Best Moments From 2022

Christopher Fowler
There weren't any. I mean, let's be honest. We'd be better off listing the least worst things, but even their most shining moments were tarnished. Why didn't the good people of London Town drag 'Spaffy' de Pfeffel Johnson out by his fat little ear and shut him in the stocks? Because we need people with conviction, knowledge and morals to stand up and be counted, not sarcasm on on Twitter. So politics is out. So what about the entertainment year? Theatre? Have you seen what they're charging for tickets? What about film? My tastes this year were clearly not the public's. The public is making Avatar; Waterworld 2 the biggest and certainly the wettest film of all time. But since when did James Cameron worry about having horrible taste, all pastel day-glo anemones and creepy unreal aliens? For me the field was wiped clear by family entertainment with brains, 'Pinocchio' proving closer to 'The Good Soldier Svejk' than anything Disneyish. Books? I've read virtually a book every two days for the entire year and the one that really stood out was 'Venomous Lumpsucker' by Ned Beaumann. Sure there have been many great reads, but few have been newly published books. Television? Here, for once, we have a winner. The new wave of quality television has removed the need to see knackered repertory plays. Why pay a fortune to see 'His Dark Materials' on stage when the BBC version proved to an absolute zenith of smart family drama? There's an angry determination in Dafne Keen's eyes that reminds me of Greta Thunberg. She only has to use that top shouting note to make me do her bidding. And 'Slow Horses', 'White Lotus', 'The Tourist', 'What We Do In The Shadows 4' all hit the spot. The weather? Let's not mention the corporations who still wilfully ignore the climate emergency, waltzing us into their inferno. Which leaves us with friends and family and perhaps a glass of champagne to make the year a little less ghastly. The blog is becoming an exhausting enterprise now that it's harder for me to type. The study of my gradual disintegration is a morbidly fascinating but somewhat solipsistic occupation. I'll monitor it day by day as ending such a delightful enterprise will be sad indeed.


Helen+Martin (not verified) Sun, 01/01/2023 - 20:20

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

And we will be more than sad to be told it is ending. This is one of the most entertaining groups of which I've ever had the privilege to be a member. Thank you, Chris, for creating and maintaining it

Ed DesCamp (not verified) Sun, 01/01/2023 - 20:36

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

What Helen said. More lurker than contributor, I have been entertained, educated, and extremely happy to see how one of my favorite authors and his gaggle of friends think. Thank you to all, and welcome to 2023.

SteveB (not verified) Sun, 01/01/2023 - 22:30

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Yes a huge, huge thank you to Chris for so many years of information, ideas and entertainment.

I wish everyone here the best possible 2023.


Stephen Groves (not verified) Sun, 01/01/2023 - 23:30

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Happy New Year Chris and Pete .May the sun shine on you you both and days be peaceful .
All the very best

Wayne Mook (not verified) Mon, 02/01/2023 - 05:36

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

It is one of the most enjoyable blogs for sure, sometimes I'll just read and not have time to comment, so how you do it is beyond me. Thank you for life affirming views and some splendid recommendations. I'm still currently listening to Wolf Hall, all 24 hours unabridged, it is a joy. A reading pleasure of the more surreal and less highbrow, to say the least, is Garth Marenghi's Terrortome a tribute to pompous pulp horror, as well as lampooning it.

As I write this on the 2nd, I've now celebrated my birthday, the Saturday with my wife, her brother and mother and our daughter, Thai, very nice followed by chocolate cake, and Sunday with my little sister & her significant other, my niece and just into the early hours her significant other, as well as my wife and daughter (who kindly helped me eat cake on both occasions), this time it was Chinese followed by more chocolate cake, I still have a piece in the fridge waiting for me.

All the best for the New Year.


Jo W (not verified) Mon, 02/01/2023 - 07:14

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Oh Chris. Please, only do what you can manage. We know you’ve got so much more in your brain that wants to come out but if that’s not possible, it’s not. What is it they say, always leave them wanting more?
You have given us so much to read and re-read. It is time now to take care of yourself and be with Pete. Love and hugs xx
To all commenters on here, I wish a much better year than the last one, I mean, can it get worse? Take care all.

Rachel Green (not verified) Mon, 02/01/2023 - 08:45

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

best TV of the year was 'Bad Sisters' closely followed by 'Mayflies'

Ace (not verified) Mon, 02/01/2023 - 14:15

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Small favours! To being here and those who were.

Good times and bum times
I've seen 'em all and, my dear
I'm still here
Plush velvet sometimes
Sometimes just pretzels and beer
But I'm here
I've run the gamut
A to Z
Three cheers and dammit
C'est la vie
I got through all of last year
And I'm here
Lord knows, at least I've been there
And I'm here!
Look who's here!
I'm still here!

'I'm Still Here,' 'Follies,' Stephen Sondheim

Joan (not verified) Mon, 02/01/2023 - 14:18

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Wishing you and Pete all the best, I’ve enjoyed your blog for years. Equally enjoy all the comments from other followers, whether to agree or disagree, it’s always interesting. Hope that you can continue for as long as you can, but always take care of yourself first Chris.

Peter+T (not verified) Mon, 02/01/2023 - 17:05

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In my youth in the English Black Country calling someone a 'spare' was to call them an idiot. Anyone who worked in the spares department of an organisation suffered awfully. As a consequence, for me, one of the highlights of 2022 is someone putting their face on the cover of a book with the word spare underneath it.

Ian Mason (not verified) Mon, 02/01/2023 - 18:17

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Slow Horses is marvellous. We've just started watching series 2. I wonder what it says about me that I could watch Gary Oldman being a grouchy sarcastic slob all day long?

Helen+Martin (not verified) Mon, 02/01/2023 - 19:34

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

If anything would get me to subscribe to a streaming service it would be access to Slow Horses. As it is I'm gritting my teeth and hoping it will turn up on something I already get. Grrrr, grrrr.

Paul C (not verified) Mon, 02/01/2023 - 19:37

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Series 6 of Better Call Saul and the return of Detectorists were wonderful on TV.

David Prestidge (not verified) Mon, 02/01/2023 - 19:52

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Happy New Year seems a daft thing to say under the circumstances, but I'm glad you are still hanging in there. Yes, 2022 was a bummer, wasn't it? Just about everything I hold dear seems to be turning to shit, but at least there are memories of better times, better people and a better country.

Ian Mason (not verified) Mon, 02/01/2023 - 21:13

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

@Helen+Martin Slow Horses is on Apple TV, they do a free seven day trial and you ought to be able to get through all 12 episodes (~ 8 hours watching) in seven days without breaking a sweat.

E Bush (not verified) Tue, 03/01/2023 - 00:44

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Chris, continue the blog if you can but do take care of yourself foremost. Thank you for all the great content you've

E Bush (not verified) Tue, 03/01/2023 - 00:51

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you for all the great content you've provided. I've been reading it for about 2 years and have gone through the archives. I look for reading recommendations from you and the other followers. And movies/tv, though I don't see much of either.

Have as many good days as you possibly can. I look forward to anything you manage to write.

Brooke (not verified) Tue, 03/01/2023 - 13:43

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)


Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your wisdom about reading, writing and art. You’ve pushed me to think more critically, and better.

Yes, the industrial publishing industry let readers down in 2022. I read only two works of fiction. When We Cease to Understand the World, only ~100 pages, packs a heavy weight punch. Male friends said “Wow, has he written anything more?” The Crazed Bunny is a different kind of wow; author is a young South Korean woman influenced by S. Lem and other sci-fi/dystopian writers.

Take good care..

Brooke (not verified) Tue, 03/01/2023 - 14:03

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Wayne, chocolate cake on two occasions! You are really loved. Congratulations.

Gary Locke (not verified) Tue, 03/01/2023 - 15:27

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Chris, you cultivated a landing zone for ideas. It's been a delight to participate. But, as has been said, take care of yourself as much as you can. However short your days, we all want you to relish every one.

Chris Adams (not verified) Tue, 03/01/2023 - 15:46

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

What Gary said,and more.Do what you can and what you want Chris.Love to you and Pete.

Glasgow1975 (not verified) Tue, 03/01/2023 - 20:16

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Just finished Venemous Lumpsucker and it was as brilliant as everything else he's written.
Happy New Year doesn't seem appropriate but the sentiment is real.

Wayne Mook (not verified) Wed, 04/01/2023 - 13:11

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Cheers Brooke, my family know how to look after me.

Hope the weather is better where you all are, here it's mild but looks set to get colder but nothing to severe.


Jan (not verified) Thu, 05/01/2023 - 17:52

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Agreeing with everything Helen said and echoed by the many different contributors through this thread.

Take it steady Chris I was just thinking of you as I am watching "The London Nobody Knows" on that odd little "Talking Pictures" channel. Talking Pictures being run by a father and daughter from Watford!

I think "The London Nobody knows" originated with Geoffrey Fletcher but on screen is narrated by James Mason. It's odd really Mason is quite sniffy about lots of what he is describing but has just described the rough sleepers of London as"The Brotherhood of the Leaky Boot" which takes a bit of beating really.

You be looking after you from now on Chris and only venture into the blog if you fancy it.

Happy New Year to all! 2022 wasn't that bad and betya 2023 will be better!

Helen+Martin (not verified) Thu, 05/01/2023 - 18:22

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

James Mason was sniffy about everything.
The year is picking up already but the husband managed to fall on an escalator yesterday. I am constantly grateful for the existence of paramedics and firefighters. I have so much confidence in them that I allowed Ken to go shopping on his own today. Isn't life exciting?

Anna-Maria Covich (not verified) Fri, 06/01/2023 - 08:11

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

This is going to sound cheesy, or maybe just suggest a low bar, but for me the best bit of 2022 was knowing that you were still here at the end of it.

Jo W (not verified) Fri, 06/01/2023 - 08:34

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

# Helen+Martin
Hi Helen, I hope Ken wasn’t badly injured and doesn’t avoid escalators in the future. I mean, how else will he go up in the world? ;-)

For me, James Mason can be as sniffy as he likes. With a voice like Fry’s chocolate cream, I could listen to him reading the telephone directory!

A Holme (not verified) Fri, 06/01/2023 - 09:34

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I used to have an album of James Mason reading 'A Shropshire Lad'. Wonderful. The album was lost many years ago and I'm having the devil of a time trying to find it again. I'd love to hear it once more after 45 years. Does anyone remember this?

Christopher Fowler Fri, 06/01/2023 - 12:50

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Having been entranced by Mason's voice in 'The London Nobody Knows' I can see why others saw him as perfect for readings!

Ace (not verified) Fri, 06/01/2023 - 13:02

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Andrew --- Several options to listen online to Mason reading Housman and 'A Shropshire Lad' in particular from the album --- including being able to download the complete album in several formats. A search on Caedmon Shropshire Lad should take you there. Here is one site with four of the poems: https://soundcloud.com/warpoetsgallery/sets

Cornelia Appleyard (not verified) Fri, 06/01/2023 - 16:47

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

A Holme - it seems to be available as a free download from several online sites if you search for it.

A Holme (not verified) Fri, 06/01/2023 - 17:38

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you, Cornelia. It seems this is a happy highway I can go down again.

Helen+Martin (not verified) Sat, 07/01/2023 - 07:53

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Jo, paramedics were confident in letting Ken loose on the world and the worst there seems to be is a stiffness from a bruise on his hip, a bruise that still isn't visible.

Nicole Urdang (not verified) Sun, 08/01/2023 - 10:48

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I accidentally found your Bryant and May series in the audiobook version and have been completely smitten. The witty repartee, arcane historical bits of information, and overall quirkiness really appeal to me.

I am so deeply sorry you’re suffering. As a holistic psychotherapist, for almost 50 years, I have done my best to alleviate the quotidian, but still incredibly harsh, emotional detritus of life. Just in case it might be of any help, please check out my free website. Despite the name, www.holisticdivorcecounseling.com, it provides 100% free support, resources, and comfort for all life‘s issues and transitions, not just the cosmic hazing of divorce. No ads and nothing for sale.

While my writing is nothing like your linguistic artistry, I have tried to convey ideas and approaches that can help us through this mortal coil.

Wishing you every goodness.

A Holme (not verified) Sun, 08/01/2023 - 20:14

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thanks Ace! How lovely to hear these poems read by James Mason again. How good is the 'Roman/Yeoman' rhyme in 'On Wenlock Edge'? Top drawer.