Friday, November 20, 2020
Friday, November 13, 2020
Performance taking teetering steps back into the live world has, of course, been stopped in its tracks. Theatre Royal Bath's costly 'Welcome Back' season of three great classic dramas was halted after the first show (Pinter's Betrayal) and Bristol Old Vic is working out live-streaming from the stage for Hedda in order not to postpone their new collaboration with the BOV Theatre School. Future productions will also be semi-streamed, with a few seats available in the theatre.
Saturday, November 07, 2020
during lockdown, check this brilliant directory of opportunities from Shop Frome - another of the pro-active responses to difficult times in our extraordinary town.
So at the end of a quiet week, here's two images of autumn from my 'permitted exercise': fields by Frome, and Shearwater lake. Long may these sunny chill days continue...
Monday, November 02, 2020
web-page here - a remarkable achievement and a fascinating collection of interviews. A wonderful addition to the public history of Frome. Still with words: A West Country Homecoming is the title of Frome author John Payne's new book, which - he says - 'explores the possibilities of writing history backwards from the present into the past.' It's part memoir, part family history, part social history, and illustrated with over 100 photographs from family albums and other sources. This is another from quirky Hobnob Press, run by John Chandler who seems to have become the go-to publisher for Frome writers.
Also from the Hobnob stable (or possibly kitchen), my book The Price of Bread now has it's own Facebook page, inspired by a staggeringly good review which actually suggests it could be a Booker contender... pick yourself off the floor and read it here. "Rarely have I read a book that casts such an accurate looks at the 60s - an era of free love impossible to imagine nowadays - in the context of hostile social forces." was the encouraging verdict of author & editor Dana Rufolo.
Liv Torc, despite having a tough summer, has again managed to spin Covid straw into words of gold with her latest publication: a collection of poems produced by Siren Poets: What if we can't save the Earth - But if the Earth could save us? Liv guided a group of sixty participants on a 'creative quest to uncover the lessons the Earth sends us, by uncovering sigs and metaphors in nature. This is a stunning little booklet, full of lucent imagery and creative surprises, and it's good to see words from several poets well-known in Frome Poetry Cafe - here's a short sample from Jo Butts, our current Festival Poet Laureate (a title it currently looks as though she will hold forever...) - an actual news story transformed into a thought-provoking haiku: A young polar bear / devours a sleeping camper / His hunger? Our fault.stopsgc is the site.
Sunday, October 25, 2020
How dark and cluttered England alway seems after an absence: pale pleated sky hanging low over endlessly cluttered terrain on the drive home from Plymouth. In Spain masks are mandatory for all public places, and after a month with this sense of safety, the 14-day requirement to withdraw was actually a relief while readjusting to the on-off policy that England allows. But Frome is all about community so I've attempted a skim-catch-up on how the enterprising townsfolk have maintained their creativity... and of course, the answer is: impressively.Giant Pod interview with Chris Bucklow, artist and art historian in which, as Andy says, 'We go down a rabbit hole of Chris’s complex and captivating theories about how his subconscious communicates with him via dreams, how we can learn to derive or interpret lessons about ourselves and get a better read on where our heads might be at.' Eleanor Talbot too has created several Variations on a Theme - interviews with a difference. Her recent themes were healing, hair, and 'sexy connections'.
And - not from this patch, but poet Steve Pottinger is so well-liked in Frome that he's allowable - do check out Come to me now,, a reflection on nature and how life is always 'a moment you pluck between finger and thumb, a just-ripe moment...
Frome's individual musicians have been prolific in their online posts on facebook, both on their own pages and on the public group Open Micsolate (with an impressive 6,600 members, none of whom seem any more keen to retrain than Fatima...) - here's Guru in a Camper Van from Paul Kirtley and Shoreline by Jane Langley and friends, both original works. And there's a new album out any minute now from Phil Cooper: here's Over My Head, one of the tracks on These Revelation Games.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
This post is a little late, as wifi was variable during the final days of our trip - a week stolen on impulse, changing our booking and extending our travel eastwards: Vélez-Rubio, for an overnight Aire stop in this little riverside town between two sierras with a restaurant playing Wham, then on to Vilajoyosa where I'd stayed with Jill Miller, feminist writer and Frome's inspirational charity innovator, who made this lovely beach resort her home for several years before her death last October.
Time for more crags and castles then as we moved slowly westwards: Jalance, with a hermitage and superb historic mosaic fountains -Albarracin, where our cliff-top Aire gave stunning views across the double-walled hill, - Medinaceli with its massive Roman arch.
So there's always something nice about coming home, even when your fridge has died and everything's now in a puddle of water.
Friday, October 09, 2020
A zigzag week, from Andalusian beach to a lake in the Sierra de Almijara to crags and castles, then back to the coast of Granada. Here's some images: lake Viñuela, en route to our three randomly chosen historlc towns in Cordoba province: Zuheros with its fantastic elevated castle, Rute, which had surprisingly baroque street architecture and the region's Anis factory, and Priego de Cordoba, a busy town with a young population featuring not only an Islamic fortress and restored muslim nucleus of the town but also an elaborate 19th Century water feature which is also now a historic monument.Southern Spain has a bloody history and our current campsite is in another brutally-conquered territory: poly-tunnel land, the shimmering plastic wastes that smother this coastal area. But it's a pleasant change to be on a site, after a week of -massively enjoyable but isolated- Aires plus wild-camping on a car-park for trekkers on one of the Parques Natural. This is at Castillo de Banos, where we arrived today to find palm trees, sunshine, and a sea-line that apparently never recedes...
Friday, October 02, 2020
Sunset Cafe on the beach at Sanlucar lured us for a few days more, with next stop the limestone peaks of Sierra Bermeja, in the gorgeous biosphere reserve & bird sanctuary Casares (confusing for the map-reader as nowhere near our earlier stop in Cáseres) - where we watched eagles and griffin vultures circling the amazing rock peaks.
Then down the coast road to Torre del Mar, the ex-Moorish fishing village now a town with an extensive campsite where we stopped on our last visit. Parrots in palm trees, brilliant bougainvillea, paella in the beach bars... with our last week shuffling into view, we changed our tickets to extend our trip another week. Good luck with the rule/s of six, guys - here the sun shines & everyone wears masks - just bought a sequinned one, for evening...