18 Things I Found Just About Tolerable In 2018
1. Everything To Do With Kacey Musgraves
In the words of that YouTuber I can’t stop rewatching - Kacey. KACEY. You did what? THAT. You did THAT.
“???,” I hear you ask. Give me a minute. It’s been several months since I’ve graced these pages with my spectral online ‘voice’ and I’m still remembering how the post builder works.
In the meantime, behold: Creator of 2018’s Album of The Year, dressed in the most incredible, Country Music Award-slaying Versace/Parton power suit. Two Dixie Chicks and a Shire died in the making of those tassels.
As for aforementioned album of the year? Welllll. If you haven’t already listened to Golden Hour, I want you off this site and onto the nearest streaming service right this instant. Don’t make me ugly cry at that Seth Meyers ‘Rainbow’ performance again, or indeed any one of her spectacular, individually styled live outings in the last 12 months.
Slow Burn would be my favourite, if forced to choose at gunpoint. (LAMPS! JEWEL TUXEDO!)
Or High Horse, SNL edition. (GLITTER SADDLE!)
Or High Horse, with added yeehaw. (“DON’T BE SCARED”)
Or BUTTERFLIES, any which version, because oh my god those vocals around the 2m 22s mark. (“MMMM-MMMMM-MMMM”)
You get the picture. Go listen to Ka-SLAY Musgraves and instantly improve your 2019.
2. Faye On Strictly Come Dancing
Just as my 2017 Steps obsession was starting to subside (starting being the operative word — this Love U More/You’ll Be Sorry/After the Love Has Gone pile-up refuses to get old), the group’s de facto deputy took it upon herself to keep their primetime TV presence warm for another year.
Do I understand ‘dance’? No. Do I owe Faye Tozer my unwavering love and support following two decades of pop service, often at close proximity to Ian ‘H’ Watkins? Yes. Nice sheer blouses and ample man cleavage never go amiss either (cheers Giovanni) but my favourite moment was still their Gwen Stefani-sampling goat puppetry extravaganza.
3. These new shoes I bought in New York
Or, to be more precise, Nike Killshot ‘sneakers’. I love them.
4. Declaring deposit victory over our asshole former landlord
£2k+ in vague ‘redecoration’ fees? Another £500 to ‘clear’ the vine-choked ‘garden’ we couldn’t get into for two years? Shove it, dickhead. I channelled my best Alicia Florrick—turbocharged on red wine and self-righteousness—and wrote a masterful dispute document I plan on framing just as soon as I escape the London rental market.
5. Antoni from Queer Eye’s relentless thirst-trapping
You’re doing amazing, sweetie.
(FYI: might want to check out Thomasina Miers’ guac recipe. You’re welcome x)
6. Things with coconut in them
As previously confessed, my life ambition is to become a walking Rittersport coconut bar-a confectionary delight curiously absent from most UK shelves but readily stockpileable any time I head to Europe.
Reader, we made solid strides in 2018; transformational milestones including Soaper Duper’s body wash and Julia Turshen’s miraculous toasted coconut cake.
WHAT A YEAR it has been for sitting, prostrate, on increasingly unplumpable sofas. WHY WON’T THIS ARSE-DENT SHIFT.
Without necessarily meaning to I started watching loads of cartoons. BoJack Horseman, obviously, gets better and better. I’m embarrassingly late to its Netflix stablemate Big Mouth, a foul-mouthed, giant-hearted comedrama about the travails and terrors of puberty, whose central message is, why, yes — we’re ALL disgusting, perverted messes. I knew it. Shout out to the Hormone Monstress and Kristen Wiig’s turn as a talking vagina.
I’ll never stop loving Buffy, so it was fairly predictable that I’d end up 100% on board with the gorily rebooted Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Any concerns about the lack of wisecracking cats were more than offset by amazing misty visuals and Miranda Otto’s spade-toting Aunt Zelda.
What else, what else. Succession was a particularly gripping mid-summer watch, as various members of the mildly-fictitious Murdo—I mean, Roy clan, sought to outdo each other in terms of sheer Trump-esque repellantry. Full disclosure: I nursed a confusing crush on Kendall throughout, and still find myself daydreaming about a personal flotilla of blacked out range rovers.
I’m approaching my fill of true crime dramas and increasingly confused over who allegedly killed what and where. This was not helped by legal moodboard Kathleen Zellner, whose unique drawl, penchant for attractive but interchangeable young crime scene reconstruction assistants and this-might-need-some-work theories about sinks dominated Making a Murderer’s not entirely necessary second season.
The new Doctor Who wasn’t bad, which feels like an achievement in itself.
8. Kylie’s Kountry Adventure
The One True Kylie™’s Kiss Me Once rehabilitation, kick-started by two better-than-expected Christmas outings, was completed with this rhinestoned act of A&R genius.
Who’d have guessed one of my tunes of the year would be a Dolly Parton-inspired disco ode to impending death? (“That’s literally your aesthetic” — everyone)
9. Alcohol-induced mishaps
Bûbbles! Glamöur! Jõy!
Except… hungover note to self: you no longer have the liver strength to handle bottomless brunch, champagne bars, or mid-afternoon cocktails without ending up on the floor of your flat, covered in Pringle crumbs, rambling about Kacey Musgraves, by 4pm. Proceed at your peril.
For the handful of hours this year I wasn’t lipsyncing to either Kacey Musgraves or All Saints’ TRIUMPHANT reunion with William Orbit—god that’s a whole other essay in itself—I could generally be found sating my emotional needs with a raft of podcasts.
Joan and Jericha: 🤣
The Adam Buxton Podcast: 🐕
The High Low: 📣
Sex and the City Origins: 👠
Tom Daley’s Desert Island Disks: 😏
11. Anna Jones’ The Modern Cook’s Year
A seasonal-themed trove of vegetarian delight. I couldn’t have made it through the long summer heatwave without her incredible taco salad, which has finally won me round to the ways of ‘tofu’ after 31 long years.
Do not be put off by my Instagram hatchet job. There were at least six layers of sweat, suncream, and various coconut body products between salad and lens.
For years I resisted the siren call of streaming, preferring instead to faff about with a malfunctioning iPod classic and later, whatever this thing is. In 2018 I succumbed, on the proviso that someone else paid for my account, and consequently found myself contentedly shuffling the same three Clean Bandit songs for 6 months.
This item was sponsored by, of course, My Boyfriend
13. My Second Annual PIE-lgrimage
My ability to mix up and roll out acceptable pie pastry is 100% down to the geniuses at the Four and Twenty Blackbirds, a Brooklyn establishment I am unapologetic about frenetically instagramming whenever I visit.
This year I was finally able to sample their brown sugar pumpkin pie for myself, and am pleased to report it tasted not dissimilar to when I made it—which is to say, MOST PLEASING, only with less background kitchen devastation.
14. David Sedaris’ CalYpso
I am a longstanding fan and “accidental” plagiarist of David Sedaris, a man now more famous in certain English boroughs as a litter picker than witticist. Good news, at least, for my ongoing habit of paraphrasing his best lines in lieu of self-generated hilarity.
His latest collection of essays, Calypso, is one of his best; combining some genuinely heartbreaking family confessionals with the kind of one-liners that had me chucking derangedly to myself in front of strangers all summer (the thing about the poached hairdryer still FLOORS me).
This list is already 95% homosexual and I haven’t even got round to mentioning Troye Sivan, Call Me By Your Name, Sufjan Steven’s new songs for Call Me By Your Name, the full cast of Queer Eye even though they didn’t invite me on for season 2, Love… Simon, MNEK, Sarah Paulson’s red carpet head shake thing, Monique Heart, Janelle Monáe, Cher’s ABBA tribute album, Cher’s contribution to the Mamma Mia II soundtrack feat. Meryl Streep and Christine Baranski, Adam Rippon, Troye Sivan and Jónsi, Ames’ Hold On, Sabrina’s curiously English-accented warlock cousin, the stag do I organised for my (straight) best friend feat. unicorn stickers and cocktails, and Lady Gaga’s peerlessly OTT Oscars mission.
Exceptional work, y’all.
16. Lifting weights and other such resistance-based nonsense
Reader, I have a confession. This year I hired a personal trainer. He made me… lift things. AND I LIKED IT.
17. That nonsense Avengers film
While I’m being candid… I really enjoyed this too. File alongside ‘Chocolate Orange Segsations’, ‘The Sims 2’ and ‘Rita Ora’s inexplicably delayed and not-bad second album’ under 2018 guilty pleasures.
18. Occasionally Writing Things Here
I have been sporadically ‘blogging’, ie. Writing words on the internet for no discernable financial gain, for close to 15 years now. Every 12 months I experience a moment of doubt as to whether it’s actually worth my own or anyone else’s while — only to end up right back where I started, pontificating about Michelle Branch and drawing clumsy approximations of prosecco flutes.
You see, occasional readership of confused Madonna fans aside (YOU KNOW I’M RIGHT), I’m only really writing for one person: ME. Opinionated, self-obsessed, barely-competent-at-basic-illustrations-me. There may come a time when I gain traffic from means other than enraged pop fan forums, or indeed that I find more financially lucrative ways to waste my time. But in the meantime, as ever, at least I amuse myself.
Happy belated new year, everyone!