Friday, 29 June 2012

Bones Biogs:
Word-Gunner Bones  (AKA John Bently)- A Potted Resume


Sept 1957. Born Hexham, Northumberland
1960-1973. Travelled the world with army director of music dad, going to eleven schools in five countries, including Cyprus, Germany, Singapore and Hong Kong.
1964-66.Building dens, rafts and  weaponry  in Germany
Summer 1968. Poaching trout from River Otter in Devon. Falling in love with Mandy Sampson. Passing Eleven Plus. First appearance for school football team. Break arm falling out of tree.
1971. Form Illydre with Ian and Andrea Mckean and Paul Trew. Play first gig at Church of  Scotland New Years Eve under 14 party. Thrown out after three songs for lewd behaviour and incitement to riot

Aug 1974. Windsor Free Festival. Accompanied friends band White as White  and Twice as Dirty  who played through an ice cream van generator. I  got arrested for nothing and lived on scrounged  lentils  and pure love for  ten days. Returned home to find I’d failed all my O levels except English.
1975. Wordz. Create poetry mag  /fanzine with school friend Sherlock Reid. First live performances, sometimes with band Plumrose.

1976-1980. Art School. Don’t remember, usually drunk


1980.Moved to London. On the dole in Thatcher’s No Such Thing As society
1982. Bridget Riley. Employed as a studio assistant and sacked within six weeks due to inability to draw or think or  walk in a straight line
1983. Deptford.Discover the long lost kingdom of Deptfordia; a mythical ‘inner’ city, invisible to politicians.

 1984- Liver & Lights No 1 published. An exploration  of the possibilities of art in book form…47 episodes in 29 years so far….
1986. Met Andi McGarry in the pages of the Artists Newsletter Publication Supplement reviewed by Stephanie Brown, who champions both our work, and the art of the book in particular
1993 Create Artist Book Year Book with Stephanie Brown, Tania Peixoto and Stefan Szczelkun . Later, we pass it on to Sarah Bodman at UWE
2002. The afterrabbit/ Bonesandtheaft.  First live Afterrabbit gigs and beginning of collaboration with Alan and Phil Outram. Later morphing into Bones & The Aft with Ian Mckean and Admiral Lord Biscuit…..
2005. Buy camper van. Head for the coast, guitar in  back with Arthur and Freya (kids), Kathy in front with map.
2012. Grennan Mill Thomas town Ireland.  Big show  of 30 years work and sharing the stage with fellow traveller Andi Mcgarry

Monday, 25 June 2012

Bones and the Aft biogs:
Winco. Mulleen
I first saw Wingco (AKA Ian Mckean) standing next to Paul Trew on my first day at Farnborough Grammar School in late  1971 , me only  recently removed from the colonial inglories of Singapore and still reeling from the culture shock. Do you like music? I believe were his first words to me, and I did of course, revealing that I had singles by Curved Air, T.Rex, The Faces and Marmalade , although no record player.
Mckean had not only a record player but actual LPs!…including Tommy by the Who, which he could play, on battered spanish guitar, almost in its entirety, at age 14.
Trogsie Trew,  Mulleen and kid sister Andrea formed our first band soon after- Illydre we were called-  and we did our first gig at The Church of Scotland New Years Eve under 14’s disco on Queens Avenue, Aldershot January 1972, a full forty years ago…..(we were thrown out of the building after two songs for our  lewd behaviour……)

Later, I moved to Hong Kong (army kids, see….) and Illydre evolved into White as white and twice as dirty, the last progs or the first punks depending on which fence you sat on, playing Windsor and Watchfield festivals, as teenagers. At Watchfield, they shared stages with The Guildford  Stranglers and the 101ers and Joe Strummer borrowed Ian’s guitar…times were changing. 
We shared Foundation together at Farnham Art College, then went our separate career ways. Ian gave up his place studying Graphic Design at Farnham to play guitar in the Beatles-like Thirteen. Beset by an unlucky name (Their drummer died in a motorcycle accident whilst recording their first single), and the onset of Punk, they were followed by the dissolute tower block glam of Bad Detective and the leather clad tower block rock of Twenty Flight Rockers; one of least embarrassing Generation X offshoots, this one containing drummer Mark Laff.

After this came ten years or so in DIY punk-pop innovators,  the criminally underrated Balaam and the Angel. Originally notorious for their hand made hair and clothes and equally unusual instrumentation, they created their own highly influential Chapter 22 record label before eventually signing to Virgin as worldwide success seemed to beckon. Becoming increasingly louder with every passing year, Balaam toured extensively throughout the eighties and early nineties and now Mulleen has only one eardrum left…...

More recently, he has been playing for Camden pub rock supergroup The Runner Bros and doing classical gigs after retraining as a classical musician after he lost his eardrum (somewhere under the sofa).

 In 2010 Wingco Mulleen responded positively to Bently’s request to join him, musically  reunited after 35 years,  in the great Bones and the aft adventure……

Sunday, 24 June 2012


Bones and the aft profiles:
Admiral Lord Biscuit
I first time I saw Biscuit playing the  drums was with Ollie Briggs and Scotty in the band Ivich Lives at the Half Moon in 2004, supporting the  rascally Ludes.  Kathy and I, along with almost everyone else who saw them around that time, thought they were one of the most emotionally involving bands we’d ever seen. They couldn’t fail to make the big time, could they?
Later, after their much mourned demise, I had the privilege of playing with Briggs in The Afterrabbit, and at the same time played my first gig with Biscuit, again supporting Ludes, this time at the Crypt in Camberwell, when he played drums during a formidable and legendarily glitter drenched Hank  That line up also including Chris Morris on guitar, Matt Allchin on Bass and Dave Ashby on sax. Later we watched, awestruck at times, as he thwacked his noisy trade for South London legends The Doctors of Love, most memorably in a packed,  hysterical, Bimble Inn at the Sunrise Festival.

We also saw him play in the early incarnation of Florence Welch’s Machine in Keano and Chloe’s garden in Lewes, in the pouring rain. The same songs she sang then, we saw her singing on the main stage at  Latitude a mere three years later, the drumming noticeably more conservative.
A slot as inventive percussionist with Ludes offshoot Rum Shebeen followed , a highlight being the supporting of  Jamie T at Brixton Academy. He’s not just a drummer though…He can play any instrument in the world (except brass, as yet). His house is full of instruments!  Glass xylophones! Sitars!  Spoons! He writes songs too, unforgettable songs, finger pickin’, bluesy and full of highly original narrative twists.

Last year he led a team that won first prize in The Piano Scrapheap Challenge at the Royal Festival Hall (deconstructing a piano and turning it into a musical something else…)
Becoming friends- he really is one of the most interesting conversationalists, his topics ranging far and wide, not unlike his drumming, over the world and back- I managed to talk Biscuit into doing occasional gigs with me…appearances with my son Arthur on Resonance FM (three appearances on Carole Finer’s Sound Out!), gigs in a wet fish stall  in  Brixton Village , some exhibition openings and finally would he like to be a part of this new Bones & The Aft project? The people launch at Le Garage in Herne Hill, terrified in front of a thousand inebriate essex boys and girls at Leigh Folk Festival, The Red Gallery in trendy Shoreditchand more besides; the Grosvenor and  the inevitable Half Moon in our Herne Hill homepatch........
Coming up next.....Bones and the aft profiles: Wingco Mulleen

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Just to remind you that Leigh Folk Festival is on next weekend....we played at it the last two years and had a really great time....its completely free and takes over the whole town with music as deliciously unexpected as it is diverse..Sunday is  the main music day...drinking and eating whelks all along the sea front...Saturday is in the park top of town.  They also bring out a brilliant cd everyyear too...this years is called Wrecks ,Rucks, Riots and Ressurection and is absolutely brilliant - check out KC McKanzie Machine Gun Fire and the extraordinary Darren Hayman and The Secondary Modern track Two Tree Island...available from their were on last years CD (The Son) called Horses, Hangings, Homicides and something else beginning with 'H' I can't remember....probably still got copies for sale!!!
I've been making wooden boxes hand painted to look like beloved Routemasters to contain all four of the Road Movie books (that we've been performing live these last couple of years...Penge being paricularly popular for some reason....) ....They are in  a limited edition of ten -£120 each direct from me or from Circus in Brixton Village whose 2nd anniversary it was last Friday....a brilliant cardboard shop in the revived former Reliance Arcade who stock a lot of my books and more besides.
Also....Steve Richards, interesting artist himself....has redone updated and generally tidied up my Liver and Lights website so please give it a look:

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Bones Stage set models

       I've been building scale models of exciting stage sets that will be transformed into lifesize versions for us to perform in at future engagements!!We are going to take this round the world!!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Fantaxtic film put together by Old Chum Andi McGarry to publicise our joint exhibition at Grennan Mill, Thomastown,Ireland later this summer...a collage of vintage clips and some new footgae by Lisa Kineen and Arthur Bently......I think its very funny and just like our work in many ways...hope you like it let us know!! its here: