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Thursday, June 13, 2024
EditorialsUpFront 03/20

UpFront 03/20

Since a growing number of readers now regularly read our online magazine Marshwood+, I’m obviously not the only one enjoying a look back at some of the people and places we have featured over the years. As well as the extended magazine, each month we republish highlights from that month, ten and fifteen years ago. It feels a little like travelling through time, which seems to be a bit of a theme to this issue. Robin Mills’ account of his journey through one hundred contributions to this magazine is a fascinating insight into how his life in photography became a voyage through the culture and history of our local community. It’s a voyage I undertook many years ago without really realizing where it would take me. This month we also travel back in time with a look at a new book by local author James Crowden. The Frozen River: Seeking Silence in the Himalaya recounts the story of a journey he made to Ladakh in the Northern Himalaya in the mid-seventies.  And I also managed to track down Sophy Roberts to hear about her life, and of course her extraordinary book The Lost Pianos of Siberia. Reading her book, it’s hard not to feel the powerful pull of history drawing the reader into the soul of the land through which she travelled. An unimaginable vastness, Siberia covers an eleventh of the world’s landmass. Sophy describes it as ‘a melancholy, a cinematic romance dipped in limpid moonshine’. She hears Siberia ‘in the big, soft chords in Russian music that evoke the hush of forest and the billowing winter snows.’ Although searching for a piano for a friend was the initial focus of her journey, the task becomes somehow secondary as Sophy’s encounters open up page after page of untold history—fascinating stories set against a backdrop of breathtaking beauty. It is a history littered with tales of horror but also of fortitude, resilience and survival. The book is a journey through time and place in a land that, as she quickly discovered and to the benefit of all readers, has a habit of distracting one from the task at hand. This month I also spoke at length with Sir Oliver Letwin about his new book Apocalypse How. This is another trip through time, although in this case, to the future. It is a shocking wake-up call to all of us about what is not being done to safeguard our future. We will publish the full interview and more about this online and in our April issue.


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