As the winter continues and it is getting really quite cold now we are still uninclined to go motoring out of Bath visiting places or touring around. Consequently we are making the best use we can of the cultural resources available. Last week we saw movies at both The Little Theatre art house cinema, for the “bobos”, and the Odeon multiplex, for “the masses”. The former is somewhat grungy but has what they like to call the “Silver Screen” shows at 10.30am on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for Seniors at which one is met with a sea of silver-grey heads all clutching their free coffees and biscuits while at the latter, during the daytime shows in the week, one is generally sharing an empty auditorium with about three or four other people, either seniors, shift workers or the unemployed. But to be fair, the Odeon seems to be well run and is clean and comfortable and the young staff always very pleasant and helpful and they tend to have short, neat haircuts instead of pony tails.
I have attended four events at the Festival this year and not one of them could be classed as about literature – writing, yes, but literature, no. One was a debate on “The Brexit“, one a talk on the “State of the Middle East“, another a talk on the 17th century billed as “The Age of Genius” and finally a discussion on “Understanding China“. Bath has turned itself into a sort of Mecca for festivals. So much so that it has an umbrella organisation called Bath Festivals under which all and any festival can shelter and benefit from the combined marketing effect. Bath being Bath I cannot help saying that they are intensely middle and upper-middle class affairs. I am not sure about the age demographics although anecdotally the sort of events which I tend to attend seem to attract, shall we say, an older type of person.
Chapel Arts as the name suggests is a Bath performance space for the arts focused mainly on music and within that mainly folk and “roots” styles but which also caters for jazz, blues, country and indie styles and others types of performance such as the occasional contemporary burlesque show. Although I have assiduously checked their listings for most of the time we have been in Bath and despite the fact that we have been at various times quite regular patrons of their basement café I had not until very recently found anything that I really wanted to see. I was beginning to think that I might fail in my goal of seeing something in every main venue in Bath so I was greatly relieved when I noticed that an American performer by the name of Brooks William,s rated as one of the top 100 acoustic guitarist in the US, or some such ranking, was billed under the blues category.