Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Music and Stuff from the End of Time

Well it's the end of what has been a pretty crappy year and I'm racking my brains to think of positives.

So - some good things (in no particular order, and leaving out things to do with my immediate family).

Hearts winning the first nine games of the season.

Being the (admittedly not very good) best man at Scott's wedding to Jeanne.

Reading the proof of Phil Purser-Hallard's novella 'Peculiar Lives' (although being both a fan of Olaf Stapledon, of whom the book is in part an homage, and Phil being a very good writer, my comments did tend to go along the lines of "that's a bloody good bit" and "you've spelled 'draconian' wrong").

Doctor Who coming back to TV.

More specifically:

Best song I heard this year not by Kate Bush: "I Passed by your Building" - Jandek (which came out in 1987 but I heard it for the first time this year) which is just the astonishing break-up song - Jandek is the anti-Phil Collins.

Best Song of the Year - "Pi" by Kate Bush. Only she could sing the number pi to one hundred places and manage to craft a song which is both incredibly lovely and a comment on both the beauty of numbers and the positive side of obsession.

Best Film of the Year - Serenity, which exhibited that there is no need to obsess over exact continuity (hello George Lucas) to create a great movie and a humanity which other sf movies can over-look (the gravestones, including one with a Reaver weapon on it, at the end was the best film image of the year).

Best Book of the Year: Actually this was a bit of a disappointing year for new books. The Time Travellers Wife, which was much punted everywhere, was good but not brilliant and ended weakly and nothing else new really sucked me in. I'll go for a genre book though - the Paul Magrs' edited short story collection Wildthyme on Top had more good writing in it than anything else I read this year, including career best work from Craig Hinton and Jon Blum (well, so far as I'm aware - I haven't read everything Blum's written).

Best Doctor Who book of the year: Fear Itself by Nick Wallace was head and shoulders better than any other BBC release this year - proper, grown-up sf which would still have been excellent without the Doctor's presence.

Best TV of the Year: Nothing new on TV has exactly swept me away, although Battlestar Galactica turned out to be a lot better than I'd expected from the deadly dull mini-series. DVD releases of Catweazle, Goodnight Sweetheart and Survivors were all excellent though.
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Monday, December 05, 2005

Just like teen spirits

Things I learned (or re-learned) this weekend at our work Christmas dinner.

1. I'm not terribly fond of champagne.
2. Or lager.
3. No-one who works with me has heard of Terry Nation, Brian Aldiss or The Undertones.
4. Pickled lambs' tongue looks just as unpleasant as it sounds, but tastes of exactly nothing.
5. Drinking 80', lager, champagne, red wine, white wine and port and then inhaling the smoke from the world's biggest cigar causes almost instantaneous illness.
6. Taxi drivers appreciate it if you ask them to stop *before* you're sick in their cab (which I did, just to be clear).

All very embarassing.
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