2010 – A year in review

I’ve never written anything like this before, but 2010 was such a wonderfully turbulent year I thought I’d take a few hours away from the work I’m doing for Colly’s New Adventures conference to attempt to document it. Top monthly artists make up around 50% of what I actually listen to, and if I’ve missed anything out, let me know.


The first month of 2010 started in the best way possible. Ellie and I had spent New Year’s Eve moving into our spacious new Victorian house that we’d recently bought together. The feeling of waking up in a beautiful high-ceilinged, wooden floor-boarded house and knowing that it was all ours made me so happy.

Much of the month was spent unpacking, painting walls and ceilings white, and realising that we didn’t really have that much stuff after all.

At work, Erskine won a contract with Derby City Council to completely redesign their corporate website, which was a great start to the year. The process is still progressing nicely, and will be complete in 2011.

Journal posts

Too much spare time (created in January, published later in the year), Top 5 slab serifs


February was a month dominated by work-related events. Colly’s departure from Erskine created a distressing few weeks for everyone. Looking back, it’s lovely to see that both parties have harmoniously and separately continued strongly through the year, significantly succeeding in all their ventures.

Erskinites enjoying pints outside Broadway

Wil joined Erskine in February, and we held the first of our legendary “monthly” meetings. I think this event may have sparked the beginnings of Erskine’s allegiance to the rum bar (aka Bad Juju, Nottingham)—dangerous times.

I had tickets to see the Local Natives at the Rescue Rooms, but for reasons I can’t recall I didn’t go. Mistake.

Journal posts

How Long, Top 5 zombie films


March was the month we brought Tiny Predator into our home; a cat given another chance for a happy life. She was timid and jumpy at first, but it didn’t take long for her to settle down into a routine of ripping all the skin from our hands and catching worms. She’s now one of my best friends; I’m not sure if this is charming or tragic.

Tiny Predator

Another highlight was a work-related day trip to Zurich with Jamie. Contrary to my admittedly romantic preconceptions of Zurich, the weather was horrible and the sandwiches that were provided for us were pre-packaged and sloppy. I think I need to go back for a week in the Summer to really see what the city has to offer.

I went to two punk shows in March:

Journal posts

Ellis on the Beeb


April saw myself and Ellie visiting our friends and my employers Simon and Angela Campbell on the Isle of Man. We walked, talked, ate and drank; soaking up all the best the island has to offer. We also visited the feared Hill of Doom, as I think I will do every time I visit.

Sea hermit

The month was otherwise quiet. We enjoyed Spring in our new home, planting a vegetable garden and making chutneys.


May was pretty hectic. At Erskine I coordinated (with massive help from Ang) our office move from 4 Stoney Street to 26–30 Stoney Street. Although only 100 meters up the road, the difference in working conditions is immeasurable. Our new office is light, warm and practical – everything the old one wasn’t. Despite having fond memories of our years in number 4, I never want to work like that again.

Three gigs were attended during May:

  • I saw Surfer Blood play in a small room to a handful of people. Colly, Wil and I seemed to be the only ones who knew the album at this point. We rocked out.
  • 65daysofstatic toured in support of their latest LP. In true 65dos style, the show was amazing and reaffirmed that indie kids don’t know how to dance to heavy music.
  • A Wilhelm Scream at The Peel, Kingston. A classic punk show: fast, loud music; Polish lager; dancing like no one’s watching.


Summer at last! A bunch of us flew over to my ex-favourite city San Francisco for a week. My experience has already been documented, but I met and hung out with some of the best people in the world.

I hadn’t been to a music festival for a number of years, so I was thrilled to have got myself a ticket to Glastonbury. It turned out to be not only the best festival I’ve attended, but also the hottest. My pale, sensitive skin couldn’t take the sun and I was forced to continually keep myself hydrated by drinking as much cider as I possibly could. Musical highlights from the weekend include: Radiohead, Local Natives, Stevie Wonder, The Flaming Lips, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Field Music & Candi Staton.


At work, Glen left in pursuit of a career in the big smoke, and juniors James and Matt started eagerly, offering two further verbal–punchbags for the more abusive of us in the office.

July & August

Summer saw myself and three friends (Gilly, Glen & Jase) spending a week cycling across France. We started in Paris and ended up in Montpellier, and it was the best cycling experience I’ve ever had. I have yet to visualise the mammoth account I’ve written, but Gilly’s brief roundup is accurate and amusing until then: “Done and dusted”.

Jase blending in

At Erskine, we had the second of our “monthly” meetings, which primarily involved changing the label to “company” meetings. Bowling, Thai food, Flaming Lamborghinis and bad dancing was involved. Phillip Jay Francois Howell joined the team in July, and went on holiday the day after.

July & August were otherwise quiet months, spent enjoying the summer and the city.

Journal posts

Tales of San Francisco


The month of my birth saw another bunch of Erskinites travelling, this time to Leiden for the EECI EU conference, where most of us were speaking. Similarly to San Francisco, time with some of the coolest people in the world was spent drinking into the wee hours, and needless to say an incredible amount of fun was had.

Travis and myself are the smoking cool kids

On my birthday a bunch of friends accompanied me to the Black Mountain show at the Rescue Rooms, Nottingham. After I got over the fact that Canadian favourites of mine Ladyhawk were no longer supporting, the show was a very good one indeed.

Top monthly artists

McLusky, Brakes, The Weakerthans, Black Mountain & Dogs


Another quiet month in many cases, but work was manic (the year as a whole was extremely busy, but October took the piss a little).

One event of note was another visit to the Isle of Man. James, Matt, Phil and I flew over on the Friday morning, and back on the Sunday night. Cue two nights of heavy drinking, playing chicken with the ocean, and a bit of work in between. The Saturday night was particularly nasty; I spent the evening drinking cider, the strength of which I only discovered at midnight. Needless to say, I acted like a complete idiot.

Myself, Phil Howell, James Willock, Matt Smith


Early November saw Ellie and I split up. After seven years together and six living with each other, the breakup has been brutal, for want of a more eloquent adjective. She’s still my best friend, and The amicable nature of the split has made things easier, but my life as I knew it is over. Every life goal I had, and my reasons for every major decision I made now mean nothing to me, and I must start the process of rebuilding myself. One thing I’m certain of: we had the best seven years, and I regret nothing.

With the recent events still fresh in mind, I visited Belfast with James to attend the wonderful Build conference. The conference itself was superb, and I found myself meeting and hanging out with some of the coolest people in the world.

Graham Smith, unknown person, myself, Jase and Paddy having a hangover cigarette

The .Net Awards was an excuse for a free-bar party, and once again the caliber of the folks I met was immense. I think I must be due to attend an event full of douchebags, but thankfully it hasn't happened yet.

Journal posts

Rain, Advent calendar


December began with an awesome, timely trip to New York. The city had captured my heart before I was two days in, and with additions of the Christmas-edition Beer Friday, “gentle” Brooklyn nights (read: 5am) and fantastic company, I was completely sold. New York: I’m coming back as soon as I can.

Myself and Colly wearing fetching jumpers

The rest of December was punctuated with frequent parties, as is often the case, but also mountain biking in the weather that made the rest of the country freak out.

Erskine celebrated the end of the year with an evening of bowling, Japanese food, karaoke, and general drunken tomfoolery. Witnessing Swan and Smith performing “Barbie Girl” as a duet made me laugh so much it hurt. A distinct rival to Travis’ “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” for the best vocal of 2010.

Christmas was family-orientated, and New Year’s eve was celebrated with a gathering at my house, during which Colly drank 8 cans of Guinness in about an hour and I managed to stay up to my target time of 7am.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I always fail to meet them, but if I’m not making significant plans to move to New York by this time next year I’ll be disappointed in myself.

My friend Gilly bought me Hot Water Music’s “No Division” on purple marbled vinyl for Christmas. I’ll leave you with the words from a song from that made me cry this morning; it resonates so much with what happened in 2010 and my attitude towards 2011. Enjoy your year x

We’ve seen some real hard times and I hope the hardest are behind,
but there will be times when it will seem like we are caught someplace in between the ocean and the storm without a shore.

We’ll find our own way home and sing out every song we know.
No one can keep us down.
And who gives a fuck what anybody says we’ll live and love until we’re dead.
Holding on to what we’ve come to know.

And on, and on, and on, and on,
and every time you hear this song be sure,
you are not alone.