Well this time of year you can’t watch a TV programme, or listen to the radio or pick up a magazine or newspaper without seeing some form of review of the year. So here is my review of the year or as the group Los Campesinos would call it ‘My year in lists’. I hope you enjoy.
Top 5 Albums
1)Glee – The Music Volume 1
2)Scouting For Girls – Everybody Want To Be On TV
3)Kylie Minogue – Aphrodite
4)Diana Vickers – Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree
5)Owl City – Ocean Eyes
Now I know this might seem a strange combination and choice but hey this is me you know. But they are 5 popular albums I have listened to throughout the year. In fact the whole list could have been just of Glee but I limited the list to one artist per album so that is why Volume 1 was the chosen one. It was also good to see Scouting for Girls back. They are a great pop act and although the new stuff is not quite as good as the first album there are some great songs on it. It was also a welcome return for Kylie Minogue this year with her summer album Aphrodite which has some great pop songs on although it is not her best album to date. The big surprise for me is Diana Vickers. I got this album on the spur of the moment and if you had asked me then I wouldn’t have said it was that big a deal however when I was looking at all my albums for the year. The number of times I listened to this album is a lot so that is why its number 4. Finally its Owl City. Now you either love or hate them. I love them and the song Fire Flies from this album really is one of many strong points. Its a great album of observation, comedy and philosophical thought. Ignore the snobbery and give it ago.
Top 5 Songs
1)Owl City – Fireflies
2)Kylie Minogue – Get Outta My Way
3)Scouting For Girls – Posh Girls
4)N-Dubz – We Dance On
5)Diana Vickers – Chasing You
There are a few similarities between this list and the previous list and I suppose if they have got a good album then there will also be a really good song on it as well. Owl City were a group that I was looking forward to hearing from this year especially after David Tennant (Dr Who) mentioned that it was a song he really liked. I know some people think they are just a poor version of The Postal Service. There are similarities between the two as the lead singer of Owl City is a huge fan of The Postal Service so has got inspiration from them. I love the song Fireflies it is just beautiful and is certainly my song of the year. Kylie also produced a fab cheesy camp song in the form of Get Outta My Way. Sadly it didn’t do as well in the UK singles chart that it should have but it is a great pop song. Scouting For Girls’ song Posh Girls is really funny and I think you need that in a pop song sometimes and that why I have included it. N-Dubz is a huge surprise for me. Usually this style of music makes me switch off but it is a great song and I have found myself just constantly listening to it. Diana Vickers is also a bit of a surprise but it has constantly appeared on my iPod or on the radio so that has helped it be included.
Top 5 Books
1)The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
2)The Secret History by Donna Tartt
3)Stardust by Neil Gaiman
4)Eleven by Mark Watson
5)Green Zone:Imperial life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
On a personal note this year has been a poor year for reading for me. I have read some really good books but I haven’t been reading much this year. I think if it hadn’t of been for the Book Club I would have read even less. I think I am getting back into the swing now though so hopefully I will be back on form next year. The top 3 books in the list are all because of the Book Club. The Secret Life of Bees is a wonderful book. I had never heard of it before but it was so beautifully written and emotional that is one of those books that is difficult to put down. If you have never read it then I urge you all to do so. The Secret History is a big American murder mystery which grabs your attention right from the beginning. It does take a lot of time to read but it is worth it. Stardust is one of those books I had heard of but never had an interest in reading. In fact I have read any Neil Gaiman until this book. After reading it I certainly want to read lots more of his books. Eleven by Mark Watson is what I call a modern fiction novel. It is in the style of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls and although it has a bit of a way to go before reaching the same heights as these 2 writers it is not far off. Be prepared for the shock event in it though-he might be a comedian but it is certainly not a comedy. Finally its Green Zone: Life in the Emerald City. This is non-fiction and is by a journalist who has portrayed life for the allied forces in Iraq quite well. It is only one side it may not be the 100% accurate but it does give you an insight into this world.
Top 5 TV Programmes
5)Strictly Come Dancing
This year has seen seen some great new TV programmes. The big one being Glee. I wasn’t sure if I would like this programme actually. I thought it would be too silly and not much to it. How wrong I was the show features some great songs and really good acting especially from Jane Lynch. I know some people just can’t stand it which is fair enough. but I love it and I am looking forward to season 2 this year. Downton Abbey was also a huge surprise for me this year. Now I love a good period drama at winter time and usually the BBC deliver however they failed this year and salvation cam in the surprise form of ITV. Downton Abbey is such wonderful it funny, well acted and Dame Maggie Smith is on fire in it. Well done ITV!! Doctor Who is a standard for me on TV. I have admit though I still need convincing more about Matt Smith and I still have no time for Amy Pond. We need more Rory in season 2. Spooks is another standard programme for me. I love how it is constantly up to date and keeps you on the edge of your seat each episode. Finally Strictly Come Dancing. This is just the perfect way to end year.
Top 5 Films
1)Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Pt1
3)Alice in Wonderland
In 2010 I made more of an effort to watch more films and I have been to the cinema more as well as watching more on DVD. Harry Potter is of course a big film of the year withe final part in 2011. I was sceptical about the splitting of the film as I thought it had only been done for the money. Now I am sure this is part of the decision but I also now believe the film actually is better for it. I also knew there was no chance I would get through the film without blubbing. Avatar was another big film of the year but many film snobs did not like it. Yes the plot is nothing new but the cinematography and the amazing 3D camera work was ground breaking and took the cinema goer to another level. Alice in Wonderland was another film I wasn’t too sure about it. It is really more Alice returns to Wonderland. Once again though Tim Burton has waved his magic and created a very dark Wonderland. It also has Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat which is a good enough reason to be included in the list just for that. Eclipse is in the list as I did enjoy the film a lot but more as a comedy. It made me laugh so much and I did. There is not much to the plot but hey sometimes thats just what you want and this certainly delivers. Finally we have the musical Nine. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this. It has a cast list that is more A* than just A list. I thought the ego’s of the actors would get in the way and spoil it but I was wrong. It is a very stylish sexy musical and deserves more praise than it actually got. Certainly is well worth giving a go.
Top 5 Live Acts/Productions
This list is dominated by stand up comedy which has become my new love this year thanks to the Edinburgh Festival with the highlight being Mark Watson. I love his geek style humour and I hope he does eventually do a DVD. The one exception in the list that is not comedy is Rufus Wainwright. He was performing at The Sage in Gateshead and he always does an amazing show which is hard not to in such an amazing venue.It was a great show which started off sombre and then was more him in the second half. I think more people need to see him live. Russell Kane was a last minute gig at the local comedy night. He has a had a great year after winning the Edinburgh Comedy Prize and its great to see such a big name in the town. Des Bishop was a last minute thing as well but up in Edinburgh. I had a few hours to spare and there were some tickets left for his show so I just give it ago not knowing what to expect. It turned out to be one of the highlights of the Edinburgh visit. He was funny but also very moving as the show was in tribute to his dad. After it finished I was glad I had taken the chance to see this. It just proves just give something ago you actually might enjoy it. Rob Rouse was actually a stand in for the act I was going to see at the local comedy night. He turned out to be really good and my friends also seemed to enjoy their first comedy experience. Whil compiling this list I realised I haven’t been to much this year so next year I need to go to more concerts/comedy/theatre etc.
Top 5 Most Played Songs On My iPod
1)Glee – Don’t Rain On My Parade
2)Owl City – Fireflies
3)Glee – Bust Your Windows
4)Glee – Alone
5)Glee – Defying Gravity
They usually say you can tell a lot about someone from the most played songs on their iPod. So in that case I must be a bit of a diva who is a bit of a dreamer who is single and someone you don’t want to mess with. They are great songs and basically have either summed up the way I have felt during the year or have cheered me up in some way.
Top 5 Personal Disappointments
1)Still being single
2)Still living at home
3)Not being pro-active enough in my life
4)Still need to learn to relax more
5)Be more grown up
This is a sort of sum of my New Years Resolutions from the year. I have made more of an effort this year on the dating front which I haven’t in the past but at the end of the day I am still single and this does get to you. I know all those in a relationship say ‘it will happen when you lease expect it’ , and ‘Don’t worry’. Thats easy for them they are with someone special. I know I keep saying this but surely I can’t be that bad a catch. Just give me a chance. Another thing is I am still at home. I really do want my own place and the reality of buying my own place is getting slimmer and slimmer, I think I need to sort myself out and rent some where of my ow. I could share with someone but I think I would be quite unbearable – just ask my uni housemates. I also need to be more pro-active. I think in a way I am sort of happy and don’t want change so just drift along. This is is not right. If I have learnt something this year its that life is far too short and you have to grab it with both hands and live for today. Finally I need to be more grown up. 2011 see’s me leave my twenties and enter the world of the thirties and this scares me. I am going to have to be more serious and grown up. Yes have fun but start acting as an adult.
Top 5 Personal Highlights
1)Going to the Edinburgh Festival
2)Discovering the enjoyment of stand up comedy
3)Going to the Dr Who Exhibition
4)Visiting the IMAX Cinema
5)Starting my blog
This year saw me do something that I have always wanted to do. That was to go to the Edinburgh Festival.It was also my first proper time in Edinburgh as well. It is a great city and well worth a visit at anytime but during the festival it just buzz’s. Everyone is so friendly and wanting to share their experience in the worlds largest art festival. I also discovered my love for watching live stand up comedy here. They have said that Britain is currently experiencing a Golden Age of comedy and I think that might be true. There is so much talent out there and its just what we all need in such difficult times. I think everyone should go to the Festival at some point in their lives. Another highlight for me was going to the Dr Who Exhibition. This awakened the inner and outer geek in me and was brilliant. Just getting to see things so close up was great. I also discovered the enjoyment of IMAX Cinema this year. This is expensive but for certain films it was worth it especially when you add in the VIP lounge bit so indulgent but worth every penny. Finally a highlight for me was this my blog. I never thought I would do a blog. I couldn’t see the point to be honest. I soon realised that its not about how many people are reading it but its about regularly addressing things that are happening in your life. Many of my friends seem to enjoy my blog and they find out things they may not have done in person. I hope to continue the blog throughout the year and I hope you all continue to enjoy reading it.
So for now all I will say is…
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!