Wednesday, 1 March 2023

New Group Show Happening At Ramsgate's Front Room Gallery

 'Male, Pale & Stale' exhibition at the Front Room Gallery, 10 Bellevue Road, Ramsgate curated by Jo Mama

Opening party will be on Thurs 30th March 6.30pm till 9.30pm. The gallery will then be open 10:30am - 5pm on Fri 31st, Sat 1st April, Sunday 2nd April, Mon 3rd, Tues 4th, Wed 5th, Thurs 6th, Fri 7th, Sat 8th, Sun 9th Monday 10th.
The artists in the show are; Stuart Cumberland, Mikey Georgeson, Luke Gottelier, Des Hughes, Harry Pye, and Gav Toye. Six of the best artists alive today. Six beautiful men with a lust for life.

Brief Artist Bios:

Stuart Cumberland was born in Woking in 1970. He’s now based in London. Stuart’s work has featured in shows at Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, The Approach, and The Bart Welles Institute.

Mikey Georgeson was born in Bexhill-on-Sea in 1967. He’s now based in Horsham. Mikey’s work has featured in shows at The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, Sartorial Contemporary Art, and  The I.C.A.

Luke Gottelier was born in London in 1968. He’s now based in Hastings. Luke’s work has featured in shows at Ancient & Modern, The I.C.A, and The Saatchi Gallery.

Des Hughes was born in Birmingham in 1970. He’s now based in Hereford. His work has featured in shows at Camden Art Centre, Bo Lee And Workman, and the Art Now Room at Tate Britain.

Harry Pye was born in London in 1973. He’s now based in Ramsgate. Harry’s work has featured in shows at Galeria Thomas Cohn in Sau Paulo, Deptford X, and Tate Modern

Gav Toye was born in Cambridge in 1972, he grew up in Milton Keynes, lived in London for a number of years. He studied at the Royal College of Art and now lives and works in Margate.

Above: "The Ties That Bound Us" by Luke Gottelier and Harry Pye

The artists were selected by Jo Mama who has previously curated exhibitions at The A Side B Side Gallery and Studio One Gallery.

“The male is a biological accident: the Y (male) gene is an incomplete X (female) gene, that is, it has an incomplete set of chromosomes. In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples.”
Valerie Solanas, SCUM manifesto

“The problem with white people is that they just don’t listen. In my experience, day in and day out, most white people are absolutely not receptive to finding out their impact on other people. There is a refusal to know or see, or to listen or hear, or to validate.”

Robin DiAngelo author of White Fragility

 "No longer fresh...a person who is stale has done the same thing for too long and so is unable to do it well or produce any new ideas" (Oxford Dictionary)

 “Not one of the six artists whose work features in 'Male, Pale and Stale' could claim to be a wet nosed pup or a new kid on the block. Some might say that since birth, these privileged men of good fortune have been showered with opportunities all of which they wasted. I apologise to those of you who would have preferred a serving a fresh meat. But, I ask you to consider the two truisms that “Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day” and “There’s many a good tune played on an old fiddle.” When you come to The Front Room Gallery in Ramsgate please leave your prejudices at the door and enjoy drawings, ceramics, sculptures, and paintings from 6 artists who still have something to say and love to give.” Jo Mama (Curator)

Friday, 27 January 2023

Stick To What You Don't Know by Duglas et Le Documents

The music for "Stick To What You Don't Know" was recorded in Big Jelly Studios in Ramsgate in October 2021. In May 2022 Sean Read of Famous Times Studios in London mixed in the new vocals provided by Duglas and Andrew from Glasgow legends The BMX Bandits. Credits: Bass guitar: Keith Wilkinson, Drums: James Lawson, Keyboards and backing vocals: Andrew Pattie, Lead Guitar: Chris Tosic, Lead Vocals: Duglas T. Stewart.

Photo Above: Chris Tosic and James Lawson

Photo Above: Keith Wilkinson

Photo Above: Andrew Pattie

Photo Above: Duglas T. Stewart

Photo Above: Harry Pye

Stick To What You Don't Know lyrics by Harry Pye
I wanna purify my body, then put on Ihram clothes
and head for the shrine where every good pilgrim goes
go where it's sunny Honey - travel broadens in mind
Take a trip to Mecca  and embrace Islam
I'll follow in the footsteps of Holy men like Abraham
and drink water from the well the sacred well of the Zam Zam
Go where it's sunny Honey - travel broadens in mind
Take a trip to Mecca and embrace Islam"
 I wanna walk round the Ka'aba shrine, anti clockwise seven times,
when you stick to what you don't know, things always work out fine
go where it's sunny Honey, travel broadens in mind
Take a trip to Mecca and embrace Islam"
go where it's sunny honey travel broadens the mind
Take a trip to Mecca and embrace Islam

Previoulsy Le Documents recorded:
"Whatever It Is I'm Against It" a.k.a. "Jo Mama's Farm"

Sunday, 22 January 2023

People are getting angry

Today Lee Anderson (who is Tory MP for Ashfield) was quoted in The Telegraph for saying: "Food bank users are often wasting money on fags, booze and Sky TV... There was a lot of money they could save. There were takeaways, holidays. In this world, you don’t have the automatic right to have all the nice things in life. You have to work for them and you have to pay for them.” Anderson says. “We should be teaching a man to fish. If we get back to the basics, get people to help themselves, give them a hand up rather than a hand out, this country would be even better.”

Tim Burgess: "I thought ‘careless’ covered stuff like spilling your coffee, but apparently it includes setting up an offshore trust in Gibraltar under your parents’ name, transferring your shares to that Trust and then selling those shares for £27million - you live and learn I suppose."

David Osland: "Michelle Mone has a new yacht, Boris Johnson has a Six Million pound book deal and Nadhim Zahawi's horses have central heated stables. But remember, you can eat for 30p a day if you batch cook." 

Phil Jupitus: "If you are a British citizen, you are held in contempt by your current government. They are, make no mistake, laughing at us as they callously dismantle everything that genuinely makes life tolerable. Health, social care, welfare, education, the arts and benefits. They are doing this in order to sell it back to us, its original fucking owners in order to financially and politically benefit themselves and their corporate sponsors/backers/bosses/overlords. And the turd cherry on this shit sundae is that they control the media and are creating legislation to criminalise defending our rights. Woke enough for you, you Upper class, Tory, Saville Row, Eton and Harrow, Oxford (Big C) Conservative (bigger C) cunts?"

Sunday, 1 January 2023

Terry and Jerry in The Summer of 81

(Above:) The last Harry Pye painting of 2022 was a portrait of 2 Tone legends Terry Hall and Jerry Dammers. The title is: "Terry & Jerry in the Summer of 81"  65cm x 90cm, Acrylic on Canvas.

Above: Photo of Terry taken by Harry Pye in 2012. 

Above: Photo of Jerry taken by Harry Pye in 2010

My childhood heroes The Specials were a band from Coventry - to some they were a post punk ska revival band, to others they were a mod band or an Art School band, some fans only wanted to dance to their music whilst other fans loved their mix of very funny songs and very serious political songs. On the fantastic debut album produced by Elvis Costello in 1978 the line up was: Jerry Dammers on keyboards, Terry Hall and Neville Staple on lead vocals, Lynval Golding on rhythm guitar, Roddy Radiation on lead guitar, Horace Panter on bass, John Bradbury on Drums, plus Dick Cuthell on trumpet and Rico Rodriguez on trombone. Also important were photographer Chalkie Davies and video director Barney Bubbles. Golding and Radiation both composed a couple of the band's most popular songs. And Terry co wrote "Man At C & A" with Jerry, and also contributed lines to a couple of Jerry's songs (e.g. "all the girls are slags" in"Nite Klub") That said, Jerry was the architect of The Specials and the 2 Tone label, the main song writer and the arranger. But Terry's good looks, his distinctive vocal delivery and "Mum, I want to go home" look, plus the fact that, unlike Jerry, he was from a working class background all played a part in the band's success.

It was so sad that Terry Hall lost his battle with cancer and died on December the 18th 2022. He was only 63. Terry Hall was a wonderful front man, he had a lovely voice and had a great way with words. I love pretty much everything The Specials did from "Gangsters" to "What I Like Most About You Is Your Girlfriend" but like most fans I think they probably peaked with "Ghost Town" was stayed at Number One for 3 weeks in the Summer of 1981. 

The Ghost Town e.p. which featured; "Why? " and "Friday Night Saturday Morning" is one of the best singles of all time. But Terry, Lynval and Neville weren't happy so they left the band to be The Fun Boy Three.

"The Specials had become one big joke. Jerry was drafting people into the band and the first we'd know about it was when they'd turn up on stage!"Terry explained to NME journalist Adrian Thrills in Feb 1982. (Possibly this is about flute player Paul Heskett and singer Rhoda Dakar being added to the line up when promoting "Ghost Town"?)  Neville Staple added: "It got to the stage where we didn't all have a say in what The Specials were doing. But we're not kids, so we should have a say. People can't be yes-men all the time." Terry explains that there were other problems causing frustration... "The trouble with those songs was that we always had to have a guitar part and a bassline just to accommodate The Specials as a band. I wanted the song "Friday Night Saturday Morning" to be recorded with just a piano and vocals, as if it were being sung by a bloke in a pub, not by a band."

The Fun Boy Three had their moments such as; "Lunatics" and "Farm Yard Connection." While Jerry was helping produce tracks like "The Boiler" by Rhoda Dakar and throwing his energies into the Artists Against Apartheid project. Terry co-wrote the pop classic "Our Lips Are Sealed" with Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Gos) which got to Number One in America. He also discovered Banarama who went on to become Britain's the most successful female band. In an interview with The Face magazine Hall said he was constantly being asked about his relationship with Jerry Dammers. Terry explained there was no big feud and that Jerry was one of the most intelligent people he'd ever met.

After The Fun Boy Three Hall was lucky to get to collaborate with guitarist and keyboard player Toby Lyons and bass player Karl Shale. They formed The Colourfield whose wonderful debut album ("Virgins And Phillistimes") released in 1985 features brillaint songs like 'Take' and 'Thinking of You'. Jerry Dammers had revealed that his song "Housebound" (from his "In The Studio" L.P) was about Terry being scared to leave his home. I've wondered if any of Terry's lyrics about guilt and betrayal on the first Colourfield album were in some way connected to his feelings about Jerry. 

I remember reading Terry's interview with Tony Fletcher for Jamming in March 1985 and being shocked by Terry's trashing of The Specials - something he would continue to do for quite some time.

Terry Hall: "There was no racism in Coventry until The Specials started singing about it.... Ghost Town was an embaressment... I just don't like the idea of holding up a gold disc when its got a lot to do with unemployment... (In The Specials) I was getting wages for doing sod all." 

The second Colourfield LP ("Deception") was very disappointing. His last album for the Chrysalis label ("Ultra Modern Nusrey Rhymes") was also less than fantastic. The problem wasn't Terry's voice or his lyrics it was more to do with his choice of collaborators and the musical arrangements they came up with. I wonder what would have happened if Hall had contacted Dammers in 1987? I wish they'd worked on a project again in the same way Lou Reed and John Cale collaborated on the album "Songs For Drella." Terry had liked Jerry's song "War Crimes" and Jerry had liked The Colourfield so I felt there was a chance something could happen - but no. In the 90s Terry worked with songwriters such as Dave Stewart from Eurythmics, Stephen Duffy, Lightning Seed Ian Broudie and ex Smith Craig Gannon, and came up with a few gems such as; "Possessed," "Sonny and his Sister," "Sense," and "No No No" but, in truth, none of these really equal a track like "Friday Night And Saturday Morning." Jerry went on to collaborate with; Madness, Robert Wyatt, Arthur Brown and Johnny Clarke. He contributed a song for the film Absolute Beginners, toured the country with his Spatial AKA Orchestra and also worked as a D.J. 
In the mid 90s the former Orange Juice frontman Edwyn Collins had a big worldwide hit with "A Girl Like You." And it felt like this unexpected success inspired Terry, and all the guys who'd been big in the 80s like Nick Heyward, Lloyd Cole to throw their hats in the ring one more time. No major label was interested in Terry and so his covers of songs like "I Saw The Light" and "Music To Watch Girls By" were released on his own South Sea Bubble Company label. I got the feeling he lost a lot of money. More and more acts such as Blur, Tricky and Pulp said in the press how much they loved The Specials and what an inspiration they'd been. Terry told Jo Whiley that when he saw Lynval, Neville, Panter and Radiation touring under the name "The Specials" he felt they shouldn't but at the same time appreciated some of them had mortages to pay and some of them had no pension etc.
In 2003 it was revealed in Uncut magazine that Jerry Dammers wanted to reform The Specials and "start off where Ghost Town left off" with a new song called 'First Victims Of War.' This new song had been recorded (or at least a demo of it had been reorded) and it featured Dammers, Rico Rodriquez, Dick Cuthell plus Lynval Golding on lead vocals. Roddy Radiation posted on social media that there had indeed been a band meeting and Dammers had played them this new track but he personally didn't like it as "it droaned on and on and on and on." I've never heard it so I can't comment. Later of course all of The Specials (apart from Jerry, Dick and Rico) toured around the world playing the old hits to fans new and old. A free CD of the band playing live was given away to people who bought The Sunday Times - none of the songs sounded anywhere as good as they'd done on live albums back in the day . Dammers told The Word magazine that in his opinion Terry & Co were giving people " a warped view" of what The Specials were about. He felt the band should be writing protest songs and doing things no one had done before. In 2019, Terry and Lynval Golding and Horace Panter released a Specials album called "Encore" (which they said was taking off from where Ghost Town had left off) and then 5 years later brought out an album of protest songs. Although I haven't liked any of their new self penned material I thought they recorded some great cover versions of songs such as "Blam Blam Fever" (originally recorded by The Valentines in 1967), plus John Barry's "All The Time In The World" and Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" Although bassist Horace, new drummer Kenrick Rowe, new keyboard player Nikolaj Torp Larson, and new trombone player Tim Smart are all very good at what they do,  I always felt I was listening to "The Fun Boy 3 without Neville" rather than "The Specials." That said, it's very impressive that Terry kept his good looks and could still sing brilliantly right up until the end. It was also great he never lost his sense of humour..

Terry was on great form when he did this interview with comedian Richard Herring (I advise you to fast forward past the 8 minute intro). There's some real comedy gold when he discuses previous jobs. 
Watch the interview: Here 

Jerry reacted to the news of Terry's death by saying he was very shocked and adding "Contrary to some of what's reported since, Terry and I got on well in the original Specials.... It was in the studio with Elvis Costello producing, where Terry was able to sing quietly, that I think his hidden strength came out, a delivery which brought out the melancholy in some of The Specials' songs, and which I think a lot of people could relate to."

Listen again to the brilliant: "Friday Night And Saturday Morning" :Here I wish their collaborations had continued. 

Thursday, 15 December 2022

Happy Hanukkah Mr Nimoy painted by Harry Pye with Rowland Smith


Above: "Happy Hanukkah Mr Nimoy" painted by Harry Pye with Rowland Smith (2022) Acrylic on Canvas, 65x90cm

Leonard Nimoy is the much loved Star Trek actor who, from 1966 to 2013, played Mr Spock. Spock is known for the words, "Live long and prosper" and also his Vulcan salute. 

In his 1975 autobiography I Am Not Spock, Nimoy, who was Jewish, wrote that he based it on the Priestly Blessing performed by Jewish Kohanim with both hands, thumb to thumb in this same position, representing the Henrew letterShin (ש in Square Script, or Paleo Hebrew 𐤔‎), which has three upward strokes similar to the position of the thumb and fingers in the gesture. The letter Shin here stands for El Shaddai, meaning "Almighty (God)", as well as for Shekinah and Shalom. Nimoy wrote that when he was a child, his grandfather took him to an Orthodox synagogue, where he saw the blessing performed and was impressed by it

Watch the story behind Mr Spock's Vulcan salute:Here

“Harry Pye’s playful, skewed and slyly subversive visions of a brighter, better reality are the perfect antidote to a world of woe. His paintings are a delightful and, at times, poignant riposte to all the po-faced, cynical and joyless cultural landfill cluttering up the place”
— Stephen Ellcock, author of, All Good Things

Harry Pye graduated from Winchester School of Art in 1995. Over the years Harry’s paintings have been selected for shows at; The Barbican, Calvert 22, The Discerning Eye Mall Gallery, The Bankside Gallery, The Creekside Art Gallery, and festivals such as; Elefest and Deptford X. 

Pye’s work featured in two group exhibitions at Tate Modern; Save Our Souls, and Inside Job. His paintings have also been exhibited in galleries in; Australia, Brazil, China, and Denmark.

Pye paintings have been sold to raise money for charities such as Art Against Knives, Break Through, Action For Children, Kids & Co, CARA, Depression Alliance, Friends of the Earth, and The National Brain Appeal.

His paintings have appeared on record sleeves, posters on the underground and the cover of the Tate Staff Handbook. His work has appeared in numerous publications including; The Times, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, Frieze, and Turps Banana.

His collaborative exhibition with Jasper Joffe (Joffe et Pye) was rave reviewed on BBC Radio 4. Speaking on Saturday Review, The director of the I.C.A, Ekow Eshun’s response to the show was: “Intense feelings about love, loneliness and fear, anxiety, desire and hope, and ambition all come into play into these paintings. Very powerful I thought. What could have been fey, arch, or game playing was actually very warm. Harry was the winner of the Daily Mirror’s Paint Tony Blair competition judged by Gilbert and George. The Week magazine said of Harry’s work, “Pye's apparent naivety is accompanied by a strong sense of construction and design. Their directness and humour are appealing” And the critic Ana Finel Honigman described him as one of “London's premiere puckish artists and curators.”

Friday, 25 November 2022

Christmas Cards For Sale at Vout-O-Reenie's Xmas Art Fair on Thursday 8th December

Don't miss the amazing oppotunity of buying some affordable home made Christmas cards!


Vout-O-Reenee's Xmas Art Fair on Thursday 8th December 5 till 10pm. 
Address: The Crypt, 50 Prescot St, E1 8BB

Don't miss out on this chance to buy affordable Xmas gifts and cards from; Alice Herrick, Angel Adley, Buttress & Snatch, C.A. Halpin, Carson Parkin Fairley, Charlotte Bracegirdle, Clive Jennings, Cristina Calvache, Daisy Gammon, Harry Pye, Keeler Tornero, Mandee Gage, Michael Coles, Olga Suchanova, Sadie Hennessy, and Silvia Ziranek.

Friday, 14 October 2022

Always On My Mind exhibition raises £6,000 for The National Brain Appeal


The National Brain Appeal
This week's #FridayFundraisers are curator Harry Pye and the incredible artists who took part in #AlwaysOnMyMind 🎨 Taking place at Fitzrovia Gallery, the group art exhibition raised £6,000 in aid of The National Brain Appeal and we couldn't be more grateful 💙