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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Blogger TimeWarden said...

I thought this year was a good one for TV. As well as the good Doctor returning, there was also the overshadowed return of Captain Scarlet. ITV could've made much more of it.

I also enjoyed the second season of Hustle, the fourth of Spooks, Bleak House (though prefer the 1985 version) and the drama documentary on Beethoven. I agree that Kate Bush's return was also a highlight.

Hope you have a good Xmas.

5:17 am  
Blogger Stuart Douglas said...

Right enough, I forgot about Hustle - the second series was good (and a third season early next year).

I've never watched Spooks and missed the first couiple fo Bleak House - no doubt they'll repeat it though.

Merry Christmas.

12:06 pm  
Blogger alienvoord said...

the new Doctor Who didn't sweep you away??

I think Kate's song "Arial" is the best song, altho Pi is close.

9:25 pm  
Blogger Stuart Douglas said...

New Who was one of my four big things last year, and it certainly swept me away at the time.

In retrospect though, there were lots of bits that weren't half as good second time round (most of RTD's episodes, The Unquiet Dead, Dalek), at least one absolute clunker (Boomtown) and only one bona-fide classics (Steven Moffat's two-parter).

And - having just got the Beginning box set - not one episode of the new series was as good as the original 'Unearthly Child'.

Still, it was the best thing on TV last year, it is early days and the new season looks pretty spectacular.

4:26 pm  

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