Sunday 3 March 2019

Last Day - Love Tokens and Bad Pennies

Thank you to everyone who has supported our Love Tokens and Bad Pennies exhibition. From artists to writers, and not forgetting all of you who have been out looking for artworks and getting involved online. After placing artworks out on the streets for 30 days we reach the end of the exhibition. Today we are posting the final artworks, some have written pieces to accompany them and some exist on their own. We will try and write an update in the next few weeks, visiting some of the locations and see if the artworks still rest in the #unsettledgallery spaces.

The next exhibition is the Art of Caring at St George's Hospital in May (and then onto St Pancras Hospital in July). The deadline is 7th April 2019 so please send in your artwork (It's free to enter) and support the nurses, carers and the NHS.

Tracy Boness - #unsettledgallery No.8, London Bridge
Art - Tracy Boness / Words -  Francesca Albini

Precious and frayed,
Tangled and free,
Caught in a net,
Sparkling diamonds,
Our love


Melanie Honebone
Art - Melanie Honebone / Words - Ed Arantus 

That knot in the pine brow
A cut near the front eye
The moon is high; from sides of the world where nightmares grow
You made all my fears and,
You held them in raptures
But there's no magic without death you said
You are a belief, short rotting
A prophecy dying on a dull mind
You can save your second coming,
I'm not the kind you need to pray for

Now I know where we went wrong
Growing green branches from dead wood
And I still swear that you can’t save me
Even when push, came to push, came to shove
Well you can swallow that sweet breath baby,
Until your death is the magic of love.


Stella Tripp
Art - Stella Tripp / Words - Kevin Acott

One World

People have asked me what Nelson would think about Trump and all the hate swirling across the earth. Sometimes I tell them they should listen to The Three Great Alabama Icons by Drive-By Truckers. Sometimes I tell them Nina accused Nelson once of being 'no better than the rest of your people'. Sometimes I ask them why they really want to know.

The first and last interview I did with Nelson, he was drunk, drunker even than other people had led me to expect. We were in his room in some crappy hotel in Mile End and at one point he started talking about desire and Muddy Waters and - of all people - Bertrand Russell. He said Russell was convinced desire dictated everything we did, good and bad. To Nelson, Russell’s ‘desire’ wasn't about sex. He meant, instead, that even when we try to do good, it's because of desire: our desire to possess, to compete and overcome other people, to look good in the eyes of the world, to have power over ourselves, others, the whole world. To become, ultimately, God.

He told me all this and I listened and tried to follow and tried to make notes and then I watched him tip gently back onto the bed and start snoring.

So. We want the best for others because we want to become God. Nelson's 'Kissinger Blues' was, I'd always thought, simply about how there's something evil in each of us, a Kissinger, a Hitler, a Trump. But in that East End hotel, I suddenly realised it wasn't that straightforward: have a look at/listen to the YouTube video of Nelson playing it at Glastonbury in '75 and the extra, rambling verses and see what he does with the song he'd once vowed never to play again: he's saying (I think) that by pretending to have good motives for being good, rather than accepting the universality of desire, of egocentricity, we not only miss the point, we find ourselves unable to truly fight racism, hate, division. I could tell you I'm writing this purely because I want to convince you of the genius of Chopsticks Nelson and help preserve his memory. But I also want to accrue, to possess, I also want you to respect me and give me power and a way of being, however temporary, that makes me feel good. And - if we can both accept that – we can eventually find peace and love and the joy of singing a single, shared song. 

From the epilogue to 'Chopsticks Nelson: A Southern Life' by Kevin Acott (2019).


Dean Reddick
Art - Dean Reddick /  Placement - Walthamstow

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