Mike Peters 1947 – 2015
We are very sad to have to report the loss of our friend and comrade, Mike Peters, who died of heart failure on the morning of Wednesday, 3rd June. Mike had been a member of the Leeds Surrealist Group since 2005, but a long-time conspirator and fellow traveller before then; indeed, since our group was formed in 1994. Some of us knew him as an editor of and contributor to the influential Here & Now magazine; others as students at the institution in whose side he had been a thorn; and still others simply as a welcome critical presence in the political life of those radical milieus growing up outside Socialist or Anarchist orthodoxies.
A man whose creativity was rarely burdened by convention, Mike could always be relied upon to approach Surrealism as something grounded as much in humour as in poetic and intellectual enquiry. Indeed, despite occasionally doing battle with his own black dogs, he was the most stridently anti-miserablist of us all.
For a couple of years after joining the group, Mike would complain that he was unable to encounter ‘found objects’. One day, for reasons never elaborated, the dam burst and our meetings became coves where vast quantities of flotsam would collect after drifting in on Mike’s tide. Many of these objects would result in fascinating processes of collective enquiry, whilst others would exert a glamour upon him so mysteriously subjective that it would be almost impossible for the rest of us to penetrate. It is pleasing to think of the mixture of pride and child-like wonder that characterised him in this period, and the particular joyous and very honest vulnerability that Mike would bring to the group, challenging the rest of us to meet it. Yet, even in the context of such generosity, we all of us should have liked decades more in which to further appreciate the complex aggregation of compulsions, desires, plans, and peccadilloes of which our friend was composed.