Yeah, I know everybody else does it, which should probably be reason enough for me not to, but what the heck, I’ll try and keep it random. So, without further ado, here’s my top eleven things of 2011 (I’ve only thought of 9 so far, so if the last 2 are a bit crappy, you know why. If more than 2 of them are crappy, well, that’s another matter!)
Also, due to some ‘technical issues’ with my PC this post is being done on my phone on a train, and I can’t add photos, even though I’d downloaded some good ones to spice the post up a bit, oh well!
1) The Film Norwegian Wood. Norwegian Wood is a book by Haruki Murakami (and a song by the Beatles) who I would say was one of my favourite authors. It’s not one of my favourites of his by any means, it’s relatively sane compared to some of his other stuff, but it’s still good. I had heard there was going to be a film made of it, and was unsure how it would turn out. Book to film conversions don’t always work out well. However, the film was great. The characters were given wonderful depth while the story was slimmed down to a suitable length, and visually it looked superb too.

2) Disgaea 4, a Playstation 3 game. Not one of the big, famous blockbuster type games that get all the attention, but it’s kept me thoroughly entertained for the last few months, and there’s plenty more life in it yet. Simply put, it’s about a vampire who has lost all his power due to a promise he made, meaning now he relies on sardines for strength rather than blood. Not easy to describe, think of it as a complicated game of chess with a perverse sense of humour.
3) Plastikman live in Manchester. OK, I’m cheating a bit here. This show would have been one of my highlights of the year if I’d been sober enough to remember anything about it. Being a fan for almost 15 years I was obviously looking forward to seeing him perform live for the first time, but spent the preceding few hours getting so drunk that the whole night is a total blank. Yes, I should know better at my age, and I do regret it, however I was there, and by all accounts it was an excellent show, so I’m including it anyway.
4) The film Rubber. I’d seen some publicity about this film as it was made by Quentin Dupieux, also known as oddball musician Mr. Oizo. Everything about it screamed surreal nonsense, and when I got to see it I wasn’t disappointed. Simply put, it’s about a murderous psychic car tire, and beyond that, it’s hard to define. It took me back to my student days by being so unconventional yet entertaining at the same time. They should make more films like this instead of boring ones. Luckily, M. Dupieux has a new one out next year called ‘Wrong’. Can’t wait 🙂

5) Birds. Birds? Yep, I’m cheating again. They’re hardly a 2011 thing, but it’s been a good year in the garden for birds. Maybe it seems a bit nerdy to some people to watch birds, but I enjoy it. Also, surely it’s a good thing to be able to derive pleasure from something so small and simple (and free!) There’s few things more rewarding than having a garden bustling with birdlife, it keeps my spirits up.
6) Nicolas Jaar. He makes very good music and I hadn’t heard of him until about 6 months ago, so clearly I haven’t got my finger on the pulse of what’s cool. He’s done an album called ‘Space Is Only Noise’ and there are other bits and pieces of stuff available to find for any budding internet detectives. It’s a pretty chilled sound with a sprinkling of piano and smatterings of vocal stuff in a variety of languages. I think he’s Cuban, but don’t quote me on that. Worth a listen though.

7) Twitter. Yes, really. I’ve been on Twitter for over a year now and at first I didn’t really know what I was doing. I still don’t but I’m getting a bit better. A friend said to me that he wasn’t interested in Twitter because it was full of self-obsessed celebrities and dense footballers, and there are probably a preponderance of them on there. But you don’t have to follow them, you can find musicians, authors, favourite websites and even real, normal people on there (well, just a few ;)) It’s as good and useful as you want it to be. For example…
8) Atomised by Michel Houellebecq (discovered via Twitter). A book by a French author who lives in Ireland. When I heard him described as the greatest living author in Europe I thought I’d better check him out, and Atomised was the one I got. Apart from a large slice of graphic sex, it’s fairly intellectual stuff covering topics such as philosophy, molecular biology and French socio-economic history. Sure it was heavy going, but it was good going too and I look forward to reading more of his work next year. Oh, and it has a BIG twist at the end, I know I didn’t see it coming.

9) This blog. I know it’s a bit self indulgent, but I’ve enjoyed doing it. I read someone else’s blog 4 months ago and thought “I can do that”, not necessarily better or worse than the one I’d read, just mine. I don’t believe I’ve said anything witty, insightful or profound, but the bits of feedback I get are always positive, and that’s encouraging. I’m going to keep on doing it anyway even if nobody is reading it, I think it might be quite therapeutic!

Ah sod it, I’m not going to add another couple just for the sake of it… Quality rather than quantity eh? I’m back at home now and glad not to be typing this out on the phone anymore, it’s hard work! I’ll also see if I can add some photos, but no promises.

Anyway, as for next year… I’m not one for having New Year’s resolutions, but I hope it goes better than this one has. That’s in part up to me to be pro-active I guess and make things happen (which I am trying to do) but if fortune fancies shining on me too, I’ll be happy with that. And I can’t say any more than that for anyone else either… I hope whatever kind of year you’ve had, next year is better. See you on the other side!

ses x