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For a couple of years I think I didn’t quite get Golowan. I was busy trying to find out what was happening where, searching the scant printed information for details – it all seemed too scattergun to get a handle on. Now of course I realise that this is absolutely the point of it, and its beauty.

It’s about the chaos and the wandering, the random discoveries, with mini stages and micro events on every street – some planned, some not. As Old Mike rightly said in his column in The Cornishman last week, Golowan is not supposed to be anything as divisive or elite as an ‘arts festival’; it’s a community festival and it represents Penzance perfectly in all its fruity glory.

This guy, who was kicking up dust on Greenmarket at a mere 10.30am, was a particular highlight – anyone catch his name?

 

A good Golowan is being had by all this week, with Mazey Day as giddy and chaotic as ever yesterday. Here’s the beginning of the morning parade for those who missed Mazey or who enjoyed it so much they already want to relive it. Quay Fair Day is cranking into action today on the prom – check website below for events.

www.golowan.org

Enjoying the announcement of a micro-festival at Barefoot (the place I was rave-blogging about the other day) over the Easter weekend to celebrate the launch of their surf school and record label – uh-huh, a record label on our very own Lizard Peninsula. It’s £30 for a day ticket (£45 for the weekend) but I see BF have managed to lure some interesting folky/acoustic names to the deep south, plus it is being opened by none other than Michael Eavis (if ever there was a good festival omen…).

I’ve been checking out the artists, and here are the ones that caught my eye. The beard count is reassuringly high.

www.barefootkitchen.com

Neil Halstead (Mojave 3 – he’s a NQY boy)

Matthew P (summery acoustic…)

Harry Fricker (guitar-as-drum)

Shocking-quality phone vid for you of Dartmoor dweller Seth Lakeman’s sell-out show at the St Ives September Festival last night. You know you can rely on me for plenty of distortion on the sound, and erratic framing. Still, hopefully this snippet conveys something of his electric performance of eerie, insistent ‘Kitty Jay’ – in my view his finest song.

Btw, if you missed Botallack O Clock the other night, fret not: the excellent Third Man Theatre are performing their ambulatory show ‘The One that Got Away’ this week, meeting at the Guildhall: details here. Am hearing great, often surreal things.

PS I feel duty-bound to point you to the full version of Kitty Jay with crystal-clear sound.

It is one of the quirks of living in these parts that the most exciting happenings in the arts seem to take place without the fanfare that they are due – never mind the fanfare, actually, with very little information at all!

And so it was that I found out about an amazing-sounding play taking place in St Ives this week thanks to a friend’s facebook status update containing a link to a truly gushing Time Out London review that had awarded it five stars.

The performance in question is Botallack O Clock, a play about the life of pioneering West Cornwall abstract artist Roger Hilton, performed by Third Man Theatre. It is described by Time Out as “the best kind of buried treasure” and describes Dan Frost’s performance as “phenomenal and uncompromising”.

There – a mini West Cornwall fanfare!

13th & 14th September at St Ives Art Club, £10. www.thirdmantheatre.com

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I’ve had a bath, downloaded my photos, and strewn muddy camping kit all over the lounge. After the non-stop stimulation and good vibes of Port Eliot Festival over the weekend, Monday morning from where I’m sitting is looking a little grey and boring.

But I still have many inspirational words ringing in my ears, so I thought I’d write a blog post before they are drowned out by the pile of admin tasks. As someone tweeted last night: “Back from Port Eliot with serious festival state of mind. Do I go back to work tomorrow, or set up an organic cider press in Cornwall? Sigh”.

The journalistic shorthand for writing about Port Eliot is to say that it is incredibly posh. Well, it turns out Read the rest of this entry »

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A few ale-addled snaps from Mazey Day in Penzance last week. It was my first and I loved it – the chaotic anything everything goes atmosphere is pure Penzance. One couple had dressed up as hippies – which is akin to dressing in camouflage.

I want to get more into top-five lists on pasties & cream, so I’ll kick off with my top five Golowan festival highlights:

1) The DJ in the Arts Club garden dropping Black Box ‘Ride on Time’ at 3 in the afternoon. Not only did he get away with it – people went crazy.

2) Singer Dom Youngman at the busk-off at Zero Lounge’s alfresco bar on Mock Mayor Wednesday (incidentally, was anyone else confused by the brisk trade they were doing all week in Veuve Clicquot??! Do these people know of a secretly booming industry in Cornwall that I don’t?).

3) Pondlife ska at the Dock (listen here) – young and old dancing in the streets and things starting to get messy.

4) Mr B’s new vintage ice-cream van’s first outing.

5) Of course, Pirates on the Prom – 8,734 pirates and a real pirate ship. Rad.

Till next year…

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In case you can’t wait for the splash in the Cornishman on Thursday, here’s a quick post to bring you news of our great victory: Penzance now holds the world record for the most amount of pirates in one place. The title is in its rightful home! We beat Hastings by several thousand, with a total of 8734 Cornish pirates, most armed with cutlasses, lined up on the prom.

It was a truly uplifting event, with communal ‘oooo-arrrrrrrghs’ encouraged on the sound system – and, of course, the mother of all ‘oggy, oggy, oggies’ when the winning result was announced.

Some people looked like they had hardly needed to dress up – what with the prevalence of beards and unruly, salty hair. And one pirate had a real parrot on his shoulder, which was causing mass piratical hysteria.

Unless you actually are a pirate, and therefore a bit off-radar, you will probably have heard about Penzance’s forthcoming attempt to beat the world record, currently held by Hastings, for the number of pirates in one place.

Hastings managed just over 6K but surely, Cornwall, we can pound that – we are in a piratical class of our own. Many people do actually wear kerchiefs in their daily life, after all, not just on pirates Sunday.

Read the rules on costumes here. £1 to enter. 1pm. Sunday, June 26th, 2011. Penzance promenade. Be there or be, well, a massive spoil-sport.

Bandanas are de rigeur for the event – pantaloons also welcomed with open arms.

Pirates on the Prom (www.golowan.org)

I went to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain at the Du Maurier Festival in Fowey last night – plucking amazing, they were.

Watching them dismember rock songs on titchily tiny ukuleles is a formula that never seems to fail (which may be why they sell out hundreds of gigs a year).

It’s a relentlessly entertaining, semi-ironic show but musically it’s no joke – these people are slick pickers. Even Ralph Read the rest of this entry »

OK, I realise that two consecutive blog posts have contained images of bunting fluttering in the Cornish breeze – you’ll have to forgive me (particularly male readers) but really you’ve got to make hay while the sun shines.

This is a clip of Porthleven Food Festival on Saturday, taken from next to the food marquee, where I sat pint of Betty in hand, enjoying Read the rest of this entry »

I know this is old news now but: Happy New Year all!

I have only just emerged from the self-inflicted carnage of a St Ives New Year, which I spent dressed in some high-waisted snakeskin trousers and a blond wig – and in the company of a womble, Big Bird, two shepherds, Dr Zoidberg, a carrot, a robot and a crocodile.

We spent most of the evening in the throng outside the Sloop and then, as is traditional, Read the rest of this entry »

On account of semi-comatose stints by the wood burner, brought on by the repeated appearance of a family-sized tub of Rodda’s and vats of egg nog, this video of Montol is going out a week late.

As in previous years, it was a suitably elemental, quirky affair up on the beacon: full moon; big fire; masked people; music in a minor key; person dressed in horse skull.

And with it belated happy festivities from pasties & cream!

www.montol.co.uk

lunar eclipse penzance

They were sounding so chirpy on Radio Cornwall about the lunar eclipse this morning – the first total lunar eclipse to take place on the winter solstice since 1638 – that I felt spurred to get out of bed and try and catch it. It was cold and I couldn’t see no bleddy moon but it was an incredible sunrise all the same. Anyone else have any lunar joy?

Today is of course the shortest day of the year and in Penzance that means everyone goes a bit pagan and marches up to the beacon with lanterns to stand around a large bonfire and sing. Montol as a festival was revived here four years ago – it’s devoid of bells and whistles (burger vans, candyfloss etc), but I think that’s the idea. Procession starts from St John’s Hall at 5.45pm this evening.

More deets at http://www.montol.co.uk/

lunar eclipse penzance cornwall

seafood restaurant stein

Writing about incredible food you’ve eaten is a difficult thing to do without sounding insufferably smug. ‘The organic, free-to-roam, hand-reared, home-matured beef with foam of expensive stuff and sprinkled with more expensive stuff, was quite simply divine!’. But with that caveat out of the way, I’m going to do it anyway.

I got an invite to last night’s Magnificent Seven, the opening night of the Cornwall Food & Drink Festival – a many-coursed meal prepared and presented by Cornwall’s seven top chefs. Was I free to attend? Oh, I think so.

There were endless courses and canapes so I’ll just do highlights (pics above):

• In at number one, seabass caught that morning served with delicate vanilla butter prepared by Breton chef Stephane Delourme, head chef at Stein’s Seafood Restaurant
Nathan Outlaw‘s tender circles of sirloin – gorgeous
• Chris Eden of the Driftwood‘s posh mini doughnuts dipped in cinnamon sugar with creme caramel

I chatted to he-of-superb-surname Nathan Outlaw afterwards and he seemed every bit as laid-back as he comes across on telly, despite awaiting January 2011 with baited breath to find out if he has managed to secure two Michelin stars for his new restaurant in Rock. He told me the restaurant has had five anonymous Michelin visits in the last few months, and knew there were more to come any day. God, pressure! Oh and he’s working on his first cookery book for next season – you heard it at p&c first :-)

And finally a video of Paul Ripley and Nathan Outlaw bantering about food in Cornwall. OK, in the cold light of day it turns out this is very out of focus – sorry about that, it was shot during the port course.

A few pics from the jolly Sea Salts & Sail maritime festival in Mousehole harbour at the weekend – next one in 2012. www.seasalts.co.uk.

(Apologies for minimalist blog post today – large book to edit. But a picture speaks a thousand words, right, so really this is a 7000-word blog post). Read the rest of this entry »

st ives harbour cornwall

The first St Ives Food & Drink Festival seemed to be going with a swing yesterday when I swung by – though it’s hard to imagine what wouldn’t go with a swing when the skies are blue and St Ives looks, as it does on sunny days, like it’s been dropped in from the Bounty advert.

The Guild Hall food fair was a bit of who’s who of cool new Cornish food & drink companies (and there really are TONS). With everyone enthusiastically handing out tasters and being generally friendly and chatty, it was a convivial scene.

Polgoon was there with its new River Cottage-endorsed elderflower fizz in champagne bottles (tasty stuff but £17 – ouch!), then there was the Rev Berriman’s fiery chilli cola (which I enthused about the other day), Cornish Stingers nettle beer, Cornish Blue cheese, amazing Helford River cheeses, real ale, St Ives beef….

Down on the harbour wall, a small crowd had gathered for the chef demos. I listened for a while to the chef from the Greenbank in Falmouth demonstrating how to cook fish to perfection (in brief: score the fish, high heat, skin first, shake the pan, then don’t be tempted to keep moving it away from the hob…).

Oh, and I took the park & (train) ride from Lelant for the first time – it’s the only way to go. (10% off tickets the Cornish rail card btw – yay).

More pics of the festival care of the Clotted Cream Diaries blog here.

http://www.stivesfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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