Feeling My Age

Getting older has its drawbacks – but it's a lot better than the alternative.

Penkiln Burn

February 12, 2012 Feeling My Age

Bill Drummond's Penkiln Burn website

Following yesterday’s post, the more you investigate Stuff Bill Drummond Has Done the more inspired and interesting he turns out to be. Bill’s own website – at penkilnburn.com doesn’t even touch on the high-profile activities of earlier years, for which he expresses a profound disdain. Big In Japan, his managerial years, the KLF, The Manual, The K Foundation, Anti-Turner Prize, the burning of a million quid and his countless published essays barely get a mention.

Yet it’s still taken me many hours to browse through the treasures of his Penkiln Burn site. It starts and ends with Bill’s troubled relationship with the country of Iceland and an artwork by Richard Long called  A Smell Of Sulphur In The Wind. Then it’s his troubled relationship with recorded music as explored by The17 and No Music Day. There’s the question “Is God A Cunt?”, a set of paintings Bill has made – and hates the idea of selling, his free Prepare To Die service to the world, and his adventures in twinning kettles and choirs.

There’s the small river in Southwest Scotland (see audio below) that gives his website its name; interviews with the last half dozen barbers who’ve cut his hair – and why you should Mean What You Say Even If You Fall Short Of What You Proclaim. There’s Turnley Prize for art and associated residencies at The Curfew Tower in Country Antrim. Why Bill is making 40 beds by hand from wood in public. How he helped Claudel Casseus publish an english translation of his book Imajine about Haitian life (before, during and after the earthquake) from the original Kreyòl.

The Soup Line drawn from Belfast to Nottingham on the map, the giving of daffodils to strangers, the hows and whys of constructing a Cake Circle, the wearing of forty red hand-stencilled T-shirts, and how Bill is using two weeks of every year (for a ten year period) to collaborate with an artist he has never met or heard of, a different one each year. And there are visual/verbal explorations of his relationship with his old hometown of Liverpool and his present abode in London.

For all Bill’s brilliance, his love/hate relationship with fame as an artist, musician, writer, thinker and agent provocateur can wear a bit thin. For me, where he excels is as a storyteller – as on this short story called… The Penkiln Burn

The Penkiln Burn, written and read by Bill Drummond is a free podcast from the celebrated online ‘fishing and culture’ magazine Caught By The River.

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