2016: A year in bloody review

Hello, readers.

Maybe you’re a friend, maybe you’re a social media contact, maybe you’re a family member, or maybe you’re a coworker who regrets following me online. Either way, you all have something in common – you’re here, and you’re about to read an incredibly sarcastic and at times deeply troubled review of the last 12 months of the life of me, Ash Billinghay MA.

I do this kind of thing every year. I know, I’m not sure why either. But at least some of you seem to enjoy partaking in the joy/success/failure/misery that has befallen me since January, and for those hardy few I will go on, forever summarising the great many things that have happened to me in as short, engaging and, hopefully, entertaining way as possible.

If this is your first time reading this bollocks, please refer to last year’s entry to give you an idea of how it works.

If this is not your first time, or you simply do not care, then please read on and enjoy my journey from happiness to despair and beyond. It’ll be a fucking riot.


What happened in January? What ever happened in that month so long ago that I had wiped it completely from my mind? I bet it was something good, I bet it was juicy, and I bet when I find it on my Facebook timeline (research!) it’ll blow my mind away. “Gee!” I’ll say, as if I’m in an Enid Blyton book, “What jolly good fun that was!”

Oh. Wait. It turns out in January all that happened was I wore the same jumper as my friend. Ah well, we looked fit.



In February I got a whole year older and wondered where all my dreams had gone. Why had I not amounted to anything? Where was my life heading? Did I have any reason to be here anymore? It was a wonderful time to be alive and I think I got a cake. My friend sent me this photo of me on a beach.



I’m sure March was nice. I mean I’m only getting any of the information I need for this from my Facebook page, which is hardly ever updated anymore because I have nothing worth talking about and, if I do, I discuss it with real life friends over alcohol. So sadly Facebook for March is limited, as it may be for many of the months going forward. All that I know definitely happened is that I went to a football match with my dad, which isn’t especially different to anything else that happened this year, it’s just all I seemed to share. Here’s a picture of us looking a) freezing b) happy and c) suspiciously like brothers.



Quite a bit went down in April, apparently. I know for a fact I went out with one of my best friends and got far too drunk for a Thursday. She’s a beautiful wreck of a human being who I treasure very much, but at one point in the night she spilt coke all over KFC’s floor and we had to sneak out without anyone noticing – a very hard task when you’ve had that much gin. At that particular moment I didn’t treasure her at all.

Later in April a very talented illustrator who I follow on Twitter drew this quite wonderful caricature of me. I’d like to make it clear that this photo was taken a very long time ago and I can now handle my drink in a much more sophisticated manner.



I didn’t know it at the time, but May would be the month I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Of course, at the time, how could you know these things will happen? You might meet people, think they’re alright at the time but later go on to realise they’re utter scum who deserve no oxygen, let alone any of your appreciation.
Fortunately this did not happen with these people. They turned out to be some of the greatest people you could ever hope to know, and I’ll cherish them forever like the little diamonds they are.
Here I am looking sternly into one of them’s eyes. I’ve already told her this to her face, but I’ll tell it to the three people still reading this too: She’s an utter gem and I’m lucky to know her.



Ah, summer time. When days get longer, shorts get shorter and armpits get moister. As summer approached I was excited. For the first time in ages I had plans. I was going to show off my newly found arms in a variety of hipster t-shirts, I was going to drink almost every other evening, and I was going to take my then girlfriend to London for a holiday that would surely secure my place in her heart forever. More on that later, fans of other people’s drama.
Almost all of those plans became a reality. I did show off my arms. I did drink. I did indeed go to London. If only I’d known then what I know now, I’d never have spent all that money on treating the devil to a weekend away.

In the below picture you can see me about to enjoy an incredibly large pizza in Camden. Don’t I look happy?



I’m sure you’ve got more interesting things to do than read about my gran’s 80th birthday, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway as that’s all that seemed to happen in the month commonly known as July. My gran is a truly wonderful woman. She always laughs, always smiles and always tells you the same story at least three times before accepting that you already know how it ends. I love her very much, and as her first grandchild I am automatically her favourite.
To celebrate being a whopping 80 years old, a big chunk of my family got together and ate Italian food. It had been ages since I’d seen half of these people, and it may well be ages until I see them again. The last time I saw my cousin, for example, I was babysitting him. Now he’s in the RAF and probably does not require my attention.
Here I am ruining an otherwise nice family photo.



Ah, the month drama fans have been waiting for. I don’t really like airing my dirty laundry, but I do always like turning dark, sad situations into funny stories, so here goes. In August, through a series of highly unexpected events, I found out that the girl I’d been seeing for nearly two years had been seeing someone else the entire time. I found a Facebook profile that she insisted she didn’t have, the profile of her other boyfriend full of pictures of the two of them together, and various photos of him with all the family. Now here’s where it gets clever – I’d never been allowed to meet the family, or any of the friends. I’d been told this was due to anxiety, but it was actually due to some very smart manipulation. Fair play. If you’re going to trick a man into falling for you, drag him along for two years and accept all of the meals he pays for, gifts he buys you, love he gives you and space in his wardrobe he allows for your shoes – that’s definitely the way to do it.

August was a very sad time for me. August nearly broke my heart. But now, several months later, I can only stand and applaud at the incredible trickery that went into such a near perfect deception. One day I’ll dedicate the book to you for a laugh.

The below also happened in August. This was much more fun.



September was when the red wine stain on my kitchen wall happened. That was about it. I mean, I could go into great detail about how the stain got there, how the cork broke the bottle because I didn’t own a corkscrew, and how wine was also spilt on my table, floor and clothes, but I doubt it would be that interesting. Instead I’ll leave you with this short poem about wine and the woes it can bring. Enjoy.

Red or white, bottle or glass,
Wine can help the sad times pass.
Tip it up, pour it down,
Wine will surely ease your frown.
Sadly though, with no corkscrew,
That wine will go all over you.
Never mind, drink away,
Your security deposit will save the day.


The role I was born to play – the leather jacket wearing prick in an American teenage coming-of-age film.


I also ate some bugs in October. It was a work thing, and when it comes to being the centre of attention I’m always the first to raise my hand. So when volunteers were required to eat bugs for charity in front of everyone else in the office, how could I possibly say no? I devoured meal worms, crickets and one big ass water beetle. I felt fine until the last one, which tasted like death itself had been released inside my mouth and was now working its way through my organs. Was it worth it for a few laughs and a lot of people looking at me? Hell yes it was.



All I can recall about November is that new episodes of hipster favourite Gilmore Girls were released on Netflix. It’s sad that, isn’t it? I wish more had happened that I could tell you about. I wish this paragraph would go on to be greater than a small review of a fast talking, polo neck wearing American comedy/drama, but it won’t be. Brace yourselves.

I liked the new Gilmore Girls. It wasn’t as good as I’d remembered it being, but it was ok.

There, review – and November – over.


Finally, the end is here. The end of a long, painful, at times traumatic 12 months of shit, slogging, disappointment and anger all compressed and neatly packaged inside the head of a sarcastic, ambitious copywriter who keeps ramming his head into the wall of the future without ever seeming to make a mark on it. What did that last sentence even mean? Maybe that kind of shit is why I’m getting nowhere. Anyway, December happened. Christmas came. Exciting things presented themselves in unexpected ways. I got bought a lovely bottle of bourbon.

Was that a good enough year in review for you? Was last year’s better? Will next year’s be better still? Only fate will decide.