The Vale of the White Horse by Eric Ravilious.
Louis Eliot has been playing guitar, singing, writing songs, since his years could be measured in single figures. He was shown his way around a guitar by the Hawkwind guitarist; kept on course as a teenager when, walking home after a gig for which he’d had to battle nerves, a familiar voice came from the shadows: ‘nice singing, Lewis’. The voice was Joe Strummer’s.
Through the 90s he fronted top-20 album band Rialto; played bass for Evan Dando; played guitar with Skye from Morcheeba. He now lives with his family in Cornwall, his native county, and leads Louis Eliot and the Embers – though occasionally taking to the road to play guitar for Grace Jones. If you think his surname might reveal a connection to the Port Eliot festival – you might be right.
Joe Strummer was right about his voice – a clear, light tenor with just a hint of fallen angel about it. On stage with the Embers he disappears into his songs – and the band fly. Their album is called Kittow’s Moor, a blend of folk, country and rock’n'roll that can’t help itself from rocking. We recommend it – our current music of choice, Friday evenings, to remind us that the weekend nights are for dancing. Listen to it, buy it at louiseliot.com or iTunes or all the usual suspects.
This August Toast will be travelling to Oxfordshire to curate the spa at Wilderness Festival for the third year running. We will be packing bags, boxes and vans with our favourite outdoor things - deckchairs, firebowls, storm lanterns, blankets and installing ourselves near the lakes of the Cornbury Park Estate. The spa is a place to relax and enjoy a few moments away from the noise and hubbub of the rest of the festival – a place to soak in cedar hot-tubs under the sun and stars, steam in saunas, sip champagne and allow the world to revolve slowly without any input for a few moments…
The second dispatch from author, printer and dealer in ‘Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul’ John Andrews (a.k.a Andrews of Arcadia). John is one of the six working men photographed by Neil Gavin for our spring/summer menswear collection. The photos here are by Jim Eyre (@scribblebag).
In the month of March the first thing I notice is the difference in the hours as dawn gets earlier, it seems, by an hour a week, although it is only a quarter of this in reality. As I step out of the van after the 7 O’Clock News there is light in Hanbury Street and for the first time in five months I will be able to load the trolley in something akin to daylight. The feeling this brings on is slow realisation that days at the market will get slowly warmer and brighter. It is a hope that you do not realise gets buried by the winter months…
Thom Hunt is a fisherman, hunter, forager, scuba diver, teacher of all these things… and television presenter: two series of Channel 4′s Three Hungry Boys, in which he and two friends were challenged to survive in the Hebrides with nothing but a battered old VW camper van (and absolutely no money) by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Thom has since moved from the River Cottage hub in Devon to the far reaches of Cornwall, where he runs exciting residential courses in wild food foraging/cooking and general living hand-in-hand with nature from an isolated, rudimentary (and lovely) cottage on the banks of the River Fal. This year Thom also plans to climb Everest.
He’s a man of great zest, infectious enthusiasm and relish for life. He likes nothing better than spending time in the Great Outdoors, Having Adventures. People love his courses, for more about which, visit 7thrise.co.uk
We celebrated the opening of our newest shop on London’s Marylebone High Street last night with a good party. The Flower Appreciation Society did a fabulous job of decking the shop with fresh flowers and partygoers were treated to bespoke floral headdresses and buttonholes. Gin & Tonics were served by Sipsmith and decorated with peppery edible flowers from Greens of Devon. If you weren’t able to pop by, make sure to pay a visit to the shop over the next few days – the flowers will be in bloom until Monday 25th March.
The Flower Appreciation Society will be decking our Marylebone shop with flowers for its re-launch this Thursday. In their final dispatch before the main event, Ellie and Anna present their brief guide to edible flowers. Be sure to try violas, pansies, primroses (great sugared and used to decorate cakes), borage (an excellent addition to cocktails), and nasturtiums (brilliant in salads).
The Bridge, Staithes by Sydney Lee. 1904. Colour woodcut. Private collection. © estate of the artist.
From the Shadows: The Prints of Sydney Lee RA is showing at the Royal Academy of Arts until 26th May 2013. This long overdue celebration of the art of Sydney Lee RA (1866–1949) offers an opportunity to rediscover the work of one of Britain’s most significant yet overlooked painter-printmakers. The exhibition coincides with the launch of the first publication on Lee, written by the exhibition’s curator, Professor Robert Meyrick, Head of the School of Art at Aberystwyth University. Find out more here.
Richard King has worked at the heart of the independent music industry for twenty-odd years, from founding a label in his bedroom to looking after a&r for Domino Records as they released albums by Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Bonnie Prince Billie and many others – that label has an amazing list!
He is the co-editor of Loops, an occasional journal of long-form music writing published jointly by Faber and Domino. He has contributed to the Guardian, the Observer and many other publications. He is a regular contributor to Caught by the River.
He lives with his family in his native rural Powys. His first book ‘How Soon is Now’ (Faber) is a landmark survey of independent music – the record labels and the inspirational, eccentric and visionary figures who created them. He is an honorary founding partner of The Do Lectures and lurks in the background of Domino Radio.
Beyond all that – he’s a man of apparent and active intelligence, a calm getter-of-things-done and delightful company.