This illustrated edition of Frome life starts with some of the week's great music sessions ~ from Olli's Open Mic
at the Artisan on Monday to Sunday's afternoon jam at the Archangel and Jazz the Cornerhouse with Graham Dent's terrific trio with Simon Sax guesting ~ wish there was sound for their magic version of John Coltrane's Impressions.)
Big civic news of the week was the opening of the new Town Hall, an impressive Victorian building on the southern hill of the town ~ Frome has hills at every turn ~ now elegantly refurbished since Somerset CC moved out. You can read more in the Frome Times, or even in a book, but here's the splendid Italian Renaissance exterior, and a couple of our splendid civic dignitaries: Mayor Toby with Deputy Al and secretary Rebecca, greeting Froomies all keen to take the guided tours on throughout the afternoon.There was a party in the evening too, which I missed as I'd already opted to go to Toppings in Bath to hear TS-Eliot-prize-winner Jacob Polley reading from Jackself. Described as 'firecracker of a book' by the judges, the poet blends Jacks of rhymes and fables with memories of a Cumbrian childhood to create this loosely-autobiographical collection, 'playful and terrifying, lyric and narratively compelling.. an unforgettable exploration of an innocence and childhood.. one of the most remarkable imaginations at work in poetry today.' Jacob sees his writing process as "doing a jigsaw but without the front of the box" & I relate to his 'kind-of-strategy' too: "I would never stop it going where it wanted to go, even if it didn't seem very poetic or seemed stupid." An interesting event, and also a chance to catchup with Diana Cambridge who runs writing groups from her bohemian home in Camden Road.
No report from the Grain Bar this week as Wednesday was booked for another away-from-base event: As the Crow Flies at The Salberg studio theatre in Salisbury Playhouse, written by Hattie Naylor. The last play I saw by this writer was Bluebeard, a powerful piece produced in Bristol four years ago which I reviewed as 'tautly shocking from the opening line, words chosen with precision and cuttingly delivered, poetic and visual ~ not so much filmic as a series of savagely erotic paintings.' So I was interested to see what this drama about a woman and her pet crow would be like. I have to say the crow was brilliant ~ Tom Brownlee totally charismatic with or without his superb mask. It’s an ambitious aim, to extend a story that could be summed up in a sentence (lonely woman finds wounded crow, keeps it for a bit, becomes less lonely) to a two-act play with story-telling through exposition and songs, but there's some interesting science: I didn't know before that birds fly using quantum entanglement:throwing out two electrons in opposite directions to inform each other and relay information instantaneously back to the bird. There is no way of knowing which particle is ahead in time and which is past. They both exist in the same moment.
Footnote for this week: a look back at the Poetry Platter at the Merlin, courtesy of photographer David Goodman. Frome's next poetry night, on 24th, will be back at the Garden Cafe with readings from Lindsay Clarke and Matt Duggan.
So here in running order:
me, XJX, Hannah Teasdale, Chris Redmond, Liv Torc, and Buddy Carson.