My best bits of 2012

Since it’s the first day of a brand new year, I thought I’d jot down my personal cultural highlights from 2012. Sure, it’s a little bit self-indulgent but, hey, it’s holiday season and I’ve been strapped to my desk for the past five days attempting to squeeze words from my brain in time for coursework hand-in. So, here goes:


Favourite read: for beautifully detailed historical fiction and a worthy Booker Prize win – Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies. Bit obvious, but I cannot wait for the third and final instalment of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy.


Favourite film: The Dark Knight Rises. It’s not quite the same without Heath Ledger, but Anne Hathaway is a revelation and I came out with a severe case of bike envy.


Favourite exhibition: tough to choose. It’s a close call between three. Yayoi Kusama at the Tate Modern – that woman knows a thing or two about spots; the British Museum’s Shakespeare: Staging the world exhibition. Two – count ‘em’ – Complete Works first folios, the Robben Island Bible and Edward Oldcorne’s actual eye preserved in a silver case. Gruesome but wonderful; and Picasso and Modern British Art at Tate Britain. I spent a happy half hour in the Henry Moore room, discovered some of Graham Sutherland’s startling paintings and got to look at 67 preparatory sketches that Picasso made before he painted Guernica (sadly the original was not in the exhibition as it never leaves the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid).


Favourite gig: Blur at Hyde Park – still get shivers when I remember the live version of Tender. Damon Albarn looked almost haunted at the end of the night.


Favourite TV moment: being a Londoner I have to go with the Olympic opening ceremony. I won’t say there wasn’t some wine involved but my cynical old head was turned that night. Last episode of the second series of Sherlock was a close second. Am dying to know how he pulled that off.




East Side Gallery

Artwork at the East Side Gallery in Berlin




Favourite international highlight: an afternoon spent wandering along the Berlin Wall East Side Gallery – 1.3 kilometres of original wall complete with artwork from international artists who flocked to the city immediately after the wall came down in 1989. Until then, graffiti, posters and art of any kind had been illegal on the eastern side.


Favourite foodie moment: fifth wedding anniversary dinner at Galvin at Windows. Yum!


Favourite theatre outing: hands down has to be Laura Wade’s Posh, made all the sweeter for the £10 front row tickets that Sinéad heroically queued for at 8am.


Favourite writing moment: getting a letter from Mslexia to say one of my stories had made it to the top 50 shortlist in their competition. 



Nerdy highlight: meeting two of my writing heroes – Margaret Atwood and Sarah Waters.


Most terrifying but amazing experience: a week with fellow writers at Arvon.



And that’s it. Not bad for 12 months, eh? Happy new year!


Photo © Lisa Davison