Happy new year, everyone. Here’s hoping that 2014 is your best one yet.
Wishing you all a very lovely time over the holidays. I think I’ll be spending a lot of tomorrow not doing much (other than nibbling on the odd mince pie and, of course, watching Doctor Who!).
So, the holidays are nearly upon us (and I’ve still not written any cards). That’s good. It means I get a day or two off. And that it’s nearly Doctor Who time again. It also means that it’s nearly 2014. A whole new year. So I reckon it’s time to take a look back at this year. More specifically, its best bits.
Best Album is, without the shadow of a doubt, Polly Scattergood’s Arrows. (Here’s me raving about it a little while ago.) And a little while on it’s barely been off my iPod. It is magnificent.
And this is on it. A song that breaks the heart in exactly the right way.
(Suede’s Bloodsports gets an honourable mention, because that’s pretty bloody wonderful too and definitely sees them back to their best. They were brilliant live (again) too.)
Now this is a trickier one. Although I didn’t read half as much as I should have this year, I did happen upon a couple of belters.
The Color Master by Aimee Bender is, as expected, a wonderful collection by someone I’ve described as the best short story writer around. And it contains my favourite story of the year, Tiger Mending.
Do check them out. Any of them would make a wonderful last minute present (even if it’s one from you, to you…).
Here are a couple of books by people I’ve taught, in case you fancy something a little different to get stuck into over the hols.
First up is Mining Memories. It’s been available as a paperback for a little while now (and was runner-up in the Lakeland Book of The Year in its category) but, as of this week it’s now available on Kindle.
Here’s the blurb: This collection of 15 poems is a moving testimonty to the buried truth of the hardship, exploitation, even contempt, suffered by the universal fellowship of miners and their families, and the courage, honesty, generosity, and respect for others that underpin their own lives.
Did you know that your health concerns could be caused by improper breathing?Luckily, with this helpful book, it is easily fixed, and experienced Breathing Retrainer Sally Gething will show you how.
This book can help with the following…
Cold Hands and Feet;
Pale Face and Skin;
Difficulty in Catching Your Breath, or in Taking a Deep Breath;
Allergies, Eczema and Skin Conditions;
Elongated Face Shape;
Repeated Chest and Throat Infections;
Nasal Voice, Whispering Voice, and Losing One’s Voice;
Abnormal Breathing Patterns;
Lung Damage (including Emphysema, COPD, Bronchiectasis);
Hypertension/High Blood Pressure;
and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
It’s been a pretty full on few weeks here at Perring Towers. Mostly, those weeks have been filled with editing and course things, but I’ve also found time to read a little (Aimee Bender’s The Color Master is every bit as wonderful as I’d expected it to be, and contains the best short story I’ve read this year in Tiger Mending). I met up with a couple of old friends too, which was lovely – I’d literally not seen either of them in years.
And then, last Friday, I went out. I don’t go out out very often. I’m boring now, and have to be up in the morning and things, but I thought sod it, it’s nearly Christmas, so I dressed up and went to a town I used to go to often when I was a much younger man. And it was good. Fun was had. But it was so different to how it used to be. Not in a bad way, just different. A lot can change it ten years, I know I certainly have. And change is something, historically, I’ve not been very good with. I’m better with it now, I think. And it got me to thinking, and that, in turn, got me to writing something (pretty lazily and quickly) over the weekend: a small poem which the lovely folks over on Facebook seemed to like so I thought I’d share it here. Sod it. It is nearly Christmas, after all.
I went back there last night
and I walked the same streets that we walked
when we were young.
When you smiled every time we held hands
like I did too.
When we danced and laughed
or simply sat and breathed the same air
in cafes and bars, happy.
But those bars and those cafes were gone
when I walked our streets.
That place had changed
and I wondered that if I saw you I’d think you’d changed
as much as our place had
and if, maybe,
my memory of you
and that place,