Believe it or not, when I posted my brief and innocuous Christmas message last week, I received a complaint from one reader that I hadn’t produced something more substantial. The fact I’d provided a 2000 word story about Christmas a few days previously didn’t seem to placate this guy.
So it’s really entirely his fault, the moaning bastard, that I’m about to inflict a full-length End Of Year blog post on you. I’m planning on listing my own 2011 highlights, then outlining the best cultural “stuff” I have enjoyed during the period. If that floats your boat, read on.
Me, My Writing And I
- First published fiction work! That was always going to top the list, really. If you want to buy said story, details are here. It’s 12,000 words long and I’m quite proud of it.
- And in general, I entered the second year of my creative writing MA. Aside from the current life-ruining essay, I’ve enjoyed it. Some of the feedback has been intense, but in a good way. Mostly.
- Left the British Isles for the first time in two years, for 48 glorious hours in Belgium. This has made me nostalgic for the days when I could afford real holidays.
- Moved from Android phone to iPhone. Positive effects so far: Instagram and better games. Negative: having to use iTunes on a PC, which is an abomination.
- Got new TV writing gig for Television @ The Digital Fix, as well as continuing reviews for Dork Adore. Made glorious podcast debut which, after about six attempts, I even managed to listen to.
- Finally started noticing the recession, after living in a bubble of childlike simplicity for ages. Didn’t enjoy this one as much as most of the above.
Stuff I Liked
- TV: Not sure the world needs more long rambles from me about television. Some things were good, especially Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, The Hour, Exile and The Killing.
- Film: A raft of superhero films, many I suspect I only liked due to reading the comics. X-Men: First Class is the only one that might’ve been objectively good. Outside that subgenre, Studio Ghibli’s Arrietty was lovely, and I completely failed to catch most proper films at the cinema. Oh, Real Steel. I saw that. Um.
- Music: Annoyingly, many artists I like released records this year, but often weren’t as great as I hoped. Best album probably England, Keep My Bones by Frank Turner. Suck It And See by Arctic Monkeys also very cool in a pop-rock way, and they’re not even a band I normally listen to. Collapse Into Now by R.E.M. was a triumphant rattle through their style, especially poignant since they later split up. Great if you’re a fan, others may not care.
- Podcasts: An art-form I’ve only recently started paying attention to, but Please Don’t Hug Me is very funny, and if you like that, consider The Daniel Ruiz Tizon Podcast, a solo effort by one of the presenters. If you like comics, I recommend House To Astonish most highly. Commenters: feel free to mention any other podcasts you recommend, I could use more.
- Theatre: I went to see the Matilda musical the other day. It was fantastic.
So, that was 2011. I could make some kind of prediction or publicly declared resolution for 2012 now, but I’ve learnt to stop doing that. Happy New Year, regardless. Hope it’s excellent for all of us.