Written 31 December 2004.
A man is exposed completely on a chessboard. The simple man will play poorly, exacting happiness in the smallest of achievements as they would in life. The clever might last longer on those chequered squares, perhaps even producing an endgame. But as in life, chess is a game for the complex of mind and heart. Those that are prepared to be enigmatic to the world but internally thoughtful and controlled are those that achieve the most success both on the board and in life.
I started playing chess at seven years. During my early teens I experienced the tumult that chess can bring to one’s life and tempestuously threw the game away. I returned some time later to finally fulfil my goals, both in life and in playing. But one can never tell the two apart. My game suffered during the lost years, often ending with petulance and impatience. As I changed my life at the start of 2004 so did I change my game. I am a maturer player, a more patient player and a more fearless player. Such is this extended metaphor that as a person I have grown in much the same way.
As the mate move approaches on this year I have become the strongest at chess and life than ever before. Yet to be beaten on the board, I led my college to the chess championship and finally broke the magical 2000 barrier. A monkey that rested on my back was finally flung off as I broke free of the heartache of losing at 1999 and rose to finish the year at 2012 – the first time my rating has eclipsed the year.
But alas, one cannot spend an entire year in review discussing the parallels of chess and life: there’s work to be done…
Before 2004 I had never seen a man drink and then pass a 20c piece. But then again, I’d never heard of anyone losing part of their penis in a pool table. I guess Wagga’s a funny place. Newcastle is too; ever seen a seven-foot man get onto a midget? Neither have I, but if I hadn’t fallen asleep at the Duck’s Nuts I would have. I guess I wouldn’t have fallen asleep if I hadn’t smoked the funky cigarette that a friend won in a bet against an eight-year-old. Did that night really happen? I guess I might have imagined it while running around Shooters on one of my rampages.
This is like the boring part at the Oscars before the awards are announced…
The cricket team of the year is:
The cricketer of the year is Justin Langer.
The EPL team of the year is:
Honourable mentions: Arjen Robben, Frank Lampard, John Terry, entire Greek team.
After an incredibly exciting season, which involved a gripping encounter between Australia and an English team that included only the players who needed to do some duty free shopping, I reaffirm my declaration that Rugby Union is the greatest game in the world.
The sportsman of the year is Steve Waugh.
Worst year ever. Below is the ranking of all the films I saw throughout the year. Just because a film comes in at number two doesn’t make it good.
|25||Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed|
|24||The Passion Of The Christ|
|20||The Fog Of War|
|18||The Station Agent|
|17||Pieces Of April|
|15||Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban|
|13||Capturing The Friedmans|
|12||Kill Bill Volume II|
|6||Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind|
|4||Team America: World Police|
|1||The Phantom Of The Opera|
Remember reading? It was something you used to do before the Microsoft corporation decompartmentalised living. I’m grateful. Below are the books I read this year. An asterisk indicates that I’d rather read a good book twice than a Matthew Reilly novel once.
|The Bride Stripped Bare||Anonymous||Average|
|Good As Gold||Joseph Heller||Above Average|
|Perfume||Patrick Suskind||Below Average|
|On The Road||Jack Kerouac||Average|
|Schindler’s List||Thomas Keneally||Above Average|
|Wuthering Heights||Emily Bronte||Above Average|
|The Silence Of The Lambs||Thomas Harris||Below Average|
|Catch-22*||Joseph Heller||Above Average|
|Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix*||JK Rowling||Above Average|
|The Great Gatsby||F Scott Fitzgerald||Above Average|
|Brave New World||Aldous Huxley||Above Average|
|Less Than Zero*||Bret Easton Ellis||Above Average|
|The Line Of Beauty||Alan Hollinghurst||Above Average|
|Sometimes I Forgot To Laugh||Peter Roebuck||Average|
Actually this was quite a good this year with a number of new shows catching my attention. Never mind that number was only two. For no other reason than because I enjoy ranking things, here is a ranking:
|10||Sex & The City|
|7||Joan Of Arcadia|
|6||Survivor: All Stars|
|5||Queer As Folk|
|3||Six Feet Under|
I just can’t get past that scene where Paulie Walnuts shot the waiter who complained about a tip. I just can’t ignore shows that have characters called Paulie Walnuts.
The food of 2004 is broccoli.
For a long time I wanted to give this award to Mary Donaldson for helping us to annex Denmark. After meeting and living with a Dane for six months I’m quite happy for them to have her. (Just to reiterate, the only reason I wouldn’t have sex with R is because he’s Danish.) But on the other hand, she’s all I have. She’s a diamond in my dull grey life – and that’s the hardest kind of stone – it usually survives. Yes, this a Danish segueway, via Argentina and Missouri, for the 2004 Woman of the Year takes her name from that little Hamlet in Denmark called Hamlet. For being the most serious person I’ve ever met, for being the only person to ever indulge me in teaching them pop-culture, for forgiving me for not finding a platypus and for truly being the Missouri Compromise, the woman of the year is O. (It’s a compliment, honey, just look at who won this award last year.
Now this is tricky. For a long time I was going to give this to myself for truly being the only person who lived up to my standards. For a while I thought about giving it to John Howard for being the greatest politician of all time. Ohio M came in the reckoning for being the only person I know who will watch The Pianist on cable while playing cards until five in the morning. But then a new man emerged. It became clear that no one throughout 2004 had made such an impact on my life than he. No man had been so daring and Machiavellian, so honest while so conniving, such a uniter while dividing people magnificently. Someone so certain of his own greatness that he would create self-deprecating scenarios just to mask his sheer contempt for others. That someone could so earnestly criticise the way I manipulate people and then tell my friends that I’m a totally-out-of-control-woman-hating-chauvinist-who-can’t-be-saved-and-best-be-avoided-for-he-will-hate-you-no-matter-what. For just being him. This is one award I know he’ll cherish – the Man of 2004 is T.
(T was almost pipped at the post by C who so cleverly boasted to J that he was a dead cert to win this award. The bravado almost got you across the line; perhaps if you’d had shown more veneration when we were playing pool I might have considered you. Still, a mention in the year in review is nothing sneeze at (I’d shit at it.).)
I’m glad the following person died:
The Email of the Year is attached. It was good enough to receive praise from one P and controversial enough to have me suspended from email communications indefinitely.
The pool cue of the year is Clarice, followed by the Championship Cue at F. The pool table of the year is at South Pac with assisted in my seven-ball break against Somalia Joe back in first term. I still can’t believe that place gave away beer. I wonder why it went into receivership.
The best albums of the year were:
A Grand Don’t Come For Free (The Streets)
The Phantom Of The Opera (Original Cast Recording)
Team America: World Police (Original Soundtrack)
But better than those three, but released in 1996:
Evita (Original Cast Recording)
At the risk of being controversial and at the risk of being controversial just for sake of being controversial and at the risk of writing ‘controversial’ a controversial five times in a sentence that I’m sure when finished Microsoft Word will tell me is too long and that I should consider rephrasing, the album of the year is one that was not so much released this year but discovered by me this year. It is a perfect album, with tracks flowing onto one another, linked with an otherwise offsetting theme. That a Christian Rock album that openly preaches a love of God and a belief in creation could storm into my life and have such an impact, especially in a year when I abandoned every last remnant of faith, is testament to its unique use of vocals, melody and instrumentation. It may have come 10 years late but I’m glad I found it, the Album of the Year for 2004 is:
God Shuffled His Feet (Crash Test Dummies)
This piece of rubbish was wholly written by Patrick (except the bits written by lyricist Tim Rice) and is owned by Patrick. Any unauthorised publication (including e-mail forwarding) is strictly encouraged. To make this easier for you, I have attached a virus that automatically forwards this e-mail to all the contacts in your inbox.
I don’t know, they were all shit. I’m giving this to Nelly for Flap Your Wings just because I know I should like it.
My prediction for the Top 10 (bear in mind I’ve hardly listened to the radio all year):
Scar (Missy Higgins) (CP: #2.)
Black Betty (Spiderbait) (CP: #5.)
From The Sea (Eskimo Joe) (CP: #3.)
Fit But You Know It (The Streets) (CP: #18.)
Take Me Out (Franz Ferdinand) (CP: #1.)
Some Shit Song (Jet) (CP: Look What You’ve Done was at #24.)
Whatever They Released This Year (Powderfinger) (CP: Bless My Soul was at #9.)
Song With Dave Grohl Guest Drumming (Band With Dave Grohl Guest Drumming) (CP: No such track made the list.)
Australian Song With Catchy Pop-Punk Riff And Moderately Amusing Lyrics (Australian Band) (CP: Yo Mama by Butterfingers was at #17.)
Novelty song (Novelty Band) (CP: Common People by William Shatner was at #21.)
Can you feel how much I care?
The 45 of 2004
|45||Call On Me||Eric Prydz|
|44||1985||Bowling For Soup|
|41||Crack In the Wall||The Panics|
|40||Bail Me Out||Pete Murray|
|39||When The War Is Over||Cosima|
|37||Not Addicted||The Streets|
|36||This Love||Maroon 5|
|35||The End Of An Act||Gary|
|34||Don’t Tell Me||Avril Lavigne|
|31||F**K It (I Don’t Want You Back)||Eamon|
|27||Let’s Get Retarded||Black Eye Peas|
|26||Wolf At The Door||Radiohead|
|25||First Cut Is The Deepest||Sheryl Crow|
|24||Sick And Tired||Anastacia|
|23||Dry Your Eyes||The Streets|
|22||Left Outside Alone||Anastacia|
|21||Leaving New York||REM|
|20||God Shuffled His Feet||Crash Test Dummies|
|19||Take Me Out||Franz Ferdinand|
|18||Fit But You Know It||The Streets|
|16||Beware Of The City||Madonna & Jimmy Nail|
|15||In The Days Of The Caveman||Crash Test Dummies|
|14||Life For Rent||Dido|
|13||Afternoons & Coffeespoons||Crash Test Dummies|
|11||The Phantom Of The Opera||Gerard Butler & Emmy Rossum|
|10||Swimming In Your Ocean||Crash Test Dummies|
|7||She’s A Diamond||Jonathan Pryce|
|6||Masquerade||The Phantom Of The Opera Cast|
|5||Peron’s Latest Flame||Antonio Banderas|
|4||I Miss You||Blink-182|
|3||She Will Be Loved||Maroon 5|
|2||Four To The Floor (Remix)||Starsailor|
|1||So Beautiful||Pete Murray|
Found myself just the other day in the backyard of a friend’s house.