Arts & Sounds

Music

CD Cover The Ken Harrison QuartetIllus.1

In London during the mid-nineteen-sixties, I led a stellar quartet featuring Tenor-saxist, Don Weller, Guitarist, Ernie Crannenburg, Bassist, Bruce Collcutt and myself on drums.
The Band was recorded and CDs are available.

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Acting

40 and onwardsIllus.2

40 and on
Some of my spare daytime hours were spent working as a film-extra.
I had no ambitions to become an actor, however I had an "interesting"
face, as the casting directors put it.
I did many commercials, some of which I still recall from my now fading memory: an ad for Mitsubishi Motors, another for an insurance firm, one for a firm that manufactured denim jeans and another in which I actually wore denim jeans as a factory worker in a "pre-election" hustings furphy. A famous politician was seen walked through the factory talking and
laughing with the workers. Yeah, yeah, yeah! Workers my arse, we were film
extras! I appeared several times as a convict in the story of the notorious
Australian bushranger "Ben Hall". Later as a Muslim policemen in a film made for Spanish TV and entitled "A South-Sea Adventure" and shortly after that the most wonderful gig of all, I received a useful sum of money for not turning up for work at all! An image of my mephistophelian features was used as, who else but Mephistopheles! In a television remake of the horror play, 'The Turn Of The Screw', two grieving children invoke the devil in order to drive their new and very unwelcome step-mother away. The TV version was renamed, "I'm Over Here Darling!" and it was my face that haunted the poor woman wherever she went. This passive role, plus the macabre image the TV studio created, gave rise to the charcoal scribbled self-portrait, seen below.

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In the moviesIllus.3

This pic wherein I am seen as 'a scruffy old convict' appearing in the Australian TV movie "Ben Hall".

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GamblerIllus.4

You'll have gathered by now, that I do love dressing up! Not in female clobber as some might expect, but in really nice 'male' gear! Both photographs were taken by the ship's photographers while on-board ship. The first, entitled: "Mississippi Gambler" was taken aboard the "SS Southern Cross" during a Fancy-Dress Ball, at which I accompanied a Southern Belle dressed as her Mississippi gambler friend.

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Tolouse For ComfortIllus.5

In the second, entitled: 'Toulouse For Comfort', I'm pictured in the bar after the SS Canberra crew-member's wonderful re-enactment of the famous, "Old Time Music-Hall". And in case you're wondering, Yes! By the time this shot was taken, I was very nicely pissed, thank you!

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My art and other stuff

The HeartbeatIllus.6

This picture is called "The Heart-beat"
 
The heart-beat of every band is its drummer and its bass-player. If they don't swing, your band never will!
 
The cartoon was originally inspired by the renowned British Cartoonist/Bass-player Toni Goffe, in sketches of himself that I was privy to, when he was a student at "Southampton College of Art".
Toni's amusing self-image stayed with me and later, having settled in Australia and needing a logo, I produced this drawing.

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Me as MephistophelesIllus.7

Me - in Charcoal
The Devilish role for which my sepulchral features were cast, plus the casting director's 'stills' photograph (taken at the time and referred to above) inspired my first ever attempt at a self-portrait, a charcoal scribble of my bony features. Housed in a broad black frame, for some years it scowled menacingly at visitors to my home. However, when I remarried, my new wife had other ideas and now the black and white picture hangs on the wall of my studio, glowering at all who dare enter my private domain.

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Blue Turning grey over youIllus.8

This in turn led to the odd self-portrait that you see beneath it  and which has an even more bizarre history.
Heart-broken over what I thought was going to be another sorry love affair, in an attempt to retrieve the lady's affections, I decided to draw a computer image of myself looking suitably miserable and then send it to her as a "Please Forgive me" card.
However, as I was applying the final strokes, I accidentally hit the "Reverse Colour" key and my face turned blue
Always a man dedicated to turning my every sow's ear into a silk purse, this error was to be no exception. Adding some silver to my hair, I called the picture, "Blue Turning Grey Over You" - after Duke Ellington's lovely composition, of course.
 
The lady in question and I are still married, by the way...

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JwcovereveIllus.9

The most arduous task I ever undertook in my entire life was an unplanned tour of Greece and Turkey for my theatrical agent, Ronnie Harris.
Without warning, he put me in charge of a show entitled,
'
Barry Noon and The Firnze Brass Foundry'.
Baled up at the Turkish border for three days, eventually I bribed the 'then' crooked border-guards into allowing us to continue on our way. However, my troubles were only just beginning.
The guys were asleep in the bus when I arrived at Canakkale, (a nondescript place on the extreme west coast of Turkey, where (again without warning) to my renewed alarm, I found myself facing a raging torrent with no means of crossing and not enough gas in the tank to retrace my steps and take an alternative route.

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BushfireIllus.10

By an amazing coincidence, this painting began it's existence as a sombre three dimensional abstract in various shades of burnt umber, which I'd built with the aid of a pallet knife. However, just after I'd begun work on it, Graeme Bell announced that we were to play at Mildura, close to a thousand kilometres due west of Sydney and for reasons which I no longer recall, (though it would have been because I did not relish the idea of travelling with the rest of the band) I elected to drive to the border town alone in my own car. On route, as I neared the border town, I found myself cut off by an enormous bush-fire and had to drive sixty miles out of my way to circumnavigate the blaze. Even then I ran the gauntlet several times, a car is not a haven and often I feared for my life through lack of oxygen. I arrived at the venue in the nick of time and was ready to play, however, the nightmare stayed with me and on my return home it fireballed onto the canvass.
 

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Kenny KatIllus.11

Back it the days of the British Trad-boom, whenever I was asked to sign an autograph book, I included a quick drawing of myself as a hep-cat.
When the boom died and I sought my living playing other forms of music, I continued the idiosyncrasy. As a member of the band on the 'SS Southern Cross' I signed the ship's menu cards in the same way.
One of the children involved, Wendy, the younger sister of Pip, or Princess, as I called her, one of my ship-board romances at the time, was entranced by my lightning-sketch of a cat.
She grew up to become a school teacher in North London and during her career spanning 35 years, she used KenniKat, as she named him, to illustrated points on the blackboard. Therefore to my utter amazement KenniKat has become familiar and known affectionately in hundreds, possibly even thousands of North-London homes.

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WiardIllus.12

Jack Wiard was the only musician I ever encountered in any musical genre, who did not like groupies and disapproved of
musicians having any truck with them.
He even challenged me one morning, after beautiful a young Canadian lady drove me back to our hotel: "Your the kind of person who gives musicians a bad named name!" he admonished.
(As if they need any help from me!)
Graeme Bell, (the businessman taking over) turned on him and barked "Shut up, Jack! It puts bums on seats!"
Therefore, it was no surprise to me when, at a gig in Mileham Hayes' Jazz Cellar, in Brisbane, during an interval break, Graeme urgently entreated me to join him at a serving hatch built into the wall behind the bar. "Look look! Take a look through here!" chuckled Graeme, placing an arm around my shoulders.
I peered through and perfectly framed by the hatch, was Jack recoiling in horror as an entranced young woman fervently informed him of how much she admired his playing.
Meanwhile of course Graeme and I staggered about like a pair of giggly schoolgirls.
Later, back at our hotel, I sketched the memory onto some hotel notepaper.

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WarningIllus.13

KennyKat strikes again! Beware all ye who enter these portals! The latest doorhandle device, produced and sold by "Modern Teaching Aids" and actually displayed in their latest catalogue.
Although in this thumbnail, you can discern a mere slither of the hole in this doorknob-hanger, it is nevertheless something you hang on your doorknob.
Cut it out and do so, in order to keep dogs and other dangerous marauders at bay!

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