2011 Year In Review

Written December 2011.

Year In Review: First Sequence

Our review opens in the bland but unpretentious northern French city of Compiegne. Three travellers are stranded at a rest stop while one of their party transposes the contents of his stomach into a bag, then the side of the road, then another bag, then a toilet, then a different toilet, then an ambulance floor.

While all this goes on, a man watches from the shadows. In his hands he thumbs a photo – it is the last three Years in Review, stapled together – anatomically, if not syntaxually, correct – in his mind he envisions joining all further Years in Review into one long sequence; a Reviewipede if you will – realising his dream of a literary creature that is one half music, one half sport and the half just mindless rubbish.

Hello and welcome to the 2011 Year in Review – now with 25% more Gallic Arrogance! I’m your host on this magical medical journey through the amazing last 12 months. We’ll also discuss the strangest fucking film I’ve ever seen.

People

Man. Can you name another animal that has walked on the Moon? Can you name another animal that has cured Polio? Can you name another animal that has scored the winning goal in a World Cup final (please remember that women’s sport does not count)? Can you name another animal that has individually invented the MP3 player, the personal computer, the mobile phone and a sort-of TV PVR box that doesn’t really do anything? Man = simply brilliant.

I turned 30 this year and my life still resembles Arsenal’s defending from a set piece, ie a shambles. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a legally sanctioned same-sex partner, for example Julia Gillard, let alone a smaller, totally parasitic version of myself, for example Andrew Wilkie; so I am in total awe of those around me who manage to run their own business, buy a house, buy a car, install an impressive audio and navigation system into said car, emotionally support their financially independent and super-intelligent wife, run for parliament on a socially progressive but financially responsible platform and raise twins. I can’t imagine what that would be like, but I can imagine what it’s like to be a handy man to have a beer with (because I am one as well), so for that and that alone, the 2011 Man of the Year is J.

Women: while necessary for breeding, I’ve never seen a woman complete a try-saving ball-and-all tackle to win an NRL match. The 2011 Woman of the Year is A. Happy? If A hadn’t won this award, it would belong to Julia Gillard. At the start of the year, I described Gillard as the worst prime minister in Australia’s history (and I lived through two years of Malcolm Fraser); if an election were held today, I would vote for her and passionately support her campaign for re-election.

News

Mostly revolving around people dying, the news cycle is the most difficult in the world – after the menstrual cycle – so whenever we go 15 minutes without a singer overdosing or a genius powering down, the red tops tend to make up the news, focus on celebrity and animal stories or harmlessly tap into the voicemail messages of dead schoolchildren. While riding the news cycle, one must be very careful of the much more powerful opinion cycle. Whereas the news cycle is an FPM (fact powered machine), the Opinion Cycle runs off a much more vibrant and renewable resource called bullshit. Whilst manure was previously harvested for compost or largescale domestic terrorism, cattle waste is now a handy go-to for anyone (and I mean both left and right, though as we all know, only turkeys have left wings) who wants to start a blog, launch a barely watched morning TV show or reimagine the role of towncryer.

What I love most about the Opinion Cycle is the surnames. Miranda is Devine. Andrew is a Bolt from the blue and David just Marrs everything. Could this be the worst paragraph in the history of the Year in Review?

Here are the Top 10 News Stories of 2011. I’ve added some colourful comments to make the most of my deformation insurance.

10 I become an Apple fanboy.
I’m even writing this drivel on a MacBook Air.

9 Anders Breivik kills 76 in Norway attacks.
Truth be told, Norway is still pretty boring.

8 Occupy Movement spreads around the world.
I fight communism every day with Occupy Workplace.

7 Prince William marries Kate Middleton.
Free tip Kate: avoid tunnels in Paris.

6 Floods in Rio, Pakistan and Thailand kill 1,994 people.
If you didn’t know about these Third World disasters you don’t watch enough SBS. And you’re racist.

5 Everything to do with the Arab Spring.
I was very bored of this by the time the Arabs changed their clocks forward for Summer.

4 Osama bin Laden killed in Pakistan.
Police still investigating suspicious betting patterns from certain Pakistani cricketers.

3 Both democratically elected houses of Australian parliament pass legislation to put a price on carbon.
I support this legislation only because I oppose everything the protesters support.

2 Japanese earthquake and tsunami kills 15,840.
True story: Sony blamed this for poor results. Nothing to do with that unsaleable robotic dog. Or MiniDisc. Or being 18 months late with a tablet. I really am sounding like a fanboy.

1 An Irish egomaniac destroys the reputation of Australia’s most cherished brand.
And this Australian egomaniac can’t wait to destroy Ireland. Tomorrow.

As I write this, the BBC World News that I’m watching in France reports that an Afghan woman jailed for adultery can be released if she agrees to marry the man who raped her. Do people still oppose the war in Afghanistan?

Year In Review: Full Sequence

Having survived their scare with invasive surgery, the troupe departed France north, to Amsterdam, where the Review is now being written. As you all well know, The Netherlands is the home of boring shit like windmills, tulips and wooden shoes; and interesting stuff like drugs, hookers and Tom Six.

Although the hotel info folder confidently declared that smoking was banned in hotels, pubs and clubs in 2008, Dutch laws are enacted without any will to enforce them, a bit like austerity measures in Greece or peaceful protests. By the way, Time Magazine, there’s nothing sensible about giving an award to people who would rather protest against those that achieve greatness rather than achieve greatness themselves. That’s what I read in an Ayn Rand novel and I will fervently believe it until I read the opposite in a different Ayn Rand novel.

In addition to one day having my mouth sewn to the gastric tract of another human, here are some other things I’m afraid of: becoming too emotional at work and crying, realising I’m not as smart as I think I am and Sharia Law. I would like to die in a plane crash.

Sport

Ultimately a contest between men, sport is sometimes corrupted into a novelty by either a reduction in its length (ie Twenty20) or in the manliness of its performance (ie all women’s sport).

Here are the Top 10 Sports Moments of 2011, as decided by me in consultation with proven rapist Mike Tyson and (insert Fairfax praise or News Limited slander) Peter Roebuck:

10 Ray Hadley commentates New Zealand winning the Rugby World Cup
He called the French players by their numbers.

9 India wins the Cricket World Cup
First time the Final’s host country has won the tournament. Look it up if you don’t believe me.

8 Seriously, who gives a shit about AFL?

7 St George Illawarra completes the record sextuple
Not even Barcelona amassed as many trophies.

6 Brisbane Roar win A-League, go 36 games unbeaten
I was at the game that ended the streak. It was freezing.

5 Pakistani cricketers jailed for match fixing
The penalty for match fixing and doping in sport should be death.

4 Australian cricket team sacks Simon Katich, promotes Nathan Lyon
They could pick Katich just for his bowling.

3 Black Caviar maintains her unbeaten racing record.
And she barely broke out of a Sunday trot.

2 NRL betting scandal leads to criminal convictions.
Hassan Saleh owes money all around town.

1 Cadel Evans wins the Tour de France.
C’est magnifique.

Special mention should also go to Stephanie Gilmour for winning the surfing world championship and to Samantha Stosur for winning the US Open, but it doesn’t because women’s sport does not count. This is the same joke every year but someone always writes in to complain. If it’s going to be you, let me get in first and say that you don’t have the titties for that style of t-shirt.

The Sportsman of the Year is one of the most prized awards given out in the Year in Review. This is mostly because we’re starting from a low base. Since 2003, Steve Waugh has won this award every year: a remarkable achievement, especially when you consider he retired in 2004. Tugger’s run has come to an end, however, with Cadel Evans this year taking home the prize, which is Golden Statuette of Steve Waugh.

Food

In the Full Sequence, for those that still have no idea what I’m writing about, food is a transient concept: one that goes through multiple stages before returning to its original home. In Amsterdam, food comes in several solid varieties: Argentinean steakhouses, pancakes and fast food. For those that haven’t been here: Amsterdam is like a very large Darling Harbour – it’s the most touristy place I’ve ever seen. The Madame Tussauds here actually has a line of idiots wanting to see the Barack Obama candle before it/he melts. At least that’s what I think happens – my goal in life is to never set foot inside a Madame Tussauds.

Anyways, the perennial favourites KFC, prawns and broccoli are all in the mix again, but after spending a morning in the Museumdistrictplein, these three inverse Dutch colonists had lunch at a canalside restaurant called George. I had the steak sandwich with Belgian fries and a glass of Merlot. It was delicious! I’ve included a photo so you can experience what it was like to sit in my seat, though not what was like to actually eat it. The Food of the Year is the Steak Sandwich at George.

Food of the Year: Dutch Steak Sandwich at George.

Vale

After absolutely nobody complained at the exclusion of an In Memoriam in the 2010 Year in Review, I have decided to reinstate it solely because it’s my Year in Review and I’ll do what I want Goddamit!

Pete Postlethwaite had a hard name to spell
Osama bin Laden is finally sent to hell
Gerry Rafferty walks Baker Street alone
Steve Jobs powered down his iPhone
Nancy Wake was a wonderful White Mouse
And that sort of rhymes with Amy Winehouse
Nate Dogg deregulated
Peter Roebuck defenestrated
Jack Kevorkian got his wish
Elizabeth Taylor: what a dish!
Joe Frazier hit his final canvas
Christopher Hitchens: ‘God can’t save us’
Betty Ford said drugs were bad
Gary Speed’s death was very sad
If you thought Warren Christopher was unknown
Had you even heard of Sir Zelman Cowan?
Seve Ballesteros swung his last golf club
Doctor Socrates spent too much time at the pub
Muammar Gaddafi finally pays for Lockerbie
Kim Jong-il was a master of comedy
And while Maddie Pulver survived her bomb scare
Outside her house the tabloid press are still there.

I really enjoyed writing that.

Books

I read 4,839 words of George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire this year, and it was okay. I also read Atlas Shrugged, which is now the longest book I’ve ever read: it’s exceptionally good and should be read with the same fundamentalist enthusiasm as The Bible or The Koran. Another winner was The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which has been made into a film starring Ezra Miller.

Witticisms

A close runner up was the person who spoke last in this conversation:

Patrick: We must be in France by now.
M: I don’t know – I can’t see any white flags.

The winner is the person who spoke last in this conversation:

Hotel clerk: I’m sorry, but I can’t get that channel to work.
Patrick: Can you arrange for the game to be shown on a different channel?

(That one is just for you M)

Countries

This year I have added Thailand (18), Belgium (19) and The Netherlands (20) to the list. Although I am ashamed to be the same species as the people who post comments on the 2GB website, the Country of the Year is Australia. I like how our currency is easy to identify with a simple glance. At least those pseudo-humans on the 2GB website don’t see too much currency during their pathetic lives.

Creation Note

The production of the 2011 Year in Review has moved from a MacBook Air running OSX to a desktop Mac running Windows 7. I still have to put up with the incredibly not ergonomic keyboard and that stupid one button mouse that makes right-clicking more irritating than flash flooding.

Introspection

I feel this one is going really well. Not sure if too many people are picking up on the Human Centipede theme, but otherwise it’s packed full of LOLs and ‘you’re so clever’ moments. The welcome return of the Vale poem adds a certain je ne sais pa. I may have to cut back the Top 100 Songs of 2011 as I only have 73 in there at the moment. Also, I need to add Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy to the film list, which I saw earlier today. Just across from me is a very well dressed young man with an unlit cigarette in his mouth and a cocaine addiction. He’s walking towards me now. He seems to have a knife…

…Hello! My name’s Raphael. I’m German and I’m Eurotrash. My great-grandfather was Duke of some Duchy and he stole so much gold during the war that I get to live the life I deserve. Fast cars, Milan, scarves and the constant company of fabulous women addicted to heroin. By the power invested in me by Armand van Buren I declare this my Year in Review. Here are my Top 10 Things That Are Lame:

10. Old people.
9. Poor people.
8. Art that does not include references to tapestries.
7. East German cities. Seriously, put a wall back up.
6. Amsterdam. It’s just so lame, like New York or France.
5. French people. They just don’t wash enough with ivory soap.
4. All music except that song I heard last night at discotheque.
3. Starving children on TV.
2. Penrith.
1. That loser that was writing before I came along. Oh look, he’s waking up. He’s got a glass of water. Noooo…

…I’m back. And by the way, I’ve just discovered that water melts Eurotrash. It must be the high cocaine content of their souls.

Year in Review: Final Sequence

And so from Amsterdam to Paris, via Lille. There’s not much to write about Lille, except that it’s the gateway to death and it could possibly be the most boring city in the world – and I’ve lived in Canberra.

Paris is a city that makes you fall in love with it again every day. Over the last few days, I’ve touristed the shit out of Paris. If there was an achievement-based iPhone app game of tourism, I would have three stars for so many of the attractions. I even went to the Palace at Versailles which is without doubt the lamest thing in the world. And what a segueway to the…

Best Games of 2011

5. General manipulation of your friends
4. Words With Friends
3. Plants vs Zombies
2. Cut The Rope
1. World of Goo

That was so half-arsed that I wouldn’t blame anyone for immediately stopping their reading of this drivel and taking out on a contract on my life. Let’s try to redeem the situation with some electronic artforms.

Television

A reminder for our returning readers and a note to a valued newcomers: only the best TV shows are ranked (that’s why there’s no room for Ben Elton Live From Planet Earth, Geordie Shore or Community).

It was an absolutely cracking year for TV, with the Top 10 being separated only by a thin layer of lobstered steel and a vial of blood…

23 Damages
22 Glee
21 The Slap
20 Gruen Planet
19 Family Guy
18 Desperate Housewives
17 Breaking Bad
16 Gruen Nation
15 The Hamster Wheel
14 Offsiders
13 How I Met Your Mother
12 Survivor: Redemption Island
11 Life’s Too Short
10 The Inbetweeners
9 The Office (US)
8 Modern Family
7 Survivor: South Pacific
6 Media Watch
5 South Park
4 Q&A
3 United States of Tara
2 Game of Thrones
1 Dexter

Full on props go to Toni Collette for her great work on Tara, which provided one of two fantastic plot twists during the year.

Words

I invented the following words during 2011:

PRobot (noun): A public relations professional who is incapable of even thinking an interesting thought about their employer/client; though their blind loyalty immediately disappears once they are head hunted to a rival company agency.

She thought Nokia was so raven before, but now that she’s at Sony Ericsson she’s changed her tune: she’s such a PRobot.

Heterospective (noun): The view of a heterosexual person on matters pertaining to gay people.

I don’t know whether this G-string is appropriate attire for the rugby league; can I please get your heterospective?

Distenvy (noun): The joint feeling of being disdainful of what someone else is doing whilst also wishing you were doing it too.

When I sat down on the floor at Notre Dame Cathederal to wait for midnight mass, the French toff looked at me with distenvy.

Films

If you call them ‘movies’ you are poorly bred. A fairly decent year; with the cut-off between recommend to your friends and worse than waterboarding being #22.

29 The Tree of Life
28 Winter’s Bone
27 The Inbetweeners
26 Youth In Revolt
25 The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
24 Patrik, Age 1.5
23 Our Idiot Brother
22 The Hangover Part II
21 Anonymous
20 The Green Hornet
19 The Help
18 Super 8
17 Horrible Bosses
16 Wasted on the Young
15 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
14 Moneyball
13 We Need To Talk About Kevin
12 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
11 Snowtown
10 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
9 Get Him To The Greek
8 Black Swan
7 The Gird With The Dragon Tattoo (US)
6 The Ides of March
5 Contagion
4 Bridesmaids
3 Rise of the Planet of the Apes
2 127 Hours
1 Rabbit Hole

Best Actor: James Franco (127 Hours)
Best Actress: Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
Best Supporting Actor: Vincent Cassel (Black Swan) & Paul Giamatti (The Ides of March)
Best Supporting Actress: Winona Ryder (Black Swan) & Gwyneth Paltrow (Contagion)
Best Middle Part of a Human Centipede: Ashley C Williams (The Human Centipede: First Sequence)

Year In Review: The Actual Final Sequence

Music is really important. When people ask me if I like music, I reply: do you like breathing? Of course I like music – everyone does – even boring people who only listen to classical music and don’t know who David Guetta is (he’s really awesome).

Albums

I listened to several albums this year, though none of the ones featured in Richard Kingsmill’s Top 10, The Guardian’s Top 50 or Q Magazine’s Top 100. Some of them were probably not even released in 2011 as I haven’t listened to the radio since Anthony Mundine invented Australian hip hop in 2004.

The albums that are good enough to be mentioned but not good enough to win are:

High Violet (The National)
Torches (Foster The People)
Codes And Keys (Death Cab For Cutie)
Rain On The Humming Wire (The Panics)
Suck It And See (Arctic Monkeys)

And the 2011 Album of the Year is:

The Golden Year (Ou Est Le Swimming Pool)

Music Videos

You know the spiel: the Music Video of the Year goes to the clip that most sexually objectifies women. Carrying on the theme from Albums: I haven’t watched music television since the Black Eyed Peas invented rap music in 2006. And I really don’t know of many videos this year that are deserving, so I’m giving this award to the suggestion made by the friend who lent me this MacBook Air so I could write this drivel.

The 2011 Music Video of the Year is Bubble Pop (Hyuna).

Songs

Thank God! It’s finally over. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the Year In Review. I’ve certainly enjoyed tapping it out, with parts written and compiled in Sydney, London, Paris, Compiegne, Bruges, Amsterdam, Lille, Glasgow and Edinburgh. I’m very worldly! And wordy.

Only 73 songs made the shortlist this year (I’m becoming less and less an authority on this), so I’m reducing my Top 100 to a Top 50. Pretty shameful really…

 

Top 50 Songs of 2011

 

50 Animal
Neon Trees

 

49 Limit To Your Love
James Blake

 

48 Right There
Nicole Scherzinger & 50 Cent

 

47 The Edge of Glory
Lady Gaga

 

46 Jona Vark
Gypsy and the Cat

 

45 Doors Unlocked And Open
Death Cab For Cutie

 

44 Radar Detector
Darwin Deez

 

43 Peacock
Katy Perry

 

42 Party Rock Anthem
LMFAO & Goonrock & Lauren Bennett

 

41 The Lazy Song
Bruno Mars

 

40 She’s Thunderstorms
Arctic Monkeys

 

39 Mace Spray
The Jezabels

 

38 S&M
Rihanna

 

37 Everything Is Quiet
The Panics

 

36 Swim Until You Can’t See Land
Frightened Rabbit

 

35 These New Knights
Ou Est Le Swimming Pool

 

34 Creatures
The Panics

 

33 Game of Thrones Main Title
Ramin Djawadi

 

32 Stereo Hearts
Gym Class Heroes & Adam Levine

 

31 I Just Had Sex
The Lonely Island & Akon

 

30 Grenade
Bruno Mars

 

29 Codes and Keys
Death Cab For Cutie

 

28 Someone Like You
Adele

 

27 Dark Fantasy
Kanye West & Nicki Minaj

 

26 Head of the Hawk
Bluejuice

 

25 Majesty
The Panics

 

24 Curtain Falls
Ou Est Le Swimming Pool

 

23 The Whale Song
Modest Mouse

 

22 Pumped Up Kicks
Foster The People

 

21 Changed The Way You Kissed Me
Example

 

20 Piper’s Song
Gypsy and the Cat

 

19 Jar of Hearts
Christina Perri

 

18 Time To Wander
Gypsy and the Cat

 

17 The Key
Ou Est Le Swimming Pool

 

16 Helena Beat
Foster The People

 

15 ET
Katy Perry

 

14 Moves Like Jagger
Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera

 

13 Easy To Love
The Jezabels

 

12 The A Team
Ed Sheeran

 

11 Rolling In The Deep
Adele

 

10 Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
Arctic Monkeys

 

9 Jackson’s Last Stand
Ou Est Le Swimming Pool

 

8 LIFEGOESON
Noah and the Whale

 

7 Fall At Your Feet
Boy & Bear

 

6 The High Road
Broken Bells

 

5 You Are A Tourist
Death Cab For Cutie

 

4 3rd Planet
Modest Mouse

 

3 Somebody That I Used To Know
Gotye & Kimbra

 

2 Stuck On The Puzzle
Alex Turner

 

1 Bloodbuzz Ohio
The National

 

Stand up straight at the foot of your love.


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