The Miscellaneous Goings On Of Tom - 🎅❄️Yule Edition 2020 🎄🍻
And So Another Year Has Come And Gone...(My 2020 In Review)
The home stretch is in our sights my friends! (although the doom saloon news rooms and incompetent will keep pedalling this 2020 hell ride into 2021 and real normality will remain distant memory). It has been a very strange, unprecedented, tough, exhausting, challenging etc. year for all of us, but if we all look into ourselves we can take away some very optimistic positives from the situation that we find ourselves in. This was a year where we really learnt what we wanted, what entertained us and what our own personal needs were. From baking, reading, language learning to walking more, creating music (art/literature) and generally exploring what makes us tick. One thing I have observed on this yo-yoing nightmare is that a lot of people I know have finally had the chance to really invest in themselves, asked themselves those difficult questions and grown into the person they always wanted to be. As I stated in this week's Weekly Listening List, I am leaving 2020 in a better place than when I started it. Which for me personally, is a crazy and unbelievable statement to be making. Those who have witnessed my incredible journey this year, battling years of mental health issues, emotional weight and mental self-torture, have seen me become the man I always wanted to be in my head. Recognising that I had a problem this year was the single handed, best thing to happen to me. I have alluded to it all through the last six months, and remained open because I have quite literally found myself again, found ways to cope and continually evolved. I'd be lying if I said it was all sunshine and rainbows, I still have crushing days where I lose ground in these mini battles but the most important part is that they are now fewer in number. For the first time in my life I will begin to set out a list of New Year's Objectives (I refuse to call them resolutions because I'm not resolving anything, I want to achieve something), I cannot even begin to describe how great it feels to be looking forwards. Even through the tumults, crippling lows and illustrious highs, I have surprised myself with my resilience and determination to my cause of bettering myself. One thing that developed along with me is my altruistic nature, and how I want to do more to help and inspire people, something I definitely want to continue and harness into 2021 and beyond. Whilst it has absolutely sucked to not see my whole group of friends all at once with a few beers, I remain optimistic that next year we have an overdue celebration of friendship. Through video calls and messaging we have adapted and overcome whilst offering support for one another. I realise that I am insanely lucky to have this, and eternally grateful. Whilst my 2020 review is slim on actual events, what I take pride in taking away from it is the power of the human mind, the rare gift of true friendship and the true meaning and growing understanding of self-love.
Outside of personal development, from a musical standpoint I have again surprised myself at the ground that I have made up and the achievements that came with it along the way. It has been phenomenal to have the time to sit and delve deep into music writing, and from it spawned probably my best project to date Deep Rooted Black Magick started off as a few seeds comprising of doom inspired riffs, it germinated and then illustriously blossomed into Witchwood Wizard & The Psychic Yeti! My first foray into that genre and I think it went phenomenally, working with Sabrina (vocals) to deliver something so genuine and organic felt so natural. The response we received was truly magical and befitting of the project really, getting played on Hard Rock Hell radio so early on in our venture was a personal highlight. Hopefully soon we can start getting something together to start performing live, pandemic permitting of course, as we are itching for you to hear these songs live. Whilst it was hard to put Vanaheimr on hold this year, it was very much needed as I became burnt out with the project, this hasn't stopped me banging ideas and concepts around though and hopefully 2021 reveals a new era of Vanaheimr for me and you all as well. The writing portion of this year has been nothing short of amazing, with the blog reaching big hit totals and me becoming a part of the Noizze team, I feel like I am going from strength to strength and it has all been made possible by you guys! Your support has motivated me to keep going and I whole heartedly love writing about music, so much so I want it to be my career. Gaining a new and valuable contact in the form of Markus Eck at METALMESSAGE has been awesome too, his positivity and passion for underground music is second to none. In turn that has continually inspired me and he's sent me some solid bands to get my teeth into, my favourite so far being Varus, who I reviewed earlier in the year. I finally feel like I am slowly starting to make headway in this industry and it makes me so happy, igniting an even stronger sense of ambition and determination.
This year has also been a year in which I explored my spirituality. Whilst I have always been an advocate of the old ways, they never really manifested for me until this year. I have been expanding my own min-library and reading about the Anglo-Saxons, Norse and Celtic peoples and culture through their stories/sagas alongside historical books, has cemented this belief in me. I believe animism is the correct term, just walking round the woods and fields gave me an inner peace which I haven't known for a while. I've even embraced Nordic Yule traditions and bought Yule Goats (you can see my post on Yule Goats on Wandering Through The Ages, here), even so this is still an immensely personal journey I am undertaking so I shan't say any more. However, leading on from the reading, it has allowed me to indulge my passion for history and storytelling, nothing in the modern era (bar Lord Of The Rings) quite matches up to those Icelandic sagas in my mind for drama and intrigue. Which leads me on to teaming up with my cousin Andrea and her partner Jordan, to set up the Wandering Through The Ages blog, whilst still in it's infancy it is going to be an awesome way to indulge my history passion and improve my article writing. Alongside this I have taken up learning my German again with bits of Nordic and Celtic languages thrown in, this has helped me fully immerse in the world that I am studying. So, remaining optimistic, there should be some big things happening with that next year!
Overall, this Yule I have a lot to celebrate really, but it doesn't feel like I should be when there is so much trouble and strife going on in the world. However, I bought myself some beers and damn right I am going to kickback and switch off. It is important, if we can, to just let ourselves do nothing as we often come back well rested and ready to fight the next challenge. I will always hold in my heart and thoughts those who won't be with their loved ones during this time of year, 2020 has sucked but I can't imagine it ending without me being with my family. Honestly, I want 2021 to be a better year but we shall have to see. Whilst reflection is a powerful tool, learning from it is the best bit and I hope I can continue my journey into 2021 in full stride.
Now, I want to issue a massive thank you to all the people that have stood by me through this hell year, because without you guys, I don't think all this would have been possible; (in no particular order), Mum, Dad, Mikey, Oskar, Nana, Jack, Nana, and Uncle Mark. The West Country Raiding Party; Owen, Iain, Mike, and my other two conspirators in the "Axe-Meteers" Saxon and Sabrina. Lewis, my brother from another mother and Counteney. Mark, as much as we revel in our unfortunate BIMM experiences, you're definitely an old head on young shoulders. Tori "El Capitano", Jack, thank you for showing understanding and guiding me through this confusing work world. Words cannot describe how thankful, grateful and blessed I am to have you in my life. A special thank you to Jenn, for helping me realise who I am again.
This has been a bit of an essay, in which I apologise for! Now, reflections aside, lets have a bloody good Yule and take the fight to 2021! Sköl! 🍻
What I'm Listening To At This Very Moment
Pretty new to Spiritbox but this song hits so hard emotionally but I absolutely love it! Definitely fallen in love with Courtney LaPlante's voice. Something so ethereal about the song, whilst it explores loss, and with Yule being a particularly poignant time for me, it's pretty special.
What I've Been Jamming To This Week
I gave in and busted out the traditional Christmas Carols, but mostly it's been metal unsurprisingly. The cold and dark night walks to work have been perfect fro listening to black metal and soaking in the atmosphere. One perfect album is The Dark Hereafter by Winterfylleth, Green Cathedral is a thing of beauty!