A reassurance to all artists and performers who appear to have failed to become successful.

R.I.P. Captain Beefheart – proof, if proof were needed, that you can still get a three-quarter page obituary in the Guardian and a mega obituary in the Daily Telegraph despite being “always cult rather than commercial” and being broke for most of your career…

Much like Vincent Van Gogh who only sold one painting in his life…

On the other hand I’ve always thought Van Gogh was a shit painter and I didn’t much admire Captain Beefheart’s music either.

But who knows?

It would be interesting to come back in 50 and then in 100 years time to see who are remembered as the great artists, bands and comedians of the 20th century. My bet is that they would be a big surprise to us.

Tommy Handley, Arthur Haynes – the great comedy successes of their time – now almost entirely forgotten.

In February 1968, Andy Warhol exhibited his first international retrospective exhibition at the Moderna Museet gallery in Stockholm. The exhibition catalogue contained the now long-remembered sentence: “In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.”

The 4th century Vulgate version of the Bible translates Ecclesiastes 1:2 as “Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas”.

A loose translation today might be: “Everything means fuck all”

Very loose but true to the spirit.


Filed under Comedy, Music

17 responses to “A reassurance to all artists and performers who appear to have failed to become successful.

  1. Siwel Reffahcs

    You spoke to me!

  2. Jeanie Graham

    Just wanted to say JOHN WARD is your greatest discovery and is incredibly funny and a unique talent. He has the potential to go much much further than this and should. Just brilliant, amusing, great inventor, the best.

    • I’m sure John Ward’s obituary will be a joy to read…

      For those not in the know…


      • John Ward (The, natch..)

        I should think so too!

        Best dishes!


      • Jeanie Graham

        Sorry Mr John Fleming, Mr John Ward and I (Jeanie Graham) seem to have filled up an awful lot of responses on your blog. I was only commenting in the first place about his amazing talent and your part in that. He fails to see how really entertaining he is and a highly creative brilliant inventor. Hence his comments im sure that he cannot accept that he has fans and a huge following. May be his modesty has held him back over the years.

    • John Ward (The, natch..)

      Many thanks! – were you Annie Oakley in another life by chance? – I ask because if you were/are,your horse shoes are ready to be picked up…

      Best dishes!


  3. I was going to make a start on my obit but not sure how you spell ‘obit’, so have put my efforts towards other projects for the present time..

    Best dishes!

    John (The)

    • Jeanie Graham

      Your “obit” Mr Ward?? No way. All your fans, and there are a lot of them, are hoping you have many many years ahead of you to keep us entertained, amused and enthralled. Excellent work. When is your next TV appearance?

      • Thanks Janie! – there is hope for me at last!

        All my fan, heh? – to be fair, I was on the TV the other night: had guests come and as usual, lack of seats, so as it was warm I sat on the TV, hence being on TV…sorry…Ronnie Corbett made a living out of this sort of stuff by sitting in an arm chair and yakking away, but there you go!

        Best dishes!


      • It just occurs to me that you mean there might be ‘fans’ out there?..

        I am curious as to how you have come across me to be honest!

        Best dishes!


      • Hi Jeanie! – thought I ought to ‘update’ you on my supposed next ‘appearance’ as it seems to a case of never to be honest! – I have been strung along by a pair, supposed to making a new programme at the BBC, for a few weeks now but alas, one has been kind enough to inform me via e-mail yesterday that as I ‘have been seen too much on TV already, my producer says we can’t really use you..’. So there you have it! – wonder if anybody ever said that to Tom Jones? – but fair’s fair, as you have shown an interest in my well being, felt you ought to know ‘first hand’and I will now slowly fade away and finally get my model railway built as I have been trying for the past thirty odd years to finish it!.. Best wishes and many thanks for your interest. John

  4. Jeanie Graham

    Your website I believe and John Flemings too. It is very extensive although I cannot recall previously to that when I first heard of you. It has been several years. You do have a huge following, far more than you clearly realise.
    Jeanie Graham

    • Dear Jeanie!

      You do surprise me to be frank! – as a matter of interest, what part of the country do you hail from/reside as perhaps there is an untapped ‘fan club’ there I don’t/didn’t know about!

      Best dishes!


      PS in ‘theory’, may well be doing a bit of box shortly but as it’s perhaps for the BBC, wouldn’t hold my breath on it if past form is anything to go by, which is a story or three on its own…

  5. Jeanie Graham

    Look forward to hearing about the next possible TV appearance and hope it comes off. Keep your fans informed on your Website. I have lived all over the place. No one particular area for long, but all in the UK.

    • To be perfectly honest, I was not aware of any fans so this does make me wonder – slightly – as to just WHO is out there!

      Best dishes!


      • Jeaniegraham

        Hi John Ward. Thank you for your kind reply. Sorry not to have seen it before. My friend Liora Jefferson spotted it yesterday and told me. I believe she had commented on John Fleming’s blog recently regarding your talents and inspirational brilliance. I am sorry to read that TV cannot see a place for you at the present time and in the future. Thats their loss!We are gutted! May we take this opportunity to wish you all the best in whatever you pursue next and I am sure someone like yourself is not ready to put your feet up, but has plenty of ongoing projects to fill his time, hopefully a Mrs Ward (or partner), family, travel and many, many years of eccentricity to entertain everyone. Well done!What a career! Jeanie.

  6. How do Jeanie! Thank you for your kind words! – I usually get all number of barmpots’ leave messages or contact via me web site that make you wonder just WHAT is out there(!) in alledged human form and then you potter along!

    Yhas, I be doing ‘bits & Bobs’ to keep myself amused but I have to say that telly is not the end all and can quite carry on without! – the thought of sitting, waiting for the phone to ring is not in my ‘make up’ as you have to consider I am not an entertainer, juggler, singer or what passes today as a ‘comic’ as I think swearing is/should be limited to when you hit your finger/thumb with an hammer or other blunt object as opposed to using it as a means to cover your lack of anything creative you may think – or been told – you have! Call me old fashioned but it works for me!

    Best wishes! John

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.