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Well here's to 2018!A year that contained football matches, Thai cave youth rescues, a royal wedding or two, lots of trains that went to the mysterious destination of Cancelled, plenty of sunshine and, most recently, you reading those words, and even yetter more recently, these words.Ooh, that took a weird turn all of a sudden.Sorry.Anyway, our orbit has reached a certain point, and the northern hemisphere is nearly at its fullest tilt away from the Sun once again, so it's time for my annual newsletter and mailing list offer.
Superdoops and Hopewards!
Some 2018 happenings:
Screenwise, I popped up briefly in the awesome A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL, playing a BBC interviewer. It was a great series.
I've been talking to BBC Sounds about a couple of ongoing projects - WEIRDS OF BRITAIN and THIS IS NOT YOUR LIFE.
Hopefully 2019 will bring these to your ears.
The radio play of COELACANTH is due to be repeated on BBC Radio 4Extra in the new year as part of a cool strand called Telling Tales. I recorded a short interview to go alongside it, trying to explain my wiritng process and style.
I turned up on the fab Phonic On-Demand broadCAST about books called BACKLISTED, talking about Pierre Bayard's How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read.
I've been busy in the theatre too.
I helped an Italian theatre company create an amazing piece about superheroes and our strange world. It's called SUPER! and it's playing again in Turin after Christmas - herebe deets.
I took my "lecture" about cartoons, friendship and lectures called PRONOUN TROUBLE on the road this year. I performed it in North London, Cardiff, Farsley, Croydon, Crystal Palace, Brighton, Turin and Margate, and at the Also, Idler, WOMAD and Green Man Festivals.
And I did a bit at An Evening of Unnecessary Detail for the excellent Festival of the Spoken Nerd.
If you're reading this in time, you can catch a 7 minute extract of the show at one of Robin Ince's brilliant Nine Lessons and Carols for Curious People gigs at London's Kings Place on 14th December.
And there's now a downloadable recorded version of Pronoun Trouble, on sale at the excellent purveyors of online comedy, GO FASTER STRIPE, filmed in Cardiff in February 2018.
If you haven't yet seen the piece, your device craves this file.And there's tons of other excellent comedy videos on their site - happy shopping!
Also, I created another entirely new show for this year's Port Eliot Festival.
It's called BOOKTALKBOOKTALKBOOK and it's weird but good.It seems to be about a book festival event that starts awkwardly when its moderator doesn't show up, and keeps getting worse as two authors read from their books that seem mainly to be about each other.
But then it folds in on itself four or five times and becomes a meditation on AI, card tricks, time and washing up.
And at the end it reveals itself to be about something else entirely.
It also stars the amazing Jo Neary, and we had a tremendous time performing it to a baffled yet delighted audience at The Idler Academy tent at 10am on the Saturday morning of the festival.
Big laughs, big confusion, big fun.
Hopefully we'll be doing it again in 2019 at a book festival near you - please get in touch if you think you know somewhere that will take it.
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Should you have some spare book tokens, why not pop along to somewhere like Bookseller Crow or Daunt Books (other local bookshops may well be available more locally to your locality) and treat yourself, or someone with equally brilliant taste as you, with something excellent.
Ten of my favourite books out of those I've read this year have been (in no particular order):
Francis Plug: Writer in Residence by Paul Ewen
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Self & I by Matthew de Abaitua
Dreams Before the Start of Time by Anne Charnock
An American Story by Christopher Priest
Bitter by Francesca Jakobi
How to Invent Everything by Ryan North
I'm a Joke And So Are You by Robin Ince
Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O'Neill
Some Trick by Helen de Witt
Books are the best, and I will be delighted to receive any tip in return.
Some of my favourite films of 2018 were Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2, Black Panther, and Ant Man and The Wasp. I like superhero movies.
Top theatrefun has included The Half by Danielle Ward, Zoo by Lily Bevan and John Luke Robert's show with all the sound effects in the title.
And, as ever, a regular highlight is the remarkable mentoring project Scene and Heard, which partners children from Somers Town in London with volunteer theatre professionals, and continues to produce inspirational moments and the funniest, most wonderful shows you'll see. Seek it out.
TV topness included Maniac, Legion, Stewart Lee's Content Provider, and The Good Place.
I saw some great gigs during this last orbit - Richard Dawson, The Nightingales, The Giant Sand, The Wye Oak and The Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard.
Musically, here's a short EweToob Playlist of a few of my most played songs of 2018, not all of which were first released in 2018.
(Trigger Warning: some videos aren't really videos at all, just the song (sorry); other videos contain experimental video art, young Welshmen in denim, oddballs bowling and animated ukeleles, all of which are entirely justifiable in context.)
So that's about it from me - how have you been?
Thank you for being around for this daft old year and let's see how the next one plays out.
As ever, if we can all be excellent to each other I think we'll be OK.
Please accept my early compliments for the season and allow me to wish you an absolutely sensational 2019.love and peace!