Park Place Pastoral Centre in Hampshire for a workshop.
Bravely, they opted for a full-day session, and fourteen writers arrived ready to seize every writing prompt with energy and amazing diversity plus frequent wicked humour. Hugely creative and great fun, in short ~ thanks so much to Carol Westron and Wendy Metcalfe for inviting me along. I enjoyed every minute.
Frome Writers' Collective monthly meeting at Three Swans was crowded for talk on "The Perfect Murder" by Alan Hamilton, author of Stalemate, a fictional tale inspired by the most famous unsolved murder in English history ~ the 'frenzy killing' of Julia Wallace in her Liverpool home in 1931. Alan's meticulous account of the circumstances, trial, and outcome were illustrated by slideshow and so well presented you could have heard a pin drop. One by one the theories were considered and discarded as the facts became curiouser and curiouser... could this woman of 70, claiming to be 20 years younger, have had lovers who combined to turn on her? Could her mild husband, despite so secure an alibi, have donned a mackintosh over his naked body to shatter her brain like a Nutribullet? All this and much more gruesome detail was presented and analysed in a fascinating study of the true story which Raymond Chandler called 'unbeatable' and PD James believed 'the most mysterious case ever.'
Camille Claudel and the Singer family, at that time foundry-owners. Camille, at one time known primarily for her disastrous love affair with Rodin, has this year been finally honoured by a museum dedicated to her art in Nogent-sur-Seine: this photograph of Camille's visit to Frome in 1866, presumed taken by Amy Singer, is now on display in the Town Hall with other images & more details. Another fascinating fact for fromeophiles.
Jazz Club return to the Cornerhouse with Funk from the Far Corners featuring the amazing talents of Keith Harrison-Broninski on keyboard, Andy Christie on guitar and Chris Jones on bass & double bass, with sensational drumming from Roberto Nappi, all climaxing in a sensational interpretation of Dodge the Dodo. (yes I did have to ask, not being familiar with Esbjorn Svensson). As a new arrival in town told me in awed tones after this finale, "I've got £80-tickets for a concert next week and I know I won't hear anything better than that!"
And finally for this posting: Jill Miller, Frome's most famous feminist ~ her 1983 novel Happy as a Dead Cat was on the reading list for Women's Studies courses for two decades ~ also renowned for founding Positive Action on Cancer counselling service, and for touring her autobiographical stage drama Time Bomb internationally ~ was invited to reflect on What keeps you awake at night? Battersea Arts Centre selected twelve people to film, in the dead of night, their answer to this question. Jill talks movingly about her personal killer: "Don’t let them say I was brave…" But she clearly is brave, to challenge the popular cliche of the 'battle' with cancer ("I'm a pacifist" she says simply) and to speak calmly something usually either sentimentalised or taboo. You can see Jill's response here.