Leaf Collecting is now four years old. Many thanks to all its readers.
BBC Radio 3 provided several of the cultural highlights of its writer’s year. For example, the Folk Connections weekend in January; then the International Women’s Day programmes which – even though I tend to share Bernadette Hyland’s view that the day has now been somewhat hijacked by the middle-class – did educate and reward me greatly about Barbara Strozzi, Amy Beach, Rebecca Clarke, Thea Musgrave and other contemporary composers whom I had never heard of like Judith Bingham, Hilary Tann and Rhian Samuel; the Sounds of Shakespeare weekend in April; and the two great series of snippets from the archives of the Third Programme and Radio 3 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the former: Power of 3 and Three Score and Ten.
Best film of the year: probably Carol , directed by Todd Haynes.
Some fine TV in the Richard III section of The Hollow Crown, adapted by Ben Power, directed by Dominic Cooke, starring Benedict Cumberbatch; in the BBC’s War and Peace, which was actually the first adaptation I’ve ever seen and so the first time in my life when I’ve felt I’ve started to gain some knowledge of this classic work; in QI, a programme whose function is always hard to define but which is always entertaining and informative.
TV/music: PJ Harvey at Glastonbury – the present day Kurt Weill with a suitably fiery band.
More music: Kel Assouf, the Tuareg band who seem like Led Zeppelin to Tinariwen’s Yardbirds; Stephen Hough, an intriguing composer and musician who sees himself as challenging the atonal “dogma” of much 20th century classical music.
Book: the profusely informative and eloquently argued The People : the Rise and Fall of the Working Class by Selina Todd.
Theatre: the Jeremy Dellar/Rufus Norris We’re Here Because We’re Here looked imaginative and didn’t get nearly enough TV coverage from its supposed media partner, the BBC.