Saturday, October 18, 2014

Kate's progress... and a bit about Elizabethan days, and recycling.

Toppings Booksellers is renowned for author events, usually held in their friendly bookshop at the top of Broad Street in Bath. But so many people booked to hear Kate Tempest read from her newly published poetry collection Hold Your Own on Wednesday, the event was transferred to Christ Church, where every pew was crammed. ‘You’re packed in like sardines!’ said the cheerful vicar. Kate, unchanged by fame (she sensationally scooped the 2013 Ted Hughes poetry award and is tipped to take the Mercury prize this year) is slightly worried about performing in a consecrated space. 'In my poems there’s a lot of language’ she confides.  ‘No problem’ yells the cheerful vicar from the back. Kate opens with her longest piece, the story of Tiresias. Her version is a mix of savagely authentic Greek myth and contemporary street wisdom, with resonance for everyone who's ever had to realise that all you've known / is now / no longer enough. That notion of stoic survival continues through poems of childhood, womanhood, manhood, and blind profit.  Right at the end, Kate goes off-script. “These are dark times" she says, "You can feel so powerless. The only thing that has any worth is how you treat other people." And for her last performance Kate mounts the pulpit to deliver a passionate rap against media-led society (take a look at Progress in your copy of Kate's must-buy book) and when she ends she seems slightly shocked that all of the four hundred people in front of her have risen to their feet to applaud.

Leaping back in time to 1558: the hopes of England are pinned on a young queen and Living Spit have run out of historical characters who look like Howard Coggins and raised their theatrical bar: characters who in no way look like either him or his partner-in-parody the marvellous Stu Mcloughlin who, let's face it, doesn't look like anyone. After their brilliant Henry VIII and Winston Churchill interpretations, the dynamic duo are back with a reconstruction of the Elizabethan era that delivers the usual mix of hilarious absurdity and surprising poignancy. Elizabeth I virgin on the ridiculous played to sell-out audiences in Bristol and came to Bath's nice little Rondo theatre this Friday. With a mix of history lesson ("dear diary, thanks for being such an excellent tool for barefaced exposition" drools Lizzie into her Barbie notebook), vulgar & anachronistic comedy, morose metatheatrical banter and brilliant guitar-accompanied songs, Stu and Howard create the intrigues and thrills of those extraordinary times when a virgin queen survived every external control to assert her right to reign. And when you're done laughing, that sad existential question still lingers: How can I be Queen of England and not actually get anything I want?

Back in Frome I've been learning about plastic ~ specifically, that our town is the home of Protomax, world leaders in recycling waste into plastic panels that can be made into whatever you want from stylish tables to commercial hoardings. If you're thinking you don't need any hoardings and you prefer wood for furniture thankyou, you might like to ponder on the fact that the 25 million boards currently used each year are currently chipboard and therefore, like all exterior wood, treated with toxic preservatives which mean they can't be recycled and have to go to landfill. A fascinating talk from managing director Mark Lloyd at the Old School House on the uses and potential of this machinery, including emergency housing in disaster areas. Every town should have one of these factories!
And congratulations to Frome film makers Bargus, winners of Salisbury's '48 hour challenge' Shoot Out  with The Tenth Muse, a psychological thriller written by Nikki Lloyd which will be shown at the Westway at November's Independent Film-makers night. Looks spooky, sounds scary and sensational!


Sara Vian said...

The Westway Cinema's Independent Filmmakers Collective presents...An Evening With Bargus.

On Sunday 7th December the Westway Cinema's monthly gathering of the Independent Filmmakers
Collective will host a special event when they screen a selection of short films by Frome-based
production company, Bargus Films. Co-founders Adam and Simon Bowman will show four short
films including The Tenth Muse, their recent winning entry into Salisbury Arts Centre's 48 Hour
Shoot Out Competition scripted by Frome writer, Nikki Lloyd and starring local actors Keely
Beresford, Laurie Parnell and Aynsley Minty. Doors open at 6.30pm and screening starts at 7pm
following an introduction from the Bargus Team. Please join them for drinks in the bar before and

Crysse said...

Looking forward to that Sara

Crysse said...
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