I won’t deny the logistics have been an influence…
Not being in my prime (unlike Miss Jean), I don’t think I should be running naked through the fields and forests this coming of Līgosvētki / Jāņi, as in through the evening of the 23rd to the early dawn of the 24th. I should leave that running naked to the likes of you.
To get back to the logistics. I was going to bribe 25 volunteers with ‘free’ posters, to help me carry The 25 Paintings from their place in their Tea Rooms, in the Rooftop Arts Centre via the lift, the half mile or so, to then hang them from The Corby Oak Tree. And in that way celebrate Līgosvētki / Jāņi. And spend the night there listening out for the Serotine Bats.
Now that I have developed this relationship with “the wild glamour of the derelict and crumbling brutalist architecture just waiting to be demolished” that the Rooftop Arts Centre is housed in, I have decided to celebrate the night of Līgosvētki and into the morning of Jāņi (23rd into the 24th), on the rooftop of this place, before it gets demolished. The fact that the lift has broken has also been an influence. The Corby Oak can wait as it has been for the past three hundred years or so.
All I have to do is take all The 25 Paintings and their easels out of the arts centre and up onto its roof. And that is where I will spend the night under the stars, or the pouring rain. As for the Serotine Bats, I am still hoping they will still pay me a visit.
If I am lucky the family of Pied Wagtails will welcome the dawn in for me.
The Elderly Gentleman
That said, I think I will do a bit of running naked but will keep the information about the time and place to myself.
Today is Day Two of The 25 Paintings Tea Rooms. The scones got baked fresh this morning. The Darjeeling tea was brewed to perfection. Words got painted on the back of canvases. Squares for The Million Stitch Blanket got knitted. No one talked about that past. The past is still irrelevant. It is all about the future… And what you do to make that future happen.
But more important than all of that…
There is something that The 25 Paintings have asked me to tell you…
Today was the day that the first ever Tea Rooms Wedding took place. The Bride and Groom were Izzy & Nigel Barber. The bride’s father Liam was there to give her away. Vows were given. And rings exchanged.
And between waiting tables and washing dishes… I got pulled into the role of being the celebrant. Thus, this was not only a first for The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms… This was a first for me. And the happy couple allowed me to take a photograph of them… And share that photograph with you here. I might not be the blacksmith at Gretna Green but still… All in the days’ work of your Nippy in a Pinny.
The Elderly Gentleman
I would like to thank Kenny Bell for inviting me to be this celebrant and for instigating this Tea Room Wedding to happen.
The 25 Paintings are wanting to get in on the scene by coming up with the following three-word strap line for their Tea Rooms…
WHERE FUTURES HAPPEN
I’m not too sure, let me know what you think.
WE LOVE YOU
June 14, 2022
Monday the 13th of June 2022
Due to unforeseen demand for The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms I am having to fill the kettle and bake the scones for three extra days at The Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby.
These three extra days being Saturday the 25th of June, and Friday the 1st and Saturday the 2nd of July 2022.
As with all the other days that The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms are open, there will be two sittings. The first at 2pm, the second at 3pm. Each sitting lasting 45 minutes, thus allowing me – your Nippy in The Pinny – time to clear the tables and prepare them again for the second sitting.
As per one of my previous letters to you… In exchange for you either painting forty words on the back of a willing canvas (brush, paint and guidance provided) or knitting forty stitches for the Million Stitch Blanket (needles and wool provided) you are encouraged to consume two scones per person (butter*, strawberry jam and clotted cream provided) and as much tea (Darjeeling or Corby Nettle) as you care to drink. Corby Elderflower Cordial (still or sparkling) will be available as long as stocks are last.
Thus, all the remaining days that The 25 Paintings Tea Rooms are to be open in The Rooftop Arts Centre are the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 29th, 30th of June and the 1st and 2nd of July 2022.
To mark the final cup of tea to be poured in this, the first sojourn in the never-ending tour of the world by The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms, there will be a performance of Tenzing Scott Brown’s play BEFORE DURING AFTER. This performance, which was previously suggested to be happening on the 25th of June, will now be performed between 4:30 and 6:30 pm on Saturday the 2nd of July. The performance of the play will be followed by an offering of a bowl of freshly made Soup Line Soup and chunk of bread.
There will be 40 tickets available for this performance.
To experience Act One of BEFORE DURING AFTER requires you to have watched the film Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow And All Music Has Disappeared. As of right now, we are not sure if this film is available to download or stream. If not just watch the trailer for it or read about it somewhere. And get the gist.
But not in a Baden Powell way but in whatever way that you feel you can be prepared for things to take a wrong turn…
Corby is many things, but it is not Mafeking circa 1899.
And remember The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms loves you.
The Elderly Gentleman
40 PIED WAGTAILS
June 11, 2022
Friday the 10th of June 2022
A family of four Pied Wagtails have made the crumbling brutalist architecture surrounding the Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby, their home.
Each morning, over these past forty days, as I have crossed the cracked concrete and past the smashed windows, before entering the now desolate Rooftop Arts Centre, to tend to the needs of The 25 Paintings, and prepare the interior layout of their nearly opened Tea Rooms, I have been welcomed by members of this family of Pied Wagtails. They have done this in the ways that only Pied Wagtails can and do.
No bird before them has embraced the now shunned 1970s new town landscape like the Pied Wagtail.
To celebrate this…
And the soon to be published book by Tenzing Scott Brown, that perchance has the title THE PIED WAGTAIL…
I have negotiated a promotional deal with The Travelling Salesman. The deal is that he gives me 40 copies of THE PIED WAGTAIL, as of today, as of some weeks before its’ commercial publication.
The first 40 folk visiting The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms, that are able to take a photograph of one or more of this family of four Pied Wagtails, and they share the photograph with me, will be given one of these pre-publication numbered 40 copies of THE PIED WAGTAIL.
I very much look forward to seeing those 40 photographs.
The Elderly Gentleman
PENKILN BURN LIBRARY
June 10, 2022
Thursday the 9th of June 2022
Following the stipulation set out yesterday by The 25 Paintings…
The Penkiln Burn Library can only display copies of Penkiln Burn Books that are yet to be published.
And for clarifications this stipulation being STRICTLY – NO TALKING ABOUT THE PAST.
We understand this stipulation only applies within the vicinity of The 25 Paintings Tea Rooms.
The consequence of this means that the only books on display within The Penkiln Burn Library at The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms in The Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby, are the four final books written by Tenzing Scott Brown before he fell under a bus in the early days of January 2022.
The four books in question being THE PIED WAGTAIL, PAINT, SEMAPHORE SIGNALS and UNDER THE JUNCTION.
As to when these four books are to be published for the book buying public, we are as yet ill-informed. What we do know is they will be published in editions of 400 and that The Travelling Salesman is keen to get out there on the road to do what he does best.
The Elderly Gentleman
June 9, 2022
Wednesday the 8th of June 2022
The 25 Paintings are getting difficult.
As in the final day of doing the interior decoration for The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms, they…
As in The 25 Paintings started to make further demands.
They did not want any of the Forty Posters there. They stated it was their Tea Rooms and they did not need or want to have any of those posters there trying to explain anything, as in attempting to undermine the power contained with them as pure paintings.
I threatened to go on strike as their Nippy.
We came to an agreement…
The Forty Posters could be exhibited as long as I put two strips of yellow and black barricade tape across each of the Forty Posters, thus alerting the public to the redundancy of these Forty Posters. And they must not be hung properly on the walls. As in just left leaning against the wall, on the understanding that no one would mistake them as an attempt at being a serious body of art.
But then no sooner was that agreement agreed than The 25 Paintings made a further demand…
That none of my Dear Reader Paintings should be hung in the same space as they and their Tea Rooms were to be. I tried to explain to them that without my Dear Reader Paintings, the would-be tea drinking revolutionaries would have no context for what was going on. The 25 Paintings responded with “Context can go fuck itself”.
With a bit more toing and froing they did agree to allowing me to hang my Dear Reader Paintings in another part of the Rooftop Arts Centre, but not in their Tea Rooms.
And the following words had to be painted crudely across all of them using Drummond’s International Grey…
WE ARE THE 25 PAINTINGS WE ARE NOT THE VOICE OF THE EGO OF AN AGING MALE IN WHATEVER LANGUAGE AND CULTURE HE IS PATRONISING THIS YEAR WE HAVE OUR OWN VOICE FOR WE ARE THE 25 PAINTINGS
At this point in the negotiations, I threatened to do everything in my powers to destroy The 25 Paintings attempt at launching themselves into the world of Tea Rooms.
Another compromise was reached.
I agreed to paint this statement not across them but on the back wall of the space.
And just as I thought everything had been agreed and everything was being positioned and I was about to do a Corby charity shop run to get enough cups & saucers, side plates etc for their Tea Shop, they made what I now hope is the last of their demands…
This demand being that all the other stuff as in the Big Drum, the Traffic Cone, The Loneliest Bed, The Shoe Shinning stuff, Gibson 330, Leather Coat, The Twa Pairs O’ Brogues… All of it… Out. As far as The 25 Paintings were concerned none of it had any place in their Tea Rooms.
That they and their Tea Rooms had to have a starring role in the film Poppies in The Field.
We will see…
But I very much hope to see you there with my freshly baked scones, finely brewed tea, Drummond’s Elderflower Cordial (June 2022) and Drummond’s Strawberry Jam (also June 2022).
The Elderly Gentleman
Just as I was leaving the building this evening The 25 Paintings made two further demands. I felt like doing a runner but my days of being able to do a runner are well and truly over. So, I listened, and I reluctantly agreed. The first of these demands was that the posters of my former self “Bill Drummond” painting his head, as in pretending to mimic being one of The 25 Paintings, should not be allowed in the Rooftop Arts Centre building, let alone their Tea Rooms. And the second of their last-minute demand was that I graffiti the entrance to the building with the statement STRICTLY NO TALKING ABOUT THE PAST. I won’t deny I was in agreement with the sentiments of this statement, so did it with no hesitation.
What they did not know was that I promptly went and had the posters of my former self painting his head, fly-posted on the wall outside of the building. And in the windows of a vacant shop. I love vacant shops. Vacant shops symbolise opportunity.
Strangely, The 25 Paintings seemed to be keen that their tribute versions of themselves that sort of document each year of their progress, are hung in their Tea Rooms. I don’t have an opinion about these tribute versions, so I went along with this.
June 6, 2022
Monday the 6th of June 2022
What follows is the itinerary for the coming working week…
I have written it in the third person.
MONDAY 8am – Albion Parade
Gimpo, Flint and Bill meet at Albion Parade and load the following into Gimpo’s van…
Delia Smith cookery book Dear Reader canvases Big Soup Pan Paint brushes Paint (Golden Red, Blue, Yellow, Black & White) 50 A4 Canvases Elderly Gentleman Paintings Two Tribute frames (from Tom the framer if he is open) Two pairs of shoes? Other stuff in bedroom? Bewley’s Tea Caddy Tea pots Crocodile case Leather coat Paint Brush 17 Stencil
9am – Southgate, Suburban North London
Gimpo, Flint and Bill drive up to Southgate to pick up…
Gibson 330 Guitar Jeans (old) Scales Two mixing bowls Wooden spoon Electric whisk Pastry cutters for scones Three bottles of Drummond’s Elderflower Cordial Black suit White shirt Maroon tie Blue Stanley shirt Soup Recipe NOTICE Elderly Gentleman Paintings 7 A4 Elderly Gentleman credit paintings Penkiln Burn Travelling Library White Saviour Complex & White Male Gaze books For Sale Framed film posters. Two teapots Large Kettle Knitting & Knitting Needles Bed Making Toolbox Walking boots Work Mate bench Drill Screws
Noon – Marlin Spike Hall, Walpole, Suffolk
Gimpo, Flint and Bill drive to Marlin Spike Hall they must be there before noon, or the books get left in the rain. The Captain will not be there, but Jennie will be, but she has to leave by noon.
Picking up all copies of the four new books – PIED WAGTAIL, PAINT, SEMAPHORE SIGNALS, UNDER THE JUNCTION.
1pm – The Dark Industrial Unit, near Sizewell B
Gimpo, Flint and Bill drive to The Dark Industrial Unit and meet Kaavous (with his hired Luton). Bill must not have forgotten the keys to The Dark Industrial Unit.
They will then load the following into Gimpo’s Transit and Kaavous’s Luton…
39 framed posters 37 easels 7 framed Tribute paintings. Two Tins of Drummond’s International Grey Man Making Bed & Man Shining Shoes books For Sale Two pairs of brogues Shoe-shining brushes and polish Old Jeans Twining sign? Oven The Loneliest Bed (in three parts) Other bits and things
Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby
Gimpo, Flint, Bill & Kaavous drive to Corby in Transit and Luton.
The trade lift that Gimpo, Flint and Bill have used before is broken, thus they must park the Transit and Luton as near to the domestic shoppers lift in the carpark as possible.
They then must take everything up using the domestic shoppers lift and then across to the outside stairs and then across to the front doors of the Rooftop Arts Centre. This will be a fucker. Flint will open the doors. And everything will be taken in.
And that will be the day’s work done.
Gimpo, Flint, Bill & Kaavous will probably be staying in the Holiday Inn, Corby.
TUESDAY After breakfast at the café Flint & Bill usually go to in Corby, Gimpo, Flint, Bill & Kaavous will head around to the Rooftop Arts Centre and decide where everything should be hung. This has to be done taking into account the four round tables and sixteen chairs of The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms that are already in the Rooftop Arts Centre.
All the framed Penkiln Burn Posters must be hung in order of their numbering.
Kaavous & Flint will start the hanging.
Gimpo and Bill will drive to local builders’ yard to get timbre and hinges to make three new easels, wallpaper glue, grey paint and black and yellow tape and anything else that might be needed from a builders’ yard. Then go to the printers to pick up The Poppies in The Field prints. Take a photo on Bill’s phone of The Coby Oak. Then they will drive back to the Rooftop Arts Centre.
Gimpo will start making the three easels.
Bill will then… Write The Unbaked Cake play on the back of the BAKE CAKE canvas. Write the four Penkiln Burn Newsletters to go out this week and email them to Gavin Bush. The four newsletters are: DAISY & THE DANDY LIONS, BLOCK CHAIN OF SILENCE, BEFORE DURING AFTER, and THE CORBY OAK Paint the Dear Reader paintings on canvases that must be hung in the show. Paint the WE ARE THE 25 PAINTINGS text of the 25 canvases and on the 2022 tribute A4 canvases using grey paint. Touch up the top of The 25 Paintings. Using the wallpaper paste, paste The Poppies in The Field prints on the back of the four black and white canvases. Using the black & yellow tape, tape crosses over all the framed Penkiln Burn Posters.
Flint will catch a train to Saint Pancras. Gimpo, Bill & Kaavous might be staying in the Holiday Inn, Corby.
WEDNESDAY The Wednesday will be spent doing what was not completed on the Tuesday. Then everything else in The 25 Paintings Tea Rooms will be laid out.
Bill will visit the Corby charity shops to find 20 cups and saucers, twenty side plates, twenty side knives, four sugar bowls, tea pots and whatever else.
Gimpo might have to drive back down to Albion Parade to pick up the two remaining frames for the tributes if it was not possible to pick them up first thing on Monday.
Other things to get done: STRICTLY notice Order TWINNED WITH BEYOND signposts Order TWINNED WITH THE EDGE OF THE WORLD signpost Send the four Penkiln Burn Newsletters Get rope to hang The 25 Paintings from The Corby Oak Get ladder to get up The Corby Oak. Get very small paintbrushes to paint words on back of The 25 Paintings. Sort out the screening of IMAGINE WAKING UP TOMORROW…
When it is all done Kaavous will drive back to Great Yarmouth. And Gimpo, Flint and Bill will drive back to London.
THURSDAY Bill will get the train up to Corby… The Elderly Gentleman will carry on getting his Dear Reader paintings done including RUMOURS, THE DEAL and HELP. Bill will get the train back to London.
FRIDAY Bill will make enough strawberry jam for The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms to last the month. He will also get the ingredients to make forty scones and bake the first batch of forty scones in Southgate in case the portable oven is not working.
Plans will be made with Cally@Antar for the publication of PIED WAGTAIL, PAINT, SEMAPHORE SIGNALS and UNDER THE JUNCTION – These being the final four books written by Tenzing Scott Brown before he was killed in early January 2022.
SATURDAY Bill will catch the train from Saint Pancras up to Corby… With him will be the strawberry jam, and the Forty Scones, Darjeeling Tea (loose), butter, vegan spread. Be at the Rooftop Arts Centre by 11:30. Bill Drummond will dress up as The Elderly Gentleman. The show opens at noon. The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms opens at 2pm… And closes at 4pm. The Elderly Gentleman will wash the dishes… Then get changed back into being Bill Drummond… Then Bill Drummond will then catch the train back to Saint Pancras.
There may be other things to be added to this Itinerary.
The Elderly Gentleman
May 27, 2022
Friday the 27th of May 2022
The 25 Paintings have been in negotiations with me.
They are being difficult…
Almost threatening to take strike action…
I told them I had supported the miners back in ’84, but they didn’t know what I was talking about.
They are insisting that I do nothing else other than wait tables, wash dishes and bake scones for their Tea Room while I am in Corby…
We came to some sort of compromise…
They are insisting there will be no me shining shoes, banging drums, building a bed, sweeping street, baking cakes, blowing my horn and all that sort of stuff. They tell me that is just me trying to get people to look at me, instead of looking at them. They have had enough of been described as merely signposts, markers, advertisements to what it is that I was doing. They want to be studied front and back, inside and out – all their layers contemplated. They wanted to be touched and tasted, stroked and fondled. They want to feel part of your life. Like a pussycat demanding your attention. And most importantly, I have to agree that they will never be sold. They tell me all the greatest paintings are NOT FOR SALE.
The compromise on their part is that they will allow me to do the Latvian Līgosvētki and Jāņi (midsummer) celebrations on the 23rd through to the 24th of June. Further details on that in a separate letter to you.
I can lead a performance of Tenzing Scott Browns’ play BEFORE DURING AFTER on Saturday the 25th of June, but only if I have been doing a good job at the waiting tables and washing dishes etc. They have also agreed that I can make soup for the forty-folk attending this performance. And again, further details on this to follow.
They didn’t understand the Block Chain of Silence thing that I was planning on doing, they sort of said, as long as it did not get in the way of me working in their Tea Rooms, they thought it would be okay. And yes, I will do yet another separate letter to you explaining about all that.
I didn’t tell them about the Intercontinental Twinning Association twining Corby with Beyond. I guess I can get away with doing that on the day after I have carted all them back to my dark lock up on the light industrial estate near Sizewell B.
What I have agreed to is that I mustn’t attempt to dress up as Bill Drummond with his blue Stanley shirt and his Levi Straus , 501, shrink-to-fit, red tab, button fly turned up jeans and his walking boots. And that I have to dress up in my new made to measure black three-piece suit at all times with an apron of their choice. It’s like I am to be a Nippy at Lyons Corner House.
My first job of actually working in their Tea Rooms is looking after the bookings.
I doubt it actually needs looking after.
I mean it is only a tea room not a Michelin Star restaurant.
These are the logistics…
There are four tables.
Each table has four chairs.
You can book a chair or chairs at a table for one hour, or two hours.
Either from 2 to 3 o’clock or from 3 to 4 o’clock.
Or all the way from 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock.
As in the Tea Room is only open from 2 ’til 4pm.
Of course you can spend as much time in the gallery itself between 11am when it opens and 4pm when it closes. I mean The 25 Paintings want your appreciation. I guess like most paintings – they feel misunderstood.
Thus, note not the 25th when the performance of Tenzing Scott Browns’ play BEFORE DURING AFTER will be happening in the afternoon.
They, as in The 25 Paintings, told me to tell you that if you are more than ten minutes late for your booking your chair might go to someone else. I tried to tell them that by being this harsh on the would-be customers, things might backfire on their chances at evolving in the Tea Room world.
And of course…
I have to eavesdrop on your conversations to make sure you are debating and discussing. As in plotting revolutions, founding new movements and overthrowing tired visons and corrupt ways. Which if you ask me is a bit much but still, if it is what The 25 Paintings want, who am I to…
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your precise numbers, and preferred times and dates and I will confirm with you that your table has been booked, or if there is nothing available at your preferred times, what alternatives there might be. I tried to tell them that they should maybe use Eventbrite or something, but they said they were a Tea Room not a whatever. And it was my job to handle this.
I also had to agree that it will be my job, to make sure that you attempt the knitting or paint the words. And that anybody sitting at the tables not discussing what was laid out in my last letter to you, will be asked to leave the Tea Room.
Any other queries don’t hesitate to ask.
The Elderly Gentleman
I’m sure that The Travelling Salesman will be hovering about somewhere, I understand he is expecting copies of the four last books written by Tenzing Scott Brown before he was killed in early January. The books are currently being printed somewhere in Eastern Europe, so sod knows how long they will take to get here with Brexit and everything.
FUCK LIVERPOOL – THIS IS CORBY
May 27, 2022
The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms
May 26, 2022
Monday the 23rd of May 2022
After no deliberation at all…
The 25 Paintings have decided to spend their retirement years hosting a Tea Room.
The 25 Paintings’ retirement years officially begin on Friday the 1st of January 2027. When the retirement ends is when The 25 Paintings are either flung over board to lighten the ballast of a sinking vessel or smashed to bits to be used as kindling on a fire to keep the winter of someone’s discontent at bay.
The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms will be of no fixed abode.
They may be here.
They may be there.
And for how long? – no one is that sure…
Least of all The 25 Paintings.
But wherever it is and for however long, it must be a place, with enough space to house The 25 Paintings, on their lumpen easels, across the floor, with a scattering of tables and chairs in-between.
The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms will open every afternoon at two o’clock and close each evening at six o’clock. Their Away Days excluded.
The 25 Paintings’ Tea Rooms will be a place for debate and discussion. Where revolutions are plotted, new movements founded, and tired visions and corrupt ways overthrown. Friendships will be formed – but there will be falling outs as well. There will be those that never speak to others. There will be others that only ever speak to those.
Pots of tea will be brewed and made to last all afternoon.
Depending on the season there will be hot cross buns, scones (both fruit and plain), toasted tea cakes, and of course, as the year nears its end, mince pies. All freshly baked on the day of consumption.
There will be butter and whipped cream.
And yes, vegan alternatives.
There will be strawberry or damson jam, again depending on the season.
The jam and the mincemeat and all of the freshly baked will be made to recipes honed in my kitchen over the decades.
There will be no coffee – this is a tea room.
An afternoon tea room.
Coffee is for the mornings in a coffee shop of your choice.
There might be Drummond’s Elderflower Cordial, for when a hot drink is not required.
The Drummond’s Elderflower Cordial will have been made using urban elderflowers. Served sparkling or still.
The 25 Paintings have decided their apprenticeship at hosting their Tea Rooms will begin now. As in this year. As in between the 11th and the 30th of June 2022, in the Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby.
But the Corby opening hours will be limited to between 2pm and 4pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
The price of a pot of tea will be either you attempting to knit a square for The Million Stitch Blanket. Needles and wool provided.
You painting forty pre-scripted words on the back of a designated canvas . These being words from a Tenzing Scott Brown play. Brushes and paint provided.