Sunday, May 13, 2018

Buzzy week in Frome: bells, blossom, bands, books and boxes

A crowded week in Frome began for me with another Word Play, Visual Radio Arts' quarterly digression from music to poetry, and an excellent session from four Bristol poets: Paul Deaton, Pauline Seward, Elizabeth Parker, and Bob Walton all have new books out and their varied voices and thoughts combined to a create a great session - you can hear it live here. Thanks again to Phil and Mags, for this amazing facility, another of the specialnesses of Frome.
Mark Steel reckons he's finally perfected the Frome accent. He gave us a sample at the opening of his show at the Cheese & Grain: "Basically, when we bought it, it was just a farm," intoned in deepest North London merchant-banker-ese. He got a roar of appreciation for what was probably the funniest gag of the night (the ones that hurt usually are). Mark's political satire is always snigger-worthy but his attempt to stir up local small-town rivalry with Trowbridge met an uncomfortable silence. It seemed a bit like asking a swan if it was bothered by a beetle. And there far was too much about his recent divorce, so I took advantage of the interval to head for 23 Bath Street and bop along with Subgiant at the official warm-up party for Once Upon a Time In the West festival.

Other music this week: Chris Jagger Trio at the Wednesday Grain Bar Roots Session, showing how different two brothers can be, and the indescribably marvellous Beef Unit turning the air punk at 23 Bath Street.
SickOnes, back from their debut tour of America's West Coast, gave Frome a raucous free taster of their at Gents Street Sneakers, and rock tribute band Purple Fish came back to Cornerhouse for landlord Martin's birthday bash.. I might've got a better image but was too busy dancing...

With the arrival of May bringing sizzling sunshine just about everywhere in the UK  ~ we topped 27° here ~ our monthly Independent Market had a seasonally floral theme, as masses of sprigs of fresh blossom were entwined into hundreds of crowns and headdresses in workshops provided by a team from Somerset Garden Day ~ one of the best features the ever-inventive Marketeers have yet provided. Popular Boss Morris from Stroud brought a nice pagan touch and bright lime green socks too.

The Frome Book Fair at the Silk Mill returned for another successful event, attracting bibliophiles from far and wide with collectibles from children's illustrated fables to rare military histories. And as a footnote to the RAISE (Refugee action in Somerset East) art auction in February, the exquisite composite artwork representing 'Home' which was created by visitors' contributions during that event has found a permanent home at Black Swan Arts. Here's us celebrating this with Kate Cochrane whose guiding hand completed the compilation.

In a bulletin already too hectic (this is Frome-related, though, as the Merlin provided rehearsal space) I'm including in this post an impressive one-man show at Bath's Rondo: Too Pretty to Punch is the concept of Edward/Edalia Day whose 80 minutes of analysis and rhetoric on being trans is engrossing and seriously entertaining. Edalia is a superb performer: narration is mainly dialogue ~ with himself/herself, with imaginary others, and with the audience ~ blended seamlessly with poignant poetry, and the focus explorative rather than political, finding new ways to share old understandings: "We play at being adults until we’ve learned it off by heart… we’ve farmed ourselves into the shapes we are now." For Edalia, trans is not a dysmorphia that leads to surgery, it's about whatever you need to do to cope, and everyone who finds themselves boxed in by a rigid conformity should get out of that box and make their own. Basically it's about being human. The graphics (by B. Mure) are brilliant - there's a taster here.


alan overton said...

I didn't go to Mark Steel's show, Chrissy, but re your comments about a swan being bothered by a beetle,people don't believe me when I tell them that Trowbridge is on the up!(Especially when I've taken the piss out of it in the past).Town Hall Arts is a thriving venue and community centre, with theatre, film,music,changing art exhibitions( some of national standing),and a charming little artisan shop. There's also The Bridge drawing centre,a very interesting museum showing the town's industrial and weaving history, and info about Isaac Pitman, of shorthand fame, who was born in the town.And, of course, the Arc Theatre.It's still got a way to go to catch Frome up,but at least it's trying. I wouldn't advise you to drink there at chucking-out time on a Saturday night, though!

Crysse said...

Thanks Alan - good points about Trowbridge! Frome does still think it's streets ahead of other rural towns though... Arc Theatre is a gem, I agree.