Sunday, June 25, 2017

All over the place like the barometer

This week has been a cluster of diversities, starting with Word Play, a new show from Visual Radio Arts: Four performance poets, Liv Torc, John Christopher Wood, Moira Andrews & me, gathered in the studio on Saturday to be interviewed by David Chandler and perform a set ~ it all went out live and now there's a classy remix version on the website here!

Words at the Black Swan, the poetry workshop linked to each new exhibition in the Long Gallery, reconvened after a long break with a strong stimulus in the work of Ricky Remain. Despite the temperature on Monday afternoon rising over 30° this was a really good session, with thoughtful discussion leading to some powerful pieces of writing.

And then for a complete change of focus, I was a time traveller for three days with Feet First, walking the story of the universe with Annabelle Macfadyen. We start 4.6 billion years ago and pace the earth's story from stardust to 2017 in 5-million-year steps, through catastrophes and the recoveries to the realisation that only in the last half-pace of our long journey does Sapiens appear. Every group of children ~ we did the walk for five groups, in three different Somerset venues ~ buzzed with fascinating questions afterwards, and their enthusiasm was awesome.

It's been a great week for parties and music. Here's Bonne Nouvelle performing at the Silk Mill, a venue which also proved superb for showing the paintings of David Moss in the exhibition which opened on Thursday ~ vibrant and visceral images inspired by nature, using landscapes, events and memories.

Our regular music events Roots Sessions at the Grain Bar and Jazz at the Cornerhouse both had something special this week: Howard Vause was guest singer for Graham Dent's jazz trio, bringing a cool sensuous ballad mood to a warm Sunday afternoon, and the folk/pop sounds of the Jupiter Owls were a definite hit on Wednesday night.
And as a Friday night bonus, the legendary Pete Gage Band rocked Sam's Kitchen ~ not one of my usual haunts as I'm not of a fan of their faux-industrial decor and inflated bar prices, but a fantastic quartet like this makes a visit compulsory. Pete's amazing voice creates uniquely vibrant shades of blue in the blues, and Paul Hartshorn's guitar playing is breathtaking.

My week ended as it began, with live poetry: this time to the audience of Words & Ears at Chippfest, organised by Dawn Gorman as a charity event (Hospice Care and Moving on from Homelessness) at a pub barn embellished in Byzantine splendour. Good to re-meet poets with whom I've performed before ~ Patrick Osada, Peter Wyton & Sue Boyle, as well as Frome's Moira Andrew and Dawn herself, and fabulous to discover the poetry of Maggie Harris, who I've persuaded, I think, to come to Frome soon.

And on this lyrical note, don't forget the Frome Poetry Festival Cafe this year has, as well as a marvellous guest in the person of Deborah Harvey, the usual contest to crown a new Festival Poet Laureate. This prestigious title, currently held by Bath bard John Christopher Wood (who took the role seriously enough to write an Ode for Mayor Toby on the occasion of his running in the Frome Half Marathon) provides the recipient not only with kudos but a certificate and a bottle of bubbly donated by Frome Wholefoods.  This year for the first time contestants have a theme: as there are several other events in the festival honouring the centenary of southwest essayist and war poet Edward Thomas, it's That Adlestrop Moment, and we want short poems of personal epiphany, those glimpses of ordinary life that somehow illuminate something beyond the ordinary...

Here's the Edward Thomas poem which inspired the theme, but your poem doesn't have to follow that form ~ haiku, limerick, freeform all acceptable ~ and will probably be a moment in time located somewhere other than a railway station! 


Unknown said...

WHat a pleasure it was to welcome you to the byzantine splendour of the Old Road Tavern pub barn Crysse . Thank you for being part of a quality event.

Crysse said...

A great pleasure to be there! :-) xx