Thursday, December 31, 2009

I Am Afraid

I am afraid I may have been mistakenly recognised the other day. I was leaving the city and as I walked towards the train to return home, a man stopped dead in his tracks. He stared at me with his mouth gaping slightly and his head turned as I passed him and headed to the carriage. No, this was not a look of 'Phwoar, there's a hottie if ever I have seen one!'. It was more of a 'Fuck! That's the man who killed my brother eight years ago during our trip to Cape Cod!'
So, if I am slaughtered due to a misunderstanding, everyone will know why.

I am afraid for the finale of the Tenth Doctor. I was slightly disappointed with part one of this final adventure (but each Christmas special has been tarnished with a slight sadness as I tend to be more melancholic at this time of year - the first Christmas Special was wonderful, but I was in the UK for that one). I just hope the finale is mind-blowing and spectacular, for I'd hate to see a departure as bad as 'Carrot juice, carrot juice, carrot juice...'

I am afraid that this forthcoming year is going to be a very tight one. Last year's New Year's Resolution was to give up alcohol; I managed that successfully. This year's is to do what I can to pay off as many debts as possible. So expect me to be a little less social and a little less extravagant with gifts.

I am afraid for my friend, Gareth, who is back in hospital again post surgery. I don't know all the details as yet, but it does make me sick to the stomach not knowing and I hope to see him soon.

I am afraid of humans, especially in large groups and under the influence of alcohol, drugs and/or religion.

I am afraid of moths.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

We'll Never Pass This Way Again

I know it's a terrible cliché, but this year certainly has flown by. I think it is the quickest year I have ever experienced. Is it because I am getting older?
A common notion amongst my friends is that 2009 has been a reasonably rotten year with the scales tipping heavily on the crappy side, despite the occasional highlight desperately jumping up and down on the other side. One may like to blame the global financial crisis or the alignment of the stars or maybe the old man who spits at the pigeons in the park; but whomever you blame, there is no escaping it. 2009 was not the best of years.

There were a handful of good moments. The absolute pinnacle for me was the wedding of my dear friends Adam and Louise. I'm not usually one to go all weak-kneed and teary-eyed over the old matrimonial displays, but to see this wonderful pair declaring their love on the most perfectly beautiful of days was rather magical. I half expected animated woodland creatures to bashfully sneak towards the gazebo as the wedding vows were spoken.
Another couple of friends, Tina and Stuart, also got married but I was unable to attend for a number of unfortunate reasons, but judging by the photographic evidence, the Disney animators weren't kept out of pocket that weekend either.

My mother's visit was another highlight. Although it was an extremely busy few weeks with lots of theatre visits, dining out and socialising, it was still lovely to spend time with her. I was genuinely a tad forlorn when she left.

2009 was also the year without alcohol. I decided on New Year's Eve that I was going to attempt to get through a year completely sober. I am proud to say that I managed perfectly easily. I was expecting cravings but the only thing that happened was the infrequent dream of me gulping down some wine and panicking that I'd ruined my goal.

I also had a few decent work-related incidents to keep me feeling robust in my skin. I was astonished to receive the innovation award at the Summer conference for the extra work I had done. I also won a prize for raising the most money for a conservation charity on a sponsored walk (albeit a team prize - "Go team!" - *shudder*).

Self-improvement is always a plus to be grinning about and with thanks to my (beautiful) doctor, I was able to blitz some of the frustratingly persistent warts on my fingers and also had the astonishingly ugly cyst removed from my back.
I have also managed to shed a few kilos through exercise and being more careful with my diet and I intend to shift some more over the coming months. I was frightened into it by the ludicrous Body Mass Index which pointed a gnarly finger at me and shouting "overweight" at me (a finger with a mouth – intriguing).

The harder, and dare I say 'shittier', things that have happened this year have involved a number of friends. Some friends have treated me somewhat badly. I am not writing this as a vindictive tell-all in the hope of getting sympathy because those who know me well are aware that I am not that sort of person… generally speaking. I won't go into the details here because;
a) you don't want me to bore you and
b) just thinking about it hurts, so heaven knows what writing about it will do.
So, I shall leave it as a mere footnote to the post*.

The absolute worst part was seeing a very close friend of mine go through a rather horrible time when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Thankfully, the surgery went well and he came out fighting the other side. He’s rather indomitable and we are all grateful for that.

On a lighter note, let's take a look at a few superfluous and trivial highlights.

My Favourite Albums of the Year:

Close to Home – Beverley Craven
Beautiful Mess – Swing Out Sister
All in One – Bebel Gilberto

My Favourite Movies of the Year:

I Have Loved You So Long
Julie & Julia

My Favourite Books of the Year:

Handling the Undead – John Ajvide Lindqvist
The Enemy – Charlie Higson
The Help – Kathryn Stockett

My Favourite TV Shows in 2009:

Pushing Daisies
Torchwood: Children of Earth

Biggest Disappointment:

The so-called 'gap year' for Doctor Who.

Can we take a year off when we're a bit tired? No.


Other Highlights of the Entertainment Variety:

Finally getting the soundtrack to Alexander's Ragtime Band on CD
The double disc set of Fred & Ginger at RKO
Watched loads of I Love Lucy, Buffy, Farscape and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Oh, and there was the wonderful "Pie Day" in which a handful of friends and I spent a day watching a marathon of Pushing Daisies and eating pies.

So, that was 2009. Focusing on the better things is a much better thing to do, rather than wallowing on the negative aspects. If 2010 can have more 'happy' moments, I'll be glad.

Have a great Christmas everyone and a splendid New Year.

*The Footnote: Some people are cunts.