Caught by the River

Shadows & Reflections – John Andrews

John Andrews | 31st December 2009

In which, as the year comes to its end, our friends and collaborators look back and share their moments;

the anno 2009, one of a long shadow cast by the sudden death of adrian miles on the 15th of may, taken at 50 and remembered on a bank holiday friday by a legion of family and friends at mortlake crem. the evening sun setting over richmond hill, the thames gold in the dying light of the day and for a moment on ian dury’s bench in the meadow below the brief figure of a man dressed in a patched corduroy jacket and a pair of baggy pin tucked jeans turning round to wave up at us. goodbye to the original bournville boy.

the rest of the year a reflection of the love everyone made that day, painted on a bowie white balloon and left to float over the outskirts of the city and away into the distance. a dave dragon collage of familiar faces remembered in out of the way auction rooms, distant linocut figures fishing for rudd and tench on the edge of a giant wave lapped frensham, spooked afternoons on the whitewater and the wey, eeking out a living in arcadia, market days and car boot mornings, festival nights and public bar afternoons, a bank holiday spent totting, the rediscovery of arthur ransome’s writings on fishing, the honour of being asked to write for the times of london, being on the roll-call for ‘caught by the river’ and ‘powerlines’, deliveries of denim stovepipes, a new pair of overalls and a blue serge housecoat, the pitching of wet tents and the stalking of dry riverbeds, fabulous floats from the richardson factory and religious curries from the bengal lancer. getting the keys to my shared lock-up garage, with its racing green wooden door on rollers, a place of storage and sanctuary, a place to sing along to the ‘out of the blue’ at 5 o’clock on a saturday afternoon, a weekly moment of remembrance regardless of the results. witnessing dennis potter’s ghost play the organ in louth town hall, a drip-dry moment of pure class. sunday nights in front of spiral and the original swedish wallander with the empress arcadia and st polycarp the 1st. bliss. thank god for bbc 4. and the hog’s back brewery. and the tunny that sounded under the boat after years of playing dead.

until then my fish of the year was a 5lb chub that someone else caught and sent to rowland ward at no 1 piccadilly to be set up. found under a tarpaulin on a tailgate at kemptonia. restored by paul cook and now hanging upon my wall. its flints follow me everywhere.

my tune of the year was robin turner playing me ‘winter home disco’ by the pictish trail in a empty tent filled with nerves at port eliot. ‘let’s have a disco with all of these people in our front room. the winter’s begun i don’t think that i’ll go outside. it seems so much harder now’. truth and beauty.

my piece of the year on caught by the river jude roger’s own shadows and reflections.

give the dog a kiss and put another log on the fire for me.