2017 is coming to a close, here we are on the last day of the year. You BET I can’t fucking wait to make a joke about not having showered since last year, though I shower so infrequently I could make that joke now and mean 2016.
Last year I wrote a bit of a similar spiel to cover my year, to have a long ass list of what I did that year forever. It’s nothing of any quality, but it’s a nice thing to have to look back at.
January. I opened this year by standing at Point Hill in Greenwich overlooking central London and the famous London NYE fireworks. They looked kinda tiny from that far away, London is a giant ass place. Amy and I went back to my new house, drank some prosecco and fell asleep at like 2am, it was clearly quite wild. A few days later I started my new job, as a social media and website intern (later becoming assistant) for a charity based in East London. I was all alone in this big city living with people I didn’t know then, but who went on to become like family to me. The rest of January was spent finding my feet in this new city I lived in. And at a conference in Morecambe, where it promptly pissed down. Whilst there I met and befriended so many people who are big parts of my life now, and also met Laura who I already knew through the wonderful world of Twitter, despite the two of us having 0 clue we were on the same internship scheme. Wild. The most important part of January was going to the Tate Modern for the first time. My favourite gallery, my favourite spot to have a coffee and take in the London skyline. I miss that place already.
February. I went to Milan for 5 days, a part of Italy I hadn’t visited, whilst there I went to see Bastille, my beloved favourite band. We also took the train up to an extremely rainy Lake Como and went to Switzerland for the afternoon. Overall a fun trip. Plus it was an escape from the 9-5 life I found myself suddenly living in for the first time ever. It felt very grown up, very quick. At this point, it was still new but also kinda weird. Milan is a beautiful city, I’ve been to Italy twice with a hopeful third trip in the pipeline, it’s a country that is hard to tire of.
March. March was kinda fucked. I injured my knee running, which left me with bandages and having to massage my leg multiple times a day. I had to keep it elevated and I still have problems with it now, just the other day I had to ice it to deal with the pain. Otherwise, my office moved closer to home, it became a much better workplace and I could walk to work everyday. Except I couldn’t walk to work everyday because I’d ruined my knee, but whatever. I spent much of the month exploring London. I headed home for a surprise visit to my sisters, I had friends come visit a few weekends in a row and had an extremely busy few weeks. I also got super drunk at a gig for the first time as I usually don’t drink, but Brixton has a pretty fire Spoons so it’s inevitable, though it made seeing The xx, and surprise guest Florence Welch, even more fun.
April. April marked the beginning of summer in London, even though spring had barely began. April was glorious, though the Central line was not. I discovered my favourite doughnut place on the planet, Crosstown, and headed back home to Liverpool for a couple of days to see friends and family. Pretty uneventful month it seems. Though I did sit in the street for 5 hours for Record Store Day and I dread doing it again this year, but worth it for those sweet, sweet vinyls right? At this point I started writing for multiple publications and began my spiral of working myself into the ground. I say this like it was all terrible, it sucked but it was because I was chasing things I wanted to be doing. So maybe not all terrible.
May. May was the beginning of a bit of a low period for me. I began to get a bit bored of my daily routine, I missed the ups and downs of my student life, I realised that I thrive in consistency and I needed a bit more change than what I was currently getting. I saw a lot of deer up close, London has some sick wildlife doesn’t it? The Manchester Arena attack occurred. This was a huge shock to everyone I know and love back home. Manchester Arena is such an iconic place for myself and my friends, every single person I know in the North knew someone, or people, attending or working at the venue that night. It sorta shook our foundations a bit. But we’re Brits and we’re tough so we never give in to the bullshit.
On a lighter note, my life in May was so much fun. My London life was in full swing, I had busy weekends seeing friends, took an impulsive trip to Birmingham with Amy and got to hang around some fun graffiti. I spent so much time in the Tate Modern this month, as mentioned earlier, I bloody love it there. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you live in London and don’t visit regularly, it’s an amazing way to spend a cheap afternoon! Get yourself an iced black coffee on the top floor and soak in the view. The best baristas work on a Sunday, but you didn’t hear that from me.
June. ‘London Bridge’ happened. Once again we were left texting friends to see if they were in the area, it was a Saturday night near so many bars and restaurants most Londoners (including myself) would frequent. My flatmate had just left 10 minutes before it happened. Again, we’re Brits and we’re tough and don’t give in to bullshit. However these two attacks in quick succession sorta left me feeling mentally drained, exhausted and all round pessimistic about the world. Luckily no one I know or love was injured, but this, along with Manchester, took a surprising toll on me mentally. I still lie in bed awake sometimes amazed that the Manchester Arena attack happened, it feels very unreal still.
Mighty Hoopla festival took place the day after the London Bridge attack, it was a much needed pick up after the events of the evening before. It was my first time working as press at a festival + solidified for me that this is what I want my career to be one day. I love music, I love documenting shit and getting to dance with my friends to the remaining members of S Club 7 whilst wearing a pink wig was a glorious experience. I just wish I hadn’t found out after the fact that the wig came from the ground.
I took myself on a solo trip to the Eden Project, every year they host various bands and performers as part of the Eden Sessions and I pulled a completely out of character move and went to see Bastille. I’d always wanted to visit the Eden Project and it turns out it’s a huge fucking ball ache to get to, even from London, but it was still wildly, incredibly beautiful.
I turned 23, no I didn’t, I turned 22. I keep thinking I’m 23 for some reason. I do this every year.
Anyway, I turned 22, celebrated on the day with a bit too much wine and pizza from the amazing Crate Brewery in East London, then had a joint birthday bash with Fae which consisted of an extreme amount of 2 for 1 cocktails. The day after was not pretty.
I also ended up spending a day in the Lake District for work, it might have been work but I still got to down some Pimms next to a picturesque lake in the sunshine.
July. London Pride was an absolute highlight, though I got so wasted from mini vodkas (hidden in my trousers to avoid £7 per drink prices) that I threw up at a Haim gig the next evening, not my best moment, admittedly. I began to spend an awful amount of time at Peckham’s Bussey Building. It’s a weird and amazing hub of art studios, gig venues topped with a rooftop bar and cinema. I went there on average once a week during the summer months. Whether it was concerts and Pulp Fiction or seeing Wonder Woman in the pissing down rain, it was always a great night.
We got a new housemate, she was absolutely one of the worst people I’ve encountered in my 22 (not 23) years and I’m glad to have her out of my life forever now. Bizarrely I spent an evening working at BAFTA and was disappointed that the chocolate BAFTAs are only for the award show, not just dotted around the office like snacks.
My one other main highlight of the month would be reuniting with two of my best friends from university to watch the My Dad Wrote a Porno liveshow, we sat next to the Thames drinking the weirdest cocktail I’ve ever seen and then laughed too much, to the point of ‘I’m going to vomit on the people in the row in front and it’s all because of bad erotica being read aloud’.
July was also when I began to get hit with fatigue all the time. I was pushing myself a bit too much. I was trying to be as social as possible, work 9-5:30 everyday, run twice a week, write for my blog and other publications and do it all on a budget so I could save to travel at some point. Turns out, that fucks your mental health and sleep pattern into the ground, though at that point I thought it was a physical health issue.
Also searched 7 shops to find a Caramac one night. I just needed a Caramac.
August. My two amazing flatmates made the decision to leave and live across the world, of course I’m happy for them but it doesn’t mean I don’t selfishly miss them everyday. My hellish flatmate continued to be hellish. I continued to baffle doctors with my completely undiagnosable fatigue and health issues, I’m a 22 year old man in peak health, sure I could do with going to the gym more and maybe sleeping a bit more, but otherwise I’m good. But I was pushing myself mentally and physically, I worried, I panicked and stressed about things all day everyday and it manifested in a few shitty ways.
However August really picked up, my mum came to visit for a weekend. We don’t get to spend so much time just the two of us. We visited some of my favourite spots in London and ended the weekend by sitting in Greenwich Park basking in the sun. London had truly become home even if at this point I had made the decision in my mind to leave it at the end of the year.
Reading Festival came around, a friend of mine’s band had made it to the BBC Introducing stage and he kindly offered to give me a few guest tickets to come along. Sadly their band broke up recently. Reading was just so wildly wonderful, I love to have live music available at all times, I love to see bands that I’ve been into for ages, like Oh Wonder, Bastille and Glass Animals, and see others I didn’t know I actually liked that much and then fall completely for, like LANY and Queens of the Stone Age.
September. September involved my first trip to Brighton, guided by the wonderful Hannah. I’d wanted to visit the city for years and we lucked out with gorgeous sunny weather, but not so sunny as for a ginger like me with some distant Irish heritage to burn. I see why so many people live there rather than London, despite being so close to the capital, Brighton is so much more relaxed and just feels somehow healthier than London.
A few friends and I spent a couple of days in Ireland, flying into Cork we drove across the country to Portmagee (not without a few major rental car hiccups nearly leaving us forced to fly home but what’s a trip without a challenge?). Portmagee is a little fishing village on the south western coast and it’s otherworldly. For a handful of Londoners, being next to the sea, incredible mountains and treated to the most amazing night sky you’ve ever seen is priceless. The main reason we visited was to trek Skellig Michael, the island from Star Wars. I want to head to tiny islands in the middle of the ocean and just relax more often. Despite it involving hiking, it was just so soothing. I sorta forced us to schedule in time to go to the Jameson Distillery, because Jameson is the single best alcoholic beverage on the planet, and we became certified tasters. That’s nothing special, every single person who visits the distillery does, but it’s still a badge I wear with pride.
The month ended with seeing one of my all time favourite artists, Lorde, live in concert in one of London’s most beautiful venues, going to Thorpe Park (it’s a mediocre theme park) and shaving my beard off impulsively. Turns out I look 12 beneath it but I have a nicer jawline than I remembered, it’d been a solid 2 years since my full face had seen the light of day.
October. The month of Halloween, the most beautiful month of all. And it was a fucking busy one. I had like one weekend actually in London because I was all over the place. Firstly, in Blackpool for a conference. The weather left us stuck in the hotel the entire time, but I was surrounded by some good people. I was northbound once again to see my sisters for their birthdays, the next time I came home was to move home, scary. My incredible flatmate Claire left. Whilst we had a fantastic last weekend doing so many things around London, I spent the next few days feeling so sad that I wasn’t going to see someone who had become like a sister to me for who knows how long.
Thankfully Halloween came out to cheer me up, I went as Ross Geller on his date with Elizabeth Hornswaggle. This seems to be the Halloween costume of mine that has gone down the best, it was actually one of the easiest and cheapest, compared to previous years involving ordering fishing vests from Hong Kong to customise and hand painting my own London 2012 jersey.
November. I spent two weeks travelling around Europe with my travel buddy Amy, I’m getting around to blogging it slowly, give me time, I took far too many pictures. Helsinki is an incredible city, even if the weather never seemed to comply. Tallinn, the capital of Estonia is probably the most beautiful city I’ve been to. The mix and stark contrast of Soviet era Estonia and the fairytale buildings in the old town is out of this world, yet completely grounded in it. That’s the most bullshit sentence ever, it’s just a completely wild mix and unreal experience. I couldn’t believe how small the city was, but how it was impossible to tire of looking at the buildings, the ground, the colour of the walls, nothing in the Old Town was unpleasant.
We stopped at Riga next, whilst beautiful, I did feel let down after Tallinn. Riga was hyped up massively by a few of my friends, and for me personally, it didn’t live up to it. We did get to visit the Hill of Crosses in Northern Lithuania whilst staying in Riga, it’s actually much easier to visit from Latvia than many parts of Lithuania. This is a place I’d been waiting months to go to and I could spend an endless amount of time there. Thinking about it now is making me want to plan a return already. We finished our trip in Vilnius, where we binged Drag Race and took our days a bit slower. RyanAir blessed us with a 6 1/2 hour flight delay and the free food we got during this gave me food poisoning, which was absolutely brilliant when I had to film a video for a client the next day. I survived, the client loved it so much that I was asked to create more content on the same line, and I didn’t shit myself whilst filming it. All round, a win from me.
The last two weeks of the month were spent catching up with friends, watching TV shows get recorded, going to more gigs as had become my normal routine at that point, with The Killers being one of the best shows I’ve been to. 20,000 people losing it to Mr. Brightside was an amazing experience.
December. Final few weeks living in London, final few weeks at my job. Bizarre. Leaving London hasn’t sank in yet, as I type this it’s only been a week, I still feel like I’m going to get up in the morning and hop on the Tube somewhere. Leaving my Oyster card at home doesn’t feel natural but it’s just a piece of plastic outside of the city.
December was busy, real fucking busy, I crammed in seeing people as much as possible before leaving, we cracked codes in WW2 themed bars, we visited beautiful parks, photography exhibits, won tickets to exclusive gigs, ate so, so much Franco Manca and drank so much gin.
I made Christmas easy by doing all my shopping online and posting it all to my sister’s work so I didn’t have to carry it up North. It’s been wonderful but weird to spend so much time with my family, I’m not used to this anymore but I’m so excited to grow accustomed to it for a bit as I know it won’t last forever. Being able to see my parents daily, my sisters and nieces much more often is something I’m going to try to not take for granted.
As we stand right now, 2018 is unclear. I feel nervous, scared, excited, free and proud. The last few years have been a bit turbulent, I’ve moved a lot, changed jobs and left education, and here I am entering probably the most turbulent year yet. I feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing, yet at the same time I have a nice little plan that may completely fall into place, allowing me to work on projects I truly love, to further my career as a music journalist, to take my blog to places it’s never been, to visit places I’ve dreamed of exploring for years. Nothing ventured, nothing gained I guess. I feel kinda accustomed to taking risks now, and I’m more willing than ever to take some to get to a grand ol’ place of happiness.
I hope 2018 is my best year yet, it has the potential to be. It definitely will be if they just put All Stars 3 on Netflix.
On a real note, if you cared to read this far, I really appreciate it. I feel like in 2017 I’ve relied on the support and love of friends, both offline and online, more than ever before. Whilst at times I’ve felt completely uncertain and unhappy in myself, I’ve been so lucky to have a whole host of people by my side to cheer me on, to support me in my life choices and trust that whatever new major decision I seem to be making at the time. I’ve felt lonely but never not had a huge amount of people I could text or call to hang out or just chat with. I’m being all cheesy and thinking about all the great people I’m proud to know.