As you’ve probably gathered from my last post, this year has been a bit of a disaster overall but there were some pretty awesome high points that I wanted to share. I’m not going to talk about the books in this post because DUDE, it goes without saying that every time I’m allowed behind a laptop and end up with 200 pages of words I’ve written in my hand, it’s an honour and a privilege. I love doing signings, I loved Kelktails and Biscuiteers and everything else we’ve done together. You’re all the best.
In January, I went to Australia for the first time and being entirely honest, I wasn’t completely psyched about it. Australia is a) far and b) full of spiders that can kill you. Happily, it transpired that a) I can take sleeping pills that will knock me out for the duration of the flight and b) the spiders aren’t everywhere and even though they exist, there are also koalas and kangaroos and my personal favourites, wallabies. Also, it didn’t hurt that I could wander to the beach from my friend’s house. In January.
You all know I love WWE, si? Si. So, this year I went to my first ever Wrestlemania. Unlike Australia, is was very, very cold and I was forced to buy an overpriced Wrestlemania 29 beanie that I’d blatantly never worn since but dude, it was pretty great. Even though the card was rubbish and I had to endure the ‘once in a lifetime’ Cena vs The Rock for the second time, it was still wonderful. Really looking forward to Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans in April. No, really.
I swear to god, I never used to be a sun baby but something has changed in my soul over the last twelve months. For a lot of 2013, I was seeing someone based out in LA and so I spent a lot of time over in California and completely fell in love with the place. Not only is is almost always sunny and lovely but it’s also but a three hour road trip from the Coachella music festival that I visited for the first time this year. I’ve been a long time festival attendee (Reading 2000, represent) but ever since spending three days in a five star resort and popping over to a festival held on a POLO FIELD might have ruined rainy tents and £8 pints of cider for the future… The bands were amazing, the people were amazing and the margaritas were amazing. Can’t recommend it enough.
And while you’re in LA, you must visit Jumbo’s Clown Room. While I would usually have reservations about sending you to a strip club in Hollywood, I had one of the most fun nights in recent memory at Jumbos. The girls on stage dance in their underwear, not nekkid, and there are usually as many women in there as men. Should you be brave enough to chuck a few dollars at your favourite dancer, you’ll likely be rewarded with a lovely chat with said dancer. The things I do in the name of research… and after one too many cocktails.
Also in Cali, I visited Disneyland for the second time this summer and had the best time (thanks Jen!) and was lucky enough to see my favourite band, The National, TWO TIMES. Once in at the Greek Theater in Griffiths Park and again at the Hollywood Forever cemetery. Yes, in a cemetery. It was awesome. Maybe not the best idea for a date, but still… honorable LA mentions to the man that drove me and Terri White to Santa Monica, Dennis the Burbank bartender, the Chinese restaurant that really wanted to chuck me and Kevin Dickson out and didn’t and that Thai place near Scott and Phil that is amazing. I wish I could give you more info than that. I can’t.
While I’m talking about The National (because when aren’t I?) seeing them play Sorrow for SIX HOURS at PS1 in May doesn’t sound like it would be much of a highlight but it really was. I think everyone there went a bit mad and almost everyone had a little cry but seriously, incredible experience.
I also go to visit a lot of new places – Italy, New Orleans, Utrecht – and all of them were wonderful. I went back to Toronto, Austin and lots of other places that I love. I definitely want to try to visit as many new places as possible in 2014, something about traveling really resets my senses and you know, that’s kind of important if I’m going to come up with new stories to tell. And since I’ve just agreed a new four book deal, that’s relatively important.
Perhaps most importantly, the proudest moment of my year (other than making the SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER LIST, THANKS TO YOU) was getting my green card. Seriously, moving to New York really has made me the person I am today and the fact that they’re letting me stay here FOREVER, fills my little black heart with joy.
It’s been a funny old year. There’s an argument that I probably tried to do too much and that not being able to go three weeks withot getting on a plane is probably not terribly healthy for someone who is writing three books in 18 months and suffers from an anxiety disorder but HEY. I’ve never been big on doing as I’m told. I’ve been in love, I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve seen friends get married and I’ve seen them fall apart. I’ve seen a therapist, I’ve seen several bartenders and I’ve dealt with more doctors than I care to remember. I’ve also see so many smiling faces that they outweigh the tears ten to one and that’s what keeps me going. If nothing else, I’ve learned that I’m not invincible but I’m also not alone. And maybe, just maybe you can take me down but I will get back up again and fuck me, you’d better watch out when I do.
So let’s see what you’ve got, 2014. Fingers crossed you can keep up.