Naughty Badger’s Review of the Year

This was, unarguably, the highlight of my year.

So, the close of 2014 is imminent (which reminds me, I still haven’t planned anything for New Year’s Eve. Is it even a Thing anymore? Can I not just drink alone in my own house?) and as I haven’t blogged nearly as much as I ‘should’ have done this year, I thought I’d do a round-up to fill in any gaps. Here y’are.

The “back off, dude, this is getting creepy now” moment of the year:

I’ll try and nutshell this one but it could be tricky, and you kind of need the details for context.

In January of this year, I was still working at the salon. It was a cold, dull morning, and I was not feeling brilliant, having been up since about 6am with period pain (sorry, male readers, but it’s best you know how grim it can be). In walked The Guy (42, with an estranged wife, if that’s relevant), and we chatted briefly. He was a regular customer, polite and friendly, therefore immediately memorable, and actually gave me the time of day, which was rare. I made an off-hand comment about having a bad day, and his response was “oh, that’s a shame, I’ll have to take you out to dinner to cheer you up.”

I didn’t think he was serious – no-one asks someone out like that, do they? – so I replied with a feeble, “hahahaha…yeah, hahaha…” In my defence, I’d taken some pretty strong painkillers.

Ten minutes after leaving the salon, he returned – practically flying in, not looking at me – and handed me his phone number written on a napkin, and then left again. Now, I didn’t think people actually did that, outside of below-average romcoms, so I just sort of stared after him, thinking “oh. What’s happening? I’m not sure.”

A week later, he brought up the subject of dinner again, and this time, gave me time to say “um, well, I do have a boyfriend.”
“Oh. Oh.” This was apparently news to him, which is odd, because I was certain I’d mentioned this fact.
“I’m sure I’ve mentioned him to you…?”
“Yeah, yeah, you have. Not for ages, though. I thought…”
“No. Yeah. Still got him.”

Long story short, we did end up going for a friendly drink – because initially, he was just that. Friendly, and funny, and good at… just chatting, I suppose. The Valentine card delivered to the salon was perhaps unnecessary, and he was absolutely baffled by the fact that Drummer Boy knew everything and was entirely unfazed by it. I say “everything”; there wasn’t anything to know. “So he really doesn’t mind that you’re having a drink with me?”
“No. Why would he?”
“It’s just weird that he’s not bothered.”
“Is it?”

Drummer Boy’s take on it was refreshing: “I’m not worried. Not in the slightest. There’s not exactly any competition, is there?”

Yeah, I’ll just leave that one there.

Bringing flowers to the salon was also perhaps unnecessary – “erm, thanks…?” – and when he suggested me going to his flat and having dinner, I started to wonder if I hadn’t been clear enough about the whole “I have a boyfriend who I’m definitely not leaving” thing.

He got the message eventually, so now it’s just a mildly amusing extended anecdote.

The “is this really happening – in a good way?” moments #1 and #2:

Both of these happened at ArcTanGent. The first was at the silent disco – after finding “Lake ArcTanGent” in our tent following about 19 hours of non-stop drizzle, I was not feeling especially post-rocktastic. I reluctantly joined the others at the silent disco, because the only other options were standing and staring forlornly at our soaked belongings, or scouting out some hard drugs.

And I learnt something that night: you have not lived until you’ve witnessed a tall, broad, burly man, who is drunk on bad red wine, jumping up and down and bellowing along to “WEEE-EEEE ARE NEVER EVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER!”

Moral(s) of that story: don’t ever think you’re too good for a bit of Taylor Swift. Oh, and don’t buy a cheap tent.

The second one isn’t really my story to tell, so I won’t, but in short, it’s the best poo-related anecdote I’ve ever been told, and upon hearing it, I decided I’d never be embarrassed by anything, ever again. Just imagine having a terrible stomach upset, in a tent. On a school trip. Yeah.

The “well, that’s a relief” moment of the year:

I got a job. I am gainfully employed. I pay tax and everything. Woo! It hasn’t stopped Mother Dearest going off on one on a fortnightly basis – “you could be earning more money, why aren’t you working in London?” – but it’s a start.

The “is this really happening – in a shit way” moment:

Ah yes, a little occurrence I like to call “the time Drummer Boy and I nearly broke up after a Brontide gig”.

It should have been a great night, being the album launch show for Artery. But a) we had to leave before the end, which, where Brontide are concerned, is like having really good sex but being called down to dinner before anyone’s had time to enjoy themselves properly. And b) well, we nearly broke up after it.

But it turned out that the only thing worse than staying together was not staying together. At the time of writing, we’re about as revolting as the couple in Dylan Moran’s skit about young people.

The “they say you shouldn’t meet your heroes; in this case, they are wrong” moment:

I met Caitlin Moran, after her show at Union Chapel at the beginning of July. She hugged me, someone took a photo – I won’t be smiling that broadly on my wedding day, I can tell you – and like every other person in that queue, I asked her what advice she’d give to aspiring writers. She was lovely, she smelled nice, and I wanted to ask her to be my mum.

The Panic Attack of 2014:

With hindsight, Drummer Boy deciding to drive us to The North less than two months after passing his test was a Bold Move. Horsham to Manchester, Manchester to Leeds, Leeds to York, York to Horsham. That’s a lot of miles in a small car (nicknamed “the sausage dog”, as she’s low to the ground but tries her little heart out), and in the centre of Leeds we met our nemesis, our Voldemort, our Smaug, our Wicked Witch of West Yorkshire. The combination of a new driver, a shit Satnav, a nervous girlfriend, a car that hates hill starts and some hideous town planning meant that finding our hotel was something of an ordeal. I came very close to leaping out of the car, with a “sorry, I can’t do this” and seeking refuge in the nearest pedestrianised area. By some miracle, we made it to the hotel – and promptly got a parking ticket.

Nice to meet you too, Leeds.

There’s loads more that could go in here, but I’ve rambled on quite enough, I think. I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions – who is? – but if I were to make any, they’d go something like this:

1) Write more
2) Read more (which means more books and less internet)
3) Run more
4) that’s enough to be going on with.

See you in 2015.

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