Kicking off this bulletin with live music, doubly precious in this short window before the changing season will halt outdoor sessions again. Paul Kirtley's We Don't Scare Easy Tribe returned to The Mill at Rode on Saturday afternoon and treated visitors in the garden area & balcony to a high-energy medley of old favourites like Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder and Gerry Rafferty with a good splash of Oasis, Greenday, Crowded House, Police, Stones, and perfectly hitting with vibe Joni Mitchell: We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden... All in all such a stonkingly great session that optional donations in the bucket for Fair Frome reached nearly £180. Big credit to (L-R) Jim, Chris, Joseph, Colin, Paul, Alex, David - and to sound-man Steve. Here's the idyllic location:
Sunday's session at Prestleigh Inn, near Evercreech, rather more laid-back, proved a delightful way to pass a sunny Sunday afternoon in friendly company with live music - and this too had a fabulous location, with views over the Royal Bath & West Showground fields which are readily accessible for roaming from the pub garden. Hospitable landlord Gary made everyone welcome in this perfect spot for a sunny afternoon, enjoying a quirky take on Beatles and more by Jakey Zee with Sherrie Nutty followed by a strong solo performance, enhanced by loop, from Jorden Lindsay.
No live drama this week but physical theatre Kneehigh offered a free online experimental show: 'a love story with a bitter twist, a modern fairytale for grown-ups and brave youngsters.' The Neon Shadow is a short two-hander exploring isolation and desire based on a Hans Anderson tale enhanced by animated effects. It's an interesting take on a difficult theme and is still viewable on the link, as there are plans to develop this work into a live performance, so take a look and comment if you feel intrigued.
Highlight of the week for me came on Friday with the Frome Poetry Cafe on Merlin Theatre's ECOS amphitheatre, an open-mic event which was weather-precarious right up until 7pm when we launched into - in the words of participating poets, an event with 'lovely atmosphere, very high standard of contributions, and a real uplifit in these weird times' - 'a gorgeous evening of words and moonlight!' Fourteen performers & readers from as far afield as Bath and Box shared a range of themes & styles from witty ditties and black humour to poignant memories. Huge appreciation to all especially to Liv Torc for treating us to the premiere of her new poem commissioned by Siren Poets There's Something About Mary, and mega thanks to sound-&-lighting man Steve, and to Merlin's open-minded director Claudia & team for trusting our posse of bards to behave ourselves as well as having a fabulous time.
Still in Frome: it was great catching up with Eleanor Talbot to talk about her weekly online show Variations on a Theme
. Eleanor's life took her from Dublin to Canada via the Scottish Highlands, so she brings a wide cultural interest to this quirky show broadcasts from downtown Frome. taking a different themes for each episode: love, revolution, guilty pleasures... even punctuation, with a retrospective look at the interrobang
, a punctuation symbol that apparently enjoyed a brief heyday in the 1960s when writers identified a need to denote the 'excitable query' and combined exclamation with question marks in a single symbol: He said what‽ Was this the serpent's-apple forerunner of all emoticons, emojis and gifs, now released by this first sin!
Ending this week's bulletin with a puff for The Price of Bread
: a short interview with Suzy Howlett on the Frome FM
'Writers on Radio' show hosted by Frome Writers Collective here
: it's starts a7 minutes in and lasts around ten, then ends with Wonderwall
as I think my messily-creative, dreamily romantic, central character Lee would have loved Oasis. It was great fun chatting with Suzy and I realised, as I listened in, that she's an extremely astute interviewer....
And as a happy footnote, this novel has now crossed the Atlantic to Canada and America, and has now provided a discussion topic for at least two book groups! I still have a few copies, and Hunting Raven does too. I'm delighted with the reader reviews, too.