It’s a cliche, but 2016 has been a bit of a tough one. Brexit, Trump, celebrity deaths, etc., but I thought I’d carry out a selfish exercise, and do a review of the best and worst bits of my 2016.
Soundtrack: Flight Facilities
As an ordinarily classical / jazz / classic rock fan, naturally when I get into electronic music, it’s because of an act which collaborates with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. I first got into Flight Facilities because of this song (I’m a big fan of the choreographer), and then discovered the rest of their music through Spotify. Still struggling to find similar acts, so am very open to recommendations.
Biggest achievement: Passing CFA Level 2
Difficult to explain, even more difficult to pass. Have to include it as this qualification essentially took over the first half of 2016. 5 months of studying every evening after work, and using my actual holiday as study leave luckily paid off. Only 1 level to go!
Lowest moment: Brexit
There’s nothing quite like waking up at 4am in a Frankfurt hotel room to find that your country has voted to leave the EU, then being laughed at in the lift by some Asian tourists before being looked at by a German receptionist as if you’re a boyfriend who wronged her.
Highest moment: Getting Friday 40 tickets to Harry Potter
Because getting £20 tickets for 2nd row stall seats to the hottest play in town should have you literally jumping up and down at your desk.
Best play (West End): Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Perhaps it had flaws, but don’t tell me about them. I thought it was magical. Plus it explored a theme I really wanted but that had never been explored in the books – how would Harry as ‘The Chosen One’ react in the situation where he had to sacrifice someone he loved for his own survival? Okay, so not specifically explored, but it was close enough for me.
Best sporting event: Watching the Maestro (Federer) at Wimbledon
A day of queuing in the rain and burning in the sun, all worth it. Also excellent to hear rousing renditions of “Shoes off if you love Willis” as Marcus Willis beat Lithuanian, Ricardas Berankis (even if I was sitting with one of the only other Lithuanians in the crowd).
Best play (off West End): Much Ado About Nothing in a pub in Camden
My mum, in her own special way, found us a fringe production, set in the ’80s, in the Pack and Carriage pub near Mornington Crescent. It was great fun. Also, introduced the Lithuanian to Shakespeare in the least classical of ways.
New hobby: Painting things gold
Post to follow
Saddest death: Leonard Cohen
I saw him perform in Manchester 3 years ago. 3 weeks before his 80th birthday, he was the best live performer I have ever seen. I was hoping to sing So Long Marianne with him one last time, but alas, it was not meant to be.
Memorable events: Cahoots, Django Bango, Piano Works, Multi-Storey Orchestra
Constantly looking for anything which really is that overused buzzword ‘Immersive’ and Cahoots was the closest I was able to find in London, and it’ll do for now (until theatre company Punchdrunk decides to do another London production).
Django Bango was another immersive attempt, building a wild west town for food, drinks and dancing. It was a bit rough around the edges, and could definitely have been more immersive. However, it was great fun, and I have to applaud the ambition in the scale of the thing.
Piano Works – good idea but the queue for the bar was way too long. Kept on thinking people had left when they’d only gone to get a drink. I think ‘Piano’ on Kensington High Street does a similar thing in a more personal way.
Further introduced the Lithuanian to classical music as the Multi-Storey Orchestra performed Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony in Bold Tendencies car park (the one that houses Frank’s). Strangely, and quite wonderfully, intimate, with a great introduction. The orchestra were dotted around the car park telling us the background to the piece, Beethoven and classical music in general. A much more interesting alternative to programme notes.
Best purchase: These