Having only recently reviewed my blogging experience after my 100th post, I’m slightly reluctant to lapse into further review or reflections on the past year… but I’m going to anyway.
I have definitely lived up to my name this year. Moody by nature, very much so. This blog started as a result of banter at work, with emails entitled ‘And another thing…’ or ending with /rant. At other times I’ve known immense and deep joy, and I hope contributed positive enthusiasm and energy to people around me. Apparently my karaoke version of The Killers’ All These Things That I’ve Done at our Company Christmas Party was impressive…?!
Thinking about the things that have vexed, inspired, frustrated and pursued me this year, there’s definitely a positive and negative polarity going on. For many things that are uplifting there are aspects that could easily be causes for cynicism, pessimism or resignation.
Customer Service generally isn’t getting any better, either from brands and companies, or from our elected politicians. I started this year exasperated at Dunelm. While they eventually resolved the situation, I feel pretty confident that their staff are still being let down by antiquated company systems. I’ve moaned before about Orange, and this year I signed up to be part of their Better Together to see how they would use a consumer panel to improve things and listen to their customers. Based on my experiences so far, the answer is… Not Very Well. They address me as ‘Christopher’ (not even my mother does that any more), which kind of shows how hard they’ve tried to get to know me. I’ll spare you the rest. Suffice it to say that if it’s supposed to make me feel more valued or closer to their brand, it’s failing.
The General Election in the UK was the most interesting for years, possibly in my lifetime. I had high hopes that something different might result from the seemingly new-world-disorder of the results. Instead, we have broken promises from virtually all sides, and The Labour Party are still tending to their wounds, silently rejoicing that this was the best election to lose for years. Johann Hari cites a compelling dossier of reasons to be depressed, angry, betrayed…
On the other hand, the near-death experience and rebirth of BBC 6Music was a joy to behold, and a victory for People Who Care About Stuff. I love listening to eclectic, considered, thoughtful playlists on this digital station, with excellent, passionate presenters like Andrew Collins, Jarvis Cocker, Lauren Laverne and more. Now, if only Adam & Joe would come back…
Similarly, albeit on a more parochial scale, a jokey conversation at work transformed into more than a dozen of us taking part in Movember, growing slightly dubious facial hair and raising money for charity. I raised over £500 out a team total of over £3,000.
If 2009 was my year of The Wire, 2010 has found me wallowing in a number of wonderful pieces of arts and culture… Mad Men never ceases to make me feel good about the world, that people are allowed to be that committed to a creative vision, when other forms of TV make me wince with actual discomfort. The Bugle continues to amaze me with its invention and sheer balls to pursue surreal avenues other satirists can’t even think of. Filmspotting is my cinematic education, this year opening my eyes to (among others) the brilliant, brilliant films of Michael Powell & Emrich Pressburger.
Lastly, in 2010 I’ve enjoyed some fantastic experiences, camping with my family, holidaying in Cornwall, volunteering for The National Trust in Dorset, and having a terrific week in Spain, basking in the very warm glow of the Mediterranean sun and awestruck by the Alhambra Palace. For the last few weeks the UK has been frozen in a way I can barely remember during my lifetime, certainly in December. Yesterday Rachel, Hannah and I went out in gorgeous winter sunshine, with some friends, and tramped across a frigid field to go sledging for a couple of hours. It was fantastic fun and it was free. It was a brilliant thing to do on Christmas Day, and definitely made us all feel good about the world.
It’s often easy to get distracted by the thorns on a rose bush. They can really hurt, and make you fearful of getting close. But they’re not the core, the raison d’être, (excuse the pun) the point of a rose (ouch).
So, while acknowledging the state of the world is not all it could be, I’m going forward in 2011 resolved to be positive: to revel in the joys around me, to remember the things and people that inspire and comfort me, to anticipate and look forward to opportunities and strive to make them happen. I hope and trust you can do the same.