Festival season seems to come around sooner each year for it’s not long now before we up sticks to the sublime environs of St. Germans in Cornwall for our 6th annual Port Eliot. We’re excited to unveil our official schedule; a wonderful selection of talks, live music and general good times, which we hope will once again succeed in bringing the site off your screen and into the wild.
Thursday 30 July
3pm Stephen ‘Spoonful’ Parker – A significant moment in the Caught by the River calendar: our Port Eliot resident DJ plays the first tune.
4pm The Antidote Hour (JA) – John Andrews and guests look ahead to the weekend’s activities.
5pm Roy Wilkinson’s Pop & Nature Quiz
For the second year running, Roy Wilkinson will be presenting a prize music-and-nature quiz. The author of the acclaimed rock/forestry memoir Do It For Your Mum will be posing musically-illustrated questions on moths and goths and why the elephant has become indigenous at Port Eliot. ATTENTION ALL ARTS INVESTORS! This year’s quiz will also incorporate the public launch of the Great Southwestern Intergenerational Cultural Outreach programme – a system of all-ages Slav-Northumbro-Devonian beton-iste expressionism that is sure to become have-to-must-die-for over coming decades. The quiz prizes will include a pair of tickets for next year’s Port Eliot Festival.
6pm Curated by the the Drift Record Shop
Drift, a truly fantastic treasure trove of a record shop, resides on Totnes High Street, but for these four days only, they will be trading at Port Eliot selling books and records and staging post-performance signings.
Tonight, stepping into the role of guest curator they present live happenings from the following:
Rob St John
Rob St John is a musician and writer from East Lancashire, using guitars, harmoniums, analogue synth, field recordings and tape loops. This year he releases a split 10″ ‘Young Sun | Trouble Comes’ with Canadian band Woodpigeon; a book and CD of manipulated field recordings and film photography investigating pollution on London’s River Lea as part of the Surface Tension project; and 12″ LP of music, field and archive recordings for the Concrete Antenna project with Tommy Perman and Prof Simon Kirby, which will be installed in a tower at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop in Summer 2015.
Folklore Tapes present Black Dog Traditions of the British Isles
Tales of phantom black dogs with ‘eyes like saucers’ abound in the folklore of the British Isles. But what are these coal-coloured fiends: shaggy dog stories, harmless spooks, or the devil himself in dog form? Folklore Tapes investigates, in an audio-visual lecture combining storytelling, light puppetry and experiments in film and music.
Red River Dialect
Red River Dialect formed in Falmouth, Cornwall in 2009. The band have recently completed a new record, titled Tender Gold & Gentle Blue on which they say “Cello, violin, piano, vibraphones and banjo weave around the acoustic guitar and vocals of songwriter David Morris, where previously electric guitars, bass, drums and amped fiddles were found.” Their previous recordings have drawn comparisons to Fairport Convention, Dirty Three, the Waterboys, Arbouretum, Nick Cave.
With us lot at CBTR having been fans of Trembling Bells for some time and with their fifth album about to be released (The Sovereign Self, 29 June) this booking was a good call from Drift. Here’s a bit about the record:
Sophocles. Dennis Potter. The painter El Greco. Not the usual collection of influences that go towards shaping an album, but then Trembling Bells are not your usual sort of band. Oh, there’s a break-up with a girl in there somewhere, too, of course. That’s more the typical sort of thing, isn’t it? But The Sovereign Self is a remarkable work from remarkable musicians – one of Britain’s most distinctive and exciting groups.
The Sovereign Self – named after a line from Dennis Potter, the late television auteur – is the fifth album by Trembling Bells, their first since 2012’s The Marble Downs, a collaboration with Will Oldham. It is a driving, dramatic and at times hallucinatory work, filled with a great sense of tension and release; a witches’ brew, a psychedelic stew mixing up the range of the band’s musical interests – everything from ramshackled ballads to ancient May Day chants, swaggering acid rock to swirling prog epics.
Friday 31 July
11am Stephen ‘Spoonful’ Parker
12:00 Katharine Norbury
Kate will read from her book The Fish Ladder: A Journey Upstream which was published earlier this year by Bloomsbury. “One of the many reasons to be excited about Katharine Norbury’s The Fish Ladder: a journey upstream is that so much of our literature about nature and landscape currently comes from male writers – and so it is particularly refreshing to hear a woman’s voice exploring and thinking about place, and in a different way…” – Melissa Harrison reviewed The Fish Ladder which was our book of the month for February.
As well as reading from her book, Kate Norbury is now in conversation with the writer Richard Benson.
1:00 Nina Lyon reading from her first book, a meditation on the Green Man, which is due to be published by Faber in March 2016.
3:15 Marcus O’ Dair: Different Every Time: writing the authorised biography of Robert Wyatt.
Robert Wyatt started out as the drummer and singer for Soft Machine, who shared a residency at Middle Earth with Pink Floyd and toured America with Jimi Hendrix. He brought a bohemian and jazz outlook to the 60s rock scene, having honed his drumming skills in a shed at the end of Robert Graves’ garden in Mallorca. His life took an abrupt turn after he fell from a fourth-floor window at a party and was paralysed from the waist down. He reinvented himself as a singer and composer with the extraordinary album ‘Rock Bottom’ and made the top 40 with ‘Shipbuilding’, written for him by Elvis Costello and Clive Langer, and an enduring beacon of political pop. For this talk, about Wyatt and the experience of writing his authorised biography, Marcus will be joined by Robert’s friend (and Caught by the River contributor) Andy Childs. Chaired by Richard King.
4:45 The Antidote Hour: John Andrews talks to long-term Caught by the River contributors Emma Warren and Mathew Clayton.
Mathew will be reading from his book (with illustrator Anthony Atkinson) Lundy, Rockall, Dogger, Fair Isle ; A Celebration of the Islands Around Britain, which is published by Ebury this month.
Emma’s talk will be on the act of dragging forgotten and pagan celebrations out from the margins, and dusting them off for modern use.
7:00 – 7:30 The Harlequin Dynamite Marching Band
Saturday 1 August
10:00 – Archive Radio Hour: lost broadcasts.
11:00 Stephen ‘Spoonful’ Parker
11:30 – Clive Langer and The Clang Group
Clanger aka Cliff Hanger aka Clive Langer wants to be a pop star at the age of 60!
After 35 years of producing other people’s records (including Elvis Costello, Madness, Morrissey, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, The Teardrop Explodes and most recently his new Domino label mates The Amazing Snakeheads) he’s gone back to what he loved best and started a rock ‘n’ roll band. The Clang Group features the legendary Roxy Music saxophonist Andy Mackay and members of Clive’s original band Deaf School.
4:15 Richard King reading from Original Rockers
5:15 – 6:00 Brian Shimkovitz – Awesome Tapes From Africa – in conversation with Emma Warren.
Brian – Awesome Tapes from Africa – Shimkovitz has been discovering, collecting and sharing the myriad sounds of the African continent via a cassette archive since 2006. Here, in conversation with Emma Warren, he talks of his travels in search of great, lost music.
7:00 – 7:30 Gwenno
8:00 – 8:45 Jane Weaver
9:30 – 10:30 Stealing Sheep
10:30 – 12:00 Awesome Tapes From Africa DJ set
Expect a mind-boggling set of South African synth-pop, Somalian disco and dance music from Mogadishu.
12 – 2am Bizarre Rituals DJs
Sunday 2 August
10:00 Archive Radio Hour: lost broadcasts.
11:00 Stephen ‘Spoonful’ Parker
12:00 Patrick Barkham
In April, Patrick’s new book, Coastlines, will be published by Granta. It coincides with the 50th anniversary of the National Trust’s campaign to save the British coast. At Port Eliot, Patrick will be presenting Coastlines, taking us on a journey of local stories, natural history and the beauty encountered where land meets sea.
1:30 Remembered For A While: A companion to Nick Drake
A celebration of the life and music of Nick Drake. Hosted and presented by Andy Childs.
3:00 Tim Dee & Philip Marsden: The place in me and me in the place
9:15 – 10:00 Matthew & me
DJs in the bar each night until late
Folklore Tapes installation