2010 Anti-List (Part One)
While 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:
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?
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.
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).
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!!!!!!!!
It’s okay. Craft beer nerds are the same as comic book nerds. We consume, hoard, and obsess. I was just lamenting how much my cellar has dwindled in recent weeks (damn holidays) and how much I need to go on a good beer run. The biggest difference between a craft beer nerd and a comic book nerd is that the comics stay around long after they’ve been consumed. The beer does not. So, I’m always making room for new beers.
Your music choices might be lazy, but they’re pretty dead on. I recently participated in a pretty extensive conversation over the year’s best music via a group on Facebook. (If you’re on FB, I can clue you in there.) What I found is that most everyone had some of the same records you mention here. The difference is that everyone also included records only they liked. The lazy choice, IMHO, is often (but not always) the right choice.
That said, Arcade Fire, Deerhunter, and The Walkmen are solid choices. I really dislike Ariel Pink, but a lot of people like him. Also, good call on Spoon and The National. I guess that’s the price bands pay for being good.
I give The National a pass, mainly because Alligator is one of my all-time favorite albums. (Same way with Wilco…pretty much everything they record will end up on my year end list, because of the good will they built up with Summerteeth.)
Not sure why I can’t keep up the same spirit of goodwill toward bands with inferior albums with the Arcade Fire this year.
I haven’t tried instapaper yet, but longer-form seems to be making something of a comeback on the worldwide. If instapaper allows you to save from anywhere, you should also check out Long Form and Long Reads.
How does fantasy soccer/football work, anyway? I got hooked on fantasy baseball and fantasy football (the ‘roid kind), but I’m not sure how there’d be enough points for soccer-style football fantasies.
BoC – In years past I tried to be a comics nerd, but failed miserably. But every time I go to this great beer stall, I get that same wave of feeling coming over me to collect, collect, collect (coupled with feeling a little intimidated and out of my depth). I really ought to actually drink a few I’ve hoarded before I buy some more.
That FB group sounds good – I’ll try and find you on FB and go from there…
PC – Thanks for the links. I think I checked them out a while ago, and then forgot about them, so that’s really helpful.
Re: fantasy football. There seems be a variety of forms, but the most popular scores like this: http://fantasy.premierleague.com/M/rules.mc Generally speaking, there are points for scoring or assists, and points dropped for red cards and the like. As football is such a fluid game I don’t think it really lends itself to fantasy play, as there aren’t a whole lot of meaningful stats to analyse. Plenty of people like it, but I think it more like a game of chance. Plus, there are rarely drafts, so you can end up in a league where everyone has the same players in their team anyway, which ruins half the fun.
[…] Christmas has come early for you lucky readers, hasn’t it? After the all-round excitement of yesterday’s Part One of the 2010 Anti-List, here comes the second and final part. Here’s some other stuff I’ve liked this year. […]