Dec 28, 2008

What I watched, what I heard and what I thought in 2008

The best scene in a film.

Call it. I'm tempted to plump for Javier Bardem's baiting of a gas station owner in No Country For Old Men, or the moment we realised Indy was on a nuclear test site in that vivid scene with the dining table dummies in Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull.

But it's neither of these, friendo. My favourite scene of the year taught me everything we need to know about the fragility of life. In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, our foul-mouthed protagonist fights an Elemental - kind of a vegetarian Godzilla - and the resulting death scene is astonishing, beautiful and the absolute opposite of the throwaway baddie deaths we often get with Hollywood.

Crappest purchase of 2008.

Gym membership. I should have seen the warning signs as soon as I walked in: "Gym? What's a gym? ... Oh! A gym!"

Back to films again - which was the best in 2008?

Strange beasties ruled 2008. Firstly, Wall-E was one of the best animations for years, and the most tender robot love affair since Bjork's All Is Full Of Love video. Cloverfield was a lost creature of a different kind, in a film which was simply a tour-de-force of suspense and large-scale horror.

Another pair of strange beasties brought us the best two films of the year. Heath Ledger gave us 2008's best performance in The Dark Knight, although he should have rescued his magic-trick pencil and crossed through a couple of over-long scenes. Instead, I raise a glass to the Oscar-winning monster Anton Chigurh and No Country For Old Men - the bestest film of 2008 following a couple of worrying Coen Brothers misfires.

Anti-Obama: the biggest political disappointment of 2008.

Brian Eno has completed his first year as Liberal Democrat youth advisor. I was a tad disheartened to see the modern-fangled youth of today haven't all shaved their head and dedicated their lives to Robert Fripp or Mixmaster Morris. It's still more thug life than My Squelchy Life. Come on, Brian, get it together.

My moment of puffed-chestness in 2008.

I was proud that I tried a stand-up comedy routine, which was scary but gosh I did it. There was some comedy in there, it was rather routine, but at least I was standing up. My challenge now is to do more in 2009.

My greatest personal achievement of the year was losing 50 lbs in a few short months. Yes, I know, I should mention these things on my blog so you can post messages of encouragement / bitter jealousy. The only thing I won't allow is "Thin Roland" jokes, because believe me it has been done to death by my wonderfully supportive if slightly unoriginal friends.

Top telly of 2008. Yes, this is getting a little sad now.

Watching The Wire on DVD doesn't count, because it came out in, like, 1526 or something. So then, two little words sum up my favouritest TV moment of this blessed 12 months.



My worst moment of 2008.

There is only one. A couple of weeks ago, my cat Whiskey died after a brief illness. She had been my closest companion since I was 16, and I have felt aimless and listless since I lost her. I have 19 years of fond memories of a good-tempered, sleek, shy furball. She deserves a hundred blog posts, but what needs to be said can be said in just a few words: I'll miss her forever.

2008's best album. Probably.

A tough one this, as I don't think it has been a classic year for electronica. I think Metronomy and The Whip are a dish best served live. The Bug took one giant dubstep forward with London Zoo, while fellow dubstepper Burial wowed the Mercury Music Prize with his 2007 album Untrue. I seriously rated Bochum Welt's ROB (Robotic Operating Buddy) even though I didn't rave enough in this post from April .

Portishead's Third showed Tricky a thing or two about keeping fresh after years out of the fridge, and Leila's equally accomplished comeback was quiet but beautiful. Gang Gang Dance's primal Saint Dymphna was Warp Record's most tribal release, while Squarepusher held back on the drums for his jaaazz Just A Souvenier album. (Edit: I forgot to mention Autechre's Quaristice, which I attempted to play as background music in my bookshop but only succeeded in pissing people off. Consider it mentioned.)

And finally, top of the tree is a gathering of geeky keyboard wizardary called Hot Chip (pictured). Made In The Dark's mechano pop is a little to commercial for this snobbish blog, but oh what joy when it produces videos like this for One Pure Thought.

Skip to the end...

There. I called it. And it came up heads. I'm going to buy a bicycle before all the shops close down. Meanwhile, I'll cook up a little 2009 preview. While you're waiting for that, have a joyous new year.


patroclus said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about Whiskey, that's terribly sad. I dread the day when I have to go through the same with my cat.

Congratulations on the 50lb and the comedy routine, and I look forward to the 2009 preview.

Fat Roland said...

Thanks, Patroclus. We all dread that day for our puddy tats. It's worth the pain, though, for all the years of fuzzy cuddles, kitchen chatter and stupid-cat moments.