Having been a little quiet here of late, rather than dive headlong into a couple of in-depth tech posts, I thought a summary of the year gone by might make a better start to the new year, as well as allowing me to fill in a few gaps where I failed to write about things at the time. Naturally, condensing an entire year, this is likely to span two posts.
I will gloss over January, which was spent largely devoting time to relationships I had been neglecting, so there is not much to recap. February brought Miranda’s leaving drinks as she prepared to head off to Australia for year, an opportunity to catch up with her and a few mutual old friends. It was also a month for meeting new people. Dan and I agreed, as a favour to Suzie, to attend Charlotte W’s inaugural Single City Supper Club as she was short a few men. Whilst I tend to dislike the artificiality of dating or singles events, it actually turned out to be a highly enjoyable night, introducing Dan and Anna, who hit it off and remain together. Although I only just noticed the slightly ominous Closer reference in their names. Meanwhile on Valentine’s Day, having stopped by for a quick cocktail at my usual haunt, I soon found myself at the bar deep in conversation with Chandara, a Hawaiian law student, perhaps somewhat oblivious to the fact she was technically there with her boyfriend at the time. Given our shared penchant for decent cocktails amongst other things, it’s not surprising that we stayed in touch.
The next few months were punctuated primarily by films. A preview screening of Café de Flore with Rachel led to the only review I wrote (for a second year running, and something I sincerely aim to remedy this year). The Avengers proved Joss Whedon’s ability somehow to wrangle what, on paper, ought to have been an utter mess of superheroes competing for screen time, into a taut, fun romp that (for me) set the high water mark for comicbook movies this year. By contrast Ridley Scott’s much-anticipated return to sci-fi with Prometheus, his pseudo-prequel to Alien, was utterly underwhelming as soon as one scratched beneath its glossy surface.
A screening of La Haine put on by Future Cinema was simply spectacular with Asian Dub Foundation performing their rescore live. Organised by the purveyors of Secret Cinema but without the somewhat tiresome need to guess at the film being screened, I am keen to see their future projects. Also on the cinematic “event” side, Vlad and Pepijn’s brainchild, Ciné Illuminé, blossomed over the summer with a series of monthly silent films with live musical accompaniment, cocktails and other themed entertainment including dancing and calligraphy. Piccadilly and Orochi were particular highlights. Sadly the programme is on hiatus at present.
The summer brought Jenna’s first ever visit to the UK, along with Jeff and the kids as well as her sister-in-law Jessica. Naturally I took the entire time off work to show her around my city, along with trips to Barcelona and Wales. Sadly I still haven’t finished sorting through the photos yet, but it will happen. Jenna was pregnant with Dylan at the time, which did not prove too great a bar but does mean there were certain omissions to be remedied on her next trip (such as bars). Our lasting memory, however, is likely to be late-night Dominion marathons rather than Stone Henge.
The second half of the year brought both Sparkie’s sailing stag do, a remarkably relaxing affair (given the general lack of sailing experience amongst many of us) up on the Norfolk Broads, and his and Sonya’s wedding in the picturesque town of Woodbridge. More photos, incidentally, that I need to finish reviewing.
Having never really heard of the Mongol Rally until about a year ago, in the 2012 rally I found I knew no fewer than three teams participating in the ambitious event, driving from the the Goodwood Circuit in the UK to Ulaanbaatar in cars with 1.2-litre or smaller engines. As I was in the area for the Bundell’s annual summer party (at last, having missed out in previous years for a variety of reasons), I headed along to see them off. All three teams made it to the finish line — some in better shape than others but all came back with suitably epic stories.
For most of the country, the summer focused on the Olympics. Having scant interest in sport, I was most interested in the Opening Ceremony being concocted by Danny Boyle and decided to watch the games kick off with the equally cynical Korff. Boyle deftly batted aside our cynicism and swiftly won us over with his portrayal of the industrial revolution followed by a tribute the breadth of culture we now enjoy. Thanks to Amy, I suspect I tweeted more that night than in any other month of the year! Whilst many others proceeded to follow the Games in minute detail, either at the stadiums or via the BBC’s highly impressive coverage, I discovered that Olympic sports are much like regular sports only slightly faster or higher or longer or whatever the relevant metric happens to be. It’s still just sport with arbitrary rules and which still fails to hold my attention, lovely as it might be briefly to see Britain placed astonishingly highly on the various medals tables. With further recession looming, it undoubtedly provided the country with a much needed morale boost, as artificial as the cause may have been.
And we’ll cover the remainder of 2012 next time…