Caught by the River


28th September 2013

sunsetRiver Torridge near Hatherleigh. From the Fishery Association website.

Take Me To The River. The Music Room author, William Fiennes, walks Devon’s River Torridge in search of otters, for Intelligent Life magazine:
“I scrambled into and out of drainage ditches, and sat by the river, willing otters into view, the names of recommended fishing flies jumbled in my head: Butchers, Medicines, Silver Stoats, Alexandras, March Browns, Ally Shrimps, Coachmen. A buzzard mewed invisibly. The yellow dust thickening on my bootlaces was buttercup pollen. Below the hanging woods at Halsdon, overarching oak and ash trees made long brown-green caverns through which the slow Torridge moved like a cortège.”

Theo Brown and the Folklore of Dartmoor. A new project from David Chatton Barker and Ian Humberstone of Devon Folklore Tapes.
With their combination of crate digger instinct and an overwhelming curiosity for the lost and forgotten David and Ian have embarked on a project that has simply blown our minds:
“But if you decide in middle-life to leave the city and go to live alone at the heart of the moor – because you love it and cannot resist its spell – you soon find that in all those years you have learned little about the essential moor. What has been happening is that she has learned the essentials about you, and has fixed her grappling-irons upon you!”
– Anonymous note, found in the Theo Brown Archive papers.

Poetry Please: the 10 most requested poems by listeners to the world’s longest-running radio poetry show. Tim Dee in The Guardian:
What is a poem for? Every time we produce an edition of Poetry Please – the longest running (and now probably only) poetry request show on any radio station anywhere in the world – we are forced to think about this question. Poems, stowed quietly in their various volumes, slim and not so slim, do not seek any role. Indeed, one of the best things about a poem may be that it is not for anything other than itself. But Poetry Please proves that this isn’t the end of the story and demonstrates that not only does poetry have work to do, but that it does it remarkably well.

Poor-Man’s Speed: Coming of Age in Wigan’s Anarchic Northern Soul Scene. A great article in Vice magazine by Paul Mason.
Paul also tells the story in Keep The Faith, a must see special for the BBC’s Culture Show which, as I type, has just five days left on the iPlayer. It’s one of the rare occasions that a programme ‘gets’ a music and youth culture absolutely spot on. Quality stuff.

A blizzard of birds. Mike McCarthy witness a murmuration on The Wash:
“As we gazed at it, somebody hissed “Here they come!” and the swishing got louder and then out of the mist burst a cloud, a swirling, eddying cloud drifting rapidly towards us, and the sound became a spectacle – one of the great wildlife spectacles of Britain.”