Christmas circular

Cover of Up The Creek Without a MulletSo, 2010, eh? What a year. Volcanic ash, Nick Clegg, Wikileaks and no doubt other things I can’t quite remember just now.  Last year was a pretty monumental year for me, but this year has been just as much so.

The first big highlight of the year was the launch of my first book, Up The Creek Without a Mullet, in February. I never imagined, when I had that epiphany in 2003 that began the mission or when I undertook the first few journeys, that the quest would become a book – and not just one but hopefully a series, if all goes well.

It’s been great fun launching and promoting UTCWAM (as I’ve affectionately come to call it), and while there’s plenty more sales to pursue, I’m very grateful to everyone who supported me along the way, and of course to all the people – known and unknown – who bought it. If you enjoyed it too, all the better. To accompany the book’s launch, I had my website redesigned at the start of the year, and I am much happier with both the “end product” look of it and how it works “under the bonnet”.

The first year of marriage for Nicole and I has been action-packed, too. We moved to a lovely house near the centre of Inverness this summer and have been doing bits and bobs to it since, although it’s pretty much sorted.

Click to see all my pictures from Spain on FlickrWe celebrated our fist anniversary just last month with a surprise trip to Austria (well, I knew about it – it was a surprise to my lovely wife), and had a two week holiday in Spain in July. Getting abroad help satisfy the itchy feet after nearly two years since my last trip abroad, to the USA.

Spain was a lovely place to travel through – although it was hot, countryside was beautiful, the towns and cities bustling, ornate and characterful, and the food just awesome. They like their dead pig in Spain – a lot – and that suited me fine. We’ll definitely be back.

Those two trips were, of course, non-mullet related, with my mullet mission taking something of a backseat in terms of adventures and two other elements coming to the fore: promoting the first book, and writing the second. Hopefully a sequel will be published if not in 2011 then in early 2012, and while I have often struggled in amongst the busyness of work to find time to write, I’ve luckily managed to take December off through lots of accumulated leave and have made some significant progress on writing not only the sequel but one or two other bits and bobs too, more on which as and when.

Work has been busy this year, and plenty travel still featuring – albeit for various reasons more of it in Edinburgh and other cities and less in the more interesting parts of the north of Scotland.

Other than that, the year has seen other things that include (among no doubt plenty more I can’t recall right now) some cycling and walking (though not enough), some photography (also not enough), a return to Facebook and some appendicitis (definitely more than enough).

LightsOn the musical front, I’ve not really been to many gigs that I can recall – Mono in Glasgow being a stand-out highlight – but musical discovery of the year is definitely the wonderful Liverpool post-rock outfit MinionTV.

My album of the year would be their self-titled debut album, with Shutter‘s excellent Pillars coming second and Kyte‘s second album Dead Waves being my third choice. All great music and well worth a listen.

In fact, music sets the theme for a couple of next year’s trips, with a weekend in Aberdeen in January and a few days in London in May being built around Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky gigs respectively. Both bands have new albums out and I predict it will be one or other of those that will be my favourite album of 2011.

Thinking of Mogwai, they released a live album earlier this year, and a film to go along with it which I saw at Eden Court. That or Inception would be among my best films of the year, but my runaway favourite without a doubt would be the brutally funny comedy Four Lions.  If you’ve not seen it, do.

On the books front, I’ve been quite a voracious reader this year, particularly through the summer.  My top recommendations would probably be either World War Z or An African in Greenland.

Other thing to look forward to in 2011 include, as I say, further work towards a second book and also hopefully some more progress in publicising UTCWAM itself. I should also hopefully be finding some time for other writing activities too – and you’ll read about them first on there ‘ere website.

There may also be a big adventure on the cards, too – hopefully across the Atlantic to find more mullets – but that’s far from clear right now and is dependent on a whole host of things.

I’m not sure what else is worth highlighting from the past year.  I hope 2010’s been good for you.  Thanks for reading, and have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

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