2018 to 2019

Published Categorised as Life in General 1 Comment on 2018 to 2019

2018 was a hard year and felt like it lasted a million years rather than just one. I spent most of 2017 trav­el­ling around for both work and pleas­ure, visit­ing the Czech Repub­lic, Austria, Germany, Japan, Croa­tia, Slov­e­nia, France and Switzer­land (tech­nic­ally the Neth­er­lands via Schiphol Airport too) and work­ing at a resid­en­tial course in Cambridge, which was a differ­ent kind of relent­less. At the end of the year I moved back to Kent (where I grew up), to Margate, a small town now popu­lar with artists. For the first six months of the year I was pretty much restric­ted to Kent due to my dad being termin­ally ill, which was a shock to the system after the continu­al momentum of 2017 (along with being pain­fully broke due to having to turn work down because I couldn’t travel or commit in advance). Deal­ing with the bubble of small-town living and the feel­ing of being surveilled, judged and gossiped about was also very uncom­fort­able after the anonym­ity and free­dom of inter­na­tion­al living. Of course I have also met and made friends with some excel­lent people here.

My dad died in the Spring, and we had to clear out his crum­bling house he had lived in since 1983 and sell it, which was a long, drawn out melan­choly process. This meant I inher­ited money and was able to buy a flat, which was also a long, boring, stress­ful process that meant living in limbo crowded by boxes of packed things. I finally got the keys to the new place a couple of days before Christ­mas, which means Christ­mas and New Year were a mostly uncel­eb­rated blur of frantic clean­ing, decor­at­ing, pack­ing and moving (I’m still unpack­ing). Becom­ing a homeown­er due to death is a mixed feel­ing- there’s not the same feel­ing of celeb­ra­tion as there would be if you had paid for it from your earn­ings (an impossib­il­ity for me and many people of course these days).

The other main thing new thing I did in 2018 was to start putting on gigs with my friend Kevin Morpurgo as Connect Noth­ing With Noth­ing (named after the line from TS Eliot’s Waste­land about Margate Sands). We both have a lot of contacts with tour­ing DIY bands both in the UK and abroad, and star­ted to get them to come to Margate. It’s been a big success in terms of getting cool bands to come and play great shows that the audi­ences really enjoy. It’s been a big chal­lenge in that it’s mostly been a loss-maker, and we’re still build­ing up the audience/​hunting out the people who are really passion­ate about this music.

For me person­ally as well, grass-roots music in this area is still a very unex­amined boys’ club, and I’ve encountered a lot of hurt­ful resent­ment and territ­ori­al­ism that constantly feels like an uphill struggle to deal with (along with outdated bull­shit like getting groped at my own gig). I’ve often felt upset, and like giving up, but I won’t out of sheer bloody-minded­ness. Plans for 2019 are basic­ally to keep bring­ing cool bands in, keep build­ing up a genu­inely welcom­ing community and audi­ence and try not to lose money.

After spend­ing the first six months of the year entirely in Kent, in the summer I went to the Tyrol and Munich for work (you can see the photos here and here) and then in Septem­ber to Singa­pore and Australia (photos and zine still to come). It was my first time in the trop­ics, and also my first time in the south­ern hemi­sphere. I’ve now been in four contin­ents, just North and South Amer­ica to go.

I didn’t make any resol­u­tions last year. I tend to stick to posit­ive resol­u­tions- things I want to do and will enjoy, rather than punish­ing myself. I also make them non-bind­ing as fun ideas for the coming year rather than some­thing I should beat myself up for doing. Here’s some ideas for 2019:

Have fun

I want to do inter­est­ing things I find satis­fy­ing and be around people who are good company. This doesn’t mean having to be extro­ver­ted or the life and soul of the party or have no mental health troubles- some of the best people I know to hang out with struggle with issues like agora­pho­bia, social anxi­ety, severe depres­sion or are just really quiet. It’s about the spir­it you approach other people in.

People who care so much about their image or ego or status they can’t lower them­selves to enjoy anything or be kind to people are the most boring people on earth, and walk­ing round with an atti­tude of “this is all so beneath me” is just a sign of deep insec­ur­ity.

Invite people over

I like having guests. My previ­ous flat was tiny, and didn’t have room for many people. I now have enough space.


I also love to bake and cook. The oven at my old place was not very good (wildly incon­sist­ent temper­at­ures), and I couldn’t reli­ably bake things. I now have a bigger kitchen and a decent oven, so I’m back in service.

Brush up on the piano

I have a piano now, and space for it. My piano skills are very rusty, and I never had many lessons to begin with (I had regu­lar lessons/​took music exams with the clari­net as that could be prac­ticed at home). It’s common for parents to force their chil­dren to play the piano- I was the oppos­ite, I loved play­ing but didn’t have a piano at home. I can still read music with a bit of a creak­ing slow brain, and know all the scales, but I defin­itely can’t sight read anymore. When I can afford it, I’d like to have some refresh­er lessons to check I’m not harbour­ing any bad habits.

Send more post

I love send­ing letters and post­cards. I held off for the last few months though as I was wait­ing to move. Now I have a perman­ent address I’ve applied for a PO Box (it gets delivered to your house here rather than being an actu­al phys­ic­al box, but still has the result of obscur­ing your actu­al home address) for even more mail fun.

Write some zines & start trad­ing again

I did a few zines in 2018. I’ve got a list of ideas for new ones. I also held off on trades while I was wait­ing to move.

Repair Germany zine

I wrote a zine about trav­el­ling round Germany earli­er this year, scanned it for print­ing, listed it for sale, and when I was print­ing out some orders real­ised the scan had one master sheet twice. Then I couldn’t find the origin­al page at all, and ended up having to refund the orders. I was hoping it would turn up when I was moving house, but it didn’t. So I’m going to re-make the miss­ing eight pages.

Write more regu­larly on this blog

I’ve let it slide lately. I have some thoughts lately on blogs vs social media, but I’ll save them for their own entry

Visit London museums more regu­larly

London is a 90 minute jour­ney from where I live now, so still access­ible (if not a conveni­ent commute). I haven’t been to museums this year as much as I usually do, and I miss it.

Scan my old films/​do more film photo­graphy

I’ve got a new film scan­ner and folders full of negat­ives dating back years.

Get more edit­or­i­al work

And hope­fully book work as well as magazine spot illus­tra­tions.

Get back into the swing of online selling

I wound the shop down a little while I was wait­ing to move, but I’m raring to go again.

Grow some cacti and succu­lents from seed

My grandad used to farm cacti as a side busi­ness.

Just gener­ally do creat­ive projects

I only have to satis­fy myself.

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