An exchange between Sarah Perry & Amy Liptrot

22 June 2016 // Books //On Nature

After reading each other’s books, Sarah Perry and Amy Liptrot struck up a correspondence. Here they discuss seasonality, noctilucent cloud, and the ethics of nature writing.

sarah perry amy liptrot Sarah Perry by Jamie Drew/Amy Liptrot by Lisa Swarna Khanna

Sarah Perry: I want to begin by asking you what seems like rather a childish question; but it’s something that occurred to me when reading your wonderful book and which I think about a great deal in my own work. It’s also something my Mum asked me about when she and I were chatting about nature writing, so it’s been on my mind of late. Do you think you are influenced by the seasons when you write – are you (for example) more likely to write about icy weather or frost on car windows if you’ve just come in from a long walk in the cold? (more…)

Climbing Days

21 June 2016 // Books

ClKXCO0WQAEmFq0 Window of Mr B’s Emporium, Bath, featuring Dan’s climbing kit

Climbing Days by Dan Richards is the Caught by the River Book of the Month for June (Faber & Faber, hardback, 385 pages. Available here, priced at £14.99.)

Review by Andy Childs

In Joe Gould’s Teeth, Jill Lepore’s provocative re-evaluation of the Joe Gould story (he of the famous Joseph Mitchell New Yorker profile), she asks the question: “What is biography?” and muses on “the error of believing that you can ever really know another person”. And she quotes Gould as believing that “the fallacy of dividing people into sane and insane lies in the assumption that we really do touch other lives”. A tough question. Can biographies ever enable us to touch the lives of others? Really understand what made them behave the way they did, do the things they’ve done, say the things they’ve said? How they thought and felt? It’s one of the most common criticisms to be found in reviews of biographies – that we can know everything about family history, know every place visited, hear from every friend with an opinion or an anecdote, know every move inside out, but still not connect with the essence of who the subject really is/was. Is it even possible or desirable to know someone that thoroughly? (more…)

If You Put Out Your Hand

20 June 2016 // Music //poetry

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 11.47.12 If You Put Out Your Hand by Sharron Kraus & Helen Tookey
(Wounded Wolf Press, 36-page paperback plus CD. Limited to an edition of 250 and available to purchase here.)

Review by Adam Scovell

Allowing music and spoken word to coalesce has been a recently popular form on the periphery of landscape-based records. Whether through mixture with pure, psychogeographical prose as in Iain Sinclair and Standard Planet’s collaboration, Overground, or with the esoteric, rural poetry of Justin Hopper on I Made Some Low Inquiries, the use of words in symbiosis with music is becoming a popular method to address various different aspects of landscape and the memories which surround it. Sharron Kraus’ latest project, in collaboration with the poet Helen Tookey, If You Put Out Your Hand, is another strong example of this relationship; building links between words and melodies to embody a number of questions regarding how we interact with place. Kraus’ last few projects, ranging from the Welsh valleys-inspired Pilgrim Chants & Pastoral Trails to the Mabinogi-inflected Friends And Enemies; Lovers And Strangers, have exhibited a general, spacial zone to their themes, yet Hand is far more travelled thanks to the adherence to Tookey’s poetry; darting about between differing places, spaces and landscapes within each fragment. (more…)

Dark Satanic Malls

19 June 2016 // Film/TV //On Water

Dark Satanic Malls Trailer 1 from Maxy Neil Bianco on Vimeo.

A taster of ‘Dark Satanic Malls’, the Thames Estuary-centric episode of Maxy Neil Bianco and Michael Smith‘s Stranger On The Shore series. The project is soundtracked by Andrew Weatherall and Nina Walsh. (more…)

Anywhere but the Cities – Stromness

18 June 2016 // poetry

A poem by Kevin Williamson

The bright orange beacon of the Stromness lifeboat helps no one

The harbour waters are flat enough to reflect on shapeshifting cumulus blond wisps of Hoy a jellyfish sun

A pair of lovestruck swallows in perpetual motion map out the contours of slippery stone walls rusted iron and seaweed ropes

No great auks nothing more exotic than a herring gull chest puffed out strutting the quay like she owns the place and maybe she does

The red stain of death on her yellow beak a reminder to the shell of a former crab that hunger has a price and each soft sound has a note to itself

A trawler’s carnivore shudder death rattle smoke inaudible insects with peedie wings smaller than my most careless thought of you

I wonder if these creatures too can hear the gentle persistent lap of time

Here in Stromness on this day the 11th of July summer adagio in blue