From Desk Till Dawn

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Archive for the ‘Paralympics’ Category

2012 Was…

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I do not have a decisive enough personality to make definitive lists so just off the top of my head this year…

Has been soundtracked by albums from Crybaby, The Maccabees, Friends, Wild Nothing, Mystery Jets, Mary Epworth, Beach House, Zulu Winter, Kindness, How To Dress Well, Hot Chip, Sharon Van Etten, Sleigh Bells, Polica, Toy, The Futureheads, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Grimes, Grizzly Bear, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Jessie Ware, Bat for Lashes and Perfume Genius. I wasn’t blown away by Alt-J (someone had to not be).

I can count the amount of times I went to the cinema on one hand but adored all the films. The Hobbit, Avengers Assemble, Moonrise Kingdom. Most of all I loved Beasts of the Southern Wild and Searching for Sugar Man.

It seems to be a year where I’ve mainly read David Sedaris. However, Anna Richardson’s Little Gods would be my book of the year. Stunning debut novel. After reading Virginia Woolf, A Room Of Ones Own I am determined to work my way through the rest of her books next year.

The exhibitions this year have been the strongest since I’ve lived in London. From Charles Dickens writing desk at the London Museum to Grayson Perry at The British Museum.

It’s been a year where I finally got to see Mystery Jets live, and at the Royal Festival Hall with someone who’s support has been unwavering this year. There’s been Gigs where I’ve been with my parents and created cherished memories, gigs of sitting in Hoxton basements and leaning over Heaven’s balcony. Drunk gigs, sober gigs, gigs that have moved me to tears or where I’ve come away with aching feet from dancing so much.

Above all these things it’s mainly been all about London 2012 for me. I hope I am forever changed by the Olympics and Paralympics. It made me kinder, motivated, deliriously happy and proud to be British. Actually, proud to just be a human being. This Public Enemy song will forever serve as a reminder.

It’s been a year of pesky Tinnitus, goodbyes and job changes. It’s been a year where friendships have sprang out of the unlikeliest of places and where I will never underestimate the kindness of strangers. At times you have overwhelmed me with your support and general brilliance (I know some of you read this blog, most of you will never even know you made a difference).

Of course there’s plenty of things I didn’t get round to in 2012. Like swimming round all of London Lido’s, having tea with Ian Hislop, learning how to ride a bike or shaking Robert Jay QC by the hand.

It’s been a year where I’ve decided bravery is one of the most important qualities you can possess. A year of remembering I can breathe underwater.

2012. In equal measures I’m glad to see it gone and reluctant to let it go.

Here’s to 2013. Happy New Year.

NB: Huge thanks to Pete at Flush The Fashion for putting up with my contributions for another year. To Pub Diaries for letting me waffle on in a Q&A. The ever energetic and tireless Dan Thompson for printing my pop up shop piece. To Darren Hayman for letting me talk about my love of swimming and to The Guardian for printing my ‘Six Songs Of Me‘. To Tim for having me on Resonance Radio. And to everyone who reads this. Cheers.

final collage

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The Super Humans

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Each time I’ve sat down to write about the Paralympics I’ve struggled. Struggled to find the right words that convey the respect, admiration and awe I feel towards every person involved, from the competitors to volunteers. Impossible to sum up how inspired I feel. If the Olympics propelled me to start swimming and running then the Paralympics have rocketed me to show more commitment and push that little bit harder, and not just in the pool but in all areas of my life. It’s also made me feel more positive as a person, maybe I’m caught up in the hysteria of it all. I was lucky enough to get tickets for a few events, the support and roar in the venues is deafening. If I could replace the drone of my Tinnitus with it I’d be the most motivated person in the world. Still, none of these words seem like a fitting tribute to what London 2012 means to me.

Then I overheard a conversation on the train and I wanted to tell people about it.

Six typically teenage boys were on my carriage. All of them were clutching KFC bags, the grease seeping through the brown paper. All of them using words I am clueless about. All dressed as if they’d ran through JD Sports like an episode of Supermarket Sweep and finished the ensemble by taking a forward roll through New Era.

All of them discussing Oscar Pistorius and how fast he can run, all of them questioning whether Jonnie Peacock can beat him. Talking about the blades, whether the runners feel the impact on their limbs, if they feel sensation, if technology gives advantage. A conversation that is taking place only because of this great event and these super humans. A conversation that sparked debate and got them all wondering the hows, whys, whats.

During the opening ceremony for the Paralympics Stephen Hawking  told us to “be curious”. Conversations like this prove the message was received. Their questioning was done with respect and wide-eyed wonder.  This small moment during my Paralympics experience made me smile and warmed my cockles. 

Written by Anon PA

September 6, 2012 at 11:52 am