Thursday, September 24, 2009


I first met Peter Butler in 1977 when he was nineteen-years-old working for Holdsworthy Limited in southeast London as frame-builder at Holdsworth's bicycle factory, Cambridge Grove.

deep topography from archive of now the rubble

The company prided itself on specializing the hand-built Claude Butler model (Peter was not related to Claude Butler).

Peter was six-foot five and wore a pretty pink ribbon to tie his waist-length hair in a pony tail. The factory's health and safety regulations forbade long hair worn loose. Pete's persona and stance was one of contradictory compliance and defiance. It showed.

from beat generation ballads sequence work-in-progress

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

'Ishtar & the Bull of Heaven' from beat generation ballads sequence

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


'A' is not equal to 'A' - Sean Bonney, the commons II (Openned Press, 2009)

In 1969 I meticulously copied a photographic image of Elvis Presley from Picture Show Annual 1958 after copying William Eichel's backcover photo of Jack Kerouac. Made my own On the Road Jack in pencil and yellow crayon with wash.

Jack looks good but Elvis was best drawing ever using soft B and 2B leads. Elvis in pencil on cartridge paper. Something else. More than just another fan pic.

Elvis had recorded a little known Bob Dylan song 'Tomorrow Is A Long Time' in 1966. Featured as bonus track on Spinout (US California Holiday) movie soundtrack album.

The Elvis recording and drawing sparked visual poem for printmaking entitled Have You Ever Tried To Be Like Bob Dylan (no question mark) for five design exhibits (one design per page) with Presley drawing pride of place design 'A'. Other designs 'B', 'C', 'D', 'E' followed to complete sequence.

In 1970 I touted the sequence around London looking for fine art or limited edition publisher-printmakers to produce an edition. Thought I'd found an art agent who said he'd got me publisher and exhibitor - naive of me to believe this shit - only commercial advertising studio/printshop experience. No literary or art world contacts. No higher, further, or even Sixties art school education. 'Like a complete unknown' (in the words of the song).

When I didn't hear anything and returned to collect the sequence, design 'A' was missing, stolen perhaps from offices of dodgy art agency.

So like Epic of Gilgamesh this 78rpm bakelite ballad has broken lacuna.

visual association: Sophie Robinson's titling of poem concerning loss of young life (Aerin Davidson) as
lower case


Missing Elvis design 'A' compensated by other visual associations:: Peter Butler's fanzine poems American Triology & Reason to smile::: Jeremy Reed's The Sun King: Elvis the Second Coming & Heartbreak Hotel:::: the Elvis of Thom Gunn's Sense of Movement::::: Bono's Elvis: American David.

because I have forgotten it is all gone

'Have You Ever Tried To Be Like Bob Dylan: Missing Elvis' from beat generation ballads sequence

MJ Weller work-in-progress blog try out