My mate Harry Gallagher is here to review his 2016. I’ve known Harry for several years and it’s wonderful seeing him go from strength to strength.
Thanks for taking the time to review your year, Harry! Hope to see you soon.
Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2016?
It seems like a long time ago now, but back in January, my pamphlet ‘Chasing The Sunset’ was published. We had a Newcastle launch and people were queuing for autographs! Don’t think I’ll ever get used to that particular phenomenon, but it is very nice to think people like your stuff. The same thing happened at a recent gig at my local library, they packed the place out and were just lovely.
As well as that, The Stanza moved to our new venue – Beldon’s Bar at The Exchange, North Shields – and we have been made so welcome that we’ve decided to stay! And news just in…we are now the North East Stanza of The Poetry Society!
And how about a favourite moment from 2016 generally?
None that stick out, though my partner and my daughters make me proud every day.
Favourite book in 2016?
‘The Dead Queen Of Bohemia, New & Collected Poems‘ by Jenni Fagan (Polygon Books). Beautiful and ugly, funny and tragic, tender and cutting; and often all in the same poem And it’s all accessible, I think an ordinary person unfamiliar with poetry would enjoy it as much as I did – and still am.
Favourite film in 2016?
‘I, Daniel Blake‘ should be on the national curriculum. In all honesty, I’ve seen better crafted Ken Loach films, but none as important or as timely as this. The poverty and mean spiritedness that abounds in our country brings shame on us all. The cinema was awash but in truth I didn’t cry, I just felt angry, like “Well OBVIOUSLY this is what we’ve come to, haven’t you people been paying attention!”
Favourite song of the year?
David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar‘. Epic farewell from a truly great artist. When he died, I felt like I’d lost a part of myself. He was such a big influence on me. He spoke to my youth in a way that most of us who function in the arts can only dream of.
Any downsides for you in 2016?
How long have you got? Farage, Johnson, Gove, Duncan-Schmidt and the pig over the pond. All symptoms of the lurch to the right by a populace who want a simple answer to complex problems. Up steps an odious man with a spoonful of charisma, a salesman’s smile and hey presto, we’re all in 1933.
Are you making resolutions for 2017?
As ever, keep on keeping on! I have thoughts of a one man Edinburgh show, which I’m still flapping over, but if I don’t do it, I do want to make strides towards doing more on a nationwide basis.
I would totally go to see that show, Harry! What are you hoping for from 2017?
All being well, I have a publisher for my first full collection, along with hundreds of as yet unused poems waiting to see the light of day. Apart from that, I’ll go for continued love and health, that’ll do me!