Shadows and Reflections: the annual collection of postings where Caught by the River’s ever-reliable contributors and friends old and new take a look back on the events that have shaped the past twelve months.
Words & picture Nick Small
It has been a good year, generally. Work took me to the stunning western highlands a couple of times and my swansong film for The One Show was a feature on fell running which involved meeting the legendary Joss Naylor and also Richard Asquith, author of Feet in the Clouds (a book I reviewed for these very pages). My favourite project has been my collaboration with Ben Myers, which came about as a result of a pre-Jimi Goodwin gig meet up in Hebden Bridge engineered by Jeff.
I spend my leisure time either running over the moors of what is known as “Bronte Country”, or wandering through the heather taking photographs. The opportunity to take pictures to accompany Ben’s Heathcliff Adrift poetry and to be paid for it was, as we say where I come from, mint. The resulting exhibition showed at Durham Cathedral and opens at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in February.
To cap it all, the year ended with Jeff asking me to document , on film, the Heavenly Hebden Bridge 25th Birthday shindig, which features a whole load of acts that I really want to see, playing the coolest venue in Yorkshire, Hebden Bridge Trades Club at the end of January. I’ve spent the last few months paying the bills by making corporate videos for banks, so having a heap of Yin to go with that particular Yang came as a very welcome surprise indeed.
Trip of the year was probably the three days I spent in Iceland on a recce for a film about the most dangerous volcano on the planet. For someone so fascinated by the landscape and the forces that shape it, Iceland is close to Shangri La.
Best books of the year? Beastings by Ben Myers genuinely tops my fiction list. For non-fiction: The West Yorkshire Moors by Christopher Goddard (a Hebden Bridge resident, I believe) … a beautiful hand written guide to walking the South Pennine moorland, packed with social and cultural history and illustrated in the manner of the Wainwright classics. A wonderful book.
Music-wise, The Nightingales’ For Fuck’s Sake is just brilliant. It’s hard to credit that Robert Lloyd, an inveterate pisshead, who is inevitably potless to boot, is not only still alive but producing the best music of his epic career…backed by a truly superb international line up, driven by Fliss Kitson’s awesome drums. It probably cost me money to do it, and it was just a simple performance video, but making the promo for “Dumb and Drummer” was one of the highlights of the year for me.
Honorable mentions too for The Wytches and Honeyblood.