Rothco stays up late into the night

Friday, 19 October 2012

One Night Stanza

Well, the 17.56 One Night Stanza from Various Artist is over, a stuffed Dodo, dead in the water. Yours unruly is tired but now out of the Wu and down in Some are set (and some are runny) taking it easy and waiting for his supper. If I was to do a brief evaluation I’d say I was happier with the show when there was no one in it, people being in it seemed to change it somehow – but then it was reception so whatever happened was good.

Nina was a curatorial Goddess, full of cunning and bright ideas. Techno problems came, went and resurfaced as and when but the electrical shop gave me a refund today so a happy ending. Still not found my yellow cable….

Laurie’s MK Phlaag w/Braille & touchy feely fabric looked, and is, terrific! Thank you. 

Thanks to Mark for photo’s – and to everyone who attended. And everyone who didn’t, perhaps next time….?

However, favourite moment was conversation with chap about the West Midland’s rail network and the route between Droitwich and Birmingham;
Him “Dorridge? Sounds like Droitwich”.
Me “No it doesn’t, it sounds like porridge”.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Title (t.b.a)

No sleep last night. Wired. Got up at 3.30, made tea, got things ready for the morning. Typed this, burned that, put batteries on to charge. Had text from Nina saying she’d be at M first thing. Only new idea I’ve had is to film myself at a roadside burger van eating one of their ‘meals’. Going to Malvern tomorrow to pick up projector, might do it on the way. It’s a reception of sorts.

Good day, M first, then over to Malvern and a coffee with Mr Mecca followed by tea and a natter with the female half of Yolk + Zoom, which helped enormously – even got event out on the ‘book with encouraging response from you lot out there in bookville. Filmed at M until it grew too dark to blink – oh yes, bought turf and full marks to Nephew #2 for carrying it up to the gallery. Did I mention that he appears to have moved in? – I didn’t, well, he appears to have moved in.

And I picked up the Motel/Kandinski flag from Laurie’s, terrific stuff – as usual!

Had a beer and am contemplating pasta. Fucked…. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

I'd Like To Nietzsche World To Sing

Back in gallery today. Good to see Jose who dropped by, nice chat, saw her recent show at Croombe Court. Also chatted with nice man who declined my offer to help paint miniature soldiers and also turned down my offer of a Cadbury’s finger biscuit or three.

Most intersting was chap who came in with blood dripping from some form of cut on the back of his shaven head. Gave him some wipes which he took from me using a hand with knuckles bearing the one word legend that is H.A.T.E. Still he parted with a cheery ‘Nice one, mate’ as he went of to drip blood all over Great Western’s nicely upholstered London to Hereford grunter shunter. Happy days.

At the main gallery I met up with artists Michael from Stoke and Alan from somewhere who I then lost when I went to buy several hi viz vests for Thursday’s show. Very long drawn out negotiation with chap in PJ’s worktogs, couldn’t resist an ‘initialsake’! Vests are totally puntastic, examples being Forever Jung and Barthes Simpson. Groan at your leisure..... 

I am still a little nervous, only now slightly less so. John Robinson wants to play at the opening, maybe that’s one for another time. 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

There Is A Light That Never Comes On

Been to the Twinkleberry coalface today, which has meant no time at Movement. However I was there last night painting my plastic toy soldiers until it was too dark to see – unfortunately the lights would not work despite my following the traditional path of locating and transferring the switch to the ‘on’ position.

Abject POV shot of gallery

For Thursday’s show I am going with the definition of Reception that reads thus ‘the action of admitting someone to a place, group, or institution – or the process of being admitted’. This way I can focus on the space as a place where some type of interaction can occur.

I’m drawn to how it interacts with its environment on the station platform. The gallery space can be off putting if you ‘don’t speak the language’, with it’s perceived aloofness, reputation for rigorous intellectual discourse and the unwritten rule that says you must wear black. As a result, whilst travellers will sometimes put their head round the door they often appear reluctant to let their bodies follow suit.

This is the kettle that wil boil the water that wil make my tea

So, I’m dumbing down, sort of. I’d like to make the space an arena where the reception that can take place is that of knowledge, and to that end I have been thinking up dreadful wordplays based upon philosophers/cultural kitsch. This way they will seem more readily digestible to the more partisan of part time gallery dweller ie Barthes Simpson and Guattari Hero, to name just two of the worst offenders. Working title for the piece is "I'd Like To Nietzsche World To Sing'. You can all groan in your own time. 

This is the seat I shall sit on whilst I am drinking my tea

These will be printed on the backs of Hi-Viz jackets which will be hung to make the room look like a football dressing room. One hook might have a sports jacket hung upon it to make it look like one that is in use. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Welcome to the Preoccupation.

Starting mini residency at Movement, a gallery occupying the site of the gentlemen's toilet on Platform 2 at Worcester's Foregate Street Station. I'm the cheap option, I keep the gallery vacant. Not complaining, just saying like.

It's going to be a Motel/Kandinski IV (Reception), I'll be in situ on and off between 9/10/12 and the 'opening' on Thursday 18th. Want the opening and closing times to match arrival and departure times of trains arriving at 6pm and leaving at 8pm. Will check the timetable. Helen grundy has sent me a piece of work to be included and Alex Johnson, one half of Yoke + Zoom has suggested we make a Johnson & Johnson piece, which might be nice.

I have several ideas brewing; they involve cake and sand and some women dancing. Stay tuned (reception - geddit?)

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Heavy Petting

Can we talk about Animal Porn – we can? Recently I was thinking about the morality of a society that condemns this and yet finds it semi acceptable to stuff a duck’s liver with fat until the bird can barely walk, and thinks it’s ok to keep baby calves from the sight of a field before slaughtering them.

To put it in some kind of context; what is the worse thing that can happen to Ricky the family’s Rhodesian Ridgeback following some heavy petting? Maybe it gets confused about it’s place within the pack – starts putting away the shopping and wondering why no one will let it drive on the school run. As for the women, I imagine that shagging a Shire horse that’s hung like a donkey is something that, whilst not for everyone, is nonetheless something one might get drawn towards if the money, and the horse’s personal hygiene are right. So, the next time you’re eating meat you might want to lie back and consider the context. 

Anyway, in other news Various Artist attended Summer Camp at Eastside Projects and this Friday is hoping to attend an all night writing session at Grand Union - so lots of black coffee then. Also my drumming debut at DoL has been put back a week to the 8th, before which I will have had my fifty second birthday. Good, sort of. 

Currently down at Darling #1's and tomorrow the Wood clan will meet to bury John's ashes (you might remember my writing about his death in a post from a couple of months ago). Whilst this will be a sombre occassion there will no doubt be beers of laughter in the pub following the service. Hope so. 

Right, that's it. it is 5.46 and I need to go watch a documentary on the German band Can - they were/are awesome. 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Sketch #1

Does anyone agree with me that it would be helpful if the armies of the nations of the World wore more distinctive uniforms, like our football teams? Few if any incorporate stripes, let alone hoops and they need an away kit for when they are invading someone else’s country and the two strips clash. Get Nike involved, get a swoosh on those desert boots, and get Addidas to design the UN’s kit. And have advertising on the jackets - they already have the soldiers names in small text on the front, put 'em on the back in bold where the TV audience can see them. Get them in the stores, replica uniforms in kid sizes – support your favourite soldier. Be useful in films too, where every shaven headed killing machine looks pretty much the same as another. I watched Thin Red Line recently and I couldn't tell a Corporate right from a Private wrong. Get some serious sponsorship deals in place too, that way pensions could be guaranteed and we could go back to having bigger armies which would mean better wars, but with their own kit sponsored by, well if you want irony on a World scale then Coke adds life or perhaps the more homely 'we're the Marines and we're lovin' it'.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Road Trip

Somewhere over Northern Spain

Back off holiday – had good time. But very hot, too hot perhaps? And too many insects, too many bitey insects? - but very cheap food and beer, and stunning scenery. Got the Poole – Cherbourg express, a bit like Watford Gap on water; drove down through France, playing ‘name that smell’ with Darling #1, hooked up with the Greens in Chartres, pulled mussels from a shell in Toulouse and cut a dash through the Pyrenees and down into Catalunya, before fetching up outside Calaida in pretty Camarasa.

We enjoyed terrace life, pond life and lite nite life over the course of two weeks – but now I’m back, as pale and interesting as the day I left. TBH I’m not going to add much more to this since you’ve probably been following my adventures via the magic of facebook and there is little point in repeating them here.

Phonetic Phlaagpole 

Art wise; Phonetic Phlaagpole at Supernormal came off, unlike POT at Kassel (some kind of argument I believe that led to the cancelling of all residencies) so kicking my heels a bit, although there is Summer Camp at Eastside Projects next Tuesday followed by my first drumming gig with John Robinson at DoL the following Saturday. It's always busier than one thinks, is it not? 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Lovely Stuff.

Simply cannot believe how bad I have become at blogging, no posts in June and I believe just the two in May. Not good enough.

So, a quick update; Nathaniel and myself went to D’dorf to collect ingredients for Finding Kling Klang. During trip we fetched up in Kassel, home to the Brothers Grimm and the art show dOCUMENTA13, which was good. Back home I have taken advantage of different settings on drum kit to start composing noises for FKK.

Talking of fairy tales, the Red Nile project had a happy ending with a show for the winners (in the best traditions of fairness this meant everyone) and the following morning (Sunday) a trip up to Stoke on Trent with the mobile billboard for more photos.

Phonetic Phlaag made it to Art Vilnius as part of Nathaniel’s yearly artfairfest and mention of flags reminds me that Supernormal would like to take it to Brazzier’s Park in August so, happy days. 

Last weekend myself and Darling #1 attended Frome Open Studios where we ended up at Ellen Folley and John M. Robinson's joint show. Lovely work, lovely food and lovely jazzy type music to listen to too. And we got to steal one of John's small works! 

Lovely stuff.... 

Monday, 28 May 2012


Right, first up is the news that Working Men’s Klub are off to Dusseldorf to find Kraftwerk’s Kling Klang. Eastside Projects have kindly given us a small token of encouragement which we have promised not to fritter away on Wheat beer and pretzels. There is a Twitter account although I have no idea how you access it.

Also had very productive 'surgery' there with Liz Rowe which has led to a bit of an overhaul of the www. variousartistisdead.org. Go there if you've not already.

Second up is that Supernormal festival have accepted my proposal for a flagpole flying the legend that is Ing-Er-Land. However they have yet to reply to my email informing them that I will need to dig a hole and fill it with cement; otherwise the pole will fall over the moment some festival crackhead leans on it to get his bearings.

Third up; Herefordshire’s Downstairs Gallery haven’t dismissed out of hand my proposal for flying the legend that is the Ing-Er-Land flag from an upstairs window during the Euro’s/Olympix. The reason being that the Union Flag always seems to be most prominent in more run down estates; put it this way, you never see one hanging from a window at Windsor. Anyway, they are going to think about it and get back to me.

And fourthly; Rednile/Stoke on Trent – finally got together with Chris (with whom I am collaborating) in Worcester. We agreed on an idea/concept and Chris returned to the Potteries with a mission to get some chums kitted out in 70’s clobber and photo’d by a Modernistic looking bus stop.  Stay posted.

Ok, enough for now. Here’s a photo of Nat + Angela + Jenny at the races. 

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Diner, Pay Later!

I recently ate breakfast at an American styled diner. The food was merely warm, took ages to arrive but the coffee was warm and plentiful. The sound was wall to wall utopian rock ‘n’ roll with Watergate, ‘Naam, the Bay of Pigs and Jackson’s Moonwalk – or a real Moon walk still years away. This is the only time a Cliff Richard record has come as light relief. The company however was good – Darling Number 1 and the Pitt family making up the dining party. Anyway, done it, one particular itch I no longer have a need to scratch.

I had the vegetarian option. When I say the vegetarian option I mean just that, there was just the one. I can’t remember what Darling #1 ate but I do recall that Mrs Pitt ate sausages and the elder of the two miniatures had pancakes, which we all tried a morsel of. They weren’t very nice to be honest, bit neither here nor there, maybe if I’d managed to cadge a bit of the ice cream that might have been nice.

The more quick witted amongst you will point out that pancakes are also a veggie option. I counter that with, yes, but it’s a veggie full English or nothing at all. But then this is food from the other side of the pond, with a Utopian soundtrack to match, whilst we live in dystopian world of E numbers and fats that saturate.  

Please note that at the American diner you do not get free refills of tea, only coffee. We only discovered this when we asked for the reality check.

(Scot is away) 

Friday, 20 April 2012

Death + Cake

Sadly, death has been in the air this week. On Wednesday went to the funeral of John Wood, Darling #1’s Step Dad. Nice service; not too long, quality readings, hymns you could sing along to and a nice cuppa afterwards. Someone quipped that it looks ‘less like a coffee morning and more like a coffin mourning’ and it was indeed a very thoughtful spread involving cake, jelly babies and some quality sandwiches.

Members of the Wood clan face the cameras

It was the next evening back in the Wu and I mentioned to Nathaniel about the service and what an interesting and incident packed life the late Mr Wood had lived and how un heroic today’s artists lives appear by comparison. We both agreed that some adventures were the order of the day so that come THAT day our relevent Rev's would have something upon which to spin a tale. We had a couple of shandies and hurried home shortly after 9 p.m.

I was also saddened yesterday to learn of the passing of Levon Helm, drummer/singer/mandolinist with The Band. Went to bed and watched the Last Waltz, Martin Scorcese’s terrific film of their farewell concert from (I think) 1978 and what struck me again was how little of the great Richard Manuel there is in it, likewise Garth Hudson and how much of Robbie Robertson there is. Scorcese must have coached him although Levon had the last laugh by being the more successful actor. The other thing that got me was how little their bassist Rick Danko looked at what his fingers were doing, instead always peering along the line, quizzically in the case of Neil Diamond, appreciatively in the case of everyone else.

Check out this noisey bad boy!
Finally I just got down and dusted off an ancient ‘ghetto blaster’ that was William Minton - my late uncles way back in the 70’s. I found a lead and plugged it in wondering if it still worked – and what do you know, it was tuned into Mayo & Kermode's film review programme, the exact same radio programme that I was listening to on my regular stereo! 

Monday, 12 March 2012

12th March 2012

My head is now quite royally fucked, sleep is what other people do when they go to bed and today my left cheekbone hurts whenever I yawn, which is frequently due to the lack of sleep. It's lunchtime and I’m currently over staying my welcome at Darling #1’s, I should be gone but I’m hoping she’s coming back from work and I might get fed.

Still not got anything for the billboard at PPspace, but this morning I have been purposeful and alert. I have sent off a proposal for this year’s Supernormal festival and drawn up another one for Eastside Projects' travelling bursary for ESP's.

The latter will involve a field trip to Dusseldorf to find something that does not want to be found, namely Kling Klang studios, home of the legendary German synth band Kraftwerk, writers of such fun, fun, fun on the medium wave dial as The Model, Radio Activity and my own favourite, Ohm Sweet Ohm.  I only want £350, which as it happens is what they are offering, not to me but to whoever wins. Have roped Nathaniel in for this, would be fun if we got it.

Went to small cocktail gallery in Bristol on Friday, met the legendary Alex from fb and enjoyed looking at her work. Went back on Saturday with D#1 in tow for a pavement pizza + beer with Alex before cheerfully sending her off in what was apparently the wrong direction for the motorway.

Tonight I’m going to football back at the Wu in the Shire, but don’t talk to me about football, or swans. No matter.

I know I only appear to post once a month and there isn’t much here to fill a weekend let alone a month but rest assured I do do other shit, just can’t be arsed to write it down.

It’s 1.15, what time do they have lunch in schools? I think that she is not coming back and I might have to forage for myself.


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Badlands Flashback

Lately I’ve been working just outside of West Bromwich, county town of the Black Country Badlands. For me it’s been a step back in time, a chance to retrace and reconnect with my routes. I lived here until I was 18 and these are my people;  cast Iron Curtain tendencies crossed with shopping centre etiquette dating from the days before malls were invented  - and they all speak my language. Part anthracite, part broken English, Yam Yam is my mother tongue. Over time the grime gets in your nose, turns green snot grey and ends up being part of your DNA.

Standing on the site of a long vanished bus station is the Public art gallery. Inside it is like being in a very large box of Liquorice Allsorts; everything shiny, textural overload, multi coloured, only this one’s been rebooted with intel Pentium hardware. Good toilets though. Beyond the multi stories lies Dartmouth Park, annexed by the A41 and only accessible by bridge from the town and beyond it the encroaching darkness of the Sandwell Valley and a reminder that West Brom has surprisingly large swathes of greenery, not quite the glistening Albion the town’s team’s name evokes, more one suggesting a Midlands desert for the departed.






It’s a bit like being in a Kraftwerk song, maybe an English Autobahn or a Johnathan Richman Roadrunner, but one made of velour and lycra and held together by velcro.

After Lydiate Ash the land falls away but after Frankley service station it closes in once more with a ripper’s intent, pylons, so straight in the countryside peel away past Dudley, zig zag over Hill Top, sidestep past Tipton, converge on Wolverhampton. Driving in on elevated M5 battleship grey concrete past raised Black Country sea of neon advertising where only Coke adds life. On Trinity Way brightly painted skyscrapers scuttle past skeletal cherry pickers. Junction 1 approaches, away to the right brittle, football ground pylons and linking them all together are the piss stinking arcades, blind alleys, corrugated bus shelters and football chanting backstreets of this badlands flashback. 

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Golden Spike

Last Friday, work and then mad M5 dash to the West Country and then on to Bristol’s Broadwalk Arts for Kitsch show. Having parked up in only free multi story car park in entire Sceptered Isle and wondered aloud if a yellow sports car might be visible than aforementioned vehicle pulled up alongside. JB and Mr Mecca had made the journey down from the shire to share in my moment of glory!

Good turn out at B’walk Arts, set in cheerful but ever so slightly run down precinct south of the river in Knowle. Slight embarrassment at having provided five images and then only seeing the one used, although that did seem to be the main currency. Work of generally high quality including sculptures, stuff made of objects, paintings etc mine was an old collage entitled Venus of the Yards (see above left). Not a bad effort I felt and didn’t let the side down.

Soon after arriving we were greeted by the internationally named Sam Francisco, curator of show. I then attempted to introduce my cabal only to completely forget Jean’s name! A hanging silence followed, seeming to last forever before Jean introduced herself. Whole thing reminded me of the Norman Wisdom joke; ‘There are three things that happen when you get old; first you lose your memory and I can’t remember the other two’.

Afterwards went to opening on Spike Island, work by Haroon Mirza and Suzanne Mooney, liked the former’s work, in particular a sound piece using an old Korg synthesizer to send a repetitive trippy, three note riff into the soundproofed ether. Made me quite nostalgic for old keyboards! Thence onto Bristol Diving Club and then unnamed side street space with diminishing returns. From Spike Island we then drove to bijou Clifton and Indian eaterie for restorative curries. Art and company good in equal measure!

Weekend finished on a positive note with trip in to Bath to watch Man City demolish Spuds by three goals to two. Assembly Rooms was the venue and lovely to watch game on big screen nursing Czech lager after Sunday roast apperatif.

Above is a somewhat gratuitous picture of Darling Number 1 taken on the Cob at Lyme during our pre Xmas adventures along the south coast.

On a personal note this was the first time I’ve had two openings on the same evening having another one in Antwerp. If you remember, last year Pitt and myself went to Europe’s chocolate capital where we met the lovely Leo. He asked us if we would be interested in putting some work in for a show of Album covers for the Ambrassband and Donkey Diesel and this we duly did (see right). If it's not clear, my work advises the viewer/consumer to not buy the LP/CD but instead to go out and steal it. First identify the retail outlet, choose your uniform, secrete disc about your person before finally listening to it in the comfort and privacy of your own home.