Those of you who have been with me a while will know that I like to close each year by documenting some of my experiences in an oblique way that really has meaning only for myself. 2016 was full of badness but it was good to find the shards of light – in 2017, there was still much which was unpleasant but I’ve had some good times too! I’ve rambled past redwoods in the grounds of a Northern castle; held bread in a Victorian museum; watched Voyager over IM; went out for a group meal (Mexican) where the bill splitting actually worked; carried a soaking king-size duvet down a residential midlands street; had a quick Angolan meal before buying horrendous chips from a place called ‘of Denmark’; got offered a complimentary coke by a team of seven nerds; bumped into a friend’s ex at a whittling workshop in Pembrokeshire; watched a spontaneous Bob Marley remix dance in a community centre; dragged everyone to the vegetarian hotdogs; had coffees with old students; identified a Hawthorn by its leaves; soloed Cardigan Castle; splatooned with two dogs; added popping candy to my blue grape juice; took a train through the mountains to the North Pole; threw blocks of wood in a field with old friends; lost my voice in the Dorset fog; mourned Carluccio at Carluccio’s; stood on a daffodil wall in the early morning; went back to the charity shop to pick up that Star Trek retrospective after all; killed traindelay time in a pizza pub; patrolled my neighbourhood in a skeleton costume; rated my piss with a French cokehead; saw my first wild possum; listened to a massive gong in the rain; put up a patrol tent next to a cheese workshop; saw somebody shoot at someone (for real, guys); ate ice cream near a 38ft hay sculpture of Peter Rabbit; unconed a cat to ‘The Final Countdown’; (legimtimately) skipped an enormous museum queue to look at an art display for ten minutes; spent hours on trains and trams to look at a different museum display for twenty minutes; took a spontaneous Ouse Cruise; paid £5 to learn that the Buncombe Turnpike Trio gig was behind me; skipped a stop on the nighttime DLR; attempted to lift the Gloomhaven box; got given a tour around the Triceratops skull; bought a cocktail book at the British Library; sat in sleet in the summer art market; accidentally detoured to a Welsh village in the middle of nowhere; played tag (as the Den); drove to Witney explicitly for granola; did a history documentary walk past two-tone sheep; organised a number of particularly insane taco parties; passed closed dino-golf in Britain’s biggest garden centre; discovered silken windhounds; picnicked with deer; paused by the illuminated flamingoes; parked near a goose to talk about dinosaurs; saw a 200-year-old bat in a vault near Picadilly; cheered for the twice-a-day train; ate plantain in a modified shipping container; engaged in a heated winter ping pong tournament; found the golden egg high up a rock wall; captured an electric sheep and used it to fight other electric sheep; cheered loudly at the recorder recital; drained my car battery in Devon’s least accessible location; pressed on with a Q&A session after an old lady collapsed behind me; failed to find an ammonite; took the deadwood off my raspberry canes over breakfast; had my registration number written down by an angry sexist; bumped into a former grocery cashier whilst drinking Luscombe’s ginger beer in an abandoned print works; dove into the Channel in my pants; ate strawberry soup behind the iron curtain; cycled by canals and rivers to a haribo and spaniel session; tossed logs in a Welsh brazier; watched a fish kissing movie at the $5 matinee; listened to horrific housemate tales over brunch; saw Franklin’s bell; slept in the mezzanine bunkloft of a Georgian townhouse; popped corns to watch Discovery; watched the Perseids with Princess Buttercup; found myself at a Clean Bandit gig; poisoned myself at my own pizza party; fell in love with Strange & Norrell; and profoundly regretted getting on the Waltzer.
I want to be more explicit than I usually am in these posts (and on this blog) in acknowledging the awfulness in the wider world, expressing my gratitude for the prviliege of my own life, and hoping ardently than some of the insanity which has gripped my country in the last few years begins to subside in 2018. I have hopes regarding insanity on a personal level, too, and an exciting new musical collaboration (of which news later) to power FaceOmeter up over the next few months. I hope you’ll be there for some of the ride, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we get up to!