These are difficult days for a local/Arts blog to remain apolitical. With no live theatre or live music, or live groups of any kind even in a cinema auditorium, my off-line entertainment is mostly walking through trees. There's plenty of stimulus online, of course, but after seven months you probably know your own interests there. And with that self-deprecating & somewhat grumpy intro, here's a few things you may or may not know about already, as Frome town is currently as besieged as Macbeth when Burnham Wood began shuffling its deadly way to Dunsinane. Easthill Field is the latest green space to be noted by developers, to the dismay of many who value this species-rich habitat - this is an ancient lime tree, one of the last remaining from the avenue that once led up to Easthill House. The land is earmarked for social housing but protesters insist they are not just NIMBYs as the location, tucked behind a cemetery at a busy junction outside the town centre, isn't suitable for this, and with influential support & careful research they have secured a delay on the decision. Do join the Friends of Easthill Field if you want to follow their progress or feel you can help.Broadway Allotments and Community Garden Association. With much hard work already, this abandoned area is slowly returning to its previous function but it hasn't evaded the eye of developers. Frome Town Council is backing the allotment group and has presented a case to Mendip, so let's hope this last small green lung remains in our town's ever more dense housing estates. Stop Selwood Garden Community is the protest organisation opposing this euphemistically termed project - and yes, I do realise housing is needed but this project is a cynical money-spinner: no social housing, no chance for Frome's young people stay in their own community continuing the tradition of local companies. To put it in another context, UK Government data this September showed there are 600,000 empty houses across the country, double their annual national building target in fact. Property is a good investment for the monied: rent continues to arrive and repairs are tax-deductible. And once the last of Selwood Forest is eroded, we've lost more than we can ever regain.
Sunday, November 29, 2020
Friday, November 20, 2020
Friday, November 13, 2020
Performance taking teetering steps back into the live world has, of course, been stopped in its tracks. Theatre Royal Bath's costly 'Welcome Back' season of three great classic dramas was halted after the first show (Pinter's Betrayal) and Bristol Old Vic is working out live-streaming from the stage for Hedda in order not to postpone their new collaboration with the BOV Theatre School. Future productions will also be semi-streamed, with a few seats available in the theatre.
Saturday, November 07, 2020
during lockdown, check this brilliant directory of opportunities from Shop Frome - another of the pro-active responses to difficult times in our extraordinary town.
So at the end of a quiet week, here's two images of autumn from my 'permitted exercise': fields by Frome, and Shearwater lake. Long may these sunny chill days continue...
Monday, November 02, 2020
web-page here - a remarkable achievement and a fascinating collection of interviews. A wonderful addition to the public history of Frome. Still with words: A West Country Homecoming is the title of Frome author John Payne's new book, which - he says - 'explores the possibilities of writing history backwards from the present into the past.' It's part memoir, part family history, part social history, and illustrated with over 100 photographs from family albums and other sources. This is another from quirky Hobnob Press, run by John Chandler who seems to have become the go-to publisher for Frome writers.
Also from the Hobnob stable (or possibly kitchen), my book The Price of Bread now has it's own Facebook page, inspired by a staggeringly good review which actually suggests it could be a Booker contender... pick yourself off the floor and read it here. "Rarely have I read a book that casts such an accurate looks at the 60s - an era of free love impossible to imagine nowadays - in the context of hostile social forces." was the encouraging verdict of author & editor Dana Rufolo.
Liv Torc, despite having a tough summer, has again managed to spin Covid straw into words of gold with her latest publication: a collection of poems produced by Siren Poets: What if we can't save the Earth - But if the Earth could save us? Liv guided a group of sixty participants on a 'creative quest to uncover the lessons the Earth sends us, by uncovering sigs and metaphors in nature. This is a stunning little booklet, full of lucent imagery and creative surprises, and it's good to see words from several poets well-known in Frome Poetry Cafe - here's a short sample from Jo Butts, our current Festival Poet Laureate (a title it currently looks as though she will hold forever...) - an actual news story transformed into a thought-provoking haiku: A young polar bear / devours a sleeping camper / His hunger? Our fault.stopsgc is the site.