2017 in review

It’s only a couple of weeks old, so it’s probably harsh to try reviewing 2017 already, but I know there are a couple of things coming up I wanted to muse on, so here goes.

[tl:dr Reflections on stuff that’s coming up, a couple of name drops and a quick delve through recent events. Normal service continues sometime soonish.]


I work for an employer who is sensitive to political statements made by staff, whether well intentioned or not, so I’ll choose my words carefully. I suspect neither the greatest hopes or worst fears of people will be realised, due to two classical principles held in tension.

Momentum will carry folks in the direction of travel for so long until opposing forces act to slow them, and entropy is the tendency for closed systems to become more random as they go on. Scientifically this doesn’t have any bearing on politics, but basically I’m saying even the most maverick leader needs almost endless supplies of drive and determination to achieve anything, and few systems survive unchanged in the long run.

This is a good thing. Whatever happens, it’ll settle in due course. Sure, it’s scary or exhilarating right now, but it’s not going to be forever and change is coming, even as a different kind of change is happening now. I hope that makes more sense in your head than it does on the screen.


I have stuff in the pipeline, not only mine but work I’m doing for others and collaborative endeavours. I’ve had the perverse and welcome delight of someone I know finding I added a reference to their work on a related Wikipedia page. I’ve rethemed a game I was working on to make it more accessible to folks, and I might even publish it. The working title is 7cities.


Another development is the ongoing work on my mini rpg Bellerophon. More of that later this year I suspect.


I’m writing a novel. Well, I have the first thousand words of something that I could make decent given enough time and coffee.

I’m playing more piano for more people than I was last year, and it’s only two weeks into the year.

I’m seeing a number of creative projects kicking off with the last gasp of European Union funding and it’s actually quite exciting. In Walsall, there is a new creative team being established to try and pick up the best of the opportunities and make sure local artists (artistes too I suspect) have a decent bite at the increasingly small cherry. Good.

Facebook has spawned a new group called simply BrownhillsBob. I cannot overstate the excellence of this concept. Bob might be a cantankerous old so-and-so now and again but you can’t fault his genuine love for and appreciation of the local area. He’s a fantastic example of someone who collaborates to achieve the remarkable.


The tally of departed celebrities last year was eclipsed for me by the sudden loss of hyper local hero Steph Clarke. I honestly cannot find the words. Dan Slee said he was trying to explain what she and her husband James were up to in and around their local community, and drew a complete blank when thinking who he could compare her to. That’s about right. Every time I wear odd socks I’ll be reminded to get out there and do something.

Then this year Jill Saward gained an unexpected promotion. Far from the “victim” of an attack I was too young to remember in the papers at the time, she always seemed to me to be a survivor. A campaigner, a voice for the silenced, a quiet but effective support to so many who have since revealed the hundreds of tiny things she did at a personal level to look after those around her. It’s damned odd to see a face you know in the national news and hear archbishops paying tribute to her. She earned every word. Every. Word.

I’m not forecasting any particular deaths this year. I don’t believe it’s in the gift of man to do so and it’s dangerous to make assumptions. However, I think it’s going to become a bigger part of the national conversation. The question of “right to die” for the terminally ill, and the human impact of our consumer decisions on those who work around the world to supply our appetites. That’s not even covering the death toll caused by British weapons in use in theatres of war across the globe, the commitment of British troops and the consequences of our political manoeuvres in foreign policy. I’m so glad I’m not taking those particular decisions.


Son 1 is approaching the GCSE years. I forecast stress, coursework, arguments and late nights.

I should probably do some continuous professional development at some point. See previous paragraph for how that’s going to go.


Yes, I should do some more of this too. No promises mind you, because I’m remarkably bad at remembering to do this stuff.

Exercise and Health

I’ve let myself go a bit, and it’s now having an impact on things like my mental resilience. Nothing huge, but I feel the need to get back in the pool, on the road, whatever. I’m not ready to wear Lycra yet. Wish me luck.

On Balance

How hard could it get? Whatever you have to deal with, may it be contained in perspective and beaten with good grace. See you at the far end.


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