Sunday, 21 December 2008

alternative press fair

a couple of weeks ago i met the lovely lively jimi gherkin at the comiket small press fair that was part of the comica season at the ica. he is putting on an alternative press fair in february. i don't know yet if i'll be selling anything there but i will definitely be perusing and possibly purchasing the wares. these are the details:

Pens, Pencils and Photocopiers:


St Aloysius Social Centre,

Phoenix Road,



Bringing together the worlds of alternative comics, zines, self-produced art-books, poetry and diy/punk culture for one amazing day, like a great colourful blacmange that you can't eat. Meet the artists, see their work, buy some if you like it. THEN relax and enjoy an exciting evening of music, song and melody, starring the Singing Sensation, Mr. Trent Miller (& The Skeleton Jive) as well as an open mic session for you to let it all hang out!

This event is FREE to all good men and women everywhere.

When? Sunday 1st February 2009, 12pm to 6pm (music to late)

Where? St. Aloysius Social Centre, 20 Phoenix Road, NW1 1TA

How do I get there? Alight Euston Station, venture up Eversholt Street on your right is Phoenix Road and a modern church - we're in the basement.

For more info Contact: jimigherkin(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk or peterlally(at)gmail(dot)com or check
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Thursday, 11 December 2008

martin ramirez and friends

a couple of weeks ago i came across martin ramirez' intricate work. i find the terms 'art brut' and 'outsider art' a little strange; we are all brutes and outsiders.

ramirez' work did remind me of some of the beautiful work made by the adults with learning disabilities i lived and worked with in scotland for a some time in 2003-2005. of course they replaced the abilities they may have lacked with ones that we lack.
it was a strangely normal kind of job, where you help people to look after themselves. you care for and take care of people, and in return they take care of you without you even realizing it.
at the same time it makes you aware exactly how replace-able you are. whenever i return some of the people remember who i am and greet me warmly, but just as many people -if not more-, who i felt i developed a bond with will not recognize me, ignore me or just be indifferent to my presence. none of us are special, all of us replace-able. what a relief.

when i started work i found it difficult to connect to one of the people i worked with. she knitted and in a, successful, attempt to improve my relationship with her i took up knitting too. she would knit until her knitting had so complicated itself that she needed someone to find some order in its chaos. while she waited impatiently i would un- and re-ravel bits until she could continue. her ability to randomly decrease and increase stitches was second to none. hers is the embroidery above, which she made me as a leaving present.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


some years ago i went to see odetta at the triptych festival in glasgow. she was tiny compared to the big strong woman i had seen singing 'water boy' in martin scorsese's bob dylan documentary 'no direction home', but her voice was impressive and her stage presence bordered on intimidating.
at the beginning of the evening she gave photographers a couple of minutes to take photos of her, telling them that was it: no photographs during the rest of her performance. when halfway through someone couldn't resist and ignored her request she stopped the show to reprimand him. i can't remember her exact words but i do remember that they were softly spoken and mortifying.
she was very entertaining; reminiscing about musicians she'd played with and making political and even sexual references. she played the audience like a strict teacher does her doting pupils.

odetta passed away yesterday at the age of 77.