2010 Anti-List (Part One)

by Steve

Postman at ChristmasWhile I really enjoy other people’s end of year lists, I have always been hopeless at putting mine together. I’m not one of those “You can’t rank art!” people, but I am pretty indecisive, and prone to moments of insecurity, where I worry that if I haven’t listened to every single major music release in a year, then how can I be in a position to judge an album of the year? So, these kind of minor histrionics have delayed me posting any sort of Best of 2010 list. Until now that is. You lucky things.

So, I bring you my 2010 Anti-List. Firmly sitting on the fence, it is in alphabetical order. Forsaking any sort of comprehensiveness, it is a snapshot of a variety of cultural/sporting/technical/consumption-y stuff that I have enjoyed/experienced/tasted this year.

It’s a bit of a cop-out, but it is an opportunity for me to ramble for a few hundred words about Stuff I Liked This Year. And what is the internet, if it is not a forum for ramming your taste down others’ throats?

Without further ado, let me open the shiny gold envelope and read out part one of this year’s winners:

Beer

I haven’t drunk so much beer this year. Or, at least, I’ve attempted to drink less. This is partly for non-scary medical reasons, partly for my general wellbeing. This is a little unfortunate, as this year I started a new job within walking distance of two amazing real ale pubs. Oh well.

Still, I’ve drunk some good beer this year. If only I could remember it. Brewdog’s Edge stood out, as it managed to combine their traits of being challenging, complex and striking, whilst not being strong enough to fell an ox. East Coast Mild springs to mind too as a good-un. I drank a beer flavoured with basil. It was odd. I have no idea how anyone could drink more than a half of it.

I’ve also delved more into the craft beer sphere, and have some interesting brews sitting in my cellar waiting to be drunk. I’ve a sneaky suscipion that buying and hoarding craft beer is a little like comic book collecting. I’d elaboate, but I’m scared of getting all obsessed and weird as it is. Or otherwise offending my readership. So…er…I’ll elaborate if only to say not every craft beer collector is strange. Nor is every comic book collector. But it runs the risk. I should really edit this. But this is UNCUT! Now where is that Imperial Kill Yer Braincells that I bought?

Buying CDs

I used to buy loads of CDs. Now I don’t. This isn’t necessarily because of torrents and Spotify and the online revolution. This is more because I’m getting old, and I have plenty of old CDs to listen to, thank you very much.

However, that’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed some compact disc purchases this year. It is probably a lazy choice, but Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs would be my album of the year. Seeing them live probably cemented it, but them documenting The Journey Into The 30s And Settling Down didn’t hurt their cause.

I’m late to the Deerhunter party, but I loved Halcyon Digest, particularly how after a few listens it suddenly blossomed into some kind of experimental pop epic. Or something. The Atlas Sound freebies were good too. The Walkmen were ever-reliable, and are the perfect lazy late night soundtrack. Ariel Pink got a budget, and produced a brilliant, encyclopaedic trawl through the last 40 years of rock and pop. These are my next-tier favourites.

Spoon and The National produced great records by anyone’s standards, except their own. Wild Nothing were my favourite 80s indie-throwback of the year, but I reckon it could get a little tired soon. Joanna Newsom’s album was probably great, but I just never had the time to concentrate on it properly. I liked Kurt Vile, but I didn’t buy him on CD, so he doesn’t count for this section. Sorry Kurt!

‘Eat Natural’ bars

I’m hopeless at breakfast time. I’ve had odd phases of getting up in time for some, but it is not easy when that it at the expense of an extra 10 minutes in bed. Plus, I only really get hungry once I’m on my way to work. At the shop near work I get an ‘Eat Natural’ bar each morning. I convince myself that, by calling itself ‘Eat Natural’ and being full of cereals and fruit and things, it must be good for me. I’m not so sure. And I’m not brave enough to read the wrapper yet.

Fantasy baseball

I had an epic fantasy baseball year in the BaseballGB fantasy league. Despite (or, considering this meant I avoided sentimental picks, because of) having to auto-draft, I started really well. Then it kind of went wrong. Then I brought in a load of free agents and away I went, making the play-offs on the very last day, and coming *this* close to reaching the final. I finished fourth. I was happy with this. I’ve already started plotting next year’s plan of attack. Addictive stuff, and so much better than fantasy football (soccer variety).

Instapaper

The internet is meant to eat our attention spans. I mean, you’re bored reading this, right? Right? Hello? Ah, I never tire of that joke.

Well, Instapaper is fighting back, allowing its users to save longer articles, to read at a later date on the device of their choice. I’ve ended up reading loads of great articles off my phone, which is a better use of it than playing some silly game or other. I still play silly games on it, but the odd bit of quality reading is progress, right?

Phew. I think that’s enough for one day. Stay tuned for PART TWO!!!!! It is going to be MORE OF THE SAME SORT OF STUFF!!!!!!!!

Image from George Eastman House via Flickr

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