Friday, April 24, 2015

Another arty week in Frome

The Garden Cafe was full on Monday night for our Eco Poetry event with Helen Moore and Peter Please, both with new books just out. Ecozoa is Helen's response to environmental destruction, looking to a new future of love and respect for the earth as a shared entity not a collection of utilities. Peter sees himself as 'a writer who also likes to doodle in the margins' and his book is a collection of mixed media illuminations paying homage to past traditions. Two very different energies combined in a fascinating guest spot, with some excellent open mic readers too. To quote Rosie Jackson, when the earth is dying ordinary 'nature poetry' is impossible ~ it has to be political now.

Over in nearby Silk Mill, an exhibition of 21 images of mayoral chains demonstrating the creative ingenuity of local groups from the Community Toilet Scheme to Sustrans Missing Link Campaign. Mayor Peter Macfadyen posed in a range of teeshirts for these shots by David Partner, framed by Simon Keyte of Mount Art.
And the Round tower has some intriguing images of Frome by Fourmakers, while Paul Newman has opened his new studio at the Black Swan and is working on creating drawings from his sketches of the The Needles off the Dorset coast.
Wednesday night's Grain Bar was jammed for Sam Brookes magical Roots Session. To quote promoter Griff: "Sam Brookes has a captivating, magnificent voice and a superb collection of songs.. his album, Kairos is regarded as the album of the year by Frome's musical cognoscenti who know their onions." And Griff certainly knows his onions.
Tom Jones is the latest FDC production at Merlin Theatre, featuring popular local actor Ben Hardy-Phillips as the hero-narrator in this adaptation of Fielding's novel. The programme offered 'risqué fun' but it's more of a lively and highly entertaining romp through eighteenth century mores and modes. A strong performance from Ben with great support from the rest of the cast and a wickedly clever set. I especially enjoyed Ross Scott and Tina Waller as hot-headed Captain Fitzpatrick and his wayward wife ~ sudden swordfight was a real highlight ~ and Neil Howlett as Tom's shocked tutor Thwackum. Interestingly, director Christine Dunn has found evidence that Sophia Western, the real love of Tom's life, was based on Betty Weston who lived at Gants Mill in Bruton. Now if we can only be sure she visited Frome shopping for gowns ~ in 1749, Frome was 'very famous for the manufacture of broad and woolen cloths' ~ we can put up a plaque!
Speaking of frocks (see how I did that? smiley face) we have a new ethical fashion outlet now: Hibiscus on Cheap Street launched this week with pzazz and cool names like Mudd & Water and SkunkFunk, including these snazzy remoulded-tyre-soled sandals.
A visual end to the week, with an exhibition at Stourhead's First View Gallery on the theme Memories of Shape and Colour featuring two brilliant landscape artists from Frome, Kate Cochrane and Amanda Bee. Impressive paintings and a convivial gathering at the Friday preview.

And to any bibliophiles disappointed by the omission of World Book Night, I consider the event has done for reading what Clinton cards did for sincere greetings. Save our forests, I say. Or did, but since Neil Astley has published a collection of Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy
especially for this event, I have to concede a retail-opportunity celebration can have value too. 

No comments: