2014: A Personal Review

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This year has been really weird for me. I met Marilyn Manson (and didn’t shit myself), I started buying sportswear (featured above), and someone offered me a salary to have thoughts (ily, VICE). I mean, generally I am aware of what has happened over the last twelve months. I know what I’ve done. Everyone close to me knows what I’ve done. But what if all my friends die and I lose my memory all of a sudden because I did poppers once as a teenager? How will I remember my own memories? How will I recall the grade A #content of my life unless it’s documented somewhere? These are worries people have had since the dawn of time, unequivocally tied to a deep need for meaning and a paralysing fear of being forgotten/irrelevant (which we all will be, and are, btw). If we’re being realistic, we as a species have not come on leaps and bounds since the dawn of time – most of us still chug milk like it’s actually healthy and have a level of political engagement that begins and ends with a televised debate between Russell Brand and Nigel Farage – but we have advanced far enough to invent the listicle, and I guess that’s something to chisel into the tombstone of humanity after we’re gone.

The yearly round up is a tradition typically reserved for music, but I spend all day everyday writing about that and my opinions are fairly extensively documented (for anybody who missed them: I am for Nicki Minaj’s arse and against Pharrell’s hat), so here is a roundup of other things that comprised my existence in 2014.

Things I Said I’d Do But Didn’t

– Take up yoga.
– Get my first tattoo.
– Complete that fucking Halloween movie marathon.
– Find my copy of Pokémon SoulSilver. For real, has anybody seen it?

Things I Said I’d Do And Did

– Make some semblance of a career out of writing. Fucking nailed that one didn’t I? Let’s leave it there.

Things I’ll Tell Myself I’ll Do Next Year & Probably Won’t

– Get over the fact that I have little time, patience or interest for cooking and spend more time making food from scratch/quit existing on a steady diet of peanut butter and noodles.
– Stop reading comments sections.
– Stop getting haircuts that Justin Bieber rocks up in public with two weeks later.
– Start writing a book? Haha idk.

Biggest Achievement

This year has definitely been the one that has seen the most dramatic changes to my life thus far, so this could really be any number of things; the fact that I only went to the cinema once (and even that was just to see Citizenfour), the fact that I visited my favourite city in the entire world and spent a week indoors playing Magic the Gathering, the fact that I started an arts collective and put on my first show (and it was White Lung; way to start strong). But really, the thing that gave me the most joy this year was getting the hashtag “ellisforever” on Noisey in reference to this video:

Oh also I sang in front of people/on stage for the first time. That was quite a big deal for me. Thanks, Saam!

Favourite Articles I Read On The Internet

Stiff Upper Lip is Killing British Men – Jack Urwin for VICE
On Ferguson: To Be Relevant is to Be Powerful – Victoria M. Ruiz for The Media
The Power and the Price of Being A Woman on Stage – Mish Way for Pitchfork
The New UK Porn Legislation Will Turn Erotic Film into a Boring, Unrealistic Male Fantasy – Erika Lust for the Guardian
Why #Gamergaters Piss Me the F*** Off – Chris Kluwe for Medium
Cutting Through the Bullshit Surrounding Flight MH370 – Martin Robbins for VICE
Things You’re Too Old For Now That You’re 25 – Joel Golby for VICE 

And, not from this year but still continues to be one of the most powerful pieces of journalism ever published, Thanksgiving in Mongolia by Ariel Levy for The New Yorker.

Favourite Thing I Read Not On The Internet

Just-Kids-Patti-Smith-and-Robert-Mapplethorpe In January, I bought Just Kids by Patti Smith. I’m not really a big Patti Smith fan and on the long list of things I had intended to read this year this was certainly not at the top, but I ended up at City Lights in San Francisco after having spent the afternoon exploring by myself, and something about the idea of it resonated with me. I started reading it in LAX, which is now officially my least favourite airport on planet earth, and finished it at home a few days later. I think the fact that I didn’t know much about her or Robert Mapplethorpe beforehand made the reading experience loads better, because I was able to process it as a stand-alone story, but either way it is fucking phenomenally written and Patti Smith is a beautiful human being and this book became very important to me during a super dark time.

Special shout out to the Strangers In Paradise series, which I’m not including because I haven’t finished it yet. 

Favourite Music Moment: Girlpool x Radiator Hospital

Okay so I said this wasn’t going to be about music but I really need to include this video of Girlpool covering Radiator Hospital in London because it made my heart explode and I haven’t stopped listening to it since.

Favourite TV Series: Orange is the New Black

I was a bit late to the party on this one, but Luke and I rinsed every available episode in under a week in October (which factors largely into why my Halloween movie challenge went to shit) and if you don’t think it’s the most important show on TV right now you can jog on. 

Favourite Shade: “Igloo Australia”

Honestly, there was nothing more beautiful than watching Azealia Banks instigate the most prevalent attack on white privilege in hip-hop I have seen in my lifetime. Here’s a good summary of what happened.

Favourite Cover: Taylor Swift for Wonderland

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I mean, come on.

Favourite Spot: The British Library

This year was full of sweet new hangout locations: The Diner, Highgate Cemetery, Secret Liverpool Street etc. But my most ~swoon~ moment, in both archaeological and emotional terms, took place in The British Library. I really love the fact that you can just walk in by yourself, sit down and chill out doing whatever and nobody asks you to justify why you’re there. Some people legitimately just pop in to have a little sleep, as if it’s been built specifically as an interlude to the hair-ripping stress of the rest of central London. It’s kind of like a Pokémon Centre for humans. Anyway, Dean and I both took a day off to go on a snogging tour of London and we ended up on the third floor, people watching for hours, and then he fell asleep in my lap so that beats everything.

Favourite Meal: The One With The Basil Mayo

Despite the fact that, at one point in Autumn I was ordering a 15” Vegan Kentucky Fried Chicken pizza at least three times per week, I genuinely love food and one of my favourite things to do is fill my tummy with the good stuff. But, of all the good food I ate this year – particularly in Brooklyn (RIP Food Swings) and San Francisco (one time for giant burritos with Val) – the meal of 2014 has to go to Mildred’s. Although I’ve only been there three times this year and the fact that I can eat basically anything on the menu makes me freak out and order the same thing every single time, that thing – burger of the day with sweet potato fries and basil mayo – is really fucking good. One day I’ll work up the courage to ask them for that mayo recipe so I can somehow include it in my sexual routine.

Favourite Person: Meredith Graves

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Honestly, I was on the fence about Perfect Pussy for quite a long time, but there was something about them that still made me follow with intrigue. I’m not sure exactly when the tipping point came, but by the time I saw them at The Dome in Tufnell Park I was already 400% enamoured to the extent that the show itself gave me a panic attack because it meant so much to me.

At this point, I’d like to say that I wouldn’t ever pull up one person as representative of an entire band – that is a gross injustice and a weird angle of pressure – but I do believe that Meredith is an incredibly rare and important human being, and her role in Perfect Pussy is inseparable from that.

For me, Meredith represents power; the power to be vocal about things that are not easy to say or hear, the power to take up as much space as you possibly can, the power to be comfortable on stage – as in, punk doesn’t all have to be ripped shorts and band tees, wear a fucking dress if that’s what you feel like wearing – as well as off, and the power to be a complete contradiction. Because, ultimately, that’s one of the biggest problems attached to modern feminism: everybody is expected to be perfect, to be able to speak for every woman at once, to say things and then stand by them forever. Those are completely unreasonable demands, and Meredith is just this big ball of fucking light and energy and positivity, exuding this message that we are all inherently flawed and self-contradictory and that’s totally cool.

That night at The Dome, she beat the shit out of her own chest with a microphone and left a bruise bigger than my face. I think that basically summarises all the reasons I fucking love her.

Favourite Selfie: The One Where Dean & I Tried To Face Juggle Our Butts

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Happy 2014, world!

Oh, and for those absolutely desperate for some music, here’s a cute mix of some of my fav songs of (mostly) 2014 I made in honour of Dean’s butt ❤

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