Archive of ‘Love Letter’ category

A love letter to… 2016

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Dear 2016,

It’s been a year since I wrote to your predecessor, and though series on this blog don’t usually last long, I’m pleased that we are here once again, with me writing to you on your last day.

What to say about you as a year? I think everyone agrees that you’ve been eventful at best, disastrous at worst. On a global level, there’s no doubt that you’ve been probably one of the worst of my 34 years on the planet. Right-wing politics has taken a stranglehold on the world, leading to two of the worst decisions (in my opinion) that mankind could have made: Brexit and Trump. The people who support these decisions do not tend to hold views that are in sync with my own, and so I find myself in a position where the things I hold true are not being represented at a political level. But I believe that there are enough good people in the world that hopefully one day we’ll look back on you, 2016, as an anomaly.

But while political storms raged across the world, it’s important to remember the good things that happened on a personal level. I became a great-aunt! I can say in all honesty that my niece’s daughter Peggie is one of my favourite people, and I am so looking forward to watching her grow up. She’s lucky enough to have a middle name that matches my first name (I double checked, it was for me), and while I don’t get to see her quite as much as I would like, any time spent with her is wonderful.

Peggie was (technically) the only new addition to the family, which is odd for a family that grows as quickly as mine. A wedding in October brought the official tally for new additions to two, as Peggie’s mum and dad married in Spain. But Paul has been a part of the family for so long that it was a technicality!

In terms of work, I feel as though you were a good year. I don’t work for a company that has an official structure for promotion. But I like to think that I have been rewarded for my hard work in more ways than one, and I think I’ve finally reached a point where, when someone asks me what I do, I know what to say. I work in marketing!

A love letter to a year on this blog would not be complete without the mentioning of two certain radio presenters. My love for Wittertainment is steadfast, and you, 2016, have brought me some extra friends because of it! Mark Kermode has been in residence, once a month, at the BFI, and I have been to ten of the eleven shows (#superfan). I have been lucky enough to do this with my Wittertainment friend Chloe, who I have known for a while, and Liz and Goldy, two fellow Kermode acolytes. I’m so lucky that I get to spend time with these wonderful women who are helping to set the world alight in different ways.

The other Wittertainer has been a part of my year as well; I met Simon Mayo at YALC in July, where he was promoting his wonderful YA novel Blame. He’s such a gent, it strikes me that this kind of thing isn’t necessarily his favourite way to spend time, but he’s generous and chatty and I love that I have met him in person three years in a row now.

What else has happened? I went to Iceland; my first time on a plane in many years, and though it was only a short trip, it was amazing, and I’d love to return. I visited Glasgow for the first time (another plane trip), though that was for work and I got to see very little of the city. October saw two weddings; the aforementioned Spanish wedding of my niece and new nephew-in-law (another plane trip!), and my university friends Montanna and Ryan in Surrey. Yet again, I went to my friend’s caravan in Camber Sands for the weekend with my best friends, and had a lovely time.

Oh, and I moved! You were the year for a new beginning, 2016, as my friend Hannah and I had to vacate the chilly flat that we were renting, so we found somewhere new, and it’s lovely. It has a name (as well as a number, we’re not that posh), and it’s warmer, cosier, and just generally lovlier than where we were before. I still struggle with the age-old problem of keeping my bedroom tidy, and I no longer have a bath (woe is me), but I love it here.

All that’s left to wonder is what your successor has in store. All good things, I hope. Though with that inauguration and that exit looming, who knows? Let’s just try and make it a good one.

Smell ya later, 2016

Janelove

A love letter to… is an ongoing series that hasn’t really been ongoing since this time last year, and only has a paltry four entries. So it’s not really a series at all. 

A love letter to… 2015

EST. 2015

Dear 2015,

Well, what a funny old year it has been. I dropped a line to your predecessor this time last year, and I thought it would be a nice tradition to continue.

You’ve not been a great year for blogging. I’ve always had an up and down relationship with this strange hobby, but this is the first year it has taken a real back seat to real life. This is mainly due to the fact that I just haven’t had the time, but also because for a while, I fell out of love with blogging a bit. We’ll see how things develop, but I finally feel excited again about things at Is That You Darling.

Personally, you were something of a milestone year, as I officially moved out of home. I went to university as a mature student, and when that was over I wasn’t in a position to move out, but finally, at the grand old age of 32, I managed it! I now live with my friend Hannah in a tiny little flat near Colchester, and aside from the fact that it’s almost unbearably cold in the winter, I love it, and I’m happy to have finally ticked off a major box in the adult column.

I’ve had a lot of fun with you, 2015. As with last year, though I might have spent too much money on clothes, I’ve been trying to concentrate on making memories, and I have some special ones to cherish. I saw Ward Thomas (again), and visited a town called Ugley. I went to Scotland for the first time, visiting Edinburgh to see Radio 2 broadcast live (a dream come true). I went on yet another caravan holiday with my best friends, and had the usual amazing time. I went to my first book launch, and was in the same esteemed company as Stanley Tucci for a couple of hours. I went to see The Proclaimers (!), I went back to Hyde Park for Radio 2’s Festival in a Day and saw, amongst other people, Bryan Adams, The Corrs and, yes, of course, Ward Thomas and The Shires once more.

I’ve gained a couple of new members of the family too, in the form of a new niece and nephew. I’ve seen my family much less than I used to when I lived at home, which has taken some getting used to, but I guess it just makes the times I do see them all the more special. It would help if I could drive, as my new home isn’t *that* far away from most of them, but I can’t. Hopefully that will change in the coming year, however!

And, even though this letter is already too long, I can’t finish it without a mention of my continuing interest in the work of Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode. You were the first year in many that saw a live broadcast of Wittertainment, but as I was working, I was spared the disappointment of applying for tickets and inevitably failing to get them! I did, however, see Simon Mayo during my aforementioned Edinburgh trip, and I finally managed to see a Dodge Brothers gig, in Camden, with my Wittertainment friend Chloe. And miraculously, you were a year in which the good doctors released a book, which I was lucky enough to review, and when I headed along to the accompanying tour date in London, Mark and Simon were very kind to know who I was based on my review. When I headed along to the second London date, I ended up on stage, which was amazing and surreal, and resulted in my receiving a t-shirt that says ‘I’ve been seen by the Movie Doctors.’ All in all, quite an amazing turn of events!

All in all, 2015, I’d say you’ve been an up-and-down kind of a year. Some very exciting things have happened alongside some real contemplative moments, and while I know I’m lucky in many ways, I won’t look back on you as the best year of my life. So thanks for the memories, and I hope 2016 is even better!

Love Jane

A Love Letter to… is an ongoing series (that admittedly could do with a few more entries!)

A love letter to… 2014

Dear 2014

Our time together is coming to an end, and I thought I would drop you a note to let you know exactly how I have felt about you. We’ll never see each other again, but we’ll always have memories, and as years go, I have to say that most of my memories are fond ones.

Professionally speaking, you, 2014, have been the best year in a long time. I have ventured back into the world of working in an office, and I’ve loved it. Although it’s not without its problems and pressures, it’s actually a pretty great job, and I do love it. I sometimes have to pinch myself when I realise that I have kind of landed on my feet with regards to my job; working for a magazine and events company actually can be as exciting as it sounds. In terms of my writing, I’ve actually earned proper money for it this year, which has been a major step forward. And I’ve only got and got myself a magazine column! Check me out in Essex Life, where you can read my witterings about books (what else?).

You have also provided me with a couple of new family members this year. I’ve gained another sister-in-law, taking the total to four, and a new baby nephew arrived in the shape of Harry, back in February. Harry took my nephew count to four, and as Michael and Bex found out that they were expecting their second little boy, 2015 will take the total to five. That will bring things level on the nibling count, as there are already five nieces in the family, but I don’t suppose it will be too long before someone comes along to send things off kilter again one way or another.

Three members of my family went and passed their driving tests with you, 2014. All female members, no less (we’re largely a non-driving family, and the males make up the drivers for the most part). Of course, I’m jealous, but as I’ve never so much as taken a driving lesson, there’s nobody to blame but myself. Who knows what 2015 will bring?

You and I have had a lot of fun. For the first time in a while, I’ve had a little bit of money to spend, and I’ve tried to use that money wisely. I have used it to make memories, rather than buy things, and I like to think I’ve made some good ones. I’ve been on a Broadcasting House tour, and I’ve been to two events hosted by Mark Kermode. I went to see a Derren Brown show, Radio 2’s Festival in a Day at Hyde Park, I met Steve Backshall at a book signing, and I went to see The Shires and Ward Thomas, where I was lucky enough to meet them. Best of all, I met Simon Mayo twice, and he knew who I was because of something I wrote. For that, 2014, I’ll always love you, and hold you in rather high esteem.

Not to overstate things, but I’ll always remember you for being the year that I saw one of my favourite films of recent times. I’m sure that Pride will hold a special place in my heart for a long time. I can’t even necessarily put my finger on what I loved so much about it, but it touched me more than I ever thought possible. Having bought the soundtrack, visited the bookshop, and (literally) bought the t-shirt, I now just have to wait for the DVD to come out so I can actually watch it again!

I also like to think that I have made a few new friends. Some of them are real-life friends, mainly through work, but people I genuinely love spending time with. Others are people that I have got to know through two radio shows that I love, and I’ve even met up with them in real life. Internet friends are dead amaze.

Talking of radio shows, I can hardly believe it, but you were the year that introduced me to Wittertainment, the BBC’s flagship film show. I feel as though there’s a love letter to that wonderful institution in my future, so for now I’ll just say that I can’t believe it’s only been a year since I fell in love with the podcast/live stream, but it really is true love.

So thanks for being a pretty good year, 2014. You’ve certainly had your moments, and I like to think that there has been more good than bad. But it’s time to say goodbye, and time to get used to a brand new year. As you know, odd numbers aren’t my favourites, so it’s with some reluctance that I greet 2015. Let’s see if it can be another good one.

Love Jane

A Love Letter to… is an ongoing series.

A Love Letter to… BBC Radio 2

Dear Radio 2

My love for you is not something I am particularly shy about. Everyone who knows me knows how much I love to listen to Radio 2, because I go on about it all the time.

My enthusiasm is something that is ingrained, because while I was growing up, you were the constant soundtrack to my life at home. My mum loved the radio, and Radio 2 was her station of choice. As a housewife, and with six children to bring up, she seemed to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so the radio went on first thing in the morning, and stayed on until she was finally able to sit down and watch some television in the evening. This habit has rubbed off on me; while I don’t spend all day in the kitchen, when I am at home, the radio goes on and stays on. I also listen a lot on the iPlayer Radio app – Chris Evans wakes me up, and Janice Long accompanies me as I fall asleep.

For me, your appeal lays in the DJs. Radio 2 is full of men and women (though too few women between 6.30am and 8.00pm, I have to say) who really know their stuff. They know about music, and they are seasoned professionals when it comes to radio broadcasting.  I’ve had a think about it, and I think my top five are:

  • Simon Mayo (but of course)
  • Bob Harris (runs Mr Mayo a pretty close second)
  • Chris Evans
  • Janice Long
  • Liza Tarbuck

So along with the DJs, who feel like friends because of the amount of time I spend listening to them (and the fact that I go out of my way to try and get all of them to mention me on air – so far I’ve got Simon Mayo, Janice Long and Steve Wright on that particular list!), I do of course love the music you play. Sometimes I think that certain songs stick around on the playlist for marginally too long – Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars and the Englebert Humperdink and Cliff Richard duet, to name but two. But generally, I think the music is wonderful: the perfect mix of classic and modern. Real variety, unlike a certain commercial station whose tagline is ‘More Music Variety’, and then seems to be a loop of the same twenty or so songs. .

And of course, we now have the Playlister button, something that has made my life immeasurably more fun. I know this isn’t a Radio 2-specific innovation, but it’s where I use it the most, because my radio/app/online player is tuned to Radio 2 more than anything else. Much, much more!

I love you, Radio 2. Never change. Or if you do, make changes that will ensure you remain the best radio station in the world (but never take Simon Mayo off. Drivetime wouldn’t be the same without him), and I’ll promise to love you forever.

Love Jane

A Love Letter to… is an ongoing series in which I profess my love for something or someone.