It is that time of the year, the last column of the year, where I get to be more than a little bit self-indulgent with what I write. Sure, it can be argued every single one of these columns is an exercise in self-indulgence but in the spirit of the approaching holiday season I shall leave such trifling arguments behind and instead focus on the fun bit of acknowledging the good things, places and people of 2013.
If I had actual awards to give out I would but I don't, so a heartfelt but passing mention in Canvas magazine will have to suffice.
Going to actual concerts to see actual musicians perform is one of my favourite things to do and my Concert of the Year Award goes to Don McGlashan and Dave Dobbyn for sitting down in a church in Parnell and strumming many a fine tune. Two fine songwriters in fine voice makes for a fine night out. Top work there, you Double D's, and many thanks from over here in the cheap seats.
Theatre is also a fine thing to do of a night out and if I had more money, time and energy I would have gone to a lot more theatre than I actually did, especially if all the shows were as good as Midsummer at Q Theatre. Drama, laughter, songs, Scottish accents, dodgy facial hair and interesting things to learn about Edinburgh - who can possibly ask for anything more from a night out with friends?
Eating is another excellent thing to do, especially when you're not the one having to do the cooking or the dishes afterwards. Luckily this is why we have things called restaurants, and a restaurant the Beloved, the whanau and I have become quite enamoured of is a place called the Late Night Diner. Simple, comforting food done in a no-fuss way - what is not to like about that?
Moving on to beverages, my Tea of the Year goes to Madame Flavour for their Grey de Luxe. I don't actually drink tea but I do make heaps of cups of it for my Beloved, so I do consider myself something of an expert in the tea department. Actually I'm a complete ignoramus when it comes to tea but I do love how on the Madame Flavour box what the rest of the world knows as a "teabag" is, to them, a "sensual infuser pod". Genius reinvention of language and, according to the Beloved, the actual sensually infused gumboot isn't bad either.
As I grow older so, too, grows the fear that I might start to smell bad. I don't know why this is the case, it just is. Luckily I have Acqua di Parma to smell nice for me. Best Fragrance of the Year; manly but not overpoweringly manly, as well as being sophisticated in a way that cannot be fully understood by a simpleton such as myself. Yummy.
JB Hi-Fi has swept into this country like a yellow and black waspy thing, driving many other entertainment retailers out of the market. While I admire JB's prices, I do have to say that their customer service is, to say the least, somewhat haphazard. There is, however, a bloke at their Sylvia Park store, I think his name is Marcus, who gets my Retail Salesperson of the Year award for doing all the things right that a retail salesperson should do - being knowledgeable, helpful and charming. Good work Marcus! Sylvia Park mall also gets my award for Best Parking at a Shopping Mall, for having heaps and heaps of carparks.
I'm running out of space and time now and there are still so many things I would like to acknowledge and/or thank for making 2013 just that little bit more awesome: the entire island of Rarotonga for their excellent hospitality; my new Ping golf clubs for attempting to make me play better than I actually do; Graeme Simsion for writing his novel, The Rosie Project; Civilization V for continuing to suck many productive hours out of my life; the fine folk at Point Wines in Northcote for bringing excellent wine across the bridge and to my very doorstep; and, of course, this lovely woman I know called Tania, for simply being magnificent at pretty much everything.
Finally, some personal thanks to all the Blue Roses and Gods and Goddesses Almighty out there - you know who you are. We did some damn fine work and gave it a good nudge before being defeated by a lower power. Damn.
Right, that's enough self-indulgent nonsense for this year. Thanks to anyone and everyone who ever read this column this year and thought nice thoughts. Onward we go, to 2014 or, as I have already started to think of it, The Year of the Bruce.