2015: What a time to be alive. The man who co-ruined that very phrase has a Grammy nomination for a diss track (as opposed to that other song he did that was everywhere), I lost my passport in Poland and got stuck there for 2 days, Adele is back. It’s all been very emotional. As I said last December, I’m constantly terrified of living long enough to go senile and forget everything I’ve ever done because of that one time I tried poppers in year 10. So the time has come to do another yearly round-up so that when I’m in the home someone can read them all aloud to me and say something like, “See, Emma, your life has been ok, hasn’t it? Remember when people sent you death threats because you pretended not to know what BBK stood for? Someone cool even profiled you on Nylon that one time. Which of those things should we make known during the service just before we lower you into the ground for eternity?” You know, something like that. Plus I don’t always have the time or opportunity to write about all the things I care about most, so this is a chance to touch on some of the stuff that fell by the wayside of perpetual over-sharing.
I continue to spend all day everyday writing about music (shout out to the good people at Noisey for making that possible) and my opinions are fairly extensively documented here (TLDR; I Belieb), so here is a roundup of other things that comprised my existence in 2015.
Things I Said I’d Do & Did
– Take up yoga.
– Read more.
– Start learning how to DJ.
– Find a therapist.
– Release a really great tape compilation through Sad Girls Club featuring some of my favourite people covering 90/00s pop bangers.
Things I Said I’d Do But Didn’t
– Get my first tattoo.
– Go back to San Francisco.
– Keep in touch with all my friends better, which I sort of did but not enough.
– Not kill all my houseplants.
– Start writing a book.
Things I Didn’t Think I’d Do But Did
– Get a Pitchfork column.
– Abandon my Pitchfork column.
– Have my fiction published in an actual magazine you can hold in your hands.
– Say goodbye to two grandparents.
– Write about bisexuality for a women’s glossy.
Things I’ll Tell Myself I’ll Do Next Year & Probably Won’t
– Stop spending £7 on lunch every day just because I’m too lazy to get up 10 minutes earlier in the mornings to bosh together a salad even though I don’t start work until 10am and that should be disgracefully easy.
– Remember that MA I did in political journalism and utilise it more.
– Start writing a fucking book.
I wrote about rape and sexual assault, which is a big deal for me. So maybe that. But then I also interviewed Grimes and the result is one of my favourite things I’ve ever published – so that, too. Also my boyfriend moved in with me in February and we’ve only come close to killing each other twice, which is amazing. Perhaps my biggest achievement is learning how to co-exist with someone you love and grow together without compromising yourself. I’m still learning, of course.
Oh, I also pet a cat with a tie on. Lord this year has been stacked.
Favourite Articles I Read On The Internet
A Very Revealing Conversation with Rihanna – Miranda July for the New York Times
Why A Double Funeral on Your Birthday is the Best Party You’ll Ever Have – Hayley Campbell for BuzzFeed
Stakes is High: Drake Ghostwriting Accusations Matter More Than You Think – Krix Ex for NPR
When I Was a 13-Year-Old Cam Girl – Alanna McArdle for Broadly
Why The Rock is Beyonce for Boys – Joel Golby for VICE
The Banning of Tyler the Creator Reveals a UK Government Struggling to Define ‘Terrorism’ – Joe Zadeh for Noisey
What You Still Don’t Understand About Being Trans – Hari Nef for i-D
Going, Going Gone: I Started Losing My Hair at 16 – Sam Wolfson for The Guardian
The Music Industry Needs to Wake Up and Support Artists with Mental Health Problems – Ryan Bassil for Noisey
I Wasn’t Brought Here, I Was Born: Surviving Punk Rock Long Enough to Find Afropunk – Hanif Abdurraqib for Pitchfork
Soft Power: How Zayn Malik is Rebuilding the Modern Muslim Man in an Age of Islamophobia – Fariah Rosin on Medium
Rise Craig David, Your Time is Now – Angus Harrison for Noisey
Favourite Things I Read Not On The Internet
Having been a fan of her films for years, it’s actually shocking that it took me this long to pick up some of Miranda July’s fiction. I got this, her first novel, while shopping with Dean and Saam this summer and decided on a whim to cop some sweet new reads – which is actually the first time I’ve done that this year. I’ll tell ya, Amazon may be cheaper, but the rush of going into a real life bookshop and grabbing a bunch of stuff on impulse is real. It’s a hit and miss tactic but the payoff is much higher. Anyway, this was one of three things I picked up and it’s the best thing I’ve read all year and it made me feel things. I urge you to email me if you wanna talk about it. Maybe we can start an online book club? Miranda July would probably love that. Special shout out to This Side of Paradise, which was one of the other books I picked up and ended up becoming the start of an F. Scott Fitzgerald obsession I didn’t know I had in me, and everything by Amelia Grey – which Dean made me read because he knows how much I love dark humour and carefully constructed misandry.
Favourite TV Series: True Detective Season 2
People almost unanimously hated this season, and I understand why. It felt like Nic Pizzolatto spent 6 episodes suggesting he was trying to do too much with the plot then the last 2 proving that he was actually doing too little. There were so many things that were left unexplained, and the reveal rested a little too heavily on a narrative convenience. But Dean and I really went in on this shit. We listened to a podcast deconstructing each episode, swapped theories, trawled the subreddit – the whole nine nerdy ass yards, and that’s really what made it so gratifying. I’ve never had so much fun looking for clues that might be hidden in the shot even if most of it didn’t pay off (I ended up learning a load about Santa Muerte and Bohemian Grove even though they were nothing to do with it). I’ve never invested so much in a group of characters and been emotionally affected by their conclusions. The last episode had me crying for a half hour. Considering I watch a lot of TV with my phone in hand and my attention half-elsewhere, it was a really good lesson in investing in something to get the most out of it.
Favourite Podcast: Women of the Hour with Lena Dunham
So Lena Dunham teaming up with BuzzFeed for a feminist podcast to promote her paperback sounds like possibly the most sickly thing that could ever have happened to the world, but I gave it a shot and honestly it has been like a form of life support for the latter half of this year. It’s been a comfort blanket when I’ve had trouble sleeping or calming down, it’s illuminated me to a whole host of incredible women I wouldn’t otherwise have known about, it’s made me cry and appreciate certain things much more, and just generally been a joy and an education. I would recommend it to anyone.
Special shout out to The Read for being the regular dose of ugly-laughing-on-public-transport everyone needs in their lives, Having Kid Fury and Crissle flank me on my commute once a week has been a genuine saving grace.
Favourite Shade: The one so impressive it was nominated for a Grammy
If this wins it will be a legendary sign of the times.
Favourite Magazine Cover: Zayn Malik for The Fader
Iconic. See Fariah Rosin’s article in my favourite reads.
Favourite Person: Margaret and John Curtis
They may not have lived to see the end of it, and they sure as hell didn’t get there side by side, but my grandmother and granddad both passed away this year within weeks of each other – my granddad the first to leave, which was a goddamn first as far as his party rules were concerned. She may not have seen eye to eye with him and he may not have seen eye to eye with anyone, but if there’s one thing to be said of them both it’s that they were always there – for me, at least – when it mattered. My grandmother: kind, quiet, humble to a fault. My granddad: the man I visited three times a year (on a good year) who would clap me on the back so hard I’d be winded, then offer me a glass of vodka and a boiled egg, and berate me for sounding too English. I regret not visiting them as often as I ought and I regret not being strong enough to speak at either of their funerals, but from them each I learned two essential and opposing lessons: humility and the importance of practical jokes.
Gather round, London, because I’m about to let you in on a delicious secret called Cook Daily. It’s an all vegan pop-up in Boxpark, Shoreditch, that serves their food – from breakfast to ramen – in big bowls that shit all over your parents “ha ha what do vegans even eat anyway? lettuce and air?!” chat. I’ve been living here for a year and a half now and, Mildred’s aside, it’s the best cruelty-free food I’ve ever been served. Plus they always play great music and Jme eats there. If you don’t know, get to know.
A medley of all these photobooth shockers from our staff party because they feature a) my entire repertoire of facial expressions, and b) almost everyone who made my work year fun even when it wasn’t necessarily supposed to be. They were also taken about 15 minutes before Craig actual David showed up out of nowhere and performed “Fill Me In” over “Where Are U Now”, provoking the first ever mosh pit at an office do.
What a year. But it’s not all about me – here’s a mix of great songs (available on Soundcloud) I made for you all.