There have been positives, and highlights for sure, but largely I’m very much looking forward to putting this year in a sack and shooting it.
I’m gonna reject linearity here, in response to it having done the same to us.
One of my closest friends died the week before Christmas, leaving a rather bald patch on the seasonal period’s already rather tufty mullet. Patrick was was a cantankerous and viperous old cunt but he was also one of a handful of people whose wisdom, when dispensed, I’d actually engage with and regard with some gravity. His absence has shorn a hole in our ozone and I don’t like the view.
Patrick - giggle with me in the afterlife/Idiot Eden.
I released two solo albums and an EP with the band, which cumulatively entailed two vinyl releases. In some ways this compensated for the almost total absence of live shows. But not quite. The response to all of these releases was significant and humbling. I’ve written about this, and the Kayo Dot video - about which I’m equally proud - elsewhere.
Planning shows for next year feels like casting runes made of Lego, but the pilot light never goes out - something in me insists on performing. It’ll happen.
That said, one of two live appearances that did occur this year was a live-streamed show with dear Oli Spleen, webcasted to two-hundred psychiatrists of no little renown, and to whom I sang lyrics about barebacking an angel in a nuclear reactor, thus keeping them in work for decades.
Dune was brilliant and I’m glad to have filled my Instagram timeline with Timothée Chalamet. I’m sure he shares in my gladness. I’ll be certain to discreetly ask him as we walk up the aisle.
I was prompted to redesign my life this year, for both economic reasons and for those of professional and emotional self-care. This saw me give up so much of the life I’d forged over the last fifteen years, and saw some of it give me up too. Change is a dependable constant at least, and I’m somewhere adjacent to “excited” about the road ahead, even if some of its tributaries may be potholed by Brexit and eleven years of institutional abuse and gaslighting from the Tory party, all of whom I hope die in floodlit recognition of their graceless, banal stupidity.
I’m headed East as an exploration. It feels right. I’m working on a screenplay whose translation into a film I intend to produce and direct. My visual art is evolving new textures, mass and emotional and aesthetic power: this is exciting. I detect an exhibition rolling out in the spring.
I feel we’re at existential ground zero and that we absolutely must not submit to notions of scuppered self-worth and thoughts of hollow accomplishments - at this point the fact that most of us still walk in grace is enough. Acts of kindness over the last two years have blazed like new stars and it’s these upon which we must hook our gaze as we move into a new year. I insist it be a better one for all of us. Join me in this insistence.
A few years back, I found myself in a small room in the House Of Commons where Marina Litvinenko gave a galvanizing speech on the death of her husband - Alexander Litvinenko - by radioactive polonium administered by the Russian state. She had the grace and insight to observe that “Russia is not Putin and Putin is not Russia.” Likewise we are many miles from the self-enriching, tedious hacks currently squatting parliament. To regularly remind ourselves of this distance and to refuse to see this behaviour normalized should and must be a daily ritual right now.
I’m writing this on a train: my preferred state of being - in transit, flanked by a shifting landscape, headed to somewhere.
Learn a new language.
Invest in the NHS.
Invest in the arts.
Fuck the Metaverse.
Let’s sing songs of togetherness around the fire.
My love to you all xoo