It's a misnomer that the older you get, the quicker the years seems to pass. Some years seem to go on forever simply as a consequence of what happens during them while others leap past like a gazelle with its arse on fire.
2016, for me, was a very full year. Each month seemed fully loaded with events, both good and tragic, and I confess to a sense of exhaustion as it comes to a close.
On a professional level, I look back and feel that I have nothing to complain about. I've performed at so many new venues in so many new towns and cities and I look forward to continuing these working relationships into 2017 and beyond. Big thanks to my wife and my oldest cousin (the matriarch of the family) for finding so many of these new places for me.
It was my wife who found me a new agent early in the year so, again, much appreciation for that, Mrs Livesey. I'd all-but given up on agents but the new team who represent me have proven to be a stellar group of people who've wasted no time time in finding me some great bookings. Thank you, Jeremy and Chloe.
Thank you to everyone who has had the good taste and goodwill to book me for work this past year. You have helped keep a roof over my family's head and put food on our table and for that I am grateful.
Professional thanks to Yamaha, Peavey, Tascam, Shure, Maplin, Dawsons, Karaoke Version and London Arrangements, without whom I would just be a man, standing on a stage, with no way of making myself heard.
Indirect thanks must go to every driver who has overtaken me or cut me up on the motorway in a rush to get home from their tedious jobs. It must be awful to be stuck in a job you hate so much that you're prepared to risk your own life and that of other motorists because you're in such a desperate rush to get home. So thank you for unwittingly reminding me of how wonderful it is to make a living from doing something you love.
Personally, it's been an up and down year and there is the sense that, going into 2017, some of us are not entirely out of the woods yet. So, eternal thanks to my family, both immediate and extended, for your love and support. You have all helped keep sanity at bay these past twelve months.
Outside of work and family, I have scant time for anything else. Longstanding friendships have perhaps been the biggest casualty of this but, having realised that when all you have in common with someone is a barely remembered past, it's hardly the basis upon which to build a future. So, I go into 2017 leaving some people behind and I'm quite sanguine about that - I wish them all well in their respective lives.
That said, I have vowed to be a better friend to my "best man" in 2017 and I intend to stick to that intent.
In the slivers of time between work and family, I continue to find pleasure in the music of my heroes (some of whom have been icons for a long time) and so I give praise to Phil Collins, Genesis, Yes, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, King Crimson, The Rolling Stones, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Alice Cooper, all of whose tunes have kept me going whether on the road between gigs or in the twilight hours when I'm at home and everyone else is asleep.
In closing, I hope that 2016 has been kind to you and that 2017 proves to be a blessed year for you and yours.