One of my earliest memories is watching Blue Peter at what must have been the very end of 1973, making me five and a bit. The TV was filled with footage of Viking ships on fire, and one of the presenters was saying “and so we say goodbye to 1973…”. But what I was aware of at the time, and even more so now, was “what has 1973 got to do with Viking ships on fire?”
And so we say goodbye to 2008.
2008 has been a shit year for many people, including some personal friends, with bereavements and so on. It is not, I am sure, “the year in which everyone gets what they deserve”. I would have to be something more of an arrogant sod than I actually am to believe that it was the year in which I personally got what I deserved, as, overall it has been very good. I sipped champagne standing next to Ronnie Corbett. I visited Australia and New York for the first, and who is not to say only time. I became a forty-year-old man and got married on the same day. I made a return to theatrical performance after an eighteen year break. Lots of things.
Birmingham continues on its course of becoming a more interesting placeÂ in which to live. Stan’s Cafe are instrumental in this, and this has been another in a series of triumphant years for them, culminating in bringing Of All The People In All The World to the city in September. In 2009 they take occupation of the A. E. Harris factory for who knows what fun. 7inch Cinema are another native cultural outfit that enhance the city and my life in it. I’ve been to a few Pilot Nights too, performing Reflections on the Counting of Sneezes in December. One of my favourite short theatrical performances was Edward Rapley‘s 10 Ways to Die on Stage, during which I failed to get wet, and I was also very taken by Where We Live and What We Live For by Kings of England, with its gentle eulogy to the passing of time.
The back bedroom office, as visitors to Sneezecount will know, has reverberated to the sound of the Collings and Herrin podcast, and the Adam and Joe radio programme. I made a video for the Adam and Joe Video War, which I was quite pleased with, even though it lost.
And finally, my favourite cultural event of the year was probably Man on Wire, in which Philippe Petit sums it all up. “There is no why”.