I thought this year was a write-off. By the beginning of December, I was holed up in my bed spending the remainder of my annual leave binge-watching Criminal Minds and ... well, that was pretty much it. But, when I sat down and really thought about it, 2017 was really good to me. I packed a lot into those 12 months. I went on a couple of amazing trips, sang my heart out at a lot of gigs, survived another year on the news desk and organised a bloody comic convention.
I don't know what 2018 has in store. I know roughly where I'd like to be 12 months from now, but we'll see. For now, here's 17 things that stood out about 2017. Happy New Year.
1. My best pal asked me to be Maid of Honour at her wedding
I started the year half cut in my mum’s kitchen downing two bottles of Prosecco with my oldest friend. She’d gotten engaged over Christmas so we rang in the bells by slurring over wedding magazines while she declared, “I just want to be a fucking princess.” A solid start to 2017.
2. I got promoted
After a year as a digital journalist on my news desk, I became an assistant digital news editor. It sounds vaguely impressive but is basically a wordy way of saying I do pretty much the same job for practically the same money, except now I sign the occasional timesheet and get shouted at down the phone a bit more. My mum's proud of me though.
3. I was a Droid for the day at 2000AD’s 40 Years of Thrill Power
The first event in my comics calendar involved a trip to London for 2000AD's 40 Years of Thrill Power. My job was to make sure 100 comic creators whose instincts were to make a beeline for the hotel bar were all in the right place at the right time. I ran around wearing a headset feeling vaguely important while Rebellion boss Ben Smith struggled to understand my accent down a crackly radio.
4. Avengers assembled in Edinburgh - and I met one
Avengers Infinity War filmed in Edinburgh this year and I basically lived in the capital for as long as the Pinewood Studios trucks did. It was very cool, seeing film sets across Old Town and eventually working out that part of the story will actually be set in Scotland. From March to May, I watched Scarlet Witch and Vision scrap with the Black Order on the Royal Mile, a truck expose outside St Gile's Cathedral and a bearded Captain America suited up to fight in Waverley station. I also met Hulk. No big deal.
5. She Reads Comics celebrated its first birthday
Last year Kirsty Hunter and I planned a lock-in at Forbidden Planet aimed at female identifying comic readers. We weren't sure how many would turn up or if it would turn into anything. One year of monthly(ish) events later, we have a regular crowd of about 20 and a lovely little community. We celebrated She Reads Comics' first birthday in June.
6. Penn and Teller came to Glasgow - and I saw them for the third time
Penn and Teller are probably my favourite performers and I was buzzing when they announced they were coming to Scotland for the first time. I'd seen them twice before - once in conversation with Stephen Fry in London and another performing an adaptation of their Vegas show in Manchester - but third time was the charm.
7. I chaired a talk at Waterstones - and it was with Frank Quitely
Halfway through the year I chaired my first author event at a bookshop when BHP Comics released The Art of Frank Quitely as a companion to the incredible Kelvingrove exhibition. I'd never interviewed Frank Quitely before so that was a lot of fun, plus I managed to uncover a few exhibition easter eggs like the Grant Morrison script that had to be covered up for the sake of young children. Afterwards we drank a lot of wine.
8. Glasgow Comic Con was actually a success
Glasgow Comic Con was, by far, my biggest achievement of 2017. Having taken over the running of the convention for the first time this year, I was so nervous about wrecking the even - but I didn't. Attendance was up, we had one of the best line-ups in the history of the show and I didn't break anything. Looking out at 10am and seeing a queue that snaked all the way around the back of the Concert Hall onto Sauchiehall Street made up for a few nights spent greeting in the office convinced no one was going to come.
9. TRNSMT was fun
This year, instead of boarding a bus to Strathallan, I only had to wander down to the Green for my Scottish festival fix. I spent a weekend watching bands like Radiohead and Biffy Clyro, filing the odd review and making the most of Jack Daniel's free bar. I also went from getting sunburnt on the Saturday to getting drenched with rain on the Sunday. Ah, Glasgow.
10. I went to Amsterdam and saw Jimmy Eat World
I got to tick Amsterdam off my travel bucket list when Jimmy Eat World announced a gig at Melkweg. It was also the first time I've ever taken myself away on holiday. I walked around the city in blistering sunshine, drank outside with a pal, sang along loudly to Jimmy Eat World and met a stranger at the gig who turned out to know half my friends back home. Jim Adkins signed my ticket after the show and I told him I'd met people from all over Europe. He told me Amsterdam seemed to be the epicentre, in a good way, for fans coming together.
11. Thought Bubble was lovely
Every year I go to Leeds for Thought Bubble and every year I have a lovely time. It's one of the only opportunities I get to hang out with some of my favourite people. This year involved screaming My Chemical Romance lyrics at the afterparty, dancing to a ska band in a bar my friend Owen swore was "Leeds' answer to Nice'N'Sleazy" then sneaking Kirsty into my hotel the next morning so we could have a hangover breakfast.
12. I saw some incredible gigs
2017 was a brilliant year for gigs. I sang my heart out at Jimmy Eat World, bawled my eyes out at Julien Baker and clung to my pal when LCD Soundsystem played All My Friends. I saw Tigers Jaw, Kevin Devine, Jamie Lenman and Paramore. My final gig of the year was Idlewild celebrating the 15th anniversary of The Remote Part. Bob Fairfoull joined them onstage and played Listen to What You've Got, Message and Captain. The place blew up and it couldn't have been more perfect.
13. I made new pals
This year I met a handful of wonderful folk, grew closer to some lovely humans and crammed five years' worth of catching up into a single afternoon in the west end. I know everybody loves their pals but I really do, and I'm lucky to know those people.
14. USA roadtrip
In a jammy twist of fate, I was a last-minute addition to a US press trip. I spent a week traveling through Florida and Georgia and it was the most incredible experience. I did things I never would've thought to do; I went paddle boarding in the Everglades, Segwaying in Atlanta and stayed at a haunted inn in Savannah. I also ate amazing seafood and watched a group of drunk journalists sing karaoke in a dive bar. It was a brilliant, unexpected adventure that gave me a much-needed break from some crippling SAD.
15. BHP Comics made me an official part of the team
Towards the end of the year, I found out that I'll become an official employee of BHP Comics in 2018. I signed a contract and everything. Sha Nazir, Kirsty Hunter, Heather Palmer and Nyla Ahmad are all fab, talented humans and I feel lucky to be working alongside them. I've never felt as excited or inspired about work as I do in that office.
16. Christmas at home
This year I actually made it home to be with my family. I didn't spend December 25 in a newsroom or Boxing Day fighting off rabid customers in Forbidden Planet, I spent it in my childhood home surrounded by my loved ones. I watched Harry Potter films, slept in until 10am and spent the week wandering around my hometown half-hoping not to bump into anybody I went to high school with. Bliss.
17. I read 52 books in 52 weeks
At the beginning of the year, I haphazardly set myself the goal of reading a book every week for the entire year. I started off strong, dropped off in the middle and finished my 52nd book about four hours before the end of the year. Highlights included Nasty Women, Once I Was Cool and anything by Samantha Irby.