Goodbye 2022! What’s happening 2023?

The start of the year was slow until I got busy. Suddenly, the end of the year was here and I realised it was time to make one of these annual Best Of lists. For me, this blog will also be a glimpse into the future, signs and portents of things to come – because what’s the point in looking back if you can’t look forward as well?

Stuff I’m working on…

With Sadie, Call The Polis being released in November, I’m still promoting a brand new book, which will last into next year. At this point, the big publishers will be pushing their books at reviewers and bookshops, so I’ll suffer the indignity of being pushed aside, but only for now. With Christmas over, I can get out there again, so to speak. I’ve got the Paisley Book Festival coming up in February, so if you haven’t got a ticket yet, please get one. Obviously I’d like to have an audience there to try and charm. With luck I’ll be out and about in 2023.

I have two short stories due to appear in different publications. First there’s Chainsaw Morning, which is being printed in Issue 12 of Falkirk’s literary ‘zine Razur Cuts. An eight hundred word tale about a girl working the counter at the local supermarket, trying to find the courage to book tickets for a festival, when the local GP arrives and then…well, read it and find out. It’ll be released soon. The other story I’m having published is Zoom Party 2020, which is two thousand words exactly and shows the horror of being in a friendship group you don’t like very much. Oh, I love this one. Idol of the Scottish underground Chris Kelso reached out and asked if I’d contribute something to an anthology, so I did. It’ll be available to buy soon courtesy of Anxiety Press.

I’ve never written a play before so when Tom Brogan of Short Attention Span Theatre asked if I’d write something to be performed live, my immediate response was HELL NO. But then I thought about it and realised that writing something for the stage might be fun. 2022 was my year of saying yes, so I did. Their pitch was a simple one: a series of short plays, ten minutes each, performed in one night. The theme is love songs. For me, the worst songs ever. But I think I’ve made it work. My play is The Lady In Rid (red, but it’s in Scots so ‘rid’ it is) and I took part in the read-through last night, which was a fantastic experience. What happens when Captain Backslap, Glasgow’s loudest troll, crosses paths with The Lady In Rid, the new serial killer to carve and chop her way through the worst sexists, bigots, and misogynists Scotland has to offer? Luckily, The Captain has been waiting for this moment and maybe, for once, his mouth can get him out of trouble instead of getting into it.

My favourite books of 2022

Tracy Flick Can’t Win by Tom Perrotta, I Was The President’s Mistress!! by Miguel Syjuco, Space Invaders by Nona Fernandez, Illuminations by Alan Moore, Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh, Paradais by Fernanda Melchor, The Arena of the Unwell by Liam Konemann, Carrie Kills A Man: A Memoir by Carrie Marshall, My Father’s Diet by Adrian Nathan West, The Whale Tattoo by Jon Ransom, Our Struggle by Wayne Holloway, Hex by Jenni Fagan, Walking Through Clear Water In A Pool Painted Black by Cookie Muller, Skin Grows Over by Lucy Elizabeth Allan, Life Ceremony by Sayaka Murata, Good At Drugs by KKUURRTT, Insignificance by James Clammer, The Voids by Ryan O’Connor, The Doloriad by Missouri Williams, The Employees by Olga Ravn, Faster Than A Cannonball by Dylan Jones, Animal House by James Brown and more.

My favourite albums of 2022

Cool It Down by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wet Leg by Wet Leg, Endure by Special Interest, Blue Rev by Alvvays, Weather Alive by Beth Orton, Household Name by Momma, Sometimes Forever by Soccer Mommy, Beatopia by Beabadoobee, Lucifer on the Sofa by Spoon, Never Let Me Go by Placebo, Torpedo by Feeder, Back Home by Big Joanie, The Lost Tapes by Sugababes. There are so many more albums I loved, but I’ve typed this from memory so if I’ve left out your favourite, I’m sorry.

Film Vs Movie or, Is it Cinema?

A few months ago I went to the cinema with a friend to see the new Thor movie. Marvel must surely be keeping whole chains of picture houses in business, which I’m grateful for because I love going out to the big screen. But my goodness if Thor didn’t break me, I don’t know what did. I hated it. The constant stream of gags, jokes, green screen stupidity. I felt so unhappy, but it wasn’t Thor’s fault, it was Martin Scorsese for making me question what is a film and what is a movie? His comments on cinema and Marvel gave me a small sort of existential crisis. Eventually, I decided to improve my trash to class ratio and got myself a subscription to Mubi and BFI. For a few weeks, I immersed myself in…well, cinema, I suppose – only with a far smaller screen, which possibly defeats the purpose, I know. Most of the films are small budget foreign language productions, sometimes I don’t know what the hell is happening, but it isn’t a passive experience and that’s becoming more important to me. I’m enjoying all the new ideas, concepts, and thoughts these films are giving me. I’m not against movies or big budget bonanzas. In fact, I loved The Batman. Though it was a superhero movie, it felt like it had real substance to it.

Coming soon

I’ll be at The Paisley Book Festival, so please pop along. Yesssss, do it!

Hogmanay

I hope you all have a great new year, but because I hate New Year celebrations, I’ll be hibernating with food/films/books/music and central heating. With luck, you all do well in 2023.


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