As It Happens

British calendar maker lands a surprise hit with his 2022 theme: Benches

A new calendar in Redditch, England, captures the quintessential and celebrates the ordinary with its pictures of benches.

Kevin Beresford — the 'dullest man in the U.K.' — has been making intentionally boring calendars for 18 years

Kevin Beresford holds up a copy of his Benches of Redditch calendar (Submitted by Kevin Beresford)

A new calendar in Redditch, England, captures the quintessential and celebrates the ordinary with its pictures of benches.

It's not the first calendar made by local resident Kevin Beresford, who last spoke with As It Happens about his "Fast Disappearing Red Telephone Boxes of Wales" in 2014.

That one didn't sell very well, but this year, Beresford is setting a new benchmark. So far, he has sold over 1,000 copies of the new calendar to the British public — and he is printing another 100 every day.

"Benches are brilliant," Beresford told As It Happens host Carol Off. "We all sit on them [and] rest our tired feet. Even in the old days, I used to do my courting on the benches. We couldn't go nowhere else."

The bench for January overlooks Arrow Valley Lake, which Beresford thinks is the most beautiful spot in Redditch, England. (Submitted by Kevin Beresford)

His personal favourite from the 2022 calendar is the circular wooden bench pictured in May, which has a tree in the middle. He found the bench in Sambourne, a hamlet just south of Redditch.

"It's in a beautiful village green," Beresford said. "And we don't get that many village greens around in England like we used to."

Beresford's favourite bench in the 2022 calendar is the one for May. It is circular and wooden with a tree in the middle. He found it Sambourne, a hamlet just south of Redditch. (Submitted by Kevin Beresford)

Other months display the public seats overlooking a lake, the countryside and a pub. In August, there is an accessible park bench for picnics. In November, the bench is a war memorial to mark Remembrance Day.

"We can reflect on life when we sit on those benches," he said.

For the last 18 years, Beresford has been making calendars as a hobby. And to him, the best subject is a slice of British life that nobody else would bother with. 

"I'm drawn to the ordinary ... and I think people are captivated by the mundane."

For June, Beresford chose a photo of a steel bench with an ashtray underneath it for the many smokers who visit this spot at the Winyates Shopping Centre in Redditch. (Submitted by Kevin Beresford)

This year's calendar was inspired by Andy Warhol's painting of a can of soup and Van Gogh's painting of a pipe on a chair.

Once, he even made a calendar full of pictures of roadkill that was inspired by a roadkill recipe book. But he said he couldn't sell a single copy.

In his pursuit of the ordinary, Beresford has also been a proud member of the Dull Men's Club, where he earned himself the title of "the dullest man in the U.K."

"There's a distinction between dull and boring," he said, referring to his calendar's subjects. "Dull, perhaps, but never boring."

Written by Mehek Mazhar. Interview with Kevin Beresford produced by Chris Harbord.

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