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.

It’s been a sparse month or so aside from Bond but there are a few things coming over the horizon that are getting me excited.

I wouldn’t class myself as a Trekkie; I’m a geek in many ways over many things but Star Trek has never been a huge one.  I mean I enjoyed Next Generation and I was quite partial to Voyager but only if they happened to be on when I sat down with nothing to do.  I’ve never really seen the orginal series aside from a few episodes (and I think nearly everyone has seen the Tribbles episode, fan or not).  But the new trailer that came out a week back for the new film looks stunning.  It’s made me really quite excited to see what they’re done and (much to K’s amusment) did make me spend more than a few hours on Wikipedia reading about Star Trek continuity.

And today the first proper trailer for the new Friday the 13th movie was released.  To me that is a very cool thing.  Regardless of their actual artistic value I love the Friday 13th movies.  I have them all (aside from Jason goes to Hell which I couldn’t find) and they sit side by side with my complete Nightmare on Elm Street collection and the orginal Hallowe’en (one of my old time top 10 movies and a classic of the genre).  F13th was all about schlock horror, amazing deaths and good old fun.  The new film is a reboot and is taking elements from the original 3 movies.  It looks awesome, visceral, fun and most of all scary.  Plus the trailer is a wonderful homage to the ‘death count’ trailers for the orginal movies.  

Also about to hit screens is the Day the Earth Stood Still remake which intially never really got me but has slowly got me interested.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button looks like it’s going to be well worth seeing and despite my feelings about Sin City and the like, I’m still interested in seeing The Spirit.

Bring on the popcorn.

Ah nights.  Barely have I started before going back onto nights.  Still, I quite like the solitary, dark nature of a week of nights.  I was awake from 9 to 18.30 which was pretty stupid – I’m going to be suffering for that soon.  Plus, daytime sleeping’s going to be tough as it’s so damn hot.  May have to sleep downstairs on our sofa bed as I can turn the AC on.  And tonight there’s no coordinator meaning I can be bleeped by anyone, for anything.  Potentially bad.

Got my first pay cheque this week which was nice and necessary.  I now owe K a huge amount of money so will be her bitch for the next month or two until that’s paid off.  It probably would have just been simpler to transfer my English money here but then if I always did the simpler option I’d have nothing to keep me occupied.

So we also saw Four Holidays the other night.  Now before you say anything, K got free tickets from one of the local radio stations.  Someone rang her to say they had got them so she should ring, which she did, only to be told by the DJ you had to ring when a certain song was playing.  Then he just gave them to her anyway!  Film was mediocre at best.  Occasionally funny but a lot of the characters where genuinelly unpleasant.  Glad I didn’t pay for it.

I’m gradually getting through a huge number of photos from Nepal and New Zealand (the latter number are steadily increasing just by being here) so will post some here once organised.

I am now content.

Turns out the seats were not bad afterall so me, K and a cinema of excited people sat down to watch the special advanced screening of The Dark Knight last night.  And it was everything I wanted.  Everyone played their part perfectly so credit to them all (not just Heath Ledger).

 

Regardless, the Joker is a magificent creation in this form.  I was genuinelly scared at times when he’s on screen as you just didn’t know what was going to happen.  The sense of instability is ramped up even more by the marvellous and deeply unsettling score.  All the whining and screeching really put me on edge.  The mob and the disappearing pencil trick was about as terrifying and succinct introduction to a charcter I’ve ever seen.  He got multiple cheers and shocked utterances from the crowd the whole way through.  Plus I’m really glad I didn’t sneak a peak at Two Face all those months ago on the leaked images.  Jesus H Christ!

The only concern of mine is I cannot see where it can go next.  I almost don’t want it to.  Stil, going to see it on IMAX soon so can really sit through and enjoy it for what it is.

What with seeing Wall-E (twice) last week (just as good if not better the second time) and this I’m pretty happy.  Roll on Hellboy 2 in a few weeks.

Start nights tonight for the next week so probably more blogging.

Am indeed.

Supposed to be going back home today to start moving things back into storage (or my Mum’s house as it’s commonly known).

Last night I saw Wall-E which I’ve been looking forward to since seeing the teaser with Ratatouille and it was every bit as wonderful as I hoped it would be.  It has such heart and looks beautiful and makes me really happy that there are film companies out there that are trying their hardest to make small bundles of magic.  Pixar (aside from Cars which isn’t bad per se, I just have no connection with it) can do no wrong.

I was welling up though most of the movie and I’m not sure why.  The very first time I saw the teaser it made me teary eyed as he sat looking up at space and for some reason it still does.  It’s not sadness, it’s just somehow formed a connection in a way I don’t understand.  I like that.  It’s a powerful feeling.

Aside from that, the trailer for Watchmen leaves me cautiously excited that they may be doing this right.  I’m a fan of the comic (though not a rabid one – I just appreciate it) and think a film is a bad idea (and I really didn’t like 300 so Zack Synder has a lot to live up to), but it looks right, it feels right and it seems like they’re trying to treat it with respect.  If you haven’t read it then go get it.  Click the pic to watch the trailer.

There’s also very little time to watch the complete saga of Dr Horrible, so please do.  It’s worth it.

Watched Hancock last night which was pretty fun.  It couldn’t quite work out what it wanted to be though.  Partly a comedy which worked fairl well (the whale throwing gag still gets me) but also partly serious drama which also worked fairly well.  However, together they didn’t work as well – moments of tension and darkness startlingly mixed with coarse humour.  Still, brave attempt at telling a different slant on the whole superhero thing.

Also better than Wanted which i saw last week and just seemed to lack something.  not sure what but it just felt lacking.  Looked pretty and very little else.  Oh well, one more day till Dr Who…