Caught by the River

Shadows & Reflections: Matthew Shaw

13th December 2022

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 Matthew Shaw.

2022 has been a year of walking, of creating new mental maps informed by following pathways and way markers between one place and another

Moving between Cornwall, Dorset and Cheshire. Between the ancient sites of West Penwith and between friends old and new around the British Isles.

It’s been a great comfort and joy to be outside walking, connecting ancient sites, like joining up memories and forming new ideas, ways of bringing people together and making unlikely connections. Many of these have made it onto the bill at Stone Club events at The Social and the Verdant Taproom in Penryn, as well as The British Museum, Tate Britain and Folkestone Doc Fest.

Since last year the walks, photographs and field notes have evolved into so much activity with Stone Club, my favourite part of which is in meeting people at the events and sharing so many amazing stories, experiences and photographs from members on our website.

Zakia Sewell DJing between the pillars as people danced, kissed, laughed and met new friends was a brilliant highlight, alongside film screenings, Druid sun salutations, Morris dancing and solstice art by Jeremy Deller.

Musical highlights included Gwenno, Broadside Hacks, Shovel Dance Collective, Naima Bock, Elizabeth Crompton, The Shipbuilders, H. Hawkline, Melin Melyn, Porridge Radio, T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo, Julian Cope, Horace Andy & Hannah Peel. Most played were The KLF and the first four Clannad LPs, as well as a very mysterious 10” one-sided lathe called The Hurdy Gurdy Song.

This year has been spent without a television and yet film has played a bigger part than in recent years. Seeing Mark Jenkin’s upcoming Enys Men was a highlight and I’m sure it will be a big hit in 2023. I’ve been especially enjoying short films by Edie Morris, Danny Mondo, Siôn Marshall-Waters and Spaceship Mark Williamson.

I feel like I have read less this year but also read deeper. Books, as always though, have featured heavily: Alan Garner, Elizabeth Garner, C.C Vyvyan, George MacBeth, Iain Sinclair, John Higgs, David Keenan, Janet and Colin Bord, Benjamin Myers, Vashti Bunyan, Michael Dames, Annebella Pollen, Merlin Sheldrake, Sonia Overall, Rhys Mwyn and many more, not to mention the many other guides to ancient sites and walks in Cornwall.

As I walk towards the end of 2022 and think of the year to come I think of my friend Brian Catling, who passed this year. I am aware that through loss and change that some things remain, friendships and experiences that shape us and make us who we are. I feel hopeful and optimistic and grateful for the art, music and friendships of this year and the times to come.