Trade Winds is a fine little informal platform for poets, singers, storytellers, travelling troubadours, you know, every type of performer you get around these parts and, occasionally, from over the hills...
Trade Winds is the pub child of Susan Taylor and Simon Williams. Like so many good things and good people, the birth of Trade Winds kind-of happened by accident… and yay, this year their offspring has reached the age of majority – eighteen years of age!!!
To start where we began, eighteen years ago and more, The Tradesmans Arms in Scorriton, near Buckfastleigh was taken over by John and Val from London. It was a very traditional ale house in a hamlet on the fringes of Dartmoor and they planned to keep it that way, although they did bring in a leather chesterfield or two and attempt to sell the idea of an oyster and champagne bar at one end of the main space. We don’t really remember many people eating oysters.
What we do remember is long heartfelt conversations we had with John and Val about the ups and downs of life, love… and poetry. We discovered they were interested in both the writing and performing we were doing and that they were keen to hear our work in the pub!
Why not? We thought – this could be fun – and so Trade Winds was born. And it was fun, but also a fine little informal platform for poets, singers, storytellers, travelling troubadours, you know, every type of performer you get around these parts and, occasionally, from over the hills – drifting here on the Trade Winds of course – folk from as far away as Bristol, the Orkneys, even way down South in Texas!
It all happened without much effort on our part, mostly by word of mouth, plus some inspired and original posters that our illustrator friend, Paula Cloonan designed for us. She’s been a frequent visitor to Trade Winds over the years and has often done quick character sketches of people performing. There are far too many folk to list from all of these evenings, but thanks go to Paula for her vital contribution, also to Mavis Hewitt, our storyteller from South Brent for her unflagging support both then and now. We miss her partner, Dave, who was a strong part of our little gathering around the wood burner singing songs like The January Man and playing his home made psaltery.
Bards, mythweavers, choristers, musicos, performing artists, people people – you know who you are – and we love your voices and your antics. Come friends, old and new, come welcome strangers, let’s raise a glass to the next eighteen years!
Way back in 2008 Trade Winds had to take a break, as The Tradesmans Arms was closed for quite a while, while it was up for sale. But then, to everyone’s delight, the pub was renovated and reopened… and Trade Winds re-emerged, like the phoenix it is, in February 2009. On this historic night, there were some great musical spots. Elma Houghton played her saxophone. Then, Mike Edwards of Devon Baroque launched a unique musical instrument - it was the parabolin - made by the sculptor, Nigel Cameron. Both of these men were regulars at Trade Winds but , sadly, neither of them is still with us and we miss them.