Performance Publishing

Mr. Beethoven by Paul Griffiths depicts what could have happened if the Composer has lived seven more years and visited the United States to fulfill a commission.

There are scores Beethoven never heard performed because of his deafness. There are also scores that were never heard because they were never written. The world renowned librettist Paul Griffiths has taken one such commission of 1823 as the starting point for a staggering Oulipean historical fiction. A biblical Oratorio for the United States.

Griffiths the librettist has written that missing text for Beethoven; a simple, beautiful setting that is genuinely sublime in that it deals in paradox and expanses of time and space. Griffiths the poet has rendered it with wit and depth of feeling. Griffiths the music critic has evoked the music itself, the music we can never hear. We read with envy.

A preview of the verses that form part of Mr. Beethoven is available at our stall at Conway Hall, as is the opportunity to pre-order


A fine art giclee print to represent each season of the year brings 60 Lovers To Make And Do into full colour.

Kickboxers and Art Collectors from our Kickstarter can select one of these. Newbies can email for details (£75 +vat).


The peerless online publishing platform, Unbound, has invited us to hold our pre-sale for Mr. Beethoven, by Paul Griffiths, with them.

We’ll be pulling back the curtain on our studio with the most powerful publishing algorithms on the planet.

You can read an extract and buy all editions here:

Paperback – £13 (FREE UK p&p)
Limited Edition hardback – £50 (£5 UK p&p)

Mr. Beethoven 

Internationally respected music historian Paul Griffiths (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, OBE) and music critic (The New Yorker, The New York Times) imagine a visit by Beethoven to the United States to write a Biblical oratorio.

Griffiths weaves in the historiography of his search for what Beethoven could have done, becoming an account of the fragility of historical sources.

The Composer comes to rely on two women, the widow Mrs. Hill and Thankful; whose Martha’s Vineyard sign-language conducts conversations with the Composer.

The composer brings his time, his temperament and his sense of democracy to us. But he can’t possibly fit in. The challenge of Beethoven 250 will be to retain a Beethoven who is among us but refuses to fit in. He must be a Beethoven who retains the ability to help us leave the normal world, not the Beethoven who assures that this is the way the world must be. – Mark Swed, LA Times

The New Concrete

The New Concrete


Some of you will remember the delicious Clotted Sun loose leaf book we made with Chris McCabe. His recent editorial collaboration with Victoria Bean, The New Concrete (Hayward Publishing), has led to another similarly satisfying project with us; an edition of 15 deluxe solander boxes containing a copy of The New Concrete and five giclée prints by five instigators from the original Concrete Poetry movement.

Our Epson Pro 7890 inkjet technology and several digital remastering techniques made this a perfect expression of the anthology’s theme – the revitalising effect digital technology has had upon the idea of concrete poetry. The beautiful bespoke black boxes we made are in themselves an edition, as we lined them with a black foil debossing of ‘Paradise’, a print from our Unknown Soldier series which looms in the back of the box like a secret track. This accompanies our Grand Eagle print which is included in the anthology itself.

Victoria took the boxes to America recently where they were acquired for several illustrious collections. If you are interested in finding out more with a view to purchasing one you should contact Victoria directly. It’s a great opportunity to get both a landmark anthology and an exhibition in a box.

I love making solander boxes. There’s a moment when they become synergetically taut as the glue, cloth and board lock together. They are the pinnacle of my craft.




The Maximum Wage Magazine is now available to buy!


A 72-page A4 full-colour glossy magazine splashed on every page with photos from the live show and packed with brand new art and articles on earning a living.

Only £3.50 & FREE delivery within the UK.

Where Are You?

Performance combining hectic game-show silliness, satirical bite and economic critique – David Collard, The Times Literary Supplement

East London has become a prime example of the divide between the UK’s richest and poorest. It’s also where a group of artists are teaching people about income inequality. – Helen Amass, The Times Educational Supplement


Gainful Unemployment

“The times I’ve felt most employed, society has deemed me unemployed.” Eddie Farrell

An Insider’s View of The City

Investment Manager turned activist Clive Menzies explains how the rich transfer wealth from all of us to the top 10%

The NHS: A Private Investigation

Artist Marion Macalpine reveals a new and unreported threat to hospital estates.

The Metabolic Economy

David and Ping collage texts* and imagine a resurrected R Buckminster Fuller crashing an East End Artists’ studio. “Energy Is True Wealth! Survival for all, not just the fittest, is now a fact!”

AND Julie Rafalski shares out the commonwealth pie. Ladies Of The Press subvert lifestyle magazines to sell you back to your Self. Sophie Herxheimer collects life stories. Janice Macaulay‘s treasure trove of thrifty tips. Julie-Rose Bower dismisses the CV. Four pull-out posters Smash Hits stylee. Orwell vs Osborne on a living wage, Salary Amnesty and more!

Where Are You?

Inside the venue, it’s hectic, a little ramshackle, with a DIY, handmade aesthetic. It’s as far as you can get from the white cube art gallery experience. Although the art world may be driven by money, you feel a little uncouth if you actually ask how much something is. Here the mechanics of making and spending money are in the foreground and in your face. You’re being asked to think about wealth and value, and how these are not objective facts but constructed ideas. – Anne Black & Katherine Dike, galleryELL

*Utopia or Oblivion, 2008, Lars Muller Publishers
Critical Path, 1981, St Martins Press
The World of Buckminster Fuller (DVD), Robert Snyder, 2010, Microcinema International
R. Buckminster Fuller, Everything I Know



A question we get asked a LOT is when the fantastic unreleased songs Half-handed Cloud played with us at our Monday School show in London 2012 will be released. Well, they are all on his brand new LP entitled ‘Flying Scroll Flight Control’ and Asthmatic Kitty have declared both the CD and transparent recycled plastic bottle vinyl versions ‘clear for take-off’ on 10th June. It is an awesome and expansive album, and you can pre-order Flying Scroll Flight Control now at Asthmatic Kitty. You can also revisit the aforementioned Monday School show here.


What If just before Christmas you were standing in a depressingly long queue in the post office, irritated and frustrated by the waiting because you have so much else to be getting on with? Initially, to relieve the boredom a bit, you look around at the others stuck in the queue with you, the masses snaking out ahead and those even more unfortunate than yourself who have just joined at the back. The majority are using their mobile phones to send, check and delete text messages, play games or speak to someone… anyone! I am unable to be so constructive with my time, I didn’t even bring a book with me, so after loosening off several outer layers of clothing, essential for the winter temperatures outside I mentally prepare myself for an excruciatingly long wait.

In an attempt to free myself from the mobile-phone nit-nattering all around, I foist my attentions upon the meagre efforts at product display that both sparsely edge and govern the route of the queue; a flip-chart-pad flung over an easel with an offer for post office account holders untidily scrawled in black marker pen, postcards of puppies, kittens, frogs, giraffes, ladybirds, babies and love hearts, books for children, travellers, eaters and coffee tables, gift wrapped mail packages, wrapping paper, scissors, brown parcel tape, various other stationary on offer and diagonally down from where I have reached in the slow shuffle of the queue, cloak room tickets.

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The tickets are simple black numbers on a light grey background they jump out from the stand where they hang, reminding me of my mum’s Friday night Gala bingo cards from decades before. I am now almost free from the mobile muttering having finally found something to focus on and it doesn’t take long before I am thinking what perfect ready-made templates the tickets would be for a screen print. Easy, just oil up the paper to make them transparent then expose them directly onto a screen. But then why cloakroom tickets? I can’t just make yet another print for the sake of it, just because it would be easy and probably look good. Well actually I could but what would be the point, it would just be more large sheets of paper to cart around while trying not to get them folded, creased or torn. No just file the idea under something to remember should the opportunity arise to do it sometime in the future.

Gradually the room and the queue soak back into my reality, the young guy behind me is arranging a work meeting over his phone, ahead a once quiet baby has had enough and is now bawling from the pram while the mother tries to distract it and some poor old bloke near the back throws in the towel, he waddles slowly towards the door with his un-mailed package under his arm and exits back into the cold. The rest of us inch slowly forward, I’ve now reached a new stand of post office goods just around the other side of a stone pillar, calendars. I quickly scan and dismiss the eco, green forest, Enya, spa, spray, mist, pan-pipe, water trickling over pebbles vibe of 80% of them and focus on the very plain thick little book of days. Like the cloakroom tickets there is a big solid black number in the middle of the page that is torn off each day to reveal the next.

In 1971 the children’s TV programme Blue Peter buried a time capsule in the BBC gardens that was to remain there until the new millennium. I was 8 at the time and I remember being in hysterics with my sisters after working out how old we would all be when they dug the waterlogged thing up again in 2000AD. Well that milestone came and went and only my father who had died 5 years before didn’t make the date. 12 or is it 13 years into the new millennium, my mother has just gone and I am still in line, edging slowly away from the year that Philip Larkin positioned, between the end of the Chatterly ban And the Beatles’ first LP. Now suddenly, while stuck in the drip-flow of this monumentally dull queue I am struck with the thought that all the calendars before me possess the future co-ordinates, the numbers, the date when I will have officially survived a half century on the planet. I promise myself there and then, that even if I don’t survive this queue I will make a print of 2013 before that year is over.

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What if a search then began for the perfect readymade template needed to make a print of the year 2013? The simple block calendar I spotted in the post office queue is cellophane wrapped and when I get it home I find it is useless for printing because each dated leaf sheet has text on the reverse side, once oiled and exposed onto a screen this will obscure the simplicity of a single bold number. In the rush up to Christmas my position in the post office queue progresses while in my head I tour the bookshops and department stores to check through their massive displays of calendars as well. I have no need for pictures, so all the wildlife, windmills, Edward Hopper, Justine Bieber and impressionist painter, calendars can be ignored. But I do need the paper to be cheap and thin to allow the oil to make it light transparent, so all the thick glossy donkeys, lighthouses, Marc Chagall, Justine Bieber and French country kitchen, calendars can also be ignored. So what if after searching for a couple of weeks I finally identify the Kalender des nutlosen Wissens ,the calendar of useless knowledge made by a company called, Heye as the best one for the job.


It’s a calendar pad which requires a page to be torn off every day. The numbers are big and bold and as a variant each weekend and holiday page is inverted so the numbers are then white on a dark background. Most importantly, the back of each page is blank so nothing can bleed through when they are oiled.



Along the bottom of each day-page runs the useless piece of knowledge promised by the calendars title; Elephants can’t jump in the air or normally people in Siberia buy their milk as a frozen block. They needlessly complicate the print so I guillotine them off when the pad is still whole.


Rounding the second column on my right I enter the long final straight of the queue, there’s perhaps only 20 to 30 people still to be served in front now. I get back to the print, I consider the organisation required for printing 365 individual templates, it will be complicated and a little bit tedious. As with any work, preparation is key, that and structure and the 3 process colours, yellow, magenta and cyan will help shape that. Over the past 5 years I have used the process colours extensively in printing I like the notion of each layer forming the composition and mixing the colour at the same time.


This structure will therefore split the 12 months of 2013 into colours; the 6 months from July to December will be yellow, January to the end of May, magenta and then the month of the birthday will be cyan. The only date that will be registered and therefore printed evenly in each colour will be the birth date, like its position in the calendar it will be placed near the centre of the print.
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The paper will have to be big to accommodate all the dates but the maximum size I can print a single layer on one screen without too any complications is a metre square. When trying to lay out the 6 months to be printed in yellow I find that the templates are too big, the amount they overlap each other obliterates most of the printed surface of the numbers. I change tack, with another 2 guillotine chops that make the templates smaller and squared. I also change my mind about arranging the templates into a grid a large circle proves more successful in accommodating the 6 months.

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Once I have the print of the first yellow layer I can arrange the next 5 months on a large sheet of acetate directly over it. To avoid repeating the same construction of templates for the magenta layer, I can off-set the templates by turning them 90 degrees this time. And because there aren’t as many in this layer I can spread them out a little more.


The last Layer of cyan is numerically easier than the previous two, so much so that I will get a bit stuck as to how to arrange the single month’s templates. I think about using chance and just letting the things drop onto the print to form the final screen, I consider making a spiral and even asking a friend’s 9 year old daughter to do it in whatever way she would like. In the end while discussing it with Katharine Eastman at our dinner table, she suggests putting a square peg in a round hole and making the last screen square. This suggestion frees me up, for the first time I tamper a little with the readymade templates and invert the whole month of June on the photocopier.

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So there it is, everything in place to print the year 2013. It will of course take the help of my good friend Michael Schoenke but I will have to get out of this post office queue before I can speak to him about it.

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Clotted Sunedited by Chris McCabe

Clotted Sun
edited by Chris McCabe

Chris McCabe, who is a Poet, a friend of the family, and Head Librarian at the Poetry Library (Royal Festival Hall), asked us to help him make a book that would represent his site-specific commission for West Norwood Cemetery; part of the Curious art trail. Chris had found twelve poets interred at the cemetery, and chosen a two-word phrase from one of their poems to be engraved on a stone and left at their plot.

Clotted Sunedited by Chris McCabe

Clotted Sun
edited by Chris McCabe

decoration based on West Norwood Cemetery gateway

decoration based on West Norwood Cemetery gateway

white foil blocking on title flap

white foil blocking on title flap




debossed stones printed with HP Indigo presses


We discussed several ideas for representing this in print and binding, and Chris had the idea of a set of cards, documenting the stones and the poet’s location. We made an edition of 50 small portfolios, employing the fore-edge flap as a title page to keep the flow of opening the portfolio as close to a book as possible.

printed stone before debossing

printed stone before debossing

after the deboss

after the deboss


Instead of photographing engraved stones, we documented them without engraving and used blind debossing to impress the words physically upon the reproduced stones.

As well as doing the foiling, debossing and binding of the portfolios, we drew the title decoration, based upon the imposing Victorian stone gateway at the Cemetery.

Chris is selling these for £40. Contact him here. Remember; there are only 50 of these available!

We have a gig to announce, happening in just two weeks time!

Henningham Family Press have teamed up again with the golden voiced Jon Bilbrough (Wilderthorn), to compose a collaborative piece of art and music. We will be playing from an oversized book; a bestiary depicting twelve animals in pigment and melody. For inspiration we plucked twelve animal related titles from Sir Thomas Browne’s 1646 book ‘Pseudodoxia Epidemica’, chapters such as “That the Ostridge digesteth Iron.” and “That a Badger hath the Legs of one side shorter than of the other.”

Jon Bilbrough playing with us at STK during LWF 2010

At Kahalia Cafe twelve indie players will perform this instrumental animal arrangement that loops like the DNA sheet music of our biosphere. This piece accompanies an exhibition of scrolls, screenprints and drawings that celebrate the publishing of the paperback and limited edition versions of our book “The Erroneous Disposition of the People” (James Wilkes, Julie Rafalski, Eddie Farrell, David Henningham & David Barnes). These five authors plunder Browne’s fascinating catalogue of extinct opinions. They lampoon our tendency to exchange fact for factoid; our insatiable appetite for facts that fuels an entire entertainment industry.

Date: Thursday 6th June 2013
Doors: 7.30
Entry: £3
Venue: Kahalia, 135 Brick Lane, E1 6SB
Exhibition continues for one month at Kahalia and is free.

We do hope you can join us for this evening of music/art/lampooning/fun!

Just to whet your appetites, here’s a YouTube clip from our last collaboration with Jon Bilbrough…