Today, super-poet and member of Elementary Writers, Harry Gallagher – co-organiser of the monthly event The Stanza – is on the blog to review his 2015.
Thanks for being involved, Harry!
Vic x2015 was a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?
It has to be the first Stanza back in January. I’d been telling Mandy if we got 20 people in, we’d be lucky. On the night I was stuck in a horrendous traffic jam on the A1 and got there just before doors opening, so arrived stressed to hell. Bless them, Mandy & Claudia had arranged everything already. Then we opened the doors and in they came…and came…and came! The place was absolutely rammed, our first headliners were brilliant and the audience brought the house down. And it’s continued in much the same vein ever since. Our audience are just fantastic and we’re very grateful.
And how about a favourite moment from 2015 generally?
On a personal level, too many to list. I’m very, very lucky. I have two daughters of whom I’m extremely proud and am in a great relationship too. Done very little to deserve such luck.
Favourite book in 2015?
“Windharp, Poems Of Ireland Since 1916“, Edited by Niall MacMonagle (Penguin, Ireland). From the moment I picked it up in the excellent bookshop at St Boswell’s, Northumberland, the poetry within just leapt at me. I keep going back to it. I think there’s just something about the Irish voice that resonates with me and this one contains poems right up to date including several from 2015 and they stand up against the more traditional earlier stuff within.
Favourite film of 2015?
Has to be The Theory Of Everything‘. Astounding central performance from Eddie Redmayne, not just in the physicalisation of Hawking, but also in bringing such warmth to the role. Felicity Jones did the same as his wife. And I think that’s what I really love about the film – the warmth. Everyone comes out of that film – and I mean everyone – really well. There isn’t a bad guy in sight, just (extra)ordinary folk doing their best under horrible circumstances. It’s seeing things like this that remind me there are more wonderful people around than the media would have us believe.
Favourite song of the year?
Am I allowed to say “Yer jokin’ aren’t yer?!” I am very old and lost touch with the charts long ago. No? Ok then, I’m going to cheat and have a whole album. There’s a great local band called Shipcote & Friends. They are so up when you see them live and such fun to be around. I bought their 2nd album (imaginatively titled ‘Shipcote & Friends 2′!) this summer and love every track.
Any downsides for you in 2015?
Iain Duncan-Smith not being locked up for crimes against the poor and defenceless.
Are you making resolutions for 2016?
I’m with Churchill – KBO. Keep buggering on.
What are you hoping for from 2016?
To still be here, still writing, still gigging. My third pamphlet “Chasing The Sunset” is due out early in 2016 and I’m already working towards a book, but that depends on friendly publishers liking my stuff enough. In the meantime, my luck holding out will more than do me, thank you very much!