2019 / 2020

Every year I write a summing up of the past twelve months from a Thoroughly Good perspective: me in my bubble. And this year, it being a decade since I sort of started doing this, there’s also been the opportunity to reflect on ten years worth of similar blog posts – always a good way to reflect on how things have changed.

So, buckle up. Videos, tweets, and a reflection on my objectives for this year, plus a round-up of the last decade.

Smiles, travels and unexpected gifts

Time taken shooting video this year, in part down to the purchase of a gimbal for my iPhone, has meant there’s more material for a montage. I love making montages as a sequence is nearly always triggered by the music.

The musical discovery for this one was a recording of My Favourite Things by trumpeter Lucienne Renaudin Vary with the BBC Concert Orchestra – teeming with syncopations and an effortless Parisian feel.

With the music chosen, it was then just a matter of selecting the visual sequence to match details in the music that resonated with me. I started with the smiles sequence at the end, and then worked backwards, dropping in clips from my year like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. Incredibly uplifting stuff. Reaffirming too.

Last year’s objectives

Be more strategic on selecting arts events to reflect on; outline what links content discoveries; resist getting irritated by the wheat and the chaff. Partial success.

Focus more on building content around coaching on the Thoroughly Good Coaching website; ring-fence time spent on Thoroughly Good (Classical Music) content and maximise that time. Partial success.

Tackle the garden; grow plants from seed; build replacement decking (this is a massive undertaking – so let’s not hold our breath here). Partial success.

Increase revenue by 35%. Exceeded expectations.

Use buses whenever is possible; reduce London travel costs by 25%. Partial success.

Keep the impact of Richard Wilson’s 20:50 at the Hayward Gallery’s Shape Shifters exhibition in mind with everything you say and do in 2019. Pass.

Continue producing the Thoroughly Good Classical Music Podcast, but experiment with different hosts: truly ‘produce’. Partial success.

Meet more people. Visit new places; travelling is where I discover the most. Exceeded expectations.

Write more articles; you’re as good as anyone else who does so. Pass.

Drink less wine. Total fail.

Accomplishments

Cracking PRS for Music/Wildplum Arts Promo Video commission (see above)
Culture Mile video capture
Lots of coaching stuff
Coaching workshops and new clients
Travel to new places to hear unfamiliar music
Lots of podcast interviews for Thoroughly Good
Scala Radio
Work lined up for 2020 before the end of 2019
Attending the Gramophones and meeting Catherine Bott
Giving a presentation at the BPI Classical Music Committee meeting
Interviewing Jonathan Dove and Solomon’s Knot
Publishing FORTY TWO PODCASTS

Dissapointments

Video commission delivered but not used by a client
Proper ‘nice ride’ bike stolen from Catford station
Watching video and wanting it to be higher quality
Unpaid invoices
Commissioning editor Jan Younghusband describing BBC Proms TV coverage as ‘innovative’ in a podcast
BBC Proms
TV producer tweeting arsy comments at me

Discoveries

Not all music (partly because I’m a little rushed writing this), but here’s a selection of pleasing personal discoveries made this year.

Stuart Hancock’s Raptures
Michael Torke’s Oboe Concerto second movement
Gimbals
Lully’s ‘Isis
Nicola Benedetti’s recordings of music by Wynton Marsalis
David Carbonell’s ‘The Worry Trick’
Hooked
Brene Brown
Discovering (and then speaking to) the composer of ‘Poirot
Love Endureth by Roxanna Panufnik
Annalien Van Wauwe’s ‘Belle Epoque
Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux etoiles
How the consequences of a distressing incident in 1990 still resonate today

Bookmarked Tweets from 2019

Throughout this year I’ve bookmarked tweets that have caught my eye. What follows is a selection which really stood out as I scrolled my way over the past twelve months. Triggers for the stuff that defined, entertained, or enraged me during 2019.

Innovative BBC Proms

The coverage was billed as ‘innovative’. It wasn’t.

Wellness jumps the shark

The ‘good mental health’ mantra of the past few years has this year become fodder for lazy writing, stereotypes and tropes. Pity.

Classical music as an escape

The ongoing mis-representation of an art form I care deeply about goes on. Weak PR.

What a way to eliminate a workplace hierachy

I am amazed this tweet is still available. Ill-thought out.

Genuinely surprised by this Barenboim story

I’m impressed (in a mildly warped way) with how this story didn’t escalate further and was (therefore) managed. What was valuable was how it triggered thoughts about the language we use and its potential toxicity.

Day Today 25 Years On

It seems incredible that the work these people did 25 years ago is still relevant and their take on the world still as needed as it was then.

Olivia Coleman winning an Oscar

One infectiously uplifting moment.

Maitlis eye-roll

The most delightful moment of TV output.

FFS

Just because you have Photoshop doesn’t mean you should use it, especially if you’re being paid a lot of money to produce content for print and advertising. Jeesus.

Dame Janet Baker Doc

Another Bridcut triumph. Even when it was repeated it didn’t garner any official pre-publicity. That might have been at Bridcut’s request, I’m not sure.

Cruel departure

Paul Condon was a great man whose untimely departure rocked his considerable network of friends and associates. He is sorely missed.

That stupid article about classical music

Utterly moronic.

Hilare

I now can’t spend any time in swimming pools as a result of watching this.

God bless Philip Pullman

Classical music apologists

Totally agreed with Richard Miller on this. We don’t need to ‘warn’ people about a piece of music. If you warn them you signpost your ignorance (and that’s almost certainly the fault of the researchers rather than the presenters themselves).

FFS (Again)

Who the actual fuck wrote this?

Jessye Norman

FFS

Bellend.

Focus, goals, and commitments

A lot of what follows here has been generated using Best Year Yet. It’s an edit of the things I have written in my bullet journal.

  1. In 2020 I want to look for depth, richness and joy in as much video as I possibly can. That might mean emphasising light and shade. I may need to buy new equipment.
  2. I need to think of myself as more senior in the workplace than perhaps I do at present.
  3. Spend more time thinking longer term. Short term is for the birds.
  4. Ensure as much attention is spent in the now (this doesn’t necessarily contradict the previous para).
  5. Devote more time to aged parents.
  6. Ringfence time with the OH – schedule in special ‘escapes’. Life is too short for work-related mither.
  7. Focus on creating the very best content you possibly can whenever and wherever.
  8. Do 90 minutes exercise in a week (on three separate days).
  9. Spend some time working on the flower beds; make spring look fantastic.
  10. See the sneering Beethoven-haters for what they are; maintain a healthy cynicism about Beethoven.
  11. Make more of an effort with friends.
  12. Be on time to things more.
  13. Be happy to let things slip through your fingers. If people really want to take things away from you, they will. Why fight i

The Last Ten Years

It feels a little this year like the transition between the Teenies to the Twenties has been overshadowed by the everyday life social media has managed to co-construct with politicians, cage-rattlers and rabble rousers.

That said, reflecting on my own past decade throws up some interesting observations. In ten years I consolidated my move from technical to editorial in the digital space, shifting from journalis and training worlds, to the communications and PR world. Ten years later, I’ve moved to digital content production in the classical music world, to radio production on a classical music station. The circle is complete.

I’ve learned more about myself training and practising as an executive and leadership coach than at any time during psychiatric assistance, gestalt therapy, or everyday life. And in the past few months, that self-realisation has reached an unexpected new height. I can now look on my darkest moments 25 years ago, describe those times for what they really were (assault , depression and suicidal feelings), and recognise what impact they have on me (still) today.

Perhaps most impoirtantly of all, I’ve come to appreciate the scale, depth and richness of a network of friends and associates I’ve created over the past ten years, making content about classical music under the Thoroughly Good banner. Far from being the end of a meaningful working life, leaving the BBC in July 2017 was a liberating step to take. The highs that followed are a reflection of how supportive that network has been. That’s a rather nice thing to have sitting alongside me as I speed into the new year.

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