Caught by the River


9th September 2014

900B1825-518x345Photo by Neil Thompson

Having graced a triptych of festivals with our presence this year – the wondrous Port Eliot, the celestial No.6 and the soon-to-be spectacular Branchage – we’ve certainly enjoyed a full summer here at Caught by the River.

Aside from our pursuits of the field, in the tent and on the stage, we’ve of course taken great delight in a number of books, records, writings and sounds, which we reckon warrants another one of our Antidotes round-ups.


First up, good pal and long-time site contributor Rob St. John has begun an exciting new project called Surface Tension which will properly come into being next year. It brings together field recording, photography and words to “explore pollution, life and biodiversity along the River Lea in East London,” and has been commissioned by the Thames 21 charity’s Fixing Broken Rivers project this Summer as part of the Love the Lea Campaign – which raises awareness and takes practical action to improve water quality of the rivers of the Lea Catchment.

Bella Caledonia is an online magazine from Scotland covering a mixed bag of subjects from civil liberties to digital culture and education. This piece, Postcard from Quinhagak, written by Kathleen Jamie, looks at the Yup’ik people living in the village of Quinhagak on the west coast of Alaska where Jamie was living throughout August – with other Aberdeen University students – to excavate a 500-year-old village as part of an archaeological dig. Worth a read.

Flannery with book case

This Flannery O’Connor piece on The Quietus has really captured our imagination. “As a female Catholic incapacitated by lupus, in the patriarchal, Protestant Bible-belt South, O’Connor wrote from her unique perspective in the margins of society to produce funny and wild parables of grotesque freaks and violent revelations that challenged the intellectual arrogance and lethargy of her time,” writes James Mackinnon . And the reversing chicken video is also particularly amusing.

We’ve covered Ken Worpole and Jason Orton’s book/project The New English Landscape, on the site before. “For nearly a decade we…have documented the changing landscape and coastline of Essex and East Anglia, particularly its estuaries, islands and urban edgelands. We continue to explore many aspects of contemporary landscape topography, architecture and aesthetics, and last year published our second book, The New English Landscape (Field Station | London, 2013), already into its second edition.” We very much enjoyed reading this latest blog post, Seaside Surrealism which looks at surrealism in Swanage and the Purbeck peninsula.

This great piece by Clive Martin on Vice elegises the untimely closure of the Admiral Mann pub in North London, fallen prey to the claws of gentrification.

Writer Barry Lopez celebrates the 50th anniversary of the landmark Wilderness Act here and puts up the case for downing tools, iPhones, mod-cons etc and going wild…really wild…” Get clear of any sign of human habitation, the pervasive and intrusive spoor of the mechanized world…Ive found my way into some of the planet’s least civilized scapes…such places offer a kind of illumination that can take the darkness out of contemporary life.”

One for our pals John and Stephen of the Arcadia 78 RPM Orchestra now. Music writer, journalist and record collector Amanda Petrusich has written a book, Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records, about the niche world of 78s and the fascinating, die-hard collectors they attract. The book’s out now and this interview on the Vinyl Factory delves into it all. Fun read.

Music-wise this summer we’ve been enjoying the mesmeric sonic topography of the new Land Observations album ‘Roman Roads IV-XI’, which came out July 28th via Mute and which you can hear on The Quietus here. The new album from psych overlords Christian Bland & The Revelators, The Unseen Green Machine is also great and this track is a decent primer.

And last but not least, the incredible work of London-based illustrator Katie Scott has really taken our breath away.

As the season’s on the turn, we thought we’d leave you with this poem;

Autumn by John Clare

I love the fitful gust that shakes
The casement all the day,
And from the glossy elm tree takes
The faded leaves away,
Twirling them by the window pane
With thousand others down the lane.

I love to see the shaking twig
Dance till the shut of eve,
The sparrow on the cottage rig,
Whose chirp would make believe
That Spring was just now flirting by
In Summer’s lap with flowers to lie.

I love to see the cottage smoke
Curl upwards through the trees,
The pigeons nestled round the cote
On November days like these;
The cock upon the dunghill crowing,
The mill sails on the heath a-going.

The feather from the raven’s breast
Falls on the stubble lea,
The acorns near the old crow’s nest
Drop pattering down the tree;
The grunting pigs, that wait for all,
Scramble and hurry where they fall.