Sunday, October 25, 2020

From azure & gold to mainly grey..

How dark and cluttered England alway seems after an absence: pale pleated sky hanging low over endlessly cluttered terrain on the drive home from Plymouth. In Spain masks are mandatory for all public places, and after a month with this sense of safety, the 14-day requirement to withdraw was actually a relief while readjusting to the on-off policy that England allows. But Frome is all about community so I've attempted a skim-catch-up on how the enterprising townsfolk have maintained their creativity... and of course, the answer is: impressively. 

Words first: here's a link to Andy Wrintmore's Giant Pod  interview with Chris Bucklow, artist and art historian in which, as Andy says, 'We go down a rabbit hole of Chris’s complex and captivating theories about how his subconscious communicates with him via dreams, how we can learn to derive or interpret lessons about ourselves and get a better read on where our heads might be at.' Eleanor Talbot too has created several Variations on a Theme interviews with a difference. Her recent themes were healing, hair, and 'sexy connections'. 

Hunting Raven Bookshop is maintaining its reputation for innovative energy, with a socially-distanced book sale at the Silk Mill this weekend. with two more planned.  
Frome Writers Collective is maintaining active support for an increasing membership, with a virtual writing workshop, story contest, and monthly meetings continuing on Zoom, with historian Peter Clark giving a talk on his new book, Churchill's Britain.

And - not from this patch, but poet Steve Pottinger is so well-liked in Frome that he's allowable - do check out Come to me now,, a reflection on nature and how life is always 'a moment you pluck between finger and thumb, a just-ripe moment...

Obedient self-isolation similarly precludes any report on this weekend's exhibition of visual artworks made by people in Frome during lockdown, Creation from Isolation, curated by the Edventure students, but there's a virtual tour here. North Somerset Arts group took a different online approach, with members' work posted in their Virtual Art Exhibition throughout the weekend. Masses of high quality work, in a wide range of media - here's a painting by Gail Mason, from 'imaginary 'Emotional Landscapes,' places that I would like to be, and memories of how it feels to be in nature.' - because I miss these colours. 
I narrowly missed the 6x6 exhibition at the WHY Gallery, selling cores of tiny masterpieces  donated in support of the charity counselling service that Jill Miller founded - particularly poignant in the month of the first anniversary of her death. 

The amazing Frome Street Bandits have responded to lockdown with a massively impressive display by the full clan of 'semi-autonomous anarchic syndicalist' instrumentalists in a piece they call Ca Fait Pas Mal (compilation credit Jez le Fevre). Premiered October 19th - a fullscreen must-watch, here.

Frome's individual musicians have been prolific in their online posts on facebook, both on their own pages and on the public group Open Micsolate (with an impressive 6,600 members, none of whom seem any more keen to retrain than Fatima...) - here's Guru in a Camper Van from Paul Kirtley and Shoreline by Jane Langley and friends, both original works. And there's a new album out any minute now from Phil Cooper: here's Over My Head, one of the tracks on These Revelation Games. 

And now as autumn arrives although the world still feels nowhere near normal, there are reasons to be cheerful: my pre-ordered copy of Staying Human from Bloodaxe Books (edited by Neil Astley) has arrived and hedges are spurting with vivid, glamorous, reassuringly ordinary, bunches of berries. 
  
 


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