Monday, March 13, 2017

Art & nature: words, music, and meteorology

There are some fascinating examples of the scope of 'fine art' among the Society of Graphic Artists exhibition in Black Swan Arts Round Tower ~ this evocative view of 'Leyn Farm' by Pete Monaghan has elements of collage. I also really liked the story of the Large Blue butterfly integrated with Gary Cook's sketches. Showing till 25th ~ recommended.

Adam Norsworthy was featured guest for the Roots Session at the Grain Bar, with the promo promising in an age of reality ‘stars’ and ever-more manufactured singers, Adam is the real deal. This turned out no hype: Adam is one of those solo artists with enough diversity as well as skill to delight and transfix the audience all night. His songs have stories both within and around them, and Adam's range of rocking covers extends to popular nostalgia like Del Shannon's Runaway and Beatles' I saw her standing there ~ "It changed my life," he declares, and we all sing along: I'll never dance with another ~ whoo-ooo! Ah, happy days... remember them well.
Adam's story-telling style moves me neatly on to the following night's fantastic Tapas Soiree in Bath which featured, among other wonderful wordsmiths, the Bookshop Band. This awesomely talented duo has cornered the market in songs about books ~ I think they invented the market, actually. Ben Please and Beth Porter ('charming, clever and quite unfairly talented' said Patrick Gale) at the request of the Beeb have even composed a song from book first lines (Once Upon a Time on their album Curious & Curiouser).
The 'Soiree', at Chapel Arts Cafe, was a sell-out success offering not only platters of Mark's tasty tapas but poetry and song in an evening rich with evocations of Southwest heritage as well as literature. Paul (Yirdbard) Darby sang of ravens and of ghosts from the lost village of Imber, chiming with descriptions of Clattinger meadow from Peter Please. Lindsay Clarke's re-envisioning of 'the most immortal god of all' in his Dance with Hermes echoed as a time-line journey the long unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a novel featured by the Bookshop Band, who then ended our amazing night with a return to ghosts and ravens. So everything dovetailed and tied up beautifully, and I'm not sure how my 'crone' poems fitted in, maybe just something different like intermission ice-cream, but the audience was delightful and laughed in all the right places. A fantastic night, thanks everyone and especially Peter Please who dreamed up this rich diversity and made it happen.

And then to Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, to enjoy the company and words of seven very different writers on a weekend course at The Grange, which is a kind of annexe & taster for Skyros Holistic Holidays. It's also the home of Skyros founder Yannis Andricopoulis, filled with art & books as well as luxurious guest rooms, with lavish meals, open-access bar, and constant fresh coffee & treats. The coast is close too, so during breaks we usually stroll the cliff-top path or mooch on the beach but this weekend a dense screen of white mist hid the sea and gripped the land. Fog, however, is apparently an effective writing stimulus, evoking atmospheric imagery and generating a genuinely impressive range of themes & ideas during our short course. Alan, Claire, Jan, Louise, Sally, Sarah, and Tom, I hope you all enjoyed yourselves as much as I did. I didn't take a 'group shot', so here's the breakfast menu. (yes I know you can't read it, but just look at the length!)

Meanwhile in Frome, where extraordinariness waits for no man or woman, our epic independent record store Raves from the Grave celebrated their 20th birthday with a massive party featuring some local bands plus their biggest fan Tom Robinson (I'm chuffed to see Tom's official pics page includes 3 of mine from his last visit). Sad to miss that, but I was back home in time for Sunday's funky session at Frome Jazz Club with Andy Christie ~ The Griffin has great atmosphere but its stygian gloom is too dense for my camera so here's Anne Harrison-Broninski's rapid-response sketch of Keith and the band.

Final footnote for this week: a picture by Katy Bear Smith from last month's Polers' n' Poets event for the One Billion Rising event: me doing me pomes in Bath ~ which reminds me I haven't booked my complementary arial aerobics taster with Funky Monkey yet...

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