It is usually at around this time of year that ‘top ten’ blogs start to appear across the internet, rounding up the best and worst of the year. As this would require some degree of planning, I’ve opted to go for a general round up of the year that was 2013. Forget world events, this blog is all about ME, so I shall stick to what I know. A year on from this blog post , not much has changed, but I’ve learned a lot. This year was certainly eventful, with lots of live music, wardrobe malfunctions, exploding profiteroles and that relentless stalker, Olly Murs. Let’s start at the beginning then, shall we?
The early part of the year wasn’t particularly exciting. The only thing of note I remember is my birthday. A group of us went to a cocktail bar in central London. I’d invited Paul, despite things being a little strained between us as mentioned in an earlier blog. I was surprised when he accepted the invitation and during the course of the evening, he apologised for his behaviour and asked to speak to me properly the following day. I agreed and we ended up having a fantastic evening. I appreciated the fact that he wanted to discuss it and didn’t expect things to go back to normal with a quick apology. The very next day, we went out for a drink and cleared the air. It wasn’t easy, I got cross and more than a little upset, but he didn’t flinch and reassured me it wouldn’t happen again and to this day, he’s kept his word. I won’t go into his reasons for why he’d acted the way he had, it’s between us (and he now reads the blog and has agreed to write one for me too, so I have to keep him sweet!) I don’t find it easy to forgive or forget, the past has come up on more than one occasion, but he understands it can’t just be wiped out or forgotten, and despite everything, he’s stuck by me this year through everything. Even when I’ve pushed him away, and for that I’m very grateful. I know I’m not the easiest person to get along with.
This year, I had the misfortune of attending 2 weddings. Now I HATE weddings. I was never the little girl who planned her fairytale wedding as a child. I’m not a fan of dressing up, I despise the fuss, the ostentatious ceremonies and venues, and worst of all, wedding cake is not real cake. It has fruit in it. I once embarrassed myself and my date quite spectacularly when I said this out loud and a waiter appeared out of nowhere, took my fruitcake away and replaced it with a chocolate one in one swift move. THE SHAME.
The first was an Indian wedding on Easter weekend. With it being April, I’d assumed the weather would be reasonably warm, so my outfits for both the wedding and the reception were sleeveless affairs. Of course, this is Britain, so cut to arctic temperatures, a very late groom and much shivering in car parks. The only highlight of the day was the priest, who was SO keen on stealing the limelight, we were all placing bets on him appearing on the next series of Britain’s Got Talent. He sang, he told jokes and did pretty much everything but conduct the actual ceremony. Words were had by the bride’s now tense father, and eventually, he managed to fast track the ceremony only just finishing in time.
The second wedding took place at the end of July and was one I didn’t strictly have to attend, but was somewhat bullied into by Paul. Like me, he’s not keen on his extended family and asked me to go as his +1 to offer some moral support. In the end, I agreed and despite not knowing a single soul there apart from him, I actually ended up enjoying myself. Who doesn’t like a free drink? Unfortunately, this was at the end of July, when Summer had well and truly arrived and my hair had turned into Monica Geller’s Barbados frightwig. It took all my self control not to shout “IT’S THE HUMIDITY!” every time someone recoiled in horror and tried to cover it up by swigging from a glass of champagne.
Something I should have mentioned by now, is the small detail that I can’t dance. People say that all the time, but I MEAN it. I really can’t dance. At all. So 2 weddings, followed by concerts and festivals may have been fun for me, but I can only apologise to anyone who had to witness me attempting to throw some shapes on any dancefloors. One thing I will say however, is no amount of terrible dancing is an excuse for you to shove your erection in my back. I had the misfortune of experiencing this in a club in August and it was as revolting as it always is. I wish I could say it’s the first time it’s happened, but every girl has been there on every dancefloor. Boys, it’s never fun, it’s not sexy and if it’s THAT tiny, I wouldn’t be waving it around anyway. Thankfully, I was with friends, so I didn’t feel threatened.
It wasn’t all weddings and erections this year, I got to experience some fantastic live music. It all kicked off with The Killers at Wembley Stadium on June 22nd. At this point, Summer was still struggling to decide if it would grace us with its presence, so to cover all bases, I decided to wear a dress and buy a mac in case of rain. I hadn’t tried on either before the day arrived and feeling ever so slightly smug at having covered every weather eventuality, I set off for Wembley Stadium. Of course the heavens opened the minute I stepped outside. (IT KNOWS!) Never fear! I thought, smiling the satisfied smile of the smug, I had my lovely new mac just for this very purpose. It wasn’t until I’d pulled the hood up, that I realised it obscured my entire face, rendering me blind. Thankfully, the rain had stopped by the time I arrived at the venue, but sadly my wardrobe woes were far from over. I met up with my lovely twitter friend at the venue, who looked immaculate as ever, and we found our seats. As I went to sit down however, it quickly became apparent that the new dress I was wearing, which had previously been a perfectly respectable just above the knees affair, had now ridden up alarmingly to a bum skimming length. I looked around to see if anyone had noticed. The crowd consisted almost entirely of people in jeans and band T-shirts, while I sat in their midst looking like a slightly slutty Scottish Widow. I quickly took the grim reaper mac off and tied it around my waist to preserve my modesty and said a silent prayer that I’d had the foresight to wear tights. Wardrobe malfunctions aside, a brilliant time was had by all. There was much jumping around, dancing, singing, and even a tear or two shed. The highlight was undoubtedly the Wembley Song which was written especially for the occasion and name checked acts that had previously played the venue, with a Freddie Mercury inspired chorus and a gentle reminder to George Michael to “Stay away from cars.” A day never to be forgotten, not least because a journey which would normally take 30 minutes, took twice as long as I couldn’t find the station and wandered around, circling the stadium like a lost pensioner until a kind soul took pity on me and pointed me in the right direction. It wasn’t until the next day that I started regretting all the jumping as my calves screamed in agony every time I attempted to climb a flight of stairs.
The following weekend, it was back to Wembley Stadium, this time to see Robbie Williams. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks before the concert that I realised Olly Murs was the support act. Now I have nothing against Olly Murs, but I’m not a fan. He is the very epitome of a ‘twat in a hat’ and his trousers verge on the obscene. I realise this sounds rich coming from someone who is no stranger to hats and has been known to wear the odd pair of tight skinny jeans, but that’s different. I’m not inflicting my camel toe on unsuspecting members of the public (the previous weekend’s horror aside.) Anyway, Scott Mills started procedings with a DJ set, followed by a set from Murs, which I endured by texting all the way through it, and then it was time for Robbie to make his entrance. Now we all know what a shy retiring type Robbie is, so it was no surprise to see the stage was a giant replica of his head, which he abseiled/zipwired down to kick start the show, going straight into Let Me Entertain You, a song guaranteed to get the crowd on their feet and ensure that my calves would never recover. It was one of the first really hot days of the Summer and the atmosphere was electric. I later learned there had been a big brawl in the audience, among the standing room crowd which completely passed me by somehow. With Angels still playing in my head, I made my way home, transported back to my teenage self, still completely in love with Robbie from Take That. You know, the funny one.
On to August and festival season was approaching. Paul and I had made a deal a few months earlier. He would come to V Festival with me and I would return the favour and go to Reading with him. The weekend of the 17th of August rolled around and I set off to Essex for V. The grim reaper mac was back on, the forecast was grim, but spirits were high. I was particularly looking forward to seeing Calvin Harris and of course the beautiful Beyonce, who I want to be when I grow up. I arrived at the station where I was meeting Paul. I saw him waving from a distance, so I decided to do a mock catwalk upto him, swishing my mac this way and that, pouting from under the hood. I smiled a winning smile as I approached him.
“Hello! Ready to go?” I asked, full of enthusiasm.
“Sure, er… sweetheart?”
“Yes?” I replied.
“Why the fuck are you dressed as a Dementor?
That rather took the wind out of my sails for a bit. Unfortunately, it’s really difficult to sulk properly when you have to be led around the festival site by the hand, due to the small matter of my hood which was doing a sterling job of keeping the rain away, but I still couldn’t see where I was going. I’d also neglected to wear wellies and was slipping and sliding all over the place.
You’re like a tube train, you know that? muttered Paul.
What’s THAT supposed to mean? I asked.
You’re not suitable for any terrain. Snow, mud, even fucking leaves in Autumn.
Unfortunately, this was undoubtedly true, but I wasn't going to admit it. This time I did sulk for a good half an hour, until we took refuge under a drinks tent and he bought me a cocktail. We stayed there until an act we liked was due to play. The weather didn’t dampen our spirits and we had a memorable weekend, drinking, dancing and taking in everything the festival had to offer. There was only one fly in the ointment. We had spent most of the afternoon queuing at the stage on Sunday, waiting for Calvin Harris to play his headline set, when someone walked on stage who looked familiar. Hat, check. Tight jeans, check. The sound of his bloody voice, check. Fuck’s sake. Once again, I had to endure an Olly Murs set, making the wait for Calvin Harris seem more like days than hours. I’d like to say nobody knew how I felt, but Emeli Sande happened to be playing at the same festival and who hasn't been stalked by her? Unfortunately, since that weekend, every time See ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ has been played on the radio, Paul has sung along, a little too loudly for my liking, “See Beneath Your Bloody Hood.” 4 months later, it’s starting to wear a bit thin. Finally, it was time, and once again, my calves got a workout as I sang and danced my heart out to Calvin Harris. The lighting was incredible, the weather had settled and I couldn't have been happier. It was a glorious, romantic evening and as the sun was setting, the sky looked beautiful. I got home, collapsed onto my bed and slept like the dead.
The following weekend, it was time to go to Reading to return the favour and see lots of obscure bands I’d never heard of, surrounded by teenagers. I wasn’t looking forward to it and the weather was dismal, but we had a deal and off we went. It’s surprising how much fun a festival can be when you’ve had the right amount to drink, and in an attempt to placate me, Paul had bought be a profiteroles tower. In the end, despite throwing a few tantrums and at one point, having to be carried over a large ditch (he called it a puddle, but wevs), I had to concede that I had enjoyed myself. I was still sulking from the previous week, so to get my own back, I decided to indulge in a spot of matchmaking. I’m Indian, it’s what I do best. There was a hen party at Reading that had bumped into us, and Paul in particular, a few too many times for it to be a coincidence. During the headline act on Saturday night, the chief bridesmaid decided she was drunk enough to go for it, so an unsuspecting Paul found himself in a full blown kiss with her. I giggled from the sidelines, her friends cheered, but I took one look at his face and I knew he was furious. He pushed her off and we moved back a few rows so we could talk. He was fuming and I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. She was very pretty, seemed nice and was (to put it kindly) spilling out of her dress. I doubt most men there would’ve minded, but he did. I teased him a little to begin with, but soon shut up as he rightly pointed out that if the tables were turned, I’d have called it harassment. I felt a little guilty because I had encouraged her, and apologised to him. The next day, she found us again and apologised. It was clear she had been drunk and no more was said about it.
Unfortunately, I had failed to check the forecast for the Sunday and assuming it would be more of the same, had rocked up sporting layers. Of course, it was wall to wall sunshine. Not for the first time, I sat there promising myself I would burn this bloody mac the second I got home. The heat was making me itchy and I sat there for 20 minutes, desperately wanting to scratch an itchy boob without drawing any attention to myself. It wasn’t until a woman relieved herself in front of us, through her fishnet stockings, that I gave in to my urge. Yes kids, festivals are THAT glam. Biffy Clyro brought the night to a close, shirtless as always and we made our way back home with big smiles on our faces. The temporary unpleasantness of the previous day forgotten. I felt a little sad as this marked the end of a glorious Summer of music, but told myself there would be many more for years to come. I was feeling pleasantly surprised, that despite 2 weekends of muddy fields, I had somehow managed not to ruin any of my clothes. If you know me, you’ll understand what a feat this is for me. I can’t eat a thing without spilling it down my top. Happily, I reached into my bag for my ipod to keep me company on the tube, when my fingers encountered something sticky. I probed deeper, only to find my hand covered in chocolate and cream. Somehow, the forgotten profiteroles from that morning had exploded in the heat, all over my bag. I could have cried. Not so much at the fact I’d almost certainly ruined my handbag, but at the loss of those gooey balls of chocolatey, creamy, diabetes inducing goodness. Woe.
Finally, the last gig I attended this year was yet another Killers one, this time at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, on the 6th of November. I managed to secure tickets by the skin of my teeth 2 days before the show from someone on facebook. Having learned from past mistakes, I decided to dress modestly in jeans, long boots, my favourite Brandon T-shirt and a hat. Some would say my outfit was a little Murs, but that would be cruel. I’ve been to the venue several times before, but after Wembley and the festival season, it felt tiny and intimate. It was a showcase of the band’s Direct Hits album, their first Best Of collection and the boys didn’t disappoint. The level of enthusiasm was the same as it had been at Wembley Stadium and they won over even the most reluctant crowd members. Where we were sitting, there were large groups of men, who seemed intent on posing with their beers, slightly embarrassed to dance or sing along. This soon changed when the band played Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine during the encore and they all joined in enthusiastically. I found it amusing that it took a song about a man arrested for killing his girlfriend, for them to get into the swing of things, but when the opening riff of Mr Brightside played out, they were leaping around, with their arms around their friends’ shoulders, singing along and having the time of their lives. It brought the house down. Another perfect night.
When I wasn’t attending festivals, I was watching them on the TV and my highlight of the year was the Arctic Monkeys headline set at Glastonbury. I enjoyed it so much in fact, that I downloaded their entire back catalogue and it became the soundtrack of my Summer. Then AM came out later in the year, so that was the music for the rest of the year taken care of, though much to all my friends’ annoyance, nobody can say “one for the road” without me chipping in with “ooh ooh.” I didn’t realise it at the time, but that album was quite prophetic. I listen to it now and track by track, it tells the story of my year far better than this blog does. I’m a simple girl with simple tastes and one of my enduring memories of the year is one of sitting on my bed, watching the rain pouring down outside my window during one of the storms we had at the very end of July, listening to She’s Thunderstorms. It sounds a little odd to say it out loud, but I find thunderstorms incredibly sexy. There’s something romantic about them. It’s a snapshot of a time where I felt content. Listening to that song always takes me back there.
2013 was most notable for giving us our first real Summer in recent years. I’ve spoken at length about this in a previous blog post Happiness, so I won’t dwell on it, but I love Summer. The sun and heat lift my spirits like nothing else (maybe cake,) and many a pleasant hour was spent sitting in the park or in beer gardens, having a drink and just taking in how beautiful London looks in the sun. Even being chased by flying insects or squirrels couldn’t make me wish for a change of season. Nothing beats lying in bed, listening to music with the fan on, watching the Summer sky until the sun goes down. Admittedly, it’s not so pleasant when that fan falls on you in the middle of the night, but that only happened twice. I even had the pleasure of meeting up with a twitter friend one day early in July. We had previously met at a Darren Hayes concert and he was coming over to see a musical near where I work, so we arranged to meet for a quick coffee beforehand. I get nervous about meeting new people, but the initial awkwardness passed within minutes and we were soon chatting away like old friends. We made our way to Trafalgar Square so he could do the tourist thing and it made me realise just how lucky I am to live and work in such a beautiful city. Sometimes you don’t realise it until you see it from the eyes of an outsider. Another of my favourite things this year was the majestic blue cock that was erected on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. There is nothing like seeing a giant cock in the heart of your hometown to make you proud!
As the Summer came to an end, I started feeling a little depressed. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and the short dark days tend to darken my mood somewhat. This year, it was made all the more difficult by the long hot Summer preceding it, making the stark contrast even more obvious. Paul and I now share an office and in October sometime, we were talking about music videos and I showed him Tim Burton’s video for Here With Me, by The Killers, starring Winona Ryder. He was aware that I’d had my heart set on going to the beach this Summer, but for whatever reason, it hadn’t happened. While we were watching the video, I jokingly said I’d love to go to Blackpool beach. “So why don’t you?” he asked. I sat there looking at him slightly puzzled and we said no more about it. A couple of weeks later, we were in his car, on our way to Blackpool. I don’t know how he managed it at such short notice, but we had a lovely long weekend, even though the weather was less than ideal. I did the typical fangirl thing of trying to find as many places as I could from the video and we even had a little dance on the beach. It went a long way towards helping me out of my depression and I was so grateful to him for arranging it. I’m so lucky to have good friends and I’ve only come to fully realise it in recent months.
As I post this blog, I’ve just returned from a weekend in Dublin. It was the perfect way to recharge my batteries before the the Christmas madness begins. Unfortunately, being a bit of a nan, I still haven’t gotten to grips with technology and managed to wipe out my entire phone book the night before I left. Thankfully, I had opted to change my old phone to a PAYG when I changed contracts, so I took that along instead. I’m averaging 3 hours sleep a night since Thursday and I’m sure my bones are creaking, so I expect I may be tweaking this blog in days to come. There is much to do, but I know I’ll get through it and the new year is looking exciting. Plans are afoot for more live music, tickets have already been bought to see the Arctic Monkeys in May and there are other things, but you’ll have to watch this space for more news! Olly Murs has continued to stalk me through advertisements, appearances on every TV show I watch, and just to prove it really is me he’s stalking, despite a year of being surgically attached to Robbie Williams, he failed to appear on his Swing concert because I was away.
So there you have it, all my highs and lows of the year. I firmly believe you can’t move forward without looking back. I’ve learned a lot about myself and other people. I know I can get through anything and I’ve found the key to happiness really is forgiveness, earning it or giving it whether it’s sought or not.
Oh and cake,
and vodka… lots and lots of lovely vodka.
I know the title of this blog suggested there would be something about naughty dreams, but a lady never tells…. and neither do I.
Oh and Olly? Take the hint love.