Caught by the River

Shadows & Reflections: Cally Callomon

Cally Callomon | 21st December 2017

As the year draws to a close, we ask our friends and collaborators to look back on the past twelve months and share their significant moments. From Cally Callomon:

Becky and Rachel Unthank hold forth at the 2017 Singing Weekend



2017 was another year that seemed desperate to become one year older, as fast as possible. I buy next year’s diary pages earlier and earlier each year. Technology is always 54 steps ahead, there is little way I can ever keep up, and so, frustrated by the pace of others I remind myself to gear down and move slowly from room to room. A plunge into my swimming pond, a close examination of the forest floor from trees I planted some 25 years ago all help me to immerse myself in the seasons and also helps slow them down. Things last longer when you move through them slowly, food tastes better when not raced, summer holidays seemed to last for years as a child.

A re-discovery of Vaughan Williams’s Pastoral Symphony helped. There it sat on a charity shop shelf, an unloved Naxos CD. As people shed CDs and Ordnance Survey Maps into our local Hospice shop, I hoover them up, oblivious to iTunes and iMaps. My aged iPod decided enough was too much and collapsed under the weight of thousands of albums, so I decided on a cull and wiped everything from my iTunes — bar the ten essential albums discovered this year, all which deserve a ‘Listen On Purpose’. Albums like the second Daoiri Farrell album, Marry Waterson’s new title, The Furrow Collective, all accompanied by Benjamin Myers’ epic The Gallows Pole book, and a re-read of Homage To Catalonia, given the current news from Spain and an impending tour about the Spanish Civil War with The Young’uns in 2018. Nick’s mother Molly Drake took centre stage with a lengthy tour of her songs by the wonderful Unthanks and then a re-release of Molly’s original recordings all dressed with many poems into a book you need to own as well as take time to read. Molly took her time.

Working with Bill ‘Best-Before-Death’ Drummond caused me to chance upon the power of a three-word motto. Everyone needs a three word motto. If it takes four, then it cannot be any good. ’Just Do It’ ‘Every Little Helps’ work fine, yet I’ve been repulsed by the over-used phrase ‘Take Back Control’, a cliché that was applied to our reasons for walking out on our E.U. Family and soon filtered down even to so-called Street Food vendors claiming the same, as if someone stole our diets from us. If taking back control means shifting from one fairly undemocratic shambles into a demonic, disproportional bully-boy regime run by the faceless bureaucrats that haunt Whitehall, I’ll take the former, please. At least we had a fighting chance of improving matters in the E.U. and if that takes a long time, then that is to be celebrated.

My motto remains: ‘Not So Fast’

Cally Callomon.


Cally Callomon on Caught by the River