2015 – thank you for the music

Summary: A review of the year

…because let’s face it, it’s been a bit crap for lots of us – and I’m not just talking about the general election result either. That, or from the vantage point through the lens my poor mental health, it just looks that way. Yet when I produced my first draft of a video review of 2015, it didn’t seem as bad as it feels in my heart. Have a watch below.



When I look at the stats from my Youtube Channel alone, nearly 30,000 views and over 110,000 minutes of video footage viewed looks like quite an achievement given the localised and niche nature of what I film & upload.


The stat I’m noting with interest is the average view duration, which indicates the sort of length of video I should aim for. 2015 was also unique as a general election year, and also one where the constituencies in my neighbourhood (Cambridge, South Cambridgeshire and South East Cambridgeshire) all changed MPs together for the first time in a generation.

It wasn’t all filming – it was singing too

With the Dowsing Sound Collective we had a big sing-song for the launch of the Cambridge Live Trust

I’m in a tiny bit of the above around 0m53s. We had a number of guest singers with us for that event – a few of whom I watched audition for the gig. The biggest find for me was sixth former Daisy Hill with this number below.

I also got to see the London collectives of the Dowsing Sound Collective – something I hope continues in 2016. (They’re continually on the look out for more singers to get to the size of what we have in Cambridge – see http://thedowsingsoundcollective.com/joining-dowsing/singers-wanted – the energy you get from lots and lots of singers on stage (plus big audiences too) is huge).

At The Strawberry Fair and the Mill Road Winter Fair I got to see a number of musicians, groups and choirs. Ditto at a number of venues across the city including The Portland Arms, The Junction and Relevant Records. A number of themes have emerged, including improving the acoustics at small venues through to encouraging more women into local music given how nearly all of the bands I’ve seen featured on the ‘up and coming’ circuit in Cambridge are all-male groups.

Elections and politics in 2015

All is not well in Cambridge, and the overall general election result doesn’t fill me with confidence that central government policy will allow Cambridge the powers & flexibilities it needs to solve our own problems. That said, Labour never looked like a government in waiting under Ed Miliband – the ejection of Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander being an illustration of this. The Liberal Democrats were always going to take a kicking, but few predicted a Conservative absolute majority – which is what we have.

One area of hope I’ve seen is the collective performance of women MPs in the House of Commons. As a regular parliamentary watcher there have been many debates where speeches by women MPs in terms of content and delivery has been consistently superior to those of their male counterparts. The abuse and threats that too many women in politics have faced though has been one of the most depressing things in 2015. Too many good people are being bullied off the internet and out of democracy. It’s got to stop.

Local democracy in Cambridge

I’ve filmed more than my fair share of it, and it’s also good to see more people taking an interest. There are new faces entering local democracy in Cambridge, and in 2016 we’ll see some of these standing for election for the first time. My intention is to apply what I learnt from the 2015 general election to the local elections in 2016.

The most interesting development for me is the growth of various campaign groups and networks about the future of our city. My biggest concern is that Cambridge’s public organisations do not have the capacity or the vision to make the best of the energy and ideas that are coming up from the grass roots. It’s a theme I’m going to come back to again and again in 2016.

Mental health

It’s not been a great year for me health-wise. The black velvet of depression plus continued mental exhaustion has put paid to various plans and activities I wanted to get going with. The outlook into 2016 doesn’t look great either. Hence being grateful for the support I’ve received from friends and family – which I continue to be dependent on.

Thank you to everyone who has been a positive part of a difficult year. Here’s to a better 2016.

Happy New Year!



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