While I obviously have much to be grateful for compared to others, it’s been a year of frustrating, halting progress, with so much that I otherwise wanted to do curtailed or cancelled. So in the last few hours of (let’s hope) the worst year any of us ever live through, it’s worth pulling out some of the decisions and achievements that made this year a bit brighter.

This is the one I have, but mine’s currently in the bike repair shop so pretend I have a white room.

#1 — I bought an electric bike

My aversion to car ownership is uncertain in origin but pretty strongly held. I live in a good city for public transport infrastructure, with regular trains to most places I might want to…

I’ve never held down a full-time job for more than a few months, and most of my professional life has been made up of freelance work, usually augmented with enough part-time work to cover my rent and bills in case Twitter mistakes me for a racist or all my clients are hit by the same asteroid.

The ability to find a way to live comfortably without doing a 9–5 job is one of the aspects of my life I’m proudest of, but the enforced isolation of the last few months has forced me to interrogate why I work this way.

There’s a lot in a political party logo. Lots of them are terrible of course, but usually there’s a lot of research and expense involved in summing up a party’s philosophy, history and desired public image in a mark that will have to last years if not decades.

Canada is a particularly strong source of examples for an article like this, because each of its provincial parties has its own logo — sometimes these are minimally changed tweaks on the national brand, but often they’re quite radically different. Starting from the bottom, let’s work up to the best of them.

Because the first two games were pretty popular, I imagine.

I don’t think any of us would be millennials if we weren’t haunted by our past. But for Tyler and Alyson Ronan, the question of how to remember and deal with the past is a much more pressing issue.

Tell Me Why is in essence the third Life is Strange game, taking a visual style, tone of writing and gameplay elements from the first two series even if it doesn’t borrow the name. …

They say history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. From The Outer Worlds’ first rhyme — “You’ve tried the best, now try the rest” — it’s couplets all the way down. The game is the work of Obsidian, with many of the surprisingly vast development team hailing from the old Fallout games, plus 2010’s New Vegas, which leaves its mark most noticeably on the gameplay, partner system and script, but there are other evident influences glued onto each stanza, from a Bioshock Infinite-esque Gilded Age aesthetic to literary references scattered throughout the mission names.

None of which is to…

I take my vacations the way I take my coffee — large and extravagant. This is partly a result of my aversion to the heat which tends to accompany popular cheap holiday destinations, which marries nicely with my status as a childless single, meaning I can afford to travel outside the school holidays and go further for the money.

The last seventeen weeks in lockdown have taught me something else about my choices, though, which is how reliant I am on routine. …

Before the weighted blanket of enforced isolation came down around our heads, I was being weighed up to participate in a student media conference where I was due to speak to young journalists about the trials and tribulations of going freelance. …

I won’t be alone in being a millennial who has trouble confronting my past self. Unlike past generations we don’t have the luxury of burning our diaries in the dead of night, because so much of it is pasted online for the world to see. So it’s interesting occasionally to go back to the very beginning, and to experience the cultural artefacts that influenced me before the internet extended its corrupting tentacles.

Emulation is a wonderful thing, and having the entire library of a console at your fingertips is a temptation it’s hard to ignore. It was in this spirit…

The decision to buy a tiny wee laptop for travel use during a nationwide lockdown might seem at first glance like a curious one. My excuse is that a) it was on offer, and b) my laptop is now plugged into so many auxiliary devices — external monitor, hard drive, microphone, cooling mat — that it’s basically immobile on my desk, so I needed something which I can use YouTube on while I do the washing up.

The first thing that strikes you about the Pocket is how well appointed it is for such a small, sleek unit. Lesser manufacturers…

Our bodies were ready.

Last week a tweet did the rounds claiming that the 2000s was a “cultural void” without a unified cultural stereotype along the lines of previous decades.

Loathe as I am to wade into online drama, we’re all stuck at home so for now at least, there’s not much better to do. Leaving aside the premise of the question (was there really a single culture in those preceding decades? Maybe more so than now, but that’s questionable) it’s worth reflecting on the one sphere of culture which made huge strides in the 2000s — video games. …

Robin Wilde

Freelance writer and graphic designer. Once worked in politics.

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