stuck in fucking chicken town


I fucking love John Cooper Clarke. For most of my life he was the only poet I gave a fuck about, and that’s mostly because of a poem he wrote and performed called ‘Evidently Chickentown‘. It’s a work of enduring charm, and if you’re an English teacher trying to get kids to appreciate a bit of fucking poetry I recommend that you read them this.

Anyway, Evidently Chickentown must have lurked in my head for about thirty years, because somehow a strange Essex-accented diatribe of sorts has emerged. It hasn’t got as much swearing in it as Chickentown, but that’s only because it’s shorter. And because I’m so middle-class I thought I’d print it using a very upscale household emulsion – Farrow & Ball’s inoffensive ‘Mouse’s Back No. 40′. It’s essentially beige, and won’t even offend anyone at all ever.

It’s one of six prints that will be on sale via the Slowly Downward Manufactory from the 24th April until whenever we close the shop. All six prints are kind of political, if only in intent. It’s to coincide with the fucking elections in the UK. Little bit of politics, ladies and gentlemen, as Ben Elton used to say before he went all rubbish.

23rd April 2015

Dream Cargo


Hey, thanks to everyone who came to the opening night/private view/whatever they’re called of Dream Cargo at the Lawrence Alkin gallery the other night. I had a kind of fun time in the end, after anaesthetising my dread with wine and cigarettes. Everything looks really clinical, which is all to the good. I’ve not displayed work in this way before; each image has been produced as a lambda print, which is a more analogue than digital process, and diasec-mounted, which means the print is fused between layers of steel and perspex. I don’t know the details because it’s a secret and the people who do it won’t tell me. Anyway, it looks fucking great.

There’s a diasec-mounted lambda print of all 21 artworks; these are 660mm x 420mm, and have no text on them. There are also less expensive giclée prints available, again of each of the 21 covers; these are 450mm x 287mm and have Ballard’s name and the title of the book on them.


Like so.

Anyway, at the risk of playing a lengthy solo on my very own trumpet, it’s worth a visit. The gallery is on New Compton Street, near St Giles Church and practically in the shadow of Centre Point at the end (or is it the beginning?) of Oxford Street in dear old London. Click here to be launched to the gallery’s website.

30th March 2015

21 book covers for JG Ballard

21_ballardForgive me for my increasingly infrequent entries here, on my venerable website. I now seem to update my virtual existence by posting pictures and obscure messages on to Twitter and Instagram. I’d never have imagined it, to be honest; I’ve long had a deeply held distrust and a trenchantly cynical view regarding what’s called ‘social media’, but it’s got me, just like it’s got pretty much everyone else. But still, I offer my apologies.

Anyway, anyway. As you can see from just above, I have an exhibition opening soon in London, which will be showing the artwork I made for JG Ballard’s novels. It’s at the Lawrence Alkin gallery, near Centre Point at the eastern end of Oxford Street. There will be some sort of opening event on the evening of Thursday 26th March, and it might be an idea to get in touch with the gallery to find out about that. Me, I have no idea.

It was a tremendous honour to be asked to create the covers for JG Ballard’s books. He’s possibly my favourite author of the 20th (and a bit of the 21st) century, and someone whose books I’ve reread loads of times. To my mind, his incredibly incisive take on his childhood and his childhood observations made him one of the most prescient students of humanity as it dwelt in the strange edifice of late-period Western capitalism. Who else but Ballard could have begun a novel with the image of an urban professional devouring the remains of a dog on the balcony of his luxury penthouse apartment?

The exhibition will be showing extremely limited Diasec mounted lambda prints of the artwork I produced for the 21 covers. Smaller giclée editions of each will also be available.

10th March 2015

Dead goat.


I’m going to resurrect these feral bastards. All fourteen of them. Ranged around the boardroom table, presided over by the goat’s head I nailed to a dartboard. The goat boardroom will rise again. In Australia. More news soon.

1st February 2015

Last few hollowly humorous days…


The Hollow Humor exhibition at Natalie Galustian Rare Books in Cecil Court closes on the 31st January. If you’ve not been, there are paintings including Winterfold (above) and prints from the book Holloway and Humor. Most of the work is on display downstairs, whilst upstairs is the bookshop; taken over these past few months by the Faber Social pop-up shop, selling the complete list of Faber’s music and film-connected list. And, of course, my very own Humor, in both regular hardback and doubleplusgood hemp special limited edition…

Natalie Galustian Rare Books, 22 Cecil Court, London, WC2N 4HE. It might be an idea to phone ahead if you’re going out of your way: 020 7240 6822

18th January 2015

Zmas Boutique: new things


Fucking elves. I thought elves were supposed to do all the work at this time of year, but no luck. I don’t know if there’s an agency or something, but if there is no-one told me about it. So in the absence of elves, myself and the long-suffering Comrade Winstanley have been in the Manufactory for days, in temperatures that beggar belief, printing, smoking and refurbishing the Zmas Boutique in a fetching shade of forced optimism. Yes, we tell each other, everything is going to be just great.

Anyway, the point of me sitting here, typing into this infernal machine, is to tell you, o beauteous public, that the Boutique now offers some new work, including a Golden Solstice Smeuse, an Insane Minotaur, a Treasure Island Sunset, and an antique piece which is, for reasons lost somewhere in the last years of the Twentieth Century, called Else.

Bon voyage, and don’t forget to turn out the lights on your way out. Salut, and happy zmas.

7th December 2014

Marijuana monoliths


monolithsHere’s a test print – a ‘make-ready’ – of Obelisks, which will accompany the limited hemp paper edition of Humor. As you might be able to see, it’s not quite right yet and the watermarked minotaur is, um, upside down. The whole project has been a lot more complex than anybody imagined… It turned out that getting the cannabis bale out of Spain was the easy bit. Things got tricky later, as the ‘dandy’ (the thing that makes the watermark in the paper making process) was made somewhere in the far north of Scotland, the paper was made in Hertfordshire, which is basically next to London, and neither of these processes were easy, as this is the first time that paper has been made out of cannabis in the UK for ages.

However, it’s now done, and shortly I’m off to somewhere (not sure where yet) to sign the edition of 250 prints AND 250 books. That too will take a little while.

Here’s the details of the edition:

“The book is a sewn hardback and will be signed, numbered and printed on a unique special making of hemp paper, each page alternately watermarked with Donwood’s ‘weeping minotaur’ and the Faber colophon. The front and back endpapers will carry separate Donwood designs as will the book’s cover.

There will also be a separate clothbound portfolio, containing an exclusive signed and numbered Donwood litho print Obelisks on 300gsm handmade hemp paper, with minotaur watermark.

The book and the portfolio will be inserted into a printed rigid slipcase covered in a Donwood design. Slipcases to be individually wrapped, labelled and numbered in sequence to match the run.

Available from December 2014: Price £100.”

The link to order the edition is here.

It’s occurred to me that some may not know that cannabis, hemp, marijuana, grass, weed etc are the same plant, and that the plant has a long and extremely fruitful relationship with people. If you were wondering why all this is important, here’s a paragraph from Jack Herer’s book about hemp, ‘ The Emperor Wears No Clothes’…

“Until 1883, from 75-90 percent of all paper in the world was made with cannabis hemp fiber, including that for books, Bibles, maps, paper money, stocks and bonds, newspapers, etc. The Gutenberg Bible (in the 15th century); Pantagruel and the Herb pantagruelion, Rabelais (16th century); King James Bible (17th century); Thomas Paine’s pamphlets, The Rights of Man, Common Sense, The Age of Reason (18th century); the works of Fitz Hugh Ludlow, Mark Twain, Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas; Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (19th century); and just about everything else was printed on hemp paper.”

And that’s only paper – hemp was used widely. Its prohibition may have been one of the more blunderingly stupid actions of history, but if you doubt this and would be inclined to find out more, I thoroughly recommend Jack Herer’s book. His website is here.

26th November 2014

Hollow Humor

An exhibition of some drawings, prints and painting that closely or loosely connect with Humor will open on Friday at Natalie Galustian Rare Books, 22 Cecil Court, London, WC2N 4HE. All work for sale to fund my out-of-control absinthe habit.

short fen

18th November 2014

Cannabis Humor


18th November 2014

I’ve got a new website

You know this, because you’re looking at it. But practically everything that predates this version of my lurking presence on the internet can be found in the archive, although a few things might not work. Actually, a few things definitely won’t work, because they’ve been broken for ages.

I had an unpleasant moment wondering if it might look a bit fucking corporate or something, but I suppose I’ll get used to it. If anyone misses the old random messy stuff the old site is still there in the archive. And I’ll get round to putting loads of pictures in the ‘selected works’ bit some time soonish. Early days, innit.

6th November 2014