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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Copy That Quizmas #3: Jon

This Christmas, I am asking Santa for...

The Mysterious Cities of Gold Season 2. The second season of this animated blend of children's adventure, sci-fi and historical fiction has arrived 30 YEARS after the first finished airing. 30. Years. Beat that, David Lynch.

Breakfast LP by Teleman. I heard 'Cristina' while bouldering in Bermondsey, then found 'Skeleton Dance' on YouTube and that sealed it.

Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward for the 3DS. I'm less keen on Nintendo since discovering how little they've done to invest in conflict-free minerals (bottom of the list, in fact) but this two-year-old visual novel with locked-room puzzles has me intrigued.

A profound absence of books this year, but then I'm very behind on my reading, especially since I started buying texts in languages I don't understand.

My favourite new word this year was...

'Opuscule'. A minor work; a miniature opus.

My top three books of the year were...

The True Account of Captain Love and the Five Joaquins by John Clegg, a guilt-and-whiskey-soaked tale of comeuppance and pickled heads. This year, however, I've largely been catching up on unread books from times past, so for my other two I'm picking Omon Ra, a black comedy about the Soviet space programme by Victor Pelevin, and the sixth volume of Empowered, an erotically-charged, character-driven pastiche of the superhero genre, written and drawn by Adam Warren.

My tip for surviving Christmas is...

Don't. Perish, loiter in the netherspace between worlds, then be born anew.

If I were a Christmas animal, I would be...

A goat. The Yule goat is a symbol of Christmas in Scandinavia and Northern Europe, likely dating from Pagan times. In recent years, it's also become a sort of mascot for Oxfam Unwrapped - just look at how many goats there are on the main page of their website.

I'm also a Capricorn, and I've done a lot of clambering up rocks this year, so a goat I'll be.

If I could destroy any Christmas tradition, it would be...

The John Lewis ad, and every other overblown seasonal commercial that does its level best to make your telly or computer monitor bleed syrup.

I would like Krampus to carry off in his sack...

The various ringleaders and mountebank-preachers of Gamergate. The article I penned on this ridiculous and morally bankrupt cyber-crusade was probably read more widely than anything I've published this year, except, that is, for the follow-up piece the Guardian asked me to write, which has been shared over 1,800 times.

My proudest achievement this year was...

I hope this isn't a cop-out: it's reaching a point where I'm hugely optimistic about the year to come. My life throughout 2014 has been somewhat tumultuous. I've lived in, and operated out of, six different places - Whitechapel, East Dulwich, Wan Chi and Sheung Wan in Hong Kong, Blackheath and Walthamstow. There have been so many commitments and ambitions to balance that I could very easily have ended the year with my figurative china smithereened across the tiles. That hasn't happened, thankfully.

Other highlights included:

  • winning the Poetry London Competition;
  • exploring ghost towns, munitions tunnels and decaying military installations, and running a macaque gauntlet while working in Hong Kong;
  • reading poetry live at the Royal Festival Hall and on Radio 3;
  • winning the Saboteur Best Collaboration Award for Riotous, along with Kirsty and Cliff Hammett.

Next year, I am looking forward to stretching my vocabulary with...

A Hawthornden Fellowship (writing in a Scottish castle for a month), various exciting creative collaborations, and further development of Copy That and Sidekick Books.

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