Digging Long Bredy

Long BredyA glimpse through the lens of time

By Lawrence Hansen

This year Long Bredy added a new ingredient to its traditional summer fete: a pop-up archaeological dig. Over the weekend of July 25-26, Dr Peter Northover recruited residents to dig metre-square pits in parts of the village he had selected by electromagnetic survey. It seems that the houses and roadways have changed positions in the past 1000 years and he is making it his business to find out where and how. One tiny village – Kingston Russell – has disappeared from sight altogether.

Dr Northover’s study has the benefit of historical records. However, beyond this study is a history of unrecorded human occupation as evidenced by the area’s extensive earthworks – the tumuli, barrows and strip linchets interrupting the natural curves of the downs which enfold the village. A delegate from this period dropped in for the weekend: the skeleton of a man from the 1st Century AD found in Long Bredy’s Baglake Farm a few years ago. He was brought along by the forensic archaeologist Barry Fitzgerald who checked him out of the County Museum and laid him out on a table in the village hall.

Also on display was a large collection of coins dating from Roman times found at another local farm. Just last year three skeletons dating from 800 BC were found at Bottle Knapp Cottage when a hole was being dug for a septic tank. In this old part of England the past is all around us, but especially in Long Bredy.

By |July 28th, 2015|History, Lawrence Hansen|0 Comments

Slow West

slow westElectric Palace Friday 17 July 2015
BR Rating ***

By Alfie Golding

Slow West is a Western no doubt but there were strong elements of comedy and romance so that it strayed from the genre. There was a nice balance of humour and tension through the first half, but towards the end there were less prominent boundaries between the two: scenes that were established as sad or serious were suddenly broken by a character cracking a joke or some other faux pas.

Some otherwise powerful moments were spoiled, which made one question the director’s judgement: was this just a failed attempt to reboot the western genre, or was it an intentional attempt to represent the wild and unlawful nature of 1800s America? Nevertheless, Slow West has many subtleties that were not obvious at first but which should become more evident in future viewings.

By |July 18th, 2015|Alfie Golding, Film|0 Comments

Guillaume Tell

Guilliame TellRoyal Opera House Live
Bridport Arts Centre 9 July 2015
BR Rating **

By Amy Van Zyl

Watching this production of Rossini’s last opera was to be frequently reminded of human ingenuity. The music, masterfully conducted by Antonio Pappano, seamlessly rose and fell to transfigure every scene. The protagonists’ musical performances impressed with their technical and emotional capacity. John Osborn was exceptional in the role of Arnold, which requires tenors to far outstretch their usual vocal range but to do so with agile ease. Also in one of the lesser roles, Sofia Fomina played a believable and compelling Jemmy, Guillaume’s son, whose voice rang clearly and passionately throughout.

This, an impressive feat in itself, is sadly one that stands alone in the face of the production’s short-comings, which make it difficult to praise the production further. The story of Guillaume Tell is enticingly tragic. It follows the Swiss hero William Tell, whose undying patriotism and love for his countrymen, makes him yearn to be liberated from the cruel and sadistic Austrian occupation. However, it seems that this production just needed to fall into the lap of a director with a clearer and fresher understanding of the opera’s ferocity.

It was simply impossible to become emotionally involved or deeply moved. It was as if the drama was so overwhelming that the director had timidly reverted to predictable attempts to make the opera seem new, exciting, controversial and different. This had a devaluing and numbing effect. In fact it was laborious.

Now, for those skimming to the exciting bit, we come to the infamous ‘rape scene’. It shows why reviews of Damiano Michieletto’s production are themselves problematic. Surely this production would never have attained the same notoriety had this debate not erupted so spectacularly. This seems a shame as it means the sublime musical performances go relatively ignored yet allows sales-savvy journalists to write excoriating reviews.

Nevertheless, it seems bizarre that audiences have felt so inclined to be offended by the rape scene and violence of the piece. They aren’t audibly outraged every time anonymous corpses and traumatised women are blazed across news channels.

To feel moved, shocked, uncomfortable is ultimately the premise of the production which had all the trimmings of a Shakespearean tragedy. In a harrowing story about the ravages of war, would the audiences have preferred that the ‘distasteful’ elements of the production had been neatly edited? Mind you, it is easy to be apathetic when you aren’t emotionally embroiled in the production itself because, try as you might, there is only so much looking-dramatically-poised that one can stomach.

By |July 10th, 2015|Amy Van Zyl, Opera|0 Comments

Jurassic Fields

Music Festival – Askers Meadows

Saturday 11 July 10am – 11pm

Featuring some of the best music, comedy and food in the area, plus artists from around the country. Kids’ entertainment, fun fair and face-painting.

Bands include Shelby’s Elbows, The Leggomen, Hobo Jones & the Junkyard Dogs.
Tickets £25 on the gate, £22 at Tourist Information Centre (until Friday evening); Concessions £13; Children £4. Evening-only tickets £15, £8 concessions.


By |July 9th, 2015|Music|0 Comments

Fair Bridport Fair

charter fairAnnual Charter Fair
Saturday 4 July

By Alison Lang

‘Happiest place to live in Britain,’ – The Times
‘Third best market town,’ – BBC Countryfile
‘Top 10 market town’ – Daily Telegraph

Our market town is indeed accolade-laden, thanks in large part to the provisions and pleasures of our markets.

On Saturday, Bridport’s annual Charter Fair takes place in South Street, the Arts Centre and the Borough Gardens with entertainment and stalls from 9am until 3pm.

The Charter Fair celebrates the granting of our charter in 1253 by Henry III: “Know ye that we have granted and by this our charter confirm to our worthy men of Bridport that our town of Bridport shall in future be a free Borough…” with all the rights that entailed, including the right to hold a market.

Bridport’s early market was literally a shambles. That means it was a butcher’s slaughterhouse and meat market where the Town Hall now stands. It is a little more sophisticated these days: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has sold soups and chutneys in the farmers’ market.

Bridport (including West Bay) has 10 markets, including a car boot sale in West Bay and a monthly vintage market. If you don’t know them all, there are some splendid new market pamphlets available in the Information Centre. Only three of the markets are run by Bridport Town Council, but while the town surveyor, Daryl Chambers, praises them all, it is the street markets every Wednesday and Saturday that he considers the jewels in the crown.

Chambers and Ken Hussey jointly run the street markets, playing good cop (Hussey), bad cop (Chambers) to keep matters under control. Chambers is also one of 12 advisers to the National Association of British Market Authorities.

The town’s income from market-stall pitch payments last year was some £ 58,000 after expenses. That money stays in the town and is used to pay for projects such as new streetlights and banners, planting and maintaining green spaces and children’s play areas, bunting and Christmas lights.

Unfortunately the town pays 16% of market income to West Dorset Council as they own the market and licence it to us. Bridport relinquished control of its market in the mid-1970s but Chambers and the town council are currently negotiating to win it back.

From 18 July to 5 September, a park-and-ride service at £2 per car or £ 2 per pedestrian will run every 20 minutes between West Bay Car Park and Spar on East Street between 9.15am and 3pm every Wednesday and Saturday. Good for the market, good for the beach!

Click on our Bridport Review links to read more about our market traders.

By |July 3rd, 2015|Markets|0 Comments