Friday, 13 December 2013

Phew, 2013!

Wow, 2013, eh? Phew, what a year. Here's my round-up, it's been a long time since I've done one of these.

Albums of the Year:
  • Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused to Sing and Other Stories. Just a superb LP. And it is an LP, something that demands to be listened to from start to finish. Imagine King Crimson with some ballads. No? Oh, okay, well it sounds good to me.
  • Public Service Broadcasting - Inform Educate Entertain. This project take the dialogue from old films and PIFs and puts them to music. Sound's rubbish? Nah, check this out.
  • Wolf People - Fain. This Bedfordshire quartet probably haven't heard any music recorded since 1970 or seen a film since Blood on Satan's Claw. Very, very English, er, psych-folk-prog.
Single of the Year:
  • The Maccabees - Pelican. I know it was originally released at the fag end of 2011, but it's a song it took me over a year to decide I liked. And when I decided I liked it, I decided I really liked it. They're one of those bands whom I have no desire to hear anything else by, I'd only be disappointed that it wouldn't be as good as Pelican (I put Death Cab for Cutie in the same category - they'll never top I Will Possess Your Heart). They won't be able to top this.
Gig of the Year:
  • Steven Wilson at the Royal Albert Hall. My wife and I had already seen Steven at the Manchester Academy in March, but this gig in October was quite, quite terrific. The band he assembles are all just on it - special praise for Kajagoogoo bassist Nick Beggs and former Zappa drummer Chad Wackerman - while the songs and the way they're presented are just sublime. An added bonus for this gig was that my wife managed to get us some excellent seats right near the stage (see photo). So good were the seats that VIP guests were sitting in front of us.
TV shows of the Year:
  • The Returned - Shows with subtitles, not usually my bag but the story here is all that matters. The Returned is about grief and missing people, something we've all experienced. I'm not going to complain about the ending like nearly everyone else, it could have stood as a stand alone series with that ending. Let's just hope they don't jump the shark in future series. Oh, and one of the lead actresses is rather lovely.
  • Toast of London - Just a wilfully daft comedy about a tosspot actor with Matt Berry. I loved it and am glad to see it's coming back for a second series after abysmal ratings (there are some tasteless people out there).
  • The Silent War - A late entry, this, part of BBC2's Cold War season. It's a documentary about the way submarines were used in the Cold War. A bit dry? You bet, but I love all this Mutually Assured Destruction stuff. And remember, DON'T DROP ANY SPANNERS.
  • Count Arthur Strong - Another wilfully daft comedy. You either love or hate Count Arthur Strong and it seems more people hate him. For me, this was just a delight. The episode set during a recording of a radio play really was superb, one of the funniest things on television all year.
  • Broadchurch - You've already read the superlatives. And it had a proper ending. I can't imagine what they'll do for series two though.
  • What Remains - This psychological murder mystery proves we can do this stuff as well as any foreign broadcaster. And, spoiler alert, I'm not holding my breath for series two.
Film of the Year:
  • Pfft, hardly been to the cinema. Here's what I've seen at the pictures: Rush, Alpha Papa. Yup.
  • Sightseers - probably released in 2012, but I saw it this year 'on demand'. An erotic odyssey to well-loved tourist spots in the north of England in a caravan goes horribly wrong...
Event of the Year:
  • Getting married! Yay! Believe the hype, it really is the happiest day of your life. I highly recommend it.
Anyway, that's it from me, have a good Christmas and I hope 2014 is good to you. I love you all and I'll leave you with the greatest Christmas song* ever. NO ARGUMENTS!

*Even though it's by a hoary old prog rocker who nobody likes