Bob Cobbing

1920 (Enfield, England) – 2002 (London)

Cobbing, more than anyone, kept visual, concrete and performance poetry in Britain alive and kicking for decades. His extensive set of connections, national and international, is infuriatingly hard to pin down authoriatively. As an organiser of readings, performances, events, and as a bookseller and publisher, he pulled in fellow-conspirators and collaborators from Houédard to Jandl to Chopin (he and Chopin were not always on speaking terms). He planned a celebrated poetry event with Ginsberg and Trocchi, and collaborated with Upton for over 30 years. Toop (like Lockwood) was one of his several musical collaborators.

Jonas Mekas

1922 (Semeniškiai, Lithuania) – 2019 (New York)

Mekas was both a prolific film-maker, and an energetic guiding spirit for the New York independent film scene (whence many of his extensive list of friends and accomplices — his ‘second family’). Maciunas was a lifelong friend from Lithuanian schooldays, Warhol another close associate — he credited Mekas for getting him filming. Among other friends were Vautier, Breer, Anger, Cassavetes, Frank, Brakhage (filmed making pancakes), Ginsberg (filmed singing an anti-war song), and Ono and Lennon (filmed in bed). Dalí sought him out, Polanski drove him around Paris. Pinter distracted customs officers so Mekas could sneak a banned film into the U.S.

Jonas Mekas knew…