IT’S that time of year when you stand with one foot trailing in one year and the other reaching forward into the next.
For someone like me who prefers to have both feet firmly on the ground (history of trips and spills that we won’t go into here), it is not the seismic time that it is for others.
Some find it impossible not to look over their shoulder, mull over the ashes of a year fast cooling, while others prefer to stare resolutely ahead, if you get my meaning.
I’m usually the prosaic get on with today sort who finds every waking hour stuffed with quite enough to make the present a very busy place thank you. Navel gazing is far too dangerous. Trips and spills. Remember?
But then this year has included something new for me. Give me a column to write and what do I do? Let my mind wander which, considering I’ve spent years getting other people to let their thoughts and words roam, is quite a novelty.
So, as part of today’s right to roam I’ve decided to call a time out, collect together a few of my arts discoveries from 2010 and enjoy them all over again. If you don’t want to indulge me, look away now.
Perhaps it’s the company I keep, but hearing Shakespeare sonnets sung by Rufus Wainwright on his album All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu certainly stopped me in my tracks.
It silenced the chatter in a house normally buzzing with laughter and people. But then this was the same friend who you’d share a car journey with punctuated by Wainwright singing the classic songlist from Judy Garland’s Sixties Carnegie Hall concert.
From Garland to Shakespeare is quite a gear change, but raw emotion is something that, thanks to Wainwright’s vocals, powers both.
My first pottery class (and probably my last) came courtesy of this same household as did my memorable foray into the world of art as curator and saleswoman when we transformed a home into an exhibition space and charity fund-raising success story in a few exhausting hours.
But the Tate needn’t worry, I hope to be keeping the day job.
Another companion, a long-suffering five-year-old, couldn’t believe I was convinced Andy was my boss and not a character in one of the biggest 3D computer generated films ever made.
I’d never seen Woody or Buzz? What did I do with my life?
My movie buff young friend and his older sister, who is all of nine, took me in hand and propelled me into the cinema for one of the most hilarious afternoons I had all year.
Things got a bit more serious though when I picked up a book which reminded me just why I doubt I’ll ever get seduced by all the technical wizardry that allows you to download thousands of words on to something that is slim, sophisticated and wouldn’t make so much as a bulge in your handbag.
An e-book to be devoured on an e-reader? No thanks.
I fell for Edmund de Waal’s book, The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance before I’d even opened it.
Don’t be put off by the double-barrelled title. Stick with the first half.
Like the story between the covers, it’s enticing. Just looking at de Waal’s book made me smile.
It is, after all, a work of art in itself, beautifully made and presented – a reminder of why, for many of us, only the real thing will do.
Open it up and you will be drawn into a beguiling story ostensibly tracing the history of 264 Japanese netsuke, small carvings made from ivory or wood, collected in the 1880s by a cousin of de Waal’s great grandfather.
It is, of course, about much more. De Waal is already renowned for his work as a ceramic artist but his book is a rarity of a different kind, one that offers an intimate view of a family, of a continent and a chance to share something that was clearly crafted with great skill and love.
I’m already running ahead into next year (see what column writing does) and have a ‘to do’ list. Tickets for an Argentine tango show, yes, plans for both the Miro and the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibitions in London – I just need the days off – and, hopefully, music with Huddersfield Choral Society in its 175th anniversary year with Honley Male Voice Choir in its 75th year and drama with Huddersfield Thespians in their 90th. Sounds a good one.