It’s that time of the year when we look back at what has gone before and think about what 2015 may hold. These are a few of my favourite things from 2014.
3) Greenwich Mo Running 10K
This race always has a great atmosphere and is a fantastic finale to the running season. This year over 160 of us entered from Run Dem Crew thanks to Glenn Hancock. It was great to see Warwick get on the podium.
2) FlatLine 10
This leg and lung-buster gave me so much confidence for the races that were to follow. Once you’ve mastered 10 laps of the steepest hill in London, other challenges seem more manageable. And I won.
1) Berlin Half Marathon
The Half of the Homies. What a weekend. Berlin Braves looked after us well and this Bridge the Gap event was a pleasure from start to finish. The endorphin high after setting a new PB on this beautiful course lasted for days.
3) Nobody’s Smiling by Common
Although Run the Jewels made a late surge for the best hip-hop album accolade, I’ve been rotating Common’s disc on a regular basis since its release in July and it’s easily his best since Be. He was great live, too. Somebody’s smiling. Me.
2) Everybody Down by Kate Tempest
What a year for Mercury Music Award nominee Kate Tempest. I was lucky enough to see her live twice, performing poetry, and at first this poetic hip-hop record with a great band passed me by. But repeated plays have revealed an incredibly deep and rewarding listen. The fact she’s written a novel continuing the stories of the main characters, to be released in the future, only further serves to whet the appetite before I see her perform this set live. In the meantime, I’m directing my GCSE Drama students in devising a play inspired by her work.
1) Everyday Robots by Damon Albarn
Damon and I have history. The stories I could tell you. All of which made the release of Damon’s first solo album very exciting for me. He didn’t disappoint. Seeing him live in the Albert Hall backed by Leytonstone’s Pentecostal City Church Choir brought it all full circle.
An honourable mention must also go to Slowdive, who made an old man very happy by reforming. I was lucky enough to see them at a secret gig- their first in 20 years- and was blown away by the emotional power of these songs I’ve listened to since my teens.
3) Titus Andronicus by Bold Tendencies
Shakespeare’s bloodiest play is not for the faint-hearted. Nor was this apocalyptic production, set, Mad Max-style, in a Peckham multi-story carpark. Harrowing and comical, using parkour and beatbox, this was a revenger’s tragedy for those who like their Tarantino uncut.
2) A Streetcar Named Desire at The Young Vic
Bruising, truthful and unflinching, this was a powerhouse of a performance. The revolving set made us voyeurs as we watched the slow-motion detonation of all that southern belle Blanche Dubois held dear. Gillian Anderson lived up to the hype in the theatrical equivalent of Breaking Bad.
1) The Drowned Man by Punchdrunk
What can I say. This show changed my life. The last time I experienced a show as profound as this was twenty years ago and it set me on a life path I’ve been on ever since. Set in Hollywood in 1962, The Drowned Man was an immersive performance set over four floors of a disused building. There were over 200 rooms to explore and 32 characters to follow. You could literally go wherever you wanted during the 3 hour show but you always left feeling you wanted more.
The Drowned Man was the best thing I’ve ever seen in any art form. Its beautiful symmetry, the David Lynch motifs, but most of all the touching and tender performances of it’s thrilling cast, kept me coming back for more. I saw it 8 times and when it closed, my thirst was still unquenched. Thank you, Punchdrunk.
3) The Lego Movie
Freakin’ awesome. Finally got around to watching this as I flew thousands of miles to Thailand and was hugely entertained and occasionally moved. Ever since they began making computer games, Lego have managed to find the perfect balance between action, pathos and humour. Bring on the sequel.
2) The Grand Budapest Hotel
I watched this with Pistol Pete in the front row of Hackney PictureHouse on a mahoosive screen. This zany Wes Anderson comedy has more going on than a Where’s Wally picture, so having our noses pressed up against it made an intense experience exponentially more mind-blowing. Rip-roaring fun.
What a movie. Boyhood is the ultimate Richard Linklater film, taking his aesthetic of following characters over a number of years and through meandering conversations and distilling it down to its purest form. The movie follows the life of Mason from 5 to 18 years old. It was filmed over 13 actual years and the cast age as the time passes. Beautiful, poignant performances by all involved, but particularly new star Ellar Coltrane and an old favourite, Patricia Arquette. The soundtrack was glorious, too.
Favourite Blog Posts
Finally, thank you to all who’ve been reading my blog this year. You’ve also been voting in your droves for anotherwisemonkey to win blog of the year at The Running Awards, so thank you again. These were the posts you enjoyed the most in 2014.
3) Swim Dem Crew
It was a pleasure to write about the inaugural Swim Dem Crew session. Emily, Nathaniel and Peigh have gone from strength to strength this year, and it was amazing to see Nathaniel and Danny put their skills to great use by completing 30 triathlons in 30 days during November. Here’s to an amazing 2015.
2) FlatLine 10
Several people have told me they’ve run FlatLine as a consequence of reading this blog post, which is the ultimate compliment. I had an incredible time running it and can’t wait to go back in 2015 and test myself again.
1) Elevating Women’s Running
The incredible feats of the women in Run Dem Crew this past year have been inspirational to so many. I began writing this post because I was in a really bad mood and needed to snap out of it. Little did I know I was about to break the internet as traffic to my site went into overdrive once it was published. So glad to have drawn attention to just a fraction of the amazing things happening at Run Dem Crew. Well done, ladies.
2014, thanks for the memories. See you in the next one.