Or, 2020 - the Director's Cut
Like a later installment of film franchise, 2021 has very much been a tedious retread of what happened before and every minute felt more uninspired than the last. But we made it, older, wiser, and greyer, so let's take a moment to reflect on the past 365 days.
Cottage was a real highlight for me. It was great to see everyone after so long. I had a lot of fun with my Don't Get Got
tasks. There was something satisfying about setting someting up and seeing it execute perfectly allowing for a smug "thank you" as I pulled out the wallet was very satisfying. I never did get round to writing mine up, but the tasks I completed included getting someone to give you a dance (thank you Jem) and getting someone to correct you on the time (thanks Curio!). We might try it again next year if people are interested. I liked the idea of a game that works without needing a declared winner.
Tripwise I managed to do more hiking than in 2020 but not as much as I'd have liked and remain out of practice when it comes to going up hill. I spent a long weekend on Dartmoor over the warm May bank holiday which was a great excuse to refresh my compass skills, try out new camping kit, and take in it glorious bleakness. I climbed Snowdon (Ranger path) during a howling gale and rainstorm - I doubt I've ever gone down a mountain so quickly after the obligatory trig touch. My rain gear held up though!
Around January I set myself a task to spend an evening sitting on a clifftop drinking beer and reading my book whilst the sun goes down. In late June I camped at YHA Land's End (just outside St Just), and after a great day's hiking along the Cornish coast found a great spot to accomplish my aim. Great campsite and location too!
I only made it to one concert - I went to see the LSO under Simon Rattle at the Barbican for an evening of choral and symphonic music, including a bagpiper for Maxwell-Davis's Orkney Wedding
I'm most proud of my success in the garden. The planter I set up in March came out in full bloom
over the summer, and using all the photos I took throughout the year I'm hoping for even better results next year! Having it there has also helped me make changes to the rest of the space.
Thanks to the Tuesday regulars for giving me something to look forward to every week. As I've said before, I'm happy to keep hosting whilst people are up for it. Giphy "fanfare":https://media3.giphy.com/media/3h2AmldHgJoq5mSTXO/giphy-loop.mp4
And now, the obligatory listy bit...Giphy "drumroll":https://media1.giphy.com/media/l4FGnDqTrkewTIuRy/giphy-loop.mp4Favourite Book:
I didn't quite get to 52, or even half-way, but looking at my list
in the book thread I've read some utter corkers this year. I'm also reading far more fiction than in previous years, in part by finally working my way through Discworld. As with previous years, the pile of unfinished shame remains top secret. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
by Ben Fountain and Charlie Carroll's The Lip
were both excellent works, both providing very evocative images of the scenarios and characters they were describing.
The stand-out read, in a contested field, was Clint Smith's How the Word is Passed
. A fascinating, moving, and at times even poetical reflection on the legacy of slavery and racial intolerance in the US. Favourite TV:
I enjoyed The Terror
more than I initially expected to, and really felt the cold arctic breeze as the sailors descended into madness. The TV highlight however was Four Hours at the Capitol
. Such a documentary on a contentious recent event could have so easily been done poorly or by over relying on one source for footage, but by mixing TV coverage, security cameras, police body cams, and the rioters' own cameras to show the same events from multiple angles really gave the viewer a sense of the chaos, anger, and horror of that January day. Favourite Radio/Podcast:
Radio 3 has been the stable background station for me, and its musical choices continue to uplift, entertain, fascinate, and annoy. Cerys Matthews on Radio 6 makes Sunday mornings for me. Life in Ambridge plods along as usual, although Ruari's recent take down of Alice was extremely satisfying.
But the best audio thing I've got into is also the most unexpected one: I never knew listening to two comic book writers
working their way through the Bible as if it were a franchise would be so compelling and so fascinating for a non-believer. It's also helped me understand a lot of references in art, music, and everyday speech that I'd never really known the origin for. I'm also surprised by how good some stories in the canon and the apocrypha are. I can definitely recommend reading Judith, Ester, Susanne, and 1st Maccabees. The Song of Solomon is deliciously filthy (who knew? I certainly didn't!). I'm currently up to the episodes on the book of Jeremiah and, oh boy, is God pissed in this one. Favourite Movie:
I only made one trip to the cinema this year, and that was yesterday, so West Side Story
wins by default.
Honourable mention to The Green Knight
, which I watched on my TV. Charmingly trippy if a little long.
And that's been my 2021!
You are all still the most excellent people on the Internet. Best wishes for 2022!