2020 YEAR IN REVIEW: LET’S NOT, AND SAY WE DID.

Yes, I haven’t blogged in the very longest time, but let’s be honest. It’s not like anybody really cares, or anything I say is contributing to the improvement of the Universe. Who cares, really? I’ve long since passed into irrelevance and the obscurity from which I briefly lurched.

Anyway, 2020, eh?

1. What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before?

Taught via Youtube and other electronic means during a pandemic. I don’t recommend it. Other than that, I struggle to think of anything I did this year. Marked the one-year anniversary of the death of my child. That one’s going to come up every year. But really, nothing. Nothing at all.

2. Did you achieve your goals for the year, and will you make more for next year?

Not even close. I was supposed to workout one hundred times, read 24 books, and publish 150 Lego 250 reviews. I ended up giving up on two of those.

Still, I read some books.

Next year, honestly, I don’t know. There are things I’d like to do. I’d like to study art. I’d like to get back to writing. I’d like to actually look in the mirror and not hate myself. But as things stand, I don’t know if I’ll even find the time and space to begin them, never mind have the energy to finish.

Maybe I’ll just read some books.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My eldest son Aiden and his wife Rachel had their first child. I’d love to be publicly proud, but I’m not allowed to mention the name, age, sex, appearance, species, or planet of origin. I’ll get to meet the newborn this month, which will be nice.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

After last year, we managed to avoid any fatalities. Small mercies.

5. What countries did you visit?

Give me a break. I’m excited because I might get to drop in on the Toyworld in Carnarvon these holidays. Other countries don’t exist.

6. What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020?

A reason. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so pointless, unnecessary, and unwanted.

7. What dates from 2020 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

21 September is still the day that the rest of the year warps around. I guess my birthday counted for something this year: I turned fifty.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Next question.

9.What was your biggest failure?

My absolute and utter failure to give Luscious any reason to find joy in anything.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing that isn’t ongoing. A delightful clusterfuck with the local witch doctors that started with a combination of increased tinnitus, heat and pressure inside my ear, and uncontrollable itchiness inside my ear canal…… took in a panicked diagnosis of an actual live, living animal taking up residence in my upper ear…… laughed its way through several months of being unable to get a flight to Perth…… a resulted in a three-minute (literally) consultation at the ENT Lab at Royal Perth, where someone with a medical degree that wasn’t cut from the back of a cornflakes box identified it as a tiny piece of scar tissue from a decades-old eardrum tear and Meniere’s disease.

So my opinion of the Western Australian medical fraternity didn’t suffer any big changes……

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A new car. The old one — a Hyundai i30 — was, to put not too fine a point on it, a festering pile of shit. We dumped its arse in favour of a Toyota ASX, and it’s fab.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Luscious has tried, she really has. She’s carrying the weight of the ages, and I’m watching helplessly while it slowly kills her, but she keeps trying.

Our son Aiden and his long-term fiance married, gave birth to their first child, and started building their first house. Not simultaneously, obviously. Although that would have made for a hell of a photo album.

And Connor has been amazing. Even with everything going on around him, he has blossomed as a young man: finding employment, being a leader amongst his school peers, taking on extra roles and working with younger students at the acting classes — helping to write, direct, edit, and bring to fruition a series of short films when the pandemic made a theatrical production an impossibility — and otherwise continuing to grow into an inspiring and amazing person.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

It’s getting repetitive to name check the loathsome slime that governs our country, but there we are: Scott Morrison is a venal, corrupt, opportunistic piece of shit who abandoned his country in a time of deepest need and who continues to reflect all that is most wrong with the human condition.

There have been others, some closer than the rest, but honestly, I just don’t want to talk about it or I might never stop.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Did I mention the car? Apart from that, several unbelievably necessary trips back to Perth, at least one of which involved hoovering up as much portable distractions as possible in the shape of books, DVDs, and electronica we still haven’t reached the bottom of. We needed it.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Nothing much. It’s been that kind of year. Seeing our son get married was wonderful Meeting Schrodinger’s Grandchild via Discord for the first time was cute. It’ll be nice to hold the baby when we meet them for the first time.

16. What song will always remind you of 2020?

We’re Going to Miss You, by James. It’s a song we’ve had in our collection for quite a while, but James has been on high rotation this year as comfort food for our aching memories.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer?

Sadder, don’t care, don’t care. Sadder.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Anything. Helping Luscious. Healing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Everything I did instead of those things above.

20. How will you spend Christmas?

In Perth with the family. Probably lying on a couch with the baby on my chest, reading and telling everyone else to fuck off if they try to take the baby from me.

21. Who did you meet for the first time?

Some students, some teachers.

22. Did you fall in love in 2020?

No. With not a thing.

23. What was your favourite TV program?

You know what? I religiously kept a list, like I do every year, and now that I’m sitting here and I need it, I just cannot be bothered to go look it up.

The show that Luscious and I are taking the most enjoyment from right now is Schitt’s Creek. We’d avoided it because of the awful title, thinking that it betrayed the level of humour contained within, but we couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve rarely watched a sitcom that is as warm, gentle, and positive, and while you know you’re going to get divine performances from Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy no matter what they’re in, watching the unknown (to us) cast around them has been a joy.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I just don’t have the strength anymore. For the most part, I feel like Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar: Contempt? I hold myself in contempt.

25. What was the best book you read?

Same story as the TV question: there’s a list, but it’s way over there and I can’t be bothered. Still, the choice is easier.

This Census Taker is simply the latest piece of brilliance I’ve immersed myself in from China Mieville. The man is a literary colossus, and I would kill the world for one millionth of his talent. I could weep if I spent any time at all thinking about how little of his genius I share.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Nothing new, just a rediscovery, and exploration of a band we had loved in small measure for some time, but which we leaned into hard over the year for comfort and controlled doses of manageable pain.

Strictly speaking, we started our James-athon last year: I actually raved about them in last year’s End of Year review. But fuck it. They’re our band of 2020, simple as.

27. What was your favourite film of this year?

You know what? We watched a bunch of films, and without my list in front of me, I can’t think of a single memorable one for good or ill. Make of that what you will.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 50. Luscious took me out to buy a fancy schmancy office chair, which is yet to arrive because Karratha and the postal service. Then we went out to dinner at the only decent restaurant in town (which, thankfully, is extremely good) along with some friends from work. It was small scale, and intimate, and lovely.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Pick something. Anything.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020?

The least important thing I can think of.

31. What kept you sane?

Next question.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?

Stirred? Nothing. Rather, it was just all a depressing and misanthropic background to the overwhelming personal struggles my family was dragging itself through.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2020.

I can’t go on like this.

34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I guess since I’ve banged on about James, it’s only fitting to find a lyric from one of their songs. Have this, from Lullaby:

Every view they hold on you’s
A piano, out of tune.
You’re an angel,
You’re a demon,
You’re just human.
Now your world has turned to trash,
Broken windows on the past.
Take that child and teach him senseless.
Damage the dream, damage the dream.
I feel nothing, I feel nothing at all,
I feel nothing at all.

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