Though we’ve officially put Shadows and Reflections season to bed for another year, here comes a straggler, submitted in time but misplaced in the mists of the internet until now. From Cally Callomon:
2018 was easy.
2018 was happy.
2018: done, vg. tick.
From me: a stage set and audio visual presentation tour with The Young’uns where we became engrossed in Hunger Marches, Cable Street and The Spanish Civil War and emerged knowing why it was the cousin of The English Civil War, the child of The Great War and how we are still fighting the same war year on year and, yes, we are to blame. Their Ballad of Johnny Longstaff: His Story like a stook: wound tight, each strand feeding the other, though we love to simplify and separate, all we find is the repeating revolving tableaux where only the actors change. The tour bus was filled with Jim Ghedi’s apt A Hymn For An Ancient Land as we drove through his very terrain.
Joan Wasser acted as the world’s Police Woman with Damned Devotion, Karine Polwart aimed her wily Exocet at tableaux actor Trump with a triumph of a seventh album (Laws Of Motion) Julia Holter’s wilderness takes flight on her eighth beautiful album (Aviary) showing that it’s not all about debuts and newness. Gwenno delighted and inspired an entire household with her beguiling Le Kov, and John Parish flew past with his Bird Dog Dante.
Ireland gave us Landless and their Bleaching Bones debut album, Ireland where dear Dolores left us to carry on the work; building the final Cranberries album In The End – an epictaph that reunited our team from their first three albums. I dusted of art direction for three (3!) new Unthanks albums; one sets Emily Brontë’s poems to the music of her own creaky piano 200 years on from her birth. My old Jackdaw folder was raided for the new Young’uns package about to be unleashed. All ready for xmas, of course.
Somewhere, somehow, three editions of The Wanderen Star were published and Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty line up November the 23rd: The Toxteth Day Of The Dead, each year, every year, from now on.
Into the radio waves we bathed with the magnificent return of Fyfe Dangerfield, once a Guillemot, now his Birdwatcher series of broadcasts twitch and take to the air on channelsmaychange.com After a five year silence, a damn broken and a torrent of music to be found in weekly batches resembling a modern day Skip Spence. Each episode arrives on a Thursday, alongside a welcome new Underworld chapter and, of course my weekly, Caught by the River. This internet lark may just catch on.
Book lines were walked in Ben Myers’ Under The Rock; like his Gallows Pole, it’s a discovery trail one can follow in person, and so much closer to my home, next door in fact, Melissa Harrison took me back some 90 years in All Among The Barley, a privileged insight into my Suffolk homeland. Gently tense; a field picnic hanging on the same rock as Ben Myers. Laurie Lee would surely approve as he walked off in search of The Spanish Civil War.