2018: My Highlights

So, that time is upon us again. A year has ended. And, as has become traditional, I will be listing my 18 favourite bits of the 365 days that made up 2018. I chose the number 18 because it is a semiperfect number and also the first inverted square-prime of the form p·q2.

Let’s be honest, no-one cares about this bit. It’s like the bit at the start of a recipe blog where you have to read the blogger’s entire life story before finding out how to make their oatmeal and raisin cookies.

So let’s get stuck straight in.

I acquired a Volskwagen Golf. A friend of my Auntie wanted to give it away, and I was more than happy to receive it. It’s wonderful. It’s like I’m a normal person. Even a moderately successful person. I feel like people look at me and think ‘there’s a guy who knows what he’s doing with his life.’
Next Year: I am going to clean it.

I turned 28. 28 is a big deal. 30 is rapidly approaching. There is no way to avoid the fact that I am in my late twenties now. 28 is the second perfect number, which I’ve enjoyed this year. It’s also a Keith number, which is most pleasing. And, obviously, there are 28 convex uniform honeycombs, which is a big plus.
Next year: I will turn 29.

I organised a wedding. Well, I did it with Emily obviously. It feels like this deserves to be more than one highlight, as it took up pretty much half the year. It turns out that organising a wedding is a lot of effort. You’ve got to think about loads of things. Venue, photos, clothes, flowers, music, food, guests, where to put those guests, whether those guests can eat normal food, whether we’ve told the cakemaker about those who can’t eat normal food, can we control the weather, when is the Champions League Final? Y’know. All the usual stuff.
Next year: I will not organise a wedding.

I went to the cinema by myself. It was a remarkably liberating experience. The film was Avengers: Infinity War (the second time round). I spent most of it weeping. Not even at the sad bits. Thor would just turn up in Wakanda and I would burst into tears. I’m not even joking. In my defence, it was a week before the wedding, so I was already an emotional wreck.
Next year: I will do all the classic dates by myself. Go to a restaurant. Go for a walk in the park. Go on a tandem ride. Go to laser quest.

I got married. After spending all that time organising the wedding, it would have been a shame not to. The day was actually amazing. The rain held off, the venue was beautiful, so many incredible people were there in one place, a surprise brass band played Beyoncé and the food was outstanding. Emily looked stunning, my speech was moving and hilarious, there was a video of me in a C-3PO costume, Tommy D did a keytar solo and a Jay-Z rap, Ruth-Ellen nailed all the key changes in Love on Top, and the thunderstorm gave us a light show as we left. If only Loris Karius had got the memo.
Actually being married is great too. I would recommend it. Though it is roughly 25% answering the question ‘how is married life treating you?’
Next year: I will continue to be married. For at least the whole year.

I rode a bike. More than once actually. For the first time in about 17 years. Our honeymoon Airbnb came with two bikes. So each night we’d cycle into town and try a new Italian restaurant. It was super cute. A particular highlight was cycling back with two pizzas bungee roped onto the back and a bottle of wine in the basket on the front.
Next year: Only 16 more years til it’s time to ride again.

I moved in with a girl. It’s a whole new thing. She is always there. I am not allowed to spray deodorant in the bedroom. Every night the duvet mysteriously rotates. And I had no idea how many cushions we needed. Mostly, though, we have loads of fun. She is hilarious in all sorts of odd ways. Our home is full of spontaneous singing and a large picture of a giraffe. It’s a lovely little house – you should come visit.
Next year: I will move in with five more girls and start a Harem.

I released a song. Not quite a whole album this time, but it’s important to leave them wanting more. It’s a worship song that we’ve been singing in church for a little bit. Joe Connell did most of it, so it sounds pretty good really. You can listen to it here if you’d like.
Next year: Let’s aim for more than one.

I changed my hair. The hairdresser told me that because of the way my hair grows, my fringe should naturally fall the other way. So ever since then I’ve had it that way. I think he might have been telling me porkie pies though, cos every morning I have to actively make it go that way. It’s taking years off my life.
Next year: Now that I’ve got the taste for change, I’m going to go the whole hog. I will get plastic surgery so that I look and sound exactly like Alan Rickman (may he rest in peace).

I went to a spa for the first time. You walk round in a white dressing gown and sit next to wet old people while you’re both half naked, and apparently that’s fine. You get really warm in some places and then really cold in others. There are a lot of bubbles.
Next year: I’m going to join a golf club and get a timeshare in Portugal.

I started a finance spreadsheet. This might go down in history as the year that I really grew up. Getting married. Owning a Golf. And the final nail in the proverbial coffin of adulthood – the finance spreadsheet. We have an evening each month when we go through it and drink red wine. The wine really adds to the atmosphere. Though it probably detracts from the efficacy.
Next year: I will start a spreadsheet detailing all my bowel movements over the year – their regularity, size, consistency and odour.

I said goodbye to my mum’s house. We moved in when I was 11. It was there that I taught myself guitar, wrote my first songs and fell in love with Lego Star Wars. So it was quite a momentous occasion. Interestingly, I was actually more emotional watching Infinity War. But that’s probably because half of the house didn’t disappear into dust at the end of the move.
Next year: I’ll try not to write any spoilers for Avengers: Endgame in my 2019 Highlights.

I got my first CCLI cheque. CCLI do all the copyright licencing for church music stuff. And this year they gave me a sum total of £14.86. The only way is up.
Next year: I will lie in wait outside Tim Hughes’ house and intercept his CCLI cheque. Then I’ll spend it all on checked shirts and capos.

I got a guitar student through a grade exam. For the first time. None of my other students have ever been that bothered about exams. I’m not sure James was either really, but he did such a good job and passed with flying colours. Well done James.
Next year: I will preserve my current 100% pass rate by never taking another student through a grade exam.

I was chastised for publicly calling into question the structural integrity of a fish and chip restaurant. It was towards the end of one of the most extraordinary gigs I’ve ever played. Have you ever seen the entire clientele of an up-market fish and chip restaurant morph into a football crowd and start an impromptu version of Seven Nation Army? I have.
Next year: I will start a podcast with the sole aim of decrying the structural integrity of various fast food outlets. It will become wildly popular before it is discovered that the building in which I’ve been recording is actually made of twiglets and goose fat. Then I will be roundly pilloried for my rank hypocrisy and chased into obscurity.

I correctly guessed that Ben Gill had hidden a creme egg down his trousers. Apart from my wedding, it was one of the best moments of my life. Emily said she had never been prouder of me.
Next year: I will go on Celebrity Mastermind with a list of answers written that I’ve guessed in advance. Only one of them will actually be correct.


Context, my friends, is overrated.

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