Another gloomy day, the pain of which was only eased by the presence of strong coffee and dim sum delicacies. We celebrated St Patrick’s day by listening to a pipe band in Leicester Square, taking shelter under strangers’ umbrellas. (Until this weekend I never knew there was an Irish, or uilleann, bagpipe – fancy that!)
Last weekend I read a blog post by Penelope Trunk in which she said, “Gen Y mistakes the speed of the Internet for their own speed”. Which resonated a lot, like a little bell inside my brain. The fast pace of the internet is not my life (even though it is the nature of my job, hello March content plans). However in the real world, time plods. My grandmother would not have any sort of anxiety in telling her friends about the successes of her year in January, so if I want to blog about 2012 on January the 16th, I can.
In 2012, I started a new dreamy job at a digital agency in Clerkenwell, where I have made the best pals who I enjoy drinking cocktails with regularly. I visited Paris (twice), Barcelona, the Scottish Highlands and Norwich. I travelled through the Moroccan countryside in a taxi for three hours with a sheep in the trunk. I witnessed a year go past in one house, which made me feel stable. I fell in love with London, and I stayed in love. I worked my butt off and spent more time on Facebook than a normal human should. I also paid off a shit-ton of debt, which is not very sexy to talk about on the internet, but it is the achievement I am most proud of in 2o12. I drank wine and ate cheese in a 122 year old wine bar, then returned there to welcome the new year in.
My not-so secret? I’m a blubberer. I get weepy at tiny animals, internet onions, thoughts of home, and heart-warming stories of people being nice on the tube. I can trace it back to the first time I watched E.T. at my grandmother’s house, and spent the evening wiping my snotty nose into my sleeves. So when I saw Frank Warren’s, founder of PostSecret, TED presentation, I lost it. Watch right through to the end, or skip ahead to 8:30.
I called my parents an hour ago, they were eating breakfast in the sunshine at the golf course in Omaha. I was sitting in my living room in London, shivering because I am too scared to go and adjust the thermostat without supervision. Five minutes later, these arrive in my inbox, super cute double snapshots. Cue tearing up (look at those short wearing rebels!)
Email, Skype, cheap calls, gchat and le Facebook are communication miracles when you’re living on the other side of the planet. That said, it’s not the same. I miss the big and small successes of my friends, the nights out drinking feijoa cider solving the problems of the universe, and the freckles of my sister in high summer. 18 sleeps until I am, in the words of Shihad, home again.
It may be January 8, but it’s not too late to resolve to do things differently this year! Here are few simple resolutions I’ve made:
- Send more cards and letters. Pen to paper.
- Eat my greens.
- See the good in people. Even if he’s a total jerk, it’s still important to recognise that he has good hair.
- Explore more. Trips to Wellington, Istanbul, Italy and Tokyo lined up so far.
- Remember to take my vitamins.
- Practice my French.
Merry Christmas! I’m sitting next to a fire in a country house, in my pajamas, surrounded by a pile of presents and listening to rock-dinosaur Rod Stewart croon Christmas tunes. It’s lovely, but I felt like giving Code For Something a little love. December has been so busy! A whirlwind of drinks with friends, working my butt off, dealing with house drama… It’s nice to be sitting down.
The weather this month has been all over the place, arctic earlier, but lately it’s been mild, around 10°C. Here are two photos I took walking to work; one day was cold and clear with ice on the canal, the next humid and rainy.
Festive treats, one from Secret Santa at work, the other a lemon curd and raspberry trifle – adapted from this recipe. Cheating with trifle is winning at life.
Secret Swedish passwords, beer on the train home, a glass of Veuve and a sunset… I love that December’s festive spirit means it’s acceptable to drink booze at any time of the day. Mulled cherry beer is the tastiest thing ever invented!
I’m now busy making plans for 2013, and dreaming up resolutions. Looking into the crystal ball it looks like there’s a lot of travel ahead… NYC or Istanbul at Easter? My mum is flying over in the summer and we’re heading to Italy with my aunts, which will be amazing. And of course flying back to New Zealand in 35 days (not that I’m counting, squeak).
Everything is going to be glorious! Hope all is well with you and yours in the world.
Fresh starts are often made at the beginning of a new calendar year, when people move cities, when a significant birthday passes. So an anonymous, plain faced Saturday night at the end of November doesn’t strike me as a very auspicious date. But it was the day I accidentally deleted four years of blog posts. It looks like the only way I can recover them is to copy, paste and scrape every word out of an RSS feed, but at over 1000 posts, life’s too short.
So here is Code For Something, reborn again.
I am eagerly awaiting the development of 6 rolls of film from Morocco. If even one frame is as nice as this shot I took in China in 2009, I’ll be pleased.
Yesterday morning I walked into the studio at work, and sat down at my desk like I always do. Current studio music makes me feel like I work in a small. seriously, flashback to the time when I worked at a nail salon when I was 16 and the perma-tanned owner played Norah Jones constantly. She thought it was soothing. Meanwhile, I developed an eye tick, and still cringe every time I hear the opening bars of Come Away With Me.
Using Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all time (compiled in 2009), I’ve decided to spend the rest of the year getting a musical education, and hopefully improve the quality of my working day. I’m going to listen to every album in order, with no skipping or jumping about. To help me, I’ve finally downloaded Spotify, which I had been oddly resistant to using, but really, it’s MAGIC. (You know what else is magic? Noise-cancelling headphones – a brilliant tip I gleaned from Introverts in ad agencies: a helpful guide.)
So, counting down from 500, here are the first three.
500. OutKast, ‘Aquemini’
My challenge got off to a strong start with OutKast’s third studio album, Aquemini. I really enjoyed this record. My top picks are the eponymous track, Synthesizer ft. George Clinton, and the hit single Rosa Parks. Hard to believe this came out in 1998! It feels so fresh, but I guess that’s OutKast for you – always riding their own wave.
499. B.B. King, ‘Live in Cook County Jail’
1971 saw B.B. King and his guitar Lucille light up Cook County Jail (which is in Chicago as it turns out). The album is crisply recorded, and crackles with life – I love the cat calls of the prisoners. Can’t wait to give this one another whirl again soon…
498. The Stone Roses, ‘The Stone Roses’
You know what, I didn’t really care for this album at all, aside from ‘Fool’s Gold‘, but who doesn’t like that song? I’m having flashbacks to Pop Up Video and its One Hit Wonders episode.
That said, the John Squires designed cover is great! The painting is a reference to the May 1968 riots in Paris. Stone Roses lead singer Ian Brown met a Frenchman while hitchhiking. This gentleman had been in the riots, and told Ian that lemons were used as an antidote to tear gas.