I’ve already covered my highlights of 2016 but I’m a miserable bugger so you couldn’t expect me to let such a year pass by without commenting on those things that weren’t quite so good.
My A-Z lowlights of 2016
A – Austerity Al. A necessary evil to sustain my career as a writer but I’ve had to make some cuts including my season ticket and Sky TV and I now shop at Aldi rather than Sainsburys. Not the end of the world but a bit of an adjustment.
B – Brexit. Whatever your views, it has created a huge divide and brought out the worst of people in this country. Worse still, my city seems to have been made the scapegoat.
C – Car. It’s normally lovely to drive a Jag. Not so much when I have to replace a door after crashing it into a wall.
D – Donald Trump. Don’t think I need to explain this one.
E – Editing. Whilst it is one of the most satisfying elements of writing, my God it is never ending.
F – Football. Whilst it gives some remarkable highs, I’m writing this as Sunderland are losing 4-1 away at Burnley.
G – Gambling. The lads’ bets usually pay for best part of our weekend away. This year, when we could really do with the money, we have been woeful.
H – Holidays. Whilst I’ve had a couple of good weekends, this is the first year in a long time that I haven’t ventured abroad.
I – Ignorance. Seems to have dominated the year and been celebrated as the way forward.
J – Jo Burns’ acting. It could have made the highlights but channeling her inner Byker Grove was never going to trouble the Oscars.
K – Kicked fewer cats than I would have liked.
L – Lighthouse. Visiting the refurbished Roker lighthouse, star of Leg It and Idle Threats, was going to be a highlight of 2016. Unfortunately the weather got the better of us and wiped away half the pier making it inaccessible. Something to look forward to in 2017.
M – Matt and Monkman. Closest I’ve come to losing my rag with them on the lads’ weekend when I crashed my car and they laughed. Turned out to be a misunderstanding as they didn’t know what had happened. And they changed the wifi code. Bastards.
N – Networking. Both a positive and a negative this year. Met some great people but you don’t half meet some mad buggers.
O – Once a year drinkers. Chesters was chokka with them last week. They need to learn.
P – Prince. I don’t go overboard on the celebrity death thing. I’m not one for RIPs on my Facebook timeline but Prince was the soundtrack to our formative drinking years.
Q – Questions. The inability of people attending Literature Festivals to understand the difference between a question and a personal statement. ‘Are there any questions?’ does not mean read your CV out.
R – Redundancies. Whilst this is generally a light hearted blog, I have seen friends put through incredible stress due to the threat of redundancy. Even if they have escaped it they have been left with more work and an uncertain future.
S – Snoring. Apologies to anybody who suffered my snoring at the Centrepoint Sleepout at the Stadium of Light.
T – Tom the Typo. The critiquer’s super villain. Causing chaos with every document and status update.
U – UKIP. The establishment pretending to not be the establishment as an excuse to fuel hatred.
V – Velvet. My lack of a velvet jacket has had my fashion consultant tearing her hair out.
W – Weirdos. Another that could have made the highlights due to the comedy value but I thought I’d escaped them by leaving work. They crop everywhere including every single session in the Literature Festival.
X – Xmas Party. The night was great but organising was a challenge. Never again.
Y – Year End. My first year filling in a tax return. That was an unparalleled joy.
Z – Zzzzz. My early night tonight is going to be spoilt by fireworks so I’m going to have to wear earplugs.