Review of the Year 2011

It’s been a funny year. I spent most of it pregnant, which is a lot like being really hung over for nine months. Not really conducive to productivity. Now my tiny bundle of trouble is here, blog posts are hastily composed in the few minutes she is able to sleep without being cuddled up on my lap. It’s been a funny year generally, though. There were terrifying natural disasters, tumultuous political events, and a slew of zeitgeisty buzzwords. There were the riots in the the UK, which was the logical result of our filesharing culture: if you tell people that they can take music, films and games without permission, payment or consequence, then of course they’ll just start smashing shop windows and stealing televisions and consoles to play them on – because, really, what’s the difference?

Steve Jobs died, to worldwide mourning, and John McCarthy – who coined the term “artificial intelligence” – died the same month, to little fanfare. Amy Winehouse succumbed to her addictions, and Charlie Sheen miraculously survived his own. A royal couple who actually seemed to like each other got married. Lady Gaga got boring. An American preacher predicted the Rapture – twice – and was a little embarrassed when the dates passed without incident.

And a number of things were released that I rather liked.


I’m going to have to vote for the last Harry Potter film here, because it doesn’t have much in the way of competition. I liked it well enough, and I only saw two or three films at the cinema all year. Much as I enjoyed Rowling’s fantasy saga, there’s something slightly depressing about Potter being the best film I’ve seen all year, but I can’t nominate, say, North By Northwest as film of 2011, can I?



This is a tricky one. A few months back, I’d have said Battles’ Gloss Drop was my favourite without even thinking about it, but now I have three choices. First, there was Manorexia’s Dinoflagellate Blooms, which I struggled with at first, but now find it hard to imagine why I ever didn’t love it. To reiterate my original comments, if you too find it hard on the ear, you’re not alone and should persevere because it will reward you. Then there was dEUS’s Keep You Close, which managed to be brilliant without really doing anything new – a difficult feat, in my book, because I rarely find “classic songwriting” interesting. It’s just the intricacy of the arrangements and some intriguing choices of instrumentation that keep me going back for more.


(note – that’s from the previous album – can’t find anything newer)




I think yesterday’s Skyrim post covers it.



I waded through Stephen King’s Dark Tower saga, which like all King stories starts off promisingly, continues engagingly and ends badly. The only newly-published book I read was Lord of Souls by Greg Keyes – the second of two spin-off novels based in the Elder Scrolls universe – which was reasonably entertaining but not a patch on his superior Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone quadrilogy. There was also Welcome to the Music Industry … You’re F***ed by Martin Atkins, which was uploaded for free here.



While The Vampire Diaries and Dexter reign supreme in my viewing schedule, I also played catch-up with The Inbetweeners (a Brit American Pie), 90210 (glossy, cheesy fun), Desperate Housewives (kitsch and quiche) and Big Bang Theory (season one is hilarious). Finally, there was Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, which was so bizarre that I’m not even sure whether I liked it or not. Three twisted tales to reflect our strange society. As I said, it’s been a funny old year.



One comment on “Review of the Year 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s