B O B  J U B I L É

Bob Jubilé is a year-long programme of displays and events devoted to the career and legacy of Bob Cobbing, beginning with the exhibition ABC in Sound at the Exhibition Research Centre, and culminating in a publication with Occasional Papers.

Bob Jubilé is curated by William Cobbing and Rosie Cooper.


B I L L   J U B O B E

Bill Jubobe
Chelsea Space
19 November - 19 December
16 John Islip Street, SW1P 4JU
11am - 5pm Wednesday-Friday

Bill Jubobe, an excerpt from a line written by Cobbing's friend and collaborator François Dufrene ("Bob jubile et, bien sur, à la langue, Bill jubobe"), highlights the interrelation between Cobbing's live performance and his experiments on paper, considering the two as inseparable. The exhibition presents rarely seen footage of his live performances from the 1970s until his death, alone and with Birdyak (Lol Coxhill, Jennifer Pike and Hugh Metcalfe). Publications of his anthologies, released under his prolific Writers Forum imprint, will be available for visitors to leaf through, and graphic posters announcing his innumerable performances cover the walls.

Chelsea Space website


C O N C E R N I N G   C O N C R E T E   P O E T R Y

Book launch & conversation with Kenneth Goldsmith
Saturday 15 November
Clore Studio, tickets from £3

An event to mark the 2014 re-print of Bob Cobbing and Peter Mayer's 1978 book Concerning Concrete Poetry, featuring American poet and Kenneth Goldsmith in conversation with curator and writer Andrew Hunt. The conversation will be chaired by Rosie Cooper, co-curator of Bob Jubilé.

Concerning Concrete Poetry is a compilation of statements, manifestos and chronologies of concrete, visual and sound poetries, together with numerous illustrations and an exhaustive bibliography. It brings together historic and contemporary thought, interrogating centuries-old experiments with language, and the way meaning can be stabilised, destroyed and rebuilt through writing.

Cobbing and Mayer worked on the book throughout the 1970s and it was released as a limited run via Writers Forum. This edition is published by SlimVolume, and laid out by Fraser Muggeridge.

SLG website



St Peter's Social Club
Newcastle upon Tyne

24 October 2014
8pm - £4.50

CIRCA Projects is pleased to present an evening of new performance and music in response to works by concrete and sound poet Bob Cobbing (1920-2002). The evening is co-curated with Rhodri Davies, and is part of Bob Jubilé. ‘GIG’ is the second in a series of events held by CIRCA Projects that celebrates the social space of the bar.

Drawing upon Cobbing's scores, 'GIG' will comprise an evening of performances by a variety of people: Hugh Metcalfe, a collaborator who knew Bob Cobbing well, Rhodri Davies, who saw Bob perform many times, and the Noize Choir, who did not know him at all.

More information on the CIRCA website



The British Library

Study Collection


Buffalo University

The Sackner Archives  

B O B  C O B B I N G

Bob Cobbing (1920-2002) was 'the major exponent of concrete, visual and sound poetry in Britain' (Robert Sheppard, The Guardian). His performances of printed sound poems involved stretching language through the deployment of shouts, hisses, groans, interspersed between more recognisable tracts of spoken word.

Cobbing had an early career as a schoolteacher, where he worked enthusiastically with pupils to set up film screenings, libraries and magazines, which led to his formative project Group H, an experimental art society based in Hendon, North London. Cobbing's entry into the world of concrete poetry came in 1964, with the writing of his alphabetical sequence ‘ABC In Sound’, recorded for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. He made further recordings for Fylkingen Records in Stockholm, and with anarchic noise ensembles abAna and Birdyak. He was also committed to the promotion and publication of other poets, artists and writers’ works. Between 1963 and 2002 Writers' Forum published more than 1,000 pamphlets and books of his own works as well as many others including Jeff Nuttall and Dom Sylvester Houédard.

From 1965 to 1967 he managed the legendary bookstore Better Books on Charing Cross Road, a focal point for the countercultural ‘Bomb Culture’ scene. While he was there, Cobbing published texts by Allen Ginsberg and John Cage, and vinyl records of sound poetry by Henri Chopin and Francois Dufrene. In 1966 Cobbing collaborated with Gustav Metzger to present a series of events for Destruction in Art Symposium, and screened Jeff Keen's 1967 short film collage 'Marvo Movie', for which he made the soundtrack. The Better Books programme, ‘Cinema 65’, led to the formation of the London Filmmakers’ Co-op. In 1966 he became a founding member and vice president of the Association of Little Presses and served on the council of the Poetry Society.

In the last decade Cobbing’s works have featured in survey exhibitions of 1960’s visual culture including ‘Live in your Head’ at Whitechapel (2000), ‘Shoot, Shoot, Shoot’, a LUX touring exhibition (2004), the Radio 4 documentary of his practice ‘Make Perhaps This Out Sense Of Can You’ (2011), and ‘Eye Music for Dancing’ at Flat Time House (2012.)

Photograph: William Cobbing


We would like to draw your attention to a specially made work by Fraser Muggeridge. The silkscreen is a remix of Cobbing's iconic 1989 Square Poem, and is on sale for £50 inc. VAT (edition of 50). Funds will go towards the realisation of Bob Jubilé.

Email contact@bobjubile.org


A B C  I N  S O U N D

Exhibition Research Centre,
Liverpool John Moores University

9 October–22 November 2013

ABC in Sound is an exhibition about the pioneering British concrete and sound poet Bob Cobbing (1920-2002).

The exhibition features such recordings as the seminal 'ABC in Sound', made in 1964 for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, as well as recorded performances for Fylkingen Records in Stockholm, and the anarchic noise ensembles Birdyak and abAna. It also includes some of the innumerable publications and printed works that he made: visual scores involving pages of collaged words, often distorted on specialist printing presses, blurring the distinction between decipherable text and abstract imagery.

ABC in Sound also includes works by some of Cobbing's many collaborators - Dom Sylvester Houédard, Henri Chopin, and his wife Jennifer Pike; as well as ephemera from projects he led, such as the Better Books bookshop on Charing Cross Road, one of the most progressive performance spaces in the UK at the time. Among the other groups and events highlighted in ABC in Sound are the Destruction in Art Symposium, London Film-Makers’ Co-op, Writers Forum, and aborted plans for an arts centre called Boooooks. The exhibition also looks at Cobbing's early career as a schoolteacher, where he worked enthusiastically with pupils to set up film screenings, libraries and magazines, which led to his formative project Group H, an experimental art society based in Hendon, North London.

Artist Holly Antrum's new film about Jennifer Pike will debut at the exhibition. It is filmed primarily in the home that Pike and Cobbing shared, exploring how the experience of an artist's persona, age and voice, relates to archival material about their practice.

ABC in Sound marks the beginning of Bob Jubilé. It is made possible with the generous support of the Arts Council England and the Elephant Trust.

Read the review in Art Monthly