Feature: A Look Back On 2022 – Si Beckwith | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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So… how was your 2022?
As good as can be expected. Is that everyone’s answer? Like, there’s a lot of shit. It’s been an odd year.

Shall I just say some positives rather than scream about Tories over and over?

Comedy-wise, just unbelievably good. Worked so, so hard this year and I’m very tired, but I love doing what I do, and have had such a creative year. I’m very grateful audiences still come out to shows and want to laugh.

I also got accepted to join the board of two theatres as a Trustee, and as a working class lad from Hebburn, that felt massive.

Felt Nowt, the world’s only not-for-profit comedy co-op is still going from strength-to-strength and that fills me with immense pride.

I’m also really proud to do freelance work with The Cultural Spring too, they do amazing stuff bringing arts and culture across South Tyneside and Sunderland and loads of my best moments have just been chats with people from my background, who didn’t think art was for them, being creative.

What was your best moment?
Doing my new show Bricks at The Stand in October was a really special night. It’s a deeply personal show about being a step-parent (but still really funny, honest!) and I just couldn’t have wished for a better audience to tell that story to.

And your worst moment?
Personally, it’s been a challenging year as we couldn’t get a secondary school place for our bairn as all the schools where we live, or near where we live were full. So we’ve been home-educating since September, and it’s been a real challenge. Parents evening is gonna be interesting at least.

Who was your favourite band/artist this year?
Martha. I think they’re absolute treasures, their new album is excellent.

Ghost//Signals and Amateur Ornithologist are also delights!

Your favourite song of the year?
Look, I could say something really cool and obscure, but Harry Styles’ As It Was is an absolute bop! It’s a modern pop classic and it’s the song that’s been stuck in my head the most this year.

Hermit Phase by Amateur Ornithologist is a banger too! We also used Kill The North by Ghost//Signals as the theme to our podcast because it’s phenomenally good.

Recommended album?
Martha – Please Don’t Take Me Back

Favourite TV show of the year?
Severance on AppleTV is a great show. Really unique, wonderfully cast and I’m intrigued to see where it goes. One of those ‘not-too-distant future’ sci-fi shows, that has a Black Mirror feel. It’s gripping and brilliantly written.

Honourable mentions too for Slow Horses, Andor, Peacemaker, Ghosts, Stranger Things and Derry Girls.

Your favourite film?
Okay, it was out last year, but I only watched it this year and it’s the one that springs to mind first. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is stunning. A properly beautiful, quirky film that harks back to films I LOVED in the late 90s/early 2000s. It’s canny twee, but utterly lush.

I’ve got a list of films to work through as I’ve fell massively behind this year, so I’ll be in a similar quandary next year recommending all the best of 2022 as we close out 2023.

Best book you read?
Akala – Natives: Race and Class in The Ruins of Empire

An absolute must read this.

Favourite new word that you learned?
Oh, I don’t think I could single out just one. I have an eleven year old daughter who brings new words into our lives with relentless ease. Less words actually, more just noises. Loud, loud noises she’s picked up on TikTok. The daft little divvy.

Best podcast?
It’s been a lot of football and wrestling podcasts. My favourite to listen to of the year though has been the It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Podcast. Can not get enough!

I’m also gonna recommend mine here, deal with it. MOSH PET is a podcast all about alt music and culture, punk, heavy metal and goths, and it’s been a joy to do with proper news journalist Ellie Kumar.

Favourite venue that you visited?
I had particularly gorgeous weekends at both the Glasgow and Edinburgh Stands. Special venues those. The Stand in Newcastle is such a welcoming and utterly perfect comedy venue, and is forever my home from home. The best staff across all of those venues too!

Alphabetti Theatre is another place close to my heart and somewhere that should be treasured.

What was your favourite gig/show of the year?
For best shows, it’s been two theatre shows that are up there with the best I’ve ever seen EVER and were both last year, both at Alphabetti Theatre.

No. 9 was just incredible. A really powerful, thoughtful, tender, funny, sharp, smart, harrowing and beautifully delivered story. Anna Robinson’s writing was exceptional, I think Paula Penman is an amazing director and Lauren Waine was superb.

Whale of a Time from Peachplant Productions (Lucy Curry and Carl Wylie) was also memorable, funny, unique, original and so, so clever. Steve Byron and Luke Maddison were both perfect in their roles. And it’s another big shout out to Paul Penman for being a cracking director who has a real gift for harnessing the funny to allow emotion and tenderness to come to the fore.

Any up-and-coming artists/acts we should keep an eye out for in 2023?
I’m gonna give some comedy recommendations here; Catherine Young is an exceptional stand-up comic and a proper original talent, and most importantly a wonderful human. I was dead lucky she did the support slot for my Stand show and everyone loved her.
There’s loads of extremely talented new comics in the North East and I’ve seen Harry Ford, Sascha Lo, Kelly Edgar and Bryan James make huge strides forward every time I’ve seen them.

Any predictions for next year?
Given the last few years, is there any point in making predictions any more?
Six new Tory Prime Ministers over the next twelve months, each more inept than the last seems a safe bet.
Matt Hancock turning up on Love Island?
Honestly, I don’t even know anymore.
Let’s just keep having each other’s back, not stand for bullshit, and make cool stuff.

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