Twenty Twenty One


And I thought 2020 was tough.

At times 2021 felt like a long, head pounding, monotonous, gruelling sequence of groundhog days. One after the other, again and again, over and over. Looking at it objectively, with a dollop of hindsight, it wasn’t that bad at all. We got vaxxed. We had fun interludes aplenty – lots of snow and sledging, short breaks around the UK, family and friends visits, even a couple of gigs. It seemed almost normal for a while, right? Then a mid-year work-related stress grenade, shortly followed by a severe bout of Covid-19 in July knocked me sideways. I’ve felt a little exhausted ever since. Maybe the virus took a larger toll than I realised. Or maybe I’m showing my age.

Musical exploration hasn’t been high up my list this year. There were only a handful of albums that I really got into: The Staves - Good Woman, Dawn Richard - Second Line, The Avalanches - We Will Always Love You, Chvrches - Screen Violence and Khalid’s Scenic Drive. I’ve started to wonder if a dulling motivation for new music discovery is an inevitability of ageing. Maybe that’s just a lazy excuse and I should double down on my inner John Peel. Despite this lull, I dug through my liked songs and made a playlist (mixtape?) of faves. I’m really pleased with it, there are some absolute gems on there.

Until succumbing to Covid we’d avoided cinemas, not that there was much on, but we managed to catch a few movies on the big screen, and more on streaming. My highlights were King Richard, Summer of Soul, Seaspiracy, Luca, No Time to Die, The Trial or the Chicago 7, The Courier and Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.

Streaming TV is the new cinema but I don’t binge on it too much. I missed Squid Game (I watched MrBeast’s re-enaction instead), but I enjoyed Nine Perfect Strangers, Swagger, It’s a Sin, Normal People, Succession, Impeachment (American Crime Story) and Inside the President’s War Room.

I tried to read more books this year and I’ve done quite well (for me). Of those novels published in or around 2021, Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir was my absolute favourite. I also enjoyed The System by Ryan Gattis, Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid and The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell. From a work perspective, I really enjoyed The Minimalist Entrepreneur by Sahil (future inspiration!) and Team Topologies.

2022 is set to be interesting. I took the red pill, so by February I’ll have left FreeAgent behind and I’ll be heading down the career/life choices rabbit hole. I’ve set my expectations pretty low, so when I’m sat in the kitchen home schooling as Covid (Omicron flavour) rages outside for the third time I won’t be too fed up. I’m not one for resolutions (well, actually I am, I just never stick to them), but hopefully I’ll end 2022 having read and written more than before.

I’ve put myself on a social media diet for a while (other than to share this post – is that cheating?), so feel free to write me an electronic mail with your thoughts and links to your 2021 lists. Long form is the best form.