My year in lists

I’m a big fan of Los Campesinos! and especially their song titles, and as I shuffled through Hold On Now, Youngster on a dreary Megabus journey home from London I drew some inspiration from the song title My Year In Lists (not the song itself… I’m trying to take on a more optimistic outlook than the song suggests). I realised that I haven’t written anything in a long time. Sometime last year I stopped blogging… stopped writing album reviews for Cuckoo Review… stopped writing about art for Nombre… stopped scribbling poems and random sentences in Moleskine notebooks.

2016 has been challenging. Much has been written and shared about global politics, and rightly so. I remember that heart-sinking feeling as the EU referendum results poured in after a particularly heavy night at Glastonbury Festival, sitting in a camping chair watching life as I had known it collapse around me. I remember a similar feeling when I woke up at university months later to hear that Trump had become President-elect, only this time I was not surprised and felt more politically disconnected than ever before, aware that I felt more apathetic than ever. Yes, 2016 was politically challenging for me, but it was also personally challenging. It was a year of great loss, heartbreak, stress and goodbyes. I began reacting to these challenges by writing, scrawling words and sketches in journals and notebooks, but somewhere along the way I stopped writing and drawing and retreated into a kind of empty solitude reflected in my lack of words. But it was also a year of brilliant highs, a year of memories, of meeting new people, of living in and visiting new places. I’ve penned a few lists of some of the positive experiences that I’ve had in 2016… from cities I’ve visited, to gigs I attended and things that I accomplished.

Places I have lived in

  • Norwich, UK
  • Battambang, Cambodia
  • Cambridge, UK

Cities visited

  • London
  • York
  • Leeds
  • Windsor
  • Phnom Penh
  • Kampong Cham
  • Battambang
  • Siem Riep
  • Gdynia
  • Gdansk
  • Cardiff

Gigs

  • Keaton Henson @ Roundhouse, Camden
  • Cage the Elephant @ O2 Forum, Kentish Town
  • Jagwar Ma @ Alexandra Palace
  • Tame Impala @ Alexandra Palace
  • The King Blues @ Norwich Arts Centre
  • Yuck @ Norwich Arts Centre
  • Tuff Love @ Norwich Arts Centre
  • Chastity Belt @ Norwich Arts Centre
  • Yuck @ Brudenell Social Club
  • The Cribs @ Oval Space
  • Thee Oh Sees @ Coronet, Elephant & Castle
  • SWMRS @ The Owl Sanctuary, London
  • SWMRS @ Thekla, Bristol
  • Justice (DJ set) @ Mangle E8
  • Mystery Jets @ Cambridge Junction
  • The Growlers @ Electric Brixton
  • Flume @ Alexandra Palace
  • Keaton Henson @ London Palladium

Festivals 

  • Gold Sounds, Leeds
  • Glastonbury Festival, Somerset
  • Open’er Festival, Gydnia, Poland
  • Latitude Festival, Southwold
  • Visions Festival, London

Things that I have accomplished

  • Living 7, 500 miles away from home
  • Completing VSO ICS in Cambodia, regardless of how much I wanted to leave
  • Getting into University of Cambridge
  • Talking to The Guardian about mental health
  • Starting university
  • Successfully completing cheer tryouts (Level 1 and Level 2 teams)
  • Returning to cheerleading
  • Starting to play netball again

Books that I have read

  • Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig
  • Triumph of the City – Edward Glaeser
  • The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art – Don Thompson
  • Paradise Lost Book 9 – John Milton (re-read)
  • King Lear – William Shakespeare (re-read)
  • Flash Boys – Michael Lewis
  • Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  • Half the Sky: How to Change the World – Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  • The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx
  • Starter For Ten – David Nicholls
  • Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur
  • Dark Places – Gillian Flynn
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
  • Us – David Nicholls
  • The Gifts of Reading – Robert Macfarlane
  • Ai Weiwei Speaks: with Hans Ulrich Obrist – Ai Weiwei and Hans Ulrich Obrist
  • On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan
  • On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  • By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept – Elizabeth Smart
  • Only Dull People Are Brilliant At Breakfast – Oscar Wilde
  • Stoner – John Williams
  • We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Zgozi Adichie

Abandoned or unfinished/partly read books:

  • Economics: The User’s Guide – Ha-Joon Chang
  • The Economics of Social Problems – Julian Le Grand
  • Landmarks – Robert Macfarlane
  • 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear – James Shapiro
  • Cool It: The Skpetical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming – Bjørn Lomborg
  • Wallpaper* City Guide London
  • The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea That Shaped a Nation: Jim Cullen
  • The Given and the Made: Recent American Poets – Helen Vendler
  • A Preface to Paradise Lost – C. S. Lewis
  • King Lear (Arden Shakespeare edition) – William Shakespeare
  • White Teeth – Zadie Smith [currently reading]

Favourite art exhibitions

  • Living Cities @ Tate Modern, London
  • Summer exhibition @ RA, London
  • David Hockney: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-Life @ RA, London
  • Jeff Koons @ Newport Street Gallery, London
  • No Quiet Place @ The Tetley, Leeds
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