Reviews of the year and the decade are everywhere – here’s another, my own personal end of year list offering.
It gives a flavour of what I’ve enjoyed musically - live and on record - over the past 12 months, what I’ve read with pleasure, what I’ve watched on TV (not a lot) or on DVD.
I’ve not been to the cinema for six years so no one-two-three choices there and the last time I took a seat in a theatre was over a year ago for a panto, featuring my actor son, Steven Rae (very good he and it was, too.)
So, starting with CDs:
1 - Oh My God Charlie Darwin by The Low Anthem: a mix of mournful folk songs and blood-and-guts stompers.
2 - Yonder is The Clock by The Felice Brothers: inventive tales set to music that is well-crafted and full of life.
3 - Cotton by Sam Baker: lyrically superb and heart-warming from a bomb blast survivor, who is brilliant live.
Commended: Fork In the Road by Neil Young; We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River by Richmond Fontaine; Years of Refusal by Morrissey.
1 - Neil Young, Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre – followed up Edinburgh master class gig of 2008 with this utterly, spine-tingling set of wondrous rock and tender interludes. Fantastic.
2 – James McMurtry and The Heartless Bastards, Oran Mor, Glasgow - politically-edged songs with an unrivalled rootsy, blues-laden, sidewalk swagger.
3 – Mark E Smith and The Fall, The Ferry, Glasgow – totally mesmerising despite indecipherable lyrics moulded on to relentless, pounding white noise punk.
Commended: The Handsome Family, The Tron, Glasgow; Mark Olson/Gary Louris, Darvel Music Festival; Morrissey, Barrowland, Glasgow.
BOOKS (not necessarily published in 2009):
1 - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
2 - The Terrorists by Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall
3 - Swan Peak by James Lee Burke
All good, engrossing, cleverly plotted reads with interesting characters. As the authors named in the first two show, have been delving into Scandinavian cop thrillers – thoroughly recommended.
Commended: The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson; When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
1 - The Wire - astounding and outstanding.
2 - The Sopranos – gripping to the very end.
1 - Thomas The Tank Engine
2 - Peppa Pig
3 - Giggle Bits
Three-year-old son, Adam rules the remote so these are shows I’ve seen most in 2009. Although I have enjoyed Gavin & Stacey, Gary Tank Commander and various BBC4 music documentaries, thanks to iPlayer.
Happy to hear your “best of” while looking forward to what 2010 brings.