My Life as a Artist

FEBRUARY 14th 2015


Yes, and so now I´m back from outer space, and as soon as I´ve sorted out iMovie, you´ll be able to see that look upon my face. So many rivers have passed under so many bridges since I last posted that it´s difficult to know where to start…..

On September 8th 2014 my relationship with my mother took on a new dimension when she decided to slough off her mortal coil and slip into something more comfortable. Looking great in a leopard-skin print, pure Kashmir Burberry onesie, she crossed the rainbow bridge of love into the unknown land of mystery that lies somewhere between Leeds and infinity and yet isn´t Todmorden.

According to most reliable mystics, car-boot sales do exist in the fourth dimension, but my present vibrational rate is not high enough to go to them, least of all take my Mum to them. (I do know a bloke who after many years of spiritual discipline has the ability to attend 4th dimensional car-boot sales and to be fair, he gets some cracking bargains.) With my earthly duties discharged I decided to leave York and go somewhere that was between Leeds and infinity and yet wasn´t Todmorden, or Death, or indeed Wetherby.

On the morning of her funeral I bought a very large inscrutable white van in which I now live. Even though it´s huge and amazing on the outside it´s surprisingly small and prosaic on the inside. There´s room for a wood-burning stove, a gas cooker, a sink, a work table, a bed and an ashtray. It´s all a bit tight, but with me being an arty sort I tend to spend a lot of time living in my imagination, which is really handy because it´s a lot roomier than the van, and it´s nice for the van to get some time to itself.

I´m parked on top of a lumpily gorgeous wet Welsh hilltop. Its like a big green quilted cushion sat on the squashy bed of Powys, making the night-sky look like a fabulous sequined bed-headboard. Honestly, it´s exactly like that. It´s breath-givingly beautiful and a good place to get a view of the Berwyn mountains and my new life situation.

If I was a little kitten I reckon I´d have a future being cute and attacking pieces of string, but I´m experienced enough now to know that for an adult human being trying to make firm foundations for a secure future, it´s not really an option. Instead     I´ve decided to carry on being a performer and artist called Rory Motion, and if along the way I can attack pieces of string and become cuter, so much the better. Thus far I´ve painted half a dozen pictures of Llanfluffy , the local town, and organized a gig for myself at an independent cinema called "kinokulture" in Oswestry on March 19th. Lets hope it´s the start of something medium.

A few weeks ago my phone and e-mail inboxes went wild with excitement after I got a mention on the TV programme Q.I. Apparently they were talking about lichen when Stephen Fry said

"As the great performance poet Rory Motion once said ´you call it lichen, I call it lichen, let´s call the whole thing moss´." When my brother phoned me to tell me the news I had to sheepishly admit to him that the last thing I´d written down in my notebook was "smug metropolitan godless Oxbridge clever-arse". The media synthetic cream cake is sprinkled with hundreds n thousands of them and in this case I wasn´t referring specifically to Mr Fry, although by the curious timing of events I suspect the universe might have been. In future I shall endeavor to be less judgmental, even though in the past it´s proved to be a great time-saver.


16th July 2014

Hi everybloggy….. thought I'd write a thought or two, too-wit-to-woo, in case you thought I'd fallen off my perch. The reason for the recent lack of blogs is that I've been in a certain state of limbo of late, in that I'm not what I was, but not quite what I'm going to be either….neither here nor there, a caterpillar in the crepuscule crawling between night and day…..I'm the wet bit on the beach where the sea breathes in. I'm the ampersand between Ant & Dec.

That being said I have managed to watch quite a lot of the world cup. Roy Hodgson, who on his mothers' side is related to koala bears and owls, picked a young, exciting and excitable side who gave it a go go, but it wasn't to be be, so there you go go. It was a vast improvement on four years ago-go, in South Africa, where, under the grim grey regime of the jut-jawed Adolf Cornetto, we fought a dismal campaign. I remember each slow, tired century of our moving, as though through mogadon treacle we waded, shell-shocked, Barry-legged and crap……

Poor Louis Suarez. For him the world cup was just a tempting multi-continental smorgasbord of different-flavoured limbs….. mmm! ….Italian shoulder! …Chiellini!.... Taste-io!....

….and poor Brazil, they were poor. Fred and Jo were so bad, why didn't they bring on Sid and Bert?

…. And despite Holland's relaxed attitude to recreational flower-smoking I find it hard to warm to their football team, especially the transhuman experiment that is Iron Robot.

As Sir Gary Cheese'n'Onion Lineker Crisps once said, footballs a simple game. Two teams of 11 try and kick a ball into a goal for 90 minutes and at the end, Germany win…. and they did…. and on the balance of play, uber alles, they probably deserved it. They were all good, for 90 minutes, whereas Lionel Messi was absolutely fabulous, for 45 seconds.

Exposure to the mind-sucking devil-rays of TV death, so much over a short period of time, is apparently really dangerous for sensitive vegetarians, and I must say I feel a bit worn out by it all. Since the final whistle went last Sunday I've been finding it hard to hold down a steady job, and sometimes I think the full moon is the severed head of Ray Winstone telling me 'bet nah!'. I'm glad it's all over, says my inner Kenneth Wolstenholme……… and it is now.


3rdFebruary 201

Aha! I'm still here. Anything could have happened to me in the last six months but on the whole it didn't. The main thing to report is that in October my Mum moved into Barstow House, a big sheltered housing house housing smaller houses, and really likes it. She's got her own flat that's bigger and airier than the old one, plus lots of good folk around to keep an eye on her, plus she gets to meet other people who don't think Jeremy Kyle's a demonic entity. Over the last three or four years, when my Mum has expressed the occasional desire to have a game of table tennis, I've usually tried to change the subject, for reasons that are manifold. However, last week some 'activity' blokes came to the house and brought an assortment of indoor sports and my Mum ended up having a game of table-tennis. The next day she was stiff (but not a stiff) but the day after that she felt perky. Result! Next week, she says, if she gets her new prescription from the doctors in time, she might try cage-fighting.

   Synchronously, and weirdly at the same time, like Ant and Dec, I came down, down, deeper and down, with a bad back. York Corinthians over 45's were playing away at Stockton-on-Tees well-over 45's and I was having (by my standards, and possibly David Moyes's) a relatively good game. I'd scored an early equalizer, a poached effort rather in the style of Adam Johnson…or possibly Amy Johnson .… and was jogging back to the half-way line … when it went…. and it didn't come back for three months. My doctor, who's an osteopath, acupuncturist, homoeopath and oompaloompa, says it's a bummer-lumbar-number. He recommended a book about the healing qualities of bare-foot walking, written by the Russian author Susan Shocksoff, and it's been paying dividends. I'm happy to say my back is now strong enough to paint pictures and do gigs.


October also saw the arrival in these parts of my God-son Daniel who's started at the local university. He's been round this last couple of week-ends skill-swapping. I know how to cook and he knows how cyber-space works so we've been swapping recipes for dahl and hyper-links. The up-shot of all this is that I now have a presence on the social networking site 'Facecloth' and Daniel breaks wind more often than he used to.

Meanwhile, in the leaking caravan of love, I'm busy creating oeuoeuvres for York Open Studios, which this year I'm doing at St Nicks environmental centre off the Hull Road. It's going to be in early April,  so with it being springtime I expect the nature reserve to be a bit less reserved. The Evening Press reckons that if the weathers good, peoples' hearts could be so filled with love that the military helicopters that take off from Fulford barracks will start turning into butterflies above our nation. We are stardust. We are Gordon.


Friday 5th July

Hi bloggy world, this is to everybody and nobody in particular, and especially you at the back. This rare seasonal sunshine summer birdy birdy tweet tweet stuff is proving very agreeable to both myself and the garden. The perpetual spinach, otherwise known as beet spinach, or perpetual throbbing beet spinach, is so scarily prolific that I have a slight worry that if I stop picking it it's going to want to move into the caravan.

 I'm delighted to say that thus far my newly constructed super-lo-tech, super-lo-cost, super-low chicken and rabbit-proof fence has held out, because it's not just sunshine and sweet refreshing rain that makes vegetables grow big and tasty, it's also that feeling of well-being they get when they know they're secure from predators. Wild strawberries for example, which are delicious and at the same time very exposed, are usually very small because they use up most of their energy by worrying.

At the end of this month my phone contract runs out and I'll have the option of getting a me-phone. Rather than seek advice from the three-haircuts-on-lithium that is the staff of Carphone Warehouse, I'll trawl the oceanic mind of my bespectacled and mild-mannered brother, Super-techno-man. I hope I'll have the self-discipline to only use it for biz business, because when it comes to real communications I think phones are phoney. Not in the way that bones are bony, or stones stony, but in the sense that they offer false expectations of intimacy. For somebody to feel the full force of your sincerity and to really understand one-hundred per cent what you're trying to say, in my experience, you have to be stroking their hair at the same time.


Sunday 9th June

Hello cyber-world. How are you keeping? I haven't been here for a while but it's good to see the old place looks the same. Things in the non-cyber 'I can't believe it's not reality' world seem to be ticking over in a similarly old and familiar way.

I notice that as the comforting nipple of football withdraws behind the blouse of summer, I suddenly feel the tremendous burden of adulthood.  I read that Neymar's looking forward to playing with Lionel Messi, as indeed I am with Seventies Jim, but these insubstantial dreams are of a fragile future and without nourishment. So, life it is then.

On Monday I took my Mum to Morrisons for her weekly shop, and although I consider nearly every item in there to be poisonous I try not to bang on about it too much. My Ma has reached the age of 87 and at this point in the proceedings, as far as I'm concerned, she can eat what she bloomin' well likes. I've tried to explain to her how a secret cabal is trying to turn us into mind-controlled robot slaves by exposing us to dangerous chemicals and Jeremy Kyle, but so far with little apparent success. (This is a clumsy sentence. The lack of success I'm talking about here is my attempt at explaining things to Ma, not the secret cabals' attempts to turn us into mind-controlled robot slaves. They're quite good at that.)

That same evening My Mum decided to cook a deep-crust beef pie that we'd got in Morrisons. She said that she was kneeling on the floor in front of the open oven door, about to put the pie in, when she noticed that the crust on top of the pie had started moving. Then, she said, the pie-crust suddenly burst open and seven or eight tiny little horses jumped out and galloped across the kitchen floor. After the initial shock, and a half-hearted attempt to round them up and put them back in the pie, she let them out into the garden. They're really happy there and over the last few days my Mum's developed quite a rapport with them, so much so that she's decided not to complain to Morrisons, in case they ask for them back.

Meanwhile, from the caravan of love, I bring you a tale of outrageous slaughter. First thing this morning, as I went to light some frankincense so that all might be well, I looked out into the garden in time to see two rabbits dashing out of the cabbage patch, laughing. Two days ago I planted out nine purple sprouting broccoli plants and four red kale. They were young and healthy and had their whole lives ahead of them. Now, except for one incredibly courageous purple sprouting broccoli, they're all dead, nibbled to the roots. Who can imagine the terror of their last moments? The dread back-beat of their big brassica hearts, as rabbits ears cast twin-tower shadows over the innocent soil, the too near hot breath of hungry rabbit and then the furious frenzy of those Liverpool comedian-like front teeth….. that's a lorra lorra fear.

I spent a bit of time counseling the surviving purple sprouting broccoli and planted a couple of butternut squashes nearby it for companionship. Then I had to tell the rest of the garden what had happened. The sorrowful sorrel and the willow wept while the broad beans bore it bravely. The mint and the cucumbers were surprisingly cool, but sadly the sugar peas snapped.

What drives a rabbit to take the lives of twelve innocent young brassica plants, and leave another one so psychologically damaged that it'll probably be a vegetable for the rest of its life? My landlady, Mrs Abercrombie, says it's because they're jealous of our lifestyles. She reckons they've been radicalized by foxes and militant badgers, and until the fields of England are filled with just cows there'll be no peace.

I sometimes worry that my landlady is overly influenced by the Daily Mail and therefore susceptible to irrational fear. Rabbits are people too, and I think dialogue is the only answer, and perhaps some of that green plastic netting.  




 Wednesday 5th December 2012


Sadly the dawn of dark December has put paid to any lingering hopes I had that we might be in for a late, late Indian summer. The grimly glum and gloomy, galoshy-sploshy summer of 2012, which was all English, was probably the worst one we've had for twelve months, since way back in 2011. Then, however, we didn't have the jubilee and the Olympics to keep us entertained.

I have to say I thought the Jubilee was incredible. We had twenty-four hour TV and radio coverage, it took over the first five pages of every newspaper, and we had tens of thousands of people lining the streets, cheering and waving symbols of the nation. To me it spoke volumes on everything that's really great about North Korea.

I found the Olympic games a bit too competitive for my liking, so I didn't watch any of it, but by sheer media saturation I did become aware of some of its most iconic images, the most memorable being of Mo Farah making a letter 'M' on his head with an astonished look on his face. I wonder if that amazed look was because he was thinking, "Bearing in mind recent US foreign policy towards Somalia, how on earth have I ended up advertising MacDonalds?"

So, as far as I'm concerned, summers finally over. However, recently, for the first time ever, I saw a deer in the next field, and its been increasingly frosty, so at least I  can look forward to crispness and the new deer.


Sunday 18th November 2012

Recently I learned that the Welsh word for 'oven' was 'popty', and, more excitingly, that the Welsh word for 'micro-wave oven' was 'popty-ping'. The Welsh have always been stubborn and bloody-minded in their resistance to creeping anglicisation, and, in light of the white magic of Merlin Ambrosius, Owain Glendower and Gareth Bale, rightly so in my opinion.

 A thousand years ago the struggle against the English was more visceral by nature, and often involved pointy swords and bleeding, but by the 1970's bloody hand-to-hand combat had suffered a massive decline in popularity and was replaced by 'conversions'. This is where the English converted Welsh houses into holiday homes, which the Welsh then converted into piles of ashes. These days, with the high price of petrol, the main area of conflict is language, and this has led to much nifty neology. (I'm not sure what it means either. I might have made it up)

If you were to play a game of manoeuvring multi-coloured balls on a green felt table with sticks, and you were in Llanrhaedr-ym-Mochnant, then you'd be playing 'snwka'. If you were to swallow one of the 'snwka' balls while trying to do an impression of  Harry Secombe,  you could then 'telefon' for an 'ambiwlans'.

Last week I did a gig in my old stomping ground of Llanfluffyisnit, a small Mid-Wales town somewhere between Oswestry and Infinity. I went to live there in 1991, as a career move. (I didn't want one). I'd started on the enterprise allowance scheme in 1987 as a poet, madman and wanderer and had begun to realise that the madman and wanderer stuff was holding me back. This was in the days before mobile phones, so if you were wandering all the time, nobody could get hold of you, and if they did get hold of you, they found you were mad.

   I rented a cottage that was built in 1600 B.C., on the site of a Neolithic Raeburn. I remember it had very small windows and little natural sunlight, so it was ideal for brooding. I did most of my poeticising sitting underneath a wind-sculpted solitary pine tree, on top of a nearby hill, overlooking the town. It was a famous landmark and known locally as the Lonely Tree. Before you rush to seek it out and offer it consolation, comfort and companionship, I need to tell you that this tree is the most inappropriately named tree in Powys.

Ironically, there are many genuinely lonely trees in that part of Wales. Beyond Llangynog for instance, where even the rabbits don't go, you can see them, stunted, clinging and wind-thrashed, never a visitor or a friendly word. Then there are the trees that live in the forest that are lonely, and of course, this is the worst sort of loneliness of all.

The Lonely tree, however, by contrast, has a well-worn path to it and is fabulously situated with extensive panoramic views of the locale. Its nearest centre of population is Llanfluffyisnit, where the percentage of 'people that talk to trees' is considerably higher than the national average.

So how can you tell me she's lonely, and say for her that the sun don't shine? Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of Llanfluffyisnit, isn'it, I'll show you something to make you change your mind.

While I was there I marked the memory of a local romance with a fragment of verse. Fragments of verse are a lot like poems, but shorter.


Squashing and squelched on her sofa

In her wobbly bobbly room

Watching a Welsh soap opera

It was probably pobl y cwm


We talked of how no-one could own a soul

How we'd stopped it with that property thing

Then she took my cold vegetarian roll

And popped it in her popty-ping