Thursday, 28 December 2017

2017: An Appreciation

We're fast approaching the end of 2017, when we see the endless run of people saying new year new me or people moaning about those saying new year new me! Either way, the new year is essentially just another number, life goes on as it has done for years before, it's just another set of dates to tick off of your calendar.

Of course, with the end of the year being nigh, it's easy to look back over the year that has passed by and reflect on what's happened, what you've experienced, and what you've learned. Whilst this year has been one of ups and downs, mainly it has been ups thankfully.

Before I rejoice in the highs though, I want to spare a thought for those that we've lost over the last 12 months. Whether it's loved ones, acquaintances or even those we idolise in the media, it's not easy handling loss. For me, my Aunt June passed away early in the year and I was a coffin bearer at her funeral. She was loved by many, is missed by many more, and the world is a worse place for her not being in it. Also, I would like to take this moment to send my love and wishes to the Compton family, who I still have a good relationship with after all these years! Joyce was a lovely woman, she was kind, funny, and treated me like one of her own, I always loved seeing her over the years that I was around your family, and whilst it's been a couple of months, my heart goes out to you all.

So 2017, a year where my penchant for travelling around the world (well mainly Europe) continued without hesitation. I left the country on 6 occasions, 7 if you include Doncaster which is like a different country at times, and gained a new experience/memory from each one. Berlin kicked off the year in February, with the history surrounding the wall and the wars that was very impactful. Barcelona a couple of months later was special too, although having the Freddie Mercury song playing in my head all trip showed how my mind works.

A week doing bugger all in Bulgaria was something new, lazing by the pool all day every day, and that will be something I plan on doing again in 2018 for sure. Taking inspiration from google maps I went to Vienna, which was incredibly picturesque, whilst Italy was its usual beautiful self in both Rome and Venice, the latter being one I will definitely return to! Then there was New York, and we all know how much I love that trip each year, even more so that I saw a Jets win!

Away from the trips I've been a busy bee here at home too. I visited Alexandra Palace twice, for snooker back in January and darts earlier this month, watched live test cricket at the Oval (albeit with a rain interruption or two), and went to the O2 for two boxing related events, those being Haye vs Bellew, and a meet & greet with the champ Anthony Joshua.

Theatre has played a part in my 2017 too, catching Wicked for the first time, which was awesome, and seeing Bat Out Of Hell the musical twice, something I am looking to see again now that it's coming back to the west end later in 2018. Add to that the Metallica & Impractical Jokers gigs, the usual whisky and beer festivals, and the countless Rev Pro UK wrestling shows, it's been a busy one.

Oh and not to forget the two Fullmetal Alchemist-inspired tattoos on my left forearm, the Star Wars Identities exhibit at The O2, and the Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum.......

2017 also saw me sign my life away and join the Cineworld Unlimited club, mainly because the Empire cinema at Bas Vegas was changed to a Cineworld! I talk about my comic book movie fascination enough, and it's no surprise those films were some of my favourites over the year, I mean Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and Thor Ragnarok were pretty fucking awesome. But it wasn't just those, Baby Driver was something truly unique, Power Rangers took me back to my childhood, both Transformers and Fast & Furious were delightfully OTT, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, well that was special.

2017 was a year to remember, and given the start I have planned for 2018, that will be too. It's good to look back at the year that's just past, learn from mistakes, embrace the experiences and good times, and take that into the new year to ensure it's bigger and better than the last one.

I just want to round this blog up with a thank you, thank you to every single person that has been a part of my 2017. Whether the experience was positive or negative, whether it was a fleeting visit or you're someone that is with me for life, it's been one hell of a year and it wouldn't have been what it was if it wasn't for the people in it.

From my Jets crew in the US, the clan in Donny, the Concord/football family, my friends, every person I talk to on the various social media formats, to my siblings and incredible little niece, every single person has made my 2017 what it was, something I'll never forget. Thank you all.

Friday, 1 December 2017

A Month On

Its funny really how much can change in a short space of time. Think back to just over a month ago and the last blog I wrote, there was plenty of optimism and positivity when it came to life, love and work. Fast forward to the start of December and there's a few changes in mindset and direction that mean that things aren't as they once were. Things can change quite quickly when you think about it.

Don't get me wrong, my optimism and positivity hasn't totally left me, there's still plenty to look forward to over the next few months, especially the first couple of months of 2018. I mean there's Tokyo, and in turn Wrestle Kingdom 12 in the Tokyo Dome on January 4th, then there's Snooker at the Ally Pally with the old man, the day after that I'll be heading into London to see The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas, and then in February I'll be heading back to Italy for another trip......

Italy is a country I have plenty of love for, from the bloodline ties to the fact that every time I've been there I've had a fantastic time and have always had a warm welcome from the locals. From the two times I've been to Rome, the recent visit to Venice, and the first time I went to Italy when me and mum went to Rimini/Riccione on a cycling holiday, Italy is a country I don't think I'll ever get bored of, and going back there next year will certainly not be the last time I do.

So this time it'll be Turin, home of Juventus and of course that fateful night for the England national side in the 1990 World Cup. I'll be taking in the city, the stadium that Juventus play in, and anything else that I may find during my 3 days there in the city.

Last time round I was quite optimistic about a few things, including the pending holiday with the girlfriend. Well as generally seems to be the case with me, you get too optimistic about something and it'll come crashing down around you. So I'm back to being on my own in that respect, I'll avoid the details as that's not for this time or place, but life goes on, and whilst I'm dealing with the emotional side of it all, I'm also doing what I can to embrace what's in front of me.

Anyway, for now, it's time to wrap this blog up and bring it to a close. Things may have changed in the month or so since the last time I sat down and wrote stuff about stuff, but ultimately, all that lay ahead of me a month or so ago still sits there on the horizon, just with a slightly different outlook. Thank you for taking the time to read this, sorry I've not sat down and written about Venice, but just ask me and I'll happily gush about that truly incredible city, I mean I talk about it enough on my podcast!

Thanks again for reading!

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