Sayonara 2015

Another year gone, already? A year ago, I wrote:

“At the broad, general level, one of those ‘thank the deity of your choice that that’s over and done with’ years. All the horrors present and correct […] and another low mark for effort for humanity. Plus ça change, eh?”

and I could pretty much leave this post there were I feeling utterly despondent. Yet, although my dreams of reviving the insults ‘cockwomble’ or ‘git’came to nowt, I still have a dwindling supply of hope…

Personally, I leave the year with four more published short stories to my name and having had more opportunities to read both prose and poetry to live audiences: as last year, far more than I hoped for. After the beginner’s luck of 2014 (66% of stories sent into the world accepted and published), 2016 will be – and I say this as a promise to myself – the year of not being disheartened that the percentage rate is heading closer to the level of a typical British saver’s ROI. And the year of making a PhD application.

So… gong time. Most of the following things improved the year from time to time, unless the category headings suggest otherwise, and I’m grateful to those that brought them into being – 

Books: Fiction

Neil Bartlett – The Disappearance Boy
Catie Disabato – The Ghost Network
Christos Tsiolkas – Merciless Gods (‘The Disco at the End of Communism’ shares Short Story of the Year)
Ivan Vladislavic – 101 Detectives
DW Wilson – Mountain Under the Sea (online here)

Books: Non-Fiction

Elvis Costello – Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink
Adam Mars-Jones – Kid Gloves: A Voyage Around My Father
Jon Savage – 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded

Books: Poetry

Andrew McMillan – Physical

Music (recorded)

Amir John Haddad – 9 Guitarras
Matt Owens – The Aviators’ Ball

Music (live)

Banda Magda
Delaney Davidson


45 Years
Inside Out
Love Is Strange


Zeno, Brugge (pretentious, moi? Mais oui, cheri, but fab tucker too)

Person of the Year

I’m going for Michael Sheen, for this

Things I’d Like to Think Have Peaked

River levels (though I suspect I will be wrong: the UK’s New Orleans moment may not be far away)
Intolerance in the name of virtues (perpetrated this year almost as much by the left as much as the right)
Intolerance in the name of supposedly merciful deities
Donald Trump
People asking questions over social media rather asking seeking questions of it
TV dramas based on the idea that posh people are inherently fascinating (or involving bonnets) – yes, I did list this year too 😦

Culinary Ingredient of the Year

Pomegranate molasses (it’s been a sour sort of year)



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