Wednesday, 8 January 2020

John Lennon is not dead

We die three times. The first time is when are heart stops beating. the second time is when we're put in the ground and the third time is when everyone stops saying our name. John Lennon will live on forever in the hearts of fans all around the world. We'll never forget him.
John Lennon Is Not Dead will feature 80 artists who want to keep his memory alive. Some will paint or draw Lennon, some will make reference to his art, other s will make work inspired by his lyrics.
The majority of the show will be affordable, small scale, pop art. There will however be a few surprises. The work will be hung cheek by jowl in a salon style.
Martin Pickles, Bev Daniels, Duglas Stewart, Corin Johnson, James Lawson, Sadie Hennessey, Emma Coleman, Loretta Wall, Georgia Hayes, Chris Tosic, Agnieszka Zapala,
Peter Harris (see above),
Mel Brimfield, (see above)
Edward Ward (see above), Gordon Beswick, Julian Wakeling. Max Reeves, Richard Arthur Mittens, James Johnston, Anna Titov, Phil King, Ben Dickson, 
Jono Ganz, (see above)
David Lock, (see above)
Mikey Georgeson (see above) have all been asked to take part and said yes. Meanwhile...
Bob & Roberta Smith, (see above), Lee Maelzer,, Jessie Voorsanger,
Josie McCoy (see above) will be asked when a venue has been sorted out and it's very likely they will say, Yes.
The show will take place on the 9th of Oct 2020 - what would have been Lennon's 80th birthday.
Guest speakers, music performance, film screening, guided tours. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Xmas Art Market Curated by Alice Herrick

The Xmas Art Market, curated by the artist Alice Herrick, took place on Thursday 19th of December at
Among those selling their mini masterpieces were the art dealer, curator, and writer: Clive Jennings.
These splendid knickers were stitched by the artist Julia Maddison
Above: The artist Cate Halpin with her F**k Boris prints.
Above: Sadie Hennessy looking dashing in some Harry Pye Sunglasses.
Above: Editor of The Dark Times, Paul Sakoilsky
Above: Joe Sakoilsky
Jasper Joffe and Harry Pye. Jasper is holding a bag of delight.
Corey models a Karl Lagerfeld t-shirt designed by Tosic & Pye
Gordon Beswick puts tinsel round a print of 'The Life Drawing Class' (by Beswick & Pye)

The artist Michael Coles hides behind one of his brilliant masks.
Above: An official Harry Pye mask, 2 Unofficial calendars and Santa Corey sporting a, "Bring Back Pubes" badge designed by Sadie Hennessy.
Above: Paul Sakoilsky helps Alice Herrick draw winning raffle numbers. Money raised from the raffle went to help a Food Bank Charity. The Xmas Art Market was well organised and lots of fun. It helped us forget about the miserable election result and lots of people came away with unusual Xmas presents for their loved ones. Well done Alice and all the artists who took part.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Cut Out And Keep Me by David Devant and His Spirit Wife

They say, "the best things come to those who wait," and fans of David Devant & His Spirit Wife are in for a treat.The new Devant album, Cut Out And Keep Me is their first since 2004 and it's probably their best. 
Last night at The Water Rats in Kings Cross the band were on fine form and a packed crowd marveled at their new material.
Singer Mikey Georgeson (a.k.a "The Vessel")and Co have come up with 12 fab new tracks. Album opener, Sublime is an intriguing yet soothing celebration of being over the hill. Sally's Down With The Kids is fast and fun bit of Glam Rock. Guitarist Foz is an amazingly inventive player it's great to hear him go balls out. The Bowie-esq Data Streams gives bass player, Le Colonel the chance to shine. Rough Magic is pure pop perfection and deserves to be a huge hit. Georgeson sounds very soulful on this immediately lovable track. The title track, Cut Out And Keep Me is an impressive recording that wouldn't be out of place on Abbey Road. Side One closes with the dreamy, This Train. It's a curious song which doesn't sound like anything the band has done before. 

Here I Am begins with a My Sweet Lord intro and features a guitar riff not unlike Day Tripper. The song is Mikey musing on why we remember what we remember - it's interesting. Miracles Happen could have been a single by Madness (circa Cardiac Arrest). The music is upbeat and jolly and the lyrics are witty. Drummer, Professor Rimshot plays military style drums to perfection. 

The Weatherman is yet another very strong track. I think Foz is playing The Saw rather than the guitar on this song. One of the few pop songs to mention both Cliff Richard and Heidegger. (He's A Bit Of A) Rake is a killer. It really packs a punch and is great to bop around to. In some ways it's the most similar to the Devant we know and love. It's as good as Devant classics such as Cookie and Ginger. Early Worm is pleasant, sophisticated and charming. And finally, album closer, Putting My Demons to Bed is just fantastic. I love this song. Again it's surprisingly soulful and the band sound super tight. The, "night night" outro that the backing singers do is just beautiful. If you want suggestions as to what to buy the music lover in your family this Xmas... my vote is for David Devant. 'Cut Out And Keep Me' is a classic.       

Buy the CD from this site:
Cut Out And Keep Me was recorded at Kindness Studios, Brighton.

Text and photos by: Harry Pye
December 12 2019

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Ten Things I Love About Gabi Garbutt's debut album

You've got to love an artist with the guts to call their album 'The Discredited Language of Angels'. It's a wonderfully open-ended title - possibly nodding to the psychedelic visions of William Blake, apparently a big influence on Gabi, but perhaps also a comment on the current era of Corbyn-bashing spin and fake news.
Are you looking at me punk?!  The stare says it all!
The first sound you'll hear after pressing play is the turbulent swirl of a Hammond organ that wouldn't be out of place on a classic Otis Redding tune. Album opener 'The Fool'' is driven along by a big booted Northern Soul beat, a proper high octane stomper.
The album's co-producer and the key member of Gabi's backing band the Illuminations is Sean Read. Read has performed with everyone from the Manics to the Rockinbirds, but it's his work co-ordinating the distinctive brass section of Dexys that's most immediately noticeable here. Add powerful blasts of saxophones and trumpets to the rougher-edged indie moves and you've got a unique, rich and rousing sound.
Although they're dispatched with a dash of punk rawness, there's no denying Gabi's keen instinct for writing catchy tunes that take up residence in your brain, Previous candidates.  Prime candidates are the string of recent singles - 'Lady Matador', ‘The Fool’ and ‘Heat of the Machine’ - but the handful of slower tracks are equally hard to shake off.
As well as Blake, she counts Lorca and Patti Smith as influential as The Clash and Ezra Furman and there’s a real, evocative poetic edge to Gabi’s lyrics that sets them apart from the usual guitar band cliches. 
Definitely the album's emotional centrepiece, 'Armed With Love' is a woozy lighters in the air moment, given a subtle sonic spruce up for the album after initially appearing as her first single a couple of years back.  Written about the power of continuing to love in the face of evil and misfortune, it connects  
'Heat of the Machine' makes great use of that glam rock staple, the real, live handclap. About time for a revival, we reckon.
Another relic of another age, the eerie majesty of the Mellotron, is dusted off and re-invented here, sending shivers down to the spine of ‘Bright Tiger Eyes’.
Our favourite track has to be the album's closer 'Ravens and Angels', a proper anthem with a touch of Madness-style soul-done-London style.  The Illuminations’ Jimi Scandal gets to really let loose with a Scandal-ously great guitar solo just before the LP ends too.

Listen to Gabi's single, Heat of The Machine:  here 
The Discredited Language of Angels is released by Music As Insurgent Art.
Text by John Robbins 
November the 16th 2019

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

OS-SOLO reviewed by Tine Frellesen

OS-SOLO – meaning "Us Solo" – is a community of 20 Danish artists and designers exhibiting their handmade products ranging from ceramics, jewelry, woodcraft, photography, prints, paintings, embroidery and textiles.

Designers Tanja Oppermann and Jan DP Jørgensen took the initiative to make this creative community so that artists and designers would have a place to show and sell their products and reach a larger audience. Also it is a platform for members to collaborate and develop new ideas, projects and products.The shop has a great variety of contemporary Danish art and design, with a fine selection of ceramics – examples are the geometric and colourful works by Michala Hoffmann

And the beautiful minimalist forms by Tanja and Jan.

OsSolo exhibit artists working in different media, such as Sidsel Ludvigsen's witty embroidered pieces above or the delicate wooden cases by Brags and Galmez

The shop has a creative and inspiring atmosphere and prizes range from 10 – 300 pounds. It is important for OS-SOLO to have affordable pieces, even when the pieces are handcrafted. OS-SOLO aims to build an exciting, contemporary and affordable brand.  
Above image by Cecilie Scopp

Do visit, if you are in Copenhagen. Opening hours are: Wed – Friday: 12-6pm, Sat. 11-4pm
OS-SOLO, Oehlenschlægersgade 32, Copenhagen, Vesterbro District. (Don’t let the street name put you off, Danish people can’t spell it either!) Facebook and Instagram: Ossolo Cph. 

Text by Tine Frellesen 

Monday, 26 August 2019

Press Release: You Know More Than I Know exhibition at The Art Academy opening 11/09/19

Press Release For You Know More Than I Know
Image above by
Steve Gullick 
Image above by
Corin Johnson 
Image above by
James Johnston
Image above by 
Harry Pye 
Image above by
 Aleks Wojcik
Steve, Corin, James, Harry, and Aleks invite you to an exhibition featuring photography, painting, drawing and sculpture.
For more info click: here
 Here are 40 Facts about the exhibition:
1) You Know More Than I Know is a song written by John Cale, who was a founder member of The Velvet Underground. The song appeared on his album, Fear. Cale was born in Wales but lived and studied in South London.
2) Aleks Wojcik is the only artist contributing to this exhibition who is under 40. She was a Scout for 5 years and absolutely loved it. Her first time in England was when she was 13 and she had a day trip to Dover. When Aleks left Poland she moved to south London and lived above the Pineapple pub (near Lambeth tube).
3) Steve Gullick’s first resting place in London was at his friend Neil's flat which was above a chicken shop on Stockwell road in 1987. They worked as ushers at the Odeon Cinema on Haymarket.
4) Harry Pye was born in Lewisham. His first job after graduating from Art School was as a doorman at Catford Theatre during the pantomime season.
5) Aleks  Wojcik is quite  superstitious : She will never walk under the ladder, she will never open an umbrella indoors etc.
6) Harry Pye is allergic to red wine and never learned how to ride a bike. He has never been superstitious or religious . He has been described as being, “sooo London”,  “sooo sensitive”, “a dark horse”, “a hoarder”  (as someone who) argues like a lawyer” (as being like) Prince Myshkin and “(as someone who) can’t accept love”
7) When James Johnston sees a magpie he clicks his fingers as his Mum and Gran used to do it. James Johnston's Gran was a self-taught painter.
8) Harry Pye is a descendant of Sir Henry James Pye (1745–1813), who was an unpopular Poet Laureate.
9) Aleks always wanted to be a painter and she believes that it will happen one day.
10) James Johnston and Steve Gullick were in a band called '...bender'
11) Harry Pye once collaborated with the composer Francis Macdonald on an album of songs and stories. Mojo magazine gave the album 4 stars and said it was “odd but good”
12)  James Johnston started a band called Gallon Drunk and grew up near Guildford - which is famous for virtually nothing.
13) There was a time in 1992 when Harry Pye went through a phase of feeling he'd just walked into a cobweb but when he wiped his face, nothing was there.
14) James Johnston still has records but no record player.
15) Steve Gullick is from Coventry and he often wore eyeliner in his youth. His favourite John Cale album is, Fear.
16) Harry Pye often loves a handful of John Cale songs like; Been There Done That,  Faces and Names, Hallelulah and You Know More Than I Know,over and over again but there aren’t any John Cale albums he likes from beginning to end.
17) Corin Johnson saw John Cale give a talk about his life at, The Green Man festival. Corin is a fan of the music Cale made with Nick Drake.
18) Aleks Wojcik doesn’t know who John Cale is. For a while Roxette were her favourite band. Her first dance with a boy was to The Scorpions.
19) Steve Gullick is married and has three adult sons all of whom were born in East London.
20) Corin Johnson was born in Warwick very near the castle. He used to get peacocks flying into his garden.
21) Aleks loves having a garden and is proud of her tomatoes. Her biggest enemies in the garden are squirrels and snails. She likes it when is a sunny day and I water it with a hose because I can make small rainbows! 
22) Steve Gullick is still friends with his school art teachers, Chris Lock and Pete Hillier.
23) Corin Johnson’s art teacher came from Liverpool and was called Mr Skiffington.
24) Aleks misses her 8 pet rats. The names she gave them were; Marcel, Fidel, Stefan, Jack, Klex, Boris, Muffin and Shadow.
25) Steve Gullick has constant tinnitus.
26) Corin Johnson has an older sister and a younger brother.
27) James Johnston lived in a bedsit in Earl's court when he first moved to London to go to university, it had very thin walls as was a bit sleazy. He was studying philosophy at King's and was asked to leave. His favourite place in London is Lambeth North.
28) Steve Gullick has only ever painted on paper.
29) Newington Library was officially opened on Thursday 13th March 1975. The building next to the library caught fire on March 25, 2013. 100 fire-fighters were needed to put out the blaze and there was much water damage. In September 2017 Southwark Council granted the Art Academy use of the former Newington Library, Walworth Road
30) Corin Johnson’s mother had a print of Picasso’s Sylvette on the wall.
31) Harry Pye was born in Lewisham hospital and he went back there a few years ago to have his appendix out.
32) Aleks Wojcik has never had anything broken apart from her heart. Twice.
33) The last book James Johnston read was The Power and The Glory by Graham Greene
34) Aleks Wojcik knows how to make great pancakes, and a very nice apple pie. She loves spinach which she was never fed as a child.
35) Corin Johnson’s first sculptures were bought by Peter Snow who was a professor at The Slade.
36) During his art degree, Harry Pye did an artist’s placement with the sculptor and Slade professor Bruce Mclean.
37) Aleks believes all cool people smoke
38) Corin Johnson, James Johnston, and Harry Pye all contributed work to an exhibition called, Push The Boat Out which took place at The Art Academy last year. The title came from a  song James had once recorded with his band, Gallon Drunk.
39) Corin’s Mother’s family are from Newcastle upon Tyne and they used to sing Geordie songs and rhymes. He owns a dog called Charlie who likes bananas.
40) This exhibition features a photograph Aleks Wojcik took of her mother.  Aleks says her parents names are Krzysztof and Czeslawa and that they were both employed as art restorers. 

The opening party for, 'You Know More Than I Know' is on Wednesday the 11th Sept from 6pm till 9pm.
On Thursday the 12th and Friday the 13th the gallery is open from 10:30am till 6:30pm. On Sat the 15th and Sunday the 16th the gallery is open from 11am till 5pm. 
The Art Academy used to be Newington Library The address is: 155 Walworth Road S.E 17 1RS
It's 5 minutes from Elephant & Castle tube.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Oedipus Wrecks thirty years on

30 years ago Coppola, Scorsese and Allen came together to make 'New York Stories'. Each director contributed a mini movie about their favourite city. Curiously one actor, Paul Herman, was given a bit part in all three segments. Recently I watched New York Stories for the first time in many years. The first story (Life Lessons by Scorsese)was very good. The second story (Life Without Zoe by Coppola)was very bad. And the third story (Oedipus Wrecks by Allen) was very funny.

In her review for The New Yorker Pauline Kael suggested the best thing about Oedipus Wrecks was Julie Kavner (who shortly after the film would be cast as Marge in The Simpsons). Kael wrote, "Woody Allen has written the role that Julie Kavner deserves: she’s the cartoon Jewish woman redeemed, and she plays it superbly—she’s a Yiddishe Olive Oyl, a hopeless involuntary comic. And, even in the guise of Sheldon the lawyer in tweeds, Woody Allen recognizes her as his soul mate. The movie is a Freudian vaudeville, worked out with details such as Sheldon’s loose, improved sex life during the period of his mother’s disappearance."

I'm also a big fan of Kavner. She appears in several other Allen movies; Hannah & Her Sisters (86), Radio Days (87), Alice (90), Shadows & Fog (91), Don't Drink The Water(94), Deconstructing Harry (97)and she's brought a bit of magic to all of them. As you'd expect they both have said complimentary things about each other... 

Allen described Kavner as being "a naturally funny person", and added, " When she does a scene, you listen to her and look at her, and the prism through which it's all filtered is funny." Whilst Kavner has been quoted as saying, "Woody is a true filmmaker, one that has something to say, continually experimenting on different themes within his own film-making", adding that "anything Woody ever does, I always want to do...I don't even have to read it." 
One part of the film features a stage magician who has a box that seemingly makes people disappear - this idea is not a million miles away from a story Allen featured in his book, Side Effects published in 1977. The story is called, Kugelmass Episode. And it's about how Professor Sidney Kugelmass meets a magician called "The Great Persky" who has a cabinet that people climb into and are then sent back in time. (It's interesting to think how the time traveling aspect of the story would eventually evolve into the 2011 film, Midnight in Paris which made over 150 million dollars at the box office.)Oedipus Wrecks isn't a challenging or ground breaking movie, it's simply Woody giving people what they want.

Fans of, Curb Your Enthusiasm may be interested to see this movie as it features a cameo from a young Larry David. The pair would of course work together again when David starred in Allen's 2009 film, Whatever Works. In my opinion David's acting is good in Oedipus Wrecks and he's convincing in the part he plays. In Whatever Works I feel David is trying to do an impression of Woody but he can't quite express feelings of emotional turmoil and anxiety on screen the way that Allen can. The only actor I could imagine delivering as good a performance as the central character in Oedipus Wrecks is Gene Wilder.
Allen often says that people confuse his screen persona with the man he is in real life. Amusingly, in 1997, many years after Oedipus Wrecks was released there was a documentary made about his life called, Wild Man Blues and in one scene we see Allen introduce his 90 year old mother to his South Korean born wife Soon-Yi Previn only to hear, "Why don't you marry a nice Jewish girl?" -  sometimes life imitates Woody Allen movies. 

Oedipus Wrecks (from 'New York Stories')reviewed by Harry Pye
July 2019