- Brexit: whilst I don't live in Britain anymore, and haven't lived there for nearly 40 years, I am still a British citizen and certain decisions that Britain takes affect me. I can't begin to understand why so many people wanted to leave the EU; it seems that in the face of globalisation, people want to assert their tribal identity. The worst thing that Brexit has already done to me is the drastic depreciation of Sterling. Who knows what else is to come?
- Trump: I am fairly sure that Trump could not have been elected as US President had it not been for Brexit. All through the early months of the year, I could not understand how someone so seemingly uncouth, loud and uncultured could be taken seriously by the American electorate. He seems to be the opposite of everything that Obama stood for, although to be honest, Obama wasn't much of a success, either. His major achievement was being the first black president; he certainly wasn't much of a friend to Israel.
- Deaths: does it just seem this way or was 2016 a bad year for musicians? David Bowie, Keith Emerson, Dave Swarbrick, Sir George Martin, Leonard Cohen, Greg Lake, and in the final days of December, Rick Parfitt (Status Quo) and George Michael. Actors, too: Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds. Strangely enough, apart from Swarb, I only have one record each from most of the others, and only a few films for the actors. I think that it's a function of statistics: I'm 60, and most of the musicians that I appreciate are 7-10 years older than me, meaning that they're in their late 60s/early 70s. A fragile age to be, approaching death. George Michael is the anomaly, being only in his early 50s. Immediately after having written this, I see that Jeff Duntemann has written on the same subject (although without the musicians!) and at greater depth.
- Health: the year started very badly for me, with a three month period of flu complications, culminating in a blocked ear. This was treated at the end of March, and since then, I've been in pretty good health.
- Theanine: I've written about this a few times during the second half of the year. I think that this supplement has made a quiet but definite difference to my life. I've become less moody, less given to turning things over and over in my mind and generally more cheerful.
- Doctorate: after having my initial intermediate submission rejected - the rejection was expected but not the manner of its rejection - I worked hard on improving the text and in August, the second version was accepted. This means that the end of the doctorate is within sight, a fact which has also greatly improved my general outlook on life. Over the past two months, I've been collecting data; this is going slower than I would have liked, but I am making progress. Soon I will have to start thinking about how to present the data. Of course, I can't make any conclusions until I cease collecting data and begin to analyse it, but it will be easy to present the conclusions.
- Songwriting: the return to songwriting has taken me quite by surprise. I've known for a few years that if I want to continue recording (which I enjoy despite the effort), then soon I will have to start writing new songs as I exhaust my supply of old ones which have yet to been rejuvenated. But somehow I have managed to defer this ... until this year. By December, I had written four new songs as well as new lyrics to two old songs; over the past week I have almost completed another song (the music and arrangement are complete; I have two unconnected verses which I wrote yesterday). I don't have too much difficulty in writing the music for new songs but have difficulty with the words as I don't have anything in particular which I want to write about.
- Reaching the age of 60: maybe once this was a milestone, but "60 is the new 40".
- Becoming a grandfather: although the impact is growing, this still isn't a major factor in my life.
After having written all of the above, I have to conclude that however bad 2016 was for the general populace, for me it was actually a very good year. I am very optimistic about 2017 (it must be the theanine talking).
This is my 999th blog, so the next blog will be dedicated to blog statistics.