Thursday, 18 February 2016

Chatting on Market Day

I have a day off work today, so I went out to do my shopping in the market for a change. Normally, the market is just starting to pack up when I come out of work for my lunch break, so I stocked up with nice bread from Alex Gooch, and some Jonagold apple juice from the Weobley Ash stall (he was frying bacon when I passed, and it looked delicious!).
Alastair was standing at the same stall, and he was telling the stall holder about the chap who does Tibetan calligraphy locally, Tashi (who had just been buying something at the stall). I hadn't realised just how good he is - according to Alastair, he learned his craft from two Tibetan masters who have both since died, so he is one of the top Tibetan calligraphers in the world! He also ran a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Scotland for several years. His website is at

On the way home, I saw Tim the Gardener re-laying cobbles outside one of the houses on Broad Street. He stopped to ask me if I knew of the author Helen Waddell, who he's just discovered - he's in the middle of her novel about Peter Abelard now. Helen Waddell's Wandering Scholars is the first book I chose to review on A Book A Day In Hay, so we started chatting about medieval scholars, and how Helen Waddell's style compares to Mary Renault, and then Tim told me about the performances he's been doing at the open mic nights at the Globe.
On 5th February it was the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of Modernism (or possibly Dadaism?) at a club in Zurich, and he was celebrating this with readings from books about the period and the artists involved. At the Globe, performers get a fifteen minute slot to fill on stage - and he went over time with his final piece, which he called Provocation. And which did, indeed, provoke the organiser, somewhat to Tim's glee.
Tim was most disappointed in the national newspapers, none of which covered this centenary, until he found an article about the city of Zurich, which is holding a 156 day festival to celebrate - this being the length of time the performances lasted at the original club (which was saved by squatters from becoming luxury apartments and is now an arts centre again). 156 artists and writers will be commemorated, one on each day of the festival.
We went on from there to discuss an early travel writer, Robert Byron, who wrote The Road to Oxiana amongst other works, and who influenced later writers like Patrick Leigh Fermor and Bruce Chatwin - and who may be the subject of future Tim performances.

Just another average day in Hay, in fact!

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