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.