It is the New Year and time for me to once again put together my life in the last 12 months in form of top 5 lists. It is based on the idea from the Los Campesinos song ‘My Year In Lists’. So here you have it my 2014 in lists.

Top 5 Albums
1) Kylie Minogue – Kiss Me Once
2) Sam Smith – In The Lonely Hour
3) A Great Big World – Is There Anybody Out There?
4) Ed Sheeran – X
5) Passenger – Whispers

2014 was quite a good year for albums for me. It was good to have new material from Kylie, Paolo Nutini, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Passenger and also to discover new music from Asgeir, George Ezra and SOHN. it is worth mentioning a couple of albums that just missed out on the top 5. They are the Cast Recording of ‘IF/Then the musical’ this is a great concept for musical and features Idina Menzel so what’s not to like, and Asgeir’s album ‘In The Silence’ which is perfect to relax to.

It was quite tough choosing between Kylie and Sam Smith for 1st and 2nd place but Kylie just gets 1st place. Both her last 2 albums have made my top 5 albums of the year so it isn’t a surprise that her new album is in the list. The album didn’t do as well in the charts as it should have but it is better than her last studio album ‘Aphrodite’ not only in terms of the quality of the songs on the album but I like the concept behind ‘Kiss Me Once’ more. So as Kylie got the top spot it means newbie Sam Smith gets 2nd place. His album ‘In The Lonely Hour’ is just brilliant and it gets better with each listen. Anyone who is single and had unrequited love for someone will understand the genuine emotion in the songs on this album. I know there has been a lot of hype about him but I think it is worth it. In 3rd place is a group called A Great Big World with their album ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’. What I liked about this album is positive outlook on life that all the songs have. It became one of those albums that I could just listen to when I was having a tough time. In 4th place is Ed Sheeran with ‘X’. I didn’t think he would be able to follow-up on the success of ‘+’ but he has managed it.He has moved a little bit away from the beat box/rap style and is moving closer to pop but this not a bad thing. The song ‘Sing’ is probably my favourite song on the album but other stand out songs include ‘One’, ‘Runaway’, ‘Thinking Out Loud’, ‘Afire Love’ and ‘Shirtsleeves’. In 5th place it is Passenger with the album ‘Whispers. It is a good album although I do prefer the previous album ‘All The Little Lights’. It took me a few listens to understand what the album was getting at but it is worth trying. The standout songs on the album for me are ‘Riding To New York’ and ‘Whispers’.

I hope that 2015 is another good year for albums and that I discover some new artists as well as rediscover

Top 5 Songs
1) Katy B – Crying For No Reason
2) A Great Big World – Everyone Is Gay
3) Kylie Minogue – Into The Blue
4) SOHN – Bloodflows
5) Sam Smith – Make It To Me

From early on in the year Katy B’s song ‘Crying For No Reason’ stood out for me. I like songs that I can relate to and this song summed up how I have felt in the past and made me realise it wasn’t just me being silly. I have also had tough 2014 on a personal level and this song helped me through this. It is a beautiful emotional song and not what I expected from Katy B. At number 2 is A Great Big World with their song ‘Everyone Is Gay’. This is a fun song but with a serious message behind it. Very few pop songs talk about being gay and that it’s OK. They tend to be about heterosexual relationships. This song is one of those songs that just says it doesn’t matter who you are you are great. We all need songs like that in our lives and because of this it has got the number 2 spot. In 3rd place is Kylie with ‘Into The Blue’. This was a grower. On first listen to the album it wasn’t my stand out song but over the following months it soon became my favourite on the album. In 4th place is SOHN and the song ‘Bloodflows’. This became that song we all just keep listening to. I think my iPod became a bit obsessed with it despite 1000’s of songs to choose it kept picking this one. Finally in 5th place is Sam Smith and ‘Make It To Me’. to be honest I could have picked any song from his album as they all just seem to get through to me somehow. I chose this because it was the most listened to from the album.

Top 5 Books
1) The Misremembered Man by Christina McKenna
2) A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon
3) Us by David Nicholls
4) A Lovely Way To Burn by Louise Welsh
5) The Ruby Slippers by Keir Alexander

In 2014 I struggled with my reading mojo. I’m not sure what the problem was. I didn’t read many books that were outstanding and I think it was because I reading books because I had to for some reason such as book club, to review etc. So in 2015 I am going to just read what I want to and see if that helps. I didn’t read as many books on my Kindle this year as I did the year before but saying that the top 2 on my list were both e-books so they still did well.

At number 1 is ‘The Misremembered Man’ by Christina McKenna. I didn’t know what to expect from this book as I bought it really cheap on Kindle and when I used the random function on Goodreads to choose a book for the start of the year it was what was selected from my shelves. It was a really good book and I didn’t want to put it down which is always a good sign. So go check it out. At number 2 it is ‘a Spot of Bother’ by Mark Haddon. This was one of the last books that I read as part of the work book club. Most people in the group were not impressed but I loved it and found all the characters had something to offer me as a reader. It also tackled the topic of mental illness very well. At number 3 it is ‘Us’ by David Nicholls. When I found out that there was anew David Nicholls book out this year I was excited as he is one of my favourite authors. ‘Us’ is about a family and an attempt by the father to try to keep the family together by having a big European tour. David Nicholls strength is when he is writing about relationships and this is the strong part of the story. I still preferred his last novel ‘One Day’ but ‘Us’ is still worth a read. At number 4 it is ‘A Lovely Way To Burn’ by Louise Welsh. I received a copy of this book as a prize on Goodreads and it turned out to be a big hit for me. It is about a woman who survives an illness that is sweeping the country and finds her boyfriend has died but is not convinced it was the illness that killed him. It is meant to be the first book in a trilogy and I look forward to reading the next one which is due out later this year. Finally at number 5 it is ‘The Ruby Slippers’ by Keir Alexander. This book is centres on a pair of ruby slippers that were used in the film of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and as the book goes on we meet different characters in New York whose stories become connected to the shoes. What I liked about this book is the range of characters featured in the story and the concept of the book. It also had a lovely dust jacket which I admit swayed me to buy it. I hope 2015 is a better year for reading for me.

Top 5 TV Programmes
1)The Graham Norton Show
2)Dr Who
3)Gotham
4)Great British Bake Off
5)The Musketeers

This years top 5 is not too different to last years. There are 3 programmes that were on last years list still in my top 5 although they have changed places. There were 2 programmes that just missed out on ym top 5 this year. They were ‘Gogglebox’ and ‘MARVEL Agents of Shield”. Gogglebox is still very funny and it is a good way to catch up on show from the last 7 days. MARVEL Agents of Shield is a show that has developed more with each episode and so many twists and turns in the plot. I like how it connects with the various MARVEL movies that come out particularly Avengers, Thor and Captain America. Right now onto my top 5. In first place is ‘The Graham Norton Show’. This is in my top for a second year but has moved up to the top spot. I like the format of the show and enjoy Graham Norton as a presenter and it is perfect Friday night viewing. In second place is Dr Who. Now although this was in my top 5 last year I am surprised it is in this year as I was expecting not to like Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. However he went and proved me wrong and I have loved the last series. The relationship between him and Clara has been great and there have been some great stories. So I have to admit I was wrong about him. At number 3 it is a new show called ‘Gotham’ this is a prequel to Batman. Now I have to admit I am not a huge Batman fan but I am loving this show and can’t wait to see how the series develops. At number 4 is ‘The Great British Bake Off’. I still love this show even though it has slipped a few places this year. It usually get me baking more when it is on but I didn’t bake quite as much in 2014. Still a great show though. Finally at number 5 it is the ‘The Musketeers’. I love this type of show and it is just good fun to watch as well as having some eye candy for me. I wonder what shows will make it in my top 5 next year.

Top 5 Films

1) Pride
2) 12 Years A Slave
3) Guardians of the Galaxy
4) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
5) The Imitation Game

2014 was a good year for films for me. I went to the cinema more than the previous year and made more of an effort to catch up films through DVD’s and Netflix/Amazon/iTunes. My top film of the year was ‘Pride’. This was a true story and was about how the Gay community and mining community came together to fight Thatcher’s government in the 1980’s. I found it a really powerful film and by the end of it I was bawling my eyes out. I can’t wait to watch it again and again. At number 2 is another harrowing film ’12 Years A Slave’. This was a brilliant film although it was hard to watch at times. The acting was brilliant and it deserved the success that it had. At number 3 is ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. After seeing the trailer I didn’t expect much from the film. It has a talking racoon so all expectations were low. However I was pleasantly surprised and loved the humour and action the film. It was a total surprise and deserves to be in my top 5 list. At number 4 is ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” I was in two minds to see this film. As a child I loved the Turtles and the original film was one of my childhood favourites. Because of this I worried this would be a disaster and not live up to my expectations. Once again though I pleasantly surprised and I appreciated the references to original TV series and liked the modern version of the film. It was my guilty pleasure of 2014. Finally at number 5 it is ‘The Imitation Game’.  This was a good film with brilliant actors although the film could have explored some of the storylines a bit more.

Now I have told you my top 5 films of the year I thought I would mention some films that were under the category of worst films of the year. I was really disappointed with ‘Bad Neighbours’ as it was just not funny and it was supposed to be a comedy. Even Zac Efron with no shirt on wasn’t enough to save it. Another bad film of the year was ‘American Hustle’. I can’t believe the hype around this film and the awards that it got. It had some good actors in it but it was just terrible. Finally the worst film of the year has to be ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. now I know I am in a minority here but it is the first film in ages where I actually had to stop watching. I’m not a prude but almost 2 hours in of sex and drug use from 2 horrible characters does not make a good film.

From the list of films announced for 2015 it looks like it could be another good year for movies. The films that I am most looking forward to seeing are ‘Into the Woods’, ‘Big Hero 6’, ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, ‘Jurassic World, ‘Magic Mike XXL’, ‘Spectre’ and of course ‘Star Wars VII’.

Top 5 Live acts/Performances
1)Kylie Minogue: Kiss Me Once Tour
2)BalletBoyz: The Talent
3)Michael Buble: To Be Loved Tour
4)Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake
5)See How They Run

It was quite a good year for seeing live acts/performances. There was a good mix of theatre, music and dance this year. It goes without saying that at number 1 it was Kylie Minogue in concert. It was huge ambition of mine to see her live and I kicked myself when she last toured as I talked myself out of it. This time I got a ticket and had the best time ever. It was a genuine dream come true. At number 2 is ‘Balletboyz’ This is an all male dance troupe and they perform ballet/contemporary dance. They were amazing and I hope to see them live again sometime. At number 3 is Michael Buble. I thought this concert might have got number 2 but he is at number 3 because of no Christmas songs. It was still a great show and he is natural show man. At number 4 it is Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. This is the third Michael Bourne production that I have seen live and it was incredible. I love how he puts a modern twist on all his productions and makes them very accessible for the audience. Finally at number 5 it is the play ‘See How They Run’. This starred Warwick Davis and featured his very own theatre group. It was a brilliant play with superb actors and proved that it doesn’t matter who are as long as you a good actor you can play whatever part comes along. I hope 2015 is another good year for live shows. I already have 2 shows to look forward to and hope there are more to come.

Top 5 Most Played Songs on My iPod
1) Katy B – Crying For No Reason
2) Idina Menzel – Let It Go
3) A Great Big World – Everyone Is Gay
4) Kylie Minogue – Into The Blue
5) SOHN – Bloodflows

This top 5 list is very similar to my top songs of the year list with one exception which is ‘Let It Go’. I think both ‘Crying For No Reason’ and ‘Let It Go’ feature because they summed up my mood in the last 12 months.  I know ‘Let It Go’ has been around all year and driving everyone mad but it is a great song and works on so many levels. The res of the songs I have discussed really earlier on with my top songs of the year list. 

Top 5 Personal Disappointments/
1) Still living at home
2) Being single
3) Lack of self-confidence
4) On my own
5) Family

At this time of year we all look back over the last 12 months and look at the highs and lows that we have had. This list looks at the 5 thinks were either disappointment to me or were low points in my life in 2014. There is no change with the top 2 from the last few years. The fact I am still living at home is a major blow to me. I did jokingly say I was moving out even if it meant living in a box. Well there are no boxes big enough as we recycle everything now. Seriously though it is something that I am disappointed in myself with. I have to push forward even if it is tough and make this happen. At number 2 it is ‘being single’. I went on no dates in 2014 and that is terrible. I said I need to get myself out more and meet people but I obviously need to try harder. I know dating is often down to luck and being in the right place at the right time but I basically need try some new places. At number 3 is that old chestnut a lack of self-confidence. I have always been the same and had little confidence in myself. I always think everyone is better than me and I let this hold me back. In truth I know I am good at some things and need to believe in myself more. I have to stop comparing myself to others and just nothings how I want to. I have to stop listening to the negative voice and listen the positive on instead. At number 4 I have put ‘on my own’. What I mean by this is that over the last 12 months I have become withdrawn from others. I think it was because I wasn’t having a good time and instead of annoying people by hanging around and whingeing kept my own company and turned down invites to things. This was not a good idea and this year I need to stop this and try to repair some bridges and build new ones. I like my own company but I prefer being with others. At number 5 I have put family. By this I mean that 2014 has been a very tough year for my family and we are still dealing with things. My uncle’s accident hit the family hard and it hurts that I can’t do anything to help. He always found time for me and only a few months before his accident he met up with me and said he wanted me to start having fun and going out more. The thing is I didn’t really do this and that is to only let myself down but also him. So in 2015 I will make more of an effort to have fun and I hope it is a better year for all my family.

Top 5 Personal Highlights
1) Losing weight
2) Continuing my acting
3) Seeing Kylie in concert
4) Full time supervisor
5) Attended my first Pride

My last top 5 list of the year is to celebrate my highlights of the year. All yeas have good and bad things and I think it is always good to finish looking back at the highlights. At number 1 is losing weight. I knew I was overweight and was starting to feel uncomfortable in my clothes landlocked energy but needed that push to get me going. When I got my health MOT at the doctors and they said I was obese that was the push I needed and I was determined to lose weight. The Global Corporate Challenge where I had to walk 10,000 steps a day was a great help with this but it wasn’t the only reason. I have cut down on eating lots of snacks and now eat smaller portions. It isn’t easy but it is achievable and you don’t have to starve yourself just eat better and be more active. I have probably put some weight on over Christmas but I wilt back to my usual routine next week. I lost over 2 stone and I want to keep it off and even lose a little bit more. At number 2 is my acting. I was thrilled to be able to be in 2 productions in 2014. They were ‘Under Milk Wood’ and ‘The Tempest’. I really love acting and it is a genuine privilege to get to do this. I hope I get a chance in 2015 to do some more. I am not the best actor but I did realise I was more confident than I was the year before and this surprised me. I had a blast doing both shows and fingers crossed I get another chance. At number 3 is seeing Kylie Minogue in concert. I have already mentioned this but it was a childhood dream come true and it was the best night out I have had in years. At number 4 is becoming a full-time supervisor. The year before I was doing the job as a job share but in 2014 I became a full-time supervisor in a job I love. At the start I probably put too much pressure on myself but hopefully now I am much more settled in the role. Finally at number 5 it is attending my first Gay Pride. This was on my bucket list and I finally crossed it off in 2014. It was quite nice that my first Pride was also the first Pride that Durham had ever had. I know a lot of work went into putting the event on and I want to say well done to everyone who made it happen. I look forward to Durham Pride 2015. It also made me realise that each year since coming out I am becoming more and more accepting of my sexuality. I know this sounds odd but its true. I am now happy with who I am and that I don’t have to hide it. 

So there you go my year in lists. I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post and that you even try some of the music, books, films mentioned. Thanks again for your support with this blog over the last 12 months. It means a lot when I get comments back from readers. 2015 will be my fifth year of blogging so it will be a big year for my blog let’s hope it is a great year for me and all of you reading it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

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