This year feels like it was over before it even began – which is a total cliché but it’s God’s honest truth. It feels like just yesterday I was launched blinking and hungover into the first days of 2014 and now I couldn’t really tell you what I got up to. Anyway, it was a whirlwind, a rollercoaster ride full of emotional ups and downs, physical highs and lows, triumphs of spirit and ingestions of spirits. Yeah 2014, you were alright, I liked you, though at times you were a bit of a t**t.
What has the internet taught you this year?
The internet now teaches me everything I need to know from the comfort of my sofa. As a child I was told by teachers I’d need to master the Dewey Decimal System in order to navigate libraries chock full of all the mysteries of humanity – but they were wrong. Now I just type random combinations of words into Google – like “thinsulate, ISIS, basketball,” “Canada, tapestry, spaniel” – and acquire new information that way. It’s much less mentally taxing and means I’ve learned about William A. Mitchell, the inventor of Pop Rocks, the Armenian Diaspora and Bob Dylan’s cameo appearance on Wyclef Jean’s video for Gone ‘Till November. Big year for me and the internet! Huge.
What’s been your favourite interview/piece of writing of the year?
At the start of the year Pitchfork’s Jason Heller put together this piece on American folk legend John Fahey, whose music I’d only really skirted around before. It’s not an interview or necessarily an amazing piece of writing but it was passioned enough to make me listen to a WHOLE lot more of Fahey’s music throughout the year. Though in hindsight that might just have been all the videos collected onto one page. Either way it’s a piece I’ve remembered reading for the last 12 months.
Which website do you think has really stepped up their game this year?
Facebook, for purely cynical reasons. They’ve realised that as a race we’re totally incapable of keeping our cursors away from cats doing weird shit, celebs in various states of undress/with no make-up and strap-lines that begin “You have to see it to believe it," and have stuffed our feeds full of this kind of thing. I can’t imagine how much they must be making as a result.
Game-uppings that I’ve enjoyed have come from Dazed, The Guardian and Pitchfork. Dazed for the quality of their content, The Guardian for their website redesign (which I’m really enjoying) and Pitchfork for bashing out one of the best magazines I’ve read – which they do on the side. Kudos to all!
Which song/album would be the soundtrack to your year?
Song: Songs Ohia’s Farewell Transmission. It’s never not a good time to listen to this song.
Album: John Wizards’ eponymous debut. Which I didn’t realise I’d enjoyed so much until I was looking at Spotify’s digest of my music habits this year. Apparently I’ve done well over 35,000 minutes of listening in 2014. Bet you can’t wait for my score in 2015!
Which app could you have not lived without this year
Spotify, for reasons made clear above. And Citymapper. I used to be able to get round London perfectly well on my own but since I’ve downloaded it I can no longer leave the house without anxiously checking when trains depart from my nearest station and how long I might have to wait for a bus. None of these things used to bother me. Still, at least now I turn up on time.
What’s been your favourite publication this year?
There’s way too many to mention. I’ve read all sorts of stuff this year that I’ve really enjoyed. Simon Hanselmann’s Megahex, Back To Blood by Tom Wolfe, this piece on Medium about being a 16-year-old pedophile, and this issue of The Outpost, which has been one of the standout magazines of this year. I’ve already given The Pitchfork Review a lot of love, but they were great too.
What’s the best exhibition you’ve visited?
In April I drove around Iceland for a week and saw a load of incredible landscapes that completely took my breath away. Then on the penultimate day we visited this weird little museum dedicated to one of the Icealandic sagas. There’s an audio walking tour and all the installations are hand-carved out of wood like amateurish marionettes. It looks like this:
One valuable lesson you have learnt in 2014?
I’m not really a morning person. Anyone who’s sat next to me this year will confirm.
Do you have any new year’s resolutions?
To be kinder to all my colleagues, because they’re people too.
Give us a recipe for an incredible Christmas lunch SIDE dish.
50% Advocaat, 50% lemonade, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, turkey, potatoes, sick.