Caught by the River


22nd November 2020

A compendium of our most recently enjoyed articles, music and whatever else.

New documentary Freak Power: The Ballot Or The Bomb tells the story of Gonzo Journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s brilliant and irreverent campaign for Sheriff in 1970.

‘The changes to Anna’s body were apparent, but what stars were shooting through her mind? She does not have the language to tell me.’ For The Dark Mountain Project’s ‘Outbreak’ series, Nancy Campbell strives to unlock communications with her aphasia-struck partner, plus Mike Hembury forges new relationships with corners of his Berlin neighbourhood.

‘One can cut off various parts of arms and legs a hundred times, and every time: the smile and a bloom of arm spring forth like a new perennial. Just when one thinks nothing can grow back after such a winter, the tiny, pale shoots of a crocus burst through the sloppy mulch-thin ground after a difficult and heavy sugar snow.’ When in Doubt, Smile Like
an Axolotl: Aimee Nezhukumatathil writes in praise of the Mexican Walking Fish.

In an old-but-gold episode of the Backlisted podcast, John Mitchinson and Andy Miller are joined by Philip Hoare and Jessie Greengrass, and the four discuss W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn.

‘Academics in the universities and environmental attorneys in the courts were asking, in the wake of the Wilderness Act—which passed in 1964—what was meant by wilderness. Wasn’t it a fairly arbitrary cultural construction? Wasn’t nature, like natural, a term used by the state to police and control human behavior? Snyder, who tends to think in geological time, seems to have had these issues in mind, even while he was thinking about the transformation of human societies since the end of the last ice age.’ Read an extract from Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winning author Robert Hass’s excellent introduction to Gary Snyder’s The Practice of the Wild, courtesy of the Paris Review.

Mark Lloyd gives The Rivers Trust (and us) hope for the future of our waterways.

In a recent correspondence, friend of the river Andy Childs wrote: ‘I’d imagine you’re probably aware of American modern classical composer John Luther Adams – his compositions are epic and he’s a committed environmentalist. Interesting chap. Good piece on him here. Well, he’s just released a new piece called ‘Become River’ which I thought might be of interest to you, and he has a memoir, Silences So Deep released next month in the U.S. – I’m not sure if it’s being published in the UK but it’s bound to be good.’ We thought we’d pass on the intel.

And finally, we were very excited about the announcement of upcoming Erland Cooper album Landform, described as ‘an ambient companion’ to previous album Hether Blether, and comprising tape loops ‘drowned in the north sea, dried in gales & sun then buried in Orkney soil’. You can pre-save the album, out next week, here. In the meantime, you can listen to a playlist put together by Erland, and ‘inspired by place, landscape, depth of field and changing perspectives’, here.