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Positive Cheer:

The Lowe Down

Freddy Lowe Published: 30 November 2022

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Freddy Lowe with the Edinburgh lights
Edinburgh Christmas lights at Bristo Square.

When I left Wymondham in September 2022, Wymondham Magazine was kind enough to keep me on as a writer, all the way from my bedroom in Scotland. Not only was it an extremely nice gesture, but it gave me a sense of purpose in those scary first days of university. As the Queen’s procession was about to start in Edinburgh, I arrived to cordoned-off roads, heavily armed police officers, high-vis jackets everywhere you turned, and snipers on church roofs. Anything to keep me connected to Wymondham was a godsend, and the magazine was that connection.

(Although, I hear that the snipers were charming. One of my friends waved and got a wave back.)

For our final 2022 print edition, a reflection on the year we’ve had seems in order. Notably, Generation Covid, who had their GCSEs cancelled back in 2020, finally finished their A-Levels and were able to move on from school. The 2022 Chinese Zodiac was the ‘Water Tiger’, and according to the Tiger folklore on chinahighlights.com, we Monkey-born people needed to make “comparatively more effort” for our achievements. Nothing sums it up better. A-Levels were the first proper exams we had sat. However, we got through the ordeal, from the exams themselves to the dismally pessimistic headlines…which, for Wymondham High, were largely misrepresentative.

Here’s to the teachers of Wymondham High, most of whom are professional, fantastic people who work relentlessly to keep their students sane in difficult times. I can only imagine how challenging that is, and they do it tirelessly.

2022 saw the deaths of many public figures, the most notable of course being Queen Elizabeth II. Among others were Angela Lansbury and Robbie Coltrane, widely known as Jessica Fletcher and Hagrid. I knew them better as Miss Marple and Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky, Coltrane’s James Bond character. In The World is Not Enough, he saves Pierce Brosnan’s life with a walking stick that shoots bullets! (Which was clairvoyantly reminiscent of Hagrid’s magic umbrella.) How cool is it to do that for a living?

Angela Lansbury, similarly, was a wonderful and underrated actress. I once chanced upon a couple of Wymondham teachers who were quoting Mary Poppins in the corridor. When I stared blankly, they asked incredulously, “you’ve never seen Mary Poppins?” I proudly replied, “no, I’m more of a Bedknobs and Broomsticks guy.” It might not be a thing you admit out loud with the cool street kids, but we all love that film deep down. Those who deny it are lying to themselves. As mentioned, she also played Miss Marple in the criminally underrated The Mirror Crack’d from 1980. It would make a brilliant Christmas present for crime fans!

Speaking of Christmas presents (and of Rubeus Hagrid), this year was brilliant for Potter-related literature. J.K. Rowling released her sixth crime novel, whilst Tom Felton and Alan Rickman (posthumously) published books about their experience of working on the Potter series. Re: broader literature, Hanya Yanagihara published her third book To Paradise. Yanagihara is the author of A Little Life, a long but utterly phenomenal bestseller which I have wanted to reread ever since finishing. She could have sat back and bathed in the glory, but instead, she continued writing. How fabulous. She more than deserves the spotlight; any of her books would make brilliant, if emotionally distressing, gifts.

The year is also heavily associated with Taylor Swift, not just because of her new album Midnights, but for me personally. I was surrounded by fans of hers growing up, both among schoolmates and teachers. I remember being asked once if I was a fan, to which I responded, “Taylor Swift, remind me: male or female?” Then, years later when my sister and I went interrailing, she said, “ugh, I don’t like Taylor Swift, BUT… knowing you, there is one song of hers which you will love,” and she played it to me despite herself. It was I Knew You Were Trouble, and she was correct. (She knows my tastes well.) I was humming it for the rest of our trip, and now she affectionately rolls her eyes when I mention that it’s on my playlist. To this day, it is a phenomenal university cheer-up song.

While dinosaurs like me are quietly catching up on Swift’s back catalogue, her 2022 album Midnights is unsurprisingly topping all the charts. A Wymondham-era friend of mine got up specifically at 3:00 am to listen to it. That is the dedication we have to her.

Has she ever had an album which hasn’t topped the charts? Thank goodness that, in an era of much fear (be that about climate change, political division, or our running tally of 2022 prime ministers), some things remain constant. Taylor Swift will always release an album that completely dominates the charts. People will still get up at 3:00 am for the wackiest of reasons. Now is a more important time than ever to keep those positive constants and to stay sane. So, on that note, Happy December, Wymondham Readers. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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