A 2006 meme:
1. What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before?
Work in Harley Street.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t make resolutions, but do have written goals. This has been a difficult year, but I expect to clear most of my current goals by June 2007.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, but my friend’s 2 year old daughter is going through an especially cute phase.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my uncle John, of a brain tumour.
5. What countries did you visit?
None. Not even Scotland, and that in a way demonstrates the kind of year it’s been.
6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
Two things – a flat close to the Thames, so that my wife won’t have to commute any more, and a new practice closer to Town with more natural light and better furniture.
7. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 21st. My most successful single case up until that time – bringing it home transformed how I felt about my practice and my future. At least it did until the hangover from all of the champagne I consumed that evening kicked in.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
A memorable run of successful cases in October and November. It wasn’t a happy time for me, but clinically I was extremely effective.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I’m not fond of the idea of failure, but if there’s one, it’s not having left Sutton in the autumn.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Only the annual psychotherapist burn-out experience in October/November! Seems to go with the job.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Not a good year for “fun” purchases – our Lovefilm membership is probably the one here.
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Jackie Danicki’s, bravely photographing her attackers in London.
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The UK press’s towards Sven Goran Ericksson.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Into the coffers of the Hereford Arms in Gloucester Road, the White Bear in Hampstead, the Gardener’s Arms in Oxford, the White Horse in Shere, the Eagle Tavern in Cambridge and the Queen’s in South Kensington, whose wisdom in stocking Weston’s Organic Cider wins my pub of the year award.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Weston’s Organic Cider, I’m afraid, but also Borough Market.
16. What song will always remind you of 2006?
The title music to “Sport On Five” – coming from my car stereo in the midst of a glorious sunset at 85mph on the M40 heading for Oxford during the World Cup.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I’d like to have spent more time on the North Downs, and I’d like to have spent more time watching Powell and Pressburger films.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
I’d like not to have wasted my time trying to find a pub I was comfortable with in Sutton.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Driving! Bedfordshire, Herefordshire, Southampton and Hull, with trips back to Sutton for work.
21. Did you fall in love in 2006?
No, but I’m still enjoying 1996’s luck in that department and very happy with it.
22. How many one-night stands?
None. But there have been evenings in Sutton that have been every bit as fruitless and degrading.
23. What was your favourite TV program?
Rick Stein’s French Odyssey, the only series that made me laugh harder than Heston Blumenthal’s. Heston wanted us to laugh, and he also impressed me. But nothing was so diverting as Rick’s in-your-face lack of self-awareness, preaching and believing himself a man of the people. I was sorry to miss him cooking for the Japanese ambassador. It must have been priceless, and I hope they repeat it.
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate’s not really my bag. I still feel contempt for Crooked Timber and its acolytes, but that’s not quite the same thing.
25. What was the best book you read?
I’m expecting it to be Zachary Leader’s Amis, otherwise Martin Amis’ House of Meetings and Gianluca Vialli’s The Italian Job.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I didn’t make any, but my record of the year is Stephen Hough’s Rachmaninov Piano Concertos.
27. What did you want and get?
Another bottle of Weston’s Organic Cider, on several occasions.
28. What did you want and not get?
A flat close to the Thames and a practice nearer to Town.
29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Tricky! I set out to watch 100 this year, courtesy of the excellent Lovefilm. But if I had to pick one, I’d choose Powell and Pressburger’s “I Know Where I’m Going!” I’m going to see some early (1900s) cinema at the NFT tonight, so that might just be overtaken, you never know.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 38, and pubcrawled Hampstead in a desultory sort of way.
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I think following through on plans to move house and practice in the autumn.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
Too long spent in M&S suits and shoes.
33. What kept you sane?
White wine, my wife, and my excellent professional supervisor Juliet Emerson.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
The late Pamela Brown?
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Not really a political issue, but brainless bigoted football posts from certain otherwise intelligent bloggers during the World Cup wound me up considerably.
36. Who did you miss?
Not a person, a place. I didn’t get to Edinburgh this year. I have a date with Ensign Ewart, the Jolly Judge and the Bell in 2007 that I mean to keep.
37. Who was the best new person you met?
The only new people I met in 2007 were my clients, all of whom deserve the title “best”.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006:
I keep relearning this: throw your heart over the bar and your body will follow. Trust your gut, and remember that it’s what you don’t do that you regret later.
And Five Fairly Random Questions:
1. If you could, would you be a movie star or a rock star? Which one, and why?
No, neither. I’m actually in my dream job, and wonder how anyone ever copes who isn’t.
2. Have you ever been in the media (TV, radio, papers)?
In person, in/on the London Times, Sky One and Sky Sports. I’ve consulted for Radio 4, Channel 4 and a variety of magazines, and websites.
3. Do you know anyone who has appeared in a reality TV show?
Not appeared, although I shared a staircase with Marcel Theroux’s brother at Oxford.
4. Have you ever met anyone famous?
Leaving Blackwells in the early ’90s, I shouldered myself and a bag of books through a large and unanticipated crowd of suits to the way out. When eventually I forced a path to the door, it opened – Mohammed Ali stepped through it – then shook my hand to wild cheers and applause. Can’t say I’ve ever felt more surprised.
5. Who would play you in a movie?
Not Roger Livesey, sadly.