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Monday, August 08, 2005

Bainbridge Summer Art Fair

A light luncheon of Croque Monsieur and a demi bouteille of Chinon before off to follow the signs to the Town Square and the Art Fair. I'm not actually sure which is the 'Town Square', or how it differs from the Review Calendar's 'Plaza'. It turns out to be the Farmers Market space.

Larousse Gastronomique has the first Croque M'sieur as being served in Paris in 1910. This classic French fast food is a sort of sandwich - cheese and ham and bread, toasted, fried or just an oozy rich cheese sauce on a platter of toast.

Croquer means 'to munch', hence my ruse during the 'Freedom Fries' fracas of serving it to patriot pals under the guise of "Mister Munch".

I like the crispness of frying but my companion is on an anti-fat rampage so toasting it is.

I butter two wafer slim slices of bread, covering one with a slice of Gruyère, then ham, then another slice of cheese. I butter the other slice, press it down on the first slice and toast it under the hot grill.

Time for a few sips of the Chinon and a leisurely cigarette as I watch the bread turn a crisp golden and the cheese ooze from the join.

The crisp white tented booths beckon in the blazing sunshine but even as we hurry forward we are waylaid on the left by the Town Hall photography exhibition of the BI Photo Club.

BI Photography exhibition_1The photos are expertly displayed, with adequate space for passing as well as thoughtful viewing. This is just as well because on entry we are handed cards on which to note our top ten favorites - a seemingly impossible task on first sweep of the uniformly superb exhibits.
Everyone takes their adjudicatory duties seriously, returning for 2nd and 3rd comparisons before settling on their final choice.

BI photography_2My companion is a sucker for crystal clear nature close-ups - the slug went straight to #1 - and she is also a bully quick with a pitying sigh for any hint of approval that clashes with her own tastes. I leave her gushing over a tasteful composition of gnarled Asian faces and do three quick circuits to anaesthetize myself against the more relentlessly beautiful offerings.

I pause before a striking shot of "Umbrellas of Beijing" that has been treated (solarized?) in a way that I'm not sure I can vote for. The Bully joins me and says "Oh no, you're going for *that*, are you?", which decides me and I place it #3 with a hard stare at the harridan.

We agree that the standard is very high and - surprisingly - find that we kept returning to the work of messrs Johnston, Wooldridge and Root.

group_reviseAs we move towards the Fair, someone is singing in a wonderfully clear and tuneful voice that I need to track down before perusing the booths. It is group I've not heard before but a very nice sound and 'authentic' to my untutored ear.

I know I get dismissive looks when I talk of enjoying 'country' music, as if how can a Brit know anything about music whose roots are across Atlantic.

In fact, it's worse than that because my introduction to country was from records I listened to in Moutries of Hong Kong which in turn stocked what it thought rich Americans would buy.

Later, with Vietnam vets using HK for R'n'R, the selection got even richer.

folk group - sepiaMy mother would steer me towards the classical albums but at the first chance I'd sprint over to the 'cowboy' section and the Patsy Cline and Boxcar Willie releases.

I've always had a soft spot for the women - Patsy, Tammy, Loretta, Kitty - and altho' the Hanks and Jimmies 'n' Merles certainly put a song across, the times I've been most moved have been by a woman's voice.

The lady singing today has that magic timbre to her singing.

1611hrs, Aug 11 <snip> -

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