Why Hullo There, 2011. You’re Looking Mighty Fine.

Yes, for those of you who haven’t slept through the start of this year (thanks, iPhone) a big Happy New Year to you all! Just got back from a few days up in Edinburgh, enjoying my first ever Scottish Hogmanay celebration. Good fun, and I highly recommend a hike up Arthur’s Seat on New Years Day as a way to shift a hangover. Other key tips – bugger all happens on the Royal Mile at midnight, it’s all in the ticketed parties that happen on the streets below the castle. So a very very very big thank you to the lovely gentleman who just strolled over and gave us his tickets. You, sir are a true gentleman.

Before I move onto thoughts for 2011, the traditional review of 2010 is in order. Highlight of the year was likely the trip to Japan and Korea – an amazing whirlwind two weeks that gave a taste of two beautiful countries that has only whetted my appetite for more. Following quickly on from that was an unexpected visit to Israel. Most of this was spent in Jerusalem, a stunning city of amazing contrasts and well worth a visit – though you may want to avoid August heatwave season. Just a thought. Outside of travel 2010 has had some splendid gigs, from Flight of the Conchords, through Tom Jones and Robert Plant, to Charlotte Gainsbourg and Interpol. Union Chapel in Islington has become one of my new favourite venues, although the fixed up Garage in the same neighbourhood is really quite splendid too. According to my Lightroom I’ve taken roughly 20,000 pictures over this last year.. Flickr would disagree with that, having hardly seen any uploads in that same time for which I apologise and promise to do better this year. Honest. Other than that have been some lovely times with friends and family with many a good chat over a bottle or two of vin rouge. Oh, and I also grew a beard for the first time. I quite like it, so it’ll be around a while.

So onto 2011, what do I see for the year ahead? Fear not, this isn’t going to be a long list of resolutions, mainly because I’ll just look at my list for last year and then get stressed out about how many I’ve yet to do. Basically this is going to be a year of having fun, spending more time with friends and just getting on with stuff. There may also be a smidgin of more specific goals in there, such as right now I’m trying to go a month without wheat, but I just think there is just so much amazing stuff out there to try, learn, do and sometimes fail epically, as well as people to meet that there’s no time to lose. In summary, less telly. Well, at least until the new season of Mad Men comes on…

Goodbye 2008

Another year over, a new one almost begun… So as we all face the imminent prospect of extreme party pressure it’s time to reflect on the highs and lows of the last year – Matt Hobbs stylee:

First up, the lows. The economic situation is certainly a bit of a downer, especially as we chose to go job hunting right in the middle of it. Ah, if only my crystal ball had been working – must get some new batteries for it. Heath Ledger’s unexpected death just before the release of his epic performance as the Joker also sticks in my mind – especially being a fan of Terry Gilliam, whose latest film Ledger stars in (and still is – along with some replacements such as Johnny Depp). On a personal note we got screwed over royally by the spineless sh*t who sub-let our apartment – Sonny, who trashed the place then did a runner without paying rent. If anyone sees him on the streets of Montreal, give him a good, hard kick in the nuts from us. A big up to Graham for coming to our rescue, and good luck with your job hunt in the new year! On which note, leaving Montreal was certainly a low as we both miss the place and our friends terribly (and the snow) but London is fun, and more of that in a mo. Oh, and more recently there was the huge disappointment of David Tennant not performing in Hamlet, after we’d been excited about seeing this top rated performance for three months. Ah well.

Now for the good stuff – first up, the obvious one. Obama-mania! Yep, we got swept along with everyone else on that one. It’s great to see such a positive response to an American President getting voted in – not just because we’ll all be mightily glad to see the back of the current idiot (anyone see his exit interviews? a complete absense of the decency to admit any mistakes over these ridiculous eight years – hello? 9/11 failure of intelligence? Iraq lack of WMDs? Global failure of respect for your once proud nation? Trashed economy? Grow some balls Bush and take responsibility for your actions.). Obama certainly signals a new hope for a country that needs some positive spin, both at home and abroad. Fingers crossed he delivers at least 10% of what people are hoping for right now. The only real downside of this is that the classic news based comedy shows such as The Daily Show and Colbert Report will now be lacking their greatest source of material.. sorry, writers.

Earlier in the year, after the end of a wonderful trip to Mexico with the Johnson clan, we bade our sad goodbye to our New York apartment and shipped all my stuff up into Montreal for the last time (literally just fitting in the car). Shortly after that it was packed up again and shipped over to England where it arrived safely, other than one broken bowl. Yes, the big news of the year for us was migrating to England – back in those happy days before we knew of such things as ‘global economic crash’. We arrived happy, landing into a typically grey day at Heathrow and then heading over to our current abode in Southwark. Which brings us merrily to the other highlight of our year – Mr T. T’other Matt has been our guardian angel this year, helping us sort out a place to live, wheels and many more things – as well as being a generally lovely chap. Cheers, Tully!

So we had our first London summer together, and the first one for me in six years. Wandering along the South Bank. Amazing Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre (Timon of Athens & Midsummer Night’s Dream). Fun with the nephews at Latitude Festival. Catching up with family. All interspersed with the stress of job hunting, as the economy gradually started to tank. Ug. Thankfully things started to come together in autumn with jobs at globally respected magazines for Miette, and a contract that turned into a job for me as well. Huzah!

There have been many more things that happened, and memories to recount, but for those of you who don’t regularly – just read the rest of this blog for the year (simple, init). And now 2009 rapidly approaches, under 24 hours left to go. We’re positive about the next year, even with the increasing economic down-turn. Everyone will baton down the hatches, but the world will still turn – and most people needed a good kick up the arse to stop the orgy of over-consumption we currently live with day to day. Enough preaching, on with the partying! See you next year.

Pigging Out

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Now we enter the year of the pig, apparently a very prosperous year for all – especially for people who are little piggies themselves. And a big thanks to the Huang clan for another lovely communal soup-bowl cooking experience. Putting vegetables and meats from your plate into the boiling soup, then fishing it out, or possibly someone else’s food, a bit later is a great way to eat and share good times.

Merry Januaryween!

New Year’s Season Greetings to one and all*, welcome to 2007. May you all have hte best bestest bestesterest year ever. And then some.

My hangover has now subsided after another classic Chris party, so I can finally face the loud tapping noise of my keyboard to make a post. Thanks to everyone for a fun evening, and big thanks to my family as usual for stuffing me full of Christmas fare. This of segues nicely into my sole New Year’s Resolution of ‘lose the weight put on over Christmas’.

* Apologies to all religious groups I’ve offended because you either don’t celebrate the ‘increasingly commericalised’ New Years or have a much better date for resetting your calendar. Oh, and a big up to the Mayans as we now enter the last five years before the end of their calendar and either a time of re-birth or the end of the world. Personally I’m rooting for that to be the date the Internet becomes sentient.