Feature: Claire Dupree – A Look Back At 2021 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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So, how was your 2021?
The first bit was rubbish, spent the middle bit mostly camping, and the end bit mostly working.

What was your best moment?
Despite the challenges this year has thrown at us, I’ve loved being able to film more NARC. TV episodes with partners in crime Ste Bardgett and David Saunders. Getting the mag back into print after too many months digital-only made me do a little happy cry. I’ve also done some great freelance projects this year; working alongside some lush people for Tees Music Alliance’s Digital Tenderness project was a real pleasure. Also camping and the outdoors in general has helped my mental health more than I ever knew it could.

And your worst moment?
Basically all of January, when the Covid situation seemed interminable and dark winter months were cold. 

Who was your favourite band/artist this year?
Martha Hill has kept me sane this year, everything she’s released has been absolute gold and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Your favourite song of the year?
During the many, many excellent performances we filmed for NARC. TV this year, Komparrison’s really stood out for me. Aside from amazing harmonies and catchy tunes, Elise and Kaitlyn’s songwriting is top notch. Their song Repeat is a proper banger.

Recommended album?
I’ve really got into Faithful Johannes’ album, Ken & Jean, over the last couple of months. I’m a sucker for clever lyrics and he’s got them in spades. He’s also a charming performer, I never tire of watching him.

Favourite TV show of the year?
The Handmaid’s Tale, because, y’know, life isn’t dystopian enough.

Your favourite film?
I’ve really missed going to the cinema this year so haven’t seen as much as I would have liked. My favourite movie is probably a shit romcom on Netflix – my rule is if it’s got Jennifer Aniston in it, it goes on the watch list. This is a major failing of mine that I’m very aware of but have no desire to change. (Oh! Dune was pretty good. Probably should say that to look cooler).

Best book you read?
Durham’s own Benjamin Myers has had an astonishing year, with stage and screen adaptations of his work and awards galore – and rightly so, he’s a tremendously talented writer and I adored his novel The Offing (which came out in 2019 but I only managed to get to this year). I also really enjoyed Eliza Clark’s Boy Parts; fabulously dark, funny and heart-wrenching, she’s a really exciting young local writer.

Best podcast?
I only listen to a couple regularly, and really only ones that make me laugh, so Radged Packet by our esteemed web editor David Saunders and Paul Burgess has been a breath of fresh air. I particularly enjoy the ‘adverts’.

Favourite venue of the year?
Cobalt Studios has been a firm favourite – their attitude to programming is really refreshing and innovative. I always look forward to seeing what they have on.

What was your favourite gig/show of the year?
Can I choose a festival? Last Train Home in Darlington in September was an absolute joy. The artists were really carefully chosen, the venues excellent, and the atmosphere was really friendly and chilled out. It reminded me why I love the North East music scene so much.

Any upcoming artists we should keep an eye out for in 2022?
I’m a keen BBC Introducing listener (both Nick Roberts on BBC Newcastle and Rianne Thompson on BBC Tees) and I’ve discovered a few gems from their shows, I predict some big things for the likes of Sarah Johnsone and Viia in particular.

Any predictions for next year?
I hope there will be more emphasis on diversity, inclusion and safety at live events and in the music scene in general next year. God knows it’s time. 

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