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éspace politique

american activist

"Ted Malloch on va vous rézister"

  notes on the fly at apwbet



the mercus barn, Ariége


Firstsite Colchester

my mau mau

info en français

 goddam e books at Smashwords

 artworld cv

 my current locale

Pamiers, Ariége,France

e me


The sailor cannot see the north but knows the needle can

(American poet Emily Dickinson)

The function of a work of art is to halt, however momentarily, our rush to the grave. It does this by disrupting the way by which we apprehend objects in their space/time cradle.

In a way, art is a reaction; satiric, violent against death but also a fart in the tedious face of magic ­ it gets its metaphoric capacity from the transformative function of the human mind over and beyond the obvious.

Of magic it keeps only the ritual genuflections of its more decadent practitioners.

Public collections

Bibliothèque nationale France
Commune de Bages, France
Lieu d'Art Contemporain de Sigean, France
Freud Museum London
Southern Arts England
Government Collection Whitehall
Peterborough Museum & Art Gallery
Saint Thomas Hospital London
Birmingham Art Gallery
Kasser Foundation, Newark United States.
Yorkshire Arts
Calderdale Council
Dean Clough Collection, Halifax
British Council

Narrative cv

Born Highgate 1948, raised in Notting Dale.
Played Oliver Twist St Georges Campden Hill 1957
Played Princess Pompiona opposite Alan Rickman Latymer Upper 1962
Played deaf mute, semiprofessional company il Seraglio 1963
Saturday morning drama club, Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Played lead in Edward Bond's Stoned 1964

Bought 8mm cine camera 1966
Bournemouth University. First class BA honours cinematography 1971
Butlins Minehead shot, edited and commented camp newsreel.
London 16mm agit prop against Westway.
Shot film for Stuart Brisley under auspices APG at Hille furniture company 1971
Met Dr Robin Farquherson at Arts Lab & made allegorical film of Leila Khaled planejacking as promo for a single by The White Panthers. Film catalogued by London Filmmakers Co-op but now lost 1972

Two seasons with Welfare State International Theatre as film maker/performer 1974/75

Married and joined West Yorkshire Fire Brigade
Fireman's strike 1979

First attendance Summit Tunnel Fire
Two children


Exhibition of photographs, Holdsworth Gallery, Hebden Bridge 1981
Exhibition of linoprints Holdsworth Gallery, Hebden Bridge 1982
Chairman of Hebden Bridge Festival, organised colloquium with Griselda Pollock, Andrew Brighton and Peter Fuller 1983
Manchester Print Workshop Bursary 1984
Resigned from Fire Brigade 1985

Moved to LYC Gallery, Hadrians Wall and then to Hull 1986
Artist in residence Fieldhead Mental Hospital Wakefield 1987
Bradford Print Biennale prize winner 1987
Exhibited with Austin/Desmond, London 1988

Baltic sea voyage. Wrote ournal Flagships for New Reaches with drypoints 1989
Exhibited Pier Arts Centre Orkney, Aberdeen, Feren's Gallery Hull and Austin/Desmond 1990
Visited and worked Berlin
Established teaching studio Art Press Work Base (apwb) Hull with support of local business 1991
Artist in residence, Mappin Gallery, Sheffield 1993
Group show London Print Studio 1995

Moved to Norfolk
Time of black
Suite of screenprints inspired by Alan Ginsberg's Howl, Gresham Studio, Cambridge 1998
Solo exhibition Journey to the surface of the earth Peterborough City Art Gallery 2000
Worked as surveyor unclassified roads
Worked as energy grant inspector
Worked as bird scarer, RAF Marham

Moved to the Corbières, France 2004
Lived as caretaker in holiday homes
Solo exhibition Maison des Arts, Bages 2006
Started writing libretto MauMau-the Opera 2009
Met lithographer Philippe Parage and worked on artist's book My Way of Loving Beasts 2010
Exhibited Ombres Blanches, Toulouse 2011
Wrote text and built images for De La Franqui à Ramonville an exhibition scale pop-up journal, Galerie Les Mille Tiroirs , Pamiers 2012

Married Constance de Mauvaisin.
MauMau-the Opera completed and in hands of composer Taran Carter 2014
Published two ebooks Heavy Waters & Tap once if Human 2015

Edited and published the POW letters of my father

Writing on America 2016 interrupted by conversion of opera into immersive video installation curated by David Thorp

 Mau Mau-the Opera Book & libretto Matthew Hilton Music Taran Carter

David Thorp invited me to consider re-looking at Mau Mau-the opera as a video/installation piece working title My Mau Mau

First thoughts

The Marham RAF control tower, hi-tech bursting thru 1950's furniture, safari parks, charabanc trip, shanties. Big monitor room, mute headphones, fish in tanks. Tube station tv's at ends of platforms (Circle line?) London Transport choir...
The MauMau as the most advanced (imagined) community in the whole show. The thing doubles up in brightness when we see them in their fancy gear...

Origin myth

Long, long time ago in England's west country lived the Cornishes, ancestors of mine, and their distant relations, the Kitsons. George Cornish pulled the poet Coleridge out of his soldiering tent and a military Kitson wrote a book - I saw two or three men squatting round a watchman's fire some fifty yards away.

At a fox hunting meet in the late 1950's Kitson eyed a horse whose price was beyond him. The horse's owner, Leopald Ullstein, was a director of publishers Barrie and Rockliff. Barrie a ward of the creator of Peter Pan, adopted after his father had fallen on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Barrie and Rockliff melded Jewish acumen, Etonian flair (or perhaps the other way round) and long pockets to dip into literary side-streams. Their translator from French, Humphrey Hare, worked at night in green eyeshades on Maurice Druon who had written the French Resistance anthem, Chant des Partisans.
"Friend, do you hear the dark flight of the crows over our plains?
Friend, do you hear the dulled cries of the country in chains?"

A deal was struck: book horse, horse book and the book, Gangs & Countergangs came up into my hands at an Amnesty International jumble sale in Carcassonne.

I opened it at a page of photographs, posed groups, who were they? Faces blacked up or black or blacked out. What was it that hit the spot? The piece is my way of finding out - in public.

I grew up in Notting Hill, London, home now of Carnival, but then of race riots. My mother was a musician and worked nights. From the Pub came the sound of the Irish singing their cash away, my other ear got Voice of America and Willis Conover's jazz programme relayed from a transmitter perched on a hill near Tangiers, where not much later I'd get my head blown by wild girlboy wailing in the Kasbah.

The November of the year the the photo was taken I would have stuffed old clothes with newspaper, a dummy to burn to celebrate the execution of a seventeenth century terrorist, Guy Fawkes.

My sister and I would push the spineless bundle in a pram to Shepherds Bush and stand by the hot breath of the Tube exit to catch pennies.

The small change bought bangers, catherine wheels, roman candles and gave me a taste for working the sleeve, the street. Who supplied the clothes for the spineless bundles? The strays and derelicts, the war shocked, the mad, who came by our corner of the street amongst whom awe inspiring black men.

As we tugged that old grey-green musty jacket round the lumpy newspaper carcass, some thousand miles south at more or less the same time there had been the same tugging and pulling and stepping back to inspect fictitious representations.

I generated the following avatars :

Jensen - An army Captain mid twenties. When others go drinking he runs on the beach, high minded without being priggish.

Watchman - A Mau Mau leader in his thirties. Fought in Burma for the British during Second World War. Caught up in mass expulsions back to ancestral lands.

Morris - A white Kenyan in his early twenties. His father was a prisoner of war and he became used in his teenage years to running the family livestock holding. He is that rare thing, a natural killer.

Marion - A settler in her thirties or possibly older. She escaped her family in South London during the war into the WRAF where she met her flyer husband who took her to Kenya. She is unhinged by his assassination.

Kioni - An independent woman in her twenties. Making her way in city life best way she can and runs the property in which lives her lodger M'jagua.

M'Jagua - In his late teens to early twenties. Mission literacy then drifts into city life - can do conjuring tricks and has worked briefly in a radio repair shop.

Falkirk - A plain clothes policeman age forty to fifty with a religious bent.

Chorus of street people and village people, hooded men (black men disguised for their own protection) conscripts (young white men doing National Service) and spectres.

The time 1953, the place British Colony Kenya, in a state of rebellion. The indigenous people used to the utmost their traditional resources including the power of unseen forces.

The British Army invented a special technique to combat resistance to settler rule. Small gangs of loyal Gikuyu, plus rebels who had changed sides and exceptionally adept Brits were dressed as rebels and let loose to masquerade, infiltrate, and kill. These security patrols were called pseudo or counter gangs.

"Let us go back in time to a place on earth where trouble brewed"
(from an alien craft)