Things That Were Awesome In 2013 - Pop Culture Edition

Last year was an utterly unprecedented year for me as a human being. I moved to London, England and spent a full year there as a full-time resident. Before January 2013 I had never lived away from home except for 10 weeks or less at a time to attend university, an institution which by its very nature has an end point to strive towards, and from which you will always be returning. I know that isn't the case for everyone, but for me, my return to the motherland was never in doubt. But last year I packed my - many, many - bags and was driven away once and for all (maybe).

I don't have the time or, frankly, the inclination, to go into any great detail about my year overall, so I have decided to do a breakdown of some of the things that were awesome about the utterly unprecedented year 2013 (in pop culture)

The 'Les Miserables' film
This was something I had been looking forward to for many long months (years?). I grew up listening to 'Do You Hear The People Sing?', 'Red and Black' and 'Empty Chairs...' in my dad's car on his best of musicals compilations albums and I have seen the West End production twice, and it has a very special place in my heart and in my relationships with the people I love. It was released in the first week in January and I had just moved to London. I was living in Hammersmith near a decrepit old CineWorld. I took myself down the street my first weekend in London and went, alone, to see it. It was, in my opinion, perfect in every way. Okay fine, almost every way...

When I was a teenager, I - like millions before and after me - liked to somewhat define myself by the music I listened to. I was deep and meaningful because I liked Bright Eyes; I was alternative because I was a British girl who loved country music; I was hip because I owned loads of Libertines bootlegs, etc. In recent years music has played a more supporting role in my life, a second fiddle to THE INTERNETS and REAL LIFE and stuff. But when I heard about a song called 'Pompeii', being a lifelong Classics nerd, I just had to get on that. That song was kind of the soundtrack to my year. I listened to the opening lines and for the first time in AGES, it felt like someone in a song got me. In 2013 I was left to my own devices, and many days did fall away with nothing to show. And I loved Bastille.

Death and Life in Pompeii and Herculaneum, The British Museum
The British Museum hosted an incredible exhibition with artifacts and stories from Pompeii and Herculaneum and I went to it with Leah and Bryony and felt like myself. It was the best museum exhibit I have ever been to, and really, really brought the whole story to life in a vivid and affecting way. Much like I am hoping the 2014 movie 'Pompeii' starring Jon Snow of Winterfell will...

Game of Thrones

Although I've only chugged my way through three of them so far, the discovery in 2013 that, actually, I did like Game of Thrones was kind of a revelation. A Game Of Thrones had been sitting in my Kindle for a year and a half, constantly getting passed over as a reading choice because I thought that fantasy and old-fashioned things and generally that sort of thing wasn't, well, my sort thing. I mentioned this to my friend and she said I should just read it since I paid for it, and it was there. So I gave it another shot and, lo and behold, it's actually amazing. I felt a part of something and for a couple of months it was basically all I thought about. As I was going through a really rough time at work, I looked forward to hanging out in Westeros with my buddies Arya and Gendry, Jon and Sam, Dany and Ser Jorah, Tyrion and Sansa, Jamie and Brienne, and all the rest of them. And that's great. George R R Martin helped me rediscover my love of reading. And a cracking TV show too!

McFly's 10th Anniversary concert at the Royal Albert Hall
This night reminded me that there was once a 14 year old with high hopes and big dreams rooting for me to succeed, and reminded me how much I don't want to let her down. It was brilliant. And McBusted was born!

My week with Hanson
In 2013, I turned 24 years old, and a mere fortnight later followed the band Hanson around the country, seeing them three times in the space of a week. And it was pretty much the highlight of my year. I could (and probably will at some point) go on for hours about how Hanson are underrated and misunderstood, and this isn't the time or the place, but just take my word for it, they're awesome. I feel so fortunate that I was introduced to them, and that they're in my life in some small way. I am aware how silly that sounds about three brothers who make songs about love and stuff, but I can't explain. I guess this music is a place to hide.

Going out in London
Last year in I actually lost count of how many times I went out dancing, which is, again, kind of unprecedented. I'm not really much of a partier historically, but nights spent out in London indie discos dancing like it's 2006 are awesome!

Other things that deserve an honorable mention:
  • The Percy Jackson sequel - even better than the first (lol)!
  • Spending an afternoon in Shepherd's Bush Vue just to get out of the HEATWAVE and discovering that I love Fast & Furious movies (or at least, Fast & Furious 6).
  • Broadchurch on ITV - fantastic whodunnit drama kept me going through the tough first month away from home, as did...
  • Parks & Recreation on BBC4. I had been wanting to watch it for years but held out for the UK TV debut and boy was it worth it. It was lovelier than I had dared hope, even before Rob Lowe arrived!