Sunday, 1 January 2012

2011: AOB

We're about 2 and a half hours into 2012 now, and I'm back home in Manchester. Of course,it's been that long since I last wrote on this blog that I haven't actually chronicled my leaving home in the first place. Damn. To cut a long story short, there's a new exciting city, and my body morphed at the metabolic rate of, ooh, about twelve months.

It's curious that I've spent the first 150 minutes of the new year watching a couple of review shows looking back at the departed 2011. Hmm. I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. Allow me to offer a quick, but comprehensive review - except it won't be quick, nor comprehensive. Probably a bit tedious to anybody that doesn't give a rat's ass about me, or 2011, or me in 2011.

1: The Big News

I live around the corner from BBC Television Centre in Shepherds Bush, London. The place has the biggest satellite dishes you ever did see spewing from its rooftop - so it's a cruel twist then that I don't have any TV signal on my tellybox.

A consequence of this is I often fall behind, or miss entirely, items of news. Now obviously I'm hit by the big stories (reports of the Tsunami in Japan and the subsequent nuclear/human meltdown) but a lot of others go over my head. It's not ideal, because I usually revel in that level of politics. Taking a back seat means I'm growing ever more ignorant, and that's never good...

The breakout story for me has to be the riots in London and Manchester in August. Obviously, two cities close to my heart. It was so very easy getting caught up in the hysteria of it all. I was in Brixton the night that the troubles kicked off there, innocently watching a Morrissey gig with my friend Dan, who was visiting from the North, and probably wishing he hadn't bothered. Worse still, he took the trouble back up country with him when he left London town!

But the sheer velocity and force of the riots... Man, it was scary. Seriously scary. At its peak, there was a dangerous edge. I remember walking around London and people were looking over their shoulders suspiciously; eyeing you up to see if you were "one of them" about to attack. I knew the feeling well, because I shared the paranoia. That's not like me - to get caught up so easily in the slew of news and action.

It's summed up by the U2 song "Stuck in the Moment". It played on an endless loop on my iPod for much of the riot week - somehow capturing in my mind the image of it all so perfectly.

I've a little optimism for 2012 (Olympics, and all that jazz) but I confess, there's still some concern that the "moment" in question isn't quite over just because the riots stopped.

If I have one real resoltion for the new year, it's to follow the news more closely. Stuff like the Eurozone crisis could very well define this 'generation' - I can't afford to miss the politics, and the immediately aftermath of it all.

2: Family

Something I'm only going to touch on lightly, as more and more I appreciate one's need for privacy; especially in an age where potentially anybody can read the blog you write and make do with that information any way they want.

There's been some terrific ups (an unexpected pregnancy for an immediate family relative - baby due mid 2012) to some horific lows (a couple of deaths; one of which caught the whole family off guard because it just happened, and to this day still doesn't feel like it ever did).

I spent the week before Christmas moving my Nan in to a care home. This is the same name that I've celebrated in the past on this very blog; somebody who was once so independent and full of life. Now, it breaks my heart to acknowledge that they are no longer fit to enjoy the life they once lead, or indeed show ability in the running of day to day affairs.

She hates the new place. I thought she would. I hate the idea of her being there. I knew I would. Truth is, it's easy - me now being in London and all, and I often don't stop to think about those left at home. I don't know how my Mum would have coped caring for Nan on a full time basis, so a care home is absolutely the right place for Nan to be. Guess I'm guilty. Should I be? So far away, unable to offer much more help than just moral support. Am I the son who flew the nest and dropped all responsibilites?

Hmm.

3: Cinema

Gone are the days I can sit down and create top ten lists of the greatest films of the last year. I don't have the time, and am not objective enough to do that this year. Instead, here's a list of some of the films I did enjoy this year. A lot of the choices are flawed, yes - but they are included for the purpose I stated: enjoyment.

In no particular order (other than memory):

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (USA); Rise of the Planet of the Apes; The King's Speech; Captain America; Moneyball; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; The Skin I Live In; Super 8; Source Code; X-Men: First Class. There's more I've missed off, but it's late and my brain can't think.

Slim pickings.

Worse film? I tend to avoid any film I think looks naff - but Sanctum was piss poor, as was The Green Lantern.

Not exactly brain buster, intellectual cinema choices there - but I work in the busiest mulitplex in the UK. When I'm not there (a surprisingly tiny amount of time) the last place I want to be is back at a cinema watching films.

Honest - and so sorry!

4: Death

Man, this year sucked. I've already explained that I lost a couple of relatives (a grand parent and an Uncle, in the space of a week) but the loss of people like Elisabeth Sladen and Nicholas Courtney hit me hard. 'Only' TV stars yes, but they represent a side of my childhood that cannot ever come back now they're gone. Personalties larger than life, who often inspired me in ways I can't grasp. Their deaths rocked me, such was their power and hold over me.

5: Writing

Yay! (In some ways) I've made some head way on my long overdue follow-up to Self.

Boo! Hiss! Lots of miss opportunities. Even with 5 pages of a script complete, I haven't touched the project in over a month. It sits there gathering ever more dust. Why? I guess I can be lazy, and it's all too easy to allow other things to get in the way.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Actually, despite all of the apparent negativity implanted above, 2011 has been a good year for me. No, a great one - one of those all important years where it's possible you come out of it ten times stronger a person than you originally went into it as.

A lot of that is down to work, and developments there. I've worked at this particular cinema for well over 12 months now. It's matured me both working there, and the fact it's so far away from home. I'm a lot more rational, and less prone to silly tantrums. I'm a better communicator, and because of that, a better problem solver. My confidence hasn't been this high since college. Perhaps even EVER. In a good way - I'm not Mr Ego all of a sudden.

To wrap up then, a continuation of this last point. Yes, I'm a more assured person - but the best thing to happen in 2011? I don't know how, or when, but I'm happy again.

Hindsight is a funny thing. I haven't been truly happy since I was with Katie O'Donnell, many moons ago now. Well... it's an omen that I am sincerely over the girl now. Oh yes, sirree! For Anthony is a happy bunny in the world 2011 created for him. I try not to analyse it too much. I just know it's true.

Here's to the next 366-

-And to continued happiness (everybody).
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