Sunday 28 August 2016

Q & A with Heathcote Williams

Heathcote Williams is an English poet, actor, magician and dramatist possibly best known Whale Nation which was published in 1988. Earlier this year I went to the Old Red Lion to see a revival of Heathcote's first play The Local Stigmatic (which Al Pacino made into a film in 1990). His latest work ‘Brexit Boris: From Mayor to Nightmare’ has just been published by Public Reading Rooms. It’s fully illustrated by Steve Bell, Gerald Scarfe, Ralph Steadman, Andy Davey, Peter Brookes, Dave Brown, and Martin Rowson.
Harry Pye: Do you believe there is a perfect level of fame a writer or artist can achieve? Heathcote Williams: "A hip friend of mine, Bob Bassara, used to say, ‘Fame is the first disgrace. One should be known only by God.’ That’s surely preferable to the obscenity of the celebocracy – our new class structure."
As an actor you appeared in Wish You Were Here, Friends, Basic Instinct 2 and Derek Jarman films - do you tell your agent you'll consider everything and do you have a dream role? "My acting career has been serendipitous. I’m not sure it’s a game for grown-ups, so no, I’ve just done it for fun and set no store by it." Was Harold Pinter a close friend of yours / what is your favourite Pinter play and why? "I first knew him in 1964 and knocked around with him a bit. He was unusually kind (but could also bark, and bite with righteous indignation). My enduring favourite play of his is The Caretaker with Donald Pleasance in the title role."
In the John Dowie Without Walls documentary on you (which can be found on You Tube), Harold Pinter talks about your work coming from your compassion for the weak and your violent contempt for the way people are manipulated - does that sound about right? "Hope so."
Are there any contemporary writers that inspire or excite you? "Jeremy Scahill, John Pilger, and Chris Hedges, non-fiction writers, always interest me. There’s also an unusual new writer called Saira Viola who writes for Gonzo Today."
How did you get involved with the re-launch of International Times? "I’d been writing for it, largely anonymously, for years. Mike Lesser, an old friend who co-produced the issue of IT from Paris in ’68, suggested that we revive it online. So we did; since when it’s had a million hits and gets about 10,000 hits a week. We’ve called it ‘The paper of resistance’. There’s a need for an anarchist pacifist paper with the widest possible range that’s open to everyone as a forum. Try sending an article into the Guardian without knowing anyone there and see how far you get."
Did you go and see the recent revival of Local Stigmatic - is it a work you are proud of? "I did see it. The production and level of acting was striking. It’s a young man’s play."
I love Sacred Elephant I've read it several times and it never fails to move me. Can you list any poems that have had a powerful impact on you - is there a poem that ever moved you to tears? "There’s a poem by Charles Causley called Dick Lander about a local hero in Launceston coming back shell-shocked and suffering a personality change that’s arguably one of the best WW1 poems."
Did Boris respond to your book on him/do you think he has read it? "No idea. The first edition was only available from the London Review of Books shop. The new edition is not published until the 15th September."
What are the good things about Trump - does he have a nice side we don't hear about? "I’ve not come across any but his possible isolationism might prove preferable to Clinton’s interventionist warmongering. He’s not killed anyone yet, as far as I know. Clinton’s hands are crimson."
Of all the different illustrators involved in your book, do you have a personal favourite? "I like them all. Elena Caldera, who has illustrated a lot of my work for IT and with whom I’m collaborating on a new book."
For details on how to buy a copy of ‘Brexit Boris: From Mayor to Nightmare’ visit:

Monday 22 August 2016

Yet more photos from "Life of Pye" private view / closing night

Above: "Come on in..."
Above: Tori in the Richard Hamilton bar area
Above: White Album Collage
Above: John and Jackson
Above:Hard working Gordon Beswick
Above:Rebecca with "Weird Nightmare"
Above: Free Cards designed by Erica and Harry
Above: More Free cards...
A card that says "Woof"
Above:Fanny J and friend
Above:Uliana with Panda
Above: Lovely Jo and marvellous Magda
Above: Happy people
Above: Collaboration with Lucky Luke Gottelier (the only work in the show to feature indoor fireworks)
Above: Martin - the cat in the hat
Above: Sandra, Adam and Eve
Above: Lovely Sandra. The framed b&w collages are from a series called "Elvis Presley in Poland" made in collaboration with Cian Quayle.
Above: Sandra takes a photo of a collaboration with Marcus Cope (Har Ray is also in sight)
Above:On the stairs
Above: Eva with "These Foolish Things" - a collaboration with Adrian R. Shaw
Above: A "Rip It Off Me" badge has become the very button of fashion
Above: Kind Mr Hind
Above: A nice blurry shot of Pye and his poster
Above: Studio One has a great new show coming up curated by Mel Cole. Miss it and miss out.

Tuesday 16 August 2016

This Sunday at Studio One Gallery - 6.30pm till 9.30pm

If you're free this Sunday please come on down to Studio One Gallery, 7-9 Wandsworth Plain, SW18, 1ES for the closing party of "Life of Pye part 2"
It's 4 stops on the bus from Clapham Junction - The 87 bus drops you directly opposite the gallery. Wansworth Plain is off the Wandsworth High Street. It's more or less in-between an All Saints Church and The Grand Union Pleasure Island pub. This exhibition features work I made in collaboration with talented pals such as Erica Macarthur, Gordon Beswick, Paul Hamilton, Tinsel Edwards, Fanny Janssen, Adrian R. Shaw, Emma Coleman, Howard Dyke, Rowland Smith, Tracey Williams, Hugh Mendes, Natasha Xavier, Alex Wojcik, Geraldine Swayne, Marcus Cope, Luke Gottelier, Jacob Beaney,and Mikey Georgeson. There are a couple of new additions to the exhibition including a series of collages entitled "Elvis Presely in Poland" that I made with photographer Cian Quayle.
In the Richard Hamilton Bar Area you can hear "Harry Pye's Pop Art Radio Show" with features interviews with Jessica Voorsanger and music from both Sukie Smith (of Madam) and Liam Palmer. PLUS the gallery will also be broadcasting a new sound work that features artist Caroline Jupp and H.P. reading extracts from their father's favourite books. Let's make Sunday a Funday!

Saturday 6 August 2016

Photos from opening night of "Life of Pye" show at Studio One

Above: A painting made in collaboration with Hugh Mendes
Above: Frostie (painted by Harry Pye and Emma Coleman)
Above: Fanny Janssen with "The Fanny Janssen Photo Album"
Would you Adam and Eve it?
Above: Becky with her free greeting card
Above: Tracey, Frost & Nixon
Above: Paula and pal
Above: Having a fag
Above:A shocked Charlie and Tori
Above: Ivan, Adam and Eve
Above:Bryan Ferry
Above:"Harry Pye"
Above:Julian Wakeling with Dubeffet sculpture
Above: Harry "Weird Nightmare"
Above: Harry Pye and Paul Hamilton
Above: Tate Mates attempting to recreate the poses from the 4 Tates painting behind them
Above: Uliana and Micko
Above: Ivan, Harry, Caroline
Above:Barry Thompson in front of "Fallen Angel"
Above:Garden Party
Above: Paul Hamilton talking to Micko Westmoreland.
The Life of Pye show is open Sunday 7th Aug, Sat 13th Aug, Sun 14th Aug, Sat 20th August from 12pm till 6pm. On Sunday the 21st of August the gallery will be open from 12pm onwards and there will be a special closing party from 6pm till 9pm)