Monday, 25 February 2013

Bill Mudge - Jazz's Renaissance Man

Bill Mudge Trio's
Bill Mudge is reputed to be a highly creative player of jazz organ. When I googled his name I found (on Youtube) an animation by Alban Low which is meant to accompany Bill’s composition ‘Skylight’. I say “meant to” because I was in my local library and all their headphones had been filched. I watched Alban’s graceful black and white images glide around that screen and tried to imagine the enchanting sound sequences which had inspired them.
At various times there seem to have been Bill Mudge Quintets, Quartets and Trios. No doubt he also plays solo as well as in duos, sextets etc. I shall definitely make a point of checking out his music at some stage but at the moment I’m meant to be focusing on his fascinating visual contributions to recent Sampson Low Ltd publications.
' Let Me Show You To Your Room'

The photograph in Freedbook ‘Let Me Show You To Your Room’ triggers all kinds of associations for me, I’ve spent a lot of my life in small rented rooms. Your first glimpse inside reveals the end of a bed, a chest of draws, a wonky lampshade and bright sunshine streaming through a window. The door itself is scruffy, its paint flaking off but I’m sure everything’s clean and very few of the tenants will turn out to be serial killers.
 In contrast his photocollage in Patternotion documents an entire house. Before the Mudges moved in it belonged to Albert and Betty. The Albert-and-Bettys of this world should definitely be celebrated I think before they go the way of 8 track cassette cartridges, pennyfarthings and the eohippus.
In Albert’s own hand we read the cheery message, “Betty and I still enjoying life/modern sequence dancing/allotment garden etc”. Above and below these words are thoughtfully chosen patterns and textures from their home plus objects such as a lightswitch, a clock etc.
This week I took a photo of a local building which is soon to be demolished. I recall it mainly as having been a shabby charity shop in the late 90’s but when my Aunt saw the picture she told me it had been “an important piggery” during the war. Memories such as this are precious (to me at least). I’m grateful that Bill Mudge has chosen to give us an impression of how Albert and Betty’s place looked and felt before, as he says “embarking on the journey to make this house our home”.
(If you would like to find out what Bill Mudge sounds like for real then he's playing with the Kelvin Christiane Big Band at The Bloomsbury, Staines Road, Twickenham on Tuesday 5th March,2013 at 8pm. Free Entry. AL.)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Shona Davies & Dave Monaghan - Marvellous Warped Alternatives

Shona Davies &
Dave Monaghan's
Wheel of Misfortune
Freedbook contributors Shona Davies and Dave Monaghan return to tease us further with the mysterious objects and environments that they create. I might argue that if I want to be confronted by spectacles that cause me unease and disorientation I need only leave my home and explore the terrors of the world outside.
Obviously that’s never going to happen but it’s all out there.
These artworks are a marvellous warped alternative to that unpleasantness. Something new for me to worry about - and they do say that a change is as good as a rest. Inevitably a title like “The Wheel Of Misfortune” hints (along with thousands of other possibilities) at the title of a certain migraine inducing television show. Just for a moment you wonder whether Davies and Monaghan fancy themselves as mischievous presenters of such a show. Then you try to push those thoughts to the back of your mind.
(In reality 'Wheel of Misfortune' reflects a recent chapter in their lives, which makes their page even more poignant.
All fellow Patternotionists hope it marks the beginning of a new chapter for them both.)
FreedBook contribution 'The Diagnosis'
Collaborations by this hardworking duo have been displayed at such prestigious addresses as the Whitechapel Gallery - London, the One Church Street Gallery – Great Missenden and the Chapel Gallery -Ormskirk.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Artist Series returns - David Bushell

David Bushell's ill fated 'Rate My Menhir'
 Today the Patternotion artist series returns with a post about author Daivd Bushell from Philip Deed, who will be our guest writer/blogger for the next few weeks.

David Bushell

Following the withdrawal from bookshops worldwide of his controversial “The Scotch Egg Diet” David Bushell retired to Penzance to reconsider his position. There, with his wife Edith and young son Mark Edward Smith Bushell, he enjoys the delights of the cornish countryside and in particular the prehistoric sites which are so plentiful in the west penwith region. His popular “Rate My Menhir” website was voluntarily closed down in 2011 to avoid legal action.

He continues to work on an autobiography which may once again prove too hot for the world of publishing to handle. Excerpts from this along with his forthright views on music, lifestyle etc appeared in early issues of a certain publication. It’s editor, dismayed at some of the subject matter and fearing that his own job might be at risk, decided to discontinue Bushell’s contributions. On the subject of his dismissal David has no comment beyond “The man is an arse”.

Now Sampson Low Ltd have thrown caution to the wind and decided to include excerpts from “More Farted Against Than Farting” first in their delightful Freedbook collection and now in Patternotion. I applaud their good judgement.


Monday, 18 February 2013

Patternotion - Life's delicate balance

Life is a delicate balance. Drift in a perfect bliss of ignorance and you can find your personal Nirvana or find yourself lost. Structure our unpredictable lives and we harness our potential, achieve greatness or send ourselves to the edges of insanity.

So when I contacted our 1000+ artists with the book’s theme, I felt more like a therapist and just a little bit unhinged myself. The task was to analyse their lives and to root out the personal systems that helps them function in life and work.  I suspected that artists and authors were excellent exponents in the secret art of system making, with the flair and skill to explain them. What I hadn’t expected was such a swift and varied response: within 6 hours of the call-to-arms we had to close submissions and the pages of the Patternotion book were all reserved.

We at Sampson Low Ltd are unusual in the way we select our artists and authors..... Everyone is welcome. We run a first-come first-served basis and have never rejected an entry. This has given the book a varied palette of ideas from artists, authors, children, train drivers, research directors, company bigwigs and unemployed geniuses from all over the world including England, Scotland, Wales, Denmark,  and for the first time The Democratic Republic of Congo (see Thomas Yocum's submission below)

Thomas Yocum
The book is split into two sections. The first contains both prescriptive and open systems that may require some thought. In the second part I asked 9 artists to interpret systems from the previous section. With a mix of instinct and structure they have channelled their intellects, producing fascinating and unexpected results.

Read the book and you realise that a good system contains as few ingredients as possible and has a short shelf-life before being re-invented or adapted. In this book you’ll find over 60 recipes to inspire and amuse you. In its best known form a life system is the New Year’s Resolution, where the participant declares their intentions and like a social gladiator lives or dies under the gaze of the populace.

Patternotion is not a dramatic ‘do or die’ ultimatum of course, it is just a book. Read it though and the ideas inside could influence the next chapter in your life.

The Book is now at the printers and we have removed the slideshow with all the submissions, so you'll have to wait for the real thing. It will go on sale in the week of the Blue Plaque launch which is Saturday 9th March.


Friday, 15 February 2013

60 Artist Blue Plaque Cover

Its been a long week making Blue Plaques for the Patternotion artists and it seems half of Facebook too. When Jacquelyn Guderley of Books For Free and I conceived the idea of a Blue Plaque walk to launch the book we never thought these little blue discs would mean so much to so many.

Like every good system we take it for granted when it works as smoothly as this one.The Blue Plaque scheme is a shorthand for pinning an identity and history to a specific place and it seems everyone would like to have one. After all we all have some Great moments in our lives.

Well here it. The cover of the Patternotion book. We're a few days away from sending the full manuscript to the printers so still some time for a few alterations.

Then it will be full focus on the launch on 9th March 2013- meet at Books For Free bookshop, Tufnell Park, NW5 at 10am. We'll be walking around the area, visiting 18 blue plaques from local authors and poets. Hopefully we'll have a couple of wild cards as Dick Muskett is currently researching some more blue plaques in N7 and N19.

Well finish our walk right back at Books For Free and cut the ribbon on the Patternotion Book. Where we'll leave 10 signed First Editions for people to pick up for FREE.

Hope you can join us.


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Patternotion Blue Plaque Launch - 9th March 2013

Citizen Skwith
Virtually all the pages have arrived at Patternotion HQ and we're busy sorting out the order of the pages and front cover. Today we finalised the details of our launch event and we're excited to share them with you now.

Patternotion is lucky enough to team up with the Books For Free organisation and in particular the inspirational Jaquelyn Guderley. Between us we've organised a Blue Plaque walk with a difference on the 9th March 2013.

We will be starting our walk from the Books For Free bookshop, 147 Fortess Road, Tufnell Park, NW5 2HP at 10am.

All are welcome. So come along!

Our route will take us past 18 authors and poets that have lived or worked in the area. Including Sir John Betjeman, JB Priestley, DH Lawrence, John Keats, Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas, HG Wells and George Orwell. We'll be finishing back where we started from in Tufnell Park, where we'll be signing and leaving 10 First Editions of Patternotion for eager collectors to snap up for FREE.

But we're providing you with a little twist........

We'll be placing our own magnetic blue plaques along the way like this one from world renown street artist Citizen Skwith (above). There will be more than 80 plaques of people nominated by the local community and Patternotion authors. Celebrating what is great about Books and the local area!

We wanted to support the scheme that has taken a beating in the last few weeks. In fact English Heritage's blue plaque scheme has been under threat because of budget cuts ( from £130 million to £92 million).
So why doesn't the local community (especially one with such a rich literary past) take up the reins! Guardian Article

If you'd like to nominate someone in NW5, NW3 or NW1 for a blue plaque then tweet Books For Free at @BooksforFreeNW5 with your suggestion, before the 15th February 2013.

If you'd like to join the action via the internet then look out for the #patternotion hashtag on twitter, where we'll be posting 'live' photos as the magnetic plaques hit the streets. We'll also have live GPS tracking of our every move at the SMartwalks website.

London Smartwalk 2011
 Our last book, FreedBook, worked with the brilliant Books For London, who maintain more than 7 book swapping libraries on London's transport system. So its with equal enthusiasm that we find ourselves happy bedfellows with Books For Free and Healthy Planet.

But do they really give away books for Free!

Yes they do! The "Books for Free" initiative rescues unwanted books otherwise destined for landfill or pulping. They redistribute these throughout communities via the Books for Free centres nationwide. By visiting the centres and taking a book, you are reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill each year and helping to recycle valuable resources. There is no catch and the only restriction is that a maximum of 3 books are taken at any one time.

So we hope you join us for our unusual Blue Plaque walk on the 9th March and support both Books For Free and the Patternotion Book.