Friday, August 14, 2020

Mostly outdoors: words, music, & other sounds

It's been a hot week, perfect for long walks in the countryside and safe outdoor gatherings. Last Saturday evening combined elements of both, with a large group of nature-loving Fromies staging a peaceful protest-party in Rodden meadow in response to an excessive and ill-timed assault on the trees of Willow Vale on behalf of the quarry railway. A barrier-side  meeting between representatives of both sides of the dispute resulted in a pledge to restore the treeline once the work is completd, which won't restore the habitat of this year's birds, bats, and myriad other wild life, but is at least a civil compromise, and the gathering became more of a musical soiree as the warm evening darkened.

Another musical gathering next day: this time in Victoria Park where Paul Kirtley's We Don't Scare Easy Tribe continued their support of the slow return to live music in Frome with an afternoon session on the bandstand.  Several guest performers were also accommodated before the end of this four-hour session, without any breach of spacing or sanitising, so hopefully there will be more of these excellent sessions - strong songs, excellent performers, and great sound.

An unusual art report this week, as Breezeblock Beats put on an exhibition at the Bennet Centre inspired by the early 20th Century electronic audio art movement Musique Concrete. Eleven individual 10-minute compositions ere played on a loop throughout Saturday afternoon, each one created in response to recordings of the ambient sounds of that building. I was particularly drawn to Carl Sutterby's evocative piece Ghosts, which reminded me of the Tristram Shandy banquet held in that very two years ago - though with shadows and sunlight replacing the opulent costumes and aromas... an interesting & unusual event. 

With my new novel The Price of Bread now beginning to raise interest in the US, it was great fun to chat with Suzy Howlett about the background and origins of this story for the FWC Writers on Radio broadcast aired Friday 21 August at 2pm (and online soon after.) Here we are in Suzy's lovely garden, snapped by Jane Battye.

And also on the subject of writing, Frome's renowned eco-poet Helen Moore is offering a programme of 'Wild Ways to Writing' - online mentoring for 'a unique creative writing journey into deeper Nature connection.  Hopefully Helen will be one of the poets coming along to the return of Frome Poetry cafe on September 3rd, on the ECOS amphitheatre outside the Merlin - I've already had the wonderful news that Frome favourites Liv Torc and Deborah Harvey and John Christopher Wood intend to be there! It's b.y.o. tipples, nibbles, and cushioning for the stones, and  £2 entries will go directly to the theatre. Big thanks too to Suzy Howlett for this snazzy flyer!


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