Friday, 31 December 2010

2010: Taking Stock part 3 - The Life and Times of PJ Montgomery

2010 then. That was a year which, I think, will always be remembered as the one which came between 2009 and 2011. I truly think that. Seriously though, if I had to sum up 2010 properly, I'd say it was a mixed bag. Here's the blog where I get personal, and tell you about my year.

I started this year a wreck. There's no point pretending otherwise. Without going into too many details (largely because I already have done so, at length, elsewhere), 2009 ended with a massive break up and a pretty bad head injury. These two don't mix, as the head injury means you can't get absolutely post-break-up-shitfaced like you're supposed to. I had a miserable December, and so when New Year's Eve came along, and I was able to drink again, I did so. With gusto. I was ably assisted in this by one of my very best friends, Ian Dowling, constantly spiking my drink with more vodka whenever I turned my back. What I remember of the night is a lot of fun. But then, what I remember is very little of it, and it's fuzzy at best.

The upshot of all of this? A two day hangover. I awoke on January 1st, 2010, still a little drunk. This soon changed when I sat down for lunch with some friends at Uncle Chan's Tasty Wok (RIP), and took a couple of mouthfuls of food. Then I felt very ill and had to come home straight away. Like a fool, I'd invited some of the guys back to watch Doctor Who. They dutifully showed up on time, and we watched Doctor Who. However, throughout the entire episode, much I loved my friends, I was suffering and just wanted them to leave so I could pass out. And possibly die.

Thankfully, some of my friends are an astute bunch, and they recognised my pain, and left soon after Doctor Who finished. I went to bed, and slept a lot, waking up on the 2nd only because I had to go to work. I didn't quite feel right, but didn't think much of it. It was only after a few hours in work, when I was still feeling a bit off, that it suddenly dawned on me. I was still fucking hungover! How much had I had to drink on New Year's Eve? A bottle of wine, half a bottle of vodka, several glasses of sparkling wine and a couple of shots of Dooleys, for the record. So, that was the start of 2010 for me. The longest damn hangover I'd ever had.

The next couple of months didn't exactly go to plan either. While there were some good developments on the writing front (see my last blog for details), I'm largely going to remember the first couple of months as a time I felt betrayed like I never have before. Again, I've dealt with this at length before, but suffice to say, I lost friends over it. At the same time as I was reeling from this, my job hit me with a £4000 a year pay cut, a not insubstantial amount, I think you'll agree. The result of the events of these first few months was my transformation into a being I like to call Angry Paddy. He's a bit like the Hulk, only not the Hulk at all. Okay, he wishes he were the Hulk.

I spent a good portion of 2010 angry. At first, it was anger directed at two people in particular and my job, but it soon settled into a general feeling of rage directed at whatever happened to be in my eye line at that point. It was during this period of time, when I started threatening to set things on fire, that Drew Davies, my good friend and Stiffs co-writer, first coined the phrase "Paddy Prescription". It means... Um... Well, it's what we call it when I set something on fire.

There were a lot of vitriolic blogs and comments around this time, some of which you can still find if you look hard enough, and a number of which got me into trouble with certain people. I also, and I'll freely admit this, probably wasn't always much fun to be around during those months.

It took a while, but I'm over the anger now. I'm also over the hatred of the two people who managed to cause it. I'm not saying they're forgiven, because I'm just not that big a human being as it turns out, but I really don't care about them either way. Let them live their lives, and I'll live mine. That's all there is to it now.

Of course, there was good stuff right at the beginning of the year. January 31st, 2010, was the day a little ball of fluff named Caliban entered my life. I'd always said that once I lived alone and was able to do so, I would get a cat. The loneliness I was feeling after the break up was also a factor. So, finding a guy in work who had kittens he was giving away, I went around and picked one of the tiny, six month old kitties he was offering. It turns out, I picked an idiot. Seriously, Caliban's a moron. Almost a year now he's been living here, and he still faceplants the washing machine on a regular basis. But I do love him, and he provides hours of entertainment and, when he wants to, affection. He's a lovely kitty, though not so small any more. He's only getting bigger, and if the Maine Coon theory holds water, wil continue to do so for the next three and half years, at which point he will be large enough to take on Godzilla. That's a terrifying thought. Also, not getting any less fluffy. And he does leave it everywhere. Technically, I should probably be hoovering every hour. Don't come over if you're allergic to cat hair.

2010 was also the year when I started playing tennis again. The previous three summers, I'd managed to have one game a year. I'd always intended to play more, but it just never happened for one reason or another. However, this summer not only did Andy Grierson and I have our long awaited rematch (a close thing, but Andy bested me again. He'll get his, one of these days), but we then found more people to play with, and sudenly tennis became a semi-regular thing, with myself and Andy joined by Nicki Tudor, Abby O'Sullivan, Dan Austin and Sian Prescott. Here's hoping that continues when the warm weather comes back again!

And so to Twitter, which had to get a mention eventually. While I didn't join Twitter this year, my usage of the site really went into overdrive in 2010. I tweet quite a lot now, and through using Twitter, have not only found myself back in contact with old friends, but have gotten to know other friends better and made a lot of new ones. You're far too numerous to mention individually here, but you are all awesome, and have definitely made the second half of this year a vast improvement on the first.

That said, one of my favourite weeks of 2010 was one in the first half. My cousin, Rhys Warburton, was marrying his long-term girlfriend, Anna Davitt, and guess who got invited to the wedding? Yep, loads of their friends and their families. Oh, wait, that includes me. Whoo! Party! One small detail though. Rhys and Anna are New Yorkers. The wedding was being held in Brooklyn. So, in order to attend, I would have to have another New York holiday. What a shame.

So it was that in mid May, myself, my sister and a whole load of my cousins descended on the Big Apple, and boy did we have an awesome week. A large portion of it was spent drunk and / or hungover, but free bars will do that to you. However, some key highlights of the week include, the first evening, when myself and all my cousins, despite our jetlag, went to a bar in Manhattan and proceeded to drink and laugh the night away until we passed out. The welcome party the night before the wedding was also a lot of fun. There was a free bar. I drank a lot of Jack Daniels. Then, we went out to another bar in the East Village. I think there were shots, and if I learned anything, it's that yes, American beers may be weaker than ours, but damn, they pour a lot more in when it comes to shots.

Needless to say, the following day, the day of the wedding itself, I, my sister, Charlotte Montgomery, her fiance, Chris Knott,our cousin Ed Simpson and Ed's girlfriend, Clare Morgan, all woke up with hangovers. So we did what anyone else would do. Went for a massive breakfast and then journeyed to the bright lights and loud noises of Times Square. It was here we discovered the clothes shop American Eagle, and their rather fun offer of buy anything, we'll take your picture and put it up on a massive screen above the shop! Of course, in our hungover state, we thought that was an excellent idea. Before we had the picture taken, Ed gave us a quick team talk. "Okay, let's make sure it's not a family photo like Grandma would be proud of. Make sure we all do something stupid." Here's the resulting photo:-

Note how only one person in that picture is doing something stupid. Also note how that person is me. When that flashed up, for all of Times Square to see, I turned to the others. "Why... Why am I the only one doing something stupid? I thought we were all going to." Ed responded. "Yeah, sorry. We've kinda let you down there Patrick." I gestured around at Times Square. "No one else here knows that! They all think I'm an idiot!"

Oh, well. Then we went for ice cream, which does cure hangovers, as I've discovered this year. Seriously, next time you have a hangover, go get some ice cream from Baskin Robbins or somewhere similar. It'll do the job. The wedding itself that evening also involved a free bar, and then another bar in Brooklyn, where my cousins and I proceeded to have more drinking and laughing until the small hours of the morning. All in all, an awesome time.

One final thing I want to mention in this blog, which happened in September, is the charity party I threw. Originally designed as a renuion for people who had started at the University of Glamorgan ten years before, but it soon grew beyond that, involving anyone we had known over the decade. We hired out Callaghans in Cardiff city center, booked three bands and had a bloody good night, in which we raised a nice bit of money for Marie Curie and the British Heart Foundation. It was lovely to see friends, both new and old there, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I'm planning for this to be the first of several such events, and the next one is coming up fast in March for Comic Relief.

So, looking ahead to 2011... Well, it's already starting better than 2010 did. Unlike previous years, I'm not making any definite resolutions or plans, but what I'm hoping 2011 will bring is the following: My writing finally reaches the public at large, I'm able to leave a job I hate, and that the Comic Relief event goes well enough that I can continue doing such parties. Fingers crossed, eh?

Happy new year.

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