everything I made in 2023
The YouTube algo is pushing lots of ‘everything I crocheted this year’ videos at me, and I was going to make an ‘everything I wrote this year’ video but I’m being nice to myself and putting it all in a list because filming-editing-transcribing-marketing is actually too much work for the last 2 weeks in December.
✅ I wrote a book. The hard thing is that the book had three lives. It was 80K words at one point. Then it was 103, and finally 67. Those 67K were hidden away in the 103, and the 80, but holy moly, feels like three separate books were written and the fact I achieved anything beyond that does not make sense to me. Book comes out next Autumn!!!!!
✅ I began the year by making a video of the residency we went on in December to start writing the book. And thus began the half hour episodes of GDLPTV I produced that nobody in the world had asked for (my new years resolution was to film more shit and I very much achieved that and loved it)
✅ I wrote a review of [God of War Ragnarök])(https://thewhitepube.co.uk/games/ragnarok/) that I wasn’t happy with. It really made me reconsider the format of a review all over again, like I once had in 2015 when The White Pube began.
✅ So I got in a huff and made another video going on a wander around some of Liverpool’s galleries:
✅ In February, I review Mauro C. Martinez’s exhibition at Unit Gallery and I honestly felt like, yeah, that’s how I want to write my reviews from now on – with a new literary edge that was obviously coming into my criticism as a result of The Book.
✅ It was impossible to write weekly reviews whilst also juggling the book’s 80 and 103 and 67 thousand individual words, so I made another video on /the week in the life of a critic/
This video is when I got my best critique of the year:
✅ By March, I was feeling bad about not publishing as many reviews but I was already going mad thanks to the book-writing process and I could barely write a blog post nevermind a full on review. So I made shit like this instead:
✅ I went to Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival and did my review in video form:
🆘 And then shit hit the fan and GDLPTV was over. On March 14, the day I was due to fly back to Cobh, Ireland for a second stint of our writing residency at Sirius Arts Centre, I woke up with Covid Round 2. This massively impacted the rest of the year, and not just my output but what was going on inside my body. Tests would later reveal this second bout of Covid made my heart twice as bad as it already was, so yeah, shit.
✅ In April, I managed a review of The Northern Boys. I got a message recently from someone asking if I knew that my review was quoted on The Northern Boys' wikipedia page. Made me really happy, look:
✅ In June, I reviewed Come Dine With Me. I was stuck inside! What else was I gonna do!
✅ By July, I’d fully lost the plot and I reviewed The Bingo. But good for me for losing the plot because it’s my favourite text of the year.
✅ I also thought, yeah, maybe I should bringe this narrative criticism back around and apply to it to something art-related. That’s when I wrote a story about visiting Doodle House (I haven’t actually been).
✅ August was a bit of a side-quest. I wrote something for the best publication in the world, Vittles, about my health.
✅ I kinda used this Vittles moment to tell people about another thing I’d made: People of the Salt, a game on Downpour that isn’t meant to be fun, but is actually just an externalisation of my brain I can use to help myself feel better when chronic illness makes me feel so bad I can’t even think.
✅ Side-quests continued in September, when I released a new, extended version of my Chaotic Nightclub Photos review with Rough Trade Books. I actually rewrote this in 2022 but publishing takes time. Felt nice to have one in the barrel though; in September, we’d just submitted the 103K draft of the book and I was feeling Terrible.
✅ In October, I returned to the big screen (Youtube). We had somehow judged the John Moores Painting Prize over the summer. Can I just take this moment to say, I don’t know how I have done any of these things. I’m not trying to be coy or modest. My health on a day-to-day basis is a rollercoaster and I think I must be continuing out of SPITE. I had some therapy in the last few months of the year and the therapist said she thinks I have a trait of ‘doing what I want to do even if it’s not the best thing for me’ and she’s right. She said that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I think she’s right about that too. It is GREAT to be a spiteful creative practitioner who makes these weird reviews and writes a weird book and makes weird youtube videos that go into too much detail about my own finances EVEN THOUGH I am in call-in-sick levels of pain and fatigue, and that’s just my new baseline. I worry sometimes – very few times tbh – that people might not take my shit health seriously because I am so productive. So insistent. The reality of the situation is I barely go anywhere or see anyone and I don’t have kids and the house could be tidier but I just use the energy I do have on Making because that’s all that matters. It’s like the people who make the paintings in the video below; it’s much easier to /Not/ make anything at all because the world makes it very difficult for people to create, but they find a way, and so do I (and it’s more interesting to think about that insistence over the people who live privileged lives with all the health and time and money in the world):
✅ ok NOVEMBER, nearly there, I wrote The Maggot Man. The WEIRDESt text of the year. The 2nd best after the Bingo review. It’s about a guy on Tiktok who is fucking annoying. I write it from his perspective. Really funny of me and I am just thinking about who I give this treatment to next. I don’t know if this is obvious but I am really fascinated in the liberties of men and their Doodle Houses and their cum sculptures and I love undermining their art world status with my criticism. It really entertains me.
✅✅✅✅✅ In December, we submitted the 67K version of the book and we think that’s it and if our publishers ask for a rewrite in the new year I hope I have the strength.
✅ I also started a new column for Elephant Magazine which is great news for my finances. The column is called Culture at Home. Given my disability, I have had to re-focus my writing on culture at home rather than the culture in galleries. So, the first column is on knitting and Lærke Bagger’s book Close Knit :)
My hopes for 2024 include a return to regular reviews on this website and more videos somehow. I want to write about games again. We have a 2 book deal so we need to write the second one, but the format for that is a lot more straightforward so I’m not scared. I want to return to regular programming here because I love writing the weird quick shit, I think it hurts out Patreon if we don’t, and the pace of that writing is really good exercise for my writing. My mental health took a beating this year because of getting so much sicker, but alsoooo because working on 1 project ALL year was maddening. The thing I have always loved most about doing The White Pube is that every day is different. There were sooo many days this year that were just book, book, book, and it made me feel sick! I hope next year is more restful. I hope I get to go on holiday??? I hope I am well enough to see my friends more. I hope people buy the book and I make more money than I did this year!!!! D: okay goodbye good luck to us all
UPDATE: dec 21 late contender i just posted this text on the Discontented Substack called ‘should more artists rage bait online?'](https://discontented.substack.com/p/003-the-white-pube-should-more-artists)