Nell Frizzell documents her outdoor pursuits in a new monthly column. Pictures by Nick Stanton
It is a very strange thing to be heaving your knees up scrabble stone paths, through mists and mellow bursts of sunshine, humming Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau while, just a lamb’s bleat away, and entirely unknown to you, the Prime Minister is plotting to kick the parliamentary system down a well.
And yet, so is how I spent a wet and wild Easter weekend in North West Wales: surrounded by rustling, occasionally tear-stained adolescents trying to get through their Duke of Edinburgh as Theresa May, just a few miles down the valley, hatched her unlikely and unhelpful plan. (more…)
Is this the way everyone’s life is? Neither a success nor disaster; something that just rolls along. Today I worked seven hours in the garden turning beds; the soil is clay heavy and tired; I’m digging in manure and compost and sand. While I work I think of friends in the city who have never owned a spade. I watch the dark earth heave up and collect on my boots. Then I think about the new collection of short stories by Diane Williams that I’m reading. Then I think about an upcoming trip to France and Germany that I don’t want to take. Then I think about my father who’s old now and mostly silent. All this stuff moving around inside my head. Come evening I sit down and listen to a Sun Ra record. Then, because it’s Sunday and I’m my father’s son, I play a few tracks from a gospel album by Ralph Stanley. Finally, thinking of my friends at Caught by the River, I randomly pull out a single from the shelves. I put it on and I’m in the Bronx, it’s 1980, and I’m thinking: what the hell is this record? I remember pestering the DJ until he told me: Funky Axe by Spaghetti Head. I thought he was joking; who calls their band Spaghetti Head? It took me a few years to find a copy. I was in Amsterdam looking through boxes of junk and I pulled it out and thought: damn, he wasn’t joking. It is called Spaghetti Head. It’s still, after all these years, a killer groove. And now I’m thinking: none of this makes any sense. No plan, no order. No connective tissue. The arbitrary bricks that make up the building of me. Is this the way everyone’s life is?
Jeb’s new record, Country Hustle, is out now. Buy a copy here.
Darren Hayman is back, with a second volume of songs resulting from his Thankful Villages project. The third village is Flixborough, North Lincolnshire.
Flixborough has an extra reason to be thankful. It is strangely sited, perched on a hill high above a tired-looking industrial park. There are wind turbines surrounding the village in every direction.
In 1974 a chemical plant on the industrial site exploded, leaving 28 people dead. It was one of britain’s largest ever non-nuclear explosions. Every roof in Flixborough was lifted or set ablaze, yet no villagers were killed. Barely a window remained intact. (more…)
Here are the results of our latest newsletter competition:
Last week, we had three copies of Mark Lanegan Band’s new album Gargoyle — out tomorrow on Heavenly Recordings — to give away, on winners’ choice of CD or vinyl.
We asked: Mark recently produced a record for a fellow Heavenly artist. But what are the names of both the artist and album concerned?
Port Eliot Festival, St. Germans, Cornwall
Thursday 27 – Sunday 30 July, 2017
With the summer on the horizon, it’s time think about the Caught by the River stage’s return to Port Eliot festival, and those amazing Cornish vistas that make for one of the most spectacular festival sites in Britain. This year — our eighth at the festival — we’re kicking things off a bit earlier, with a fully-programmed stage opening on Thursday evening. We continue to feel blessed by our setting at Port Eliot, down by the gorgeous tidal expanses of the River Tiddy. It’s a rare spot, looking out across the water and around to the arches of the big old railway viaduct. Here, passing gulls are answered, for one weekend only, by intoxicating music and fascinating talks.
Port Eliot is the place where the Caught by the River website comes to life. In past years we’ve had live music from Gruff Rhys, Ryley Walker, Cate Le Bon, Jimi Goodwin and British Sea Power, among many others. This year the sounds will range from the wild space jazz of The Comet Is Coming to the delightful folk-pop precision of This Is The Kit. Dancefloor legend Andrew Weatherall returns to blast the tent flaps wide open with a marathon DJ set. Poetry will sound out and happily addled minds will again contemplate the secret history of maggot-vending machines and how birdsong might lead to better brain surgery. (more…)