Wow, the year went fast.  My first full year living in another country.  It’s not been a bad one all told.  Before we move on too far I want to recap the last year.  Favourites of the year…

Movies:

  • Star Trek
  • Moon
  • Coraline (3D)
  • District 9
  • Inglorious Basterds
  • Avatar

Albums:

  • Bat for Lashes – Two Suns
  • Beirut – Realpeople Holland
  • Bill Callahan – Sometimes I wish I were an eagle
  • Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport
  • Mono – Hymn to the Immortal Wind
  • Tortoise – Beacons of Ancestorship
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!

Songs:

  • My Delirium – Ladyhawke
  • My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille – Beirut
  • Black Hearted Love – PJ Harvey & John Parish
  • Eid Ma Clack Shaw – Bill Callahan
  • I’m Sorry, Baby, But You Can’t Stand In My Light Any More – Bob Mould
  • Stillness Is the Move – Dirty Projectors
  • High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In – Tortoise
  • Carry Me – Malcolm Middleton
  • Soft Shock, Hysteric – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Overall it’s not been that great a year for music, a few good albums, none really classic.  Some good songs though and out of the above I can’t choose a top one musically.  Film wise it would be Moon which was just a wonderful experience (though Star Trek was pretty damn awesome, coming from a non-Trekkie).  And if I had to choose some favourites of the decade..?  Seeing as real thought would have me still choosing come 2020 I’m going to take these off the top of my head (and a quick scan of iTunes)

Movies:

  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Donnie Darko
  • Wall-E
  • Amelie

Albums:

  • Johnny Cash – American III: Solitary Man
  • PJ Harvey – Stories from the city, stories from the sea
  • Elbow – Asleep in the back
  • Ed Harcourt – Here be monsters
  • The Divine Comedy – Regeneration
  • Idlewild – The remote part
  • Spoon – Kill the Moonlight
  • Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
  • Broken Social Scene – You Forgot it in People
  • Explosions in the Sky – The Earth is not a cold dead place
  • Mogwai – Happy songs for happy people
  • Rachel’s – Systems/Layers
  • m83 – Before the dawn heals us
  • Marianne Faithful – Before the poison
  • Mono – Walking Cloud And Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered And The Sun Shined
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Abattoir Blues / Lyre of Orpheus
  • TV on the Radio – Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
  • Gorillaz – Demon Days
  • Gemma Hayes – Night on our side
  • Eluvium – Talk amongst the Trees
  • Kanye West – Late Registration
  • NIN – [With_Teeth]
  • Sufjan Stevens – Come on feel the Illinoise
  • Clint Mansell – The Fountain (OST)
  • Jarvis – Jarvis
  • My Latest Novel – Wolves
  • Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
  • Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha
  • Bat for Lashes – Fur and Gold
  • Battles – Mirrored
  • Dan Deacon – Spiderman of the Rings
  • Feist – The Reminder
  • Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog
  • Low – Drums and Guns
  • Malcolm Middleton – A brighter beat
  • Radiohead – In rainbows
  • Rob Crow – Living well
  • Star of the Lid – And Their Refinement Of The Decline
  • Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
  • Elbow – The seldom seen kid
  • Foals – Antidotes
  • Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing
  • Los Campesinos! – Hold on now youngster
  • Metronomy – Nights out
  • Mogwai – The Hawk is Howling
  • Remember Remember – Remember Remember
  • Santogold – Santogold

Song (if I could just choose one):

  • 2 rights make 1 wrong

That’s it folks.

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So it comes that time when we all compile pointless lists of what we enjoyed throughout the year.  And I’m feeling it this time so make no exception.  So some top lists (in alphabetical order):

Movies:

  • Cloverfield
  • The Dark Knight
  • Iron Man
  • No country for old men
  • Son of Rambow
  • Wall-E

A quiet year for movies on reflection.  If I had to choose only one it would be Wall-E.  As much as The Dark Knight is perfectly accomplished and astonishing in its brilliance and Iron Man is just brilliantly entertaining, Wall-E is just a wonderful combination of stunning visuals, gorgeous sound design and heartbreakingly staged story.  I love it.

Albums:

  • Crystal Castles
  • Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
  • Foals – Antidotes
  • Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing
  • Los Campesinos! – Hold on now, youngster
  • Lykke Li – Youth Novel
  • Metronomy – Nights out
  • Mogwai – The Hawk is Howling
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Did, Lazarus, Dig!
  • Remember Remember
  • Vampire Weekend

Picking a favourite from these is extremely difficult.  Or very easy, as since The Hawk is Howling was released I’ve listened to very little else.  It’s a truly stunning Mogwai album and feels fully formed, like it’s existed for years.  And I love it.  However, choosing Mogwai as my favourite of the year is kind of cheating as they’re my favourite band.  So before that was released it was Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing.  I’ve been listening to this all year and still love it.  Powerful and compelling.  Regardless, all  the above have been on constant repeat since release and are well worth listening to.  Interestingly, my favourite album of last year: Low – Drums and Guns is still on heavy rotation.

Songs:

  • Black Francis – The Seus
  • CSS – Rat is dead (Rage)
  • David Byrne & Brian Eno – Strange overtones
  • Elbow – One day like this; Weather to fly
  • Fleet Foxes – Blue ridge mountains
  • Fuck Buttons – Sweet love for Planet earth
  • Gotye – Hearts a mess
  • Ladyhawke – Paris is burning
  • Lambchop – Sharing a Gibson with Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Lykke Li – I’m good, I’m gone
  • Metronomy – Heartbreaker
  • Mogwai – Scotland’s Shame; Devil Rides
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – More news from nowhere
  • Noah and the Whale – 5 years
  • Pete and the Pirates – Mr Understanding
  • Remember Remember – Fountain Mountain
  • Santogold – You’ll find a way
  • Those Dancing Days – Hitten

Rather an indiepop-tastic selection this year (getting old?) but fuck it.  My favourite?  Hmmmm.  Fountain Mountain probably (the original version rather than the split version that appeared on the album).

Books:

I managed to get through an impressive 53 books this year (not including comics) and out of those my favourites were:

  • We need to talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver
  • The Murder of Roger Akroyd – Agatha Christie
  • I am Legend – Richard Matheson
  • Regeneration – Pat Barker

My favourite was ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ – an incredibly powerful and compelling story.  Plus this was the year I discovered Agatha Christie and more importantly, Poirot.  The full list is at my Goodreads site on the right.

So, that’s it for the lists.  Not a bad year all in all.