Caught by the River

The Caught by the River Book of the Month: June

11th June 2022

Book of the Month for June is Michael Pedersen‘s ‘Boy Friends’; an intimate memoir of love, grief and male friendship. Read an extract from the book, featuring a lavish seafood platter, below.

Dinner with you and Hollie. These are palmary moments. 

No, I don’t regret spending £75 on the seafood sharing platter. Aye, it is a crumb indulgent and you call me a lush (to Hollie’s hilarity) but we are twinned in this bonhomie. I do not regret us gorging ourselves on a platter boasting an estimated: forty mussels, sixty prawn tails, six gargantuan langoustines, twelve scallops and a heft of dipping bread – a platter most definitely intended for filling more than two bellies. Of course, there is wine – we would not do a meal such as this the disservice of being without it. The platter is its own constellation; it does not fit on the table, for its circumference is akin to Jupiter, not decommissioned Pluto. You and Hollie have to swap seats so we can battle this formidable foe thigether, in formation. 

We are leviathans feasting with and on each other. The messy display attracts nods of reverence from onlookers populating the tables in orbit around us. These nods are a cloud of praise comfortably taken; this comfort in taking praise is far too rare for brilliant you. Over yonder, the island of Skye sits down to tea with us – we address it in stories and long glances cast over. On Google Maps this water is labelled ‘Inner Seas off the West Coast of Scotland’ (Atlantic Ocean) – a very formal name for our salty guest, the ghost at the table. 

Whilst eating the platter there is a dearth of chatter; it has given way to unwavering dedication. Let it be known this is not portentous – it is the opposite, the gooey vim of not needing chit- chat. We are apples, here’s our core, sprouting pips in every belly. Even vegetarian Hollie sooks a mussel down but, shhhhhhhhh, don’t tell her family or she’ll never hear the end of it. 

This supper was garlic-butter gorgeous, love on its tiptoes, the last meal we had together and one of your last on this whizzing planet. It isn’t quite fit for purpose, but I surmise you’d chip in with: it wasn’t far off either. 

p.s. yes, we order starters anaw but these were modest and too alluring to let pass by. Thon pudding you shared with Hollie was one step beyond for me but youse looked cherubic splitting it and you were often one step ahead. 

p.p.s. by the time the £149.50 (plus £20 cash tip) cleared from my bank account, three days later, you had left us and something had left me; but right there in that moment we were brimful. It was love. 


‘Boy Friends’ is published by Faber in early July (but we couldn’t wait until then to shout about it!) Pre-order a copy here (£13.94).

Michael will discuss the book with Bill Drummond at our event at The Social, London, on Wednesday 6th July. There’ll also be music by Eyes of Others and Withered Hand. More info/tickets available here.