Seven successes in 2006, and five things you don’t know about me.

As you may have noticed, I almost never get “tagged” with memes – probably because you all consider me much too grand to be bothered with such trifles. Yes, that must be it. However, when a member of my company’s management team tags me with a meme, then I guess it would be prudent to comply, and to comply pretty sharpish at that. Because I’m just so damned good at taking instructions and keeping to deadlines. Oh yes I am! Watch me!

Seven successes in 2006.

1. Covering Eurovision for Slate, backstage at the Olympic Arena in Athens. This caused me more pressure and more stress than any piece of paid work I have ever undertaken in my life (for several reasons, including a broken laptop, four hours’ lost work, and the small matter of the sudden hospitalisation and death of K’s sister) – and hence more attendant fulfilment when the work was successfully completed.

2. Helping to arrange a truly beautiful and special funeral for K’s beloved sister M, and delivering the main eulogy on the day. I’ve never had to deal with death in a practical way before, and shall be all the better equipped to deal with it on subsequent occasions.

3. Registering my civil partnership with K, after twenty-one years together as a couple. This was the last time that either of us saw M, who died just over three weeks later, and I’m thankful at least that our last memories of her were such happy ones.

4. Becoming a freelance music writer for the Nottingham Evening Post (and occasionally for Stylus), and learning how to deliver copy to fixed word counts and tight – extremely tight – deadlines. I love writing my little gig reviews when I get home from the venue (the copy deadline being at 6am the following morning), and then seeing them printed in the paper the following lunchtime. It still makes me tingle, every time. Same goes for the album reviews. My next immediate goal is to tackle some interviewing work; it just needs the right act to start with. (I’ve already turned down the drummer with Placebo. Such arrogance!)

5. Purely on the basis of an hour-long telephone interview, landing the assignment with the big new clients in Canary Wharf. Those three weeks of conducting job interviews in Hangzhou exactly twelve months ago must have stood me in good stead, then…

6. Making the absolute most of my five months in London, and spending many delightful evenings with many, many lovely blogpals in the process. I’ve loved the offline social aspects of blogging that have developed during 2006.

7. Inasmuch as a family tragedy might appropriately be mined for examples of personal “success” (but I’m trying to answer as honestly as possible): completing my course of cognitive behavioural therapy, which equipped me with the means to cope with the emotional aftermath of a major bereavement without succumbing to any major depressive relapses along the way.

Oh, 2006. You were the best of times and the worst of times. However, and for what it’s worth, you were rarely dull.

OK, time for a shift of gear.

Five things you don’t know about me.

1. Sexual fantasies make me sneeze. Not actual sexual activities; just fantasising about them. How weird is that? But then, isn’t the trajectory of a sneeze rather like the trajectory of a sexual climax? (I’ll leave you to tease out the reasons for yourselves, because some of them are a bit icky.)

Incidentally, I am not altogether alone in this: in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, the character of Angel Clare falls victim to the same phenomenon, while spying on Tess from afar. I discovered this at the age of 17, while studying the book for my A-levels, and fell upon the discovery with joyful – if silent – relief at not being quite such a weirdo after all.

2. It doesn’t come over in the blog at all, but I can be a right crabby little madam at times. Tetchy, irritable, cross and downright rude, and especially so to people whom I care about.

3. My lack of practical skills and aptitude is so severe that I would have serious trouble looking after myself alone for any extended period of time. Sometimes this scares me.

4. I’ve had [rough numerical estimate deleted] sexual partners. Which is fairly par for the course in contemporary urban gay terms (especially when one has been sexually active for nearly 28 years), but it does raise a fair number of heterosexual eyebrows. Of course, I’m well past my peak in that respect – and on balance, and without wishing to disown my wild past, I reckon I’m all the happier for it. Didn’t Boy George once say something about cups of tea?

5. I do a lot of my best work when I’m busting for a pee. It’s something to do with the psychology of displacement activity. Works for me, readers!

Update (1): Oh, are you’re supposed to tag other people? Forgive me, for I am a little rusty with these conventions.

I hereby tag Siobhan (who reminded me), Luca and TGI Paul. But only if they feel like it, of course…

Update (2): Siobhan’s done it…

Update (3): Luca’s done it…

Update (4): TGI Paul’s done it… here and here.

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