Please forgive me for dropping a more socially biased blog on to this site, I wanted to try to capture my thoughts on the year that was, the things that had an impact on me and how so much ‘media’ and ‘culture’ really does have an impact on who we are and what we do…

I’ve been with my partner in crime for two years, and our tastes in all things cultural were probably about 70% similar when we met, slowly but surely I am being converted, particularly to a different kind of music. I can reflect on that a great deal as I do what I have done every year since 2002 and collate my top 20 songs of the year:

  • Reflektor – Arcade Fire
  • What Doesn’t Kill You – Jake Bugg
  • Good Together – Chapel Club
  • Get Lucky – Daft Punk
  • Follow The Step – Rachel Row
  • Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? – Arctic Monkeys
  • Late Night (Solomun Remix) – Foals
  • Human – Daughter
  • Man I Need – Jagwar Ma
  • Wishing Well – Barbarossa
  • My Desire (Dub) – Copyright
  • GMF – John Grant
  • Duet – Everything Everything
  • Need U (100%) (SkreamMix) – Duke Dumont
  • Fight Them Back – Steve Mason
  • Not Giving In (Bondax Remix) – Rudimental
  • White Noise (Hud-Mo Remix) – Disclosure
  • Carry Me – Bombay Bicycle Club
  • So Close – Kidnap Kid
  • Love Is Lost (James Murphy Remix) – David Bowie

So, gone is the miserable guitar music, hardly any Americana, and no Ryan Adams. In is a more cheery outlook, some beats and the word remix! My best friend thinks this is a great change, he once told me he didn’t ‘get’ my music because it was very ‘band based’. I have to say I have enjoyed discovering some new music this year and turning that misconception of mine that the majority of music with beats could also double as a car alarm!

One thing that hasn’t changed though is my love of the ‘Comic Book Film’, and whether they came out this year or not watching and re-watching The Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, Superman, Batman and Spiderman still makes me feel like a kid and is something I can now ‘share’ with my partner in crime, I’m not sure she always wants to have these shared at her though but…

My favourite new films of the year though have to be,

  • Now You See Me
  • Django Unchained
  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • Before Midnight
  • Iron Man 3

Not quite cinematic masterpieces I am sure and I haven’t seen Gravity or Captain Phillips yet so they didn’t make it on here!

The book diary is nowhere near as full as I wanted it to be at the start of 2013, I set a target of a book a month, which I hit, but I had hoped for a few more and I seem to have read books about work more this year than ever before. Top two recommendations from me are:

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach: A wonderful American novel delivering a warm story of coming of age no matter where you are from.

The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver: Gave me more food for thought and analogies than any other book I have ever read, I wasn’t sure if it was a book that I would apply to work or not, but I did!

When it comes to going out and visiting new places 2013 certainly did that for me, so my top few destinations are below, they are not all new destinations for me but sharing the experiences with new people in some cases has made the destination that bit even more special:

  • Café Mambo – San Antonio, Ibiza (In May before it gets too busy)
  • MIT – Boston, Massachusetts, USA (Flying solo for an afternoon in October)
  • Borough Market – London, UK (On a cold February Sunday morning)
  • Angelica at Trinity – Leeds, UK (On the balcony in August)
  • Elixier – Cala Codolar, Ibiza (Perfect venue for a party in August)
  • 230 5th – NYC, USA (Accidental attendance at the party of the year (in August))

And if I am honest Café Mambo should be on there again, because returning in August with a bunch of friends and seeing their faces as it went from relatively quiet to ‘THE’ place to be for the evening was a wonderful experience.

Your interest in things matures and evolves I guess, I thought I would give most things a go (although still not Oysters!) but giving Ceviche a go was a marvel, now I am looking for it on every menu wherever we visit!

Last on the lists is the live music and theatre experiences, there have been less this year than in years gone by, either I am getting old or enjoying being home a little too much but the top gigs have to be:

  • Bloc Party at Earls Court
  • DJ Solomun at Café Mambo
  • The Number Ninja (Stand-up Mathematician)  at UoL
  • Dan Michaelson and the Coastguards at The Old St. Pancras Church
  • Sam Smith at Trinity Church Leeds
  • Comedy of Errors (Sprite Production) at Ripley Castle

All in all a great year, in fact the best year, I am excited about 2014, already plenty of plans, some to simply do what we did last year and some new experiences to have……

Happy new year everyone.