Friday, November 20, 2015

Lights , sound, action...

BBC's Country file last week was all about Frome, with chatty little snippets about our local incredible edibles, from Lungi Baba's bajees, sold from a refurbished loo in the market yard, to the town's Food Assembly creating customised variable veg boxes. The programme seems designed for viewers' taking tea breaks so there's a lot of data repetition but it's good to see the green side of 'one of Britain's coolest towns' extolled instead of the usual rhapsody about retro-chic bargains.
Bath writer Debby Holt is such a fan she's including our 'jewel of the southwest' in the launch tour for her new novel The Soulmate early next year, which segeways nicely to my next report:  Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath is according to the Guardian one of the 10 best bookshops in the world and though by non-zero probability there may be an equally fine bookshop somewhere in an infinite universe, it's certainly a great venue for the 2015 Bath Short Story Awards. Short fiction was my first passion as a writer and I still believe it's a great way to learn essential elements of the craft so I went with Frome writers Alison Clink & current 'Bard of Frome' Brenda Bannister to share in the party and listen to sparkling extracts from the winning stories of the new collection. Here's Mister Bee himself, as I couldn't pick a favourite from among the excellent reader-writers. 

There will now be a short break from my usual eulogising and a Man's-Inhumanity-To-Man interlude.  
The Age of Stupid, which in 2008 tracked the progress of destruction of life on earth & identified 2015 as the tipping point after which no recovery may be possible. So with the (now overshadowed) UN conference on climate change in Paris, plus renewed threats of local fracking, East Mendip Green Party and Frome Anti-Fracking organised a showing in Westway, Frome's brilliant little independent cinema. If you haven't seen the movie you either realise it's all horribly true and don't want to think about it, or just don't want to think about it, so I'll confine my comments to this question posed at the end: Why didn't we save ourselves? Is the answer, we weren't sure we were worth saving? We know how to profit but not how to protect. The final act of civilisation was suicide.
Still on the sombre theme of "every prospect pleases and only man is vile", Bruton's best known art gallery Hauser & Wirth has an exhibition of Don McCullin's photographs from the last fifty years, mostly recording horrific conflict or appalling poverty, with three Somerset landscapes which somehow look like war zones. This amazing, brave, compassionate photographer has long been a hero of mine but I wasn't allowed to take any pictures of the gallery so this is a googled iconic compilation-shot, but I did get to see the actual Nikon that caught the bullet that would have killed him. You'll probably recognise all these marvellous and tragic images but seeing them together is something else, sad but well worth doing.

To conclude this post on a lighter note, literally, the winter spectacular at Longleat is a Festival of Lights which David & I wandered into accidentally after an extended footpath walk, finding the dusk suddenly filled with fabulous constructions ~ mythical creatures, wild animals, palaces and pagodas and much more ~ all made out of silk lanterns.  Look out for the Chinese Dagon boat and the leaping dolphins...

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