Yearnotes 2022

I decided to give the Weeknotes format another go in the middle of 2022 but it was, ultimately, unsuccessful. My hypothesis is that I don’t tend to sit at a computer on a Sunday evening and, therefore, writing something at that point in the week isn’t natural. I may play with the idea later this year but – maybe – generating 15 blogs for 2022 isn’t that bad.

There were two major events this year: I started a new job and bought a flat but those are not the kind of things I can track year-on-year.


Apparently, I went to the gym 38 times which is nowhere near where it should be but also much better than I imagined it would be. I was monitored taking 3,652,508 steps. My cumulative exercise distance is 1,721 miles (burning 253,432 kcal) and exercising for 16 days and 9 minutes in total. But, I still ended up putting on a little bit of weight I lost last year. Not all of it, but some. I’m just glad I didn’t count all the calories that I consumed.

2022 in music

As last year, I have three different services that track some version of my music consumption but I am not really sure how accurate any of them are monitoring my listening.

  • Last FM should aggregate everything I listen to (they claim 6,663 listens) and say Bananarama was my top artist of 2022 (which may be right, I did see them twice), their latest album, Masquerade, was the most played album but they didn’t get the most played track honour, that went to Cody Johnson’s ‘Til You Can’t.
  • Apple Music, the main way I play my own music, says I listened to 3,202 tracks and reckons Miranda Lambert was my top artist this year, if I ignore the Christmas Chill album that they say was my number one, Apple also thinks Masquerade was my top listened to album but claims Circles Around This Town, (Maren Morris) is the most listened to individual track. ‘Til You Can’t was down at 6 on Apple’s count.
  • I don’t really use Spotify for much except some chill-out sounds on a connected speaker. So, to discover that, of the 2672 minutes tracked, the top song was Thomas Newman’s Any Other Name from the American Beauty soundtrack was not a surprise (nor was it that Thomas Newman also tracked as my most played to artist.) Spotify said Maren Morris was my third most listened to artist.

The basic rule here, I shouldn’t rely on a system to synthesise my musical year.

All the socials

Who really knows what’s happening at Twitter? In the last couple months the main reason I’ve logged on to Twitter is to read about Twitter. I have a Mastodon account but I have yet to pontificate there.

In 2022 there were more tweets that last year, mainly generated because of a bit of a rant at noted Apple Commentator, John Gruber, for his mischaracterisation of the European market for NFC payments.

But before Apple Pay, NFC was hardly used, even though Android had supported it since 2011

In the UK, which was definitely part of Europe for most of the period in question, that statement is just plain wrong. Just one example, Contactless payments were introduced by TfL before Apple Pay was launched here and they quickly accounted fro 30% of all travel payments. I don’t agree with some of the EU’s decisions around technology but, equally, the American tendency to assume behaviours in the US reflect the rest of the world is frustrating.

37 grid pictures on Instagram this year. I re-counted last year and I have no idea why last year’s review claimed 16 when it seems there were 45. There were 145 stories in 2022. I really prefer the story format and the 2022 highlights are a great summary of the year but I retain a soft spot for the grid format as a more permeant memory bank. Even though I posted more pictures this year, I relegated most of my social apps to a folder off my phone’s Home Screen and I have found myself endless scrolling a lot less. I am reading more blogs again. At the moment I have around 40 feeds tracked in my NetNewsWire and it’s a much better that all the all the Twitter angst and argument.

Since I started using Instagram all those years ago I have tried to keep it to contemporary pictures and not use it to post old images. There are a couple of exceptions and World Radio Day 2022 was one of them. The post on that day included one of my favourite paragraphs that I wrote this year, which I did repeat on Twitter,

Tomorrow morning, why not ‘turn up the feel good’ with ‘more of the songs you love’ that are probably ‘the biggest hits and the biggest throwbacks’ on the ‘UK’s No.1 Hit Music Station’ or, my current choice, ‘The UK’s Country Station’.

I thought it was a nice way of merging all those big radio marketing slogans I am not sure anybody else did.

I tried to compete a full year of journal entries on Blipfoto but, I failed. Because I tend to write them in another app through the day, I have found cross-posting them a slow and uninspiring process. I thought it would be easier to write in a Journal app which could be used to create a daily Blipfoto diary and weeknotes but it didn’t work out. I’m trying again for 2023.

Books, TV and Cinema

I did manage to complete my Reading Challenge this year, I read 13 books (more than the anticipated 12) which is a great improvement on the pandemic years. For me, reading has always gone hand-in-hand with travel and so, during the COVID years when I neither commuted or travelled, I had no muscle-memory of picking up a book and reading at home.

In 2022 we started to travel a little more and I found that, as I started reading I was able to find a bit of time at home. And so I managed the twelve books. Two of the twelve introduced me to Arthur Bryant and John May, described as “Golden Age Detectives in a modern world” and I found them a lovely read. I look forward to reading more this year.

I read a kind-of love letter to radio, Last Train to Hilversum, which was a fascinating, and two books by radio presenters: No One Listens to Your Dad’s Show, Christian O’Connell’s autobiography and Mark Radcliffe’s Thank You for the Days. I still enjoy reading about radio – such a wonderful medium. But, I didn’t leave TV out this year. I read a couple of histories of ITV (where I was working at the time): Raymond Fitzwalter’s The Dream That Died and ITV Cultures: Independent Television Over Fifty Years which was a bit academic and heavy going.

Perhaps the most influential book was Giles Turnbull‘s The agile comms handbook which has resulted in me keeping up at least one weeknotes habit: my weekly work report.

My favourite anecdote came from Grace Dent’s Hungry where she is telling a story about when she learned enough about wine in eleven short minutes to prepare for a lifetime. What happens if a sommelier wants to talk to you?

Oh, he doesn’t want to talk to you, Hector said. ‘He wants to talk at you. It’s just a game. The sommelier’s job is to know everything about the bottles on the list. Your only job is to drink it. The winning tactic,’ he continued, is to seem genuinely interested when they harp on. It’s simple, really.’

I didn’t get to the cinema in 2022. I actually got to the cinema in both of the pandemic years so this year was very much an exception. But there are some great series on the streaming services. I didn’t get into the new Tiger King but I can thoroughly recommend Apple TV’s Slow Horses, Only Murders in The Building on Netflix and Hacks on Amazon Prime. I did enjoy catching up on 2017’s The Hitman’s Bodyguard and, of course, I sang along about Bruno with the rest of the world while watching Encanto.

Let’s hang out in the blogosphere

On January 2nd this year, Matt Mullenweg encouraged people to get blogging,

Write for a single person. Share something cool you found. Summarize your year. Set a blogging goal with reminders. Get a Gutenberg-native theme and play around with building richer posts. Start a nom de plume. Answer daily prompts on Day One. Forget the metaverse, let’s hang out in the blogosphere. Get your own domain!

Reading that reminded me that I haven’t written on for some time. I used to ‘summarise my year’ pretty regularly – albeit in different ways – on here. In 2021 I tried the weeknotes format but it didn’t really work for me. In December 2020 I posted a 10 Year Instagram retrospective and, earlier that year, looked back on the handful of tweets I posted in 2019.

I wrote 2018’s Annual Report at the start of 2019 and took a moment to look back on my 2017 Reading Challenge the year before. Previous annual(ish) reviews were photography based, the last one of those was My 15 for 2015 posted at the end of December 2015.

In the spirit of ‘hanging out in the blogosphere’ and because I have previous writing to point to, on January 4th this year I gave myself 27 days to compose something to summarise 2021. Clearly, I missed my own deadline but these are the words I’ve put together since then.


2021 was an odd year. Like many others I began the year back in a London COVID-19 lockdown dreaming of freedom in spring. I took part in a virtual escape room in March which was fun but not as much as the real thing. And nowhere near as fun as the summer of normality which followed a few months later.

I got my first vaccine shot in the early part of the year but it took until April 15th to be able to go out and see people. I met some friends for an outside meal. I have two memories of that evening: that it was fun to be able to talk to people across a table but it was cold. I bought a jacket with an in-built, battery-powered, heating element to get me through that – and a couple of similar – evenings.

This year I continued a trend from the first months of lockdown in 2020: going on local history walks. On one of them, we tried to find the site of the Craig Telescope but I am not convinced we ever did.

The year opened up from June and I was able to get to the Isle of Wight for a holiday and there was a family trip to The Lake District. Later in the summer I got to see AFC Wimbledon’s new Plough Lane stadium which was fun and I hope to see a few more games this year. By the time the weather was getting colder again there was a trip on the Caledonian Sleeper to Fort William which was wonderful but my overriding memory is of rain.

All the socials

I didn’t really tweet much in 2021. I think I was trying to avoid doom-scrolling about the pandemic. I appear to have enjoyed The Masked Singer last year (as I am in this year). I also noted that I, finally, killed off a couple of experiments I had been running for ten years on local tweeting. The local engagement was fun but it was time-consuming and when I moved house I gave up and a couple of accounts just became automatic re-tweeters. I don’t think it’s a good use of Twitter. I had always planned to write more about those experiments but I think their time has been and gone. Still, it was a fun side project for several years but I am glad it’s been put to sleep.

I ended 2021 tweeting about Stretchy Pants which is a much more relevant topic for this time of year.

On Instagram there were 16 grid pictures vs 104 stories. So I guess the story format wins. Yet again the algorithm chose my Top Nine but I got to pick my story highlights.

If I had to pick my favourite photographs, I’m not sure what I would pick, but I do like these three night shots; although my favourite photo didn’t get to Instagram.

I tried quite hard to complete a full year’s photo journal with Blipfoto. It’s an excellent and, I think, unknown photo sharing site that I briefly used many years ago but came back to during the pandemic. I started 2021 strongly but my continuous burst really ended in September. I’m not sure what killed it off but I am back trying again in 2022.

As a result of working at home I probably listened to more music than I have done in previous years. says there were 9,456 scrobbles. Contemporary country music is the genre I am listening to most at the moment. It’s interesting to see what the various services say about my top artists:

  • Last FM says Miranda Lambert was my top artist of 2021 while Famous Friends, Chris Young & Kane Brown, was my top track. They also say that 59% of my listening was new tracks which I found surprising.
  • On Spotify, I apparently played more Luke Combs while If I Didn’t Love You was the most played 3 and a half minutes.
  • Apple Music agrees that Famous Friends is my most played song but makes it way too hard to figure out who my most played artist was for me to bother with for this post.

My 2021 Media Diet only included three films. I can’t choose between them because they were all perfectly passable ways to spend a couple of hours. So, in the order that I saw them (with a short review):

  1. In the Heights (Good, but I preferred the stage show)
  2. Free Guy (Good, but felt a bit familiar)
  3. No Time To Die (Good, but some of the action scenes went on for too long)

Of the films watched on a TV screen I am finding it hard to pick a favourite. Perhaps honourable mentions for The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Wonder Woman, My Octopus Teacher and Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary.

I went to theatre five times but two visits were to see things I’d seen before. I saw Declan Bennett twice; once in his one man show, Boy Out of the City and once in Carousel at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in August. Both were excellent.

I did write about my failure to meet my GoodReads Reading Challenge as an end of year post to Blipfoto. I read two books, 767 pages and listened to five audiobooks. I’m pretty disappointed with that and I aim to do better this year.

This year, I started listening to the Strangerville story-telling podcast. There are over a hundred episodes to catch-up on. It’s really great.

Out and about

Swarm, by Foursquare, doesn’t give me stats anymore about the number of check-ins. I’m guessing it’s way down because of the pandemic but I’d be interested in comparisons with previous years if anybody knows of simple tools to query my data let me know. On the other hand Google tells me that the total amount of travel in 2021 was equivalent to 19% around the world. I find that quite a surprisingly high number (or, perhaps, my sense of the distance around the world is skewed). Mind you Google says I walked a total of 783 miles this year while Apple thinks that was 1008 miles. The lesson here might be to not trust the trackers.

The pandemic has changed the ways a lot of us have been working. In November we tried an experiment and spent a month working from an Airbnb on the Isle of Wight to see how well that would work (turned out pretty well, really). I hope to do that again this year.

Instra Rewind: 2020

Crank it up to 11 pictures from my 10-year retrospective. Why not?

I felt there was a little flaw in my ten year of Instagram posts which is being corrected.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Because I decided to choose a picture from each of the calendar years in my ten-year Instagram retrospective, a quirk of my plan is that there really should be a picture from 2020 even though that would make eleven pictures. There are a lot fewer pictures in my feed this year for obvious reasons. Being stuck indoors for much of the year means that I have felt that there are fewer opportunities snap something interesting. I wonder what the numbers are for posts?

Anyway, I decided I should commemorate 2020 regardless. One of the most joyous moments from the year is captured pre-lockdown at the little show lounge at Brasserie Zedell. La Voix interviewed choreographer Arlene Phillips. I’d never seen La Voix before and the evening was fabulously entertaining. This one was, really, an Instagram story so it’s supposed to expire after 24 hours. It did make one of my 2020 Instagram Story highlights because, well it really is. La Voix’s Instagram feed has become a regular source of entertainment during the lockdown but this moment in February, with some original members of Hot Gossip who had been in the audience too, is a joyous moment that could not foretell what was to come just a month later.

And that’s my retrospective. I wonder what the next few years will bring and if they will also be documented on Instragram. One way to find out is to follow.

Tweetless or Tweet Less?

I realised I only tweeted 10 times in 2019 so I wondered (to myself) what I had written about.

My morning routine, after I have arrived in the office, usually entails eating breakfast while reading a couple of blog posts before diving into my email. This morning, I thought about some content I used to follow on Twitter and decided to look it up. It’s still there: but that’s not the point of this post. Then I thought I would write something to welcome the new decade as, although a day late, I thought it worth marking in my timeline.

That’s when I realised I only tweeted 10 times in 2019. That’s pretty terrible really. I used to use Twitter a lot. Sadly, I find it a pretty depressing place most of the time which – I think – is why I have generally shied away from the platform recently. I’m pretty certain if I had the time I could curate a list that was much more positive to read.

Nonetheless, I decided to look at the topics I did tweet about in 2019 – my logic being that if I use the platform so rarely then what I did tweet about must have been worth the effort of opening the app and might be interesting to see what I cared about in 2019. Sadly not. Here’s my ranking:

So, here’s the tweet I went with:my first of the new decade. I thought about something I’d seen earlier in the day which seemed like positive news:

I locked my Twitter account so this screenshot will have to do

Give this is my 11th tweet in just over a year, I thought I would look at my posting trends. Using TweetStats and picking July as the sample month for no real reason except it was the first month on TweetStats’ graph, my tweet trend is not looking good. Maybe I should do better.

Currently, I am better at Instagram. Come join me there. As an aside, if Twitter made curating lists and generally managing your feed easier then maybe I would spend time creating the view I want.

Annual Report 2018

The annual shareholder’s meeting is taking place now.

Last FM Stats 2018

My name is Jon and I will be your conference operator today. At this time I would like to welcome everyone to the full year 2018 annual report to shareholders*. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers’ remarks, there won’t be a question and answer session. If you would like to ask a question during that time, please press star then the number 1 on your telephone keypad and I will ignore it. This call will be recorded. Thank you very much.

Are you sitting comfortably …

You might say this report is a lot like Jeff Bezos’ annual Amazon letter only I can’t announce that we’re top of anybody’s customer satisfaction list like he can. It’s also not like Bill Gates’ annual letter where he speaks of the wonderful ways in which the world is getting better, “The world is healthier and safer than ever. The number of children who die every year has been cut in half since 1990 and keeps going down.” And I am most certainly not in Warren Buffett’s league making you richer by the second, “Berkshire’s gain in net worth during 2017 was $65.3 billion”. Sorry.

No, this year, if we were to assemble the Board of Directors in a wood panelled room around a large, polished oak table and serve them coffee from a silver jug in delicate china cups, we would have to begin with the company’s trading performance. And there would be some uncomfortable shuffling in those over-priced antique chairs we put in the conference room.

Although last year’s review gave the company a ‘Failed’ report we spun the positive out of it to deflect from the underlying health of the blog. I said that would, “go for a full house: an entry every month this year” and urged readers (sorry, shareholders) to “Stick with me”. Those that did ‘stick’ would have been very disappointed. 7 blog posts in 2018 was quite away from that full house (here’s a tip: follow me on Instagram where a full house is guaranteed in 2019).

But, of course, like all the best investor briefings I can distract from the grim reality by discussing lots of random numbers that are nothing to do with the underlying health of the business.

There were 3,238 Swarm/Foursquare check-ins, which is an increase of 245 additional check-ins over last year’s performance. I think that’s what the management committee should be paying out any bonus on, don’t you? However, it all becomes less glamorous when you realise that there were 931 check-ins at railways stations. Clearly, Britain’s railway stations need to find better ways to occupy my time.

According to the statisticians at Last.FM, there were 5,804 music tracks played in 2018 which equates to 14 days, 3 hours of listening. It’s down on previous years. Kylie Minogue’s Golden appears to have been my top album of year which may, or may not, be related to watching Miss Minogue in concert back in September. Perhaps it’s time to buy a nice little sound system for the board room, huh? Something that would fit with the wood panels.

According to my Starwood Preferred Guest profile I stayed with them on three occasions in 2018. I think my travelling is way down although Jet Lovers has recorded 18 flights across the year (US, Spain, Hungary, Norway and Canada). I’m not sure what the shareholders think about our travel expenses at this point.

My Goodreads reading challenge was completed (15/15) which, I’d suggest to shareholders, is proof of the growing value of the underlying business and the fact that the community and business continues to grow (where have I seen the words recently?). I’m guessing that there will be a later post about the books but, as with 2018, don’t hold your breath.

I’m sorry, I am unable to take questions about Twitter at this time.

Thank you for joining us today. We appreciate your time and we look forward to speaking with you again.

* Financial disclaimer if you’re reading this sat in a tax office somewhere in the UK: this is blog; there’s no money, it’a not a business and there are no shareholders. It’s a metaphor for something (although I am not entirely sure what).

A Reading Challenge for 2017

I made a simple resolution as we went into 2017: I would drink an extra small bottle of water everyday to improve my hydration. So far, that one is working.  Back in December I also decided that, on the last Sunday of every month, I would write something for this site.  It wasn’t really a resolution, rather an updated version of the Blog Every Wednesday in August task I set myself a few years ago: the idea was to write something here to make paying for the hosting worth it. This new commitment was given the title “Sermon Of the Last Sunday”.  As with all things these days, there’s a hashtag #SOLS. See if you can work out which came first: the series name or the hashtag.

Also at the end of last year I set myself a Goodreads challenge to read 12 books in 2017. This shouldn’t be the hardest commitment as it’s just one book a month but, if I succeed, I will end up reading more than I did last year.  There are plenty of people that inspired me to try this challenge (which you can follow on Goodreads) but, possibly, I made my decision after reading Bill Gates’ favourite books of 2016. He manages an eclectic list of recommendations. I hope to have as diverse a range of books on my ‘has read’ list by the end of the year.

More recently, Entertainment Weekly published a list of Every book Barack Obama recommended during his presidency. Another eclectic, and inspirational, list. Seriously, if he can be such an voracious reader and run America then I can read 12 books this year. As Bill Gates says,

Still, reading books is my favorite way to learn about a new topic. I’ve been reading about a book a week on average since I was a kid. Even when my schedule is out of control, I carve out a lot of time for reading. [source]

So, when trying to come-up with the first SOLS entry I thought I’d review one of the books that ended last year. It was the book I was reading when I read Bill’s list; it was fascinating and a little hard-going at times but it took me out of my daily commute and made me think about something else.  Which, I think, is something a good book should do.  I have reviewed books here before, and I am not sure I will attempt to review all 12, but it’s such a well written book I’d recommend adding it to your own reading list.

I’m grateful to the staff of Waterstones in Chichester who persuaded me that this was a book worth reading as I was browsing their store at some point last year. I don’t often spend time just wandering book shops but there was an opportunity and I took it. I’m very glad I did.

Cover of SkyfaringSkyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot

For some people, a job takes you to the same place each day, surrounded by colleagues who you see daily and get to know over time. Not quite so for pilots, especially those flying long haul, where the variation in crew is almost as changeable as the constantly altering view from the cockpit.

Mark Vanhoenacker, a British Airways 747 long haul pilot, writes about flight through series of chapters documenting the experiences of moving from one part of the world to another with chapters such as Place, Wayfinding, Night and Return.

It’s not a biography of a pilot, a technical guide to flying nor a travelogue rather it’s a rhapsodic love affair with flight and all it involves and, so, it’s a little bit of all those things put together with some beautifully written, almost lyrical, prose. Don’t expect a chronological guide to flight but a collection of chapters that take their subject and describe the experience from the complex to the minutia; written from a vantage of someone obviously captivated by the charm of flight.

The style is vivid and descriptive, but the detail of the language can sometimes make reading it hard work. Don’t let that put you off because it’s worth a little perseverance to get close to understanding why the experience of flight it both magical and disorienting at the same time.


Skyfaing, A Journey with a Pilot, available at Amazon.

My 15 for 2015

It’s become something of a tradition for me to take a nostalgic look back at the year just gone based on some of the photographs I have taken. The earliest example that remains online is from 2004. You can read about some of the thoughts behind that on 2012 and 2013s summaries. Ten years later, 2014 was represented as a short video summary of Instagram photos which I’m not sure does that year justice. [Skip the words and jump to the pictures]

For 2015 I could have, once again, relied on the automatic curations from Facebook or the Best 9 on Instagram but, instead, I decided to go back and manually collect 15 photos which sum-up 2015 for me.

The first four of the pictures were taken on holiday in Vietnam, Cambodia and Hong Kong. The time spent on board a boat on Halong Bay (including an amazing Kayak experience) and the silent tea shop in Hội An were some of the most tranquil moment of the year; the Hindu/Buddhist temples in Cambodia were an awe inspiring sight that will stay with me for a long time.

Lord Hill’s Column, outside Shrewsbury’s Shirehall is, apparently, the tallest Doric column in England. When I lived in Shropshire the statue was, effectively, at the end of my street. On a visit earlier in the year it was a pleasant surprise to find it open for viewing as part of the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo (interesting to note that the last stone was laid on 18 June 1816, the first anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo). There are some fantatsic views of Shrewsbury from the top.

I had a business trip to New York in the first half of the year and got to view that city from on high too: the sunset from the top of The Empire State Building was pretty impressive.

Another highlight of the year was taking advantage of the hidden London tours and going in the opposite direction – underground – to the disused Jubilee Line station at Charing Cross. In November 1999 the Jubilee platforms at Charing Cross were closed to the public when the line’s extension to Waterloo was opened. However, the escalators and platforms still exist behind some blue hoardings; the lines maintained for operational reasons if not for commuting. The platforms are also used for film & television representations of the modern underground (Spooks and the Bond film Skyfall filmed there, for example). In June I went on a tour and it was really fascinating to see how the platforms looked and to peek behind the scenes of a working Tube station. Although I’ve not uploaded as many pictures to Flickr this year, there is a set of the pictures taken underground.

The summer also meant another pilgrimage to Silverstone for the British race of the 2015 Formula One season. Lewis winning both that race and the season. Jenson, featured in the picture, coming somewhat lower down the rankings.

In 2012 I didn’t volunteer as one of the Olympic Games Makers nor as one of Boris’ London Ambassadors. It’s something that looked like fun and subsequently I did volunteer at the Ride London event. However, 2015 was the first year that the Ambassadors scheme (branded Team London) finally sought new recruits. I signed up, went through the training, and had a really great time at Parliament Square. I’d swotted-up on a little of the history of the area but mainly got to point people in the direction of Churchill’s War Rooms. Thankfully, the bright blue Team London jacket came in helpful during the rain that seemed to accompany all of my shifts.

Later in the summer I donned overalls that might not be out of place behind the wheel of an F1 car to become part of Secret Cinema’s Empire Strikes Back experience (I think I was supposed to be some kind of rebel fighter). The imagination, thought and level of detail that went into the event was spectacular. There’s a great summary video on You Tube. I’m already booked for their 2016 show with no idea what the film will be.

Towards the end of the year the Rugby World Cup came to the UK. I saw New Zealand play twice: against Namibia at the Olympic Stadium (they won 58-14) and in a great final at Twickenham where they beat Australia 34-17. Fortunately, we were sat behind the goal where most of the points were scored. The Olympic Stadium also played host to The Race of Champions which, according to the event’s own site, “brings together some of the world’s best drivers for a unique head-to-head race in identical cars to see who really is the fastest of them all”. Sebastian Vettel was crowned champion.

I’m often asked what my favourite dining experience has been. I’ve written before about Duck and Waffle which was excellent but, for some reason, never about the Fat Duck. I thought I’d try and record the best of 2015: the very enjoyable Not Afternoon Tea at the Oxo Tower could have been the highlight had it not been for a visit to Restaurant Story. Here, on the site of a former public toilet, is an amazing restaurant where each course of the set menu comes with its own little story. An entire afternoon of food pleasure.

At the end of the year I visited Liverpool for an amazing Duran Duran concert and to sing karaoke at a family party. No videos of my performance will be allowed on the internet. Duran Duran was really an exceptional gig with just the right mix of classics and newer material. The office Christmas party also featured a live band; I was introduced to the music of Jungle which, in spite of the modern sounds, seemed to have 80s inspired synth roots and would site nicely next to Duran’s material.

My 2013 in Pictures

I’m about to ask you to step into your Tardis and pop back to 2004. A mobile phone with a camera was not exactly rare but also not very common either. It was at the very beginning of an era when cameras would always be with us. I discovered that the camera on the phone provided a unique perspective on the year. Almost every year since then, at the end of the year, I have curated some pictures that summed up the previous twelve months. Of course they are both very personal and also reflective of the year as a whole; if you materialise in 2012, for example, you’ll see images from the London 2012 Olympic games.

Equally fascinating is the technology that drives this yearly retrospective. In 2004 it was a Palm Treo (the first real attempt at a smartphone) that took the pictures that I manually filtered; the 36 of 2006 became a collection shared on Flickr while the technology had moved on and by 2009 the view was automatically created by dopiaza’s set generator, again on Flickr. In recent years, while I still create the automated selection (2013’s most interesting can still be seen on Flickr), I’ve stepped back to the personal curation. Sometimes, the machine is not always best.

The 2013 retrospective is, again, a uniquely personal memory of the last twelve months – a year when I spent more time than I could have imagined in airport lounges and on the other side of the world. Many of the moments in the collection are from Melbourne which was a fascinating place to explore.

This year the technology behind the images took another leap. 2013’s set was taken and compiled entirely on a smartphone using the Flipagram app. Fewer than ten years ago the phone images were poor quality pictures; now they are high quality images that can be manipulated quickly through the apps provided by the likes of Flickr and Instagram. No traditional camera and, really, no PC involved. Back in 2004 I think you’d have expected to set your Tardis 3004 to find that kind of technology.

This year I learned much about the community of YouTube which will, no doubt, the the subject of another blog post at some point. Flipagram allows the video it creates from the pictures to be uploaded as a video to YouTube. It marks another leap in the review of the images of the year.

So, here are my moments of 2013 – compressed into 15 seconds of video set to my favourite dance track of the year, Nabiha’s ‘Never Played The Bass‘.

And if you’re on a device that can’t see the video, try it over on YouTube.

My 2012 In Pictures

Back in 2004 cameras were not at all as commonplace on mobile phones as they are today. Back then, browsing through my phone’s images I realised I had a rather unexpected, somewhat candid, summary of the year in blurred low resolution photographs. I wrote about it, collated 100 of the pictures here and posted the pictures on Flickr. To me, the most interesting thing about that collection is that it’s made up of many of the small moments that I’d otherwise forget. Genuinely, my 2004 was reflected though the everyday. Of course, cameras on phones were of low quality and it’s likely that pictures of the most important events in my life that year were taken on a better camera. Happily, Flickr provides a way to see the year through all the photos I took but there remains something fascinating about the photos I chose to take on a mobile phone camera.

I recall creating a similar collection for 2005 but I can’t find it anywhere. I created a list of 50 images that summed up 2005 and curated another 100 mobile pictures on Flickr in 2006 (and a 36 for 06 collage), a reduced set in 2007 and, randomly, 176 in 2008 when the camera on my Nokia didn’t seem to be that much better than the 2004 Palm.

In 2009 I relied on a computer,’s set manager and Flickr’s social features to automatically generate the most interesting 36 images for that year – mobile or not – and you can see them on Flickr. It’s a different way to look back on the year and – because it relies on other people’s selection – it’s inherently less personal. Looking back on them now, after 3 years has passed, you’d be forgiven for thinking the only thing to happen to me in 2009 was snow.

I don’t appear to have curated (or automated) collections for 2010 and 2011. I could set the machine to do it today but I think that moment has passed. I guess I was reviewing the year in other ways at that time.

Olympic Rings at Tower Bridge

Now, the cogs in the machine have been doing the same for 2012 and the 36 most interesting of this year’s pictures are collected on Flickr. Pictures surface to other users on Flickr for a wide variety of reasons and these collections change. The most popular of my 2012 photographs, as I post this on New Year’s Eve 2012, is a picture (not snapped on a mobile phone) taken at the end of June of the Olympic rings hoisted high on Tower Bridge. If you’re reading this at a later date that might not be the case.

Stumbling across that collection, as I did earlier, made me wonder what I would choose for 2012. This has been a memorable year and I wondered how my chosen pictures would differ form the machine’s collection. At first I considered using Instagram as a way to view the year yet, despite the recently-added ability to view the pictures on the web, there didn’t seem a way to collect a group for the year.

So, I went back to my phone and decided to quickly collate a set; for speed I opted for a simple rule: one photograph from each month that appeared in my phone’s Photo Stream from the year. So, I have “2012 Year In Review: The 12 of 2012“. As you would imagine, both sets feature the London 2012 Olympics often, and there are a couple of over-lapping pictures, but they are subtlety different. I imagine to an outside observer they may be remarkably similar but I can tell the different at a glance.

Both Twitter and Facebook have provided me with an alternative way to review my 2012 via my Year On Twitter and my 20 biggest moments according to Facebook but, somehow, the 12 photographs below work better (also on Flickr). Of course, the full London 2012 Olympics set on Flickr brings back a lot of memories but these 12 put the year into a little more context.

The 2007 Collection

The 2007 MosaicAnother New Year and time for the regular yearly review as seen through the pictures that I take on my mobile phone. At least this year I am posting the pictures at the very beginning of the year! This year’s mosaic features 7 rows (for 2007) of 5 pictures.

The original idea was that pictures captured on a mobile phone provide an interesting view of the year. This year the Flickr photostream for my mobile shots shows 74 photographs – but many are from earlier in the year. See the full collection at Flickr. Of course, they only represent a snapshot of the year; a fuller collection for the year can be seen under the 2007 Flickr tag.

36 For 06

I have been re-arranging and organising some of my photographs on the site today. In a bid to ease the effort it really would take to maintain this site I am moving all my online photographs to Flickr. I have been using Flickr for a number of years and my installation of Gallery on this site had not been used for a long time. So, shortly, the domain for will point to a new page about my photographs.

2006 Mobile Mosaic

As a result I realised that I had not created the mobile set for 2006. In recent years I have been collating photographs taken with my mobile ‘phone camera into a story board for the year. In 2004 I selected 100 but for 2005 I only managed 50. In 2006 I was again able to select 100 images that told a brief story of the year. You can see the 2006 set at Flickr. The last couple of sets were illustrated by the inclusion of thumbnails of each picture. I decided against that this year and instead created a mosaic to showcase a random selection from the 100 best mobile picture.

So, the mosaic is a brief selection of the 100 mobile pictures that tell the story for 2006. Click here for the full set and feel free to comment the set at Flickr.

50 – 05

It’s that time of year again. I get to look back at last year based on the photographs stored on my mobile ‘phone camera. This year I had the Treo 600 and a Nokia 6230 to use but I didn’t seem to be a prolific as last year as I could only really find 50 pictures to sum up the year.

I have been using Flickr more and more this year. I find it’s the best place to store and share photographs. You can see more of these pictures (and comment on them) in the Flick feed for mobcam 2005.

Again, they’re very raw but they do show me what I did in 2005: Spain, winning the Olympic bid party, Formula 1 and more work travel including Egypt. I enjoyed it all.

2004 In Pictures

I don’t think it’s such a bad idea to mark the passing of time. I am, ultimately, sentimental. So, although I am not going to write a great deal about 2004, there is one thing that has fascinated me this year: some of the pictures of the year.

In January 2004 I acquired Treo 600 mobile ‘phone. This was the second ‘phone I had with a camera on it and it certainly isn’t the best mobile phone camera on the market. However, I took a few photographs and then, towards the end of the year, I realised that I had a photographic record of much of the year and it had been created unintentionally. It was quite a shock to look at them and put the year into context. Sure, many of them were taken with friends after a few drinks but I don’t think that matters too much. It certainly sums up a lot of the year!

A couple of days ago, I sat down to review the pictures. There were 265 of them. Some are blurred and useless, some pointless and some I really don’t want to show anybody else. However, I thought it might be an interesting idea to get the pictures down to a collection of 100 that sum up the year and I can keep as my Moblog memories for 2004. It’s a filtered collection limited by the technology (the pictures are very low res) and by the photographer (I am not keen on holding my phone and pointing it at people) but I think it does represent 2004 quite well.

Click on the image for the larger version and, if you want to read the captions, see 2004: A Review in my gallery.

2003 In Summary

Like Jerry, my final thoughts on 2003.

If I can be allowed to be more self-centred – or inward-looking – than usual, I have found the process of re-reading the year’s worth of entries to be very interesting. Not only have I surprised myself with some of the pieces that I have written, but when viewing them all together, it seems that the site is a lot more coherent than I imagined. There are some key groupings of themes that have emerged – it’s clear I have a fascination with transport – and there are considerably fewer trivial pieces.

Many of the words I have written are, of course, about my life and might be considered to be trivial to some, but I feel I have gained an insight into myself with some of the longer pieces. And, it is those longer pieces which have most startled me on the re-reading: I must make a conscious effort to write more discussion works. Perhaps I should open the comments on the main body of the site to stimulate further thinking.

Of all the other sites I have read across the year, I still come back to my old faithfuls. So, this is the point where I should wish TomJaseJasonBartMegPhilEricChrisBravoNick and Luke a very Happy New Year. Oh, and those are just the top-listed ones in my Bloglines subscriptions.

Bloglines is to be nominated as my tool of the year for 2003, it’s made the whole business of reading other sites so much easier (if only Blogger users would provide nice RSS feeds). Of course, I shouldn’t forget Six Apart who, via Movable Type, make all this possible.

Writing is one of the few creative outlets I have, and I am happy to have it as a hobby – it seems more useful than making a model of St Paul’s Cathedral from matchsticks.

Best wishes for 2004 to all who come across this page.