About Eyewear the blog

Eyewear THE BLOG is the most read British poetry blogzine, getting more than 25,000 page-views a month. It began in 2005. and ha snow been read by over 2 million The views expressed by editor Todd Swift are not necessarily shared by the contributing poets and reviewers. Any material on this blog infringing copyright will be removed upon request.


Sunday, 21 December 2014

THE SWIFT REPORT 2014

2014 seems like a very long year, and, like many moments of crisis, it is an event in two halves. My Swift Report is necessarily personal, even, it may appear, egoistic, or egotistical.  This is in the nature of such posts.  I can make no apology for this, the genre I am writing in here is memoir, specifically, a brief summary of "my" year.  It is not, for example, a history of the year from the perspective of murdered young men in America; or victims of the mysterious plane crash; or the horrid Ukraine conflict; or a story of the victims of the Taliban; nor a jocular discussion of the adventures of Hollywood actors. It is not a story of Ebola victims or doctors, Winter Olympians, World Cup losers and victors, the struggles of Man United, or the return of Simple Minds.  It is not a lament for the rise of the right, or the decline of the book.  In short, to reiterate, it is not a story of all of 2014 (if such were even possible), but of whatever the word "me" can mean.  Me of course, is a word and concept that extends to others, specifically, wife, family, friends, business colleagues, poets I work with, and so on.

2013 ended very well.  I had spent Christmas with my beloved brother, his wife and little boy, my Godson.  My publishing company was faring well.  I was enjoying teaching, and I had a new book of my own poems on the horizon. January 2014 started badly - first the New Year's Day loss at Old Trafford of my team to Tottenham - and then, my family leaving to head back on January 5th to Canada.  I felt bereft. It got worse quickly. It was at that moment my backer for my press reneged on his contractual promises, and pulled all funding for the press, due to major losses he had made on the stock market in 2013. I thought I might have to close Eyewear Publishing; and then, a few days later I collapsed with a terrible flu that became a chest infection. I was in bed for a fortnight on strong antibiotics.  When I arose from my bed, I was a changed person - anxious and shattered, afraid to lose my business; haunted, and feeling lost.

Over the next few months, several close friends died, often young, as Kirsten Bishopric, that wonderful smart, impossibly witty and beautiful Canadian actress and a dear friend, did, at the age of 50. As did Doug Isaac, my troubled, brilliant poet friend. And so on.

This is not the place to go through the first half of 2014.  It is now mostly a nightmarish blur.  However, by summer, I had managed to cobble together ways to keep Eyewear afloat, and had moved to a new full time position, at Worcester University (I need the money to keep my press alive).  As it happens, Worcester, city and university, are for the moment at least rather delightful. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this very friendly and beautiful part of the English midlands; and I have joined a very good new university that is innovative and seems far-seeing.

I will not mention the numerous books Eyewear edited, published, launched, and sold, in 2014, except to say they were highlights of the year, and I am very proud to have worked with the authors and poets, and our Eyewear team.  Of course, having The Boy From Aleppo made as a BBC Radio 4 show that was heard by half a million people in November was a great moment in my life - I am so very proud to have shepherded this book so far.

My own writing never satisfies me.  I always feel there was something better, wiser, truer, kinder, more complex I might have said.  It would be wrong though to say I did not have a few publishing moments in 2014 that gave me satisfaction, pride, even joy.

I had a poetry song with LA-musician Kennedy; a pamphlet from KFS in 2014, a Selected Poems from Marick Press (in Michigan); a poem selected for Best British Poetry 2014 (Salt); and a major review/essay on new British poets in Poetry magazine in the autumn. I also placed poems in Salamander. I have a chapter on FT Prince appearing in a book next year. I am currently working on a full tenth book of poems, which I hope will appear by 2016, when I turn 50. So, in terms of "publishing outputs" - that crude phrase, I am doing okay, I think.

I am not going to "look forward to" 2015 here. I am unsure what such a sentiment might mean, in the world we currently inhabit. I cannot recall, when younger, such a bleak prospect for humanity, even during the nuclear-ready Reagan years.  The idea that in 100 years many species will be gone, and the world scarred by warming and mass starvation is not welcome; and I cannot help but think technology may have made things worse. Nanobots and micro-drones are not my cup of tea. My faith in God is sorely tested, though I find the idea, which I came across recently, that God's impassive silence may be a form of communication, oddly comforting. It is true that the hell on Earth we are making, we are making.  We do not need a demiurge, demon or deity to blame.  We know the culprit. I think it is hard to discount the sense that human nature is, despite what post-structuralists idealistically argue, far less flexible and porous than one might think - our identity as a human species seems hardwired to contain plenty of war, competition, violence, acquisitional greed and sexual depravity. And that's just the poets.

My two happiest moments in 2014 came when I left Britain. Though British I am unsure if Britain is heading in the right direction.  I wish Scotland had managed to become independent. I deplore the rise of UKIP. And fear that a Tory government will lead to more and greater cuts. British society has turned against ideas of community and co-operation, to become a divisive, competitive, unequal and often very unfair place to live; and the gross naked capitalism of "The City" is repellent to me, insofar as I believe the highest human goods are (aside from love), communion with nature (swimming, walking, hiking); quietly reading or writing; playing games with friends and family; conversation; and music and art.

Anyway, I was happiest in Quebec at a lake for a few weeks this summer, swimming, reading, BBQing, kayaking, cycling, and, essentially, spending time with my family, who I miss and love.

I was also very moved and happy to launch my Selected in Michigan and Chicago.  I fell in love with Chicago, and also, oddly, with Detroit, a city I suspect is the new Berlin. If I could, I would move to Detroit tomorrow, and live in a loft, where I would write and hold poetry events. It was, finally, the greatest honour of my life to date (after my marriage, and my PhD graduation) to be invited to read, and indeed, to read, at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago, in the world's best acoustic room for the human voice.  I wish to end this note with a warm and complete thank you to Don Share, whose belief in my critical writing, and my poetry, helped to sustain me through some very dark months, indeed.

My dream would be one of welcome.  To wake to feel a sense of proper and loving, kind literary community in the UK. To be accorded the respect my poetry is due. None of this likely to be forthcoming, I will do my best to write, publish, edit, mentor, teach, and support others, safe in the cruel knowledge that life is not fair, and cruelty is at the heart of the poetic ego, and we need, always, to fend that off, and be gentler, and more accommodating to others.  Poetics and debate and coteries are fine, but at the end of the day (I use this cliché on purpose as this is a Winter Solstice post) we all die, often in great pain and in fear.  To try to make life more bearable for our fellow humans as we all pass through this vale (veil) of tears seems like the best new year's resolution of all.

I wish you all love, joy, peace, and, failing that, the strength to overcome sorrow, and find some measure of hope or faith, in and for the new year, 2015.

ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY ON DESERT ISLAND DISCS

I was very moved today to listen to Archbishop Justin Welby on BBC Radio 4's famous Desert Island Discs. What comes across - and I cannot say I agree with all of his theological positions - is a highly-intelligent, thoughtful, sensitive person - who reflects upon the mysteries of faith, the afterlife, and injustice (as we might expect) - bringing to bear upon his duties the full weight of a proper 21st century education. Further, his unhappy childhood with an alcoholic father means that he is never merely a happy story, but a complex one.  He knows sorrow, as all of us do.  However, so close to Christmas, the over-arching message is this - it is feasible to be a fully-intelligent, well-rounded human being, and to still believe in the good news of Jesus Christ.  At a time of radical well-organised doubt and antagonism towards religion, this is a welcome gift, from the BBC.

Friday, 19 December 2014

TOLKIEN ABOUT JACKSON

Very little art is pure - most art, as TS Eliot observed in a famous essay - is a response to something of the past - and the relationship between individual talent and tradition is a fascinating, febrile and often festive one. Peter Jackson's film-making talent is obvious, but neither is it startling original (not that it need be). However, the Tolkien estate has openly decried the impurities the filmic adaptations of Tolkien's best-known books seem to have introduced. This is nonsense.

Professor Tolkien was an amiable and brilliant eccentric, who borrowed almost all his best ideas from the ancient and medieval myths and legends of the Germanic, Norse, and Judaeo-Christian cultures (sometimes these overlap). He borrowed a great deal, as well, from Wagner's cycle, The Ring, including the idea of dwarves obsessed with gold. What was new was that Tolkien saw the evil of the Nazi-German powers, and so created an especially English, anglophile response to the foreign legends, in the form of a provincial modest tribe, the Hobbits of the Shire.

Jackson's genius, not unlike Tolkien's, has been to cobble together myriad influences, in his case from classic war and horror and fantasy films.  Having see the final film in The Hobbit trilogy, I can now say it is one of the greatest adventure films ever made for a family audience.  As an aside, I did want to note how many of the key scenes with the Orcs are based on Zulu (see my post on that war film) - for instance, in the second film, when the Orcs clamber over homes then drop through the family roof in Laketown and the Elves and Dwarves fight them off close quarters, that is a direct lift from Zulu.

So too, whenever the Orcs appear on the horizon, and then, with sinking horror we see more and more horrible creatures appearing, that is fully Zulu.  In fact, it seems obvious to me that Zulu is one of the five or four key films for Jackson. Raiders of the Lost Ark and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad would be two others.

But Jackson makes these his own, with his gleeful bad taste that sees some naughty little sight gags and puns and bad jokes break in ("Sting. That's a good name" for example, in the second film of the trilogy). There is no pure Tolkien or Jackson, but that's because impurity is the way of all great art.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

UNHOLY WAR

I have been reading the Oxford philosopher Sir Anthony Kenny's lucid, at times startling, and always thought-clarifying book What I Believe (2006) the last few days.  His chapter 'War' is particularly helpful to me in formulating my response to the murder of many schoolchildren the other day in Pakistan. Kenny observes that there are only a few arguments for just war, and that for many centuries Muslim and Christian theologians were mainly on the same page; a just war had limits, and a clear one was (and remains) the rejection of the killing of innocent non-combatants. Holy wars, as Kenny observes, however, conducted by Muslims and especially Christians, have tended to be unjust, in the sense that the killing of civilians was often excused, or encouraged, on religious grounds he (I think rightly) concludes are ill-founded in reason; and few other wars have been "just" through and through.

The decision by "Taliban" fighters to kill a hundred or more children in a school in Pakistan the other day is an atrocity to rival any in human history.  It is, by any but the most cruel and insane standards, an evil act.  Only a belief in a very harsh and extreme kind of holy war could explain the act, which has no moral, sensible, humane or rational excuse.  It is, by almost all ethical, religious, political, and human standards, an act of total depravity, in the sense that those who performed the act have, in the performance of their crime, removed themselves from the common network of reasonable civilised bonds that connect societies, peoples, and even whole nations and faiths. As such, these people should be apprehended and punished, to the full extent of the laws governing war crimes.

However, and further, their actions the other day underline what has, for many people in the West (and beyond) become apparent over the last 15 years - any legitimate grievances harboured by post-colonial peoples due to harsh, unfair and violent treatment by Western nations and their allies have become increasingly beside the point, as more and more terrible atrocities are committed with a ferocity and fanaticism beyond even the normal human range of thought and action - the killing of women and children and innocent captives in cruel ways, and the throwing of homosexuals off roofs are examples. This tone of ever-crueller, more deranged violence, an ultra-terrorism begun with 9/11, is both terrifying and self-defeating.  The terrorists, who never had the moral high ground in the first place, but perhaps had some claim on territory, are now in a sub-basement where they will find few if any allies willing to support their ongoing actions.

As such, they must be defeated, with full use of all force necessary.  It is no longer morally feasible to formulate arguments for appeasement and reconciliation.  Not with sadistic madmen who massacre children on this scale.  This is a just war, and talk of oil and land and control of empire can no longer sweep aside the reality, that the fanatics at work in broad swathes of Asia and the Middle East speak for a brand of religious thinking that, even by Medieval standards, is barbaric and ill-judged.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

IGOR ISAKOVSKI HAS DIED

Igor Isakovski, one of the leading Macedonian poets of the 21st century
Sad tragic news, the energetic poet, novelist, publisher, editor, book designer, translator and friend to many poets globally, Igor Isakovski, has died suddenly of a heart attack, the other day. I include a poem from his recent collection below (translated into English), a photo of the poet, and a recent biographic note.  He had translated my work, and published it in Macedonian.
 
IGOR ISAKOVSKI. Born 19.09.1970, in Skopje, Macedonia. Died 15.12.2014, in Skopje, Macedonia. He took a BA in World and Comparative Literature, Sts. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, Macedonia. MA in Gender and Culture, CEU, Budapest, Hungary. He was completing doctoral studies at the Sts. Cyril and Methodius University. He was founder and director of the Cultural Institution Blesok where he worked as editor-in-chief since 1998.

Published books: Letters (1991, novel), Black Sun (1992, poetry), Explosions, Pregnant Moon, Eruptions... (1993, short stories), Vulcan – Earth – (1995, poetry), – Sky (1996, 2000, poetry), Engravings, Blues Phone Booth (2001, prose etchings), Sandglass (2002, short stories), Way Down in the Hole (poetry, 2004), Swimming in the Dust (2005, 2010, novel, award Prose Masters 2005), Blues Phone Booth II (2006, prose etchings, awarded 2007 annual prize for best visual-graphic design of a printed book), Interning for a Saint (poetry, 2008), The Night Is Darkest Before the Dawn (poetry, 2009, unique award winner of the 4th Belgrade Poetry and Book Festival in 2010), Vulcan – Earth – Sky (poetry, 2010), Love (poetry, 2011), Death Has Seaweed Hair(poetry, 2013).

Selections and translations in other languages: – Sky (poetry in English, 1996, 2000), Sejanje smeha (Sowing of Laughter, selected poetry in Serbian and Macedonian, 2003), I & Tom Waits(selected poetry in English and Macedonian, 2003), Sandglass (short stories in English, 2003), I to je život (That's Life Too, new and selected poetry, published in Montenegro, 2007), Iz bliskov in ognja (From Glitters and Fire, new and selected poetry in Slovenian, 2011), Pjesčani sat(Sandglass, short stories in Croatian, 2012), Dlanovi puni srče / Дланки полни срча (new and selected poetry in Serbian and Macedonian, 2013), Светлината ве чека на рецепција / The Light Awaits You at Reception (selected and new poetry in Macedonian and English, 2013).

Isakovski edited four anthologies (the latest is the bilingual Six Macedonian Poets, published by Arc publications, UK, 2011) and two CD-ROMs. He translated poetry, prose, and essays, from and into Macedonian, English, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, and from Slovenian into Macedonian. Into his Macedonian translations, there are more than 60 published books.

His poetry and prose works have been translated into sixteen languages and published in about twenty countries. He was included in a vast number of selections and anthologies in Macedonia and abroad. 

 
 
Lights around Paths
 
   I clean the stains off the table,
   I wipe out prints of liquids,
   ash and gunpowder – I need to set off
   somewhere. I wipe with keen
   precision, I clean up traces.
 
   I’ll step into the snow, I’ll make new
   paths – wide and merry, like lights
   sparkling around the planet, playful
   like my restless steps: I need to set off.
 
   I clean and tidy up, like in the past when I was
   expecting guests – I know that I’m alone, I know
   no one will come: let it be neat and warm.
 
   I’ll set off with my nose in the air, like a hound, searching for
   more gunpowder. If it comes to that, I’ll face the gun.
 
   I clean and tidy up, as if saying farewell to the world.

 
poem by Igor Isakovski.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

250,000 PAGE VIEWS IN 2014!

GREAT NEWS! Eyewear, the Blog, has averaged around a quarter of a million page views in 2014 - as it has done, more or less, since 2005.  That's over 2 million page views over a decade so far!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

SOME OF THE POETS WHO HAVE DIED IN 2014

Below, sadly, are the names of some of the poets - writing in all languages, living around the world - who died in 2014.

Most are widely-published, and were beloved figures; a few were more "obscure"; one or two were best known as performance poets. One is a quasi-fictional figure (Mayall).  All were linked to poetry in their obituaries this year.  A few I counted as friends.

Every death is terrible; the death of a poet no more or less than another's, except in how it closes the conversation that poet had with life and the world - from then on, all we have is what they were able to say, to write, to compose, to edit, to erase, to publish, while alive.

Poets are not always the easiest people to love while living - but once they become their words, their books, they become loveable.  Larkin is the best example.

But there are many others.  I wish these poets posthumous readers.  And to their family and friends, students and colleagues, peers and readers, I offer condolences. I also welcome additional entries (though I do not wish for more dead poets) and any information you wish to send me; and of course, corrections.


ALLAN KORNBLUM

ALLEN GROSSMAN

AMIRI BARAKA

ANNE ARDOLINO

CAROLYN KIZER

CLAUDIA EMERSON

DANNIE ABSE


DOUGLAS ISAAC

EMMA LOU THAYNE


FELIX DENNIS

GALWAY KINNELL


IGOR ISAKOVSKI


JOHN ASFOUR

 
JOHN HARTLEY WILLIAMS

JON STALLWORTHY

JUAN GELMAN

KENT MAYNARD

KESHAV CHAND

LILLIAN MORRISON

MAGGIE ESTEP

MAMA BRENDA

MARK STRAND

MAXINE KUMIN

MAYA ANGELOU


NIK BEAT
 
PHYLISS JANOWITZ

RENE RICARD

RIK MAYALL (THE PEOPLE’S POET)

RYOR BARADULIN

SAID AKL

SAMIH AL-QASIM

SEBASTIAN BARKER

Simin Behbahani

SUSAN GRINDLEY


TADEUSZ ROZEWICZ

WENDELL BROWN

ZACCHEUS JACKSON

EYEWEAR BEST BOOKS AND POETRY OF 2014!

End of the year best of lists are, as we know, vaguely suspect.  They are riddled with cronyism, laziness, neglect, partiality, bias, improvisation, ego, incompleteness, and general lassitude.  It is literally impossible (that is, I defy you to prove scientifically it is possible) to survey (in short, read) every book of poetry, every poem, every magazine, published in the English-speaking world. However, what is the point in giving up? 

A while back, a metaphor was introduced, that of the "Internet surfer" - it suggested a sort of skilled adroit yet reckless conquest (albeit very brief) of the unconquerable and impossibly vast - we surf the oceanic forces at our peril, but touchingly so, because humans can at times rise above nature's vast impervious strength. That is an artistry of the body and mind, but Internet and more broadly, magpie cultural surfing - that pick and mix mash-up hybridity that has become the default position of most artists these days (think of St Vincent, by many standards creator of album of the year, or Beck, or The War On Drugs, the other contenders - all are mash-ups).

In short, we cannot survey all, we must survey all - we must seek to rise above the ungovernable swells of content, and do our agile and effortful best - we must take on the playful role of surfer, the impossible athlete of ephemeral grace. Such lists, then, become not canonical interventions, not even helpful signposts, but acts, in their own right, of art.  The art of being a cultured person.  What was once called a reader. Readers have never been asked to read everything.  One of the charms of being a reader is that one reads what one wants.

My ideal form of reading is in a place that no longer exists.  It is to my mind the great Valhalla and Heaven of reading.  It is in December, or early January.  It is in Quebec, in the forest.  In My grandmother's large wooden house.  A fireplace roars with huge logs crackling. Outside, snow drifts halfway up the windows.  The snow is about five feet or ten feet deep in places.  Outside are wolves.  It is possibly minus twenty outside.  If you go outside you may well freeze to death.  So you stay inside.  It is 3 pm.  You have a cup of cocoa.  And you sit in a huge comfortable armchair by the fireplace, and you read.  You read what you take down from her shelves.  For Melita Hume is a collector of books.  All sorts, history, criticism, anthologies, Russian, Chinese, French, German, English - and you are fourteen or twelve.  But you can read Nabokov.  You can read Twain.  You can read poetry.  You can read Bloom.  You read Dickinson, Atwood. You read widely, as you wish, you are free, and safe, and yet to take the risks the reader takes.

So, two images - one is of being ensconced, the other of being a sort of flung conch. Both involve perfection of the moment. Joy is central.  Reading without joy is a waste of time, and is not the aim of reading.  What you read may be tragic, informative, funny, or maddening - but the reading must be a joyous act.

So what is my list of the year?  It is a list of books piled by my bed, and piled by where I read.  It is a list of books read, half-read, books I want to read.  It is a wish list, a shopping list, a love list. Friends jostle with strangers, even possibly enemies.  It is not a list of recommendations.  It is a list of what I would dip into again, by the fireplace, in the blizzard. I do not list the books I wrote or have published this year, but all those, it goes without saying, should be here. I am adding 21.  Memoirs, magazines, pamphlets, poetry by the dead and living - young and old. Litcrit. Rescued reputations.  Eccentrics. Bestsellers. Humour. Sex. Bereavement. Mental illness.

You may have many more choices.  Think of this as a desire of reading. A start, a foray, a jumble, an over-reaching.  A relaxed Saturday.  A snowfall.  A bit of fire. A memory jolt.  A mixed bag.  Mixed nuts. Help-yourself. Just some of what might be said. A gentle reminder.:

  1. POETRY MAGAZINE - ANY ISSUE 2014
  2. A POET'S GLOSSARY BY EDWARD HIRSCH
  3. TERROR BY TOBY MARTINEZ DE LAS RIVAS
  4. BLACK COUNTRY BY LIZ BERRY
  5. FABER NEW POETS 12 BY DECLAN RYAN
  6. JOHN GOODBY'S NEW COLLECTED BY DYLAN THOMAS
  7. DAVID WHEATLEY'S STUDY OF BRITISH POETRY
  8. ROSEMARY TONKS' POEMS FROM BLOODAXE
  9. THE SELECTED NICHOLAS MOORE FROM SHEARSMAN
  10. LYRIC SHAME BY GILLIAN WHITE
  11. PILGRIMAGE BY LUCKY PICK
  12. BASED ON A TRUE STORY BY ELIZABETH RENZETTI
  13. ANGER IS AN ENERGY BY JOHN LYDON
  14. H IS FOR HAWK BY HELEN MACDONALD
  15. THE LAND OF GOLD BY SEBASTIAN BARKER
  16. BLOOD WILL OUT BY WALTER KIRN
  17. SUSPENDED SENTENCES BY PATRICK MODIANO
  18. THE GIRL WHO WAS SATURDAY NIGHT BY HEATHER O'NEILL
  19. THE GHOST IN THE LOBBY BY KEVIN HIGGINS
  20. TUPELO'S ANTHOLOGY OF WORLD ANGLOPHONE POETRY
  21. BE THE FIRST TO LIKE IT: NEW SCOTTISH POETRY.
  22. SELECTED POEMS BY MARK FORD




Monday, 8 December 2014

EYEWEAR HAS A NEW POETRY BOOK CLUB - SEE FOR YOURSELF!

Please consider becoming a Poetry Book Club member - a Micro-Patron - join with other members like Wendy Cope, Gary Geddes, and other poets around the world.

Don’t panic yet, we are asking for no more than £10 from you a year, or $20 USD.

Sometimes I feel I am a dentist, since selling poetry books can be like pulling teeth. Anyway, I am trying to make it as painless as possible for you to do something you would probably like to do anyway – get two books of ours in 2015 for the cut-rate price of £10 for both (or $20 USD).

That’s the new book club – short and sweet and affordable to almost all book lovers. You also get 40% off all our 2015 books by joining; and other perks to be announced, including chances to win signed copies of proof copies and running sheets.

Our poetry books next year include (we will be publishing others!) Yale Poetry Prize winner Sean Singer, leading Australian poet Jan Owen, and Melita Hume Prize winner Amy Blakemore; as well as illustrated poems by famous singer-songwriter Keaton Henson, a wonderful debut from Andrew Shields, and a Selected by major Dutch poet and author Benno Barnard; and novels by Mario Bellatin, translated by David Shook.  All will be either paperback or hardcovers expertly designed by Edwin Smet in our stylish mode; and printed by a very good printers in Cornwall to high standards.

Thank you for any support you can give, and all best for the holidays and the new year. You can go directly to our site, where there is a donate button with a PayPal sign, if you wish to become a Club member. Then just email us and we will set you up.  Merry Christmas!

EYEWEAR'S TOP FILM AND TV IN 2014

Gone Man, sadly
Eyewear can't see everything, even with our x-ray specs. We loved House of Cards, Homeland, The Americans, and a bunch of other TV shows and movies, from The Grand Budapest Hotel to The Lego Movie to The Giver to Interstellar to Guardians of the Galaxy to Peter Jackson's bravura final Hobbit film.  However, we have some clear favourites, in the following categories.

EYEWEAR BEST ACTRESS IN A TV SERIES OR MINI-SERIES 2014
Gillian Anderson - The Fall 2. Anderson has not been so riveting since House of Mirth years ago, and makes her British detective a more mature and complex counterpoint to her earlier iconic role as Scully.  This often nasty series is a new Prime Suspect-quality show, that, despite its visual cruelty, yields striking performances.

EYEWEAR BEST ACTOR IN A TV SERIES OR MINI-SERIES 2014
Woody Harrelson - True Detective.  The true believer might opt for the gaunt haunted McConaughey, who is brilliant in this great series (see below) however Harrelson's everyman turn as the Horatio-like foil to Rust's Hamlet is actually the more challenging role, and he gets it so right.

EYEWEAR BEST TV MINI-SERIES 2014
True Detective. There really isn't another option here.  This brief, literate, weird, and profoundly mythic reimagining of American noir through HP Lovecraft and anti-natalist thinking is one of the finest TV shows ever made. It bears comparison with Twin Peaks and the X-Files for astonishment factor, the uncanny and quality.

EYEWEAR BEST TV SERIES 2014
House of Cards, Transparent, Orange Is The New Black, The Americans... all these and others have claim to being great TV - but in the first year since Breaking Bad ended its triumphant run, and became one of the great cultural products of the decade, no show could lay claim to such monumental greatness.  One show, however, received almost no attention or acclaim at all, and this was little-seen Manhattan, a perfectly-realised, brilliantly-acted ensemble drama set in a slightly-fictionalised Manhattan Project microcosm in the Mojave desert. Filmed with the gravitas of Brideshead Revisited, and as intelligent as the best BBC or PBS dramas of yore, it combined intelligent elements of history and science seamlessly with concerns about sexual identity, intellectual purpose, and moral values, and was often erotic and thrilling, at once.

EYEWEAR BEST FILM 2014
Gone Girl. David Fincher's new surprise masterwork, using every one of his stylish tricks to evoke a world as cool, disturbed and sexually compromised as Hitchcock's Pyscho fused with North by Northwest.  A screwball comedy of guilt, suspicion and crafty authorial post-modernism, it's surface pleasures were icy but deep as a knife wound. The soundtrack has its own Vertigo-esque charms as well.

EYEWEAR BEST ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE 2014
Philip Seymour Hoffman - A Most Wanted Man.  This is my sentimental favourite.  This was a strange, completely mesmerising, transformative performance, with a ball of rage exploding at the end, which sums up the master's great curtailed career.

EYEWEAR BEST ACTESS IN A MOTION PICTURE 2014
Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl. Pike might be seen as a surprise choice in this category, but she was fascinating, hugely poised and watchable, and ultimately shocking, in her complex role within roles of the perfect cool girlfriend gone sour as the bad wife.

EYEWEAR BEST SIDEKICK IN A MOTION PICTURE 2014
Groot.

I am sure there are other great films and roles (Cumberbatch for instance) but these are what struck us the most this year.