To be honest, the promo for The Spirit of Woodstock on Frome's ECOS amphitheatre: "Award-winning Something Underground are bringing you their latest open air stage show over two wild and immersive hours - the politics, the conflicts, the music, the protests, the moon landings, the civil-rights movement, the adverts, the drugs, the music, the musicians and the personalities, all imbued with the soundscape of this incredible era." - combined with a winsome image of a Twiggy-lookalike with sequins round her eyes, didn't really prepare me for the solo show that transpired. There were 32 bands at Woodstock in August 1969, but writer/performer Jonathan Brown managed easily twice that number of characters in his long (slightly overlong in the second half) re-imagining of that legendary end-of-the-60s era.
Still in theatre mode: over to Wiltshire now where September in the Rain, probably aptly, is the choice of Salisbury Playhouse for their upcoming production as theatres cautiously reopen their doors with fingers crossed there won't be a repercussion of previous seasons' cancellations - especially as the Playhouse is one of only 45 producing theatres in the country, so this is a bigger deal for the company than for tour-hosting venues.
Amy Jeffs as described by her publisher at riverrun, an imprint of Quercus, at the launch of Storyland on Friday to a big gathering at the Silkmill in Frome, hosted by Hunting Raven Books dynamic manager Tina Gaysford-Waller. Amy herself was too endearingly modest to say much more than thanks to everyone, and to Frome itself 'for the culture of independence, and encouragement that you can do this.' Here she is signing my copy of this compelling retelling of our ancient history, with mesmerising linocut illustrations by Amy too. There's an excellent review here. And here too is the bookshop frontage as temporarily decorated by Amy.
Also on a bookish theme: Frome Writers Collective hosted a social gathering on zoom this Thursday at which I gave a ten minute chat about short story writing, and the Proof Pudding club met at River House on Sunday evening to talk about some of the new publications arriving in Hunting Raven Books and eat cake. I was lucky in my proof pick: The Status Game by Will Storr is a well-argued and ultimately positive analysis of this pervasive aspect of social psychology.
Rodden Nature Reserve is now officially open to visitors until March, when the breeding season starts, and another highlight of my peregrination was a rainy visit to Easthill Field, where the long grass was a fairyland of glittering spiderwebs. This one's a wasp spider, a newish arrival in England, with its sac of eggs - apparently the female often eats the male after mating.
And finally: for those on tenterhooks since last week's revelation of Frome's assault on the world record: Pending final verification, local charity We Hear You will enter the Guinness book of records after 8 hours and 671 players completed the longest & biggest ever, in the entire world, game of skittles.