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2016 playlist

2016 was a pretty awful year for the world, but I would be doing many people and things a disservice if I said it was for me. It was difficult and full and at many times incredibly bizarre, but overall pretty amazing.

The world may have been falling to pieces but I was rebuilding myself. For ten years, two fairly major things dominated my life – working towards citizenship and planning a trip I wasn’t ever sure I believed I’d take. I never really thought about the energy I was spending on those things until all that real estate in my brain was suddenly free.

Perhaps this is why my Lindy Hop obsession exploded. Perhaps it’s why I dove into freelancing without really thinking much about it. Perhaps it’s what finally allowed me to let go of having to plan every detail of everything all the time (my friends will probably not believe I’ve actually managed this, but I assure you, I only plan about 65% of things now, as opposed to, oh, 99.142%).

I started the year in a Chinese border rail station with people I’d only just met, and absolutely no idea that the next 24 hours let alone the next year would hold such ridiculous and wonderful adventures. The lows were very low, but the highs were higher and more prevalent. And everything in between was sharper.

I went to 2 international Lindy Hop camps, one of them by myself. I danced in 8 cities (well, 7 cities and one French valley). I jointly started an awesome practice group. I went into my first jam circle and didn’t fuck up. I got clients. I supported myself and lived pretty well despite a 50% pay cut. I got super awesome office space. I read more books that I’ve read probably in any other year since I graduated college. I sewed a whole lot of clothes and started teaching someone else to sew as well. I did Thanksgiving for 19 people – more than ever before – AND managed to get red wine spills out of a white carpet. I cycled more than I bussed. I went wild swimming and wandering up hills and shimmying over flooded waterways. I had a lot of bomb-ass conversations. That’s only a fraction of it. Bad things happened in the world, but good things happened in mine.

I will end the year in a cottage in the Scottish countryside with some of the people who have made it all possible, and for once I’m not even bothering to wonder what will happen in the next 365 days. I hope it’s just as awesome. I hope it’s also much better for the wider world. I’d say it couldn’t get much weirder, but I know better than that.

As it the custom, I’ll leave you with my 2016 playlist. Again, roughly corresponding to the timeline of the year, with a few deviations. (Here’s 2015 and 2014 in case you’re interested.)

2015 playlist

A brief interruption from the usual travel stuff for my 2015 playlist. Roughly in order from the start to end of the year, all stuff that reminds me of the best times. Either because it was playing or because it was in my head at the time.

Last year I did a photo roundup of the year as well, but there were too many things this year that were awesome, and they’re all already in this blog anyway. I hope 2016 is at least half as great with all the same people I love and a few good new ones.

I’ll be ringing in the new year on a train bound for Beijing, most likely stopped at the border crossing, with fizz, a new friend (hey Felix!), some Mongolian beer, and a lot of random snacks. I’m currently looking for the best version of Auld Lang Syne to download to my phone for the occasion.

I hope you’re having fun wherever you are, and I hope you like the music!

2014 playlist

If you're wondering how on earth 'Gloria' ended up on this list, this is the night we all became properly obsessed with Laura Branigan. I make no apologies.

If you’re wondering how on earth ‘Gloria’ ended up on this list, this is the night we all became properly obsessed with Laura Branigan. I make no apologies. GOOD TIMES.

Continuing on the musical theme, I’ve put together my definitive 2014 playlist.

I will always be the kind of girl who makes mix tapes. Over the years they’ve morphed into burned CDs and now playlists, but I always have a few on the go. I still make them for people and situations and parties and myself and everything. It’s a proper art form and it needs to NEVER DIE.

This one is heavily influenced by all the traveling I did this year. But also, as ever, by people and big moments and, perhaps disproportionately, the jukebox at Starbar in Edinburgh. It’s roughly in chronological order in terms of how things cropped up over the year (so basically don’t listen on shuffle because then you’re ruining the curation of the thing). I hope you love it all as much as I do.

Merry Christmas, readers! Have some awesome music!