You guessed it: it’s time for the long-established (this being the third year ) review of the year! So, what on earth happening during 2008?
New Year’s SexFest ’08 at Joshua’s was the biggest yet – no doubt helped by the beautiful sponsorship banners which Lucy and I created for the event. The rest of the holiday was spent with the greatest people in the world attempting but failing to play The War On Terror board game and watching the powerful film The Kite Runner. Back in Cambridge I danced to Dale’s Supermarket Sweep with Sophie and started Themes and Sources classes which, for all their stresses, did introduce me to lasting friends Andrew (“Andreas!”), Matt (“If we’re honest…”) and Caroline (“your token Tory”). But January was also a sad month: my Grandad died, although his funeral was a fitting tribute to a long life.
In the Cambridge bubble we had our amazingly scrumptious History Society Dinner which was also probably one of the first proper chats I had with Abi. Lucy and I had our second anniversary, Saoirse visited and was forced to sign a form at the University Library promising that she wouldn’t learn anything and I freaked a few people out (slightly) by beating myself up when the Internet was down. Oh, and I got married to Sophie! This month I also saw the crazed Stephen Green, the slightly mad Nigel Farage and the very sane Sir Richard Dearlove speak. Meanwhile, in the real world, the word ‘nationalisation’ returned to the scene: cue heady excitement and frequent pleas for the railways to be next.
March began with a pheromone test, dinner with mum and everyone blogging photos of their desks. Term was winding down by this point and we spent evenings playing with Jenga bricks, sonic screwdrivers and *laughs* Dungeons and Dragons – the latter clearly a singular aberration. And then I was back in London again, where a totally different kind of life instead demanded Jenga Truth or Dare, Junior Pictionary and bubble mixture. Lucy and I also invented (for ourselves at any rate) the Tube game – hurrah for South Acton! – and had The 39 Steps (not) ruined by a giant brass bar. I also went unsuccessfully ice-skating with Oliver and Abi (gulp) but danced highly successfully with Scott at Josie’s 18th. But perhaps March will best be remembered by one great discovery above all others… I speak, of course, of the mighty Peggle.
Ah, April, the month in which I tried my very best to get Ken Livingstone re-elected by handing out leaflets, phoning up people in Kew, pushing leaflets through doors and even persuading Saoirse to help! Meanwhile, 2008 proved to be the year of the dinner party with Abbi hosting April’s great get-together. My mum and I rekindled our geek visit tradition with the London Transport Museum and the Royal Courts of Justice whilst Lucy and I ate fudge in Stratford upon Avon. Then: Easter term began with the terrifying prospect of a mock
exam quiz (thanks, Sophie!) but also the amazing surprise of Oliver and Abi’s beautiful Dalek cookies. This was also the month in which we finally all went punting together and – slightly momentously – I actually cast my first proper vote in an election. Would democracy turn out to be any good?
No, no it would not! May opened with the installation of Mayor Boris; true recovery from this event still eludes me even after the subsequent evenings of wine, ice cream and Doctor Who in its aftermath as well as comfort-buying a new phone. In fact, come to think of it, this was also the month that of the Sainsbury’s ID outrage, the stolen pizza (lest we forget!) and another wrong-headed final of The Apprentice. Did anything good happen? Well, naturally, as Abi and I reached our creative peak in choosing to spend our History Society budget on little badges. Yay
By contrast June was a very happy time: the final weeks of my first year of uni went by in a warm haze of picnics and barbecues – and the Caius May Ball was one of the most amazing nights of my life. A couple of days later it was my 19th birthday and amidst all the generous gifts was Oliver and Abi’s beautiful dartboard of hate figures, something which really touched me given all the effort that went into making it, as well as Lucy’s highly addictive Underground board game which subsequently saw much play. I also visited Worcester, went on an joint expedition to sample the delights of the Shoreham Village Fête in Joe’s village and – one afternoon on a Hampstead Heath picnic – found in Sanna and Saoirse willing companions to launch the brilliant Book Club.
I started an important journey in July: to finally watch the original Star Wars trilogy. Properly. And so I did, but there were plenty of other distractions too – Abbi’s Dirty Pirate Hooker Party, the Waseley Prom, Barrie Birch’s leaving do featuring memorable live teacher performances, swimming in the Hampstead Heath ponds and visiting Andrew in Cambridge for some delicious hot dogs and – naturally – plenty of wine. And those films and plays: The Dark Knight, Midnight & Magnolias at the Tricycle and ‘Best Film Ever’ The Forbidden Kingdom. I finally got my cheesy photo with Ken at the supporters’ party – bring on 2012! – and even managed to do my usual stint of work (actual paid work ) for the UCL summer school. Hurrah!
Aw – the family summer holiday is far from dead and this year was spent relaxing in Croatia with a week each in Korcula and Dubrovnik. This was also the month of A2 results for Lucy, Josie, Nic, Andy (and the rest!) as well as GCSEs for Natasha – all well deserved. Mamma Mia was in cinemas, Let There Be Love played at the Tricycle and Robert took his turn to host our dinner party antics. I also spent some time with Matthew – always a pleasure – and indeed ended up sitting on the curb outside a packed pub with him and Joshua one night musing about life.
Others may return to school but September is still the summer for me! And rather than do coursework I carried on having fun: particularly so on the night that Natasha and I cooked huge quantities of spaghetti for everyone. That evening was a pleasurable blur although Abbi’s cheese mix CD was not only much-played but prompted the creation of my own musical compilation. Over in Warwick Lucy was traumatised by a laughing tourist at the ghost experience whilst back in London The Boy With Striped Pyjamas left us all unable to speak long after the credits rolled. I also saw Die Welle and read Bad Science, the latter of which instantly became one of my favourite books.
Agh, the second year already! In October I moved into Mortimer Road and discovered Merlin, the SAECULUM and wordles – not to mention managing to resurrect my beloved Ready Brek from my childhood. Peggle struck back with Peggle Nights, a chance encounter with Patrick from April’s Ken campaign led me to see Henry V and Sanna came to both visit and marvel at demi-god Magnus Ryan. Plus: I had my first ultra-late-night-essay-writing-binge.
Perhaps in realisation at how crazily quickly time was passing there were further visitors: my parents came up for quintessential afternoon tea with Sophia and Joshua arrived to challenge Abi to Peggle duels, eat bumper portions of waffles and take me to see The King Blues for a brilliant gig performance. Of course, there was also the night in which we all stayed up to watch Obama sweep to victory – and sweet landslide victory indeed! Russell T Davies is not quite of such worldwide importance – although he comes pretty damned close – and on an evening at the National in London he graciously signed a copy of his book for me… and Natasha, and Katie. In addition – Reindeer Post was launched, Sir Christopher Meyer spoke to Peterhouse and Pride and Privilege proved perfect entertainment for me and Sophie. Oh, and on a visit to Sussex I discovered the irreplaceable children’s classic My Mates and I!
Winter is freezing in Cambridge and doubly so if your coat lacks any buttons – but never fear, because in the final week of term there was celebration, raucous late-night beer-fuelled singing, a visit to Newnham and Doctor Zhivago with Owen’s Russian night. Back at home, Promise – who I’d happily seen a lot more of over the last term – braved the Self household to come round for dinner. Secret Tikoloshe proved loads of fun at the Secret Vegetarian Festive Dinner before Christmas came and was as lovely as Christmas always is. And in the final few days of 2008 we saw lots of family in Suffolk – hi Julie! – and Abi presented me with yet another amazing present. How can I ever repay these people?!
Well, we’ll see if I manage it in 2009 Onwards to SexFest ’09!