Wednesday, January 05, 2011

2010 Postscript

A very good morning to you and a happy birthday to Mrs Mustard who has been packed off to work to escape her husband's one-day-a-year company at breakfast, smelling sweet and with a better-than-usual packed lunch. Did you know Mrs M eats the same thing for breakfast and lunch, five days a week every week of the year except hols? Not today.

But it is time for a brief review of the year, a matter which MSS prefers to leave until all other reviewers have written theirs in the period 26-31/12 in case they manage to remind it of something it might have forgotten.

My favourite award is always album of the year and this would have been walked most years by a new Faithless album but, if truth be told, The Dance was only great and not quite outstanding. Never mind. There's always the wonderful Kieran Hebden whose Fourtet project consistently excites me. There is Love in You would also have been my album of the year if it was not for Steve Mason. The distinctive-voiced former Beta Band vocalist's solo album Boys Outside was tuneful,  haunting, somewhat enigmatic and delightful company on several journeys. The album that keeps on giving. Big acknowledgment to Wrongtom's Roots Manuva remix Dippy Writer.

Book of the year award is often a sad acknowledgement that I read no new books and merely caught up. That would be true of fiction this year as I read no books published in 2010. My favourite novel was Magnus Mills' brief The Maintenance of Headway (2009) which will be of interest to anyone who ever took a trip on a 1970s nationalised bus service.

Of non-fiction I loved Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christianity, John Lanchester's economics treatise Whoops! (hear him talk about it at the Bath Literary Festival next month), Cole Moreton's Is God Still an Englishman? and Andrew Rawnsley's The End of the Party. But for the brilliant, poignant and carefully argued analysis of the art of the intelligent stand-up my book of the year is Stewart Lee's How I Escaped My Certain Fate - The Life and Deaths of a Stand-Up Comedian. Not for the easily, or even the uneasily, offended.

Some interesting films of which The Ghost and The Social Network were both good fun. The Hurt Locker was not this year but I saw it  for the first time this year and it was superb. Loved The Infidel (note to all big-budget comedy films - comedies should make you laugh) but give my award to a well-acted and easy-watching romcom (amazingly) Up in the Air. Maybe it came at the right time when I needed light-hearted cheering up at the movies but I loved it.

One or two other mentions. Facebook status update of the year from Joseph Clucas, 'If you have a parrot and you don't teach it to say, "Help, they've turned me into a parrot", you are wasting everybody's time.' (October 9th).

Innovation of the year - theipaper. A summary of everything you need to know with some full-length articles for just 20p. Finally convinced me to give up trying to read a broadsheet every day.

Gig of the year - I loved Shlomo's Friends at The Old Vic - a celebration of everything beatboxy - but for the sheer hell of the putting-on-a-show of it all thanks to The Pet Shop Boys for a great night out in Cardiff last July.

On TV I finally watched all the way through the five series of The Wire and loved every moment. On live TV both Springwatch and Autumnwatch entertained us, The Apprentice, the Masterchef franchise and even Strictly Come Dancing drew us in and Mad Men was a cut above.

In a year when politics was a bunch of cheating liars saying anything to get power and then spitting in our faces thanks to Boris Johnson and Ken Clarke for at least answering the question when asked.

Finally my own thanks to the lovely people of Holy Trinity and Trendlewood, Nailsea for turning the dream of not losing our parish's Old Rectory into reality through acts of extraordinary generosity and the lovely young adults who endured living in it for two years while we negotiated and kept it from vandalism and disrepair.

Lastly (never believe a preacher saying 'finally') thanks to Australia for being rubbish at cricket for a change and for telling the people of England that floods really aren't that bad here after all as long as snakes and gators don't move in to your bedroom. 3.6 earthquakes. No great shakes. We live in a green un... I mean and ... pleasant land. May goal-line technology make your 2011 a better year.

1 comment:

Steve C said...

I got Stewart Lee's book for Christmas - loved it.