2015

Above, a playlist chronicling the music that forms the ‘rhythm’ to my year.

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Me, post-pantomime. Exhausted. Happy.

Below, the year that was 2015.

In summary: wow

This year makes no sense.

No, legitimately, makes zero sense to me as a’year’. A year is 12 months. It is a span of time. A series of events. Yet these series of events, in retrospect, still do not logically add up. Across the last 365ish days I’ve intellectually wrestled with the American Civil War, fireproofed hundreds of pieces of styrofoam, written halves of novels and abandoned television pilots, done historical research for Hollywood projects, battled with insomnia and the most testing examination period of my life, been incredibly drunk whilst stumbling around dodgems, and attempted to summarize all of this in one paragraph. I think another list is necessary: I travelled to Dubrovnik, and then Hollywood, and then Texas, and then Washington D.C, and then around the British Isles. I met my favourite author of all time, Robert A. Caro, who gave me my lifelong historical obsession in the form of Lyndon Johnson. I weaved my way through archives and sat in constitutional law lectures. I’ve managed my college student union and had 100s of students under my duty of care. I’ve had my wonderful nights of drunkenness and my nights of endlessly binging television and film and being all-round glutton of stuff. Above all, I’ve had my lovely friends for company and banter all the way.

The main theme of this year has been surprise.

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Dubrovnik, Croatia

I ended 2014 in an uncomfortable position. A little shaky with depression and other mental health issues. Approaching Valentine’s Day I expected some similar discomfort mix of ‘those’ feelings resurface. I was awake for around fifty-three hours straight managing my college’s annual ball and its security. It was a stupid thing to do and one of my greatest regrets. I tried to escape the vortex of my emotional wellbeing, and ended up a little worse for ware. Yet out of the dark there was a stir of compassion. I turned my attention to my friends and my family, and set myself on fulfilling the most important promise to myself since my grandfather’s passing: to be happy.

And I have been. Sure, there have been difficult all-nighters of writing about Lincoln’s emancipation, trying to quote Hobbes at dinner, and trying to juggle work and writing. I’ve failed in that respect, and I haven’t released anything ‘of note’ since 2013. I’d like to now point you in the direction of my inkshares profile and let you know I will release a novel next year called ‘Towards A World Unknown’. I’ve been writing plays (including our college pantomime) and scripts, tidying up my television pilot too. Writing-wise this year has been rather hectic but progressive. In terms of my study, though, I got a healthy 2:1 in my exams with a decent, but not enthusiastic, sense of the work.

3
Me, Hollywood.

I then ran for student body President and won, to carve out a program for incoming students alongside rewriting a college constitution alongside other sweeping changes. This was one of the most positive and productive aspects of my year, interacting with whole scores of people and college staff all dedicated to making a little community that much greater to live in. The taste of leadership and pieces of politics has whetted my appetite to perhaps turn my attention to public service at a very, very distant time in the future.

Politically speaking, in my own political beliefs, this has been a rather uneven year. I’m very Left, and I can already feel the judgements and suspicions arising. I believed in Ed Miliband and joined the Labour Party following the stunning and disheartening result. My family has felt the full effects of the Conservative efforts to strip the state bare and prolong the march towards crony capitalism. I’m terribly sorry if you’re comfy and middle-class and you’re angry that I would take such a ridiculous point of view in being Left, and even voting Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership, but the facts of my family and my local community mean I must seek a solution and viewpoint to improve their circumstances. The Labour Party, in my little opinion, is the only vestige of compassion inside the political system. I shan’t take this blog into a whole political rant, I’m much more comfortable keeping those arguments private for the time being. It’s just been a very weird year for politics, both here in the Isles and in the United States. Fear and cronyism seem to be winning the day. Let us hope they won’t win again.

I’ve traveled a lot. Croatia, the United States, and all over Britain. I’ve dived into the archives of Lyndon Johnson, and fully realizing an intellectual dream of mine. I’m now knee deep in the throes of my undergraduate dissertation on Johnson’s withdrawal decision in 1968, and it’s academic bliss. I’ve never enjoyed studying this much, and it’s been the real push for me to pursue a Masters and stick around Cambridge for another year, hopefully. Just need some funding notices and other stuff sorted. Also I’d really like to delay real life and the whole tax returns and mortgage stuff by another year.

Writing-wise, as said, my attention has been elsewhere than ‘big projects’. Again some experimentation, but now also focused on writing and finishing a novel or two before 2016’s end. I’ve finished some pilot scripts and intend to polish them to a sheen before shopping them around. I also have a few features written and might just float them, we’ll see. Very exciting stuff. Following my whole gauntlet of studies, I intend to try and release a novel every 18 months whilst (fingers triple crossed) writing for television or working in the film industry. I’ll still be here, blogging and bothering everyone. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be an accidental rockstar novelist and my life will become almost too happy.

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Washington. We had ribs and talked about going into public service on the steps of the Senate.

And that’s been the great thing about this year. Surprise. Not just as the stuff I’ve read and the media I’ve consumed, or the writing I’ve done and the politics I’ve followed. This year has been my happiest to date. I’m twenty-one years old and after some sticky periods, I’ve fully learned to live with my sadness. I’ve fully learned to live with my insomnia. I will aim to solve and better these bits of my life. I am surprised completely and utterly at what this year has made of me. And I loved it. The company of friends and family, the drunken nights of board games and banter, of performing a pantomime, of doing political stump speeches, of finding my wicked dress sense, of everything.

Maybe, MAYBE, the greatest thing was discovering my father and stepmother are expecting a baby boy. A half-brother. To be completely honest, I already consider the little guy my full bro. I cannot wait to meet him next month. That’s been the highlight. I owe it not just to the people around me to be happy, but to the people I’ve yet to meet. Family, friends, and lovers to come.

This has, one-thousand percent, been the best year of my entire life.

I fully and utterly now want to say: I will make 2016 even sweeter.

And now to revisit my New Years Resolutions of 2015, and see how well I did

– Put a play on performance

I wrote and helped direct the college pantomime. People found it hilarious. We made £370 for charity. Done

– Get a 2.1 in exams

Done.

– Write a substantial ‘thing’ to put on Blogossus

Not really.

– Get a paid writing gig

Sort of true yes. Actually can’t comment.

– Update Blogossus more… regularly.

Ha.

– Travel a bit

I did America, Croatia, a whole lot of England here.

– Stay happy

Fuck yeah.

My New Years Resolutions for 2016:

– Release a novel

Yes.

– Get a high 2:1/First in exams

To progress to Masters, this is needed. Also whatever I get in these exams is the final mark on my whole degree so would be kind of cheeky to skim my way to a First!

– Travel. A. Lot.

I am considering going around the world in eighty(ish) days a la Phileas Fogg. No air travel. Because why the fuck not?

– Move out

By September I should have moved permanently to Cambridge.

– Finish and float around a script of any kind

Already in the mix!

– Meet my baby bro

😀

Below is (most of) stuff I consumed this year. Favorites highlighted in bold. ‘Best of’ highlighted with an asterisk*.

Below is (most of) stuff I consumed this year. Favorites highlighted in bold. ‘Best of’ highlighted with an asterisk*.

Music Crystal Castles – (III), Bow to Each Other’s My Heart is A Target, Torgny’s Trilogy & Oil Panic, Postmodern Jukebox, Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion, Siouxsie and the Banshees – Hyaena, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Tame Impala – Currents, Carice van Houten – See You On The Ice, the bird and the bee – Recreational Love*, Susanne Sundfor – Ten Love Songs, Goldfrapp, Run the Jewels, D’Angelo, Kid Cudi.

Film Mad Max Fury Road*, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Spectre, Ant-Man,  Star Wars The Force Awakens, Inside Out, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Martian, Ex Machina, What If?, Tomorrowland, Beasts of No Nation, Recount, Before Sunrise Trilogy, Selma, Whiplash, Kingsman, Prisoners, Margin Call

TV Better Call Saul, Review S2, Nathan For You, Hannibal S3*, Marvel’s Daredevil & Jessica Jones, House of Cards S3, Game of Thrones S5, Pushing Daisies, Parks and Recreation,  True Detective, W/ Bob & David, House, Doctor Who, Master of None, Community, Rick & Morty, Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Peep Show S9, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Cutthroat Kitchen, Wolf Hall, Cucumber, Coalition, Chewing Gum, Count Arthur Strong, The Graham Norton Show, Have I Got News For You, QI, W1A, Weekly Wipe, Silicon Valley, The Daily Show, Key and Peele, Inside Amy Schumer, Making a Murderer, You’re the Worst, Luther S4

Books Gordon Goldstein – Lessons in Disaster, Ramachandra Guha – Gandhi Before India, George RR Martin – A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, Timur Vermes – Look Who’s Back, Edward Ross – Filmish:  A Graphic Journey Through Film*, Henry Marsh – Do No Harm, George H.W Bush – All The Best, Andrew Roberts – Napoleon The Great, Dominic Sandbrook – Eugene McCarthy and the Rise and Fall of Post-War American Liberalism, Evan Thomas – Robert Kennedy: His Life

 Games – Crusader Kings 2, Team Fortress 2, 80 Days, Game of Thrones – A Telltale Game, Her Story, Downwell, Fallout New Vegas, Medieval II: Total War, actually not enough to really judge

Thank you 2015 for not destroying me. I hope your year was as good, if not better, than mine.

All the best and a happy new year.

Cheers,

Nate

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