Reflecting on 2012 (or: Nope, not quite famous yet)

Hang on. What happened? Or rather, what didn’t happen?

I didn’t get famous, that’s what. I can’t understand it. I wrote a book and it got published. I thought the logical progression from that point was to lie back, let the shower of riches begin, and enjoy a life of fame and fortune. Sicily, It’s Not Quite Tuscany has been out for nine months. NINE MONTHS! I should have been relaxing on a Majorca beach way back in August.

It gets worse. Look what I discovered the other day when I plugged my name into the search facility of a website: Continue reading

A Christmas proposal from China

Eleven years ago today – Christmas Day, 2001 – I asked my girlfriend to marry me. Gill was living in Brisbane but holidaying with her family on the Gold Coast at the time. I was 8,500 kilometres away in northeast China, having relocated to a city called Changchun for work a few months earlier.

How do you propose to someone on the other side of the planet? By email, of course. The hitch is that it’s not an especially romantic method of popping the question – a bit like the guy I read about who proposed to his girlfriend while they were pulled over at a Mobil service station.

My task, then, was to find a way to make it more than just an average email. Continue reading

Favourite albums of 2012

“You mean you actually liked that album?”
“This list sucks!”
“What sort of top ten doesn’t include album X by artist Y?”

Those are the kinds of gormless responses you’ll often find posted under lists of the year’s best albums on music websites. No wonder Pitchfork doesn’t bother with a comments section…

At the risk of being pelted with virtual tomatoes, then, here’s my personal top ten for the year (in random order). These are, plainly and simply, the new releases I played more than any others. (Click on each cover for a YouTube taster.) Continue reading