So here we go with a look back at 2016. And it will involve a bit of 'Apart from that Mrs Lincoln what did you think of the play?' Elephants in the room, even if they stand quietly, tend to leave dents in the floorboards.
Album of the year? Well I remain of the view that in a year when Radiohead put out a new album everyone else should fight over second place. This is indeed the case. A Moon Shaped Pool is an astounding, magical, soulful, dramatic, creative and haunting piece of work. Best of the rest was Steve Mason's Meet the Humans.
Film of the year. Didn't spend as much time at the cinema as I would have liked which meant that much watching was last year's. Rogue One was excellent fun. Jack Reacher ignored the advice of the title Never Go Back and went back. People got hurt. I really enjoyed The Accountant though. I like maths, dialogue, thrills and espionage. All boxes ticked.
As previously noted I also have trouble reading books in the year of publication. So nothing from me about works that were actually published in 2016. My two favourite books of the year were as pictured.
Paul Mason was the only person I read who wrote a realistic guide to why Brexit might be a good idea - he then advised against it because the timing was wrong. In Post-Capitalism, he asserts that the era of the technological revolution has gone on too long and soon not everyone will need to work. But we will need to contribute and the world needs to work out how to pay us. I reviewed it here.
Everything Magnus Mills writes leaves me convinced I am being taken by the hand and led slowly somewhere very profound. At the end I wonder if I have read something deep, imaginative or a simple children's story. Any piece of writing that lets the reader decide what it was all about without comment - you read or hear few interviews with Mills - is a job well done. Reviewed here.
Eating out? It was the year we discovered Maitreya Social in Easton. As a seasonal, organic, local-produce, vegetarian restaurant in an ethnically diverse part of Bristol you might want to beware of catching right-onness. But the tastes are amazing. And if you don't contract a hipster beard there you certainly will do at WB at Wapping Wharf. Fish, chips and craft ale. I might have been its greatest fan/evangelist this year. By Saturday I will have taken almost everyone I like, who has visited the south-west with a mealtime to spare, there. (Takes quick break to issue another invitation.) Their Smokin' Barrels was my beer of the year.
Some honourable mentions. @porrdidgebrain entertained me on Twitter on a daily basis (sometimes hourly). Eddie Mair on Radio Four's PM made broadcasting seem an absolute breeze. As Did Danny Baker, both on Radio Five of a Saturday morning and as @prodnose on Twitter. Nacer Chadli restored my belief that there are players who will make a lung-busting run for the cause of West Brom (See his second goal in the 4-2 defeat of West Ham.)
See you at the end of 2017.