Just for the record, this is the last one of my 2017 in review posts that I wrote, though it is probably one of the first ones to come out. Most of the others were pretty easy, but for whatever reason this one always seemed pretty challenging. It’s not because there hasn’t been loads of interesting events in my life to write about this year, its more a case of I was struggling to think of each of them. Stuff that has happened since I started the blog has been easy, I’ve written about it and there for it is easier to remember. Things from earlier in the year are more a case of when they pop into my head I go “Ah yeah! That was awesome/crap! I should write about that.” But triggering the memory of them was trickier and started bumming me out as it made me feel like I had done fuck all with my year.
I think in general most people, at least those I’ve interacted with, are kind of glad to see the back of this year. It started pretty for the world with the inauguration of Donald Trump as the leader of the free world and has kind of carried on as you would expect under those circumstances.
But I’m not here to talk about the highs and lows of the world. I’m here to indulge myself and talk about some of the highs and lows in my life this year. This is a very selective list, as I said earlier, there are many other things that could be included, this is just what I have chosen to write about today.
In May Sara and I went to Croatia for a week. We wanted to have a holiday this year but a cheaper one than our honeymoon last year. Sara worked her magic and found a few places we could do really cheap and Croatia jumped out at us as somewhere we could do some fun stuff and also relax for a week. It ended up being a really great trip! We did our usual thing of finding an Airbnb that we could make home for the trip and got an apartment about a fifteen minute walk from the centre of Split, the city we were staying in on the coast about halfway down the country. Originally we hadn’t planned on getting a car but the day before we flew out we had a look at the prices and said fuck it. It was definitely the right choice as having a car allowed us to do a lot more than we would have otherwise. We took a day trip down to Dubrovnik which was about a three hour drive passing through and back out of Bosnia along the way. I tell you what, based on the twenty minutes of that country we saw I know where all the cans of food we collected at school in the early nineties went! It seemed really nice. Dubrovnik was cool, we geeked out about all the Game of Thrones locations. We did the same in Split to be honest. The coast is all very beautiful. We also took day trips over to a few of the islands off shore including one full day speed boat trip that was a lot of fun. The other long drive we took was in the opposite direction to the national park in the middle of the country with some stunning waterfalls and lakes. I would highly recommend Croatia if you’re looking for a nice, inexpensive trip from the UK.
At the end of September I got to flex my DJing muscles again for the first time in a while. I was afraid they might have atrophied but despite using new equipment for first time ever I had one of my best sets in memory and the most fun I’ve had playing music to others in a very long time. Sara had organised a music festival at the bar she was mostly responsible for launching back at the start of the year. She has had her ups and downs with the job since launch, but when she is able to get her teeth in a project and run with it she absolutely flies. Brewfest was such an event. She had put a lot of work into the planning and organising the event and so when the day came I offered any and all help that I could provide. That started at 8am with us decorating the bar with everything she had made/bought/rented. Then I was sound checking the equipment I would be using later and ended up having to run around town like a blue assed fly trying to get stuff that actually worked! I then went home to work on a loose setlist for later on as I was playing after the last band and finishing out the night and I was rusty. There was artists playing all day long and I would say that 85% of people that came in through the day stuck around until late into the night instead of moving on. The band that closed out the live music were great and built up such a fun atmosphere in the pub that I felt I needed to start immediately to keep the good vibes going. Luckily I was able to get set up quick and keep the energy up for a few hours until the end of the night. I really enjoyed that gig.
In July we had a kind of bitter sweet trip up to Yorkshire. We had planned to go up for Sara’s stepdad’s 60th birthday. There was going to be a nice surprise party with all of his big family attending. Unfortunately a little bit before his birthday Ron took ill and ended up being in hospital for a few months. He’s home and doing a lot better now, but still not back to full health. We decided we would still go up for his birthday regardless and I would like to think our visit made his day, lets be honest though, it was probably Sara more than me. While we were up there we went to one our favourite bars, The House Of Trembling Madness, and it just so happened they were having a really cool outdoor beer festival that weekend so I got quite pleasantly drunk on a bunch of awesome beers. I really like York, its an awesome city. It’s just a shame it’s so far north and everyone speaks funny…
This year I have been to more live wrestling events than I have the rest of my life combined. I’ve written about a couple of them previously so I’m not going to go into details but I just wanted to say that they are so much fun. The independent shows I’ve been to in particular. The atmosphere is very similar to that of going to a small rock show, the crowds are loud and are great participants in making the event entertaining and the in ring action has been top notch. Its amazing what some of these relatively unknown guys are doing. I look forward to being that smug asshole in a few years when they’re big stars saying “Ah yeah, but you weren’t there at The 1865 in Southampton when he did a moonsault off the balcony into the crowd though were ya?”
It was Sara’s birthday in June. We both turned thirty this year and for my birthday she had not only surprised me with an Apple Watch and a surprise party with a bunch of friends, some of which I haven’t seen in ages, but also a weekend in Oxford where we got up to a bunch of fun stuff. I needed to do something just as cool for hers so, being completely original, I too arranged with a few of her nearest and dearest a get together in town. Sara isn’t great with parties and big social gatherings, especially when she’s the centre of attention, and I’m not the most subtle person in the world, so I’ll admit that it did take some coaxing to get her to come out. But I know my wife and I know she wouldn’t like a big party so the five or six people that did turn out was perfect. We had some nice drinks as people came and went and then the four of us that were around at the end and having a good time said fuck it lets go out out and have some fun at a club. I’d also prepared for this if it were to come up and found that one of the local clubs was having a throw back alternative night and playing tunes from the early 2000’s, perfect! We drank a little more but mostly just rocked our asses off and Sara had a great night. The next day was her actual birthday and we headed up to London for a night at a hotel we’d stayed at previously and both loved. Its really swank but in a totally hipster way and close to a ton of cool bars and places to eat, so we were set. We actually ended up in the same area during RTX in October when we went out with Ed and his friends and had a really fun night out then too. On the Sunday, the day after Sara’s birthday, I surprised her with a trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. I’ve never been a big fan of the films, but I did enjoy them when we watched them together and I know Sara likes them. The studio tour is cool though, I enjoyed all the behind the scenes bits and bobs. The thing we both enjoyed the most though wasn’t any of the props or costumes or VFX stuff, it was the technical drawings and preproduction materials as well as the miniatures. They were all really impressive! I think I did good with Sara’s birthday this year. I’m usually pretty crappy when it comes to planning stuff like that but I felt okay about it this year.
I had planned to write about a few other things, some good; like our day at the NFL in London and RTX and some bad; like the deterioration of my relationship with my brother, but I have either written about them before or might do in the future. Plus I went longer than expected with the five above so I’m happy with leaving it there.
Tomorrows list is way less self indulgent I promise. If you made it this far I’m sure you’ll enjoy that one more, so come back then!