#2016 – summary & playlist

(header image (c) Chris Barker)

Not exactly a New Year‘s Eve party playlist, but then again, it didn’t exactly feel like a party year, for all sorts of reason. Rather than celebrate its passing, we breathe a sigh of relief and hope that 2017 at least won’t get much worse…

gettyimages-591717242_custom-2b1934dac188b7266281132abf838e0c4c8aa8fcIt’s not going to surprise anyone reading this blog how I felt about the political developments since January, and frankly there’s little cause for optimism for the near future. But hey, at least we’re still here (well, most of us), and who knows, maybe 2017 will surprise us. At first, let’s see how long that ceasefire in Syria is going to hold…

KingFor me personally, it was a fairly mixed year. Artistically – very successful, considering I wrote and published two full novels which ended the Year of the Dragon saga, and even found the time for a collection of haiku. I hope to keep this pace up going into next year, although I’ll be starting my new novel from scratch – something I hadn’t done in over five years. AN ENTIRELY NEW BOOK! Every time I realize this, I get terrified at the very thought.

KamogawaIn the more mundane part of my life, very little happened. I stayed and worked in London all year, excepting the summer trip to the Hokuriku region of Japan, which was predictably awesome. I changed jobs in the summer, I started listening to comedy podcasts and… that’s about it. This is the first time in a long time that I’ll be spending two consecutive New Year’s Eves in the same place and circumstances. Feels weird!

Haiku2017, though – well, I don’t do New Year resolutions, I do New Year plans, and I have some big plans for this year. Definitely should be more interesting, but for now it’s all secret. I’ll let you know once it all comes to fruition.

wave_250Until then, here’s the playlist. As you’d probably have guessed, it’s a morbid one – a list of all those artists we said goodbye to this year (I include Lemmy, since I’ve learned of his death in the very beginning of 2016). Bowie, Prince and George Michael are the giants that loom large over the list, though as I’ve mentioned before, there are some lesser known names that have made an equally great impact on me – and some others which have been far less noticeable than they deserved in this year’s onslaught.

The passage of time is remorseless, and we are just at the beginning of the age of the dying celebrities. I expect 2017 list will be at least as full of famous names as this year, and 2018, and so on… but 2016 was definitely the first when the mortality of our childhood idols became such an integral part of reality. No matter who else will perish in the future, there will never again be a year like this – the first year of the mass idol death.

Oh well. Here’s to hope, tenacity and Keith Richard’s good health!



As life-changing events go, this week will be hard to beat. 

Yesterday, we – me and my wife – have become British citizens. Today, we become officially unemployed. And as of tomorrow, we are technically homeless.

This is the realization of a careful plan years in the making, but that didn’t stop things from turning hectic right at the end – as you can tell from the tight schedule of these last few days. We’ve managed to run short or cash, time and energy. But there’s only one hurdle left to go over.

Tomorrow we board the campervan and drive south from London. We have the first campsite booked – after that, we improvise in the general Westerly direction.

This is what we plan our life to be for the next few years. There’s more to it, but we’ll see how it goes. One thing’s for certain – we don’t want to go back to an office job, or work for anyone else for as long as possible. For a while, my writing income and rent will suffice, after that we’ll have to come up with other ways to sustain ourselves. Where we’ll end up in six years time? No idea. But then, six years ago I would never have guessed I will be a best-selling Amazon author driving around the UK in a VW campervan, with a British passport in my pocket.

We’ll be keeping a blog of the journey over on A Different Green blog – go there to subscribe right now. I will keep this blog up too, of course, and it will be as unfocused as usual (though updated a bit less frequently).

Let the adventure begin! 🙂

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