Leaf Collecting is now one year old. Many thanks to to all its readers.
The end of a year is a popular time to look back, so here are some thoughts about some of my cultural experiences of the past twelve months.
On TV, an engrossing film about the 1926 miners’ strike with a great amateur Scottish cast, The Happy Lands, fittingly compared to Days of Hope and a worthwhile drama repeat (prompted by the death of its author Iain Banks) with an unsurpassable professional Scottish cast, The Crow Road. In addition, The Trip, an engaging mix of restaurant review and comic middle-aged male soul-searching.
On radio, the already praised Late Junction continued to please, and the Radio 4 adaptation of The Diary of Samuel Pepys entertained me in a way which the text itself has never quite reached.
In music, the Britten centenary provided the opportunity to listen to many unfamiliar works, usually on Radio 3, such as the Serenade for Tenor Horn and Strings.
A couple of pieces of pop music grabbed my attention during the first moments I heard them. “New” was surely Paul McCartney’s best single in a couple of decades; not just a strong melody and arrangement but a vocal which genuinely sounded as if it came from the throat of a man 30 years younger. Similarly, Lorde’s “Royals” sounded like it came from someone who had lived longer and had heard and recorded rather more music than she had actually done.
Some excellent theatre was provided by Chapterhouse’s itinerant production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Anthony Coleridge Theatre’s stylish Gothic spoof The Curse of Elizabeth Faulkner, and the A Play a Pie and a Pint lunchtime theatre venture which extended from the Òran Mór in Glasgow to other parts of Scotland.
A great piece of century-old writing discovered for the first time: Christina Rossetti ‘s spooky, sensual “Goblin Market”.
Finally, one other positive political event which got less attention in the mainstream media than it ought to have, was the International Arms Trade Treaty.