In a lazy moment I solicited any stalkers on Twitter to write the annual review for me. Result: “Amber’s birthday was really good, and so were the times I bumped into Marion and Amber in the park… the rest of 2010 wasn’t very memorable, think I did some sleeping and maybe some eating and maybe some work.” Sounds fine by me, so what follows is simply padding…
The return of the midnight pillow fight: it could only be SexFest X, the fifth year of our traditional New Year party. Aside from that, London was mostly… snowy. Up in Cambridge it was all HAP mock exams and political thought, although this did introduce me to my bff Hume. Aside from work, Andrew made some delicious cocktails, we inadvertently turned ice-cream into milkshake due to the lack of any freezer, and at an Emma formal hostilities nearly broke out against a certain totalitarian porter. (I CAN HEAR YOU LAUGHING…)
This month, when I should have been working late into the night, I was instead making a computer game for Oliver’s birthday. Well, that or e-mailing Father Alexander – an act that earned me a personal condemnation from the pulpit and, naturally, eternal pride. I also wound up temporarily trapped in Newnham college, was introduced to the glory that is Shark Attack 3 and (rather excitingly) got to interview Ken Livingstone for Varsity. Didn’t give me a job, though…
After many months of stressful planning, the annual Caius History Society Dinner (plus after-party!) organised by me and Abi went off splendidly, thank goodness. Also featuring before the end of term was finally getting to a Formal at Catz with Promise, playing Lego Rock Band (very badly) at Bill’s, Alice in Wonderland (disappointing) and some fancy certificates from Oliver. In the holidays Lucy and I went to Edinburgh, witnessing one woman make contact with a ghost in the underground city. My family also marched into the future with a shiny new TV, Sanna and I went to court (visiting…) and Saoirse, DF and I got to play in Launchpad. But also in March came sad news: my Nana’s death after very many years.
Every generation needs a myth: an epic story of adventure, daring and romance to mark our deepest hopes and our darkest fears. Into the absence of anything like that stepped Lord Imhotep (technically born in the dying hours of March, but who’s being fussy?) – a creation sparked by a single piece of spam e-mail but which quickly spiralled into one of the best pieces of time-wasting ever devised. There was even a dramatic reading at my dinner party, once Sanna got her hands rescued from the kitchen cabinet. Before I went back for my final term of uni I also got to meet Paul over sangria and tapas, plus Promise and Sophia both made it to dinner with the Selfs. But after that, it was mostly revision… (and bowling. And voting.)
Ah, yes, May. Nothing happened in May. Well, OK, so there was this election thing – we stayed up with red and yellow cocktails and swore at George Osborne a lot – followed by days of worthy-sounding procrastination from revision whilst I checked to see if we had a government yet. And actually, there was also my favourite film of the year – Four Lions – which was a very lovely evening altogether too. Some great Matt Smith, too. But after lots of practice exams and reading and note-taking and revision supervisions and lunching with fellow historians and pre-exam tea evenings with Sophie, my attention was rather taken by the start of my finals: beginning, of course, with the infamous HAP. (Historical Argument and Practice, allow me to remind you. When people say I’m argumentative, I feel I have some legitimate excuses…)
And then they were done! I finished my exams, which became even more of a watershed moment as Lucy and I broke up (without any drama ) around the same time too. The rest of June was therefore a blur of celebration, goodbyes and amazingness. Plenty of bad films with Simon, a final drinking session with the Themes & Sources gang – before Andrew ditched us all! – and not one but two May Balls. First Trinity, for which I owe Sophie a huge debt of gratitude, and then Caius the next night, which was made extra-special by getting Joshua to don a suit and come along to. Then down to London for my birthday, where I turned 21 at some point during crazy pub dancing with some of the greatest people on earth. (We got the top deck of the night bus singing that night.) Back in Cambridge there was just time for some G&Tea in Newnham gardens before the Graduation Night dinner and, the next day, Graduation itself. Busy busy! I even got to speak at Tash’s Sixth Form graduation, too
Towards the beginning of this month I got my slightly belated but utterly incredible birthday present from Oliver and Abi: my very own handmade board game (which rocks kitten socks). We played this quite a bit in July. I also debated at the QPCS Summer Fair under the guise of a ‘parent’ (hah), watched the World Cup final for the first time with the whole family (shocking), wrote a Comic Sans horror story and celebrated Saoirse’s 17th birthday with a scrumptious pic-a-nic in Green Park. Also in July, Bill Thompson took me on a very cool day around the BBC, I saw Matt and Caroline quite a bit – inlcluding for Inception – and Maryam and Jules kindly volunteered their time to get me into Converses. Not forgetting Alice’s birthday party, Sophie’s visit, seeing Matthew again, another year of working for the Queens Park summer school and the fabulous PuntCon!
Back to Croatia this year with my parents and Katie for some hardcore sun, sea, sand, cocktails, rafting, banana boating, Mighten Tighten Vighten and, ur, Lord of the Rings reading. Next it was Deal with Oliver, Abi and Helen, which I remember chiefly for Totoro, Ring of Fire and the acute dangers posed by candles to hair. Two really lovely holidays, though, followed by a little dinner party gathering at Abbi and Paul’s, Back To The Future and the unearthing of some more cool family videos from way back. And at the end of the month, Tash left for Paris…
Excitingly, in September I started working as a researcher for Melissa Benn and her upcoming book on British schools: a really great project, and something I’ve been incredibly lucky to get to do for the rest of the year. Not least because there’s been plenty of time for other things too! Time for Caroline’s memorable dinner party, for instance, an evening of Ghostbusters with Joshua or the thrilling finale of Battlestar Galactica with Katie. There was also a great night in Camden as we bid farewell to Robert for his year in California, a trip to Churchill’s bunker with mum for Open House London, a lovely evening in the pub with my dad and Jamie Buxton and – ssshh – the return of guilty pleasure Merlin. Also worthy of note was the very warm-spirited day a group of us had on the Protest The Pope march (once we’d run away from the anarchists). And not forgetting my special appearance on TriNoetic, seeing Josh Ritter with Oliver, meeting up with Owen again (for one night only!) and an exhaustingly good day pedalling across the Serpentine (amongst much else) with Simon and co. Phew.
It took me years to get round to it, but I finally saw Avenue Q this month, shortly before it moved on. I also discovered News Revue via Joshua, and loved it so much that we went back as a family for dad’s birthday shortly afterwards. October was also the month of [drumroll] Amber’s 18th birthday party, which was great in its own right (naturally) but also as the founding night of Geek Corner: a quartet of me, Saoirse, Alex and Grace which has proved surprisingly durable. (Our obsession with Psychic TV began shortly afterwards.) I also spent a wonderful couple of days visiting Tash and Beth in Paris, including a whole day of Disneyland joy! Not to be outdone, Katie and I had a superb book-splurging doughnut-guzzling geeky day out (including bumping into Noel Clarke in Forbidden Planet) and I went to Bradford to be reunited with the irreplaceable Andy Kings. Oh, and I dispensed many a trick-or-treat gift from behind a mask on Halloween, too.
A dinner party at the Benn Gordons for me, Promise and Saoirse meant lots of warm QPCS chat, and there was unsurprisingly plenty more school talk in November at the Comprehensive Future meeting I tagged along to. I got to see the lovable Irfan again, watched Polly Toynbee pass her verdict on New Labour with Caroline and was introduced to Mary Wollstonecraft in, ur, person. (Long story…) Also had a great time at Abbi and Paul’s engagement party, headed back to Cambridge for a weekend to catch up with loads of people and hosted a rather giant dinner party! (Oh, and took a homeless man for coffee, which is one way of making you feel grateful for a warm bed every night.)
December: the greatest-hits compilation month for the year! So more snow, more Geek Corner (Heathers, In The Loop and a great deal else), more school work (plus an unsolicited essay to Anthony Seldon, poor man), more Matt and Caroline (including the Unspeakable Incident), more catching up with old friends (Rishal and Harriet in particular), more dinner parties with Secret Festive Vegetarian Dinner 3 and much more family. Yes, December means Christmas, and – wonderfully – Christmas means family. Our cousin Jamie was over from the States this month, and just after Christmas it was a real pleasure to have our cousin Julie and her son Kieron down from Suffolk. (We packed an awful lot of London in, including a very entertaining Camden night out with Joshua and Niamh and some impromptu participation in a crazy street performance on the South Bank. Fun times.)
Tonight, tradition meets innovation: SexFest On Tour. Happy 2011, one and all!