Sunday, January 15, 2017

Wolf moon

In a week of crystalline cold clear skies and frosty mornings, with the wolf moon full and strangely haloed, here in downtown Frome life continues its creative way. I'll start with art.

"A tree represent something full of life, but calm" says Clive Walley of his paintings of Birches in Mist on show now at Black Swan Arts in an exhibition exploring the relationship between reality, perception and what we are allowed to see.
Gazing around this roomful of large square canvases, all similar though none identical, feels a bit like straining to see through the time-fretted glass of a train window, or staring at the world through gauze net curtains. There are outlines but the impediment is the image itself. The 'artist notes' explain this is about the struggle between two conventions of representation, the birch trees set out in the conventional way... and the mist standing in for the mid-twentieth century conception of "flatness". Showing till February 4th ~ and Clive welcomes responses: sadly the Black Swan poetry group is still currently awaiting news of access ~ don't let that stop you writing though...

Roots Grain Bar Sessions restart next week but there's been no shortage of brilliant music in Frome. Griffin Open Mic night on Thursday had some stunning acts: The Moonlit Poachers and Glastonbury foursome Lazydaze were among an impressive lineup including genius impro from MC Ross p, who responded to audience appreciation of his plum jam song with an inspired rap about Pearl Jam and Jeremy Kyle.

And there was a great party in The Three Swans upstairs room to celebrate the memorial anniversary of David Bowie, first of last year's much-mourned casualties ~ big appreciation to Pat Feeney who kept the film stream and songs going while we danced.
Still on the subject of Space Oddities, Frome astronomer Mike Witt will be in Beckington next Friday to present his impressive summary of space exploration from the pioneering 1950s to the current debris-riddled state of the galaxy, with over 4000 satellites whizzing round earth at 18,000 mph and smashing each other into squillions of bits like a Nutribullet.  I was treated to a preview of the talk, and it's interesting social history too, spanning the years when 'computers' were Afro-American women, (thus segregated from the men whose lives were in the hands of their calculations) and the reckless 'space race' between Russia & USA, which probably sacrificed lives of men as well as dogs, until the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission co-led by Alexey Leonov and Tom Stafford. They say what doesn't kill you makes you strong: here they are as octogenarians at the Gagarin Training Centre last year.
This topic for this month's social meeting of the Frome Writers Collective was preparing manuscripts for publication, with an excellent talk from Tim Cutting who last year printed his own book What a Long Strange Trip it's Been. Tim has also helped others from the memoir group led by Rosie Jackson, and he offers a range of advice options to anyone wanting to self-publish. Frome's literary creativity is endlessly awesome: at the Bowie party I met stonemason & writer Andrew Ziminski who's just been signed up by Bill Bryson's agent ~ with publishing auction pending ~ for his fascinating-sounding book on the history of migrations, from birds to people and ideas, that have created the land we call our own today.
Finally for this post:  Here's me in Bristol on Monday at the Ujima Radio Station talking about my poetry collection Crumbs from a Spinning World with Gail Bowen-Huggett - our interview for the Babbers show is online at that link.

And I'm delighted to be supporting Merlin Theatre with their Short Play Competition this year - closing date 31 March, so for all you writers out there, here's what you need to know:

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