2010 Anti-List (Part Two)
Oh, 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. Enjoy!
Listening to the radio
I started a new job in April. On my first day, as my predecessor was handing things over, she let me know that nobody really minded if you sat with headphones on all day. I looked around the office to see this was indeed the case. And while I haven’t cut myself off completely for the auditory delights of Your Average Office, I have from time to time plugged myself in. It certainly helps the day go a little quicker listening to the previous night’s baseball, or the day’s cricket or some podcast or other.
I’ve probably listened to more podcasts than ever before on various mobile devices. The world is a better place for Radiolab, Sound Opinions and the like. For such an old medium, radio seems to have done a much better job of evolving in our new Digital World than, say, newspapers. Long may it reign!
Making pizza on Bad TV Saturdays
In last year’s End of Year List I discussed a new-found love for bad television on a Saturday night. Matters have progressed this year, as I have attempted to make Saturday night Bad TV and Pizza Night. There have been some variable attempts at pizza-making, always from scratch, and always leaving an almighty mess in the kitchen. I like playing around with the recipes for the dough and the toppings and seeing what comes out. Sometimes it is some unholy tomato cake, other times it is a pretty edible pizza. My efforts shall continue. I hope one day my future offspring will eagerly await Dad’s Pizza. I expect they won’t!
This year, for the millionth year running, I have enjoyed reading stuff. And there have been a lot of good things to read. The New York Review of Books remains my favourite magazine as it makes me feel a little cleverer than I really am. It introduces me to subjects that are new to me and illuminates subjects I thought I knew something about. Also, the reviews are so comprehensive I can skip the books themselves. Don’t tell anyone though.
I’ve also read far, far more fiction than I usually do. See, I generally prefer non-fiction books as they are more useful for answering questions on quiz machines or Christmas games of Trivial Pursuit. But this year a series of great novels kept me occupied. The Bascombe books were a highlight, but I also enjoyed Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn and Franzen’s The Corrections. I have a lot of catching up to do, you see. I’ve just finished Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask, a recommendation from Double Word Score. It is fantastic – some incredibly funny lines in a pretty sorrowful book. It would be too smart for its own good, if it wasn’t for the beating heart hidden in there. Great writing.
My teams were hopeless this year, so the less said about them the better. But, I did enjoy a couple of underdog tales.
New Zealand in this summer’s World Cup were written off as complete outsiders, likely to get pummelled in every game. Instead, they left the tournament unbeaten, and very nearly defeated the holders, Italy. They produced a compelling argument for ‘smaller’ nations to remain in the World Cup.
The San Francisco Giants won baseball’s World Series, which nobody really expected. They seemed a thoroughly likeable team, and in Tim Lincecum, had a laidback long-haired genius at the centre of it all. That was fun to watch, and infinitely better than seeing another Yankees win.
I don’t write enough. I’m sure some of you beg to differ as you wade through this stream-of-barely-conscious-ness, but still, I could probably write more if your standard Guides to Writing are to be believed.
However, I did manage to write plenty in 2010 and very much enjoyed it. There was, of course, the standard nonsense here, but I also inflicted my particular brand of waffle and piffle on the readerships of BaseballGB and a (hyper)local blog, the Charlton Champion. It’s a lot of fun writing for different audiences and I hope to do more of that in future.
I also dabbled with a little fiction writing, as we’re all frustrated novelists, right? I may indulge this further in the New Year, but I’m not sure if I’ll actually inflict any it on the general public. I’m not that mean.
So…err…thanks for reading! I’ll probably stick up a picture of a Christmas tree tomorrow and do a more coherent thank you. Or just stick up a picture of a Christmas tree. Anything to get the post frequency up.
What’s the worst television o’er the pond? I’m a sucker for Stan Lee’s Superhumans.
Generally, the reality stuff, which has no real redeeming qualities, but is oddly compelling. My favourite this year was Four Weddings (I think there is a US version too), where four brides visit each other’s weddings, and more often than not get very drunk and bitch horribly about one another. It really brings the best out of people.