Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Faces of 2010

Continuing my exciting review of the year!

One would hope that the good outweighs the shit. One would hope that I could make sure that my blog is at least intelligible and that in 2011 I will make sure that I don't start sentences and never finish them, or start making a point, digress and then never return to it. Sometimes these blog things just come together and other times I probably should just delete them rather than potentially embarrass myself. I have to be more disciplined and edit the fuckers once in a while (and not after someone has hinted at their lack of coherence).

Now, good stuff (be prepared for a non-faecal addendum if I forget anything - like forgetting that the wife had a car accident in 2010 that wrote her beloved shed on wheels off. I mean, how could I forget that?).

I mentioned packing up smoking in Faeces of 2010 like it was a bad thing. In some ways it was, but in other ways its something I'm astounded at. I'm closing in on a 1/3rd of a year now and it appears that only the wife and Roger are really amazed at this. Some of my friends appear to have very short memories.

Film & TV

For me few things are in the same class as Dexter. It is an extraordinary TV series and one that makes you slightly uneasy about rooting for a psychopath. The fact that a serial killer is the hero should be totally wrong, but it isn't and every year it just gets better and better - something that rarely happens in any TV show, let alone something from the USA.

Fringe is loved and loathed in equal measure, it would appear, but I've loved this programme from the moment John Noble walked into his first scene. Anna Torv would get one and the totally bonkers plot has been a constant source of discussion and enjoyment. this year was no exception.

Lost finished and could easily have made the other list, but the ending aside (which I'm reconciling myself with) it was a brilliant experiment in what the Americans could enjoy if they didn't all have the attention span of a... Ooh what's that?

Doctor Who introduced us to a new DW and a new way of telling his stories. Steven Moffatt threw away the rule book recreated by RTD and with it that feeling that the series had a soul. I think Matt Smith is great, I want to have Karen Gillan's children, but it just didn't have that sense of fun and forget-ability that Tenant's DW had. I'm hoping that the next series will address this, but I also get the feeling it isn't.

Heroes was shit and deserved to die. The Gates sort of deserved not to. Eureka got a bit crazy, but lost a little of its wackiness and Warehouse 13 could have done with a bigger budget and more time with Artie and Claudia. Vampire Diaries was exactly what Twilight needed to be and Stargate Universe was as morbid and depressing as BSG. Ashes to Ashes was like Lost and Skins got a little too melodramatic and lost its realistic edge. I finally watched The Sopranos and was a final episode denier.

Films seemed to be dominated by kids films and not all of them I saw came out this year. Despicable Me, Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs, Up!, Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon, there feels like there should be more, but apparently there isn't. The same statement could be used for films this year that I've seriously raved about; i'm sure there are some, i just don't seem to be able to remember any...


I suppose the year was dominated for me by The Incident, the new Porcupine Tree album (which was still high on my play list despite being a 2009 release), The Octopus, the new Amplifier album, and the album that put soul back in me, The Ladykiller by Cee Lo Green. The new album from Blow Up Hollywood, Take Flight, was not their best but was still head and shoulders better than so much more. Disconnect From Desire by School of Seven Bells was better than I expected and Empire by Hybrid continued the Swansea duo's ability to make utterly brilliant electronic prog. I don't know when Florence and the Machine's album came out, but that was a real bonus, as was Temper Trap's CD - both had periods of constant rotation.

I discovered Ulrich Schnauss and that dominated a lot of my year. John Hopkins, Ladytron and M83 also joined my play lists. The new Mew came out last year and I didn't realise; it still got played to death, eventually.

The only gig of the year was pretty much one of the best I've ever been to. At the Royal Albert Hall and less than a month after having the prolapsed disc. I was in agony but seeing Porcupine Tree perform for over 3 hours and doing some of my favourite tracks was something I am so glad I didn't miss.

I feel there should be more, but I did mention at an earlier point that i might need an addendum before the end of the year.


When you get older it becomes genuinely more difficult to make friends. The demands of life, love and in most people's cases, kids, means that the time for making new friends tends to be before you get married and before you get too long in the tooth. A few years ago, I met this bloke; he seemed like a reasonable chap and last year we started to have a laugh and a joke on the one day a week I saw him. This year Phil Hollis became one of my best friends and that is a rare thing.

Phil is the quizmeister of our local pub and pretty much works and lives all the unsociable hours god sends; but during the spring, the two of us used to go for a couple of pints on a Friday lunchtime. This developed into a regular thing and eventually when I fucked my back up, there was Phil (or One El as we refer to him) replete with car to ferry me to the pub and be one of my few grips on sanity during the most boring periods. Like my Thursday pub nights with Roger, Fridays with Phil suddenly became ingrained on the diary. The poor sod has had to put up with my incessant chattering - mainly because I've been stuck in the house with just Blogger to talk to - but takes it all in his stead and also manages to dish a fair bit out. He has been one of the rare treats of the year and long may our friendship last!

Not to feel left out, Roger has been a constant this year and someone, at times, I'm glad to have had around. Friend, confidante and grounder, he's been my best friend for a few years, but this year he's, at times, earned the title.

Honourable mentions to: Darren for being there when, at times, I needed someone to be there. I'm sure he's wished he wasn't, but he never showed it.
Will, JP and Chev for being, as they say, a bunch of priceless cunts.
Mark, Rad and Martin for leaving me wishing I could see them all more (or at all in some cases).
Wilky for being a star. John for being a nice guy, regardless.

Muriel went from a person I could have quite gladly strangled to someone I can now actually tolerate. CJT for not being a Cock Juggling Thundercunt and the wife, who has had moments this year when murder would have been the more preferable than perseverance. In fact, the wife deserves several medals and I don't always deserve her. I call Roger my best friend, he's my best mate, the wife, she's my best friend and simply the best.

The Year Ahead

2011 was to be our holiday of a lifetime to India, but this really depends on my health and employment situation. The reality is that our Indian friends have all suggested we go in February and 2011 is a bit soon, so we might plan to go in 2012, but still treat it like our special Silver Wedding Anniversary treat! Whatever happens to that, on September 10, 2011, we're going to party like its 2999 at Chez Hall and just about everybody I know will be invited and a) I shall be disappointed if you can't make it and b) pray for good weather NOW!

As it'll be our 25th wedding anniversary, I'm fore warning people 9 months in advance so they can't forget, book something else up or come up with some lame excuse for not coming. People, in this day and age, don't do the 25 year thing very often and I'm not buying a barrel of beer and cooking a load of excellent veggie food just so people I'd like to come along don't bother. So pencil it in your diary - 10th September 2011 and remember, if you haven't received an invite by June, then you're not invited! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

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