2012: goodnight to the northern winters

I had this great line I was going to use for my end of year post. “2012 has been like a sin curve plotted between 0 and some multiple of 2π,” I would say. “There’s been ups and downs, but come the end I’ve found myself in pretty much the same place as when I started.” But then rather a lot has happened in December and so I’m not sure I am still in the same place as I was last January. It was such a nice line, too.

***

Highlights? Canada was amazing, and still deserving of a post to itself. The Rockies were especially breathtaking, awesome in the true sense of the word, and Vancouver is a wonderful city. I particularly enjoyed meeting up with one of my friends from TheForce.Net whilst I was there! It was both surreal and very fun.

Sweden in June was also fab, and not just because of the amazing breakfasts we had there. Longtime fans will remember that I went to visit a family friend in Sweden back in 2003 and pretty much fell in love with the place. Anyway, said family friend turned 80 this year, and we were all invited! Swedish birthday parties are raucous affairs, and being the only English people there would be a little bit intimidating if they weren’t all so fucking friendly. We also got to spend some time in Stockholm which is a nice city, but one that I found weirdly cold and standoffish. I thought it was trying too hard to be cool, y’know, and I guess I was a little bit disappointed by how distant I found it.

Copenhagen in July, though… now that was a city I fell in love with. I was there for a week for the Young Topologist’s Meeting, an annual conference for postgraduate topologists. Being both my first proper large conference and my first time abroad by myself, I was a little nervous, but I had the most fantastic of times. The conference dinner was absolutely insane; the Centre for Symmetry and Deformation hired out a huge burger joint and put on unlimited free food and booze until midnight. After which there was gin and dancing in some tiny Spanish late bar squirrelled away in a back alley somewhere. Also, the Danes do great shawarma.

I changing my supervisor in May (she got offered a job in Southampton, and fuck was I leaving Manchester), and that was pretty much the most stressful and frightening thing I’ve ever done, I’m really enjoying working with my new supervisor and, if I’m honest with myself, am making far more progress than I did before. Whether that’s because I like the stuff I’m doing now more or because I’ve been working much harder to try to make up for lost time I don’t know, but it’s no lie to say that these days I’m enjoying my mathematics for the first time in a long while.

And, of course, there was Wigan’s superb escape. I thought nothing would beat the last day heroics of the 2010/11 season, but the style, confidence, and sheer brio displayed by Latics at they took apart Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle on their way to safety was almost unbelievable. For five glorious weeks Wigan Athletic were the best football team in England, and once again Roberto Martínez’s faith in his convictions was vindicated. There’s a lesson here, and also a reason to feel incredibly proud.

***

Assuming I don’t go on a huge music binge in the next few hours, here’s my last twelve months in music, or at least, the top 10 artists I scrobbled.

iLiKETRAiNS 1,133 listens (christ)
Beirut 718
The National 674
Jens Lekman 605
Belle and Sebastian 568
Arcade Fire 502
Arrange 433
Los Campesinos! 375
The Rural Alberta Advantage 360
Sea of Bees 328

Best albums of 2012? Paralytic Stalks, The Shallows, Orangefarben, Have Some Faith In Magic, and I Know What Love Isn’t. Best gigs? 65dos at Truck were insane, Frightened Rabbit on the last night were euphorically good, but I have to give the crown to Three Trapped Tigers at the Ruby Lounge back in March. They played their three EPs in order, which is a staggering amount of music and I was floored. Also we got really drunk and went for pizza afterwards and that’s always fun.

***
in the middle of the night i was sleeping sitting up
when a doctor came to tell me enough is enough
he brought me out into the hall, i could have sworn it was haunted,
and told me something that i didn’t know that i wanted
to hear
: there was nothing that i could do to save you.
the choir’s going to sing and this thing is going to kill you.

***

2013? Five words, Longdon: don’t fuck this one up.

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