So 2018 has been a whirlwind of a year, and while I appreciate that most people get to the end of the year and are hopeful for the year ahead, in this case 2019, I actually wanted to take a moment to reflect on just exactly what has happened to me in 2018, because sis, it’s been a ride.
The earlier portion of the year saw me bringing the new year in with friends in London, of which I recently just moved to. It was a great start as everyone was drunk in our living room, watching TV and just enjoying the company we were in. The start of 2018 also saw my formal introduction to the London Gaymers, with my first ever night out in Soho combined, I certainly made an impact on the first ‘Welly Friday’, but they say you never kiss and tell… LG was a great ice breaker to London. A group full of people who liked the same things as me, and also had shared struggles and experiences as I have, it was like a dream. To this day, LG still remains a portion of my social calendar in a year, and it’s been fantastic for me to find groups to play games with. While not without its faults, it’s a great safe-house for people looking to just have a laugh.
April saw the birth of me trying to really solidify what I wanted to do with my social media – spoiler, it didn’t really go as planned, but I had fun with it. I did my first photo shoot for my Instagram, and even got the attention of British Vogue Editor in Chief, Edward Enninful, of which that moment will be forever solidified in my Instagram stories.
April was, of sorts, the turning month for me. I knew I had a lot to look forward to in the next few months, I was settled within my job, and I was starting to make friends that I would see often enough. I was living in a nice place, and honestly everything was on a track that I was comfortable with. I was starting to go out more, seeing artists (and icons) like CupcakKe live, going to spontaneous pub trips in Soho, and generally coming out of my shell more, which is exactly what I wanted.
Oh, we can’t forget that it was also the month I got my Agile Project Management certificate! Yes, this was a real picture from the board after one morning of work. Now I’ve done the traditional academic cycle, school, college, university, for 21 years of my life. And I can say, without a doubt, the 4 days of this course was more intense and stressful than any course I’ve previously studied. But it was so, so worth it.
Now, May was without a doubt the best month of my life. Just looking through the photo’s I have saved I don’t know how I’m going to even get through it all in just one post. Let’s start with the biggest one – Vegas.
Vegas was always on my list of things to do, the ‘tackiness’ I’ve heard about it, along with the pure caricature that it presents itself as has always been interesting to me, besides the fact it’s a literal city in the middle of a desert. But the biggest reason for my venture was to see my best friend of 10 years, Nick. Now Nick and I have been chatting online for years, through the O.G-Instagram days (Photobooth fam where you at?!), and then we naturally progressed onto Facebook, WhatsApp and pretty much every other form of communication possible. We’ve maintained a 5,217 mile friendship consistently for an entire decade without once meeting. Of course we have FaceTimed, but I decided that 2018 was the year that I needed to go out and see him for real.
From the moment I was picked up at the airport to Voodoo Pussy by Joanne Prada, I knew that the following 2 weeks were going to be the funnest, stupidest and best days of my life thus far.
Now sis, we did EVERYTHING over the course of these 2 weeks. On the first full day, after finally getting some sleep after being awake for over 30 hours and seeing Todrick Hall doing 52 encores (love you sis!), we drove pretty much around the whole of god damn Vegas AND her sister neighbourhoods. Actually. You know what. Let me actually map this out for you.This. This is what we drove in one day. It pretty much took us over 12 hours, but we were crying with laughter, eating right, and having moments all over Vegas and her dusty yet beautiful cliffs. Surprisingly Vegas has some really cute scenery when you avoid the strip as much as possible.
Vegas really is something, There are sunset mountains, eerie dusty roads, glorious houses, random surprises and more Instagram-worthy viewpoints than you could even imagine. Now with all that being said, Vegas is an assault on the senses. You have neon-lit Eiffel Towers next to the women giving you numbers to call a ‘Lady visitor for the night’, and within a 5 minute drive you have gated communities with a waterfall by the guarded entrance gate because, well, why not let everyone know just how rich you are to have water freely pumping in the desert?
The real masterpiece of all of this was, of course, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), which is a huge, huge outdoor, 3-day nighttime neon-lit rave festival inside the Las Vegas Speedway. I had never been to a festival before, much less ever been to a rave, but Nick had been previously and I always wanted to go, and although he wasn’t really feeling it, he knew how much I was hype for it and soldiered through. As selfish as that may have been, I’m so glad I went because it was an indescribable experience – Having the energy of 1,000 suns at 5am after a consistent 8 hours of raving, with 3 more to go, meeting people all over the world to great music, discovering even better music (remember this, Hardstyle becomes important later on), and living a completely care-free adult life where it seems that actually, nothing really matters. There were all ages, races, sexuality, body types and identities under what is dubbed ‘The Electric Sky’, and everyone was welcome. Love was the main message, and everyone gave it in abundance. I remember thinking to myself in the middle of a DJ Isaac set as the fireworks went off, this is one of the most liberating experiences I’ve ever felt, and it started a massive decent into rave culture that is still with me and going to thrive in 2019.
Of course that wasn’t it, we also went to the Grand Canyon, we saw Celine Dion live, we gambled on the Sex and the City machine, I got myself some Tiffany, I saw where Nick grew up, I met his mother who I’ve adored for the longest time, I met his cat, and some of his friends. We ate amazing food, we saw the Red Rocks, Todrick Hall, Neon Scrapyard, the Hoover Dam and so, so much more. It was an iconic experience from start to end, and I wouldn’t have changed a single thing.
Life after that just kept going up. I met new London friends through Gaymers, Vaneet, Jack and Emily, who are now forever known as ‘The Gays’, and we’ve formed our own dysfunctional sex and the city themed friendship where we meet up to drag each other, and put the world to rights. They all know how much I love them and how much they mean to me, and for the first time in my life, I feel like I have a social circle that I can rely on and fall back on when I need it. All of this was really made concrete at the Loading bar when we were watching the London Spitfires absolutely smash their way through the competition. Since then we’ve been going to more events, terrorising those around us by just how loud and annoying we can be to each other, and generally having a laugh no matter where we go, or what we do. There’s been some rough times for each of us, and we’ve all had each others backs through thick and thin.
Also, to be called out on the live stream for the Overwatch League was pretty cool.
— London Spitfire (@Spitfire) June 9, 2018
Towards the end of 2018, I saw myself move on to a different job, which has already seen me fly out to New York City to work on the new Spiderverse film’s advertising. I’m doing much larger-scale projects, with huge clients that have real weight under their names, and it’s exciting, challenging and definitely a step in the direction that I wanted. The transition was hard, because it was such an unfamiliar territory, but it really proved to me why I do this, and that I’m not half-bad at it either. The main reason I moved to London was work, and I think most people are in the same boat. For a crowded, stuffy, expensive-as-hell city, there’s not much reason to be here aside from work and things to do, so I wanted to make sure with the move here I was achieving dreams, and I’m so proud to be leaving 2018 saying that I’ve done that.
Aside from that, I don’t think I’ve ever been as busy in my life as I have been at the end of 2018. I’ve attended one NFL game, a few dates, many pub sessions, a trip up north to see some very good friends (thanks again for having me Char & Ali!), and SO. MANY. RAVES. Which has even ended with my first ever trip to The Netherlands for Qlimax! Hardstyle and Trance have taken me on an adventure lately to places I’ve never been, like Arnhem, Manchester and even Brixton. The Anjuna-fam is always a fun crowd to be with, it’s always nice to see more and more faces you recognise, and to dance, shuffle or fist-pump the night away with like-minded people.
2019 starts with Hard Bass in Arnhem again, with plans for various Anjuna-events across England, and even Defqon 1 festival in Holland. And who knows, I always end up being roped into more than I remember, but it’s always worth it. 2018 was about setting up a foundation, and 2019 is about expanding on that foundation now. I want to focus more on me this year, and less on the stuff around me. I want to spend more time enjoying myself, getting my surroundings into a state where I’m more comfortable, and I want to make memories with people that I can carry with me to make my 2019 wrap up even better.