2023, a Year in Review

My annual round-up of the year just gone (you can read the previous year’s reports here). This year I was interested to see how the fact that now I am pretty much fully retired would have had an impact on some of these stats. For a start, I feel that I have listened to less music and audio books but walked more – do the stats bear that out?

Unfortunately, I have discovered very recently that the platform that I had been using to aggregate these stats had stopped working a while back, maybe even in 2022. Where possible I have tried to reconstruct the information from the raw sources rather than an aggregator. Therefore, I cannot be 100% certain that the changes detailed are due a change in circumstances or missing data.

As ever data for this report has as ever been taken from several sources including Exist, last.fm, Audible, Swarm, RescueTime, Fitness Stats and a couple of spreadsheets that I keep. And, as I outlined above, the phrase “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” very much applies here.


2022 vs 2023

In an effort to get accurate data I have moved to an app called Fitness Stats which allows me to see data from Apple Health over different time periods and even compare two periods. This has allowed me to not only get accurate figures but also to properly compare my activities between 2022 and 2023 (see above). It is clear looking at the above that the stats for 2022 were wildly inaccurate 😢.

The biggest take away for me from the above is that there is really very little difference in the stats between the two years. This conclusively shows to me that retirement has had little or no impact on the number of steps walked, calories burnt etc. Which I find absolutely fascinating and quite unexpected particularly as we started walking the Thames Path this year.

With data going back over a number of years from the same source I can now plot the number of steps taken over the last nine years. I have no idea what I did to walk so much in 2016 but it is a bit of an outlier with the rest of the data.


Since I first started recording the books that I’ve read in 1999 I have got through some 480 of them. And, for the first time since 2011 I’ve read more physical books than ebooks which came as a bit of a surprise. It turns out that this is simply becuase I read a series of books called WIRED Guides on topics such as climate change, crypto currency and the future of medicine. These pocket sized books seem to have pushed me over the edge.

I still find that books that I want to read are being released at a rate faster than I can ever consue them and there are a number of books that I would love to go back and read again. I’m sat here writing this with the books shelves to my left and I can see the Iain Banks books I’d love to reread next to ones by other authors I have waiting to be read for the first time. It’s a conundrum.

The full list of books I read can be found here.


My music listening appears to have dropped off a cliff over the last year but, actually, this is as much to do with listening on formats that cannot be scrobbled such as vinyl and Apple Music as much as anything else. If time permits I actually intend to create a vinyl scrobbler from a Raspberry Pi Zero this year which should help.

You can see what I am playing and more listening stats over at last.fm.


Another reason that I have been down on the music listening is because I have increased the number of podcasts that I have been listening to. I am a avid listener of The Rest is Politics, The Rest is Money and The Rest is Entertainment. Where I would have previously listened to music or, perhaps, an audio book I am now very much into podcasts. This has clearly had an impact.

These are the pods that have kept me entertained in 2023:

The Rest Is Politics91
The Race F1 Podcast24
The Corona Diaries23
The Album Years14
The Rest Is Money12
The Rest Is Entertainment5
Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 43

As usual I saw a number of gigs in 2023 and by far the most diapointing was Peter Gabriel and you can read why here:

The best though was also a great surprise as I had a cracking evening in the company of Toyah and Robert Fripp:


I love to sit down of an evening and watch a film. Unfortunately, my wife is not so keen and would much rather read a book and finds my watching a film distracting. Nevertheless, I still managed to squeeze in 55 films at home out of the total of 75.

The majority (26) were on what my records call “DVD” which is because they were (mostly) bought from charity shops as DVDs, then ripped and added to Plex. If I went out to see a film it would be to the excellent Reading Biscuit Factory where I saw 17 films.

I’ve also been getting into the films of Wes Anderson watching Isle of Dogs, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Darjeeling Limited and Asteroid City cumulating in a visit to the Accidently Wes Anderson Exhibition in London.

The full list of films I’ve been watching can be found here.


To be honest I am not sure that I really want to be productive any more, certainly not in the way that RescueTime measures it. Therefore, I have decided to retire this section as my writing it just isn’t productive.

I am going to include my Remember The Milk stats one last time and below that a graph showing how my task completion rate has changed over the years.


What a mess social media is these days. Twitter, sorry X, now seems to be some sort of gateway to Onlyfans (see below) and is populated by people whose opinions make my blood boil. Mastodon has nobody on it and Bluesky is fine but will ultimately turn into what Twitter, sorry X, has become. Of course, the answer should be to come off social media entirely but I am addicted and having great difficulty weaning myself off it.

Best Of

Time for the awards for 2023.

My favourite book of the year was from Robert Harris – Act of Oblivion. Harris is one of a small number of authors that I will go out of my way to read. The others being Martin Cruiz Smith and Ken Follett who, I admit, are all pretty similar.

My top pick music wise this year would be For All Our Days That Tear The Heart by Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler which is just sublime although I don’t think that it was actualy released in 2023.

As for films what did I enjoy and would recommend? Well, in no particular order: Anatomy of a Fall, Dream Scenario, The Creator, Squaring the Circle (The Story of Hipgnosis), Oppenheimer, Tetris and The Whale. There were plenty of disapointments too: Ferrari, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and Shazam! Fury Of The Gods immediately spring to mind.

So that’s it for another year. Let’s hope the recording of my stats is smoother in 2024!

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