I love my Grandma.
She is called Annie, is 92-years-old, and has lived in the same house (I think) for as long as I’ve been alive. Because of her, I had my very first holiday abroad, to the magical Disneyland Paris (or EuroDisney, as it was known back when I first went). I must have gone four or five consecutive years in a row, and I have fond memories from every time. That was over twelve years ago, but this year, thanks to her, I was once again off on a holiday abroad. Along with my dad, we journeyed on a coach down to Southampton and boarded the Oriana cruise-ship, setting sail to Norway.
I didn’t know much about the country before I arrived. One quarter of Aqua originates from Norway, and in The Aqua Diary VHS there is a small look at Lene’s hometown. Also, they (undeservedly) finished last in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, so we have something in common. We had roughly a two day sail until we arrived in Norway; so during this time, I got to be reacquainted with my Grandma, as we shared a room. The second night saw me attend my first formal dining event.
I ate so well during my time on the ship! And even developed a liking for fruit smoothies.
On Sunday morning, we woke up to our first sighting of land since leaving.
This was the lovely city of Stavanger.
I’m pleased to be able to finally bring the last six episodes from my short-fiction series, All Cleared Up, to my website. The script-style lewd comedic series was written by me eight years ago, and tells the story of Jamie Foster’s fictional life in Sitcomland, with her sister, Calista, gay boy-friend, James, The Professor and his flirtatious Mexican Maid, Paolo, and the Professor’s wacky creation, Mom-Bot! These are the episodes that started to build an arc to the series, culminating in the shocking two-part finale. There’s even some not-so-hard-to-figure-out celebrity cameo appearances. It’s not for everyone, but if you want to read it, please tell me what you think…
The thought had entered my head to write a blog post previewing my tips for music in twenty-thirteen, but so far I only have two (three, if Luke Atlas manages to record and release some post-Brite Futures material). I didn’t want to look back at 2012, as in all honesty it’s had a lot of pitfalls.
At the start of the year I had two jobs; now I have zero. But I also have two new additions to the family, so I shall count my blessings and reflect on this year. Thanks to Adam, I was up and out of the house at midday today. I bought cupcakes, and pretzels, and independent coffee! And I was home before six. Thanks to PopJustice, I spent tonight in bed, researching the year in music.
The highs and lows, who was in, and who is out (for good). Here’s my contribution to the 2012 Readers’ Poll.
Best Single: Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You). From the first few seconds, you can tell this is going to be a song that carry on as an anthem. It carries a message that can be taken into the hearts of everybody who hears it, and mean something completely different to all of them. It’s powerful, and Kelly Clarkson sounds as perfect as she did ten years ago.
Worst Single: Amelia Lily – You Bring Me Joy. I only ever heard this when my parents had the radio on in the car, and it always used to annoy me. It seemed popular, but to my ears, it falls so flat. Songs are supposed to have individually structured verses, and a bridge and chorus, and even a middle eight. This just plods along and doesn’t deserve my attention.
Best Album: Ke$ha – Warrior. I know it’s only been a week, but this honestly is my favourite album released this year. It’s so fun and catchy. I love Ke$ha, she is an amazing songwriter, a dedicated performer, and I really do believe she can sing her little heart out for the world to enjoy. Long live the Dance Commander!
Worst Album: Madonna – MDNA. I picked this as my choice for worst album simply because it did not live up to the expectations. In fact, I’d say it stumbled and completely fell flat after Gimme All Your Luvin’ (which was a candidate for worst video).
Best Video: Gotye (feat. Kimbra) – Somebody That I Used To Know. I’ve only watched it once, but the dedication and simplistic nature of the video held my attention for what ran the risk of being a none-event. This has turned me onto Kimbra, whose album Vows, is high on my playlist.
Shoddiest Video: Nicola Roberts – Yo-yo. It looked like it was filmed in the corner of a shed. A complete letdown for what is one of the best singles of 2012. Thankfully, the song didn’t even need a video, it’s good enough.
Best Cover Version: Paloma Faith – Never Tear Us Apart. Anastacia released an entire album of covers this year, but I was swayed by Paloma Faith thanks to this graceful rendition of Never Tear Us Apart which just about exceeds the original. Excellence.
Best Comeback: No Doubt. I literally never thought I’d see the day. After what seems like a decade, No Doubt are rightfully back in their place as my favourite band of all-time. Their seventh album, Push And Shove, boasts a varied selection of sounds. From their early Ska days, to the more recent sounds of Rock Steady, and introducing something completely new. Go ahead and look, that’s what they want (literally).
Best New Act: Lana Del Rey. Once she properly got going in 2012, Lana Del Rey left my jaw wide with shock. I couldn’t believe I had let her fantastic album, Born To Die, pass me by. All of the singles, all of the videos, untouched until one week in July – thanks to Channel 5′s Big Brother, of all things. My favourite track is Diet Mountain Dew. Thankfully, when the re-release rolled around, I was quick to act. Whilst not as instantly melodic as Born To Die, Paradise does have some highlights. The easiest on the ears is Gods and Monsters.
Most Ridiculous Recording Artist: Flo Rida. It could just as easily have been Pitbull, but this guy takes the biscuit thanks to that ridiculous recording name. Flo Rida is from Florida. Oh, how clever.
Best Radio Station: Europa Plus St. Petersburg. This year saw the purchase of my first ever digital radio. And with my general opinion being that popular radio stations come nowhere near to my taste in music (see next category), I cast my search far and wide over Europe, hoping to hear some t.A.T.u. and Aqua. In Russia, I was always happy with the playlists from Europa Plus. Highlights include Loreen, and what is my pick for best collaboration of 2012, Junior Caldera featuring Natalia Kills and Far East Movement.
Best DJ: @DoItForFame. My twitter (soon to be real-life) friend, Adam, has the best taste in music. He started hosting an online radio show and each broadcast has kept me on the ball with new music, whilst also filling me with nostalgia for the golden years of pop music.
Best TV Show with Music as some sort of Central Focus: RuPaul’s Drag Race. There were THREE RuPaul shows broadcast this year – and I was hooked to every single episode thanks to online TV. I cannot honestly think of any other TV show that prominently features music and influences me. Not just RuPaul, but the contestants, and judges. At the end of every episode, there’s a performance like no other. Lip Sync For Your Life, and don’t fuck it up!
New Act Most Likely to Save Pop: Natalia Kills. That girl is a goddamn problem! She was supposed to save pop in 2011, and she sang and danced her little heart out until it bled, but you monsters did nothing! So now, with the aid of Jeff Bhasker, she’s coming back in 2013 aiming to blow you away. Watch out!
Established Act Most Likely to Save Pop: No Doubt. Well… okay, this one is just me being silly. No Doubt have never been chart friendly. But their joyous return will continue for years, so who knows what to expect once they’re done pushing and shoving.
Act we should send to Eurovision: Jedward. I was gonna say Diana Vickers, but I don’t know if a kooky-acting, breathy-sounding woman will come across as being too much of a complete rehash of Loreen. So, when all else fails, beat Ireland at their own game and lock-in the gravity-defying twins for their third appearance.
Group Most Likely to Split: Blur. I’m not the Maya, I don’t make prophecies, but the likelihood of them calling it a day is high. I also can’t see Keane carrying on, but somehow their album did chart at #1, so who knows.
There’s one thing in life of which everyone can be certain of, but it’s one thing that most people find taboo to discuss out loud. We’re dying. We’re all dying. Not just me, you too.
Deal with it.
I have. And the thought of when that time is going to come has been laying heavy on my mind. There will be a lot to do, and I’d hate to think towards the end I could leave without helping, as it is after all my end so I should have a much say in what goes (or, where I go) as possible. The reason I’m putting thoughts into words now is because I find myself back in hospital once again. One week I was living my life to its fullest potential, and literally the next I found myself bed ridden and hooked up to a glucose drip. I’m not still entirely sure what knocked me for six so suddenly, all I know is I had a blood infection, and quicker than it came, it’s apparently gone. I still feel like I shine 80 watts less brighter than I did last week, but I’ll be home recovering soon and in no doubt that my peak will rise once again (it is coming up to that time of year again after all).
Death will take me when I least expect it, or worse, it will slowly debilitate me and render me unable to plan for what needs to be done. So I shouldn’t waste anymore time thinking about what to do afterwards – I need to start doing it now. Thankfully, I’m not alone in thinking about life after death, and there were dozens of helpful websites just a click away when it finally came to me to search on how I plan for the after. Having talked it through with my mum, it will be a relief I’m sure that she and everyone will be able to say goodbye with no doubts about what may have been left unsaid.
Because there will be nothing left unsaid, not even on this blog if I can help it. I know I currently don’t say much in these posts, but you should know that here is where my mind will always rest – not in peace, but forever online.