Sunday, March 06, 2016

And so to London.. and Shanklin... by ferry, bus, and train.

Shanklin in February has a quaint 1950s charm but the wind along the front last weekend was razor-sharp ~ that stuff on the beach is froth whipped up by swirling waves. But The Grange has a wood fire & constant supplies of coffee and biscuits, and my amazing writing group were wonderfully focussed and delightfully inventive in every challenge.
London on Tuesday after the Isle of Wight seemed like time-travel, the city so changed from the place I grew up in.
By bus to Trafalgar Square to revisit the Fourth Plinth where I recited poetry for an hour during the 2009 One and Other project, to revisit my favourite painting in the National Gallery ~ Seurat's Bathers at Asnières ~ then meander via cheesy Covent Garden & vibrant Gerrard Street to Soho Theatre for Luke Wright's one-man show What I Learned from Johnny Bevan. It's a compelling piece powerfully performed, a harshly truthful survey of a lifetime landscape both political and personal, and Luke deservedly won awards for both his 'poetic, pulsating' writing and his 'hurricane of a performance'.  And it's now nominated for an Off West End award too.
 I was sleep-overing with Hazel Carey, whose extraordinary memoir I've been privileged to be involved with. Hazel has been inspirational through her work in communities & holistic centres like Skyros, and was a major spokesperson for the South African artistic heritage: her story, compiled through many voices, is fascinating. The Monti Wa Marumo event in Brixton thirty years ago was her initiative, and this passion for integration and creativity she identifies as Ubuntu - a way of living through other people. She quotes Taggore: “The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.” 
Before it was time to head home, Hazel
showed me round her stamping ground of Hampstead including a visit to Keats House where you can see the poet's personal copy of Paradise Lost as well as portraits of Fanny and his friends, watch a film of his life, and try on costumes of his era... here's me doing a bit of swashbuckling and Hazel as a maid. Suitable roles for both of us, Hazel said, I hope ironically.
Back home to a slight dusting of snow that had Frome folk excitedly posting murky orange night shots of gardens and car roofs on facebook but by the weekend all was calm and the Catherine Hill Street Party on Sunday enjoyed blue skies and sunshine.

This was a pop-up event to replace the usual Independent Market (organisers are currently victims of their own success as the last event was gridlocked) and the idea worked really well - artists, writers, and performers up and down the hill, with space in between to move, meet friends, and talk. Here's three of my favourite acts: Al O'Kane, Bonne Nouvelle, and marvellous Captain Cactus with his band and a couple of his Screaming Harlots, and a small boy on trombone.


Hazel Carey said...

Crysse I have just come across this delightful time out with you in London.

Hazel Carey said...

Hi Crysse have just come across your piece on our time out together in London. And remembering the wonderful poet at Soho Theatre .... great stuff..... You have given my work exactly what it needed at
the right time....I am most grateful for the way that you guided me on my Ubuntu project. See you real soon.

Crysse said...

thanks Hazel! It's been such a privilege to have so close an insight into your amazing life story - looking forward now to the lauch! xxx