My favourite stuff of 2017 and a review

Will I ever learn? Every year I come here and write a blog post with some wonderful plans for a New Year ahead, full of photography, filmmaking and exciting art projects.

This year was a break from the 12 monthly projects, a chance to relax and get away from the forced creativity that would enable me to do bigger better projects.

I did nothing.

Only thing of note this year outside of a very creative job was my photography from New York. To be honest, I was rather pleased with a number of photos I took.

More importantly, let us look externally at things that I thought were awesome in 2017.

Travel location – Brooklyn, New York

Such an amazing city which I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did. As a simple country boy, I never imagined I’d see places like this and get to stay with some amazing people and go to Coney Island looking for Warrriooorrrssss.

Albums – Top 3

Any year that has Ed Sheeran as the most streamed artist isn’t a good year in my books. Still, some banging tunes came out this year. These three albums contain some of my favourite tunes.

  1. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
  2. Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruin
  3. Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister – Planetarium

Special shout out to Wolf Parade returning with a massive album

Feature Film – Tony Erdmann

Again, I did not go and see enough films this year. The top pick for this year is reliant on you enjoying super dark, long and German films. If not give it a miss.

Short Film – Glue

Between the amazing follow shots, the awesome jazz soundtrack and some serious pow pow, what’s not to love.

Advert – McTavish Surfboards – Dirt Nap

Only came across this recently but it’s gorgeous. I do enjoy a visually amazing ad, it’s like perfume ads, you see them and you’re just like “wha??” but it’s a visual representation of a smell, how could it not be “Whaaaaa??”.

Sporting event / Venue – West Ham Vs Bolton, Olympic Stadium

This was a bit of a grim one. We got trashed, was a horrendous game but it was so much fun. The stadium looked majestic as we walked up to it, the chants were hilarious and the sleeper train home to Glasgow afterward was a delight.

Documentary – Right To Roam from Patagonia

Another recent discovery but a really inspiring one from Patagonia. When you live in Scotland sometimes you forget how amazing the freedom of walking, camping, and exploring is in this gorgeous place. Well worth a watch and yes snowboarding again, it’s playing on my mind perhaps.

TV Show #spoilers – Twin Peaks: The Return

Easy one for me, enjoyed this weirdness immensely. Such a visual and audio treat. Could have done with less Dougie Jones but you had to go through that to get kick ass cooper.

Beer – North Sea Stout from Pilot Beer

Drank a lot this year but this recent beverage has peaked it. Sea water in a milk stout, it makes no sense but tastes yum.

 

November weekend in photos and an Etsy launch

 

Spent the weekend with this little bear as we wandered around Glasgow. Ended up heading to Bakery by Zique, some amazing tasty treats.

Since we got Elliott my wife has been making bandanas for him to wear, as seen above. We have now started to put together an Etsy shop where we sell some gorgeous bandanas made from some one off and specialist fabrics. Have a look-see below, it’s been fun to have a physical object to ship for a change.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ElliottsTriangles

 

New York Photography 16 – #Ophelia

Expired Film trippy

Here is a photo from the New York subway (I think). Somehow the northern lights have managed to make an appearance.

Today’s sky has been a weird one. Auld Ophelia has made for some mad yellow and red skies right across the UK, and some horrible scenes over in Ireland. In Scotland it is a windy old night too, get tucked up and get some comedy on.

My Current comedy of choice

New York Photography 7 – Call boxes and hydrants

City infrastructure can last decades, always blending into the background. Graffiti, wear and tear and advances in technology all take their toll. Fire hydrants are an American icon,  but have you heard about Call Boxes?

Watch the below Vox documentary on this fascinating city infrastructure.

DC’s abandoned fire and police call boxes, explained


From Sea to Table: The MUNCHIES Guide to Norway

Halaigh Whelan-McManus
Halaigh Whelan-McManus. He’s a savage for bacon and cabbage

Randomly came across this on YouTube this week, I had seen some from the Munchies channel before but never from such an engaging host. Halaigh Whelan-McManus is our host, a sous-chef at Maaemo, the three-star Michelin restaurant. He takes us through a personal and informative look at Norwegian food and cooking via some not so local locals. The style is beautiful and Halaigh’s interactions and excitement feel so genuine and heartfelt that it really is a joy to watch. Prepare for a culinary tour that doesn’t attempt to be pretentious but has an Irish charm with a gorgeous Norwegian backdrop.

Catch part one and two below and let me know what you think of it.

From Sea to Table: The MUNCHIES Guide to Norway (Part 1)

Dining in Snowy Heights: The MUNCHIES Guide to Norway (Part 2)

Best things of 2015

Here is a quick run down of the best “things” I have experienced this year, any of them make your list of best things of 2015?

Best Album

Sufjan Stevens – CARRIE & LOWELL

This was an easy choice for myself as this album has been on repeat at home and in the car since its release. Sufjan reinvents himself again from last years self titled Sisyphus, with Son Lux, and the rapper Serengeti. This raw, honest and brutal album has just been amazing listening. If you havent yet give it a lisen and get it in your life.

Buy Sufjan Stevens – CARRIE & LOWELL

See Sufjan Stevens

Best App

Periscope

Without a doubt this app has been a real highlight of what 2015 has been all about. If you are unaware of what Periscope is it enables you to live stream video from your phone with people across the world able to watch, comment and give you hearts. For example the above left image is me with 28 other people watching somebody walk their dog in Georgia. Mind blown. If you haven’t had a go I strongly suggest it.

Free on App Store / Android Store

Best Beer

MochaccinoSmall

Still some beers to drink this year but this cheeky milk stout has been a major leader for most of the year. Having been an admirer of Pilot and their cheeky Twitter feed I drank the Mochaccion Stout at the 2015 Glasgow Real Ale Festival.

Buy Pilot beers here at Ale Sela  or Drink Monger

Best Coffee

Coffee

Tim Wendelboe

I have drank a lot of coffee this year. This little coffee shop in Oslo has served me the best coffee I have had all year. We were in Oslo for five days and went here about seven times, amazing coffee, beautiful wee shop and great staff. Highly reccomended if you find yourself in Oslo.

About £4 for a coffee.

 

Best Film

The Lobster

This was a real surprise favourite for me this year. I managed to catch it at the new third screen at the Glasgow Film Theatre. With Colin Farrell as lead there was a very strange audience around. They were in hysterics at some terrible ads before the film started and I was beginning to get worried. Were they hoping for another Phone Booth? I suspect they were. This was soon proven correct as a number of people got up a left during the film. It isn’t everyones taste and this brooding dark comedy won’t make everyone laugh but I was laughing my head up, usually due to knowing I really shouldn’t be.

I was really impressed by the Colin Farrell, usually a good reason to switch off a film (Excluding: In Bruges) He manages to absolutely nails this role and with some really strong performances around him I suspect awards.

The Lobster also manages to supply one of my favourite castings of all time, Jacqueline Abrahams who plays “Donkey Shooter”. Perfect.

 

24th beer of Christmas

Red Nose Reinbeer Xmas Ale – Somerset Craft Brewery – 5.0%

  
The eagle eyed among you may have noticed I am not drinking these on the right days. Well tough luck, I’ll be doing want I want.

This final beer of the beeradvent is a rather disappointing end to a great range of beers. Except for the cliched branding and name this isn’t very Christmassy or festive which is how I have permitted some poor beers to be justified.

It’s an ok ale. That’s about it 4/10

So that’s it. 24 beers drank, reviewed and rated. Here’s to some great beer in 2016.

23rd Beer of Christmas 

Easy IPA – Flying Dog Brewey – 4.7%

  
This is a hoptastic treat with just the right amount of bitterness. Fruity punch on the nose with some lovely malty after tastes.

The label is a great alternative to the usual drab or hipster IPA labels. And their copy is fun. This is getting a 9/10 

22nd beer of Christmas 

DOA IPA – Day of the Dead – 6.8%

  
First off, twist off lid.

This hop on and die comes with mad rich malty tones and backed up with amazing bitterness, sweet and triply floral aromas. Think it’s all a bit much as it’s also packing 6.8%. It’s nice but it’s not blowing my mind. 7/10.

20th beer of Christmas 

London Pale Ale – Meantime Brewing – 4.3%

  
A complex mix of hops in this bad boy. Cascade and Centennial hops for the aroma, then loads of local Kentish Goldings for a bitter refreshment. It claims a lot but doesn’t really deliver to be honest. Disappointed after all that hop-buildup. 4/10