Monday, January 30, 2017

Choose life, Frome style

It's been a great week for live music, with Roots Sessions at the Grain Bar Cafe crowded out on Wednesday for 'laid-back, rootsy, jazzy' Pete Gage Trio: the fabulous gritty voice of Dr Feelgood's erstwhile vocalist, also dynamic on piano, combined with virtuoso guitar playing from Jon Amor and Duncan Kingston's superb double-bass. The vibe was fantastic ~ a night to remember.
And there's an Acoustic Club nearby Frome, I've now discovered, in Dilton Marsh, with regular folk nights in the pub - it's the Prince of Wales but there's only one so you can't miss it - with excellent performers and a friendly atmosphere. Music ranged from folk & blues to original songs and a smattering of hippy nostalgia. 'Dilton always reminds me of Woodstock' explained Paul Kirtley before beautifully singing we are stardust, we are golden, and Carl Sutterby gave us a terrific punk-uke set: Buzzcocks' Breakdown, Stranglers' No More Heroes and Clash classic Guns of Brixton.
Back in Frome town, Saturday night saw Sam's Kitchen writhing with jive and cocktails as Great Big Feet ~ three young whipper-snapppers from the big city ~ played classic smoochie dancey blues & swing so it felt just like a club night in the fifties, except of course for all the selfies, and cocktails instead of half-pints of warm beer.

A good week too for Frome Writers Collective, with the launch of a second novel under their Silver Crow brand: The Tissue Veil by local author Brenda Bannister, an intriguing story of two girls divided by a hundred years but both resisting restrictive cultures: in 1901, English feminism is in its infancy, while in 2001 a Bengali teenager battles with her traditional family. Brenda lived and worked in the area of London where her story is set, and has close connections with the Bengali community, so this novel will make fascinating reading. Karin Campagna of Hunting Raven Books hosted this first launch in the newly-refurbished bookshop, and Brenda gave a short talk with readings to a crammed audience.
And there's an unexpected writing link in T2 Trainspotting, now on general release. This movie does what it promises on the poster: revisits the four wild boys now their in their forties, still fighting the cards dealt them by life's lottery ~ or in Begbie’s case, just still fighting. Another brilliant soundtrack, and much evocation of the original movie: the energy is less raw though still focussed on escape by and from their addictions. That iconic 'Choose Life' rant is powerfully and provocatively updated by Ewen Macgregor (bloggers get a glancing blow from his cynical scythe) and there's a satisfyingly redemptive strand that writers will enjoy. Renton still looks good, Spud is still cartoon-faced, Sick Boy has lasted least well despite his Warhol-blond hair, and Begbie... - ok that’s enough spoilers, go see it. On in Bath Odeon and everywhere. Oh and they give you That poster.

Final footnote this week is a look ahead to summer and Skyros Holistic Holidays, and I'm pleased to see four of my photos on the cover of their new brochure.  If you're interested in writing, there are other options as well as my courses on finding your 'voice', so do click the link & take a look. Going somewhere new and different, in the company of others who share the passion, is an amazingly effective way to kickstart ideas and enrich your creative processes.  And Skyros is a magical island...

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