My review of 2009
It's the last week of the year, so here's what I was watching, reading and listening to in 2009...
Although it was thankfully announced that there would be no more Big Brother after 2010, television line-ups seemed completely dominated by "reality" (actually scripted) talent shows, none of which I watched. The campest tv program ever made, Glee, tackled similar ground, although was actually very good, and had important messages about diversity and acceptance, even if all the female and gay characters pined after unattainable males. I tend to only discover tv shows once they've survived a first series - and enjoyed Being Human (summarised as "did you hear the one about the vampire, the werewolf and the ghost?"), which filled me with yearning for Bristol, Mad Men (which filled me for yearning for 1960s Manhattan), and Dollhouse, which filled me with yearning for Enver Gjokaj. Charlie Brooker's various outputs on BBC4 made me laugh (last night he accurately described Gordon Brown as a "failed, haunted grandfather clock"), and I ended up watching a lot of local news somehow.
A couple of good sci-fi films: the quiet yet talky Moon which covered cloning, and the very allegorical District 9. (Avatar had the best special effects and was also allegorical, but not as good). Star Trek rebooted had some pretty actors, but I don't remember anything else about it. Brüno was OK, although a bit too similar to Borat, and thanks to my nephew, I ended up seeing quite a few animation films (of which Up! was the best). Zombieland had the best beginning to a film I'd seen this year, the most disappointing film was The September Issue (which I bought on DVD and turned off halfway through - it was NOTHING like Devil Wears Prada).
A disappointing year for games, and I ended up continuing to play games I'd bought the prevous year (still haven't finished Motorstorm Pacific Rift, Grand Theft Auto IV and Oblivion IV). The Singstar online shop did pretty well out of me (I must have downloaded 100+ songs this year), and I finally completed the kitschly apocalyptic Fallout 3 this week (I have dreams about stalking ghouls through cave networks while Ella Fitzgerald sings over the radio). Drakes Fortune 2 got me playing online co-operative multiplayer games for the first time (personal discovery - I'm a really rubbish person to have on your team, I'm more of a hinderance than a help). The funnest game of the year was House of the Dead: Overkill, which had a B Movie Quentin Tarantino-inspired feel.
As I haven't paid any attention to "chart music" in about 15 years, I had only the vaguest idea about what was "current", although my Iphone has somehow acquired music by Little Boots, Amy Winehouse, Paloma Faith, Duffy and Jill Scott, so I'm enjoying the recent trend of music that looks back to the 1960s. I got a record player for my birthday, so started hunting round charity shops for old jazz records, and discovered Dexter Gordon, Kenny Burrell, Ramsey Lewis and Miles Davies. The most played song on my Iphone is "At Last" by Etta James. I don't know how. I don't even like it that much.
This year the sites I visited every day included The New York Magazine and the New York Times (because they make me feel slightly cosmopolitan), Towelroad (for its exhaustive coverage of gay politics and culture), The Independent and BBC News sites (for the British take on news), and a handful of blogs. Blogging has changed. 7-8 years ago it used to be the trendy thing, and during 2005 I was blogging every other day. This year I've been managing about one post a week. My little coterie of like-minded bloggers seems to have dwindled and blogs feel less relevant than they used to. The blogs that I read tend to be higher quality, professionally-produced ones. There's less of a sense of a blogging community - it's moved on. I became officially anti-social and left the big hug-fest of Facebook, while Twitter, which is "the way the world is going", leaves me cold.
Most of the year was taken up with a new house/renovation project, which was physically and economically exhausting. I've recovered from my fatigue, but financially am in my own "recession" and will be until all the improvement loans are paid off. I had a productive year workwise - probably overdid it, judging by the fact I've had eyestrain for the last month or so. I should probably slow down. A nice thing about being in your late 30s is that you feel you have less to prove, and consequently tend to be less impressed/intimidated by the world.