Call it an emergency posting, or call it "doing a 2014 round-up like everyone else" - I just couldn't end the year with having thirty-five posts. It's my least-favourite number you see, so here you go...
Okay, bit of a mixed bag, this whole 2014 thing. Started out in the worst way possible, with the death of a friend only a couple of years older than me. Following that was a reduction in my working hours (and obviously, a reduction in the amount of money I get), a slight mental breakdown on what should have been a fun night out, my first ever panic attack (leaving work in an ambulance, something surely everyone does at least once in their lifetime), a bit of confidence-shattering from a certain quarter, and of course, the deaths of four of the most influential famous people that I've known of - a quadruple devastation of Harold Ramis, Rik Mayall, Sue Townsend and Jim Petrie. What a bugger.
Somewhere in the middle of the "good/bad" spectrum, I developed a love/knack for ten-pin bowling. Went plenty of times this year, and thought it'd be my "thing", but then all the enthusiasm for it was completely shattered by the rude staff at the local Megabowl, one day in October. Never mind.
On the other hand, as in, the "good" end of it all, there's been plenty. Two great weekends working for Replay Events, proper "family unit" stuff there. I'd drop anything and everything to work with them full time, but there we go. Had a fun week in that London as well, went to a wedding, saw a few bands (Space for the third time, the Australian Pink Floyd Show, Republica and Half Man Half Biscuit for the first time - all better than anything), had the strange realisation that some people actually like me, and made a good handful of new friends, whilst also keeping up with slightly older friends, using the power of the Internet. It's a small island, maybe we'll all get to meet up someday in 2015? That'd be fun. Not all at once, obviously, I'm aware that some of you don't exactly get along, but it could still be fun.
Erm, quick round-up of cultural artefacts enjoyed this year? The only albums I heard were by those bands I went to see, so we'll give "Album Of The Year" to Half Man Half Biscuit's Urge For Offal, with the runner-up prize going to Space for Attack of the Mutant 50 Ft Kebab. Three films were seen this year, and only one of them I'd happily watch again, so we'll give the prize to Guardians of the Galaxy. The prizes for "Best Book That You Can Buy In Waterstone's Or Similar" go to Where's Dennis? by Wilbur Dawbarn, and Comics Unmasked by Paul Gravett and John Harris Dunning, and the award for "Best Book That You Have To Order Specially From The Internet" goes to TATP: Talk About The Passion by Ben Baker et al. Mostly for the chapters on Viz and Earl Brutus. I enjoy comics too much to pick a favourite, and this year saw (possibly) the most "new" purchases on my behalf since... 2006? Favourites include Up Yours! by Lee Turnock, this year's output by Eyeball Comix, States of Mind by Nigel Maughan et al, and the endlessly interesting stuff put out by The Comix Company. All of this and more will be "looked at" properly in 2015, if all goes to plan.
At the end of it all, I'm still in more or less the same position as I was in at the start of it all, only I now share my flat with an overweight cat called Gus, so there's an improvement at least. Oh, and there's only a couple of hours left of this year - I'm staying in on my own for the tenth year running, it's more enjoyable this way, definitely. Still didn't get time to find an appropriate "thing to enjoy" to go with this post, so instead you can have the "new year themed" comic that was posted here at the START of the year. Again.
It's Zig & Zag's Zogmany Special, from 1995. Written and drawn (mostly) by Kev Sutherland (who's acquaintance was also made this year!):
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