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Review of the Year 2010
Member Name: Renza_e
Review of the Year 2010
Advantages: Graduated from university, great UK mini breaks with friends, great boyfriend, Xmas and Music!
Disadvantages: Losing my gran, government cuts, still working at Tesco.
It was within the last twenty minutes of 2010 that Neil Simon of Biffy Clyro was up on stage in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens and he announced: 'This is the last song you'll hear in 2010'. It was in the next few minutes that they played 'Whorses.' There's something so instantly uplifting about that song and something that triggered four minutes of reflection upon the year before and four minutes of forward thinking for the year ahead. I don't usually get so sentimental about New Years. It's merely marks the passing of time doesn't it? However, I did get sentimental. 2010 forced me to grow up. I transformed from a melancholy unaspiring individual to an ambitious and hopeful university graduate.
I feel like the first half of 2010 is barely worth mentioning due to the abject misery that was the final semester of my last year at university. My social life went out the window, I burnt the candle at both ends most days and nights and I was convinced that despite my hard work I was destined for inevitable failure. By the time I'd finished with exams I didn't even bother looking for jobs convinced that my degree was worthless. What a surprise it was to find out, half way through June that I got a 2:1 (upper second class degree). I think my screams of joy could be heard in the whole of Edinburgh.
At the end of the month my flatmates and I all moved into a big beautiful late Victorian building... beautiful in theory. We soon discovered that our landlords were absolute, utter (insert explicit vocabulary here). For a relatively cheap £300 a month each, we were quick to learn that you pay for what you get. Now our dealings with our landlords are worthy of a separate rant alone (or in our case a 3000 words angry letter) but I don't want to bore you. However, here's an example of our windows fiasco.
March (upon viewing the flat): Landlords: 'Oh yes, you shall get new double glazed modern style windows to replace those shoddy ones held together by sellotape.'
June: No new windows.
July: No new windows.
August: No new windows. We start to voice our complaint.
September: Alas, windows! Windows are installed. We then get told after installation. No they are not double glazed as they promised but 'draft proof'. Paint work is left chipped and blinds and tiles not replaced after the installation because our landlords refuse to have someone fix it. We are forced to look at eye sores.
November: Draft-proof my arse! My window starts to wobble in the wind and the cold air gets through. Luckily, we became good friends with the builder man who agrees to come back and sort the window. Not his fault, but due to the fact that the windows they bought for the flat were ridiculously cheap.
December: Claims of draft-proof windows are bollocks. We freeze even with the heating on.
January: Other flatmate's window starts to leak in the rain. We are lost for words. We surrender. We give up...
So, we live together in a shoddy flat. We've had mouse problems, the carpets look dirty, the wallpaper is chipped, the ceiling is peeling off in places... I could go on and on. At least it gives us flatmates something to bond over.
Anyhow, our flat may be ridiculously run down but at least I am learning to enjoy life again. Surely I should have started looking for jobs the minute I got my degree. Sucks to that! I was intent on regaining my life back.
I'm going to start to sound over-dramatic and overly sentimental again but one of the first things that happened was my own little personal 'musical epiphany'. I got to sit down and listen to a lot of music that I'd never really listened to before. Since then, I've discovered my love for Pearl Jam, The Small Faces, Humble Pie, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Chris Cornell and countless others. It was just really nice to immerse myself in things I love again - in music, in art and other things I enjoy.
I also got to do a spot of travelling with my flatmates. We weren't really able to afford any fancy holidays abroad. No escapades to the Venetian coast, no sojourns in the South of France. However, we have had a lot of fun just visiting places in Britain. If anything, train journeys with my flatmates are always entertaining (and admittedly quite irritating to any fellow traveller). Our train back from London involved a pot of chocolate icing, marzipan and marshmallows. High as kites, it seemed everything was funny. Our recent journey back from Stratford-Upon-Avon involved equal amounts of hilarity, and disproportionate volumes of wine. If anything, the train journeys were more fun than the actual holidays. Oh how our fellow travellers adored us those days...
Something that really startled me this year was something that by September I never really intended to do: I fell in love. It all started in June when I developed a silly crush for my flatmate's online friend, the sort of crush which screams out 'I haven't had a decent man in the last year of university and I'm crying out for some lovin' - the type of crush that reeks of desperation and untempered female hormones. It was the type of crush that was sort of reciprocal but not as reciprocal as you may have hoped. After all, a few flirty remarks hardly constitutes a romance. A few months down the line and I really couldn't give a flying *fudge* about romance, men and love. As far as I was concerned I was quite happy with my wonderful flatmates - no doubt the best friends I have had my whole life. Who needed men?!
And then I started speaking to someone else who quite interestingly turned out to be the friend of my girly crush. At first, I treated him with suspicion and slight hostility, particularly as he is considerably older than me. But we ended up talking quite intensely online and he turned out to be a funny, easy to talk to kind of guy. I think that even after our 8 hour MSN chat, I was still in slight denial that there was any kind of feeling whilst my flatmate joked about wedding bells. However, it just dawned on me one day: 'I haven't met him. I haven't even seen him in person but I think I like him.' I think even then my fondness for him was laced with doubt. However, all doubts were cast aside when I met him in person in November. It really was the start of something rather special. I don't think I've ever really clicked with someone in the way that I clicked with him. Come December, we were spending Christmas Day together and he met my parents. It didn't feel too fast either because it all felt very right. I had a wonderful Christmas with him and hope to have many more with him.
I'd love to say that everything about Christmas and the New Year was shiny and lovely but this was not the case. For the past few years, my gran had been suffering from cancer and in December it seemed that she lost her battle. I think everyone was in hope that things might turn around until very late on. My gran is a strong and resilient woman and this was not the first time she'd been hit by the dreaded big C. However, during Christmas and into the New Year, my gran was moved to a hospice and began to deteriorate drastically. Every time I saw her she looked worse each time. It was when I saw her on Christmas Day that I found it really difficult. There's nothing more crippling emotionally when someone you love loses their spirit. I saw it when my granddad was ill early last decade and I was seeing it with my gran. I did enjoy my Christmas day but I really wished my gran could have enjoyed it with me. Strathcarron Hospice did a beautiful job in keeping my gran comfortable and suffering from as little pain as possible but it didn't make seeing her any less heartbreaking. The last time I saw my grandmother was a week ago today and when I saw her I broke down. You could clearly see that she was dying and she could barely speak. I was really glad I got to be with her that day. At one point I was left alone with her and I got to tell her how I felt. I told her: 'I love you to pieces y'know'. For the large duration of when I had been with her she had been slipping in and out of consciousness due to the pain medication and really struggled to form coherent words but when I told her that a big smile spread across her face that I'll never forget. It was the last thing I got to say to her. After that day I went back to Edinburgh. I meant to go back and see her but my family told me that since the day I saw her she had been unconscious. So I didn't see her since. I got to say what I really needed to say to her and she heard me and I found it too painful to see her deteriorate any further. Two days ago, Wednesday 12th January, my grandmother died. Thankfully, she was under the care of some fantastic nurses. I suppose you wonder how I am able to talk about all this so soon. I'd say that it is not a case of being able to talk about it but being able to write about it. In a sense, it is therapeutic. I was very close to my gran and I have many fond memories of her. I'll remember her letting me play her Sound of Music record endlessly when I was a little girl; curling up to her and granddad with uncooked jelly when there was a power cut in the night; her dressing up as the Snow White witch at Halloween with a glossy red apple; the surprise and tears at her surprise 60th birthday and that time when we were all snowed in and Kat (my sister) and I pretended to be aiming snow balls at her doorway. I will particularly miss visiting her in her house, always having the intention to only spend a wee while up there and leaving three hours later after another one of our epic blethers. I loved that I could speak to her about most things that were happening. It's going to be really hard not to be able to do that anymore. My gran was always there to confide in and have a good natter with.
The turn of the year has been a really difficult one with two contrasting emotions. On the one hand, I've met someone that I really really care about and hope to have a future with and on the other hand I have lost someone who was such an integral part of my past - a very loving gran who took really good care of my sister and I.
Despite the start of this year being tinged with grief, I do look forward to 2011. After having enough of my escapade from hard work I've just started applying for graduate jobs, with a view to one day becoming a manager of an arts, culture or tourist based organization or project. I've even entertained the idea of living with a man later in the year. Never did I think early in 2010 that I could possibly consider shacking up with a man, cats and all. In 2011, I really want to do something with myself. I really want to make something of myself and do something that helps and affects others. I think I would like to start by doing something for Strathcarron Hospice, a place part-funded by charitable contributions. They took superb care of my gran, providing warmth and comfort that a hospital just couldn't provide to the same degree. I would like to thank them in return by helping to raise funds for future patients there.
2010 was a very important year to me - a year for growing up, for thinking about my future and various other serious 'adult' matters. I look forward to the future, albeit one I will have to endure without my lovely gran.
*~MEMORABLE MUSIC OF 2010~*
~Biffy Clyro's 'Only Revolutions' ~ Fantastic album from start to end. Most of you have probably heard Matt Cardle's cover of 'Many of Horrors'. Now I love Matt, but you really gotta' give the original a listen. Biffy Clyro are a smashing Scottish band and I love that Neil Simon sounds Scottish when he sings.
~Pearl Jam's 'Amongst the Waves' - Technically it's a track off their 2009 album 'Backspacer' but it was released as a single in 2010 and I do thoroughly enjoy it. It's a very uplifting song. I very much enjoy the video which emphasises the importance of the ocean in light of 2010's oil spill. This is something which I felt strong about as I pretty much fell in love with the Gulf of Mexico in 2009 after swimming in it. Nothing beats paddling in a warm ocean at night and jet skiing next to dolphins in the daytime.
~The Black Keys 'Brothers' - Their best album to date. The Black Keys are a rock band from Ohio that perform a lot of bluesy-inspired rock. I particularly enjoy the tracks 'Tighten Up' and 'Everlasting Light.'
~Tim Minchin's 'Matilda, a musical' - My adoration for this musical goes far beyond the music but I thought I'd squeeze my praise of it into this this section. I saw this at Stratford-Upon-Avon and LOVED it. It is a 5 star show. Witty, musically terrific songs, with great choreography and talented child actors. Magical!
*~FAVOURITE TV PROGRAMMES OF 2010~*
~Misfits - I saw the first series of this programme early last year. The plot premise is based on the idea a bunch of Asbo youths gain super powers. Sounds daft, doesn't it? Well, don't let you put that off. It's a great programme with a funny and memorable, if adult, script.
~Merlin - Merlin was back again with its third series and this time Morgana was eeeevil. She makes a much better baddie I must say.
~ Dexter - My favourite serial killer came back with a fifth series having just suffered a tragedy. I say no more...
~Being Human Season 2 - Nothing beats a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire living in a house in Bristol.
*~FAVOURITE FILMS OF 2010~*
~Kickass - This film is incredibly violent but incredibly fantastic. It's based on the idea of an average joe who tries to be a superhero. I appreciate Aaron Johnson as he's easy on the eye and Chloe Moretz is developing into a wee star.
~A-Team - I don't understand why people were disappointed by this film. For a start, Sharlto Copley was hilarious as Mad Murdoch. I'm hard to please when it comes to action films. Loved it.
~ The King's Speech ~ I know this was only released in the UK this month but as IMDB states that it was released in 2010 I'm cheating. An absolutely stunning film with flawless performances that I believe deserves best picture at the Oscars. Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush blew me away.
~Prince of Persia - Oh who am I kidding? I just liked this because of Jake Gyllanhall with a beard.
*~DISAPPOINTING FILMS OF 2010~*
~Legend of the Guardians - A film about owls. It's a very pretty film and I do love owls. However, I couldn't tell you much about the plot. I fell asleep half way through and I NEVER fall asleep in films. The 3D affects failed to keep me interested.
~Paranormal Activity 2 - Was I tense? Yes. Was it scary? Yes. Was the ending what you hoped it would be? Far from it. They needed to up the scariness. Note to be taken for any Paranormal Activity 3.
~Gulliver's Travels - Very much a Jack Black film, the humour fell flat at several points. I did enjoy the singing of Edwin Starr's 'War' at the end but not much else.
So that is my year. I decided to leave out a section on general highlights and lowpoints of the year this year because if I'm honest, I can only think of negative things. This largely revolves around government cuts gone a step too far, or at least a step away from helping the common man, and a step towards filling banker's coffers. The government REALLY hacked me off and I don't think I'm the only one. This new tax will only drive down consumer spending.
My review on the whole must have come across as very serious, lacking in lightheardness. Well, I assure you, my humour hasn't gone and I haven't suddenly gone all serious on you know. For a start, I would like to voice my criticisms of Lady Gaga. What was with that meat dress?! Throw her to the lions at London Zoo already.
Here's to a fantastic 2011, one where we are ready for the challenges ahead and one that is meat dress-free!
Summary: Happy 2011!