Hello, welcome, everybody wave hello to 2017.
A new year has started and as much as I don’t really go in for all that ‘new year new me’ bullshit, 2016 was a particularly draining year emotionally and physically, and even though calendars are a construct (and time is objective and all that other condescending pseudo-intelligence people regurgitate onto others that are trying to feel positive about something new and a little bit exciting) I have to admit I was glad to see it over.
2017 does feel different, at least for now: I feel relief, I feel excitement. I’ve been thinking a lot in the last few months about our relationships with ourselves - about how we treat our bodies and our actions and ourselves as people. It’s something I’ve only come to consider recently - that how you treat yourself and prioritise yourself is just another kind of relationship with somebody. And it’s not cool to be an asshole to anybody, yourself included. I have a whole discarded draft post about how fragile human relationships are, perhaps most meaningfully with ourselves. For the longest amount of time I have refused to forgive myself any kind of small failure, any kind of awkwardness, any kind of mistake, anything I’ve said that revealed how a lot of the time I’m really quite furious, anything that equally made me seem pathetic or lazy or dim. And it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting being so self-critical and disappointed in your perceived mediocrity because it’s just you against you - the part which is trying so hard to make the other part satisfied is tired, and the part that is so fed up of the other part occasionally falling short is even more so. And so without going too far into the rabbit-hole of learning to be gentle to yourself (as you would be with other people) - this year I’m feeling quite good.
Over Christmas I had an entire fortnight away from work. I was able to travel back to Devon for the first time since 2015 and got to see so many friends and family members, so many hillsides and cliffs and stretches of ocean. I took my cameras with me and shot a few rolls of film, I walked a lot, I discovered some cracking new podcasts*, I baked bread, I ran 3 miles along the beach on christmas day. Jake even took me to Dartmoor, to where we think was Wistman’s Wood (although with my below average navigational skills we can’t really be sure). It was probably the best Christmas break I’ve had since school - the key point being that at no point during the week I was at home did I think ‘there’s nothing to do’ and instead I was met rather abruptly with a ‘oh dear I’m leaving tomorrow’. NYE was your typical montage of cheap white wine, quite expensive white wine, trying to get a beer garden of people in Camden to all sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, failing to do so, more cheap white wine, crisps, crisps, olives, forcing other people to eat olives, beer, realising your ability to convincingly socialise is plummeting and then waking up in the afternoon to a house you don’t recognise, drinking water from the tap and squinting outside at torrential rain, trying to find your phone and then eventually, when everything just feels like you might one day feel ok again, having a milkshake. My first NYE in London was courtesy of Chanti - thanks again, for everything.
Flash forward, back in Edinburgh, I rush to A&M to get my films processed and 2 rolls get ‘left in the machine’. They come back pretty much ruined, given to me as two uncut strips, folded into four and put in a bag. Most of each roll is fog from being over-processed. But here and there you can make out bits of the moor - and in one corner, you can see the ghost of Jake’s face. There’s a very rough edit of these below so have a gander. They’re actually quite beautiful I think. Like looking through a net curtain, or looking back at something you can’t quite remember. Like the year behind has been washed with light.**
I did get some 35mm back with no problems and I’ll upload that somewhere soon. There’s an absolute cracker of an image of a dead mouse in a freezer bag. That sounds sarcastic but those of you who know me will be able to imagine how delighted I was sat at the computer seeing that little mouse scanned upside down and leaping airborne out of the screen. But perhaps that’s just me. Almost definitely just me. Give me a few days to scan them properly and you can have a look and make your own mind up. I’m going to try to post here more in the coming months because I have three drafts that I started before christmas and chickened out of posting, which is sad. It’s better to post something people might think is stupid than to post nothing at all. Oh, and after a year of wondering how a particular body of pictures and words fitted together on a wall I’ve realised they don’t at all - I’m making a book!
Speak soon internet.
*The Allusionist, in particular, is a dream to listen to.
** You can now see the entire set with accompanying text here.