Sunday, May 07, 2017

May: rough winds and other moving & shaking stuff

Frome writers had a strong presence at the Independent Market this month, with several signing events at Hunting Raven Books ~ here's Kate Maryon delighting young readers of My Sister is Bigger Than Me with cakes and a guinea-pig too ~ and the Frome Writers Collective had their usual stall in the Magpie Market, bulging with books by local authors. As always the market offered masses to see and sample, and this month there was extra to listen to, with buskers in the streets & in The Griffin, where an open mic session accompanied the Sunday lunches. Carl Sutterby's terrific ukulele punk sounds good everywhere but my poems are mostly scurrilous or cynical... lucky my set was before any children arrived. Thanks David for the picture!
The busking stage had great bands and a big audience all morning ~ here's The Heart Collectors ~ with mellow folk music in the Archangel courtyard in the afternoon, followed by Jazz Jam at the Cornerhouse.
Thus ended a weekend of sunshine and sound, with two Saturday night birthday parties: a disco at the Cornerhouse and the amazing Back Wood Redeemers, at the bar now quirkily calling itself Frome's New Venue - Name TBC but still commonly referred as The Wheatsheaves.
Now for the culture: a film, a play, and a photo exhibition this week, all with a war theme.
Ever since Frome's independent cinema The Westway reopened I've been waiting for one of their three screens to show something I really wanted to see so I could go and support it. This week I compromised with Their Finest.  It's a film about making films about WW2, set in that era, and one of the running gags is that the female scriptwriter (think Stacey out of Gavin-and, but less cute) needs to cut her scripts and leave out the part we don't need, and I wish the editors had done that too. Main attraction of the movie is Bill Nighy playing, as always, Bill Nighy, but I can report the revamped cinema is really nice so that's good. There's a useful tip in the script for writers too: Don't confuse facts with truth, and for chrissake don't let either of them get in the way of the story.

Still on the subject of war, truth, and propaganda, Bath's Victoria Art Gallery has an impressive exhibition of iconic historical photographs showing until 10 May: THE INCITE PROJECT comprises 75 photos that changed public perception of world events, from a sepia shot of Lenin's inflammatory speech in Petrograd Square in 1919 to a full-colour high-resolution image from 2014 of a rescue boat crowded with refugees. This duo from Berlin in 1945, of a Russian soldier hoisting a Soviet flag on the Reichstag reveals how the documentary photograph (top) was altered into a dramatic smoke-filled scene ~ wristwatches, presumably looted, have also been deleted from the soldiers' arms in the published shot too.

Paul Mason is best known as a radical leftwing journalist but recently he's taken his convictions on stage, first with a dramatised version of his book Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere at the New Vic and now with Divine Chaos of Starry Things at the White Bear in Kennington. An in-depth study a woman revolutionary from another era sounded fascinating, maybe even pertinent in current troubled times, and an exciting way to round off my trip up-town.  Paul writes for The Guardian, which published a piece about the play that shows its complexity. Other journals have found it overly didactic and lacking in character differentiation, but there's a positive summary here in the New Statesman.

Irrelevant footnote for this post: Before it disappears from Bristol's streets, here's a picture of the promotion for Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory this season.  Please note the two reviews quoted. Oh alright, you can't read it at that size, but trust me it's a massive poster, and the second reviewer is me...  what's the emoticon for a smirk?...

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