July 2005 Nuttall Retrospective in Burnley

I heard just now that Jeff died yesterday (January 4th, 2004): I hope it's a performance piece
and that this image should be without an end-date.

There's more information about Jeff, and details of his work here.

Confirmation from Chris Hamilton-Emery:
"Jeff died yesterday, quite suddenly after contracting what sounded like some bronchial problems.
After leaving the pub, where he was listening to his band (he was feeling too poorly to perform, or to drink),
he got in the car and, as I understand it, died. He didn't experience any pain."

There are a few pictures of Jeff's Memorial Event, on May 1st., here.

There should be an obituary in The Independent tomorrow (January 6th.)

A link to The Independent obituary (by John Calder) is here.
I have also put a copy of the text here.

There's one major innacuracy in Calder's obituary: Jeff and Jane had four children: Sara, Daniel, Toby, Timothy
and there were two other children: Tom and Sam (I think when Jeff was living in Todmorden/Hebden Bridge).
Kelvin Hopkins is supposed to be doing an additional note on Jeff as musician in a future Independent

An addition to The Independent obituary, by Michael Hrebeniak is linked here, and the text is here.


Val, Barry and Jackie Hall and I ran into Jeff forty years ago at a party
(home-grown marijuana, laboratory-made drink, candles and Dylan Thomas records).
He asked us if we knew anything about a William Burroughs someone had told him of.
We met a few times, he began to do My Own Mag, we were evicted, stayed for
a while with the Hollos, then in December 1964 moved to High Barnet
(a flat, strangely, in the street where the party had been).
Jeff and Jane (and those four Calder-invisible children) lived a few streets away, and as
Jeff passed our flat twice a day to and from his teaching job we spent quite a lot of time together.
He got involved with Trocchi and the Sigma stuff, Barry and I struggled with Goliard.
I wonder if anyone else remembers Priscilla and The Woollies.
We saw one another less frequently after I left Goliard and we moved to Colchester:
but we stayed in touch then, and through our years in the USA.
I missed his Poetry Society period. But now there was another string.
We'd seen Jeff a few times in T.V. series, usually in the credits
as "Fat Man in Pub": suddenly he was Friar Tuck, big screen and colour.
The film parts may not have been large, but I don't remember a bad performance ever.
During the past few years any news was second-hand but we were glad
he and his partner were always reported as happy in Wales.
I recommend the opening pages of King Twist, Jeff's biography of
the comedian Frank Randle, as an example of his clear social perception.
Something quite solid and honest has been removed.

from Ulli Freer, January 6th. 2004

Yesterday was the start of my first week back at work. I arranged to meet
Will Rowe for lunch, to talk about doing a reprint of Eric Mottram's Design in Poetry.
During that hour Will passed me a yellow folder which contained copies of
Nuttall's My Own Mag, some of which were mine that he was returning,
plus some from his own collection.

When I got home from work, I went to check my mail and saw the notice about Jeff being dead.

Like you, I met Jeff more than forty years ago. He was my art teacher
at Alder secondary school. I got involved around about the age of 14 in Group H.
I have not been in touch with Jeff for a number of years.
I am very sad to get such news. The obit that John Calder did missed out so much especially
that Jeff did have off-spring with Jane.
Jeff had such a strong energy and was performing continually.

or as in those days not long from Germany had to change my name to John McCarthy.

Some remarks by cris cheek, Lawrence Upton and Geraldine Monk, forwarded by Keith Tuma,
from the UK Poetry List are linked here.

from Robert Greenwood, January 7th. 2004

Shocked and saddened to read about Jeff Nuttall. A big influence on me and many another
who first read Bomb Culture when still at school. I read the lyrics to Doctor Jazz
in that book before I had ever heard the great recording of it by Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers.
About 10 years ago I heard Jeff playing the trumpet with a quartet at The Bull's Head in Barnes.
His playing was, to my ears, greatly influenced by Ruby Braff and by Wild Bill Davison,
making it tender and lyrical but, at the same time, tough and loud.

In the latest issue of Popular Music, a journal published by Cambridge University Press,
there's an article on CND and Trad Jazz. The author had a letter in a magazine asking
for information on the subject so I wrote to him recommending he get in touch with Jeff.
He obviously did because the article includes photos of a young Nuttall leading various
parade bands. Someone really should transcribe and publish the four quarter-hour talks
Jeff gave on Radio 4 in about 1987 or 8. They were called Conservative Blues
and were about his experiences over the years as a jazz trumpeter and pianist.
Fortunately I taped them when they were broadcast, so they are not entirely lost.

fromAllen Fisher (from UKPoetryList via Keith Tuma), January 8th. 2004

I eventually got over crawling through a row of car tyres full of feathers
to enter Better Books basement in 1964 which came out into a stench of
rotting food and surrounded by various items of underwear stretched over fat
foam insulation tubes and old gramophone sounds of Wild Bill trumpeting.
Jeff's understanding of Kaprow's happenings and Burroughs' fiction, already
evident to him in the early 1960s, linked to some aspects of Romanesque sculpture,
Ken Colyer jazz and Dylan Thomas, made a unique recipe for My Own Mag
and his subsequent poetry and fiction. SALT are planning the launch of a
selected poems. I hope his caricaturist ceramics and later landscape
paintings will be looked after as well.

July 2005

jeff exhibition

A major retrospective of the Life and Work of Jeff Nuttall is at the
Mid-Pennine Gallery, Yorke Street, Burnley BB11 1HD
from July 4th until August 13th

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