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The Hawthorn Halls (the bus stop edition)

And so it began. The time: 07.30 am. The day: St George’s Day – the eldest kept quiet in a way that only teenagers can but both Will and Lydia, with backing vocals from mum, gave it their all as they belted out the song (which according to Mark Radcliffe and BBC4 is the richest song in the world, ever), Happy birthday to you…

A late shift the day before dictated that my forty third year on earth had, somewhat, blurry beginnings but the fog soon cleared with a barrage of gifts and cards and more songs. We like birthdays! Lydia is especially enthusiastic as her own special day follows forty eight hours later. Fortunately we’ve had no illness and much to Lydia’s relief, no daughter inspired poetry such as April Birthday with you can read at the UK Poetry Library buy following this link: http://www.ukpoetrylibrary.co/poem-april-birthday-by-david-coldwell/

As well as a birthday day it was also the start of a full seven days leave after what seemed like a winter that had began to test our patience.

Let the celebrations begin…

Special breakfast followed by a mooch around Hebden Bridge followed by lunch at Mooch followed by further mooching in The Book Case (a great independent bookshop that’s now fully restored after last year’s flood) followed by a quick drive home before finally finishing the day with a great family meal at Discovery Bay (made famous by Gordon Ramsey’s F Word). Phew!

But that was only the start of the celebrations. The next day (to quote David Bowie) began with the alternative drainage folks finally managing to get their wagon up the lane to empty the septic tank (it’s a long story and one that should only be told with addition of speciality cleaning products) followed by garden time followed by a fantastic open mic night at the Castle Hotel in Manchester hosted by Bad Language where the brilliant Rosie Garland headlined. You can find out more about Bad Language at http://badlanguagemcr.wordpress.com/. Phew!

And then it was year seven for daughter. After second special breakfast we promptly shipped the birthday girl off to school and went shopping which amazingly coincided with lunch at Bolster Moor farm shop (it’s all about the pies) followed by family celebrations and birthday party followed by Amanda’s unveiling of her amazing ‘Poodle’ cake followed by signing on at the cricket club. Phew!

And then Friday was I Am Kloot day at The Picturdrome followed by photograph of set list gifted by kind sound engineer.

Set List - I Am Kloot

Cuckoo Day – yes, we really do worship those darn birds, arrived on the Saturday and after months of organisation for the day long outside event, so did the snow. Fortunately it was only pretend snow and the showers soon passed to reveal a bright blue sunny type of day where a minority of motorists could shout at us for closing roads to allow the parade to pass and where the day finally finished to the sounds of Prince’s Purple Rain being played by our local rock band in the sunshine from the steps of the Methodist Church – only in Marsden.

Now after celebrating the success of the Cuckoo with several real ales and support for the local Chinese it would have been nice for a rest but, as I said, we like birthdays and this year Lydia’s grand finale was a trip to the Blue Planet (cue photograph of shark)

Shark

followed by a wet and windy ice cream at West Kirby beach. Phew!

On Monday I had a rest – leave can be very tiring – and finally got round to submitting a new pamphlet for the latest competition. So now I’m looking longingly at the collection of new books, including Sean Borrodale’s Bee Journal, Adam Feinstein’s autobiography on Neruda and John Burnside’s collection Black Cat Bone, not to mention the plentiful supply of pamphlets from the wonderful Happenstance Press, all propped at the side waiting for some dedicated me time – or is that asking too much.

Now, after the briefest of warm weather (don’t mention London but cue picture of tree taken from horizontal position whilst children modelled wetsuits for first wild swim of the year)

Tree

we have now been forced back inside the halls where the now sadly overlooked word, ‘cinematic’ is found nestling beneath the floorboards waiting to join the introduction for this week’s selection from the zero players.

Whatever the weather, there will always be poetry and music.

Heart Shoots

Heart Shoots

Very proud to have a poem included in the new anthology from Indigo Dreams Publishing that aims to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Heart Shoots is the successor to Soul Feathers, the 2011 anthology initiated by Annie Morgan and co-edited by Annie and Ronnie Goodyear. 

Heart Shoots has retained the ethos of of publishing poems from the newcomer to the international famous and includes poetry by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Seamus Heaney and Sharon Olds.

Please follow the above link for more information and details of how to purchase your copy.

Equinox

For the person who stumbled across my blog with the search term Spring Equinox 2013 Marsden then I humbly apologise but do hope you like what you found instead. I’m assuming that it was the word Marsden that drove the engine to think that I could offer some light on the subject. The real question now though is why the searcher put the name Marsden? Is this the beginning of a new Dan Brown type thriller where Robert Langdon stumbles upon the centre of the universe during a lecture tour of the Pennines? I shall remain curious.

It is, of course, happy spring equinox day today which means that we now have equal daylight to darkness which in simple terms means more time to watch the snow. Yes, it’s snowing again! I may have to change the name of the blog if things don’t improve.

The spring equinox also heralds the end of my first year as a poet. After spending the last twenty years as a bedroom poet (similar in nature to a bedroom DJ or bedroom musician both of which I’ve also trialled), about this time last year I finally sat down and began the hard graft of becoming a published poet. It’s been an interesting twelve months and in many ways, quite fascinating. Not quite Dan Brown but something certainly worth writing about so watch this space.

On poetry, I’ve been fascinated with the art since discovering Frost at school but not since Simon Armitage’s first collection, Zoom, have I looked forward to reading a book as much as I did last week when I finally discovered Clare Pollard’s latest collection. Clare was a featured poet on Abegail Morley’s excellent blog, The Poetry Shed. The article featured the poem, Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe from Clare’s fourth collection, Changeling published in 2011 by Bloodaxe Books. I immediately hopped over to a popular shopping site (don’t mention the tax) and bought a copy of the book feeling slightly embarrassed that I’d missed the boat first time around. Changeling is described as being steeped in folklore and ballads and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I read it from cover to cover and then, like most good poetry books, left it on the side to dip in and out throughout the week. A new favourite on the keeper shelves and definitely recommended.

You can read more from The Poetry Shed at http://abegailmorley.wordpress.com

Clare also writes her own blog at http://clarepollard.wordpress.com

The Hawthorn Halls are currently closed for spring cleaning so no zero players this week. Instead I wanted to leave you with a new favourite. This is Song For Zulu by Phosphorescent. This was a recent headphones moment on my Facebook page. You can find out more about the band at http://phosphorescentmusic.com. Their new album, Muchacho is released this week.

The Hawthorn Halls (the racing post)

Tuesday’s weather was September blue with the milky sun of the weekend finally giving way to the cut throat light of early spring. Shadows were long and in stark contrast to the flood of sun light, the hills still bore numerous slips of white as the cold air cosseted the last of the snow. It was a good day to be out and about so at nine a.m. I did what every self respecting lover of landscape should do on the first day off work and climbed into the dentist’s chair.

Now there are worse things in life than the punishing quarterly ritual of the ear piercing jet being manoeuvred beneath the gum line against raw nerves but, looking out over the trees into the deep blue sky, I was struggling to come up with any examples.

The trouble with four days off mid-week at half term is that without really trying the days suddenly become laden with activities, jobs, and treats. Most school holidays follow a similar pattern: it’s the tartan of time that we picnic on however this half term would be slightly different.

With the three monthly meditation exercise over (it is true that you can beat pain by focusing on a screw in the light above your head), and the family waiting outside, we were off – to paint an attic room. Now as you might guess; feeling a little like a newly hatched chicken blinking in to the sun, setting off with a whiter kind of smile to paint a room put me in a bit of a grump. It was the first day off to coincide with a real sun blast since weeks before Christmas and the next nine hours of my life were mapped out to include five litres of Dulux best, a brush and a roller.

We were clearing Uncle WA’s house, which, at first sight, appeared to have been used as a store for the last forty years worth of racing papers. WA didn’t like to throw things away. He had passed away just before the festive season and Amanda and her sister (the only remaining relatives in the UK) had worked tirelessly since the new year to clear, scrub, clean and throw away as much of the hoard as they could fit in the back of the family estate. It had been a Herculean effort and timed to coincide with the arrival, from Ireland, of Uncle John (WA’s brother) and his large white van. I scalded myself for being a little grumpy and left the walking boots at the back of my mind.
Five white van tip trips later (yes, we had to take the death certificate) and several coats of white paint and the house suddenly began to quiet down and stop moaning at the thought of being clean and tidy. We had done it, just, and it was time for tea.

Now, should proof were needed that being a six year old child is the best thing in the world then the following day provided all the evidence. It was ash scattering day. WA’s first and only love in life had been the horses: race horses. With this in mind, Amanda had made an enquiry to York Race course to see if there was any possibility that we could hold a little ceremony near the track. ‘Of course,’ said Tom, who appeared to deal with all things ash scattering, ‘no problem at all. Many people like to use the finishing post, that’s as long as they’re not racing!’

So, on a bitterly cold grey Wednesday we found ourselves, after a short guided tour of the facilities (never one to miss a sale) stood beneath the finishing post at York Race course with a large tub of ashes. As we arrived at the post and Tom said his fair wells and good wishes it became clear that the world had lost a few racing fans over the course of the winter. Flowers clung to the post and piles of ash dotted the track side. We all looked at each other and secretly wondered what to say. We didn’t need to worry. Lydia and cousin, Daisy suddenly seized the opportunity and grabbed the pot of ash. No one else was getting a look in. ‘Come on,’ they both chorused furiously shaking the ashes over the grass. ‘Let’s be having you. Come and see the horses.’ They continued, chatting merrily away to their great uncle.

It was a good send off; something that WA would have liked.

We thawed out in Jamie’s Italian as a bit of a treat. It was good to enjoy the food without the strange feeling I had the last time we took Explorer George to the Manchester version for his birthday treat. Unbeknown to me throughout that last meal and proceeding drinks I was harbouring the Noro virus and hours later would discover the exacting peculiarities of being sick as a dog. It would be four days before I ate again so at least the last meal had been a fine one.

The day finished with The Marsden Write Out Loud open mike night. We’d landed back in the village just after the M62 rush hour (2 – 7) and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to try out a couple of new poems to our monthly group. The secret must be out. Arriving in the Mechanics a little past the starting time I was greeted with a number of new faces and emergency chairs! Our normal sedate group of around ten to twelve people had swelled to well over thirty and everyone was raring to go. Some had just come for the pleasure of listening whilst others, including myself, were happy to read a couple of poems – just a little faster. I always find reading new work to an audience extremely rewarding. You get that instant hit of whether the poem makes the right emotional connections. The shorter introductions and speed reading had the desired effect and, along with the usual five or six, the day ended in the Riverhead.

Exactly two nights later the same emergency chairs where waiting for me again in the Mechanics, this time for the annual beer festival. It was a great way to end the week, sharing numerous local brews with friends and neighbours. Only towards the end of the night was I introduced to a Finnish lady who now lived next door to where I had spent most of my child hood. Small world! The village has changed so much over the last twenty years or so by becoming a set for countless films and TV programmes as well as a tourist centre and second home for people from Lancashire, so to hear that many of the old neighbours, including Donald with his infamous home brew and Alan from across the road where still there was strangely comforting.

It’s just a bright blue sky

Whilst searching the enclaves of zero plays within the Halls this week I came across a tune from what was one of my album of the years in 2012. It’s a proper start to finish record and my only regret so far is that I’ve not seen the band live. The video for Chapel Song by We Are Augustines was also included on the album, Rise Ye Sunken Ships and as I’m not a fan of freebies and extras at the end of a record the track was promptly unchecked and un-played.

It’s a great anthem and a fitting end to the week. Follow the link to watch the video.

The Hawthorn Halls (the silent edition)

As the eighties tripped into the nineties, almost without warning my soundtrack of life suddenly derailed towards an E before I coloured landscape where I was suddenly the one out of time.

U2 did the honourable thing and bowed out declaring that they would have to go away and dream the whole thing up again, Echo and the Bunnymen rode away on horses, The Cure disintegrated, The Smiths turned the light out and, in an Orwellian twist, no one was allowed to mention the words, Brothers in Arms. Things were changing and even in the spot lit fog of the Broken Doll pub at Newcastle, The Stones’ Gimme Shelter failed to impress the afternoon grant funded drinking club.

We were only months away from the real world and without warning friends began to get their hair cut, started to wash, stopped drinking and, most alarmingly, started to dance. Whatever Charly said then anyone cool enough to be listening to The Prodigy did. We were in the North East but under the shadow of the West. Joy Division was dead and Madchester reigned with New Order in full club spangled party mode.

I have to admit that I was quickly becoming disillusioned and retreated back to Floyd, Zeppelin and Sylvian in the comfort of the not very expensive quayside student rooms. I tried to hide away but room mates constantly hopped into my darkening days with luminous anthems such as Come Home, The Only One and Fools Gold. Perhaps I was homesick; longing to watch the sun sink behind the Pennines with Shine On You Crazy Diamond in the background or sitting on the floor of the cellar bar in The Zetland with Lemmy shouting about his Silver Machine. Whatever the reason, the ideology of Madchester left me as cold and colourless as the very streets where it was born.

Days were getting longer and the inevitability of work was looming. First year students were beginning to find their feet muscling in on the secrets of Indie Nightclubs with their fake denims and floppy hair. Getting drunk was becoming unfashionable; as was pogo dancing. And just when things couldn’t get any worse a smiley face appeared. ACEEED! Whistles, Poppers, shoe gazing and hapless DJs trying to keep the whole thing together was the re-write. No longer could you whip a crowd to frenzy with The Only Way is Up: Fool’s Gold was the new cool!

Into this environment we enter the land of the Darling Buds. Recently downloaded as a good value greatest hits (hence the zero play), this week’s track finds a visitors pass to the great halls.

It was Indie night at Walker’s nightclub (Tuesday) and A Guy Called Gerald was playing with Voodoo as the soon to be inspired DJ began to loop the opening sequence of this week’s track into the acid house buzz. Suddenly, as the song burst into life all thoughts of Dexy’s begging Eileen to come and save the day faded to a euphoric chant of all I ever wanted/all I ever needed/is here in my arms. The music was intoxicating and for a moment I couldn’t think for the life of me who it was until the realisation that the south had invaded and left Madchester standing in its own shoe gazed polish.

Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode re-awakened the soul. True, the vinyl of Speak and Spell had been on the shelves for several years but it was the extraordinary re-invention of the Violator album that charged my senses. The music coupled with the art and film work of Anton Corbijn gave the music scene a genuine sense of purpose that would soon snuff out the mad spin of Mad.

I was already a big fan of Anton Corbijn following his work with the likes of David Sylvian, Propaganda and, of course, U2. Who doesn’t think of the iconic gatefold with the metaphorical tree and desert when you here the Eno and Lanois inspired opening to what fans call ‘Streets’.

Corbijn’s work for Depeche Mode was as groundbreaking; still rooted in the American Interior, this time the black and white was washed with Technicolor – a style that would soon follow U2 to Berlin where dreams where re-worked with a Trabant. Unless you’re lucky enough to track down an original version of the Violator film, Strange Too, which includes the inspired –this is how you make a pop video (clowns and donkeys included) – film for the track, Halo then opt for Videos 86 – 98.

Another time:

In December 2011, Amanda and I returned to Newcastle to see the wonderful Unthanks perform the songs of Robert Wyatt and Andrew and the Johnsons at the homecoming show at the Gateshead Sage Theatre.

The Broken Doll is long demolished so after the show we escaped to another old favourite haunt of mine, the Red House. There we were met by a group of students challenging each other at the jukebox. Thankfully there was no Happy Mondays or Inspiral Carpets. Stone Roses made a guest appearance as the soon to be new millionaires of rock and roll and then in the dark of the night, Silence. All I ever wanted was the shout from the bar.

How did it get so late?

We laughed at the circle of life being witnessed in real time. I then had the realisation that Enjoy the Silence was as old as Gimme Shelter had been in those black and white days of The Broken Doll. We finished our drinks; it was getting late. As we walked back to our hotel I was reminded of the poem, Evening by Simon Armitage: home seemed so far away and so did our past.

The Deafening Silence

View from Spring Hall

After nearly three years living at the end of the road one of the things that we try not take for granted is the silence. Yes, we will always have the birds and their season songs but, with the exception of bleating lambs and the occasional rumble of farm machinery, it’s quite easy to while away the day listening to the pin point of nothing. Time disappears into silence. Without the passing of modern life we frequently prove to ourselves the hopelessness of body clocks and sun charts. During days off the run of life quickly returns to the elements of sleep, hunger and, of course, children.

We have also come to ridicule the weather forecast. Our place on the Pennines is just eight miles south west of Huddersfield yet any similarity with the weather conditions of this grand town stops with the shape of the clouds. As children we would make expeditions to ‘town’ wrapped as though we were Arctic explorers only to be met by strangers wearing jumpers and trainers. Return journeys would be spent re-dressing in the condensed air of the 352 bus in readiness to be evacuated at the West Slaithwaite turning circle where the road would turn white.

Today, the seven am text message that shattered the silence proved that the weatherman had, for once, got it right. School is closed read the first from juniors. Then came the infants and finally the high school; heavy snow had been forecast and heavy snow had landed. The children retreated back to their rooms as we laid in the warmth just looking at the milk white view. Nothing moved; the world was silent again.

The snow reminds me of our days at Rotcher in nearby Slaithwaite where the neighbouring Trans Pennine railway challenged the rural idyll. I used to watch the passing trains and catch glimpses of the passengers; all the passing people journeying, going somewhere. The sound of passing trains became almost comforting: sounds of people; of life still turning. When the trains stopped during heavy snow the silence became almost deafening, almost awkward in the rooms but, strangely, as the snow thawed we would mourn the loss of the silence.

Today is a snow day and that means cancel all plans and enjoy.

Today also sees the publication of a new poem on the poetry and prose webzine, Ink, Sweat and Tears. Threadbare has been described as a poem that will haunt you and, whilst it is a challenging piece of work, there are some universal themes to explore. You can find out more at http://www.inksweatandtears.co.uk.

The snow day has secretly put on hold good intentions to sit down with the recently arrived art book, Gloaming by artist and musician, Keaton Henson. If you’ve not already come across Keaton then I would urge you to explore his website at http://www.keatonhenson.com. Keaton’s 2012 album Dear was almost the one that got away but thankfully social media knocked on the door and the track, You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are is quickly heading towards the most played list.

Another book recently arrived that will have to wait is Paul Muldoon’s new collection, Songs and Sonnets. This is a fascinating collection challenging the concept of song lyric as poetry. For more information see http://www.enitharmon.co.uk.

Now back to writing and painting avoidance techniques part one. Just for fun and exploration, here’s a snow inspired playlist to enjoy.

Run – Snow Patrol
Wintered – Songs of Green Pheasant
Snow Borne Sorrow – Nine Horses
Sky Starts Falling – Doves
Silent Hedges – Bauhaus
White Blank Page – Mumford and Sons
Blowin’ in the Wind – Bob Dylan
Winter Birds – Ray LaMontagne
Snow (Hey Oh) – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
The Snows – Pentangle

I had considered Snowballed by AC/DC as an extra track but the silence was waiting.

An Ending, a Beginning (part 1)

With the solstice passing thoughts turn to new growth and light. I’m speaking about daylight, of course, the type of daylight that will soon begin to stretch into the weak hours of the day and, if you can shelter from the cutting North Easterlies that will slowly begin to warm the skin and the soul.

There is always an amount of optimism for the new at this time of year, albeit that the view from the window does detract me from my plans a little. With the house hanging to the edge of Wessenden Moor, we spent yesterday watching horizontal rain whilst entertaining friends. Today it’s a case of surveying the damage after last night’s terrifying 100 mph winds before venturing for a hill walk with George (George is the eldest who happens to be an Explorer Scout and in charge of today’s walk – I’ve just declined Black Hill).

Thank goodness for the bottles of Black Sheep and red wine otherwise last night’s sleep may have been little more difficult. Although the roof sounded to be taking flight at several points throughout the night I’m quite amazed to find that it’s only the smaller chicken hut (empty) in the garden that seems to have suffered any lasting damage. This hut is used as field hospital should any of the birds start feeling sorry for themselves but I’m pleased to say that together with Carsten the Cockerel, they all seem well in their larger home, albeit a bit moody in the wet.

I say amazed by the lack of damage because I’m constantly surprised by my own building skills when it comes to the roof. I’m sure that if I’d taken the usual steps of paying builders large amounts of money to re-build and re-slate the roof then I wouldn’t give it a second thought but because a) I don’t have any money and b) I like a challenge, then the roof is like a fourth child; something that I nurtured into life and, like a child, constantly worry about. No doubt in thirty years when it’s time to re-do the roof then I’ll have become a little more relaxed about the whole thing.

So let’s return to the start. Whilst this is a time for new plans and setting personal challenges for the year ahead, it’s also a good point in the proceedings to take time out and reflect over the year that is beginning to fade away. I don’t like lists or top tens or what was best as generally they are meaningless – just look at the music charts – but I do like to look back and consider what’s been good and perhaps, not so good.

Outside of the normal humdrum there are aspects of life and culture that, let’s face it, make life and culture worthwhile. The focus of this site does give some clues but in the main it’s art, literature and music. So, in no particularly order, here are some of the highs of the year.

In early December I began to notice a curious thing: the emergence of a favourite publisher. Stuck between the Fabers and Penguins on the shelves usually reserved for ‘keepers’ were spines adorned with the letter S. It’s possibly no surprise that Salt has begun to take up more and more room on my bookshelves with the release of John Siddique’s excellent Full Blood in 2011 followed this year by John McCullough’s moving poetry collection, The Frost Fairs, Helen Ivory and George Szirtes fascinating collection, In Their Own Words and, last but not least the novel that demands to be read in one sitting and then read again, Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse. I need a bigger shelf!

Other highlights on paper included Simon Armitage’s Walking Home and the poignant and sometime heartbreaking poetic sequence, Black Roses.

Late summer saw The Rialto publication of Jen Campbell’s bridge pamphlet, The Hungry Ghost Festival which quickly became one of my favourite collections as did Sam Riviere’s startling 81 Austerities. Other highlights in the poetic world included Glyn Maxwell’s original master class, On Poetry, Tom Chivers’ hugely entertaining, Adventures in Form and Jo Haslam’s new collection, On the Kiso Road published by Templar Poetry.

Away from the mysterious world of black form on white page I stumbled across the one that nearly got way. Found hiding in a long lost packing box marked, ‘Books from Bedroom’, I was delighted to re-discover Markus Zusak’s breathtaking novel, The Book Thief. I would urge anyone to read this novel.

Finally in the book world, Mike Scotts’s engaging ramble through a life in music in Adventures of a Waterboy brought back some fabulous memories, including hiring This Is the Sea for 25 pence from Marsden Library in 1985. Strangely, through reading the book it dawned on me that Mike Scott had pretty much sound tracked my life. From the illicit press to play recording of The Pan Within (don’t worry, I’ve since bought it on three separate formats) that wafted through the studios at Highfields Art College to a wedding blessed with the raggle taggle of, A Man is in Love and then to the now with the foolhardy heart of poet writing to the songs of Mr Yeats, The Waterboys have been a constant, albeit unassuming, companion.

An Evening with Mr Yeats by The Waterboys was one of the live music highlights of the year. To be fair, there wasn’t that many. It seems the thirst for cider and festivals is becoming unquenchable to a point that unless you like standing alongside one hundred thousand other people in a muddy field then between June and September, sorry, no show. We did, however, succumb to Mumford and Sons, Gentlemen of the Road stopover in Huddersfield and were surprised by how much better they played in a muddy field as opposed to the Academy where we last saw them.

We like to see acts before they get too big for their boots and in February we fluked it again. It’s what we call our Damien Rice moment. The moment is named from a Valentine gift I gave to Amanda some years ago to see a little known singer/song writer in Manchester. It was February the 14 and the show was, you guessed, Damien Rice. Anyone who’s had the pleasure of seeing Damien since will know what happened. Our socks where lost, our heads a shed. This year Ben Howard took the mantle at the Leeds Met. The album was good – the show was great. It was the highlight of the year until we got a strange call from our friends, Rosie and Steve.

Abigail Washburn would be doing a small show in the barn at their Marsden farm and would we like to come. Now to put things in perspective, Abigail plays cities and festivals not Pennine villages. But Rosie had hit on the great idea of offering her favourite musicians board and lodgings amongst all the totally locally permaculture goodness whilst on tour to stave off the hotel demons in return for a little fund raiser. The show was magical and afterwards Abigail and Kai where joined by members of Bellowhead and Lady Maisery on the hay bales where, beneath a full August moon, folk music fiddled out into the air to mix with the wood smoke from the pizza ovens until each of our children finally gave in and we walked home through the late summer morning. Magical.

Lady Maisery headlined in a similar fashion later in November and suddenly we felt like we were beginning to witness part of folk history. Cue, Dylan.

Other musical highlights released this year (and in no particular order) include:

The Maccabees – Given to the Wild
Andy Burrows – Company
Tim Burgess – Oh no I Love You
Kate Rusby – 20
Beach House – Bloom
Richard Hawley – Standing at the Sky’s Edge
We Are Augustines – Rise Ye Sunken Ships
First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
Band of Horses – Mirage Rock
Calexico – Spiritoso
Dry the River – Shallow Bed
Mumford and Sons – Babel
The Lumineers – The Lumineers

And looking forward with an uneasy eye on the credit card to Fossil Collective, Kodaline and back again for 2013, Embrace!
The keener eyed observers will notice that there has been no mention of films or theatre in this cultural round up of good things. Well, so be it. But just for some balance I’m staring at an unopened DVD of Searching for Sugar Man. It’s an uplifting and astonishing piece of poetics retelling an amazing musical. I can’t wait!

Finally, special mention for the Reflected Lines project at Hebden Bridge. Here, John Siddique has written a series of thought provoking Haiku that are displayed in thirteen locations around the town. Hebden Bridge suffered devastating floods in late summer and with most shops being small and independent the effects were far reaching. The trail aims to encourage visitors back to the town to see for themselves how the shops are bouncing back. The trail runs up to the 6 January, take a visit if you can.
Still in the Pennines, another special mention for Andy Hemingway at ahgphotography.co.uk. Andy’s landscape images of the Pennines and the Dark Peak provide a magical window that so few people experience. Please take a look at the galleries on his web site.

So, with light and magic we proceed.

All the best,

David.

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