Sunday, August 01, 2021

Outlook unsettled but magic still around

Let's start with a storm: the torrents sprayed wildly on the audience by wonderful Folksy Theatre  in Merlin's ECOS amphitheatre to get us all into the spirit of The Tempest on Wednesday evening. Musicians as well as actors, this endearing quintet held their audience rapt as they morphed between characters with speedy costume changes, from ethereal sprite & romantic lover to a couple of drunks, in the most impressively extreme case. 

Shakespeare was all about patron-pleasing, and while Good Queen Bess loved the vulgarity of the Merry Wives and the man-teasing of Malvolio, her 1603 successor James I didn't: he wanted magic and masques, which aren't so easy to graft into a popular rom-com. Perhaps that's why The Tempest is the bard's last play: Prospero's breaking of his magic stick is seen as symbolic of Shakespeare's decision to create no more stage dramas after this one, believed completed in 1611. Folksy's production wisely minimised the gratuitous mythical set pieces and focussed on clarifying the storyline and maximising the comedy. 

In both these aspects they did really well: Andrew Armfield was delightful as both Stephano the drunk and Ferdinand the lover (playing each with just a touch of Bertie Wooster), Ariel was enchanting and Miranda charming; Caliban as apparently an Ulsterman fresh from a brawl in his underwear was entertaining though without the poignancy sometimes found in this abused role, and Tom Hardwicke's Prospero was simply the best interpretation of this demanding role that I've yet seen anywhere. Huge credit to director Lee Hardwicke too. The audience sprawled across every level of the ECOS stones clearly loved it, and so they should: it was brilliant - well paced and full of energy and fun.  Here's Rachel Delooze as Ariel with her master, and as above as Trinculo with Stephano and Caliban (Gilchrist Muir).

While open-air theatre companies have had more chance to survive the last couple of years, problems for indoor productions have been intense and, despite some ingenious adaptations, most stage practitioners are having a really tough time. Acting For Others is the UK Actors Support Network and actor John Cragg runs a Youtube page of productions created to fund this charity for the industry. This week has the impressive addition of a zoomed reading of King Lear directed by Andrew Hilton, founder/director of the excellent Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory company which, until he stepped down in 2017 after 18 years of high-quality productions, was always a high spot in my reviewing calendar. With a stunning cast headed by David Horovitch as the impetuous old king, this is so good that - even for nearly 3 hours - it's easy to forget that the boxed heads meet only in our shared imagination. Here's the self-deposed king at the start of his sufferings, losing his temper when reproached by his daughter and teased by his fool.

Eleanor Talbot's latest episode of Variations of a Theme has a focus on the Mind's Eye, and an interview with Pete Gage, previously best known as a fantastic keyboard player and singer - he was the voice of Dr Feelgood during the 1990s - who has now published a book of his poems and mandalas. His interview starts at 13.50 in (pausing for John Lennon's Mind Games at 26 minutes, and restarting at 37.00 -49.00) and is a fascinating account of Pete's creative sensitivity and processes, with a beautiful reading of his poem about Robert Schumann written in Bonn. Pete's readings show a sensitivity that may surprise many who know him mainly from his mega-popular blues band, and the mandalas are all quite beautiful - order from Pete here, or from Hunting Raven Books.

As we cautiously emerge into new national regulations, all balancing desire to maintain safe social barriers against the detrimental effects of isolation on our mental health, Frome's Sun Inn opened its newly-improved premises for a live gig from The Hoodoos. No dancing, seating spacey, masks worn at the bar, and the exuberance of this multitalented sextet all combined to make this one a must-do for me.  Live music is the life blood of our community, it seems, and as the long sunny evenings wane it will be hard to resist such events.

In fresh air again on Sunday for 'Open Gardens' day in Nunney village giving access to some splendid vistas: Eleanor and I travelled with Gordon Alexander and another friend to tour twelve of the superb gardens listed, choosing Midhurst as our favourite for its  layered layout, vibrant colours, and its feisty feline incumbent - but all of them really were gorgeous. Our trip was top'n'tailed with cake & tea in the church at the start, and excellent Sauvignon in The George before we headed homeward at sunset.

Concluding this week of dark clouds as well as sunshine with a look back at the Frome Festival at the start of the month, inspired by a great set of images sent me by official photographer Alan Denison - here's wonderful Liv Torc leading us off with me giggling in the background - and his fellow Frome Wessex Camera Club member, David Chedgy who caught the set-off moment of the Slavery Sedition & Sin walk around Frome, effectively led by historian David Lassman with me chipping in from time to time. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The week when freedom arrived and nobody noticed

Starting, unusually, with a weather report: over 30°C all week until the dramatic storm in the early hours of Saturday morning. As I was born in a German air-raid over London, this seemed a very appropriate start for my birthday, although sadly other celebrations were either rained-off or plagued-off.  But the long hot days were perfect for walking along the river path, and the glorious evenings lovely for a sunset trip to Marston Park.

Friday's trip was a jaunt to Hauser & Wirth, where Green councillor and environmental activist Theo Simon was giving a short talk in the cloisters to chime with the impressive exhibition of works by Spanish pacifist & artist Eduardo Chillida. Theo's personal eco-activism started in '92, inspired by Swampy and the Twyford Down M3 protest: his tales of past action were entertaining but he reminded us that the situation now requires urgent mass direct action.  Theo's also the  songwriter/singer leader of Seize the Day and brought his djembe so his talk was top n tailed with a song. And then to the galleries and the magnificent garden! 

Returning again to the topic of my birthday, celebrations while small were perfectly spaced:  a trip to the cocktail bar with Eleanor Talbot, whose weekly online programme Variations on a Theme is always smorgasbord of tasty talk & tracks, and a garden get-together with two close friends. Sadly my family's visit had to be cancelled - a scenario that many in similar situations will recognise. 

An upbeat note to end this week: Frome's popular new Mayor Andy Wrintmore, featured weekly in the Frome Times, was interviewed by Kerrang under the banner They kicked party politics out of town”: Spending the day with the punk rock mayor of Frome.
It's a good read, and a particular pleasure for Andy who for years avidly followed Kerrang - "The world's greatest metal / punk / hardcore / rock music publication." Andy's Giant Pod has a new edition too, and his latest Mayoral column in Frome Times (p.25) reflects powerfully on the serious loss to the town centre of the Co-op - and of course Andy is interviewed as a musician in Frome Unzipped - from Prehistory to Post-Punk (pages 186-188) which has it's own page here, with regular updates.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Two books and a trip to the seaside.

With Frome festival now fading, as all excitements do, into the realms of memory, the highlight for me this week was a trip to Teignmouth with my writer friend Hazel Stewart, for our postponed 'writer's weekend', thwarted by the first lockdown. Staying at an excellent B&B right beside the sea, we talked-n-walked up and down the esplanade, admired the artworks there, took the ferry across the estuary to Shaldon, sampled local ice-creams (top tip: Kerry's salted caramel) treated ourselves to an Italian meal in a restaurant garden, and even did a little en plein air writing.  
We didn't manage to catch the museum open but learned that Teignmouth was invaded by the French army in 1690, the last invasion of English soil by a foreign power. And the town has a strong writerly connection throughout the ages: Fanny Burney visited in 1773 and wrote of 'the rural beauties', and the admirable qualities of the town's women who, while their menfolk are working in the Newfoundland fishery for most of the year, 'do all the laborious business.. the rowing and towing of boats, and go out fishing... they wear no shoes or stockings notwithstanding the hard pebbles all along the beach.. Yet I never saw cleaner cottages nor healthier, finer children.' Among other diarists and writers the best known is probably John Keats, who stayed in the town for three months in 1818 and amended his initial impression of 'a slipshod county' enough to write Here all summer could I stay...  With solid blue sky above dense blue sea, on a promenade rimmed with flowers,  Hazel & I felt pretty much the same. 

This was the week that temperatures leapt into the 30°s and, equally sizzlingly exciting for me, the first proof copy of my new book arrived.  Deja Lu is a collection of 37 contemporary short stories, mostly previously published in anthologies & magazines or broadcast on radio, and the fabulous cover image is a section from one of the paintings of David Moss exhibited at the Silk Mill last month. Currently this is the only existing copy, but when a few essential 
small corrections are made, this will be available to all fiction fans, hopefully with appropriate celebrations... 
Still on the subject of words, Frome's fabulous book emporium Hunting Raven Books came up with another brilliant idea last week: to raise enough donations locally to fund 200 copies of Marcus Rashford's book You Are a Champion which they would distribute in & around Frome to 'young readers who might otherwise miss out.' So prompt & generous was the local response that this was raised within a few days to 500 copies - it's probably not too late to join in if you click here. There's a review from Goodreads here.

And now, with Freedom Day threatening us all, stay safe out there...

Monday, July 12, 2021

Frome Festival, where rain never stops play

Despite the loss of indoor venues, the 2021 Frome Festival succeeded in providing an opulence of visuals, sounds, and activities in an incredible diversity of events - in fact it's incredible that the last ten days of brilliant entertainment right across town have been almost entirely outdoors. 

 This 10-day fiesta, which began last Friday, has been crammed with activities and performances - let's start with The Opening although it wasn't actually till Wednesday: a three-night music event on a pop-up stage in the Silk Mill yard, organised by Dave Smith whose sensational drumming was a festival highlight in itself.  All three sessions were brilliant: pictured (above) are Mohammed Errebbaa & Driss Yamdah on the second night - which also gave us sensational sisters Currer Bell - and Frome's Pete Gage on keyboard, one of five fabulous acts on the final night.

Still shuffling personal highlights, shifting to Tuesday now for the  Poetry Cafe on ECOS amphitheatre where rain threatened all evening but only delivered briefly once, and 45 people spaced themselves on the stones to listen to twenty original poems performed on the open-mic by their writers, with mega-popular Liv Torc as guest.  Liv is always brilliant and the quality of the open-mic readers is amazing: check out for instance this stunning poem from Karl Bevis about the silencing of theatre I am not viable I have absolutely loved the privilege of running this Poetry Cafe from its inception twenty years ago: I'm stepping down now but I'm sure spoken word/slam/standup/ performance poetry will continue in Frome, whatever name it goes by. Thanks Annabelle for the picture, taken from the far end of the amphitheatre.

Town walks are always popular in the festival, and this year they were more popular than ever, with themes ranging from biodiversity in the churchyards to Frome's history in terms of Slavery, Sedition, and Sin -  this one was led by historian David Lassman and me - here's the final stop with David expounding routines at the old workhouse in the second of our 2 sold-out trips. Eleanor Talbot's  latest Variations on a Theme programmes includes a focus on our talks - you can hear a bit of the interview at 19.40 minutes in, with the rest at 40.10. Episode 91 continues the festival tale, with more reviews and comedy clips.

Frome's quirky comedy duo Rare Species also offered a historical walk, though somewhat less reliable in factual data: here they re-enact the opening of Jenson Button bridge while actually on the footbridge.  

The Hidden Gardens trail, outdoor entertainment of the horticultural kind, is always popular - this year over 800 maps of private gardens open at the weekend were bought by avid visitors. This is an absolutely lovely part of the festival, as Frome shares its passion for nature so generously, with 32 gardens to visit - I only managed ten but they were all magnificent in various ways. Here's one of several with a sumptuous lily pond, this one attended by glittering damsel flies.

Another popular aspect of individuals' involvement is the Open Art Trail, offering festival-goers an opportunity to see the work and studios of our many local artists - fifty of them in fact, in 21 venues including outlying villages. Again, it's impossible to pick a 'best' from this amazing diversity of talent: here's St Mary's Church on Innox hill converted temporarily into a festival gallery!

St John's Church in the town centre always puts on a flower show for festival: the theme this year was 'Reconnection', expressed in displays created by members of the Frome Floral Art Society. Arrangements combined props to represent positive themes: the journey back to the outside world was expressed in various ways, one unprepossessingly adding a union jack, but this is a nicer one.

Also art, of a curious kind, was the Secret Staircase which provided private access to a location revealed after booking, and fifteen minutes of strange & strangely calming music composed by Helen Ottoway & played by Nick Sorensen. There were several of these mysterious locations around town and mine transpired as the 3 floor stairwell in the Silk Mill studios, originally nonexistent but ingeniously added by current owners Kate & Damon Moore by cutting a hole through all the floors and literally building it step by step. Just another of the curious tales of Frome's secret history. 
The final Sunday gave a chance to see a few more gardens, and art venues, and to pop into the Picnic in the Meadow where Rodden meadow was offering stalls and family entertainment - here's popular local band The Hoodoos harmonising, conveniently close to the Active & In Touch tea'ncake stall...

Ending this festival edition with a return to Marston Park for the finale, as the rain fell steadily on the lake and even the ducks scuttled into our covered stage area, and Bonne Nouvelle played two sets of their delicious mellow, nouvelle-vague style, covers. A superbly quirky finale to a fantastic week of Frome Festival.

And if one image could sum up my festival, it would be this snap by Rosie Eliot, of us happily ignoring the weather, and the state our country's in - just enjoying music and reconnecting our friendships.

Monday, July 05, 2021

And it's festival lift-off! Music, art & drama everywhere!

Frome Festival has begun its ten-day tour of the heart&minds of Frome, spreading dramatically and musically from the Merlin theatre to Marston Park where the lakeside band-stage is proving sensationally popular.  Talented singer/songwriter Leander Morales opened their festival bookings with a great set presented on Folk'n Funk Friday, and Saturday gave us a superb double bill: Al O'Kane with Andy Hill (above - you can hear them on 'Soundcheck' here) followed by Back of the Bus: covers that sizzle, from (to quote)"a 7-piece punk pop band, fronted by four female vocalists and backed up with a throbbing badass rhythm section, covering punk and pop classics with their own memorable twist." And their copy doesn't lie: a dynamic set that gave gothic drama to White Wedding as the sky darkened over the moonlit water. 

We Feed the World is an amazing photographic exhibition at The Station, the new complex opposite Frome's train station, with an overflow at the beautiful gallery in Whittox Lane. Both these venues are filled with photographs of small-scale farmers and fishers around the world, whose practices contribute to protecting, restoring, and rewilding as well as reviving and promoting traditional practices. Beside the striking photographs, explanatory wall posters clarify the grim facts about the way industrial practices degrade the soil and create wastelands for future generations. You can read more in the Frome Times - and definitely visit the venues. Here's Zuzana Pastorkova in Slovakia, posing for photographer Tina Hillier, who cultivates herbs, fruit trees, and 40 different kinds of vegetables on a small-holding that was her grandmother's, and claims her success is 'about being in tune with nature'. 

The Frome Festival Art Trail will feature in next week's bulletin, but here's an exhibition which is touring Somerset : Inch by IN:CH aims to bring art out of galleries and into public spaces. Frome Museum basement doesn't really fall into that category but it's interesting to get to see that area, especially filled with suitcases of curious work. I especially liked Fiona Campbell's decrepitised umbrellas as 'hope of a tree' and the glimmering lights in Philippa Edwards case, representing the bioluminescence of nature.

The big exhibition at Rook Lane is a tour through the 20 years of the life of Frome Festival. Succinctly and elegantly curated by Sue Bucklow, who must have had a dumper-truckful of events and memories to wade through, this shows the story-arc of the festival that came to grow from a dream in the mind of Martin Bax to one of the most highly rated festivals in the country, known for its enterprising diversity and egalitarian events. I was on the smug side of pleased to find that several events which were important to me personally have found their way onto the display screens. Especially pleasing is this reminder of the 2015 contribution from Nevertheless Productions: Midsummer Dusk was a site-specific theatre piece performed at the Dissenters Cemetery and probably my favourite production ever. (If this chimes fondly for you, too, you can check it out in this blog: type the title in the little box offered top left and you will be transported to13 July 2015 and offered images & a full review.)  

God of Carnage, Yasmina Reza's 2008 popular play about squabbling parents, translated from the french by Christopher Hampton, was the festival choice of Frome Drama, who managed to stay within regulations at the Assembly Rooms by limiting audience seating. The storyline - two parental couples meeting to agree how to ameliorate their offspring's quarrel and instead become fractious themselves - should be easy to make hilarious but actually the steep escalation of cultural & financial oneupmanship makes it hard to avoid over-egging, but the team did well, achieving a lot of laughs throughout. I particularly liked the brief boxing-ring fantasy that preceded the demure actual meeting of the two couples. 

And in other dramatic altercations: Flash-mob opera invaded the precinct on market day to the delight of a gathering crowd who heard a medley of arias wrought into amorous and acrimonious encounters by four incredibly talented performers. My comprehension of the lyrics was limited to andiamo so there's little else I can tell you, but it was magnificent - big thanks to the Cooper Hall foundation.

Finally, in this back-to-front, slightly late, report: last week also saw the launch of a new book from  Corinna Sargood, artist extraordinaire and Angela Carter's favourite illustrator: The Village in the Valley arrived at an elegant soiree in the garden of Rook Lane chapel on Wednesday. Corinna and her partner Richard have visited this Mexican village every year, since they discovered it over 20 years ago; her lino-cuts inspired by that first visit illustrate the second Virago Book of Fairy Tales, and now the village has its own story, along with other travels. It's published by Prospect Books, an elite London establishment which clearly has no notion of Frome culture as her publisher Catheryn brought only 2 boxes of books for this launch and was surprised that all copies were bought before many of the guests had even arrived. But the night was balmy and the bar was open, so we partied on. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Midsummer edition: drama, music, art, and a glorious garden

Bristol Old Vic director Tom Morris hosted a webinar on Wednesday to launch the theatre's upcoming season - that's Autumn/Winter, grim thought - and to discuss how the team had coped with the last 18 months of cancelled income and lost shows. Remarkably well, it appears. Aside from the inevitable hardships, Tom's team used the time to affirm creative priorities, accelerate essential change, and devise wide-reaching ways of audience connection that the theatre will maintain, in tandem with live contact, when the pandemic is over.  Their 'engagement programme' throughout the city, currently responding Black Lives Matter, will continue, and the success of Touching the Void enhanced online has encouraged the team to think of adding an online option to other shows.  So the following night I was able to watch from home their current production, Outlier, developed from 2020's Ferment Fortnight and co-produced with performance poet Malaika Kegode and brilliant fusion band Jakabol supporting throughout as she narrates her coming-of-age story based on her teenage years in Devon. It doesn't have the ferocity or raw humour of Trainspotting, but it does have poignant credibility, enhanced by Malaika's confident and connective stage persona and supported by lighting graphics in a party atmosphere: sad as well as wild, this is one the exciting new projects outlined in the season launch.

Back now to Frome, for an extraordinarily vibrant art exhibition at the Silk Mill, where David Moss has managed what few solo exhibitors could do: he has filled virtually every inch of this massive hall with huge canvasses, all brimming with vivid colour.  The opening was on Thursday night, and these stunning canvases will be showing throughout next week.

Also highly recommended - but you'll have to wait till the 'Hidden Gardens' event in Frome Festival -  is the superb 'secret garden' in Critchill. I was introduced to this amazing place by Eleanor Talbot, whose Variations on a Theme radio show this week explores its nooks & crannies and discusses gardening and garden design. It's hard to choose a single image to convey the amazing range & display of colour and foliage created by the inspiring couple who have created this garden, but this one, from the far end, may give some impression of the care taken in design, and the vista beyond. And that wild flower area on the left will have burst into bloom by then.

Concluding now with a flurry of music: The Bookshop Band, a talented duo who create songs about books, have throughout lockdown been entertaining online, holding their final concert on Friday. They've crept into this blog before, as their concept originated in Mr B's Emporium in Bath, and Ben & Beth often return from their home in Scotland to perform live - hopefully, one day in Frome.. Here's one of the songs they played: In a shop with books in -which works just as  well with Beth singing.

And on sunny Saturday, Frome's popular busker Ron Tree shared his spot and joined in with Luke Philbrick's Solid Gone Skiffle Invasion after arriving to discover a pitch invasion in Cheap Street.

Saturday was until recently the much-longed-for date of the Cornerhouse out-of-lockdown gig from popular local band Back of the Bus, but like the bands booked there for next week's festival, this had to be cancelled. The Cheese & Grain however has more audience-space, and managed to book Get Cape Wear Cape Fly - aka Sam Duckworth - at short notice. It's fifteen years since I fell in love with his first CD The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager, and Let the Journey Begin on his second album became the emotional soundtrack of my life. Bristol in September had looked my best bet to catch his current tour, so his arrival here was a brilliant treat. GCWCF is now 35, still looks like a bohemian teenager, and still sounds fantastic. Good support from Frome's Henry Wacey, too.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

The fusion edition: science & literature, and life

Copenhagen has had a troubled journey to the main stage of Theatre Royal Bath. Originally scheduled for November 2020,  delayed till January this year and then postponed by further lockdown, Michael Frayn's forensic analysis of the troubled relationship between two wartime physicists has finally arrived on the main stage with a different director - Emma Howlett taking over from Polly Findlay. Current restrictions on spacing and requirement for masks were scrupulously observed throughout - an important aspect for the continuation of live theatre. Perhaps because of this reminder of societal controls, the play, although set firmly in 1941, seemed to evoke relevance to life today in its suspicions, uncertainties, and irrational blaming.  There was no social media then of course, but the whispering anxieties, reappraisals and retellings all seemed to chime with the information chaos we live with now.
It's a known fact that the German physicist Werner Heisenberg met his old mentor, the Danish physicist Niels Bohr, again in Copenhagen 1941, but the nature of the argument they had that night has continued into history unsolved. Michael Frayn has spun from this a trio of options, part historical surmise, part psychological guesswork. Nothing is clarified, yet there's an uncomfortable feeling that Bohr's protege may have deliberately blocked the Nazis' attempt to build an atomic bomb while his mentor, while taking the moral high ground, had supported the work that led to its deadly creation. Philip Arditti and Malcolm Sinclair are great as angry physicists yet irresistible friends, with Haydn Gwynne as Bohr's wife, whose role is to shadow her husband's perplexity. We first meet them all deceased and still baffled, and the insoluble introspections of these two scientists mighty minds prowl the massive space between them, emphasised by Alex Eales' bleak set with an enormous white circle above them shifting like a magnifying glass over their protestations.  Photos Nobby Clark

Another dramatic take on science on Wednesday, as FromeDrama at Merlin Theatre explored the interface between Quantum theory, string theory, relativity, and human emotions. Constellations, by Nick Payne, presents a volley of short interactions between a man (Ben Hardy-Philips) and a woman (Stephanie Mitchell) who don't know/know & love each other, have/haven't been unfaithful, and are dealing with terminal illness/recovery. Here's when Roland admits his love for Marianne, though in another reality this wouldn't have happened. Slickly directed by Andy Cork, with stunning sound (Laurence Parnell) and lighting (Matt Tipper), this production effectively dramatised intriguing questions about life choices, free will, and options for change.  This play, even more than Copenhagen, shows what a long way theatre drama has come since the contentious division between science and literature that shadowed the 1950s, summed up by C P Snow in The Two Cultures. It's a long time since stage drama was considered cosy, even though it was 1965 before Ken Tynan said the first-ever 'fuck' on TV.

It's been a week of fabulous long hot days - until the weekend, sadly - and the gorgeous sunshine allowed me several long walks locally: one to Orchardleigh on a quest for waterlilies on the lake, finding instead woodlands full of birdsong, wild life including baby squirrels, and fields full of sheep and wild flowers including my first orchid this year. 
Both of my writers' group meetings have thrived too: the Fromesbury Group celebrated our late-afternoon meeting in the park with Portuguese custard tarts and a selfie (thanks Debs)

Still on a writerly theme, Frome's famous independent book emporium Hunting Raven is up for another award, nominated as Best Bookshop in the Southwest (Dorset & Somerset to be precise) by Muddy Stilettos - you can click to add your vote. Tina Gaysford-Waller, the Raven's inspiring manager, was also featured in the Big Issue 'Spirit of Independence' issue this week, celebrating the national Independent Bookshop Week, although this had passed rather unnoticed here since every week is independent bookshop week...

It's also been a week of disappointment - expected but still sad, as the Cornerhouse had to cancel several sensational bands in Frome Festival next month. Fortunately most of the programme remains intact: Merlin Theatre will mainly use ECOS amphitheatre, which will have a cover over the stage. This extraordinary construction was, ironically, created to celebrate the UK joining the European Union: you can read its story on the Merlin website - or indeed in my book Frome Unzipped.  The Poetry Cafe will be held there on July 6th, with Liv Torc our fabulous guest - you can hear me extolling her on Frome FM here, starting at 16.14 minutes in.

A blast of music to end the week, as Ruzz Guitar's Blues Revue, twice-postponed, finally landed in the Cheese & Grain on Saturday night, playing blues classics with sensational style. Guest Pete Gage on keyboard & vocals took the first hour with Ritchie Blake on bass, joined by Ruzz for some numbers - video taster here. Social distancing ruled out dancing but there was a great atmosphere throughout the evening and I managed to grab a couple of photos - here's Pete & Ruzz playing their version of Ain't Nobody's Business (the video is a lockdown version, the live vibe was terrific.)
And although advance booking doesn't really suit convivial Cornerhouse, it has enabled Graham Dent to bring back jazz on Sunday evening - with Adrian Smith on double bass and bass guitar. Graham (keyboard) and Adrian have recorded a lockdown double album titled Inspiring Detour, and their live performance showcased some of their album tracks - Dat Dere by Bobby Timmons is one. Here's the duo sharing space with the new pub decor.