Up Front 10/15

It’s hard to believe that the next issue we work on will be number 200. It’s quite a milestone. Somewhat inevitably, we’ve looked back over past issues from the last fifteen years—a trip down memory lane. How things have changed, and yet stayed the same. Yes the magazine has grown, in both size and reach. What began as 24 pages now tends to be 80 or more. The paper quality, once newsprint is now glossy, giving our photographers and advertisers the quality reproduction they deserve. And of course the magazine has changed in style over the years. We’ve retained some of the typos of course; perfection was never an option in an amateur, family-run business like ours—and can anyone remember when it was all black & white? Our first colour issue was in July 2004. In that issue Katherine Locke wrote about Marzia Colonna, who coincidentally is showing her work at Sladers Yard this month. Ron Frampton wrote about Loughborough Meeting House in Kilmington and Penelope Hobhouse wrote about the Dorset Garden Day at Melbury House, highlighting Karen Hansen’s furniture and Malcolm Seal’s willow baskets. So whilst we may have grown, the one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the huge range of initiatives that our wider local community manages to launch and somehow sustain. Bridport has become the home of festivals, from literary to food and hats to film. And when it comes to unusual activities around the community, we have everything from biscuit antics with the Dorset Knob Festival, to more organically challenging activities like Nettle Eating at The Bottle in Marshwood. Contributions to the quality and diversity of life in and around the Vale have come from every quarter. And we have also added, in our own small way, to the spirit of the community. We have launched Food Awards, Community Awards, Photographic and Poetry Competitions, and this month we open the third of our Arts Awards exhibitions at Bridport Arts Centre from October 24. It’s an exhibition worth visiting; an extraordinary mix of painting, photography, furniture, ceramics, sculpture and textiles—yet another reflection of the deep well of talent that has driven us to keep publishing over the last 199 issues.