A Look Back On 2023 – Lee Fisher | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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What was your best moment?
Outside music, I’m not sure there was one best moment, but there were quite a lot of lovely ones (which is an improvement on recent years!). They all involved good friends.

And your worst moment?
Nearly dying. Twice. Pneumonia and sepsis in one year is nobody’s idea of a good time.

Who was your favourite band/artist this year?
My year was dominated by the strange and emotionally overwhelming variations of folk emerging from Dublin. But I’ll be honest, the artist who brought me the most smiles all year was the magnificent Caroline Polachek. See below.

Your favourite song of the year?
Dang by Caroline Polachek. Weird and witty and taut. Especially on this Late Show performance. (Turns out Welcome to My Island was last year, or it would have been that).

Recommended album?
Back to Dublin. False Lankum by Lankum and All Of This Is Chance by Lisa O’Neill took folk to some incredible places and were rarely off  my turntable.

Favourite TV show of the year?
The end of Succession feels ages ago, but it didn’t disappoint and is probably the best TV show of the last ten years. The Bear was brilliant also.

Your favourite film?
Laura Poltras’ documentary All The Beauty & The Bloodshed, about Nan Goldin’s art and activism, broke my heart and made me angry and is astonishing. Aki Kaurismäki’s latest, Fallen Leaves, was a beautiful, funny and pleasingly brief little wonder.

Best book you read?
The best I read all year was probably Jim Crace’s amazing Harvest, a book about rural life, politics, magic and xenophobia. The best book from this year is probably Fern Brady’s frank and heartbreaking Strong Female Character. (But then I’m saving Ben Myers’ Cuddy for the Merrineum so…)

Favourite new word that you learned?
I honestly can’t think of one.

Best podcast?
I don’t drive, iron, jog or go to the gym, so I don’t really know what podcasts are for.

Favourite venue that you visited?
The roof terrace at the venue they held Supersonic Festival in this year was pretty cool. Plastic grass and Wray & Nephew slushies for days. But the Lubber Fiend remains brilliant and important.

What was your favourite gig/show of the year?
If I’m allowed a festival, it was Supersonic of course, still showing every other festival how to book and run a forward-thinking and inclusive event. If not, it was Lisa O’Neill at what was still the Sage back in March. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Any up-and-coming artists/acts we should keep an eye out for in 2024?
I don’t see how Caroline Polachek is up-and-coming but most people I know have never heard of her, so I guess her. Or the fierce post-punk inflected jazz of Viper Time out of Leeds.

Any predictions for next year?
Everything is going to get worse.

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