Most pictures and words from Anthony C Murphy

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


There's nothing ever gained
 By a wet thing called a tear
  When the world is too dark
    And I need the light inside of me
      I'll walk into a bar
And drink fifteen pints of beer

Shane McGowan   d. not known



There's a man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Millet's

Half Man Half Biscuit
National Shite Day


And I live in England
Or tornado alley
As we like to call it

When the quaint
Met the exotic
Re member me

I want that back
And your neck
And shivering skin
Out on the sun kissed deck
Fresh from the shower

Where have you gone
Whipped up into the eye
Of the storm of us


Friday, 23 September 2011


Yes, Heaven is thine; but this
          Is a world of sweets and sours;
          Our flowers are merely flowers,
And the shadow of thy perfect bliss
          Is the sunshine of ours.

Edgar Allan Poe d. 1849

Thursday, 22 September 2011




Ken Loach in Conversation with Artist Terry Atkinson

Outside, a radical sells his newspapers. Inside Brighton University's Sallis Benney theatre, film director, Ken Loach and Terry Atkinson are in conversation. The theatre is crowded and warm. The audience is a mixture of ages. Loach and Atkinson are both in their seventies now and have followers through several decades. They are to discuss their life, work and the way political views and climates have shaped both.

Ken Loach cuts a slight figure with wispy white hair. When listening he sits with his chin resting between finger and thumb. Atkinson is more robust, arms across chest, and has a heavy Barnsley accent. They start at the beginning of their respective stories and give an account of grammar school days.  Both men were beneficiaries, or products, of the 1944 Education Act. This provided educational support for pupils who passed their Eleven Plus exams. There were very few working class kids who did benefit and so the Act ultimately produced a functional middle class hierarchy, “a managerial class.”

Loach and Atkinson were two of the lucky ones. They would find that there were spaces for the practices of the newly educated lower class. One such space was the all-new BBC2 channel. Its modernity meant that it was not totally controlled, akin to the Internet today. Teleplays were newsworthy and political and experimental, but this was not to last long. The Clean Up TV campaign would change that.

Atkinson tells anecdotes of how, in these shifting times, he saw freedoms being squeezed. The campaign had a puritanical guise but was intent at displacing any radical element, any alternative viewpoint. T.V. became sanitised and therefore it broadcast purely propaganda.

The Sexy Left
Talking of his own radicalisation, Loach declares that it was "sexy to be on the Left in the Sixties". Obviously going to meetings because of girls was not the only thing on the agenda. This is where a political education was to be had. The groups had a rigorous respect for political theory. His 1975 T.V. series Days of Hope played on this as it dramatised the beginnings of the Labour movement.

The Spanish Civil War was a catalyst for many joining the Left. Orwell's book Homage to Catalonia was required reading. It shows the British ruling classes helping fascists before 1939, or at least standing by and doing nothing to stop their spread. The working people of Spain suffered and their British counterparts sympathised. It seemed to many working class people that the only just war was a class war, as Days of Hope writer, Jim Allen, pointed out.

Terry Atkinson states that it is not really necessary to have a knowledge of political history to be politicised. He thinks that the constant rate of exploitation by those in power will always cause confrontation. There are concerns that global consumerism has created a situation where a "comfortable life is preferred to a conflictual one", but that there will always be exploitation.

The Essential Concept
Loach is asked how he can distill years of history into one screen story. He says that he searches for the essential conflict. The "little nut" you find that describes the whole story. In The Wind that Shakes The Barley, his 2007 movie about Irish independence, the essential conflict comes to be between two brothers. Both want an Ireland free of the English, but one wants it for the people and the other wants it for the political party. This version of events, dramatised, can then lead to the audience gaining political knowledge.

Atkinson has also painted on the subject. He says that his work has to be true to human experience, otherwise it becomes worthy, or politically correct art; like a public monument. He says that his paintings are a response to his reflections, his awakening to political history. Atkinson thinks the art world has become celebritised, and Loach decries the narrowing of cinema's vision by Hollywood and it's merchandising. "What a destruction of the medium!"

The two discuss how the art world is now geared to being business orientated. They marvel at why art students have business cards and talk on how the artist should be responsible to the medium and not to entrepreneurial gain. Thatcher is blamed. Her counter-revolution is thought so embedded and insidious that we expect this kind of behaviour from our artists. "Politics is concealment", says Atkinson.

Questions and Answers
At the end, the audience asks a few questions. One member accuses the talkers of being pessimistic about the media as it is now. This causes refutations, but also an admittance that the "…function of the mass media is to make you pessimistic. This is all there is. It's their view of the world" (Ken Loach).  He is asked what "little nut" he has found for our time now. Mr. Loach reveals that his latest project is to concern contract workers in Iraq. He hopes that it will reveal the West's real impact on that region: the economic impact as well as the military one and the opportunism involved.

This project has since been realised on screen as the film, Route Irish.

Terry Atkinson discusses his interest in how the basic reality of our world is now unpictureable. He says that our world has become less than micro and that we think on phenomena that can never be seen, like quarks and god particles. This for an artist is a conundrum. How do you paint that?

And then the discussion is brought to an end. There are one or two people sleeping in the rows. It is a dry and hot room now. Ken Loach is not finished however. The comment on his conceived pessimism about the media still rankles. He says, matter of factly, that we should not be down hearted, that we need to create and that we've "got to keep at it".

First printed at 

Saturday, 17 September 2011


In hours of bliss we oft have met:
They could not always last;
And though the present I regret,
I’m grateful for the past.

William Congreve d. 1729

We shall burst forth onto the crusty earth


Within us there may rise an urgency
We can hold in our hands some newer plan
Major advancements, possibilities

We shall burst forth onto the crusty earth
Like salt from the tongues of thirsty hermits 
Who spit random indistinct scatterings

Or we may be lost there in our desert
Just another bit of grit in the boot
Forever sand, yet individual

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Never felt the threat of a zit
Sometimes I’d smile. Or spit
As you weren’t allowed
Not that we met
You did not exist

SEPT 13th

Thank you to everyone who turned up for Everybody's Got To Be Somewhere. It was an enjoyable afternoon and hopefully we will have some photos soon.

Friday, 9 September 2011


What thing is love? for sure love is a thing.
It is a prick, it is a sting,
It is a pretty, pretty thing;
It is a fire, it is a coal,
Whose flame creeps in at every hole;
And as my wit doth best devise,
Love's dwelling is in ladies' eyes,
From whence do glance love's piercing darts,
That make such holes into our hearts......

George Peele d.1596


This silence brings me down solo
And I should embrace the loneliness
As I used to so well
When there was me and a
And a
And little else
When love came in drips
Not the big spurts of joy I dreamt of
When my day was self service
Not the waiting on
Another to cater to
When turmoil was only drama
And tv an empty theatre
When fantasy had not been realized yet
Right there in my room with you
That squalid place we slugged in
Like we had been born to
Where we had no care
Or at least less of any of that

And what does it matter
What mattress or where
If I cannot get in your hair


Wednesday, 7 September 2011



Taking them when I set off
Both ghosts with me today
For some reason I can’t shake
So we walk to the pier and turn east
At the sea
Grey and I wish across it momentarily
But that would be France
And not the right place
The only boats out in the chop
Are the RNLI, training I hope
They seem to be beaten
From this distance
By this wind
You two are not interested
Impatient lumps in my skull
As they tack away on metallic liquid hills
That give ungenerously
Causing a static progress
None of us are going backwards

We leave them
And forage
I am starving
If I found some money
I would buy a chicken from Asda
Get a bus home
Roast in the warmth
Looking for twenty pounds ideally
But it is blowy
Volks made money out of people
Maybe some trapped on this cliff
Wasteful tourists only throw receipts it seems

What are these plants?
Woody with black seed pods like a shepherd’s purse
But umbelliform like hemlock
Lots here dying
Maybe sprayed
I am buffeted
Shall we sing
Somewhere beyond the sea…
And never again will I go sailing
I prefer Summer Wind
From across the sea…
Guess who sighs his lullabies?

No money but my eyes scour the earth
And find reminders of youth
Amidst the fag packets and squished tinnies
That Styrofoam aeroplane without wings
I am a kid in Falinge Park
The sun was there
Not here
Some joke, I can feel you laughing inside

I cannot be arsed with Rottingdean
Although you like it
Not my cuppa
I have gone off scones and jam
So I take you down to use the Ovingdean toilet
Then under St Dunstan’s pass and a walk to Wulfran’s
Corn here strangled by bindweed
The white trumpets
Little kids around a grandad’s neck making him bend
No chance of money now
Away from the litter of Brighton coast visitors
Make it to the church and sit in the graveyard
Who was Steyning Beard?
Volks is here too
There are women in the church
I can hear them laughing
It wouldn’t stop you
But I will not deal with company today
Besides I can always come back
When will you?
Up that hill then to the top
Along the racecourse
And I find harebell and vetchling
Amidst bramble which I defruit
And eat apples from a tree
These soldiers dad
That we used to behead
What are they really called
Some kind of plaintain
Cocks and hens?
I like the old words better
Imagining the latin
I still find it hard between
Hogweed, cow parsley and yarrow
Is it in the leaves?
Enter this upper terrace of the valley
It’s all dirty ragwort
Only because of the horses
And nettle and napweed
But what are these little creepers
A carpet for small coppers and
The clouded yellow?

I am with the larks
Invisible amidst the grey
I feel rain
Do you feel it
You are awfully quiet
Have I been breathing regularly?
Did I forget you there?
I shall go on ahead and see you later then
Toadflax, tiny yellow babies
Hung upon the stalk in their swaddle
Bring my head back to earth

I can walk down Bear Road and through the graveyard
Two in one day
Who will be here?
Not Fanny Heaver
She is in Westmeston
And not Fiji’s greatest sportsman
He is in Rochdale
There is a WH Smith though
Not the same
This one died in 1918
An army grave

I shall go home now
I need to get some milk

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

John Donne


I went to Canada
And I met this girl 
And she was like a heart attack
But in a good way
And I could do nothing
But think of her
And she emptied my mind
Of all the other stuff
That I needed to think
So I ended up walking
Like an armless zombie
On the blasted streets of Ontario
And I should have gone
To East Third and brain again
But I didn’t and so
I am still lost
Like a kiss
Like the breath
That she took
And I want it back

Friday, 2 September 2011



Quint is an installation/performance trio featuring me, Jet Leonard on laser harp and Jon English with his sound painter. Trebly unique.

Thursday, 1 September 2011


Her hair crumbles like applesauce in autumn
Her breath smells as felt
She sucks up my senses
I’m a tactile dyslexic
Like fingering fish that is smelt
Her laughter is conical
Her body atonal
She beckons me like a sphere
I’m an ophthalmic moron
An aural goofball
Whenever she is near me
I hear sponges and mushrooms
And loud zesty lemons
I see colours that do not exist yet
I feel daytime and spring
And panic and lovely
Amongst other intangible things
And what do I do
Now that I’m twisted
Rearrange myself
I could chop off my hands
With a circular saw
Stick eyeballs on my wrist stumps
Shove a trumpet down my oesophagus
Hop some ears on top of my knees
Stuff my tongue where it is tasteless
And cause my testicles to sneeze

Or distance myself
I could touch nothing at all
Curl myself into a ball
Inside a swaddle of cotton wool
Deprive myself in a tank
Like the altered state of
Willy Hurt
And then
I guess
It won’t
Be senseless




This year becomes the untended fire relaxing in its embers