Caught by the River

Caught by the River at The Good Life Experience 2015

18th July 2015

CBTR4 copy

With 65 days to go until The Good Life Experience 2015 kicks off, we are pleased to share the lineup for the Caught by the River tent, featuring many of our friends and contributors. Founded by Cerys Matthews and Charlie & Caroline Gladstone, the weekend promises to be a corker – filled with music, books, food & the great outdoors.


In celebration of the stunning Nick Drake: Remembered For A While, Emma Warren will be joined by Gabrielle Drake and Cally Callomon, who together composed the book over a six year period. Looking upon Nick’s life and music, the conversation will be set against a backdrop of rediscovered photos taken by friend Julian Lloyd and mementos such as Nick’s original Martin guitar and the blanket he was veiled in for many of these woodland photos. This intimate event will culminate in special guest musicians, including Nonny Denny and Daisy Vaughan performing some of Nick’s songs.

Andy Childs reviews Nick Drake: Remembered For A While.

Mathew Clayton’s Lundy, Rockall, Dogger, Fair Isle: A Celebration of the Islands Around Britain was published in May, and is a former Caught by the River Book of the Month. Explore Lundy, the perfect refuge for pirates and a cast of other ne’er-do-wells; St Kilda, the tiny island that was inhabited for over 2000 years but now lies abandoned; or Hy Brasil, a mirage that was featured on maps for centuries but never even existed. Mathew will read from Lundy, Rockall, Dogger, Fair Isle, bringing words and art together to create an illustrated celebration of the islands around Britain and their rare magic.

Roy initially made a name for himself writing for Sounds and Select, and is the author of the acclaimed rock/forestry memoir Do it For Your Mum. He managed cult UK band British Sea Power until 2005. Roy will be presenting a music-and-nature quiz, posing questions on moths and goths – and there will be prizes.

Dan is co-author of Holloway with Robert Macfarlane and Stanley Donwood. His new book, The Beechwood Airship Interviews, comprises interviews with Bill Drummond, Richard Lawrence, Stanley Donwood, Jenny Saville, David Nash, Manic Street Preachers, Dame Judi Dench, Cally Callomon, Sheryl Garratt, Vaughan Oliver, Jane Bown, Steve Gullick, Stewart Lee, The Butcher of Common Sense, and Robert Macfarlane. Dan and Cally Callomon will be discussing what it is to be an artist in 21st Century Britain.

Professor Trevor Cox, author of Sonic Wonderland: A Scientific Odyssey of Sound will be talking sonic phenomena with audio accompaniment at this year’s festival. A renowned expert who engineers classrooms and concert halls, Cox has made a career out of eradicating bizarre and unwanted sounds. After an epiphany in the London sewers, Cox now revels in exotic noises — among them, creaking glaciers, whispering galleries, stalactite organs, musical roads, humming dunes, seals that sound like alien angels, and a Mayan pyramid that chirps like a bird.

Will was born in London and raised in Buckinghamshire. He didn’t finish his English degree, instead pursuing an ill-fated band with his brother. He has worked in factories, window-cleaning, decorating, and the best record shop on earth. He likes sports and ornithology and is our Poet-In-Residence here at Caught by the River. His poems have been published by Structo Magazine, Ambit, Illustrated Ape and the Independent Online. Will was named as one of Faber & Faber’s New Poets in 2014, and his pamphlet has subsequently been published.

Will Burns archive.

Rob Cowen will be reading from his book Common Ground, which was published in May. After moving from London to a new home in Yorkshire, Cowen found himself in unfamiliar territory – disoriented, hemmed in by winter and yearning for the nearest open space. One night, he set out to find it – a pylon-slung edge-land, a tangle of wood, meadow, field and river on the outskirts of town. Having obsessively revisited this contested ground, Cowen’s book ventures deep into its many layers and lives, documenting its changes through time and season and unearthing histories that profoundly resonate and intertwine with transformative events happening in his own life. Blurring the boundaries of memoir, natural history and novel, Common Ground offers an enthralling new way of writing about nature and our experiences within it. Michael Palin has described the book as ‘Sensitive, thoughtful and poetic. Rob Cowen rakes over a scrap of land with forensic care, leading us into a whole new way of looking at the world.’

Melissa is no stranger to Caught by the River, but to recap – she won the John Muir Trust’s Wild Writing award in 2010 and her first novel, Clay, won the Portsmouth First Fiction Award. The Evening Standard says: “Harrison has a gift too for exploring human bonds … It is in the descriptive passages that Harrison’s lyrical style shines brightest … Clay is an assured debut novel, that reads like the work of a much more experienced author.” Melissa was selected for Amazon’s ‘Rising Stars’ programme and chosen by Ali Smith as a Book of the Year for 2013. A freelance writer, occasional photographer and Nature Notebook columnist for The Times, the Weekend FT and The Guardian, she lives in South London. Her second novel, At Hawthorn Time, was a Caught by the River Book of the Month in April this year.

Melissa Harrison archive.

Emma Warren’s review of At Hawthorn Time.

Following his critically acclaimed Syd Barrett biography A Very Irregular Head, Rob has written an epic follow up entitled Psychedelia and Other Colours. 150 years after the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and 50 years after Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters’ notorious Acid Tests, Rob offers a labyrinthine account of the prehistory, cultural antecedents and creative manifestations of LSD-inspired music. Here, the sublime, the sinister and the just plain silly co-exist in imperfect harmony.

John is a historian, author and farmer, who was born in Herefordshire, England, where his family have lived for over seven hundred years. He has written on a range of subjects from Native Americans to Fatherhood, but specialises in military history and natural history. His semi-autobiographical The Wild Life was hailed by Paul Blezard, the literary editor of The Lady, as “Beautifully written. As close to poetry as you’ll find in prose.” His latest book, Meadowland, was the winner of the 2015 Wainwright prize.

Rob Cowen’s review of Meadowland

Jeb Loy Nichols has been crowned “the high priest of country cool” by Rolling Stone magazine. Living and working in mid–Wales for the past 15 years, he’s produced CDs, albums, exhibitions of prints and three books, all from his remote smallholding. His most recent LP – The Jeb Loy Nichols Special – was called ‘an instant classic” by Mojo Magazine. A book of prints, I Need You To Tell Me Something Different, was called “breathtaking – all hail the New Pastrolism” by Art Scene. As a printmaker, he’s had successful exhibitions in New York, Berlin, Tokyo, London, and Cardiff. He continues to record music, make art, and most importantly, plant trees.

Jeb’s Jukebox archive.

Richard edited our most recent Antidote to Indifference. He will be reading from his book Original Rockers, which The Guardian describes as “a remarkable memory fugue, a work of rapture and reverie, a bittersweet and often moving tribute to a hallowed place.” A unique homage to a record store, you can hear Richard bring Original Rockers off the page.

Emma Warren has been writing about music since she and her friends set up Jockey Slut magazine in the mid ’90s. She has worked at THE FACE, made radio documentaries for the BBC and currently writes for assorted publications – including a couple of fanzines. She is a regular contributor to Caught by the River.

Emma Warren archive.

Author Nina Lyon grew up in London, was educated at UCL, and spent her formative years going to raves and thinking too much about them. She has worked in a therapeutic community, has helped run a philosophy festival and lives up a hill near Hay-on-Wye with her two children. She is a PhD student at Cardiff University and writes about nonsense and metaphysics. Nina will be reading from her first book, a meditation on the Green Man – Britain’s ancient emblem of man’s relationship with nature. Nina’s book is due to be published by Faber in March 2016.

Following a stint in advertising, Richard began working on radio, and eventually entered the murky world of music production. An obsession with jazz gave rise to Richard’s book, Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression, which The Guardian calls ‘a lavishly illustrated history of the great jazz label.’

The Guardian reviews Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression.

The Good Life Experience takes place on the Hawarden Estate, Flintshire, from 18-20 September. Tickets are available here.