Every year, we give over all of December (and usually most of January) to a series called ‘Shadows and Reflections’, in which our contributors share highs, lows and oddments from the past 12 months. Today it’s the turn of Benjamin Myers.
2022 has been a time for smallness — seeking pleasure in the mundane things or the minutiae of existence, whenever possible. Slowing, stopping, looking.
Early in the year I bought an ultra-violet sauna tent, in which I sit for 20 minutes each evening, sweating myself into a salty pool while contemplating the day. I recommend it.
Aside from that, other things that I have enjoyed and appreciated this year include: Rudston Monolith (circa 1600BC); opening the curtains; bees; The White Lotus (seasons 1 and 2); Paddy Pimblett’s video blog; Red Exposure by Chrome and the return of Futurismo record label; daily meditation; Yorkshire tea (brewed long and black — what I have coined The Yespresso); The Ruby Cord by Richard Dawson; Wanting You To Want Me: Stories From The Secret World Of Strip Clubs by Bronwen Parker-Rhodes & Emily Dinsdale; feeding the neighbourhood pheasant named Tiberius; the five albums released in 2022 by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard; discovering the writing of Claire Keegan; The Newsreader; green grapes; Eggs, Beans & Crumpets by PG Wodehouse; Ladies & Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (1982), Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut; Rachel Reeves; In Fabric (2018); the women of Iran; putting on my bright red Franz Beckenbauer vintage tracksuit; Go-Kart Mozart at The Trades Club in Hebden Bridge; Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly (1970); Dave Davies’ tweets; planting poppy seeds; The Harbour Bar in Scarborough; wasps; the erotic 80s series of You Must Remember This podcast; The Quietus; Adam Buxton; ‘3 Minutes To Midnight’ by The Streets; ‘The Natural Urge’ by Unthank: Smith; Seachange Festival at Totnes in Devon; literary agent Jessica Woollard; Unman Wittering and Zigo (1971); Fear Fear by Working Men’s Club; Glenda Jackson; Damian Abraham’s Turned Out A Punk podcast; planting an apple tree; Out Of The Blue (1980); UFC; Muse, Odalisque, Handmaiden by Rose Simpson; tiger balm; squirrels, Greg Heinimann’s book covers; Confidence Man live everywhere; Nidderdale in North Yorkshire during the heatwave; My Brilliant Friend (the series); Helena Bonham-Carter; Marina Hyde in The Guardian; my new David Hockney poster bought from Salt’s Mill, Saltaire; The Silence Of The Girls by The Shining Levels; Bru-C live at Reading festival; tap water; To The End Of The World by Rupert Everett; planting a plum tree; Jason Williamson’s tweets; Melville House book publisher; Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971); Gwendoline Christie; Radio 4Extra; Gwendoline Riley; ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ By Harry Nilsson; Weird Walk fanzine; massages at The Banyan Tree; Andrew Lincoln; several kittens; Bad Sisters; Crass; shovelling up piles of dead leaves into a mulch pile at the end of the garden which one will hopefully be inhabited by hedgehogs; Going Mad In Hollywood by David Sherwin; Autobibliography by Rob Doyle; King David Hartley of the Cragg Vale Coiners; Offbeat: British Cinema’s Curiosities, Obscurities and Forgotten Gems ed. Julian Upton; unexpected parcels from Cally Callomon; The Social in London; Ron Rash; Worcester cathedral; ‘Schizophrenia’ by XXXTentacion; The Souvenir (2021) and The Souvenir II (2022) and everything by Joanna Hogg; Talking Pics; Mogwai; Naga Munchetty; ‘Rainbow River’ by Vashti Bunyan; Top Boy; Ben’s Vintage Clothing shop in Folkestone; Cobalt Chapel’s Spotify playlists; Shane Meadows; Tim Key’s audiobook narration of The Perfect Golden Circle; mid-period Fugazi; Sight & Sound magazine; the Better Known podcast; Nicholas Lezard in the New Statesman; Kirsty Wark; Iggy Pop on Instagram; ‘Military Procedures’ by Splint; From The Oasthouse with Alan Partridge podcast; Boulder by Eva Baltasar; Pam & Tommy; Jack Lowden; The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis; Germany; Northern Earth magazine; ’21 Seconds’ by So Solid Crew; Bob Mortimer; Nicola Sturgeon; One Romany Summer (1977); the writings of E.M. Forster; The Centre For Folklore Myth and Magic in Todmorden; ‘Macho Music’ by Peter Gordon & ‘Blue’ Gene Tyranny; Bowie’s jungle phase; ‘You Will Never Work In Television Again’ by The Smile; The Book Corner in Halifax; Vanessa Redgrave; Old School by Tobias Wolff; the statue of Les Dawson in Lytham St Annes; ‘Stargazer’ by Shelagh McDonald; cod-reggae; Noel Coward; second-hand flight-suits; thinking about Malcolm McDowell’s face; a rowing machine; ‘The Man Who Couldn’t Afford To Orgy’ by John Cale; Backlisted podcast; the art prints of Black Lodge Press; Mark E Smith’s leather jacket(s); ‘Goin’ Up The Country’ by Canned Heat; White Rabbit Books; joining the Labour Party; England’s Green by Zaffar Kunial; Google street view; Stewart Lee’s Snowflake/Tornado; James Johnston’s paintings; The Comet Is Coming; books about cokehead Hollywood film producers; outdoor swimming at [LOCATION REDACTED], Ten Thousand Apologies: Fat White Family And The Miracle Of Failure by Adelle Stripe and Lias Saoudi; Michael Socha in Skint; kingfishers; Fireside Stories by Trevor Beales on Basin Rock Recordings; planting acorns; spiders; The Instant by Amy Liptrot; spiders’ webs; Bluemoose Books; watermelons; Thin Lizzy; desolate reservoirs; Angela Rayner; Glow On by Turnstile; Al Pacino and Gene Hackman in Scarecrow (1973); Ever Fallen In Love: The Lost Buzzcocks Tapes by Pete Shelley with Louie Shelley; new socks; Saul Adamczewski’s drawings ‘Danke Schoen’ by Wayne Newton; Geoffrey Burgon’s soundtrack to Brideshead Revisited; farm shops; ‘The Equestrian Statue’ by The Bonzo Dog Band; a solitary mouse running across the porch one evening.
Benjamin Myers’ latest novel is ‘The Perfect Golden Circle’ (Bloomsbury).
His next novel ‘Cuddy’ will also be published by Bloomsbury, in March 2023.