Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The week with an important date... summer solstice!

Yes, summer solstice brought us a full moon ~ first time since 1967 for this coincidence and there won't be another until 20162, apparently ~  so now the days will begin to get shorter and lets hope the rain starts to ease before Worthy Farm is completely under water. Glastonbury is not the only celebration on the horizon of course - here we're gearing up for a fabulous Frome Festival, whatever the weather. On Sunday afternoon the Grain Bar offered a taster from the box of delights that is this year's festival.
I was there to wave flyers for Nevertheless Fringe Theatre and the Poetry Cafe, and to enjoy samples of some of the performers ~ like composer/pianist Stephen Marquiss, spooky ghost-hunter Georgiana Hay and Martin Dimery with a tempting slice of his one-man show Shakespeare Rattle & Roll, showing how Buddy Holly would sing Sigh no more.. hey nonny nonny!
Also among the amazing range of productions there's an immersive theatrical journey entitled Legends of Frome, devised by the creative Edventure apprentices. I've had a peek of this in development and it looks fantastic, but everything ~ even the location ~ is under wraps so you'll have to just book & trust me.
And even though there's so much bubbling under for festival week ~ Friday 1st July to Sunday 10th, if you're not from round these parts ~ the usual art-y life goes on: a superb Roots Grain Bar night on Wednsday from a trio who could hardly get more international: Hiroki Okano from Japan joined by Canadian Domenic DeCicco and and UK's Nigel Shaw, between them sharing more instruments than I could count or name. Stunning session.
Friday night saw the opening of Black Swan Arts 30th Anniversary event, 1000 POSTCARDS, possibly the gallery's most ambitious project ever, and certainly the one causing most curating problems: to display one thousand postcards selected from the deluge submitted for this fundraising event. Launch night on Friday was so crowded the queue to view snaked all around the downstairs cafe as it seemed every entrant & their families wanted to check out the Wall of Fame poster - and view the postcards, of course, all of which are delightful or striking or both, and most of which are brilliant. The exhibition is on till 28th June with all postcards then for sale, including the 'big name' donations.
The market yard had more than stalls on Saturday as a bevy of richly-robed worthies from around the shires arrived to ring their handbells and O-Yea the features of their home in the annual Town Crier contest. They all looked marvellous in their feathered caps and braided robes - I didn't get a snap of the full troop but here's the Frome hosts in their own regalia.

What would life look like if we abandoned our 'civilised' industrial economy? And what other options are there, anyway? We The Uncivilised, an amateur film about a quest for these answers, was screened at Frome's Hubnub Centre on Saturday afternoon. Created by a young couple disillusioned with modern life who set off with a film camera to explore alternatives, this very personal story has some pithy interviews and finds some fascinating locations while ultimately highlighting very recognisable dilemmas. I'd have liked more interviews within the communities but there's excellent support on the website to help these valuable views gain wider awareness.
All of which new old-fashioned ways segueways neatly into my visit to the Earthhouse at the Ancient Technology Centre in Cranborne,  a 200-seater theatre under an earth roof held up by oak tree trunks, lit only by firelight as the sky darkens. Here you can gather around that fire to hear stories from around the world presented with sensational skill by Crick Crack Club. Their theme on Saturday was Bawdy! and there was much of that but other human longings & fears too in tales from Papua New Guinea to South America at this unforgettable event. Nothing like the kind of story-telling that makes you long for a fast-forward button, these were superb performers: immensely endearing quirky styled Nell Phoenix, rhythmic strength TUUT, and Tim Ralphs whose folk-ballad deploring the redundancy of porn-movie fluffers in these Viagaran days was my highlight of the night.
And now as England steadies itself for whatever lies ahead after the big vote, I'll end with a snap of the ECOS amphitheatre, built to celebrate England's joining the European Union. I'm really really hoping I won't have to tag this image with an adapted Wilfred Owen quote:
Oh what made fatuous Fromies toil
To build ECOS at all....

1 comment:

Sunny Shores said...

Makes me long to be in England for the summer