Here we go again: my year, month by month, following the usual Herculean attempt to reconstruct what (and when) on earth actually happened from tweets, photos and even the occasional blog post…
2012 kicked off at Speechley’s housesitting party, watching the fireworks and gorging on Indian takeaway before some ill-advised face painting. In January I saw News Revue for the upteempth time – mental note, it’s time to go back! – as well as The Iron Lady at the Lexi and The Lion King in Warwick’s student cinema (a surprisingly emotional evening). I also fulfilled a life ambition I didn’t even realise I had by spending an evening drinking in Parliament’s bars, had a fun day out in Greenwich and made a fulsome and enthusiastic start on Code Academy… which mostly held for the rest of the year…
Here’s a memorable moment from February: standing outside Grace’s house in the cold, script and camera in hand, asking Charlotte to “walk more cheerily” before Paul came out to (a) find out what the hell we were doing and (b) put us all to shame with his acting talents. And talking of acting talents, we also saw Tommy Wiseau in person at a showing of The Room, which I enjoyed almost as much as Peter Capaldi in The Ladykillers. This month there was also a tumultuous few days where I wondered if I’d end up in court (I didn’t), I ate more than I ever thought possible at Rodizio Rico, and at work we packed up all of our stuff into boxes and moved to (drumroll) a bigger office with (drumroll x2) bigger desks and (drumroll x3) the river!
In March I spent a day hunting giant eggs around London with Abbi, saw Aida at the Albert Hall and visited Cambridge with Oliver for Bill and Sharon’s wedding. It’s an odd experience, watching people your own age getting married, even ceremonially destroying a Hawaiian shirt to mark the occasion. Thankfully there was no such talk when Josh, Robert and I spent a lazy afternoon in the William IV beer garden, nor with Oliver drinking sangria in Camden or over very many chips in The Banker with Matt, Caroline and Laura. Still young.
Berlin! I finally made it to that wonderful city, and did all the things tourists are supposed to do: buy lots of Ampelmann souvenirs, eat lots of currywurst, and go see lots of friendly faces from the Groupon office (this last one is maybe just me). Later that month I also visited Tash in Manchester before her first year was out – that moment of mutual relief when you step off a train and find each other both struggling with hangovers – and was a contestant on Deal or No Deal. No, not the awful Noel Edmonds version, but a spectacular reimagining in my living room. As you do.
Boo: Boris won, again, in a depressing re-run of 4 years ago. In happier news, we gained a cat from the Mayhew, the indomitable Lyra, and there were a string of good things to watch: Dark Shadows with Abbi, Paul and Karen, The Dictator and (one of the highlights of the year) A Slow Air at the Tricycle. Pretty sure Katie also managed to share her frozen yoghurt obsession this month, too.
This is my seventh year of doing such an obsessive review of the year, and good old summery June is a reliable peak. Parties and gatherings both big and small: from a delicious dinner at Amy’s followed by a disastrous Mario Kart performance, to that Camden night which ended in loud arguments about canyons and mysterious missing underwear, to Paul’s birthday drinks, Emily’s birthday party and Jubilation: a genuinely unironic Jubilee party which culminated in Twister. Plus trips to Cambridge, for Puntcon and the Emma June Event! And Richard Herring and Francesca Martinez at the Tricycle. And my birthday, where I fell deeply in love with my gorgeous Kindle. And Men In Black III! And starting Dollhouse with Katie! But all of this is small beer compared to the real peaks and troughs of June. The bad stuff was bad, although I can’t imagine a better family to face it all with. The good started on the very last day of June, when months of flat-hunting came to an end and I actually moved out…
So, yes, a new home! And for a month it was home to just me and Cat: it seems a long time ago now, but I remember drinking lots of wine, eating my first Cat Hurley roast, and getting absolutely soaked during an exploratory visit to the ecology centre. (How many people can say they have a local ecology centre, eh?) We also sat around the fire on the roof of the Mile End sister-flat, and had an amazing time at Josh’s aunt’s pool party. Also in July: I accidentally saw Bill Oddie sing, we inexplicably had a big pub quiz at work, I moved on to a new job, The Dark Knight Rose, I went back to QPCS and pretended to know anything about personal statements and – oh, yes – the Olympics began! Which meant two things: the big ‘working from home’ experiment, and my first trip to the Olympic Park to see basketball.
And what an awesome Olympics summer it was: in July I went back back for handball and then Paralympic swimming. In the midst of this, Josh made the flat complete by moving in, so we threw a big flat-warming party to celebrate. In August I also had a chance to finally meet two long heard-about people when they visited the UK: Abbi’s dad, over an excellent burger night, and Adam Lee of Daylight Atheism fame. And I also had another great evening with the winner of last year’s ‘I finally get to meet you!’ award, Henry.
The highlight of September was my long-awaited holiday to Tuscany with Grace, Oliver and Abi, where we stayed in a stunningly gorgeous villa overlooking the town of Scandicci. From there we divided our days into the cultural and productive, i.e. taking the tram to Florence to see things, and the relaxingly lazy: playing cards, lying in the hot tub and drinking nice wine and not-nice witches’ brew. Back in the UK, my final event at the Olympic Park was well worth the wait, finally taking me inside the Athletics stadium. This month I also enjoyed a genuinely awesome trip to Thorpe Park with Tash and Katie, seeing Andrew from uni again after a long absence, Alix and Rosie’s cocktail night, a second wedding in Cambridge of the year – congrats, Bill and Katie! – the London Transport museum (always amazing), Abbi’s curry night and a nostalgic evening in our old post-work pub, the Railway. (I say old: writing this review has made me realise it had only been a mere seven months.)
In October we took living together to the next level with our first official Flat Day Out, consisting of the very best things in our lives: a fry-up, Science, cheese, wine, hot chocolate and Spaced. I also saw Cabaret, King Lear and Looper, went in-character as Boris to our work Halloween party, caused local controversy of the Highbury-sort, was genuinely moved by the finale to The Thick Of It, went alternative in Coventry and enjoyed open mike comedy with Josh. Even Soviet Space Bat.
To everyone’s great relief – but no real surprise, if you read Nate Silver – we watched Obama win a second term in November. Josh stole a giant purple balloon from a Twin Atlantic gig, a decorative addition to the flat which has survived the rest of the year remarkably well, and we were both a little baffled by the point of The Master. There was also Ra Ra Retro’s Christmassy party late in the month – on a boat, no less – a music+film evening with Abbi and Frightened Rabbit and, on a different note, Grace and I parted ways. Which I realise I neglected to mention on this blog earlier but, as you can see from above, we’d had some great times in 2012. Though only about a third of Buffy
And finally, a tumultuous year comes to a busy conclusion: Simon’s lovely Christmas gathering in Cambridge, a rather eventful work party, The Hobbit plus a succession of unexpected but really nice reunions: a mini-gathering of Caius historians with Sam and Jerome, coffee with Alice, and two evenings of wine, laughter and silly hats by the Christmas tree with Sanna and Josh. Emily and I enjoyed Kat’s crazed production of Punch and Judy – performed by violent human beings rather than puppets – while I was unexpectedly charmed by the rather more sedate Meet Me In St Louis at the Lexi. At Secret Vegetarian Festive Dinner 5, Abbi and I could proudly high-five for making it five years running, and even older traditions were kept as alive as ever as I rejoined the family home over Christmas for the usual stockings, bubbly, Christmas dinner, argumentative family quizzes, Monopoly and a Boxing Day trek across Hampstead Heath.
Here’s to 2013!