Bones and the Aft are the performance wing of The Liver and Lights Scriptorium, being Primal Rock Theatre featuring Admiral Lord Biscuit on Drums, Glockenspeil and Harmonium, Ian Mckean on Virtuoso Guitar and John Bently Bones on Words, Costumes, Hand Made Books, Voice and Sets........
toured the south coast of England creating musical magic
in the homes of brave and willing supporters, behaving like travelling minstrels and dispensing much cheer. In a spirit of splendid collaboration we have created a song for each of the houses we stayed in and have spent the winter whittling these into a splendid album to be released on strictly limited edition vinyl on:
May 20th 2017:
If you want to reserve an advance copy of this deliciously hand made vinyl album of a mere 50 special edition copies, each one also containing a hand made book commemorating the tour containing photos, drawings and all the lyrics we wrote on our journey and other special gifts all you need to do is send us some cash in advance and a rare and special thing is yours:
Liver & Lights Scriptorium, The Compleat Set 1984-2017
Books 1984-2017, a catalogue, with full description, history and prices (if available)
L&L No 1. 1984 John Bently, James Blundun, Stephen Jaques, David Boyd, Caroline Wright, Edori Fertig and others.
A Liver and Lights manifesto.After making two books at Art School with Stephen Jaques and James Blundun, I wanted to continue the practice. I had just started work as a packer in the Sims Reed and Fogg bookshop in Jermyn Street and, influenced by a copy of Die Blaue Reiter Almanac I had recently packed, hand coloured by Schoenberg, Kandinski, Marc and others. I designed my own contemporary version, fearful of the rampant cold war militarism being restocked by Thatcher and Reagan. It was launched with a contributor’s exhibition in a warehouse gallery in Peckham publicised by typographer David Boyd’s brilliant spoof agitprop poster, which we flyposted in the dead of night all over South London. It read: Five Hung In Peckham! A copy was visible behind Peckham Rye Station until the late nineties… We sold the book for a very reasonable £3.50 and consequently soon sold out…..Printed offset litho in an edition of 210 at the legendary Instant Print West One in Heddon Street, opposite the phone box on the cover of Ziggy Stardust, as were the first ten Liver & Lights editions.
L&L No 2. 1985
Similar in form and content to the first, with some additional contributors. Writers Tim Pownall, Lord Byron and Cream Lyricist Pete Brown among them. More of a ‘zine in feeling than the first, the book, like the first edition, was bound in old shirt boxes scavenged from outside the Sims Reed shop in Jermyn Street. The book was reviewed by Dr Stephanie Brown in AN mag…she said it was brilliant, which made us very happy and encouraged us to continue. Launched with an exhibition of our paintings at the Camden Institute and printed offset litho in an edition of 210.
L&L No 3. 1986.
By issue number three we had cut the contributors down to just the original three (Bently, Blundun and Jaques) and focused the text more…We each chose five of our favourite literary passages and collaged them together into another illustrated manifesto. The binding style and the cloth covered board covers remained, copied from a priceless German expressionist book I ‘borrowed’ from Sims Reed & Fogg (Antiquarian bookshop where I worked as a packer) one night and took apart to see how it worked…..The book was launched on a sweltering evening in high summer at a trendy warehouse space called Albion Studios in Kings Cross. Edition 110.
L&L No. 4. Catherine Farr/ Edori Fertig. 1986
Branching out, I made a book for these two artists, celebrating their work and published to coincide with an exhibition at Wood Wharf gallery in Deptford. Interestingly, this gallery was owned by legendary Voice of God Collective guitarist Billy Jenkins.. Bound and printed in the same fashion as the previous three L&L’s, but half the size. Edition 60, I think.
L&L No. 5 For Tigray. 1987.
With contributions fromCarmel Dolan, Geoff Rigden Stephen Jaques, Mali Morris, James Blundun, John Bently, Greg Baldwin, Steve Read, David Boyd, Caroline Wright and others.
Carmel Dolan had worked as a nurse in refugee camps in the Sudan and Ethiopia during the famine in the early eighties.This book is her diary. The book contains hand coloured drawings donated by invited artists and was sold to raise money for the Relief Society of Tigray. It was memorably launched with a show at Diorama Arts in central London. Edition 100.
L&L No. 6 Joe Soake. 1987
The first book that is just me and the first appearance of my mythical alter ego Joe Soake, the holy derelict of Deptford, his rough but streetwise words thereof. Issued to coincide with an exhibition ofmy watercoloursat the Lamont Gallery in the Roman Road. The format is hand coloured loose leaves in a hard mini portfolio A6 folder. In an edition of 100
L&L No. 7. With Ashley Greaves, Lucy Owen and Chris Hill. 1987
More new contributors but the book is a bit of a mess overall, lacking direction and purpose. I had fallen out briefly with the original Liver and Lights crew, over some small I cant-remember-what and asked some other artists to join me, with mixed results. I mainly remember it because the launch was the first time I performed as Joe Soake.. The wonderful Magnus Irvin (proprietor of the Daily Twit and at that time Exhibition Organiser of Art Work Space where the exhibition was held) allowed me to harangue the private view audience dressed as Joe Soake, a derelict ranting stinking alcoholic of Deptford, in a hand made suit of rags and stitched-in pound shop torches to a loud discordant backing tape. Oh..and we locked the audience in and turned off the lights during the show, too. It went pretty well considering and whetted my appetitive for more performing…..
L&L No. 8The One True G’love. 1988. Ed 210
Not a book, more a military campaign and a bit of an obsession. I spent a year in character as Joe..I made a whole exhibition’s worth of large paintings purportedly by him, wrote poetry as him and constructed an imaginary biography, which became both the book and the basis of a retrospective of his work at The Crypt Gallery beneath Hawksmoor’s magnificent and spooky church on New Oxford Street in central London. At the launch my brother Peter, actress Sue Kingerlee and myself performed The Soake Opera, a ranted poetic song cycle (also in the book, and the first appearance of the glam rock tramp Hank, another alter ego). We served Special Brew and cheap cider at the PV. The book contains Joe’s wise rantings, a flattened beer can and a fingerless glove, collected from the streets of Deptford, the mythical ’Shandy Valley’ where he resides. It all comes in a white lidded box that quickly becomes tainted with dirt….
L&L No. 9 The Billyman. 1989
Same format as No 8, but a black box this time, with silk flowers and fake jewels. The Billyman is Joe transformed by a chance meeting with Shakespeare in the Greenwich foot tunnel. The Bard renames him and gives him permission to rewrite the sonnets according to his own experience. Influenced by the Rushdie affair, I wondered what act of blasphemy would bring approbation upon the head of an Englishman?…sullying the pure language of The Bard, obviously. The book was launched at 39 Steps gallery in Whitechapel Road and later above a pub in Bloomsbury, where I talked the brave Nick Shaw into reading the aforesaid sullied texts standing upon a table, bullock naked but for an Elizabethan neck ruff…..
I issued the book in two formats:
a) In a black lidded card box containing silk flowers and a jewel (200 copies)
b) In wooden hinged box made by craftsman Dave Monaghan with painted diptych icon type front and the book slotted in behind (ten copies).
L&L No. 10 The Ginge. 1990
Another character joins the Deptford pantheon-The Ginge. This book is my observations of a real Deptford character and his alcoholic rantings that sometimes seem to contain more sense than supposedly sensible people like politicians. He predicts the fall of the Soviet Empire and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The box contains the book and some plastic toys by way of further illustration. The boxes themselves were collected nightly from the rubbish outside posh Jermyn Street clothiers Vinci, wherein they had previously contained silk socks.(Micheal Jackson had his Chimps clothes made here. Incidentally, when the shop realised I was scavenging their boxes they started to break them up…limiting the edition to a mere hundred copies)
a) Standard card box edition with selection of children’s miniature toys (ed. 60)
b) Special edition with wooden slipcase inlaid with genuine Berlin wall fragment (ed. 30)
c) A further edition wooden hinged diptych with original painting (ed. 10)
L&L No. 11 The Beastmaster. 1991
A contemporary bestiary set in a post holcaust Deptford. The world has ended, a few surviving creatures are gathered around a meagre fire. The Beastmaster regales them with his tales of the wonders of the world now lost forever… a loose leaf collection of hand coloured illustrations, continued in wood boards with an inlaid hand painted cover. The book was launched with an exhibition of the paintings at The Eagle Gallery in Farringdon and was memorable for the performance of the Beastmaster, narrated by John and Peter Bently with musical accompaniment from Violinist Mardyah Tucker and Cellist Harvey Eagles, the beginnings of a performing collaboration between myself and Eagles that would span the best part of ten years…3 Copies Available £75.00
L&L No. 12 Extracts from the libretto of an Opera for dogs. 1992
My least favourite and least successful book in the series. Rightly and roundly slagged by the inimitable Cathy Courtney in Art Monthly, the text is letterpressed into a fragment of music manuscript plucked from a dustbin in Deptford stamped “property of Deptford Town band’. The box also contains a painted model of a turd (representing the ‘scent’ opera in question).
L&L No. 13 The Beastmaster. Part Two. 1992
Encouraged by the success of the original Beastmaster performance we booked time in a Greenwich recording studio and got it all on tape. We released it on C30 cassettes, each one set into hollowed-out hardback book. The recording was many years later re-mastered and issued as a cd.
L&L No. 14 A Book of Discarded Things. 1st Edition1992. 2nd 1993.
I had been collecting interesting rubbish from the streets outside my studio and arranging it into neat piles for some time. I was beginning to wonder what on earth I was going to do with it and then had a quiet eureka moment- make a book entirely from rubbish as a gesture of empathy for all the abandoned people of the world, old people, children, wives, countries…So, thats what I did…the books are entirely constructed from abandoned stuff…paper, covers, the lot
A first edition of 70 was installed as one piece at the Conway Hall, with viewers diminishing the display by taking away copies one by one. A second edition was made, with a new introduction and frontispiece and launched at The Eagle Gallery later the next year. Proceeds from this edition were donated to the homeless charity Centrepoint.
L&L No. 15 Cuthbert. The Border Saint. 1994.
To celebrate ten years of the Liver and Lights series, I managed to wangle a retrospective exhibition at the Queens Hall Art Centre in my Hexham birthplace. The deal also involved my being in residence for two weeks, during which time I completed the 15th edition, an elaborately decorated reliquary, a painted, moulded box containing a letterpress printed book containing an epic poem about the life of St Cuthbert. Cuthbert is the patron saint of Borders, and in the poem I bring him back to life to oversee the break up of Yugoslavia, whose devastating civil war was horribly unfolding before our eyes in the daily news. At the launch, we performed a narrated musical version of the poem. Peter bently and I narrated with Harvey Eagles on Cello and my father on clarinet, the only time we ever performed together. It was an absolutely unforgettable performance, unfortunately lost….
The moulded hand painted papier-mache box came in three editions, in a total edition of seventy copies.
Three thematically (un) hinged bookworks contained in a shoe box. The continuing refugee crisis in civil war war torn Europe after the collapse of the Soviet empire led me to make work in response. I was also influenced by a novel I had recently read called The Last Thought by Edgar Hilsenrath, a moving account of the Armenian genocide by the decaying Ottoman Empire in 1917, which seemed to have many parallels with the Serbs and the siege of Sarajevo. In general, the books are a meditation on the way history repeats itself endlessly, taking the form of a shoe with a secret book in its heel, a long concertina drawing and a bedroll (for use on the long road). At the launch, again at Emma Hill’s Eagle Gallery in Farringdon, the books were heaped up in piles for the purchasers to pick up and take away in their own shoe box.
16-18 a) Refugee.Some of the shoeboxes contain another little book called Refugee. The content of these is triptych (For three voices) performance text listing all the United Nations recognised Genocides since WW2…there are more than you think. I performed it at the Museum of London later that year and a few years later in the Union Chapel at a Stop The War benefit gig to protest the imminent invasion of Iraq in 2001
L&L No. 19 The Creek. 1994.
I was rooting about by the legendary Creek in Deptford and found thirty abandoned jewellery boxes. I took them home and made a book about the river to go in them. Each copy also contained other detritus ‘strand loped' from the shore…a bit of clay pipe and a bit of bone…..
I made a second edition a few years later that was a simple hardback edition of the book. It was a copy of this I gave to my esteemed Book Artist colleague Andi McGarry and which he thought contained tell of a mythical place. Imagine his amazement when, a few years hence he was commissioned to make a boat on the very spot where I had found the jewellery boxes….
recently (2015), I have reprinted the text in a third edition with different illustrations and recorded the text as a song with Bones and the Aft…
Copies available: £12.00
L&L No. 20 Deptfordia 1994-1995
I met up with Ginger Mike and Andrea Joynson for lunch in Deptford High Street. They had just been on a guided history tour of the old town and were so enthused by the experience they relived it again for me, pointing out all the sights-Francis Drake’s steps, Marlowes murder, Grinling Gibbons house, John Eveleyn’s Private Zoo and so on….I went home myself enthused by the majesty and wonder of the place, now entirely hidden by chicken takeaways, tower blocks and scrapyards. I wrote the text in one sitting and was performing it with Harvey Eagles within a fortnight. Later I constructed the book around the text… a long river shaped drawing. The first seventy copies had a papier mache model of a hanged tar glued to the the cover. We developed the music over the next few years until it became the centrepiece of our live shows, incorporating an elaborate dramatic backing tape, live cello with effects pedals, toy instruments and costumes.
L&L No. 21 Beyond Reading. 1994
Made for the exhibition Beyond Reading at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea during the Arts Council Year of Literature. Curated by book art visionary Les Bicknell, this exhibition followed on from a wonderful exhibition he put together surveying contemporary British Book Art originating at The Minories in Colchester. Bicknell commissioned me to make work specially for the show and I created a small sculptural edition of books within books within hollowed out books. A Russian doll of a book whose very format empathised with the failing South Wales coal mining industry. The books were displayed on a huge white plinth in a gallery the floor of which I lined with real coal, which viewers had to crunchily walk through to view the book. The walls were painted tip to top with lurid flames, which rather irritated the museum’s grumpy technicians, who had to repaint the walls white after we left.
Edition 10 only
L&L No. 22 The Naming. 1995
Commissioned by Stephanie Brown and Northern Arts for the exhibition Northern Rock Art at Durham art Gallery, the book is a meditation on the mysterious origins of the prehistoric Northumbrian rock carvings and the origins of language. The show contained examples of prehistoric cup and ring carvings and work by contemporary artists that somehow compounded their mystery, including work by Hamish Fulton, Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy.
I was resident artist in the show too, performing the piece with cellist Harvey Eagles at the opening.
Copies available: £30.00
L&L No. 23 100 books. 1996
The idea behind this project was initially to change a hundred word poem by one word a hundred times and then set the resultant texts in a hundred different book forms. I did this in response to some heart wrenching stories of writers being silenced around the world, in particularly the recent execution of Ken Saro Wiwa by the Nigerian government. I sought to show how a song or a poem could mutate out of the reach of tyrants, miraculously surviving no matter how many singers had been silenced. I made the books out of all available materials some big, some small, some tiny, some gigantic. I used jigsaws, chisels and drills and ambitiously believed I could organise a world tour for the exhibition. One learning the political nature of the work, three of the venues that had initially booked it cancelled the show. It eventually opened at Customs House, South Shields and closed at Croydon Art College a year later. Three cheers to them for their courage. Shame on you others, you shall remain nameless. A paperback containing all 100 texts accompanied the show.
Copies available: £7.99
L&L. No. 24 The Old House. 1997
Two old ladies lived next door to me, in a derelict house with no water, electricity or gas. We discovered this one day when a fireman knocked on our door to let us know after they’d been in to cut off their water supply for some reason. They were isolated from the modern world, innocent of the fast changing world outside their crumbling cave. I made a house shaped book about them, an adult version of a child’s block-book, made out of mdf and letterpress printed with lino print illustrations. The book was printed on my beloved flatbed Adana, the last whole book I printed in this way.
3 Copies available: £50.00
L&L No 25 Fife heroes (Book Monument) 1998.
The wonderful Babs McCool of Fife Arts somehow managed to acquire Scottish Arts Council funding for me to be Artist in Residence in Fife for a year, researching and exploring the people and culminating in the production of this book. After an initial cynical response from the literature people at Scottish Arts, we eventually were awarded the funding from a public sculpture fund, arguing that a book could be as much a monument as an equestrian statue…hence the title. I collected over a thousand stories from people all over Fife, wandering at will and interviewing hundreds of interesting people from old miners, to young muslims, selecting down to a hundred or so in the book, each illustrated by self drawn portraits and illustrations from the participants.
I asked each contributor a simple question: Is there a hero in your family? The responses form the core text of the book, the final selection being mainly from children as I found the adults either too guarded or too long or too self consciously literary. We launched the book in a disused shop in the new town of Cardenden, where I pasted all the stories and pictures to the walls to create a complete installation, but not before I had held open access workshops in other parts of the borough for people to come and add something, a drawing or a stamp, to each of the 2000 copies by hand.
Copies available: Paperback £5 Hardback £10.00
L&L No. 26 Eventually (House book Two) 1999
The first house shaped book was a sell out success and I was keen to continue the series and wrote about seven or so connected poems about the old ladies. Eventually (hence the title) one of them died. She hadn't been making any noise for a day or two and myself and the community policeman broke in to find her in the kitchen on the floor in a blanket, singing to herself but with a broken pelvis. She later died in hospital and this is her book and her story. A few months after she died her family came to clear out her house and I gave them a copy of the book and they were very pleased and gave me loads of her stuff as a momento and told me loads about her life which I fully intended to make into a third house book….but haven't done so yet! One of the poems about the house became a song (the son) on the Bones and The Aft debut album The Ear.
L&LNo. 27 Concerning the Poetry of Lost Things (Harrow). 2000
The second and most notorious of the three Liver and Lights Community projects. I was contacted by Harrow Arts and invited to apply for matching funding from the forthcoming Arts Council Year of The Artist Festival, which I was duly awarded. This enabled me to be Artist in Residence in Harrow for a year, to make another ‘book monument’. Local authority bureaucrats took predictable umbrage to the book not being direct replica of the Fife book, and duly banned it from being sold or stocked by Harrow’s libraries. I made the book by collecting dropped handwriting from Harrow’s streets and made what I thought was a vibrant document of suburban London at the turn of the Millennium. The council also took issue with a lot of what I found, particularly the use of the ’n’ word in a scrawled adolescent rap lyric…
As in the Fife book launch, I stuck all the handwriting I had found….literally bags of it…to the inside of a railway arch behind South Harrow tube station and invited people to come in and add something by hand to each of the books. In a final, definingly surreal moment, Harrow Arts offered me a list of minor celebrities to officially open the exhibition, including a famous, but dead, cricketer and Screaming Lords Sutch’s Mother, who was sadly unavailable. The lovely and game for anything retired agony aunt Claire Rayner seemed to be the only person on the list both alive and available and did a sterling job with a speech improvised on the spot by reading the back cover of the book almost word for word. I wish I’d filmed it…..
Copies available: £7.99
L&L No. 28 The Rainbow makers. 60 copies. 2001
A return to the river…. I had wanted to make a book using screen print for ages and with the expert help of Kathy Round, finally got round to it. We made it together in the old textile print workshop at Camberwell College of Art, not long before they tore it up…A book of text illustrating text, a story of mythical love on the Old River. Printed on A1 sheets and torn up into squares five inch by five inch pages hard bound in grey cloth with firm bolts.
L&L No. 29 A handful of memories, Dundee. Edition 500. 2002
Whilst visiting Dundee Contemporary Art to meet newly installed Visual Research Centre Director Babs McCool, I was introduced to the Education Officer, who had been having a rum time with a community artist who had annoyed the local populace with her haughty manner. I was given the job, on Babs’ recommendation, of saving the project and this is what we made…A book about the lives of some people who lived in Dundee told through the objects they own. This was years before Neil McGregor (British Museum) had the idea but was in fact inspired in no small part by Christian Boltanski’s ‘inventory’ book, which I love. The third in my series of community project paperbacks, the cover continuing the ’bad’ photo theme with a serendipitous blurred double exposure of Dundee high street.
L&L No. 30 Thirty People. 2002
I found these wonderful fake lidded wooden boxes shaped like books in a pound shop in Peckham and tried to buy a hundred but the shop owners for some reason wouldn't let me so i ended up with thirty, which I painted with 30 portraits of people who I had heard being talked about in overheard conversations in the local area. Later, I made a book from these images and the associated texts, being the original overheard conversations as well as I could remember them. My long standing collaboration with Harvey Eagles having ended, I formed the band Afterrabbit specifically to perform the piece, and with their help turned it into a wonderful, memorable inaugural show at the fabled Half Moon in Herne Hill, subsequently to become our spiritual home. I printed the book on my laser printer onto brown paper in an edition of 100. There have been couple of not very successful second editions of the book in full colour.
L&L No. 31 Orange. 2002
I had been making rubber stamp prints since the seventies and for some reason hadn’t thought of making a whole book that way before this. It tells the story of an Orange, it’s life journey from fruit bowl to oblivion; a fable of our times. There have been three editions to date.. two printed on plain brown paper
L&L No 32. The Afterrabbit. CD and book. 2003
After the success of the live shows of thirty people we extended the collaboration into the studio to produce this debut CD, containing the Thirty peosple musical plus two other tracks. The line up on the CD is JB vocals, Alan Outram synths, Oliver Cherer Synths and Phil Outram Drums. Ollie Cherer provided most of the engineering genius. Innovative synth punk that ounds particularly great in a car stereo driving out of London ….even if I do say so myself…
L&L No. 33. 20 Household Objects. 2004
To celebrate twenty years of Liver and Lights publications I drew the twenty most mundane objects in my house and celebrated them with a poem, containing the results in a little hardback laser printed book (the early editions came with handsome rubber stamp printed dustjacket. I like dustjackets, a dying practice I was seeking to revive!). There have been three editions to date, as the book seems to be quite popular….
Copies available: £20.00
L&L No. 34. The Yellow moon in Brockwell Park. 2004
Kathy and I moved into a new house on the mythical Railton Road, opposite the equally mythical Lynton Kwesi Johnson. In my first week, though, I witnessed a racist incident and made this book in response…Its about a free wild fox that falls in love with a Staffy owned by a racist thug, (a mixed race marriage?). It is printed entirely on yellow paper and entirely using my Japanese Print Gocco toy silk screen machine. This has been the least popular of all the Liver and Lights books so far and I have no doubt that the subject matter (and the colour of the paper!) are understandable reasons…
Copies available: £20.00
L&L No. 35 Stale biscuits. The Afterrabbit Fanzine with free badge and cd. 2005
I had made my first Fanzine in 1974, with my school friend Sherlock Reid (Wordz! it was called I think…two editions…poetry and music reviews…I have no copies left!! Anybody out there with one ?)…Trying to recapture the spirit of this days, I made this. A roughly photocopied zine contained in a freezer bag and given out free at an Afterabbit gig at the Half Moon and containing a free cd of two songs by the band . This one was made by getting a crap pop mag and painting out all the articles and pasting in stuff about Afterrabbit. It has hand colouring and Print Gocco overlays too… 200 copies we made, as I say, mostly given out free….
L&L No 36. Three songs and a camper van. (Van Zine) 2006
I bought an old VW T25 campervan and headed out on the road with Kathy and sometimes the kids, and my old guitar….wrote some mawkish ol’ country songs too. Got old Alan Outram to come over and record the sounds of the van and he added them into the mix. The book contains a CD of the songs and their lyrics and also a record of some adventures we had in her, particularly a wonderful epic journey to Skye. For the launch we thought it would be a good idea to invite people to bring their own home made instruments to play along with us, which they did…
L&L. No. 37 Van Gig Zine. DVD. 100 copies. 2006
….and so we recorded the gig and some footage of some of our journeys in the van and made it into a totally DIY film celebrating the band, our lives, our friends, our kids and of course….the van! When I say DIY , I don’t mean I-movie, I mean VHS and stopping the machine and rough cutting and collage, similar to how I make the books. Perversely low budget even for me….
The DVD comes in a standard box but also contains a zine with photos of the gig and more info.
Copies available: £10.00
L&L No. 38. Manifestozine. 2006
Another manifesto, encouraging our DIY lifestyle and working practices. The book was given away free at Winchester College of Art artists books conference. The conference contained a special one day exhibition of the complete run of Liver and lights publications, which the Library and its enlightened librarians, Linda Newington and Catherine Polley, had purchased some years before.
It was a busy day, as I also spoke at the conference and did a make-your-own-musical-instrument out of rubbish workshop. These instruments were later used to accompany the Afterrabbit at our conference closing performance. The book also contained a CD of our performance on Resonance FM a few weeks previously. Edition 100
L&L No 39 My Dad. 2007
When my Dad died in 2007, I wrote a poetic eulogy to read at his memorial service, which became the basis for this book, alongside a poem by my brother Peter. Bound in Victorian red leatherette paper found in the Camberwell College of Art basement , left behind when the restoration degree moved out, and some leftover music manuscript paper from my dad’s briefcase. Initially, I intended to make copies just for family members butI felt the universal message of the book might be of help to others. The books popularity has meant a reprint is imminent..
L&L No. 40. My Ancestors. 2008
I wrote a song about the peculiar and particular feeling of not-belonging sometimes experienced by second generation immigrants. In the song this becomes a yearning for the country of the narrators parents birth, The Scottish Highlands. I illustrated the song by painting 27 wooden panels. These became the contents of the accompanying book. Also contained in the book is a mini cd of a recording of the song sung by me and accompanied by my rudimentary guitar.
Copies available: £20.00
L&L No.41. Hot Wad. 2009.
At the Afterrabbit concert at Dulwich Constitutional Hall in November 2009 I announced that you could get in free if you produced a hand drawn £1,000,000 note. I collected them all up, scanned them and reprinted them in sets. A wad of dosh, contained in a brown envelope. Copies available £12.00
L&L No. 42. The afterrabbit. Sawbones c/w Kathys plums 2010. Ed 500
Finally….we made a record….A vinyl 45 rpm single, contained in s screen printed fold out cover containing a tasty paperback book stuffed with lyrics, histories, biographies of the band, illustrations galore etc. We launched the book/ record with another legendary night at the Half Moon…which sadly was to be both best and the final Afterrabbit gig, ever. So we couldn't really promote the record and I have many copies under my bed…Its brilliant!! Come and get them! (the Morning Star reporter who reviewed it said he would have it on his desert island! )
Copies available: £5.00 Standard Vinyl £10.00 Special Edition with book
L&L No. 43.The People. 2010 -2011. Edition 100
This project started in a Rochester bookshop and grew and grew….I was looking at some thirties illustrated cigarette card portraits of cricketers and wondered at the skill of the artists and went home and had a go. A year later I had painted onto wood panels 137 portraits of people I knew. For each panel I also created a poem - portrait. I made them into a set of collectable cards and issued them as a box set as L&L No.43. For the launch at Le Garage Gallery at Herne Hill, Bones and the Aft created and performed a moving and memorable edited musical version, subsequently recorded and issued on the debut album L&L 49.The Ear. I wanted the work to be the record of a community, my community, of friends and acquaintances, to bring us together, to commemorate us. The collected portraits have been shown twice since, at the Book Art Bookshop tenth anniversary celebrations at the Red Gallery in Shoreditch and at Grennan Mill School during the Killkenny Arts Festival. I’m still occasionally adding to the portraits, fully intending to get to two hundred at least….This isn't Facebook, though, this is the antidote, because I really love all these people…!!
Copies available: £30.00
L&L No 44. English Rd Movies Vol. 1 Penge. 2010
I wanted do do my own low budget English road movies, not the glamorous American kind, down Route 66 past towns called San Bernadino and New Orleans on a greyhound bus but the more homespun English kind, on the number twelve from Piccadilly to Penge after a boozy night in Soho. A road movie so low budget, in fact, that its not a film at all but a little red book illustrated by rubber stamp prints.
Copies available: £12.00
L&L No.45 English Rd Movies Vol. 2. Bromley South. 2011
The second in. my series of low budget road movie books takes place on suburban train from Bromley South to Canterbury. Similarly illustrated and bound, this time in blue. The first two Road Movies are sold exclusively in the shop Circus in Brixton Village. The launch was the first ever performance of Bones and The Aft, when we played in the open air of the covered market in temperatures well below zero and my lips stuck to the Microphone.
Copies available: £12.00
L&L No.46 The legend of Skellington Bones. Bones and the Aft. 2011
A ‘zine and cd containing demos by Bones and the Aft, given away free at the bands gig in September 2011 at legendary scuzzy punk venue The Grosvenor in Stockwell.
L&L No 47 English Rd Movies Volume 3. Brixton. 2012
The third road movies book, a reminiscence of my first ever journey to South London, on a 159 bus two weeks after the Brixton riots…
Copies available: £12.00
L&L No 48 English Rd Movies Volume 4. Kings Cross. 2012
The fourth in the Road Movie series, this time an overnight coach journey from Glasgow to Kings Cross….. By now all four poems had become songs, regularly performed by Bones and the Aft.
I also made a special set of ten wooden slipcases to contain all four books, painted to resemble a No 12 London Routemaster bus.
Copies available: £12.00
L&L No. 49 The Ear. Bones and the Aft. 2012.
Debut full length CD/ book by Bones and the Aft featuring Dave Biscuit, Ian McKean and J B.
The book contains a biography of each of the contributors and the lyrics of all the songs and an extensive family tree of the band. Launched at the Tulse Hill Tavern in may, for which I made a splendid costume…a black linen suit with a hundred painted left ears stitched to it.
Copies available: £12.00
L&L No. 50 But, But is what. 2012
I’d done two previous creative writing projects with substance abuse rehabilitation programmes but wasn't allowed to publish the material. For this project, a six week creative writing/art course, done with Hertford CRI, we made a magazine from workshop participants drawings and writing. The idea was that they would set up the mag and maybe run it themselves eventually but funding issues meant this was to be the only one, sadly. A3 16 page newspaper format.100 copies
L&L No. 51 Geno 2013
Geno was my friend, colleague and inspiration at Art School. A rock and roll original who died suddenly this year after a twenty year battle with cancer. The book is a celebration of his life, his music and his peculiar originality. A hardback book hand printed with lots of woodblock like rubber stamp illuminations. 70 copies
Copies available: £20.00
L&L No. 52 Lord Biscuits Volvo 245 is gone. 2014
Lord Biscuit, fabled Bones drummer, woke up one morning to find his lovingly restored car had been nicked. This is the story of how he got it back; an adventure, a modern myth, a harangue against the thieving bastards who “leave us in daily fear of losing all our precious things” The book is printed entirely by hand using large six inch play foam cuts, similar to big rubber stamps, in white and red ink on black paper. It was a labour of love to match Lord Biscuits in restoring his car to its former glory. It is the best book I have ever made and its sold out.
I started writing a poem a day about stuff going on in my street, under my nose so to speak…this is a selection. The book is actually a small lidded box containing nine separate illustrated pamphlets, each one about a specific character or incident. Half way through the project my house was burgled…my laptop was nicked and I lost about thirty of the poems. I was strangely disheartened after this but then magically, I found a book -Miguel Street by VS Naipul - left on a nearby Railton Road wall. Each chapter in the book is a story about a separate character in the authors Miguel Street home, written in Port of Spain Trinidad during WW2. Naipul came from humble beginnings and eventually won the Nobel prize for literature and lives in nearby Stockwell! I took this as a sign that what I was doing, the observational, semi documentary nature of it,was worthwhile, despite the burglary and other discouragements, like my shrinking list of subscribers…
Liver & Lights No 54 Bones & The Aft: The Rafter Habit.
The second LP...available on Vinyl £25.00) CD (£10.00)and download via www.bonesandtheaft.bandcamp.com (£7)
Reviewed in Froots Magazine June 2016:
“John Bently declaims his compelling poetry while guitarist Ian Mckean and drummer David Beschizza fearlessly zigzag through punk anger and energy, progressive time shifts and classical guitar transcriptions of Alexander Scriabin. Exciting stirrings from theliterary and musical DIY underground”
Kind Red Spirit 1The Missing Tree. Cameron Fox and Merdith Swan
Kind Red Spirit 2 The Mendwing Bird Cameron Fox and Merdith Swan
Kind Red Spirit 3. I Believe in Objects. Dave Ashby
(three paperbacks issued by liver and lights offshoot Kind Red Spirit…Fox and Swan are invented characters..Dave Ashby is real)
Songs from the Shandy Valley.1991. Liver And Lights 1-9. Malice Aforethough Press
A selection of texts and graphics from the first ten books.paperback
Copies available: £10.00
This is a paperback. 1994. Liver & Lights 10-22. Magpie Press
A selection of graphics and the texts plus sheet music for their performance by Harvey Eagles
Copies available: £5.00 From Herne Hill to the Plains of Penge.2016. Liver & Lights 23-54 A texts and images compendium. Published by Book Art Book Shop Copies Available £10.00
All books plus £2.00 p&p per book, free if ordering more than two books. pay by cheque to Liver & Lights Scriptorium 229 Railton rd London SE24 0LX or paypal to :
paypal.me/bonesandtheaft Finally...I have kept one Compleat Set for myself (the only others being at the V&A, Tate Britain, The British Library Special Collections and Winchester School of Art Library) and one for sale...including a comprehensive set of launch invites, associated posters and such... all 54 editions for £6,000......imagine!