Well, happy new year to both of my Wordpretzels. Yes, having looked at my statistics, it appears that year on year my readership dwindles, but there’s still the two of you out there reading this rubbish. I’ve come to realise that most people give up on this blogging lark after about 6 months, but as Lady Barton St Mary always says, “You’ll always have something to say about anything.”
I’m not sure what she means by this, but my ever increasing ego takes it as a sign of impending success. Still, I hang on in the vain hope that one day a person from WordPress will choose me over plentygadzillion other bloggers and promote me on WordPress, I become famous, I’m deluged with financial offers and they make a film about my life starring Brad Pitt. Or more likely, Adrian Chiles.
Anyway, I digress – 2014:
Miss Katherine, my daughter, was 21 in February. A large party was organised in the village hall immensely enjoyed by all. The DJ who let us borrow his equipment decided to take over at 11pm and continued to play tortuous Europop dance music at 95 decibels into the early hours, even after we locked him in. We nearly collapsed with exhaustion clearing up. It took all our efforts to stop the villagers from storming Randall Towers with pitchforks and burning torches after being blamed for keeping them awake.
2014 started with a lot of running. Lots and lots of running, combined with no alcohol, which lasted until April, when I ran the Brighton Marathon. As regular readers will know, I finished 4 seconds inside my target time
(4hrs) but then took another hour to walk back to my hotel. That evening in Brighton, you could pick out a lot of other people who’d run that day because, like me, they were walking as if they’d messed their pants.
May saw me try my best to make up for my lack of alcohol by trying to catch up 4 months’ worth in one day while watching my beloved football team Arsenal win the FA Cup. Friends were dutifully invited round to share a takeaway meal; I dutifully left them downstairs and went to bed, waking the following morning to the beautiful but reproachful gaze of Lady Barton St Mary, who informed me that she’d returned home to find our guests sitting alone with no idea where I’d gone.
June – We see John Grant (who?) at The RSC in Stratford. Even they didn’t know who he was. I would get to see him again playing with the Royal Northern Sinphonia at Bristol Colston Hall, giving me another opportunity to be surrounded by gay men in the dark as we all wept at the beauty of his voice and music.
Talking of weeping, our ballet experiences were once more historic. Firstly, Giselle, which never ends well (Spoiler alert), but at least she’s a happy corpse.
June brought the opportunity to see Romeo and Juliet in the round at The Royal Albert Hall with prime seats. What’s more, it was an opportunity to see Carlos Acosta and Tamara Rojo, two legendary dancers on the brink of retirement. It was like watching, say, two legendary athletes playing their last game together, except that Carlos and Tamara never swapped shirts. This may be because they have to pretend they’re dead (spoiler alert).
July – a hot summer in England, shock horror. Those of a certain age mentioned 1976, the year girls wore their cheesecloth shirt tied at the middle to reveal their navels. I tried to persuade Lady BSM to reproduce this look, combined with a liberal spraying of Stowaway (Sleepy Lagoon)
perfume, but she just gave me a look that convinced me not to pursue that particular request. Instead, we holidayed together in Portugal, where we spent the day on leisurely walks around the golf course ducking tee shots and finding out that Portuguese food is, let us say, unique. The traditional Portuguese meal of a tin of pink salmon in hot water being one that will stay with me for a long time, as did the taste of tinned salmon.
August – the village show, where incredibly I had been made ‘site manager’. Which meant:
- rising at 5am to meet some insane men in order to show them where to erect market stalls in the dark.
- Battling with the local Women’s Institute who try and take over all the stalls like some bizarre biker gang, but without bikes and armed with floral dresses, Victoria sponges and the faint smell of Germolene. The women are even worse.
- Taking charge of the car park where you try and extract money from visitors who all want to park near the tea tent and all are distant relatives of one of the WI gang, qualifying them to do so.
I survived, which means I have to do it all again next year.
September – Off to see James Taylor with Lady BSM and Pen in Birmingham. Jolly good he was too, his voice still clear and sweet, even though he’s nearly 70. Also, the first artist signed to Apple records, The Beatles record label.
I meet Alan Yentob. I mistake him for somebody I’ve met through work and have a friendly chat with him, including the line, “Do you come to the festival every year?”
In November, we became part of an amazing production called ‘Bordergame’, where the audience are part of the drama. The whole thing takes place between Bristol and Newport – heck, go and read the blog…
December – Master Johnny was 18 years old. What happened to the little boy with blonde curls, twizzling his hair and sucking his dummy? He’s been replaced by a taller version, where girls twizzle his hair and he sucks on a vodka. I insist on still calling him Master Johnny, although officially he should be Young Mr Johnny.
December also brings the usual duties of buying a Christmas tree to plant in our drawing room for a month, the pleasant experience of corporate husbandry and the comfortably surreal family Christmas celebrations. This year we were spared the horror of watching The Marchioness miming the first syllable of Dictionary. However, after watching her miming, along with the efforts of the Marquess and wayward brother Uncle Robin, it appears that men and women of a certain age, when playing charades, find it necessary to either point to or grab their private areas. At times, this simple parlour game descended into rather crude impersonations of an elderly Michael Jackson. Happy days.
Other bloggers – yes there are lots of very good bloggers who may get in the way of my fame and fortune. Here are a few:
Hopes and Dreams: My Writing and My Sons – http://lillian888.wordpress.com/ Always inspiring, always entertaining. A great storyteller.
Whitesnake said it best – http://whitesnakesaiditbest.wordpress.com/about/way
Always makes laugh – I feel I know her family so well and the telephone conversations with customers in her previous job were a hoot.
Thoughts Appear – http://thoughtsappear.wordpress.com/about/
Follow a cheeky girl as she evolves into a loving partner and mother – with added Pop Tarts.
Girl on the Contrary – http://girlonthecontrary.com/about-girlonthecontrary/
More excellent personal stories.
Ben’s Bitter Blog – https://bensbitterblog.wordpress.com/about/
I’ve surprised myself – this is the only male writer on my favourites list! A great cynical view of his world. Right up my street.
A girl called Jack – http://agirlcalledjack.com/about-jack-monroe/
The only ‘celebrity’ blogger I follow – her recipes are fantastic, especially her aubergine curry!
I still miss Enter Something Funny Here (https://entersomethingfunnyhere.wordpress.com/about/). She only wrote half a dozen blogs but they always made me laugh. WordPress’s answer to Fawlty Towers, I suppose.
Films (movies) – we didn’t go to the pictures. We’re not interested in Hobbit 4- The Unending Quest for Mogadon or Star Wars 8 – Will It Never End? Hang on. We did go to the pictures. We saw that thing that was like 2001 but not as clever or as long. George Clooney was in it, along with Sandra Bullock’s bottom. She smashes up lots of space craft belonging to other countries before landing in a lake. Where she’s captured by monkeys. Maybe I made that bit up. Anyway, it was fun.
Telly – Game of Thrones, how brilliant. If only Lord of the Rings could be like it. Can you imagine?
“Gandalf, the elves of Amoxicillin wish talk with you.”
“Tell ‘em to **** off. I’m completed smashed on wine, I’ve got two naked women fiddling with me in the bath and I’ve just chopped off the head of that ugly bloke with no genitals who keeps saying ‘precious’”
The Walking Dead – more gory, more graphic, great character development – dark, dirty and uncompromising.
“It gets better and better” – Lady BSM.
Missing – James Nesbit manages to convey all emotions at once with his eyebrows. If he doesn’t get a BAFTA, there is no justice, ditto David Tennant in Broadchurch.
The Fall – a good looking serial killer. A seriously sexy detective with issues. Gillian Anderson wasn’t my type in The X Files. The older, English Gillian Anderson certainly is.
The Mimic – very, very funny. Catch it if you can on 4OD in the UK.
Utopia – More darkness with a yellow background. A triumph. More Arby, please.
The sainted Noel Edmonds continues his fine work on Deal or No Deal, an absolute staple of my day to day life and a constant philosophical touchstone of modern existence.
Music – No new John Grant, but the recordings of him with the BBC Philharmonic are worth a listen.
Alt-J’s second album ‘This is All Yours’ – experimental but very listenable.
Temples – Sun Structures – That lovely 60s/70s fuzzy sound with a Marc Bolan like front man.
Lana Del Rey –Ultraviolence – Lizzie Wooldridge is back with a smoky, dark, exotic album, full of slightly uncomfortable song titles and lyrics. ‘West Coast’ one of my favourite songs of 2014.
La Roux – Trouble in Paradise – yes! La Roux! That miserable looking girl that we’d all forgotten about came back with a great album – I particularly like ‘Uptight Downtown’.
Teleman – the lead singer of Pete and the Pirates pops up in a new band. Distinctive voice, lovely sounds.
I know I’ve missed a lot, but that just tells me I’ve had a great year with another one to follow. Talking of following, I’d like to wish both of my readers a happy new year, but I doubt you’ll be reading this until February, in which case – have you seen that Easter eggs are in the shops?