New Year’s resolutions 2014: mid-period review

I announced four New Year’s resolutions for 2014 on this blog at the start of the year. Now we’ve reached the halfway point of the year, I thought I’d review how they’re going.

1. Read and see six Shakespeare plays.

Status: on track.

I’ve read King Lear and seen Sam Mendes and Simon Russell Beale’s production for the National Theatre, which was enjoyably visceral, although I found Beale’s mumbled, disjointed delivery of Lear’s lines quite difficult to follow.

I’ve read Twelfth Night, and watched the 1996 film version and a production at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre, both of which are/were very amusing.

And I’ve read Much Ado About Nothing, and (as well as Joss Whedon’s 2012 film version) watched it performed at Shakespeare’s Globe. It’s inevitable that, while the text is humorous enough, a good performance will be even funnier, but what amazed me most about the Globe’s version was the emotional intensity they achieved with the story. There were moments when the entire audience were holding their breaths in hushed anticipation; others when everyone un-self-consciously whooped with joy. Much Ado has firmly lodged itself as one of my favourite Shakespeare plays.

So, with three plays out of six done, I’m well on course for completion of Resolution 1. I’m currently reading The Merchant of Venice and intending to see it in a few weeks at the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival.

2. Avoid using Amazon, and support independent book and music shops.

Status: fairly good.

So far this year, I’ve only ordered three things, all books, from Amazon: one that I needed urgently and couldn’t find in any local bookshop, one that apparently was only available through Amazon and couldn’t be ordered in by any other shop, and one secondhand book through Amazon Marketplace, which I exempted from the resolution from the beginning.

This is definitely a big improvement over my previous behaviour. In the first half of 2013, for example, I ordered 24 things from Amazon, including items like stationery and batteries – a habit I was starting to fall into purely for convenience.

Parallel to the boycott, I’ve supported local bookshops, such as EJ Morton in Didsbury, which I was going to adopt as my default book supplier until I moved away from Manchester. I’m looking forward to exploring the independent bookshops of London in the coming months.

3. Repair my ZX Spectrum and complete The Lords of Midnight.

Status: incomplete.

I’ve achieved nothing towards this resolution yet, due to the focus of efforts on job hunting. Now I’m employed and settled, this has shot back up my priority list.

4. Avoid InCaps.

Status: fairly good.

While job hunting, I haven’t been able to avoid referring to Linkedin a lot, and in order to appear professional and rigorously attentive to detail (and not wanting to repeat Cory Doctorow’s rant in every piece of correspondence), I’ve tended to follow their branding style of ‘LinkedIn’.

However, I’ve been able to avoid incaps otherwise, sticking it to the likes of Ebay and Paypal and referring to my ‘Iphone’ instead of my ‘iPhone’.

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