Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
There are some people who spend a fortune seeking peace of mind on a psychiatrist’s couch, or who follow hairy gurus into the mountains in search of inner calm.
But some of us know that all you have to do is drive to Somerset and walk into the nearest greengrocer’s. “Hello, my loveleey! What can I do you for on this beautiful day?” Now that’s therapeutic.
Frome (it rhymes with broom, my lovely) is situated deep enough into the West Country to be sedated by the local languor but it’s not so far gone that you need a magic carpet to get there for the weekend. The town’s special character is, ironically, the product of what was once a geographical blight – throughout most of the 20th century, isolation and local industrial failures put Frome to sleep, but when it awoke, street upon beautiful street of terraced cottages were still standing, while in the neighbouring boom towns they’d been flattened.
Frome now has more listed buildings than any comparable town in the region, and all those lovely cottages have drawn in an army of artsy, folksy-lifestyle refugees, giving this minute metropolis a cultural life to rival somewhere thrice the size.
Three art galleries, two theatres, a concert venue, a crafts centre and a blossoming spiritual-therapy and alternative-health industry – no wonder some of the town’s more, erm, prosaic inhabitants look a little bemused by what’s happened here.
For a visitor, the chief pleasures are shop-pottering along Cheap Street and Catherine Street, visiting the Black Swan Arts centre (blackswan.org.uk; 10am-5pm) and the Saturday farmers’ market – and then heading out into the Mendip countryside. A spot to consider with kids, Frome is four miles from Longleat, stately home of lions and tigers, and a polyamorous marquess, (www.longleat.co.uk), and the nearby caves at Wookey Hole are a child-spooking favourite (www.wookey.co.uk). If you’d rather just stroll in some of the nicest country in the west, pick up walking route maps at the town’s tourist centre.
The tourist centre (in the Black Swan complex) has, they reckon, the best events-diary website in small-town Britain: www.frometouristinfo.co.uk.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I remember seeing this film at the pictures when I was a kid and being totally petrified by the chanting Vikings. I wonder whether there is a slight subplot about Mods and Rockers or Hippies and Hells Angels - you probably have to see the movie to see what I mean but Alfred's bible loving pacifist in caftan takes on the black leather clad pagan pychos....what else can you conclude? Actually this trailer doesn't do justice to the cinematography - to get a flavour watch this clip.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I recently wrote some sleeve notes for an lp of our stuff and I compared Frome to the town in Hot Fuzz - this isn't quite so fanciful as the writers mention Frome as part of their inspiration for the movie. Wiki on the movie.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
My son picked up an excellent book the other day - called 'Tank' by Patrick Wright it is a cultural history of the tank - no technical details to bore you - more like charting the 20th century's love hate relationship with these juggernauts of war. It's a fascinating read that takes in Tienamin square, Aleister Crowley - all sorts of subjects - and one I recommend. Anyway it got me thinking about these beasts again and it turns out there is a new museum near Moscow dedicated to that war winning piece of engineering the T-34. Excellent. I wonder if they know about the abandoned graffitied T-34 in SE1 - photographed in the book Derelict London.
If the idea of an extreme survival programme sounds naff to you - its more of a history programme really with interviews and so on.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Time for a Beefheart revival and where's the best place to start? At the beginning back when the band were interpreting the greats like Howlin' Wolf and also being a great garage band to boot.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Another great maker of cider in the region is Rich's cider. It has magical qualities that almost straight away make you behave like a sixth generation dribbling village idiot. Recommended.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
250 years ago in 1758 the siege of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia began - signalling the beginning of the end of French rule in Canada. There is now a huge reconstruction of this fortress which the video shows - the original was destroyed but in true North American fashion a new artefact was created as a tourist site in the 60s. Watch the video and marvel at the recreated buildings, if you like that sort of thing... Celebratory events at Louisbourg this summer
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Had a nice card from Dave Mackay and Caryne so I thought I'd post something they'd like - Marco Pirroni guesting on guitar with Primal Scream doing Screamin' Jays classic... and it's not that bad either...see what you think music lovers!
Monday, June 09, 2008
I would like to see these figures expand into the era of the Scanian War - the Danish and Swedish troops could double up as Dutch.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
I want one but I am not worthy of it.