Sunday, October 03, 2021

Forget the lost summer, there's post-equinox fizz now...

After a skimpy summer, and a heatwave that went awol, this was a good week for autumnal indulgence.
I've never before been to a Speakeasy, where you knock on a back alley door for entry into a den of alcoholic luxury,  but last week Eleanor Talbut initiated me into the HydeAway with its menu of exotic cocktails. In this Hollywood-rococo style bar we were served by professional mixologist Giles, who gave me the backstory of my negroni: he uses Holm Oak smoke to create the dramatic effect on arrival at the table, and sees cocktails as creative experiences, taking inspiration from memories of colour, smell and taste from childhood as well as the visual skills he used as a cameraman for BBC documentaries. Add Gilbert O'Sullivan in the background to complete the scene... another great night out with Ellie, 
which segues nicely into her latest podcast (here):  Déjà Vu is her topic this time, with the usual esoteric medley of tracks on the theme, plus an interview with me about my new book.
I'm not gonna lie, the big event for me this week was the official launch of Déjà Lu at Hunting Raven Books, hosted by dynamic manager Tina Gaisford-Waller, and well attended despite the evening storms.  Once again, thwarted by restrictive format of new improved Blogger, I've resorted to a screenshot image combo to show the welcome & support I enjoyed from Tina, who then took the shot of my audience, a smashing group who came up with great questions and were supportive throughout. 
Art now, and Somerset Open Studios continued throughout the week for the 205 artists particpating across the county - here's another report from a Frome studio: Clive Walley has developed his series of 'Birch trees in the mist' using tar applied by trowel after reading a book about the seige of Stalingrad and pondering on the primitive resources for art that would have been available to the soldiers.  By coincidence my photography that afternoon had included trees by the Frome river path, which in monochrome version are weirdly similar to these atmospheric images  - this is again a screen shot for comparison.

Friday night saw the opening of a solo exhibition from Mel Day at the WHY gallery in Frome. Mel is famed for her amazing twisted-metal writings and other art pieces, but these this prints and drawings show a different aspect of her skills, although these people are mostly bent and twisted too... Elegantly and impossibly contorted, their postures seem poignantly resonant of their internal lives, and perhaps all our lives nowadays.  Dancers and Dreamers is on until mid-November, so do visit if you're near Frome.  
Art is a useful segue into the Frome Independent, too, as this nationally-famous street market - cancelled for over a year - is now enjoying its first-Sunday-of-the-month status in the streets, alleys, and open spaces of our town, and art & craft feature even more than cheese!  (This month there were wild mushrooms too, collected by The Happy Forager). 
Local artist David Daniels who always pitches on Catherine Hill, has some fabulous new 'storyboards' of tiny landscapes, and - since encouraging young artists is a political act - these handcrafted resin earrings from the stall of Bristol jeweller Rosa Pietsch were irresistible too. And of course, there's the wonderful busking stage where superb sound is guarunteed from Luke Emery - this week with four top class acts: Nick Balura, the Bert Jansch of Frome, followed by the 'twisted blues and religious fervor of hugely popular The Back Wood Redeemers - then reggae rythms from the Mellowtones, and for the final hour, folk from Crossing the Rockies. Here's the irreligious Back Wood boys extolling their enjoyment of a chocolate Jesus. 
Party time this week started on Thursday at the Black Swan, with a welcome to Malcolm Lloyd, the incoming Chair of Trustees, with drinks & nibbles in the courtyard - a very pleasant occasion. And Friday's wedding party in Great Elm Village Hall had some great acts from a range of Frome performers all evening, and when the sound system collapsed, the Hoodoos simply leapt onto a bench and treated us to an unforgettable acoustic version of the Rattlin' Bog....
with Saturday's party at Frome's Rook Lane Chapel celebrating the birthday of a local opera singer who not only performed superbly herself but also inspired open-mic from many of her guests (who were polite enough to also applaud my unexpectedly-required and just-about-recalled poem rendition of You know it's a Fairytale) - was also impressive entertainment, again ending with dancing. So that's two nights of quality performances concluding with wonderful Anne singing like this converted nonconformist chapel was the Albert Hall.  The diversity of talent in this small town is astounding. 

And now that October has made the season officially autumn, it's time for the Ezra Pound poem that I generally offer at this time in the year:
And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass

1 comment:

Ellie said...

Thanks for the mention! Another great blog highlighting this damn fine town!