Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013. The year that really, really was.

Well 2013 has definitely been one for the books. As its final moments eek away I’m still grappling with everything that I saw, did, ate, accomplished, learnt, discovered and appreciated. I’m really not ready for 2014 to start and feel like I’m being dragged along, heels firmly entrenched, towards Getting On With Things when I’m still not ready to let go of London. So, really, New Years Eve is the perfect excuse for some indulgent looking back. And there’s a lot to twist the neck for….

The year began in cold but beautiful Suffolk but really puked, I mean, peaked in Mexico celebrating all things birthdays and wedding anniversaries….

Mercifully uneventful and best remembered, looking back, for the dazzling LIGHT exhibition at the Hayward and that net-a-porter sample sale spent in the company of a hangover so vicious I still can’t look at tequila without a deep, nauseous pit forming in the bottom of my stomach.

More art (including a failed First Thursday), more cocktails and a pop up restaurant that only served desserts…

Saw us drive 1252km through some of the prettiest, most memorable parts of the UK. Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Peak District, Pemberley, Snowdonia – we tackled it all in a compact two-door Fiat500. Snow, sunshine, walking, gin & tonics, small town hospitality, it all amounted to one of the most memorable, beautiful holidays we’ve ever had.

Was, frankly, brilliantly mental. We saw Kate Nash in concert and I had a Parisian flirtation with Mum before we kicked off our European Grand Tour Avec Le Parentals with a week in Provence. What’s French for “Can we go back and do it again, like, now?”

Continued the Franco-Italian love affair with a stay in Nice, some ambling around northern Italy, the small matter of lunch at Osteria Francescana and four art-sodden, bellini-drenched days at theVenice Biennale. Oh, and my rainy 33rd birthday spent literally smelling the roses

Was all about the weekend jaunt. You know, whale watching in Reykjavik one week, picnicking in Paris (again) the next, a staycation in Peckham the one after that. I also made my swimming debut at theParliament Hill Lido and saw some more great art, this time Michael Landy’s violent saints at the National Gallery. What a well-rounded month you proved to be July.

Blergh. We started to contemplate packing in August but were thankfully distracted by a long weekend in my beloved Berlin and two days cruising the Thames with dear friends on their beautiful, beautiful house boat. Swings and roundabouts I suppose. On balance I really won’t complain about August.

In September I clambered around an old building site in the name of site-specific art and bought shed-loads of amazing crap at Amsterdam’s biggest flea market. Oh, and an antique kimono from a tattoo parlour. Loved me some September.

Was basically just a lot of tears with some cameo appearances by high tea, ballet dates to Sadlers Wells, an art piñata, Elmgreen & Dragset, lunch at the Ledbury and dinner at the Shard. Oh fuck, and a book I wrote that finally got published. I knew I forgot something.

And then, well, I stopped accounting for the year because I’m tired and anxious and haven’t really been ready to embrace 2013 version 2.Sydney

Whether or not I’m ready for 2014 Sydney-style remains to be seen. But either way it will be seen soon, like, literally, in a couple of hours soon.

I feel so grateful for this last year, for the last five years really, and feel overwhelmed when I chalk up all the experiences I’ve had the privilege to enjoy. I even started a list because in thinking back over the last half-decade (fuck it sounds long when you quantify it like that) I realised that:

I’ve met three Turner Prize winners including Grayson Perry (with nods to Mark Wallinger and Jeremy Deller)

And also met artists met Pae White, Ryan Gander, Elmgreen & Dragset and not-quite-met-but-clapped-eyes-on Yayoi Kusama (which totally counts)

I’ve seen five Fourth Plinth Commissions (including Antony Gormley’s totally bonkers work replete with cherry picker) and experienced four Turbine Hall commissions including Tacita Dean and Tino“dance with me” Sehgal.

I’ve visited two Venice Biennales and one documenta

Another at Fat Duck

And another at Osteria Francescana rounding out in haphazard fashion the at-one-time-or-another top three restaurants in the world

And found and married one very lovely husband.

Not a bad innings, really. You can see why 2014 has a lot to live up to.

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