2009, 2010, all that sort of thing

I always approach January with a bit of foreboding, as it entails a return to work after the Christmas break, only to remember once I get there that I quite like this time of year. After a bit of time out, starting the cycle of the year afresh and having a clear sense of things to look forward to is rather enjoyable. And there’s the promise of spring only ten weeks or so away.

So this post if for a bit of a reflect and a bit of a look forward. After all, it’s a new decade. And let’s not have any of this nonsense that somehow the decade doesn’t change until next year: decades work according to the first three digits in the date, they’re not like centuries. The last year of the 1980s was 1989, not 1990 – plainly. Although I’m always a bit sad that the real end of the twentieth century (that is, the end of the 2000th year after the year 1AD – there was no year zero, so it was the end of 2000) went largely unmarked as anything other than a ‘normal’ new year. But back to decades: what we call this decade seems to be a hot topic of conversation. It will be ‘the 2010s’ – the ‘teenies’ won’t last. Though I did quite like Matt Crosby‘s suggestion that the years 2016 to 2019 should be called the ‘barely legals’.

It’s hard for me to reflect on the noughties meaningfully. When they started I was still in the sixth form, and their first half was made up of A-levels, then university, then 18 months after graduating, before I moved to London neatly enough at the very end of 2004 and lived there for the second half of the decade. The journey from one end of the decade to the other was every bit as much of a massive change as you’d expect. The next ten years will take me from 27 to 37, and I’m fairly relaxed about that – everyone I know in their 30s seems to be having a pretty jolly time of it and to be happy with their lot.

So, what of 2009 – the good and the bad? Well, there was an ample sufficiency of the good. I changed job, which has so far gone very happily and certainly resolved the uncertainty with which I’d greeted the previous two new years. I also moved flat, which wasn’t fun but is now over and seems to have been worth doing. Another good thing about 2009 was finding the Off The Page writers group (actually I found it at the end of 2008, but first went along last January), which has given me the motivation to keep writing, feedback and input to improve, and introductions to a lot of really worthwhile people and opportunities. But perhaps the biggest single Big New Thing of 2009, for me and many others, was Twitter (again, I started using it in 2008, but it was last year when it took off), which has enhanced and contributed to nearly all the other things I just mentioned: I found my new job via a website I’d discovered via Twitter; and it has been a great way of getting pointers on all sorts of writer-y things. Could it even be said it has proved to be a binding glue for the plethora of blogs, Facebook accounts and so on that emerged as Web 2.0? There’s certainly now little excuse for using one of those things without plugging it into Twitter. The bad of 2009? Moving flat is high on the list – did I mention it wasn’t fun? But beyond that it’s small stuff and largely sins of omission rather than commission – and I’m not going to start using this blog as a therapy session.

So, that’s 2009 out of the way – what about 2010? I never make resolutions as such, but there are certainly some things I want to do: if it’s held again this year (which seemed to be in doubt last I heard) I definitely want to go to the Screenwriters Festival, which also means I need to get some more writing under my belt – and I’ve got numerous things lined up to work on, both on my own and collaboratively. I also want to go to a proper camping-in-a-field festival, as by this summer it will be nine years since I last did; based on rave reviews from numerous people whose judgment I trust, Indietracks is the leading contender. And finally, having followed Formula 1 closely for well over a decade now, I really should go and watch a grand prix – not necessarily the British one, though I’d be tempted.

Things I’m looking forward to in 2010: the new, Steven Moffat-authored series of Doctor Who (and other telly – new series of Being Human and Shameless look set to be among the highlights of the first part of the year); a fascinating-looking season of Formula 1; and music. I already know there are new albums on the way from Kathryn Calder (the tracks currently on her Myspace are superb – already a contender for best album of the year?), The Pipettes,  Hot Chip, Laura Veirs and Thomas Tantrum. Still, there’s some serious stuff to contemplate as well. In particular, it’s a general election year and that means a year of hard work ahead. I’m looking forward to it – although I wouldn’t say no to a few more days off first, but still…

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