Feature: Lee Fisher – A Look Back At 2019 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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We chat to some of our passionate and dedicated writers to find out what they thought of 2019. Next up, Lee Fischer tells us about his past twelve months.

So, how was your 2019?
To be honest, it’s been a tough one personally, socially and politically. Everyone seems to be struggling, there’s been a lot of illness and death. Being unemployed for the first time in 30 years in the current climate isn’t good, it’s tough out there. But as usual, I’ve taken solace in friends, music, books, films and a good rum.

What was your best moment?
Two of my best friends getting married after 30 years surrounded by brilliant people. A really beautiful, hope-filled day. And Jumpin’ With Stagger Lee still being huge fun.

And your worst moment?
Well, the election springs to mind – I’m sickened by what’s happened to this country. And having to sell my Supernormal ticket because I couldn’t face it, that really hurt (partly because it’s emblematic of how my whole year has gone).

Your favourite band/artist of the year?
That’s got to be Purple Mountains. The debut (and only) Purple Mountains album is one of the most beautiful, human, funny, raw records I’ve ever heard. And then less than a month later when it was announced David Berman had taken his own life, it became a desperately upsetting suicide note.

Your favourite song of the year?
That’s definitely Hercules by The Exbats, from their E Is For Exbats album. There’s something so frail but joyous, simple but uplifting about it, it’s got me through a lot of tough days.

Favourite TV show of the year?
Succession probably gave the most pleasure – there’s something magnificent about that sort of script where everyone is a total shit – but it’s probably Chernobyl, which was landmark television and found its power in understatement and small details. Everyone involved deserves all the awards.

Your favourite film?
It’s been a REALLY good year for films – Midsommar, In Fabric, Beats, The Favourite, Booksmart, Border were all wonderful – but I think it has to be Monos, a brilliant and bewildering Colombian movie about teenage guerillas that’s equal parts Lord Of The Flies and Apocalypse Now. The young cast are fantastic and the Mica Levi score essential.

Best book you read?
Being a bit of a shut-in this year, I’ve read a lot. In non-fiction, the best is probably Sleevenotes by Joe Thompson – the bass-playing postman from Hey Colossus – which is a love letter to the underground scene in this country and beyond and reads like a great pub conversation with an old friend. And for fiction, it’s Ben Myers’ The Offing – after writing some fairly harrowing novels, this is a total change in direction: pastoral, lyrical, full of love and hope and poetry.

Favourite venue of the year?
In Newcastle, it’s always a joint-first for The Cumberland and The Cluny, with Cobalt and The Old Coal Yard also very close to my heart. Outside the city, it’s The Golden Lion in Todmorden – it has a brilliant booking policy, it’s run by really lovely people and at times it’s like the last beer tent still open on Monday morning at Glastonbury. In a good way. And it serves as the unofficial hub of the increasingly vital New Weird Calder Valley scene.

What was your favourite gig/show of the year?
I’ve probably blown out more gigs than I’ve made it to this year, which hurts. Brave Exhibitions was just brilliant, as was the Gnod / Part Chimp / Hey Colossus triple-header in London. But the Nick Cave In Conversation show (if it can be called a show?) at Sage was just untouchable. I don’t always agree with Cave but for the most part he’s become a wise, kind, open and humane performer, writer and thinker, and this night was unbelievably moving.

Any upcoming artists we should keep an eye out for in 2020?
In terms of the north-east, I can see GGAllan Partridge and Blom really building on 2019, while both Bad Amputee and Yakka Doon (who share Claire Welford and Phil Tyler) have great things to come.
And finally, what has next year got in store for you?
I’ll stop thinking of a day spent without leaving the house as a victory. 
I’ll get to Supernormal. 
And I’ll see the right-wing crushed, see them driven before me, and hear the lamentations of their women.


You can read about Lee’s albums of the year by visiting his blog: https://jumpinwithstaggerlee.wordpress.com/2019/12/03/albums-of-the-year/

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