Let’s Try It Again… 2020 Recap

Okay, so the previous post was stupid. Let me do it again, better.

In terms of my photography, overwhelming majority of pictures taken in 2020 were with my smartphone and always in my area. This is the first time since 2016 that I haven’t made any trip outside Manchester. None of this mattered, in the end, as I took the best picture in my life with my phone a street away from my home!

Squirrel in Heaton Park, from September

The year started with storms, I remember there were two or three and they always happened at the weekend, so that that was no going anywhere for me. After that–well, you know. At first it was, need toilet paper? Pasta? Bad luck, mate.

It seems incredible now, but I did go to a concert this year. As in, a live performance by a singer. It was Halsey in Manchester Arena and it was back in March, before the first lockdown. Probably wasn’t very responsible, but hey, nothing happened.

My most streamed song of 2020 was the suitably titled Doom Days by Bastille (my inspiration for the short story The Journal). I also listened to the two albums Taylor Swift released this year, Folklore and Evermore.

It will be a while before live shows are back again. I also had a ticket for Phantom of the Opera, which was supposed to run for two months in Manchester, but like everything else, it was cancelled. Arts have really suffered with this and it’s not like the government cares; instead of supporting them they tell people in the industry to retrain. But don’t touch sports, oh no, not our precious sports, and even more precious football. Heavens help you if you anyhow endanger our football and our obscenely-paid footballers!

So what was I saying, oh yes, the annual recap… this year we were all staying at home and our new best friend was the streaming services. I remember that Disney+ launched here in UK just at the right time for lockdown.

Linda watches Star Wars

One of the TV shows that got much praise this year was Mandalorian. I’ve not watched it (yet), I’m not in the Star Wars fandom (they do have the hottest Latin actors though, Oscar Isaac and Pedro Pascal), however as I got myself a 12-month Disney+ subscription, I did watch the new trilogy and Rogue One. I liked Rogue One best, fabulous movie and might be one of my very favourites. As for the new trilogy, well, my first thought when I woke up the next day after seeing The Rise of Skywalker was: this should have been Finn’s story. John Boyega was right.

Star Trek premiered the Picard series and now we’re on Season 3 of Discovery, which has so far been the best. I thought the tone of Picard was a bit off, as if the writers were anxious (they probably were), but this can be easily overcome in future seasons.

This was also the first year in however-long that we had no Marvel movie released. We’ve been waiting for that Black Widow forever! But it’s good to have a bit of a break and hey, there’s still time to get into it, folks, if you haven’t done so!

Being at home and doodling

I doodle sometimes, I have almost filled my little A6 sketchbook. I once had a phase where I was drawing castles, and it seems I’m back in that phase again.

Tragically, I’ve not done as much reading as I should have done. I picked up The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and it took me three whole months to get through it. Such a slog, also the title is a lie–she doesn’t really steal books. Spoiler, I guess, but who cares. It tries to be interesting by having Death as a narrator but it reads just like any other third-person limited POV, with a “I collected their souls” inserted here and there to keep up the appearance. I swear I’ll never read Holocaust fiction ever again. I’d rather watch a good documentary about it.

But on the other hand I rediscovered my love for Sherlock Holmes and even dedicated a post to the famous detective, which at 2600 words is my longest.

Another thing that happened in Manchester was, the big concrete wall in Piccadilly Gardens was torn down. There is still a concrete wall, but that can’t be torn down because there is a coffee shop and a restaurant on the side of it. People hate them, I know they’re ugly, but for the purposes of my Gloomscapes series, I don’t mind a bit of brutalism. I’ve seen articles online calling the wall “Manchester’s Berlin Wall” and I’m like, can you just not. Nobody is getting shot crossing from Portland Street to Primark! Please. If there is criminal activity or drugs going on in Piccadilly Gardnes, that’s hardly the fault of the wall.

I end with one of my typical phone shot of something random or weird, Sam Call Me written by chalk on the gate to my local park. Well, there is a certain Sam that is close to my heart, so you can say that the picture is not as random as it would appear on first sight. I mean, not in real life, it’s the actor Sam Claflin, lol.

And that, my friends, concludes my second 2020 recap post.

2020 Recap

Hahahahahahahahahahah. Hahaha hahahahahaha hahahahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahaha hahahahahaha hahahahahahah hahahah ahahahahahaha hahahahahah hahahaha ha haha hahahahahaha hahahahahahaha hahahaha hahahahah hahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahah hahahaha hahahahahahaha hahahahaha hahahaha hahhahaha hahahahah hahah haha ha? Bahaha hahaha hahahaha hhahahahhhhhhh ha! Hahahaha? Hahahaha. Hah! HAH! HAHAH! HAHAHAHAH!!!

Seriously

Sign on the floor in the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester.

At the entrance to my local park where I spent so much walking this year.

Sign at the door to my launderette. It makes it very clear.

Sign on the side of Selfridges department store, a popular spot for sitting. I mean the side of the store is popular spot for sitting, not the actual store. So they put the sign there for people not to sit there.

Narrator’s voice: nevertheless, they still sat.

Sign on the Metrolink tram.

Construction site. The sign is also concealing a wheelbarrow, which was parked further up the road, after the yellow barriers in the distance. You know how I love my wheelbarrows. See what this virus is doing!

2019 Recap

Last year’s Recap turned out to be quite a good post, so let’s do it again!

January, a foggy walk to the tram stop in the morning. Taken with my smartphone, this shot has not been edited and was not taken in black and white. I like my gloomy pics.

April, Heaton Park. Ferns and out of focus ducks. You know me and ducks.

August, Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. My favourite type of shot, sun through the trees, with added pigeons basking on the street light. Pigeons became a new feature on my blog this year.

September, a weird photo of the fence around a new car park behind my house, with, again, out focus animal, my neighbour’s cat. Autumn this year has been really good on the blog, if I say so myself (and if I don’t, who will?), hence my choice of a Recap pic.

Much of my 2019 can be summed up in one word–Yorkshire! I’ve had four trips to places in Yorkshire (Leeds, York, Hebden Bridge and Haworth), which provided a good chunk of the blog this year. Aside from Yorkshire, I also enjoyed visiting Chester and Marple.

And I finally made tribute post for my favourite fictional character, Anne Shirley.

I’ve been to two anti-Brexit marches in autumn, one here in Manchester during the Conservative Party Conference, the other in London. Yes, I know we lost, but that’s not the point here. I’m glad I went and don’t regret a single second and would do it all over again. Strangely enough, it wasn’t looking so bad at first. Brexit was delayed three times. Then came the election. You know the result of that. I don’t know why it happened that way, how the Tories won such a majority, all I know is that I feel crushed–and I’m not the only one. (This also proves that any year-end reviews should not be done at the beginning of December, because so much can still take place.)

Elsewhere in pop culture, Game of Thrones came to an end (unpopular opinion, I was okay with the ending… but I’m not posting any spoilers here) and Marvel Cinematic Universe reached its milestone with Avengers Endgame, which became the highest grossing movie of all time! And Amazon Prime blessed us with the hilarious and brilliant Good Omens. The song of the year seems to be Old Town Road and I’m sure you agree with me that it’s a banger.

At the end of August, Extinction Rebellion organised a Northern Rebellion here in Manchester, where they took over Deansgate for the weekend. Half of the road was closed to the traffic and they set up stalls and stuff–and it was beautiful. It made me wish more than anything for a car-less Deansgate (the street has a lot of restaurants and there is also a giant Waterstones store). Apparently the city council said it could be done, if they found a different route for buses that pass that way.

Also, like, not to be that person, but I knew about Extinction Rebellion before it was cool. As you can see, my post of their sticker is from November 2018, when most people only heard of them in 2019. Ha!

Speaking of climate activism, I cannot not mention Greta Thunberg. She has so much courage, I couldn’t do what she does, I couldn’t put myself out there, especially not at such a young age. Keep going, Greta!

So here we are, end of the year and end of the decade. What will the roaring twenties bring?

I wish everyone happy and prosperous new year.

Autumn 2019 Collection

I decided to make a recap post of some of the nicest looking photos I took this autumn. I’ve been lucky with weather; even though we still had a lot of rain, there were enough dry and sunny days to take some good shots. Although you’ll see two of these were taken indoors.

An oak.

A bowl of apples, my favourite fruit.

A cup of pumpkin spice latte. Normally I drink black coffee only; this for me is a once-a-year indulgence.

Two collages. The top one is made from smartphone shots taken on a walk, the bottom one is pictures from Heaton Park this autumn.

Another smartphone shot; this is Cathedral Gardens with Chetham School of Music in the background and the fountain where ducks occasionally hang out.

And I end this with two shots taken around the Manchester Cathedral.

Have a good November!

2018 Recap

I’ve not done this ever but I had such a productive year of photography, I decided to post some pics from this year that didn’t make it to Some Photoblog. I will also look back to some of my memorable posts from this year.

A snail, snapped not far from my neighbourhood.

City Tower in Manchester city centre. Taken by my smartphone, from the Piccadilly Bus Station. I like this angle.

Radcliffe area, near Bury, north of Manchester. Not quite the moors of Yorkshire, but still offers a great scope for imagination, as Anne of Green Gables would say.

This is in the above mentioned Bury, away form the town centre. Proper farm area, I heard cockerels and everything!

Save the best for last, this is Formby. Visiting Formby was definitely one of the highlights of the year for me. Here I am holding a pinecone, which I have actually kept and even used it in my autumnal and Christmas still life posts!

To say 2018 has been a turbulent year is not an exaggeration. The Beast of the East freezing conditions in February and March were followed by scorching hot summer (there was like four months, of no rain in Manchester and that happens, like, never). Climate change is here–so what are we gonna do about it?

Elsewhere, politically, I best not to even talk about it–but a huge shout out to Ireland, who knows how to do referendums right! (They voted in favour of making abortions legal, which is an issue I will never not feel strongly about, even when I’m dead in the grave.) I also went to two anti-Brexit marches, the second of which was attended by 700,000 people; an event I will never forget for the rest of my life.

Creatively for me it’s been the best year ever. I took over 1000 photographs between May and July, ran a dystopian series, blogged about Kindle eBooks, ducks and trees that look like Yggdrasil. Although I wish WordPress didn’t kill their Weekly Photo Challenge. That was not cool, guys.

So there it is, my 2018 end-of-year recap.

Raise your glasses for 2019 and let’s hope for the best.