2017 had everything going for it. After a pretty disastrous 2016, it wasn’t really that hard to make things better and to be a fairly successful year, however, it became clear pretty early on that this wasn’t going to be any straightforward year. This is my year in review. I’ll start with the more personal/harder bits and then move on to my media picks of the year before rounding off!
I’ll be quite honest when I say that 2017 has possibly been the toughest year of my life so far. January went by fairly normally, however, as I hit February I came down with what my optician called the worst case of conjunctivitis that he’d seen (pictured). While this was putting a huge strain on my eyes, I continued to work for the first 6 days while using eye drops every 2 hours. However, this simply wasn’t good enough and my vision worsened to the point where I didn’t feel safe driving and took two days off work while I recovered.
My employer at the time didn’t feel like I was taking my job commitment serious enough and due to previous absences, put me in front of the site manager. During this meeting, I couldn’t see a positive end so I felt I had no choice but to hand in my immediate resignation (See post: Goodbye! On to Phase 2….). This left me unemployed for the majority of 2017 trying to survive off Job Seekers Allowance.
Alongside this, I was applying for hundreds of jobs, yet receiving very few interviews. I kept getting the same email, time after time, telling me I didn’t have the relevant experience for Customer Service roles, despite having 9 years of Customer Service experience. Where’s the sense in that? The constant shutting down and doors closing in my face really put a downer on the year and left my mental state in a less than desired state, putting a strain on the relationships with my children and my wife.
After 9 hard months, I managed to find a temporary Christmas role with the fantastic team at Dust and Things. While I absolutely loved my time with them, this was only a temporary role and has since come to an end leaving me back with Job Seekers Allowance while I search out another, more permanent role.
Due to the strain that this year has put on our entire family, relationships with my wife became so frayed that they are unfortunately irreparable. While we are still the best of friends, we sat down during December and made the decision to separate in order to save the friendship we have left allowing us to still parent as a team and not become bitter towards each other as we more than likely will have if we had tried to put a brave face on everything. While this isn’t exactly the way either of us saw 2017 ending, these are the cards that we’ve been dealt and have chosen to play. I’ll leave this section with the words of Scroobius Pip:
So I respect the motherfucker that reflects upon their lover and then lets them walk away or resurrects and recovers way more than I respect those that just close up the shutters and ignore the shitty shell within which both of them suffers.
Well, well, well… Where do I even start with the politics of 2017? Theresa May triggered Article 50 during March meaning that Brexit Negotiations were underway and gave us a 24-month window in which to strike a deal with the EU for our departure. However, as she felt she needed a bigger backing in Parliament she decided to call a snap general election thinking that she would win some more seats back from the “inner war” in the Labour party.
Theresa May hugely underestimated the popularity of Jeremy Corbyn and ended up losing her majority parliament. She then had to make a £1 billion deal with the DUP, from Northern Ireland to form some sort of mess of a non-coalition Government in which they would back her up on any major deals and give her a majority number of seats. It’s safe to say that UK politics are currently in turmoil and with Corbyn’s popularity growing every day, he’s poised and ready to take action when the time comes around for another election.
As with my 2016 post, it wasn’t all doom and gloom in 2017 and there were some hugely positive things happening. I think Russell Howard summed this up the best, so I’ll leave you with him for the time being before we continue to my recap of this year’s films that I’ve seen.
While I didn’t manage to catch any films in the Cinema this year, I did my best to make sure I kept up to date at home. I’ll split this into Comic Book movies and Non-Comic Book movies.
Starting outside of the Comic Book films, my first recommendation would have to be Kong: Skull Island (★★★½☆) selling us a huge family action film. While it’s no blockbuster, the action was great and the CGI didn’t look out of place. It’s a great watch if you’re looking to kill time. I also watched films such as Going In Style (★★★★☆) starring Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin as they plan and execute a bank robbery from their retirement. Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (★★★☆☆) brought the lovable character of Jack Sparrow back into our lives, however, there wasn’t much else that stood out during this sequel. If you head in expecting a comedy Disney Action movie, then that’s what you’ll leave with.
Stepping away from the light-hearted side of things, I had to watch It (2017) (★★★☆☆) purely due to how good Bill Skarsgård looked as Pennywise. Now, it may be because I haven’t seen the original, nor have I read the books, however, I wasn’t entirely blown away if I’m completely honest. It was enjoyable, however, I found it to be very run of the mill.
As well as this, I watched the absolutely fantastic Get Out (★★★★½). Focussing on a young man named Chris, meeting his girlfriends Rose’s parents for the first time, we see how they deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship and watch Chris go on a journey of discovery with an outcome that he never expected. This is a top watch and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Heading into the realm of Comic Book movies, I’m disappointed to say that I’ve yet to watch Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Thor: Ragnarok or The Justice League. However, I did watch Wonder Woman (★★★★☆) which I felt was a fantastic origins movie completely detached from the current DC storylines. As far as DC struggling to get their movies right, this certainly hit the nail on the head.
As well as this, I loved Spiderman: Homecoming (★★★★☆) and feel that Sony did the right thing by allowing Marvel to take control of this franchise again. Tom Holland really shines through and I was so glad that we didn’t have to sit through his origin story once again.
Finally, how could I forget my movie of the year, Logan (★★★★½)? After the success of R-Rated Deadpool in 2016, Fox made the call to make the final part of the Wolverine Trilogy an R-Rated affair. Fans rejoiced and details soon started to leak that we would be seeing their version of the ‘Old Man Logan’ storyline come to fruition. All-in-all, Logan was a fantastically written modern western, in which we see an older version of Wolverine trying to protect a very old Professor X and a young girl from a group of outlaws tracking them down. If Fox hadn’t just sold their entertainment side of things to Disney, I would’ve hoped for more films like this. Here’s hoping that Disney doesn’t make too many changes and we see this R-Rated formula continue to thrive alongside the already booming MCU.
TV & Streaming
2017 saw the return of the global phenomenon, Game of Thrones. While season 7 didn’t have as many episodes as the previous series, it still packed the punches in the right places, albeit rushing the story along with others. You can see a full rundown of each episode in my weekly reviews, however, we’re now left hanging until 2019 to see the conclusion of the TV epic.
Due to the way The Walking Dead splits over the festive period, we saw the end of season 7 at the start of the year with the beginning of season 8 at the end of the year. Rick is currently in the midst of All Out War with Negan which has left the fate of one much-loved character in the hands of fate until we rejoin them early this year. While some of the earlier series showed us a larger threat from walkers, we’re now coming to realise that the real threat is from mankind itself, with several characters having inner battles on right vs wrong and good vs evil.
Alongside these two main series, I’ve also been engrossed in Mr. Robot, Gotham, The Gifted, and Mindhunter amongst others. You can find more of my thoughts on these in my Reviews section in any of my “On My TV This Week” posts. That’s not to say that there weren’t any flops this year as the Marvel Inhumans series was a huge letdown and has apparently already been cancelled.
Netflix has ruled supreme this year with the addition of Mindhunter, The Defenders and the absolutely amazing, and long-awaited series of The Punisher. Jon Berthnal has really made the role his own and delivered a version of Frank Castle that fans of the books and films alike are truly happy with. I really can’t wait to see this character brought back to our screens in future Netflix Marvel series.
However, my series of the year just has to go to Stranger Things 2 exclusively on Netflix. You can find a full review by clicking the link, however, in short, The Duffer Brothers delivered everything I expected and hoped for in a sequel, alongside introducing new characters which became quickly loved and one that was taken far too soon for my liking.
In all honesty, I struggle to find new bands that I like these days, so my list of albums from 2017 are pretty much all new releases from bands and artists that I already listened to.
I’ll start with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin. This was the sophomore release from Frank Carter’s newest venture and an all-round more mature sound. Released right at the beginning of the year in January, I had doubts that this modern Punk/Rock record would be able.
We also saw some big new releases from Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Paramore and Brand New, although none of these really grabbed my attention after their initial play-throughs and I’m yet to revisit them. There was one more album that let me down and it’s an album that had been 15 years in the making. GlassJaw – Material Control. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good songs on there, however as a whole, it just didn’t play right for me. Several songs bleed into each other and I just wasn’t sure if I’d just heard one song or three in a row. Don’t get me wrong, I know that 15 years is a long time, but I feel that Daryl & Co have lost the dynamic from previous records and this album has simply fallen by the wayside for me.
I was, however, really impressed with the fifth outing from Californian punk kings, The Bronx. After feeling a little let down by their previous release it was great to see that they had their edge back and I’d rate ‘V’ as one of their strongest releases to date.
My album of the year though belongs to one man. A man that has held my musical attention since 2004. A man who I believe is one of the most underrated British rock music writers… Jamie Lenman – Devolver. Devolver is a refreshingly inventive album from the frontman that brought us Reuben. Bringing the two halves of his previous release, ‘Muscle Memory’ back together, Jamie Lenman pushed his songwriting skills further than we’ve ever seen before in this modern masterpiece. To put it simply, it’s an album that I feel everyone should listen to!
In all honesty, 2017 has been a disaster of the year for me in a personal sense, however, this only means that this trough will lead to a peak and it means that 2018 will be hard work to get things back on track.
I’m looking forward to seeing what comes musically in this coming year as there was very little that grabbed my attention. I’m also hoping that I’ll have some more time to be able to watch some new movie releases in the cinema, especially with 2018 being the year of Avengers: Infinity War.
What were your highlights of 2017? Did anything in 2017 leave you feeling disappointed? Let me know in the comments below or feel free to get in touch with me via Twitter.
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