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Personal Highlights of 2011

Frankie Crisp

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Well very appropriately as it's you that started this thread...


The whole of 2011 was a highlight for me, I did something I've always wanted to do and spent a year living in Canada, I was there nearly the whole year (left beginning of January & got back Christmas eve) I had the most amazing, time, I met more amazing real friends than I thought possible and I learnt a lot about myself.


It's all thanks to Frankie Crisp too as despite the fact that I've never met him it was him on this very forum that answered my question about how to do it.


Amazing that a small thing like that meant that I got to have an amazing experience.


Thanks again Frankie.

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I'm very glad you started your post with football Frankie, because it was the first thing that leapt to mind for me, even though it's not that important in the grand scheme of things. I've had a pretty decent year all in all, but if I had to point to the best 30 seconds of it, I don't think you could beat this:


The football season is drawing to a close, and Norwich City are, unbelievably, headed towards a second consecutive promotion. We're not home and dry by any means, though, and our penultimate home game is petering out into a 2-2 draw with a Derby side who, despite being poor for most of the year, put in a very good performance that day. On about 89 minutes, everyone's favourite pantomine villain, Robbie Savage, in the last away game of his career, is substituted, and spends what seems like 5 minutes to leave the pitch, shaking hands with just about every player on his own side, both linesmen, the referee, the Mayor of Derby probably. He knew what he was doing, and recieved tumulous boos from the home support.


QPR had won at home by this stage, and indeed their Promotion had been confirmed by Sky & the BBC, who indeed were showing live pictures of Colin Wanker dancing on the pitch when, in the 6th minute of Savage-inspired stoppage time, this happened:



It doesn't get better than that.

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EDIT: HOLY CHRISTMAS, the forum just logged me out and I thought I'd lost all of this.



You met Olivia Harrison? Nice.


2011's been a pretty good year for me. The only big fail has been in the love/women department - everything else has more or less worked out.


1. The performances of the panto I wrote and directed in January. Seven performances, virtual sellouts each night (250 capacity auditorium - it's not big but hey, we're not exactly metropolitan round here). The feeling I got, after a year and a half of writing, re-writing, directing, producing, designing, advertising, painting, building, stressing stressing stressing stressing and everything else, to hear people laughing at the jokes, clapping at the bits they enjoyed, reacting and generally having a good time watching it is unparalleled. Absolute adrenaline rush, a highlight of my life, not just this year. Such a huge challenge for me but I loved it.


2. Gigs and live shows. I haven't been to many this year compared to others, but the things I did see were among the very best I've ever seen. I got to see Hugh Laurie at the beginning of May, which I doubt is something I'll get the chance to do again. Let Them Talk was a great album, I thought, but hearing those songs live was brilliant - probably my favourite kind of music.



I was this close to House!!!


Also in May, I had THE ULTIMATE PROG WEEKEND. One night I saw Roger Waters doing The Wall, which was absolutely spectacular. 'Comfortably Numb' is the best gig experience I've ever had - I felt my jaw involuntarily drop with awe during that closing solo.




The next night, RUSH.



I was this close to Rush!!!


Other highlights were Status Quo in an outdoor concert in August, Les Miserables and War Horse in the West End, An Evening With Sir Terry Pratchett in October, the Cheltenham Literary Festival, and losing my Iron Maiden live virginity in July. But the theatre highlight may have had to be...


3. Winning (by sheer luck and good fortune) a Ticket Lottery to see the David Tennant/Catherine Tate Much Ado About Nothing during my weekend in London in June (and that's another highlight of this year, I've travelled to loads of places around the country over weekends and things - Stratford, London, Cheltenham, Leeds, Manchester, good places all. Oh, and I took my sister to Disneyland on the Eurostar for a night as a kind of 'you're moving to the other side of the world and I won't see you until next year' present.)



I fucking love Disneyland. Haters gonna hate, but it's loads more fun when you're grown up.


But to return to Much Ado, I'd picked up a flyer for the play when I arrived, knowing it was sold out until the end of its run, but being the sort of person who accumulates flyers, does nothing with them then throws them away, I thought I'd take it anyway. I spotted on the back of the flyer, 'Ticket Lottery'.


Apparently, on the morning of every performance, they gave away ten tickets. Worth a go, thought I, so the following morning I went along half an hour before this lottery was due to start and joined the back of the already very long queue. I got out the script for the am-dram play I was in at the time and did some line-learning while I waited (because if you do this in the West End, people will totally think you're a professional actor). The lady behind me starting chatting to me about it, and I learned that she'd just got off a plane from Sydney, and had come straight to the theatre to have a go at this ticket lottery. She came to London from Australia every year to see as many shows as she can, then flies back. Mad, but impressive.


So it gets to lottery time and we each take our raffle ticket (ten of which will be drawn from the hat - ten for the matinee, ten for the evening, both Australian lady and I went for matinee). Draw is in half an hour, so I wander into Leicester Square, and come across M&MS WORLD. WHAT MADNESS IS M&MS WORLD. Anyway, after marvelling at its insanity, I head back to the theatre and look for Australian lady, to tell her to go and see M&Ms World while she's in London because it's mental. They start drawing the tickets. No joy at the start, but towards the end ... Australian lady wins a ticket! She's chuffed, I'm pleased for her, I plan to cut my losses and plan to see something else instead.


But right at the end, a girl's ticket is drawn. She's with a big group of friends, none of whom have won. She approaches me and says, 'none of my friends got in, but I saw your friend did - do you want my ticket?' She means the Australian lady. I very quickly nod and thank her several dozen times - and I GET IN!


I rush into the lobby and thank the Australian lady most humbly for talking to me in the queue - if she hadn't, I wouldn't have got to see the play. Anyway, turns out the lottery seat were

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Couple of things from me, some of them aren't that significant in the grand scheme of things while others are much more important to me and where I am in life.


1. Finally going to a Grand Prix. I've been an F1 fan for the vast majority of my 20 years on this planet, but before this year, I'd never gone to an F1 race simply because I've not had the money. Some good things happened to me and my family and I suddenly found myself with a bit of money to spare and do something with, so I got a ticket to Silverstone. The weather may have been rather suspect on Friday and Saturday (including one of the most sudden downpours of rain I can recall happening to me), but the entire weekend was amazing. Hearing the engines firing up on Friday morning while I was sat in one of the grandstands with my brother drinking coffee and then watching the cars all drive past sent shivers down my spine. Without a doubt, that's probably one of the best weekends of my life to date. There have been other fantastic moments (even during this year), but they all happened during week days. ;)


2. Music. I've always been a musical guy, whether it's the 12 years or so I've spent playing flute or the last 5 or 6 that I've spent involved in samba drumming. The last year's been all about the drumming. I've had the opportunity to do some really cool gigs this year in some really nice locations in Leeds and Yorkshire, and they brought me into my own as a musician. Plus, I never realised I could multi-task by drumming and singing at the same time. Turns out I can, and it's not a disaster, so that's always good to know. I've had a few chances to take charge as well, especially with the Liverpool group I'm with, so I've done a couple of sessions and workshops where I've been teaching a mixture of my own rhythms and stuff from Leeds. Every time I've done it, I've had people say afterwards how good the sessions were and that they really liked them. It's something that doesn't seem so significant, but getting that chance to prove myself has been something I've really enjoyed being able to do this year. If you'd asked me to do this last year, I wouldn't have even considered it for a second.


3. Friends, and life in general. I'm a much happier person at the end of this year than I was last year. I feel much more settled in life, and since my life is mainly at Leeds, that's what it all comes down to. Last year, I wasn't really feeling that I was enjoying my course so much. I didn't have a great relationship with my flatmates, especially after the girl that I'd formed the best friendship with had dropped out of uni just before my birthday and gone back to Newcastle, and I felt that I didn't really have any friends on my course. There were a few points when I thought about jacking it all in and giving up, but those thoughts never really hung around for too long thankfully.


In January, we got a new flatmate who was an Australian exchange student from Melbourne. Turns out she quite liked cricket so we got to spend a fair few nights staying up late watching The Ashes which was great fun, and she definitely helped bring a more positive vibe to the flat. I settled down into the course more and got some friends, and these friendships really grew after exams in June when virtually everyone went home apart from a group of four of us who spent most days together. That bond's remained to this day, and now I'm living with some great people, I'm happy with my course (it's amazing how different things can be when you actually get to pick your modules) and I've got some really good friends.


It's a small thing, but my friends have really helped to get me through this year. I don't think they know just how much I appreciate them.


Sorry for waffling on there. Looking back though, I've had a pretty good year.

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Went to a match at the Nou Camp: Funnily enough, I started the year with a stag do in Barcelona, but due to a lot of fannying about and procrastination from our group of 20+ we conspired to miss out on the Barca match that weekend. Having the opportunity to go back later in the year, I was determined to at least do a tour of the stadium, but the prospect of a match looked pretty slim as the fixture list had Barca away from home that weekend, and we were only there for 3 days. Just over a week before I was due to fly out, they were drawn against AC Milan in the CL group stage for the last night of the holiday. Couldn't have worked out any better at all, and the seats we had were magnificent, only about 10 rows from the front. An forgettable experience watching two teams you don't get to see that often when you're a Sunderland fan.


Got my first publication: It's full of academic jargon, so I wouldn't show it to anyone I know past my name above the title page, but it's something for the CV and one off the bucket list.


Had a part in a film: Again, just a tiny extras part as 'generic henchman #2' or something similar, but it's a story for the pub at the very least. It's not every day you get to share a stage grotty warehouse with Luke 'Bros' Goss or take the last slices of roast beef from the complimentary buffet while Lock Stock's Nick the Greek is waiting hungrily behind you.


Funnily enough, all of those things happened in September. I also get the christmas present I've wanted for years earlier in the month though, when Martin O'Neill finally became Sunderland manager.

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1. Valentines Day part 1-.


Me and my current squeeze met on this fateful day, a day I will forever treasure for two reasons. We were actually on the same course at Uni but in different year groups. Anyway, a mate of mine set up a night out with some of the uni crowd and unbeknownst to me, this lass was coming along. I soon discovered that not only did she like her football, but she actually liked wrestling as well. Normally when that happens you know you've got a pretty good catch to be had there. Anyway, we spent the whole night talking and messing about as if we were old mates, and she stayed the night. We did it. It was nice. I liked it. That was the Monday. By Thursday, we were official and by the next Monday we'd already met each others parents. Fast work, but well worth it. We're still together and still all lovey dovey. Also on that night...


2. Valentines day part 2-


...THE ROCK RETURNED!! Anyone who knows me will know that I'm the absolute markiest of marks for The Rock. I've always believed he'd come back in some capacity, despite everyone telling me otherwise. When he did, I had about 100 Facebook messages the next day wishing me some kind of weird congratulations as if it was my birthday or something. It felt like it. The soon to be Mrs was also watching on as well. We did the nasty again afterwards. Sorry! Anyway, Rock's return also coincides with this:


3. Trip to Wrestlemania and the States

I attended my first live Wrestlemania this year. I know it didn't translate to everybody brilliantly on TV, but live in person it was pretty grand. Atlanta isn't a bad city really, even if the public transport can be a bit scary. Especially when, not being racist, I was the only fucking white person on the bus and everyone is staring a whole through you and your ridiculously red face you picked up from not applying enough sun cream in Florida. Prick. speaking of Florida, we'd arrived a few days before all the wrestling at the weekend, so we took a road trip down there in a brilliant Toyota Camry. We saw Jacksonville, Daytona Beach (eerily like Great Yarmouth), Orlando (in the fucking rain!!), Tampa and Clearwater Beach. Had a cracking time and take back lots of fond memories from that trip.


4. Portugal.


The Mrs is actually Portuguese. She'd already planned a summer trip to go home and see the rest of the family, so I went along with her. It's an absolutely beautiful country, at least the parts I saw. Lisbon is gorgeous, grand city with some cracking architecture and lovely people. Plus: Both sets of her grand parents are filthy RICH. Her Dad's side of the family have mini-mansion at a place called Malides (?), which has an outdoor pool overlooking the woods, a jacuzzi and an outdoor bar/BBQ area with a smashing garden. Heaven. The Mother's side has a flat in Lisbon which is more like a tardis. It looks like just a normal room, kitchen and bedroom at first. Then you open seemingly door after door after door in a place that I think was bigger than most houses. More importantly though, her family are all absolutely lovely people who made me feel really welcome. I can't wait to go back in 2012.




See Statto's post. I blubbered like a baby when we won promotion again. It's been a fantastic time to be a Norwich fan, it really has. I post about Norwich all the time so I won't ramble, but this has definitely been a highlight.


6. Graduation


Bagged my degree, the first in the family to do so. A proud day, culminating in a delicious meal at Zak's (An American themed diner. Tasty) and getting plastered. Start as you mean to end they say, and I did just that.


7. Work


In October I landed a new job and I adore it. Lovely people, great, challenging work and I'm actually seeing some money again. My previous emplyers were absolutely taking the piss with just about everything really, so it was a relief to get out of there. Also in August, I did some work experience/trainee freelance stuff with Anglia TV. Not only was it a great week in terms of the work, but everyone working there is absolutely lovely. Absolutely wonderful, gracious, hard-working and top, top people.



Well done to the rest of you in terms of your achievements this year, i.e Frankie for milking the millions, Magnum for getting published and HarmonicGenerator for the panto stuff and PrittStick for his year in Canada.

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Great thread this, some good reads. Particularly pleased with the Norwich success for those above, as well as Pritt Stick's Canadian adventure.


2011's been mostly quiet compared to my 2010, however I got a new job in May which has reaped benefit after benefit culminating in a glorious christmas party with a bunch of people I'm over the moon to already consider my mates. Off till well into next week but looking forward to getting back and talking bollocks about what we all got up to. Got made permanent in October too, which marked 2 years since I left one career with nothing to go to and have now found my feet in something I really love.


And hey, Money in the Bank was pretty fucking brilliant wasn't it? Wrestling and that!


So, quiet one overall, but have got some grand designs for 2012, so if I get anywhere with those, this thread next year will have way more of my bullshit.

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Good Things


Getting Published on line and in print has to go in there as a major plus for the year, articles on Retro Fusion, Addict of Fiction and an article in the Replay Event mag, plus a few articles in a book, which Ive not yet seen/ sure is published and the possibility of writing for an Emag if I get my arse in gear, has been a real boon to an otherwise awful year


No pay, all for the love thus far, and I cant do it full time as even a small article is hard going. But it has left me immensely impressed anyway as is a near life long dream to be published as a video game journal. When I finally do get back to work, for real. At least it can go on my CV. Huzzah

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A proud day, culminating in a delicious meal at Zak's (An American themed diner. Tasty) and getting plastered. Start as you mean to end they say, and I did just that.


On the waterfront in Norwich? Love that place.


Compared to 2010, 2011 has been absolutely fantastic.


I had my (delayed) graduation ceremony in June. First module of my MSc is in the bag as well (although module #2 is a bit of a slog right now as I'd rather be eating Quality Street).


The Mrs got a proper job again and I got promoted.


I met Jimmy "Wichita Lineman" Webb earlier on in the year after a show.


Matraca Berg released a new album. She signed it after a show. I love her.


I got a battery charger that has 4 independent charging chambers (this is quite possibly the actual highlight).


If, and it's a big if, I get the bathroom sorted and everything else that's planned comes off then 2012 is going to be even better. Everything else minus the bathroom and it's a tie.

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