Seven Secret Alphabets

     Seven Secret Alphabets 1972, Jonathan Cape London



   Secret Alphabet No. 7




  Seven Secret Alphabets 1980, Jonathan Cape, London (paperback edition) 




 Secret Alphabet No. 4




Carping & Kicking








 Carping & Kicking  1987 Hourglass, Paris.



Excerpt from the book:

What sort of place is this? The world through the eyes of a dissatisfied costomer.

Footloose in our dreams we may be yet the roots we put down in homes are as firm as those of lichen on nearby crags or heather on far moorland.

Snug behind warm walls and hot curtains, the house sniggers at the plight of the garden, cold and wind-whipped.

'Do come in from the cold,' urged the fireplace, and the frost-sorry bundle of firewood fell through the door shivering, only too grateful to see the empty grate waiting.

While her mistress strokes the furniture the skivvy polishes the cat, it is a ginger tom. A purring table, a creaking pet and hat-red in every cupboard and corner.

'Stand there until furrther orders.' Beds and wardrobes obey firm commands unto death and beyond.

NO CHAIRS ALLOWED IN HERE, and the cat still sat on the mat.

When all is over and done with, we are not policemen.

Murder strikes in the bedroom; 'kill that candle!'

When our backs are turned kennels know the lash of the whip and kitchens the bitter taste of crumbs.

Fourteen broken panes and eight slates missing, the house has. Not bad going for his time of day. (It is seven-thirty, the sun has been up for an hour and those few on the street are trying hard to be happy).

Unavailable to purchase



Eric Thacker and Anthony Earnshaw
note on book: Published March 1968, Jonathan Cape, London 


Excerpts from Musrum:

There was little excuses for the invention of the name MURUM. It was already known in sixteen principalities and native states.
There were, however, several religious reasons, but these are unlikely to become evident in what follows.
Musrum is terribly afraid of sponge cats.
Keep your sponge cat under control..
The Kingdom of Intersol slopes down for a hundred miles through blue flax plantations to the sea and oblivion.
The truth of this tale is painful, but nothing of that truth is left unsaid; though we must unsay much that hagiography and squalid commerce declare in regard to our protagonist.
The Trans Siberian Railway was established to facilitate the construction of the Far East.
Every hour, on the precise stroke, trains leave Moscow bearing Musrum and his relations in tears.
Gilvis wrote a book on life for the dead.
He is probably writing your biography at this moment.
A sponge cat weeps after the Muscovite trains. Musrum also weeps, but in another room.
Sudden prayers make God jump.
The forehead of the Arch Seraph slopes down for a hundred miles to the sea and oblivion.

Drawings from Musrum:




   Wintersol (with Wric Thacker) 1971 Jonathan Cape, London


Excerpts from the book:

HIS IS THE TALE of an enemy whom millions regard as a friend. It tells of the origins and early career of one who races like a spectre across our wintry skies, and descends from time to time to swivel a maleficent eye towards our camps and settlements.

The truth of this tale is painful, but nothing of that truth is left unsaid; though we must unsay much that hagiography and squalid commerce declare in regard to our protagonist.


Some truths can only be ignored with frightening results. Reality begins in confusion and ends in mystery; and for chronicles who, deserting comfort and shelter, have hewn passeges through oneiric mountains and sailed the fifty seven seas of the muroid* world, no illusions linger. We must tell our tale piece by piece, from the cataracts of its begining to the clouds of its close, and the Reader must create his own refuge.

*Musroid: an adjactive derived from the primal word musrum (Greek mus==secret + rume==force).

Drawings from Wintersol






Flick Knives & Forks

             Flick Knives & Forks, 1982, Transformaction, Harpford                

             Flick Knives & Forks 2000 Zillah Bell  Contemporary Art, Thirsk (second edition)

Excerpt from the book:

These jots and titles will provide ideal stretcherside.

Struck down at midnight he moaned, "I've missed the last ambulance."

When the ambulance came, it was full.

Be nonchalant. Carry your bits of fluff and tobacco sheds without fears for their future. Remember, respect is always given to the constents of a dead man's pockets.

It is apt that obituaries end with a full stop.

Came a woeful cry from the depths, "I wish I'd never found this Wishing Wells".

War broke out between Friends and Foes. BLACK NEWS, the Foes were winning.

"We must sue for peace," concealed their Warlord.

"Now, when victory is in sight?" his lieutenants protested.

"Certainly," he replied, "for unless this slaughter is scotched, we won't have a friend left."

The salvo of grapeshot was fruitless, the gunners had missed the target ...unscathed, the enemy still advanced.

"They are small potatoes, not worth killing anyhow," muttered the Captain, sourly.

Gold plated barbed wire for de luxe wars.

The child's whimper provides descant to the tramp of jackboots.

Misfortune smiles when bandages turn a cheerful red.

The hero is one who returns to the battle binding his wounds with camouflaged bandages.

Stench is to the nose as pain is to the wound.

Thanks to heroes, we know how to strike medals.

One of the spoils of battle was a cache of stretchers.

Anthony Earnshaw The Imp of Surrealism






With its many voices, views, and opinions. this book offers a comprehensive overview of the work of the artist and autodidactic, Anthony Earnshaw.

Anthony Earnshaw was a free-thinking maverick, Earnshaw preferred to plough the marginalised furrows of an art world, to which he maintained a distinct ambivalence. Influenced by Surrealism,  jazz and poetry  in post-war Britain, his restless and rebellious temperament would find spiritual reassurance in the principles and philosophy of the anarchist movement.

As a nonconformist, atodds with the values of Western capitalism. Earnshaw recognised that  to explore his imagination was liberating. He embarked on a lifetime of creative activity which found form in an extraordinary range of work including drawings, painting, poetry and writing, comic strips and illustrated novels, boxed assemblages and constructed letterforms.’

 Les Coleman editor of Anthony Earnshaw The Imp of Surrealism, RGAP 2011 Photo Michael Woods

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