Bonne Année

LeFacepalm

So it’s 2017, at last.

Let’s not eulogise about 2016 – Bowie, Brexit, Trump, etc. In the grand scheme of things, it was grim.

For me, it was a beige, meh, 6.5/10.

Introspection’s never been my forté. What’s done is done, what’s not done is left to do. We move on.

If I dare tempt fate (and I do), there is cause for positivity in 2017, putting the inexorable march towards Brexit aside.

But first, a quick squizz through 2016 from this mawkish commentator, yours truly.

  • The best thing I listened to last year was White by Weezer, quite possibly the best comeback album of all time and one that should rightly take its place alongside their 1994 classic Blue. It is, quite simply, flawless. If the Beach Boys were at their prolific best in 2016, this is the album they would have written. Honourable mentions include Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave, Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not by Dinosaur Jr, Hardwired… To Self Destruct by Metallica, A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead, Music For An Infinite Universe by 65daysofstatic and, of course, Blackstar by David Bowie.
  • The best things I watched last year were Hail, Caesar! and 10 Cloverfield Lane, although that’s just about it for 2016 films I actually saw.

I did some cool things last year, namely:

Et finalement, last year, I did a little round-up of those we sadly lost. This year, well, need I even remind you?

Forza 2017.

See EU later

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Today, a lot of people are saying they’ve ‘got their country back’; I really can’t help but feel that I’ve lost mine.

On Thursday, the UK voted by a small majority to leave the European Union. The final result was around 52% to 48% in favour of leave.

The leave vote was mainly concentrated among older generations. The ‘youth’, myself included, voted to remain. <insert Steve Buscemi ‘kids’ meme here>.

I’ve long said I identify first and foremost as someone from Somerset. I’m proud of my county, its culture, heritage and parochial chutzpah. Oh, and the cider.

But that only goes so far. Beyond our borders, I am not an Englishman or a Brit, I am a European, I identify as a citizen of Europe.

The EU is a remarkable union, the biggest and most successful political and economic union the world has ever seen, one that has largely ensured peace in Europe for more than 70 years.

Of course, it’s not perfect; nothing is. But I feel the frustration that has led to this decision has been misdirected. People went to the polls yesterday to give politics (and politicians) a kicking. I don’t blame them.

But the EU was the wrong target for this frustration. The EU hasn’t ground the NHS into the dust. The EU hasn’t failed to build sufficient housing to meet demand and the new schools we need. The EU didn’t fail to chase corrupt firms for their billions in unpaid taxes (which, you know, could have fixed the NHS in a heartbeat). The EU hasn’t persisted with a voting system where millions of votes are, in essence, worthless. The ills this country bear are firmly rooted in Westminster, at the very heart of our parliamentary democracy, not Brussels.

I’m 27. Just. It is my generation who will live with the consequences of this vote, a vote which was decided by two generations unlikely to feel the shockwaves.

Generation millenial will live longer than any generation to date. We will retire later than any generation to date – and we will pay the most to support, sustain and care for the generation that sealed this vote.

Today, I feel bereft.

There is one positive though. Thursday was the day the ‘youth’ of this country woke up and sent a very clear message to our government. Some 70% of young people voted to remain in the EU, a huge (albeit ultimately worthless) mandate and one future governments will need to be wary of – and will need to appease.

We are the future of this country, and we did not vote for this.

UPDATE (3.30pm): These two quotes have been doing the rounds today in various think-pieces and on social media. I don’t know who said/wrote them, I don’t even know if they are attributable to a real person, but they sum up my feelings fairly succinctly.

“The younger generation has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles, and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors.”

And…

“A generation given everything: free education, golden pensions, social mobility, have voted to strip my generation’s future.”

Note: I am sure there are many conscientous, forward-thinking, reasonable members of my parents’ baby boomer generation just as disappointed as I am with the result of the referendum. But the numbers stack up. Sorry.

Happy New Year

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Dawn breaks on another New Year. There’s no real reason I chose this picture taken from our office in Guildford, other than it looks pretty swish.

Anyhoo, Happy New Year everyone. I’m not one for New Year’s introspection. What’s done is done, what’s not done is left to do – ideally well.

These are some 2015 ‘things’.

  • The best thing I listened to last year was My Love Is Cool by Wolf Alice. Honourable mentions include Vulnicura by Björk, The Magic Whip by Blur, The Demon Joke by Mike Vennart, Undertow by Drenge, Kablammo! by Ash, and Born Under Saturn by Django Django.
  • The best thing I watched last year was Mad Max: Fury Road. Honourable mentions include The Martian and The Usual Suspects, which I had somehow neglected to watch until 2015.

Some of the coolest things I did last year were:

  • See three of my favourite bands, Muse, Amplifier and Ash, in tiny venues
  • See a load of other great bands/artists; ASIWYFA, Arcane Roots, Ash (another four times), Baroness, Ben Ottewell (of Gomez), Blur, Faith No More, Gogol Bordello, Marmozets, Metallica, Royal Blood, The Stranglers, Mike Vennart (of Oceansize), Wheatus
  • Go to a really awesome wedding in Finland (and just go to Finland in general)
  • Visit Scotland, climb Ben Nevis, go to the best beer garden ever, get plastered in a folk bar where we met a totally sound guy called Wallace
  • Finally trek but a fraction of the breathtakingly beautiful Lake District, climb Scafell Pike, make a ridiculously abortive effort to climb Helvellyn
  • Visit Munich, drink all the weißbeer, eat all the pork, tour FC Bayern, pay our respects at Dachau
  • Experience a new festival, namely the barmy BoomTown Fair
  • Reported on the Dalai Lama‘s visit to Aldershot
  • Take an exclusive tour of the famous Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldeshot

And a quick mention for some of those sadly lost in 2015:

  • Lemmy (of Motörhead)
  • Wayne Static (of Static-X)
  • Chris Squire (of Yes)
  • Sir Christopher Lee

Over and out. See you in 2016.