It's the end of another year, and most news stations/websites are trotting out their usual "Top 10s" or "Reviews of the Year". In past years I've written similar articles here - but this year, I'm rebelling against tradition. You don't need to know my favourite shows of the year, or movie, or whatever. The true reflection of a year is what made it great - and usually what makes it great is what makes it stand out from all other years that have gone before.
So then, what's unique about my 2013?
In no particular order of significance:
1: WEST END
I was promoted 12 months ago now, and left my old site to start afresh at a new one. It was a move to Leicester Square! "Ooh, swanky" most people say/think... clearly indicating that they've never visited a West End cinema before.
(Incidentally, the near-disaster that occurred at the Apollo Theatre earlier this month was completely avoidable, in my opinion. Most cinemas/theatres in the area are so run down, as their operators know that no matter what they'll get the bums on seats needed to keep the place open - so why bother putting in time, and more importantly money, to refurb these places, when name and location alone sells the experience to passer-bys or tourists? Rant over)
My cinema in particular is old. Probably one of the oldest on the square, and it shows. My lasting memories of 2013 at that place are of a building with leaks here, there and everywhere. Of a homeless man, actually living inside the building, evading management in a desperate attempt to keep cover over his head. Of event organisers coming in, and not quite caring, so damaging an already damaged building even more.
Then there's the people. It's quite possibly the most bizarre management team I've ever worked in (well, not so much any more - plenty of names and faces have changed). It's no wonder that I still don't think I've cracked the place, in the same way I'd have cracked all my other jobs 12 months in.
Finally, the smell. There's a whiff of damp, mixed in with the stench of homeless folk, and drunks, and escalator rubber rubbing against its metal frame. Not the healthiest or nicest of environments to breathe in. It's probably taken years off my life!
Still, enjoyable. In a way.
Technically, I've commuted before. For three years I got the bus into university. But ignore that fact, and...
I'm properly commuting!
Yep, work is in Central London, and I am not. So I 'tube or bus it into work every single day. I'm one of those faceless employees, bustling into cramped Underground carriages on the early morning commute - with the Metro newspaper in one hand, and my iPod on full buzz in my other.
The Underground's appeal wears off pretty quickly. There's dirt everywhere. Actually, it's soot, but it's hard not to see dirt there too - the amount of rubbish on the tracks, or mice on the tracks, eating out of the rubbish. And the waiting!! Boy... I hate getting into Tottenham Court Road and realising the next Northern Line to Leicester Square (just one stop away!!!!) is still 6 minutes away. Bummer.
It'd be faster to work that last stretch, I think, sometimes.
Costs an arm and a leg, too.
Tyler was born last year, yes, but in 2013 he came into his own. He's now crawling. No, walking. No, running. Boy he's fast, and he's growing up fast.
Jamie is almost a year old now too, and has almost caught Tyler up in the development stakes. Not bad for a baby who Doctors worried might be born with learning handicaps.
'The Cousins' (as I like to call them; inspired by Breaking Bad's Mexican bad guys) are quite a double act, and it's amazing to see them develop, and grow up.
A highlight of my year.
4: FEW CINEMA VISITS
Yeah... I haven't been to the cinema much. I've seen, ooh, 20 films at most. Probably not even that.
It's a combination of a bad year of releases, but my tiredness with the job - and not wanting to go back to a cinema on my day off to watch something.
On top of that, at a Leicester Square cinema we only get a selection of new releases. Until other multiplexes who generally get 75-90% of what is available each week, we don't. For example, we're currently showing "Walter Mitty", but not "The Hobbit". Because of that, one gets a little out of touch with what is on offer for cinema-goers.
5: DOCTOR WHO'S 50TH
One thing I did see at the cinema was "The Day of the Doctor" - the fantastic 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who. It was a birthday fans, including myself, had been building up to all year. There was a monthly celebration of each Doctor's era in Forbidden Planet, and special releases dotted throughout the year.
Highlights include the 50th episode, Paul McGann's return, Ian & Barbara cropping up in Doctor Who Magazine's comic street - and my buying all of the Doctor's costumes. Well, t-shirt versions of them anyway...!
6: SIGNIFICANT BIRTHDAYS
My nephew Tyler turned 1, and had a cowboy themed party (August)
My Dad Mark turned 50, and had a heroes and villains themed party (October)
My Step Mum Penny turned 50, and had a Disney themed party (August)
My Step-Dad Dave turned 60, and had a meal at an all-you-can-eat Buffet (April)
My Grandmother Rose turned 80, and had a meal at a carvery (December)
Each week I updated my profile picture on Facebook. It was a petty challenge, but one I had a bit of fun doing. I used old pictures, new pictures, and the frankly most bizarre pictures of me I could fine. I'm bored of Facebook now. I did it as a sort of goodbye to my time on there. Heck, updating those pictures was pretty much the only thing I used Facebook for this year!!!
I started using Twitter, too. I don't know why. It's just another method of wasting 2 hours of your life everyday, writing useless facts or updates about yourself, between stalking friends and celebrities, in a pointless exercise that afterwards makes you stop and think: "Actually, what have I done with my life today?" Rubbish.
For those of you who comment "But Twitter gets you close to the celebrities!" - get a reality check. No it doesn't!!!! It's useful for speaking to friends, yes - but do you know what else is? Actually going out and meeting them in person.
Urgh. 2nd rant of the blog over.
8: BEDTIME STORY
I did it!! Well, not quite - I still have one more to record tonight.
365 videos, recorded each night before bed. Each is me reading a further paragraph of a story to camera, so when edited together in sequence it tells a complete story. A fairytale.
I have, using some considerable imagination, decided to call it "Bedtime Story".
There were nights were the last thing I wanted to do was climb out of bed and record that night's video. Or other times where I watched footage back and either though a) my voice is annoying, dear god let it stop, I can't live through 364 more of these, or b) this project sucks. I persevered, however, and now... 1 year on, it's done!
It sits, in a rough assembly edit, at 2 hours and 4 minutes. Just got to figure out what to do with it next, now.
Yep. I had a girlfriend this year. And it was good.
10: WEIGHT GAIN
Or - "Dear God, I have a belly. An actual belly that wibbles and wobbles, and needs to go."
Blame too much Subway. Blame Coca-Cola. Blame my greed for enjoying both too much, and other sinful food munching practices.
There's been things done this year that I haven't been proud of - just like most other years - but none of them have ever had such an impact before. This was the year of guilt, as told through the consequences of my actions.
This was the year I probably should have been a little more grown up at times, and let myself down.
Most of this is work-related. It's as if I took a giant leap backwards there, not forwards like one must. Due to the nature of professional confidence, I can't discuss much here - but some of the things play on my mind. One of them, as recent as last week, might just haunt me for weeks, or months, or years to come.
It's sad, yes - but then that's life and one rolls with the punches.
So, there we have an incredibly rushed overview of my 2013.
A good year, I think, when you subtract work from the equation (and even then, things weren't terrible-terrible)
Onwards and upwards.
There's 2014 a-calling, and I hear good things about it...