Beardism

2010.07.13

The Troubled Life of an Unsung Genius

Andrew Wilmingot was born Andrew Wilson at St. Mary’s Hospital (ironically now a retirement home), Kedleston Road, Derby, in 1938.  The son of Anne Ashby and local builder Frank Wilson, (who became very wealthy during Wilmingot’s childhood,) he was educated first at Ashgate Primary School in a working class environment, and later, as the family fortunes changed, sent to board at Repton.

Wilmingot excelled at the classics, though trouble with grammar (which may well have been due to dyslexia, as many of his manuscripts reveal consistent mistakes that remain in the publication) held him back from the kind of grades his comprehension and imagination promised.  

His large stature saw to it that he was enrolled in the school’s first rugby team, though his juvenilia reveals a hatred for the sport.  ”Big hurts big, I say, and I hate hurting and hurting others.  It’s a game, so why is the head shouting in my face, sir?  What’s the matter with you boy?  No spunk!  It’s a shambles!  And it is, but I don’t care a jot.  You can take your ruddy leather egg, your rub of cold ears and your gangs of bloody knees and stuff them, that’s what I say.” 

Raised in the Church of England, his reading of Greek and Roman classics - mythology and drama (the Aeneid, the Odyssey, theLysistrata, The Clouds, etc.) as well as the Histories of Thucydides and Herodotus, the philosophy of Plato and Socrates - led him to question his faith and ultimately abandon it altogether.  In his eyes the mythology of these ancient races was as potent to him as his own Judeo Christian mythology, and just as likely to be right or wrong.   It set him on a life-long mission to understand the origins of mythology, and in his last years he wrote several letters to Gladys Wilkinson that illustrated his deep anger at what he called “the guile-less unquestioning blinkers that turn the heads of men, like a rag and bone man’s mare, driven on in a straight forward line by the pull of greasy straps in grubby fingers, hauling all the detritus of mankind in a pestilent heap behind…”

 In 1958 The Wilson’s fell on hard times when the building firm went into bankruptcy.  Frank Wilson tried to commit suicide, but he failed and was institutionalized at Kingsway Hospital, where he remained for the rest of his life, eventually outliving his only son, Andrew.  Anne was to die of pneumonia at her home in Darley Abbey less than two years after Frank’s incarceration.  Andrew Wilson changed his name to Wilmingot, an act he never explained, and opted not to take an offered place at Durham University to read Classics, choosing instead to work as a foreman at Rolls Royce in Derby, a job he retained for the remainder of his short life.  

Passionate about the arts, Wilmingot discovered the Beardists by chance when he met Gerard Pointon in the Malt Shovel Inn inShardlow in 1962.  The public house was most likely his model for ‘The Shovel’ as featured in ‘Paradise Rex Press, Inc.'  The two hit it off very quickly, and Wilmingot was soon regularly visiting Pointon's studio in Ashbourne, and sending the painter and poet early drafts of his novella.  Pointon intoduced Wilmingot to a local printer, inadvertently adding another level to the novella, as well as providing the means to publication in 1963.

Wilmingot never published another novella, though he often talked to Pointon of publishing a magnus opus he called “Steel Wings and Prayers”, and epic of man’s industriosophical journey, at once Homeric, spiritual and industrial, it was to be his ‘Ulysses’.  Very little of this remains, but that which is alluded to in letters to Pointon and Wilkinson.

Wilmingot died in 1977 in an industrial accident at Rolls Royce.  An only child, he never married and sired no children of his own.  His one publication, ‘Paradise Rex Press, Inc.’ remains his sole legacy. 

"D.H.Lawrence with Mysterious Third Eye" by Gerard Pointon circa 1975.

"D.H.Lawrence with Mysterious Third Eye" by Gerard Pointon circa 1975.

OF THE LONG SOLEMN MARCH OF THE SILENT MAN By Richard Everret-Hyde

The coach arrived at Statton-on-Moor before the sun spiked golden rays through Gibson’s Wood and webbed the curve of the Guild House on Bennet St.
 Seven Coachmen; oiled beards all, fully girded up in their trapping and pomp, stiff as any cigar, and as brittle, too, in the brace of morning, air in spiralled white burst forming. They tread a path unseen but by the early eye of the fishmonger, the market-tradesman, and still sacred, still profane, they set a brisk pace past the long red arc of the dye-works down Aldwich St., and out to the Seven Cedars, bearing seven crows each and standing as solemn, as inscrutable as them that pass beneath. Now, with manicured and rough, stained and clean hands – for history has no prejudice in this matter – the Coachmen remove both stocking and boot, and return them to their feet reversed – stocking over boot.
 

Now the golden dawn rays dust the cut-out edges of the gathering clouds and the Coachmen honour they that came before, they that knew, they that built the first and would be recalled until the last, the fathers and fallen, in the long and lonely March of the Silent Man.

SUNSHINE SUPERMAN HEX 
 by Sal LaRochelle 
 (Translated from the original French)



Vixen,

Dark with skin-dust,

Do unto the worm what faceless vice does to victim’s of lust.

I trust the frugal harpy of sin to watch fatal flaws, 
And to grin.

I dine on frugal morsels, 
Bequeath my faith to choicer instances trodden by the paths that gloat in harmony,

But never flinch from Death’s fealty.

Eat shit and die.

And in the golden morning of the Vixen Supermen 
We rejoice!

Ribera’s The Bearded Woman

Ribera’s The Bearded Woman

Timeless Waves and Mannequins by Gladys Wilkinson

The shrew was confounded by eleven elaborate causes
A finger muffin
And a polyp of unmeditated madness

Down by the hacienda nine overt cods played chess
And smirked
while the latter-day saints blushed

Unhappy with the whole blasted affair she uncoiled
a prehensile digit
and spat at the passing parishioners.


Gladys Wilkinson 1969

IV. WALLHAMSTOW excerpt ‘Paradise Rex Press, Inc.’ by Andrew Wilmingot

Drugs and philosophy.

I miss you both, you bastard.

And here, the Quested Beast raises a distant head in my peripheral awareness, and the quest passes to me. Faltering on ill-made stilts, I lumber after it into the city, the country, into my delusional world-view mindscape of angry self-abuse and wise beyond my years preternatural awareness of death and entropy – I chase, but the beast just builds up steam, laughing. The ghost of Jung informs my arguments, and I glean the myth of symbolism, strengthen my ritual wish fulfilment desires with pseudo-intellectual reasoning, dancing along a bright happening of spirit and racial memory that is most likely a conjuring trick; a mirage. 
And you tell me you think I’m a genius because you love me, and because just maybe you think I am. 
We spill into the night, inventing a language for the love of it, as though a night spent making nothings into somethings would lend us unseen, unglimpsed power. Make us new beings of a new age.
 Achumnabaa! Iqu thias tutu na mombek. 
Achumnabaa! Achumnabaa! 
The night is thick and warm, and your face, sloped and old, Neanderthal, reaches me in ways no other did. I sit inside that face, part of it. I embrace your form and dance within your voice. You’re my brother, my soul space hope teacher who loved me best that wasn’t family. We’re broken together.

She roles another joint, and the smoke mixes with her own voice so posh it seems false, so broken it needs my affection. We’re crazies, and I relish the boho, the maverick, the fuck you of it. I’m free, now, dull and blunted, afraid, but growing and hearing and loving still. And I miss you crazy fucking bastards together. I miss you. The long warm comfort. Talk, now, and I’ll sleep well. Tell me about myself, you bloody lying bastard, and make me whole again. Fool philosopher, patron of a better me than I had been, or ever will be.

Faltering on ill-made stilts, I lumber after it…

Faltering on ill-made stilts, I lumber after it…