Caught by the River: An Antidote to Indifference

A personal reflection by Paul Scraton:

I can remember the moment I ‘discovered’ Caught by the River very clearly. I was sitting in a café in Berlin with my friend Paul Sullivan and we were discussing bits and pieces to do with his Slow Travel Berlin project. As we talked, he tapped on the keys of his laptop and said to me, “here, have a look at this. I think you’ll really like it…”

I made a note of this website and that evening spent some time taking a closer look. It can be hard to describe exactly what it is… a collection of writing, films, music and more, that are somehow connected and yet are eclectic enough that each visit to the website brings you into contact with something you may have never discovered otherwise. On the about page of their website they tell their story in more detail, but at its core, Caught by the River was “conceived as an online meeting place for pursuits of a distinctly non-digital variety: walking, fishing, looking, thinking. Birdsong and beer. Adventure and poetry. Life’s small pleasures, in all their many flavours. It was – and still is – about stepping out of daily routines to re-engage with nature. Finding new rhythms. Being.”

Beyond the website, Caught by the River has grown to encompass a print fanzine and books; music releases under their own Rivertones record label; appearances at festivals and events of their own, and all along they have kept their core philosophy intact. I feel extremely proud to have been published on Caught by the River, but more than that I have enjoyed being part of this community of folk who follow and support the website and that have provided me with a key link “back home” from my actual home in Germany.

Along the way I have made friends through Caught by the River, many virtual and some in “real life.” Jeff, Andrew, Robin and Diva have also been a great support for Elsewhere from the very beginning, promoting our crowdfunding campaign, running extracts on the website and competitions through their newsletter. Last week, Caught by the River published their fifteenth edition of their print fanzine An Antidote to Indifference, which – disclaimer alert – features a piece I wrote early this year about the Magnetic North and their album Prospectof Skelmersdale.

As well as some previously published work from the website such as my essay on music and place, An Antidote to Indifference also includes original prose and poetry created especially for the fanzine. Including work from, among many other talented folk, Rob St John, Luke Turner, Melissa Harrison, Martha Sprackland and Keshia Glover, the issue has been lovingly put together by Diva Harris, strikingly designed by Louise Mason and deserves a place on the shelf or rolled up in the rucksack of anyone who, despite everything, sees this “world full of endless discovery, innovation, poetry…”

If ever we needed an antidote to indifference it is now. 

An Antidote to Indifference costs six British pounds and can be ordered directly here.