33 Amazing Things That Happened in 2017
1. Michelle Branch came back
I'll admit it: somewhere around the third canned album and thirty-fourth vague tweet about 'exciting things to come you guys!!' I'd all but given up hope on my longtime (well since 2001) anti-Britney (not that there's anything wrong with Britney) pop QUEEEEEN.
But – gasp – 13 years since Hotel Paper and a mere 1 underwhelming 'Creep' cover later, Michelle finally released her comeback album in April. As I said at the time, "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGHHHH."
It’s called Hopeless Romantic. It is, according to my Last.fm, the most played album of the year. It has, according to Billboard, sold close to no copies. As ever, there is no accounting for taste with you people.
2. St. Nigella Of Assisi LAWSON
The Grand Empress of Camp and Cocktail Sausages made her long-awaited return to UK TV screens this autumn. Previous series saw her tackle such thorny topics as The Feast, The Kitchen, and The Christmas: this time, it was the turn of The Table. Is that a raised eyebrow? Clearly someone’s never seen Nigella’s impressive collection.
That said, there was one true four-legged star of At My Table, and it wasn’t the hot pink metal number. Behold, Nigella's Yuletide Stray Dog: one of the several hundred attracted to her natural, chorizo-infused musk over the course of 2017.
Barely out of scrubs from All Saints' miraculous 2016 resuscitation, Fascination Management’s Peter Loraine squared up to his biggest challenge yet: righting the good ship HMS Steps. A CD:UK-crushing behemoth in its heydey; now twenty years old, barely watertight (thanks to no one in particular, cough CLAIRE cough IAN ‘H’ WATKINS), and last seen running aground on Miserable Fragrance Cash-in Island circa 2013.
In no small part aided by five band members who looked like they actually wanted to be here this time, the Steps 20th anniversary party turned out to be everything their begrudging 2011 reunion wasn't. And no, I don't just mean Claire didn't get stuck in a test tube.
There was NEW MUSIC, for a start. And it was fucking GLORIOUS.
Fun fact: my hypothetical wedding plans have always included something I term 'Steps Hour', in which all doors will be bolted shut for the entirety of Steps Gold. I am pleased to inform you that thanks to this year's Tears on the Dancefloor (Crying at the Disco Deluxe Edition), Steps Hour will now clock in at around 154 minutes.
Attendance – and enthusiastic participation in the 'After the Love Has Gone' millenial-baiting routine – will be compulsory.
4. God's Own Country
Brokeback Mountain but with more Pot Noodles, sexy jumpers and a pleasing lack of gut-wrenching hopelessness. I left the cinema covered in popcorn and plotting my new lifestyle as a gay version of the farmer in Shaun the Sheep.
5. We figured out Nachos
For several years now I've been taking absurd amount of joy and credit from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's autumnal chilli. But, inexplicably, it was only this January that we realised its ample leftovers could be reapproximated into the World's Greatest Nachos.
As you were.
6. The Deer Skull we put in the study
The first in what will be a flat-wide animal head collection, each named after one of my fallen workplace enemies.
7. The bakery round the corner reopened
Readers, a catastrophe befell the politely gentrified London not-borough of Kennington last summer.
Sally White, home to the best cherry cheesecake brownies and sausage rolls you'll ever eat, was flooded. Possibly after someone tried to eat both foodstuffs at once, possibly through excessive rainfall; I suppose we'll never truly know, but over the subsequent six months I found my life empty of both meaning and calories.
Happily, Sally White's reopened in February. I have eaten approximately 52 sausage rolls since.
8. Espresso Martinis
I'm not a big coffee or vodka drinker ("WHAT?" – boyfriend), which makes my new evening tipple of choice slightly confusing.
"DEAAAAAAAAAATHHHHHHHHH," I screamed, waking up the morning after my first at 1.02am. Since then I've opted for decaf Nespresso capsules.
9. Tennis - Modern Woman
It might surprise you to hear that I consider this track a finer achievement than joining Michelle Branch's backing band, but take a listen and I'm sure you'll agree.
Did you know you can order them, in bulk, via Waitrose Garden? ("For the last time: YES" – boyfriend)
11. THE Soho House Dressing Gown
I've worn nothing else since Christmas Day. Boy our fellow party-goers are in for a treat tonight.
12. Sour Cherry Raw Chocolate
Raw cacao's really good for you because of how it's unprocessed and toxin-free and blah blah blah blah. I'm into these because they're the closest I've come to the long-discontinued Green and Black's dark chocolate with large, delicious hunks of cherry scattered amply throughout.
£3.99 a pop in Wholefoods, spendthrift clean eaters.
13. Buying Easter eggs half price on Easter Sunday
Having spent all my money in Wholefoods, it was highly pleasing to discover that Hotel Chocolat heavily discount their Easter egg range on the Jesus's Deathday itself. From now on I will eat TWO Easter eggs, and cackle repulsively as I do so.
14. Hemsley and Hemsley 'risotto'
[Insert way of enthusing about this without sounding like a dickhead here]
15. Cut to the Feeling
16. Lana Del Rey's breathy '...ffffuck' at the end of 'Cherry'
18. Sufjan Stevens and co's Planetarium
Not being cool enough to assemble a supertroupe of megamusicians and record a solar system concept album myself, I instead pass the time by hissing 'Pluto is the loneliest planet' behind unsuspecting passengers on tube escalators.
19. This cheese quinoa recipe
Roll your eyes at your own peril. But do make sure you soak your quinoa for at least 10 hours. And try it with lamb and feta. NOW.
20. Kesha's high note in Praying
You hear that, Dr Luke? Who’s the fridge now, dickhead?
(The correct, post-Christmas answer, is me)
21. Honey & Co’s Cherry, pistachio and coconut cake
Jesus Prue Leith Christ, this is a cake and a half. Make it. Make it at once. And be sure to complement the already sweet batter with a generous sprinkling of Demerara sugar for bonus crunch.
Word of warning: your cleaner too may find herself compelled to steal your cherry pitter just so she can bake her own.
22. Nadine Coyle
Nadine’s comeback publicity blitz was a thing of pure, conniving delight; perfectly calibrated to explode Cheryl’s Google alerts and press every one of the Girls Aloud fandom’s buttons:
Double down on her post-split Twitter outburst? Check.
Reunite with Brian Higgins, widely viewed as Girls Aloud’s sixth member? Check.
Perform a mash-up of her new single, 'Go to Work', and every superfan's favourite Girls Aloud track, 'Something New'? Check.
'Go to Work' sold no copies, but more importantly it spawned a million GIFs - the true barometer of success in 2017.
23. The Wreckers briefly reunited
Michelle Branch was in a charitable mood this year. A decade on since her career was derailed by erstwhile bandmate Jessica Harp, she nonetheless invited said traitor back on stage for the first Wreckers performance in ten years.
The Wreckers, for those of you at the back, only happen to be my favourite country duo of all time. I will now devote my life to encouraging a fully-fledged reunion.
24. Phoebe Bridgers - 'Motion Sickness'
“Why do you sing with an English accent? I guess it’s too late to change it now”. Lyric of the year.
25. Aimee Mann's album cover
26. And Phoebe Bridgers' now I think about it
27. This Reiss jumper
Impossible to wear of an evening without, at some point, stroking one’s white fluffy plumage and comparing yourself to Snorlax.
28. Nandos deliveries
We moved flat this year, for reasons best summarised as "landlord dickwaddage". While he, with luck, enjoys a 2018 of rent arrears and gum disease, I am pleased to report our new place is within delivering distance of Nandos.
28. Dragon egg bath bombs
Thank you, Lush, for bringing a taste of Game of Thrones to my Sunday bath time experience. Any tips for getting glitter out of my leg hair you could offer would also be much appreciated.
29. Dua Lipa - 'New Rules' (Initial Talk 80s Rules Remix)
Dua Lipa's cutting-it-fine-aren't-you number 1 came as no surprise to me, of course, as 'New Rules' was literally the only song I felt any desire to play again after suffering through her full, bloated, 17 track deluxe album.
30. Assorted Vlogmas catastrophes
On the first day of Christmas, the annual YouTube jamboree of half-assed content and grotesque overconsumption gave to meeeeee... a Zoella Advent Calendar Scandal. Lols.
Of course, later hilarious misadventures belonged entirely to Gleam stablemate Tanya Burr, who made the twin mistakes of a) spray tanning and b) attempting one of her 'own' recipes. Poor thing.
31. Steps, Again
As if the successful comeback and album reissue wasn't enough, Claire & Friends only went and included 'Paradise Lost' - PARADISE LOST TRACK 12 OFF BUZZ THIRD ALBUM 2000 WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU - in their tour set list!
Cue six weeks of obsessive YouTube rewatches, none of which have lessened the curious appeal of Lee's dad Despacito dancing.
32. My boyfriend, because he asked for a mention
Now where's my gin.
33. Fling My Soul Overboard
The internet rumour mill would have it that this was originally intended for the 2013 Girls Aloud Ten Tour, only to be usurped at the last minute by a cover of 'Call Me Maybe'.
Leaving aside the question of exactly how post-2009 Sarah would have performed this, thank god they spared us. Because, already jacked up on cheap beer and That Show Intro, I most certainly would not have survived the Fling/Graffiti My Soul transition.
Honourable mentions for 2017 highlights i should have probably included
only i couldn't face renumbering everything
'Delicate', the undisputed highlight from an otherwise largely intolerable Taylor Swift album.
The Sparkly Margarita Glass Christmas Decoration we bought in New York.
The St. Vincent and Tove Lo albums, both fantastic if very difficult to stream at work.
Speaking of Toves, Styrke was also on fire this year - 'Say My Name' was one of my jam-in-chiefs.
Iced Americanos at the height of London summertime.
The Nix, a good book by someone I can't be bothered googling.
The Book of Dust, which I haven't got round to reading yet.
The final season of Girls, which will forever stand tall in my estimations no matter what Lena Dunham tweets next.
Britney's iconic Instagram antics.
And my shiny new MacBook Pro, which meant I was able to upload this without smashing anything in frustration.