Thursday, 6 October 2016

A Letter in Mind - A View on Nature (at The Oxo Tower)

Currently on show at The Oxo Tower on The South Bank is a special collection of envelopes that have been painted on by over 200 great artists including Raksha Patel, Grayson Perry, Agnieszka Zapala, Anthony Gormley, Nastasha Kid, Harry Pye, Sarah Wood, Barry Thompson, Louise Kelly, Kevin Eldon, Polly Dunbar, and Aleksandra Wojcik. Each envelope costs just £85 each and all the money goes to The National Brain Appeal.
The National Brain Appeal do vital work improving the quality of life for every individual with a neurological disorder.
Above: A few examples of the envelopes available.
Above image: Artist Agnieszka Zapala
Image below: The lovely Eva Tait
Image Below: The amazing Aleksandra
Below: Miss Zapala standing near to her art work
Below: Nice Coal and Blue Tits
Below: Lovely lemons
Image below: Some lucky person snapped this amazing drawing up but there are many other bargains yet to find a home.
The exhibition at gallery@oxo on London’s South Bank opens to the public from Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 October (11am-6pm). All the works will be exhibited anonymously and available to buy for £85 each.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Teenage Fanclub in Islington

Last night I had a great time at London Islington Assembly Hall enjoying both new songs and old performed by Norman Blake (singer/guitarist), Gerard Love (bass), Dave MacGowan (keyboards and guitar), Francis MacDonald (drums), and Raymond McGinley (lead guitar). Here are a few photos I took - you'll notice some of my snaps have a Gerhard Richter quality about them.
Above: Teenage Fanclub performing "Don't Look Back"
Above: I bump into my mate Alan Woodhouse
Above: The band perform "I Need Direction"
Above: The Fannies play some new material (all of which was very good)
Above: Mr Blake and chums
Above: The hard working rhythm section
Above: The band performing "The Concept"
Above: Francis on drums
Above: (Aftershow) TV funnyman Kevin Eldon and comedy chum Joel Morris
Above: The new Teenage Fanclub album is called Here, and will be released on 9 Sept. It will be available on all popular formats: vinyl, CD, cassette and digital.It was recorded at Vega Studio, nr Carpentras, Provence and at Raymond’s place in Pollokshields, Glasgow. We mixed it at Clouds Hill Recordings in Hamburg. The tracklisting is as follows: 1. I’m In Love 2. Thin Air 3. Hold On 4. The Darkest Part Of The Night 5. I Have Nothing More To Say 6. I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive 7. The First Sight 8. Live In The Moment 9. Steady State 10. It’s A Sign 11. With You 12. Connected To Life

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Q & A with Heathcote Williams

Heathcote Williams is an English poet, actor, magician and dramatist possibly best known Whale Nation which was published in 1988. Earlier this year I went to the Old Red Lion to see a revival of Heathcote's first play The Local Stigmatic (which Al Pacino made into a film in 1990). His latest work ‘Brexit Boris: From Mayor to Nightmare’ has just been published by Public Reading Rooms. It’s fully illustrated by Steve Bell, Gerald Scarfe, Ralph Steadman, Andy Davey, Peter Brookes, Dave Brown, and Martin Rowson.
Harry Pye: Do you believe there is a perfect level of fame a writer or artist can achieve? Heathcote Williams: "A hip friend of mine, Bob Bassara, used to say, ‘Fame is the first disgrace. One should be known only by God.’ That’s surely preferable to the obscenity of the celebocracy – our new class structure."
As an actor you appeared in Wish You Were Here, Friends, Basic Instinct 2 and Derek Jarman films - do you tell your agent you'll consider everything and do you have a dream role? "My acting career has been serendipitous. I’m not sure it’s a game for grown-ups, so no, I’ve just done it for fun and set no store by it." Was Harold Pinter a close friend of yours / what is your favourite Pinter play and why? "I first knew him in 1964 and knocked around with him a bit. He was unusually kind (but could also bark, and bite with righteous indignation). My enduring favourite play of his is The Caretaker with Donald Pleasance in the title role."
In the John Dowie Without Walls documentary on you (which can be found on You Tube), Harold Pinter talks about your work coming from your compassion for the weak and your violent contempt for the way people are manipulated - does that sound about right? "Hope so."
Are there any contemporary writers that inspire or excite you? "Jeremy Scahill, John Pilger, and Chris Hedges, non-fiction writers, always interest me. There’s also an unusual new writer called Saira Viola who writes for Gonzo Today."
How did you get involved with the re-launch of International Times? "I’d been writing for it, largely anonymously, for years. Mike Lesser, an old friend who co-produced the issue of IT from Paris in ’68, suggested that we revive it online. So we did; since when it’s had a million hits and gets about 10,000 hits a week. We’ve called it ‘The paper of resistance’. There’s a need for an anarchist pacifist paper with the widest possible range that’s open to everyone as a forum. Try sending an article into the Guardian without knowing anyone there and see how far you get."
Did you go and see the recent revival of Local Stigmatic - is it a work you are proud of? "I did see it. The production and level of acting was striking. It’s a young man’s play."
I love Sacred Elephant I've read it several times and it never fails to move me. Can you list any poems that have had a powerful impact on you - is there a poem that ever moved you to tears? "There’s a poem by Charles Causley called Dick Lander about a local hero in Launceston coming back shell-shocked and suffering a personality change that’s arguably one of the best WW1 poems."
Did Boris respond to your book on him/do you think he has read it? "No idea. The first edition was only available from the London Review of Books shop. The new edition is not published until the 15th September."
What are the good things about Trump - does he have a nice side we don't hear about? "I’ve not come across any but his possible isolationism might prove preferable to Clinton’s interventionist warmongering. He’s not killed anyone yet, as far as I know. Clinton’s hands are crimson."
Of all the different illustrators involved in your book, do you have a personal favourite? "I like them all. Elena Caldera, who has illustrated a lot of my work for IT and with whom I’m collaborating on a new book."
For details on how to buy a copy of ‘Brexit Boris: From Mayor to Nightmare’ visit:

Monday, 22 August 2016

Yet more photos from "Life of Pye" private view / closing night

Above: "Come on in..."
Above: Tori in the Richard Hamilton bar area
Above: White Album Collage
Above: John and Jackson
Above:Hard working Gordon Beswick
Above:Rebecca with "Weird Nightmare"
Above: Free Cards designed by Erica and Harry
Above: More Free cards...
A card that says "Woof"
Above:Fanny J and friend
Above:Uliana with Panda
Above: Lovely Jo and marvellous Magda
Above: Happy people
Above: Collaboration with Lucky Luke Gottelier (the only work in the show to feature indoor fireworks)
Above: Martin - the cat in the hat
Above: Sandra, Adam and Eve
Above: Lovely Sandra. The framed b&w collages are from a series called "Elvis Presley in Poland" made in collaboration with Cian Quayle.
Above: Sandra takes a photo of a collaboration with Marcus Cope (Har Ray is also in sight)
Above:On the stairs
Above: Eva with "These Foolish Things" - a collaboration with Adrian R. Shaw
Above: A "Rip It Off Me" badge has become the very button of fashion
Above: Kind Mr Hind
Above: A nice blurry shot of Pye and his poster
Above: Studio One has a great new show coming up curated by Mel Cole. Miss it and miss out.