2008 Year in Review: I AM SASHA FIERCE

(Written 31 December 2008)

Hello Friends,

My name is Patrick and I’m a very shy boy. I was raised in a devout Lutheran family in Sydney’s northwest: the Hills District. From an early age I was different to the other boys at Baulkham Hills Way of Christ Primary School. Whilst they played rounders and tippity in the playground I stayed in the classroom. I was reserved, lonely and quiet, like a near-silent De’Longhi Fully Automatic Coffee Machine. And just like coffee is a brewed beverage, I became a brooding boy.

To pass the time through those long school days, I started writing reviews. At first, it was Day in Review, then the Top 100 Songs of Lunchtime. A few years later, while attending the Hillsong Presents Education With A Melody School For Well Adjusted Young Boys And Girls (the school’s motto was “No touching”), I took it to next level, not just reviewing, but previewing as well. I expanded my scope, including movies, television, books and awkward moments in the rectory (I hope I’ve spelt that correctly).

And what became of these many, many journals? Nothing – I was too shy to publish them. I would spend all this time writing about things, projecting my views onto other people, and then I couldn’t bring myself to show them to a parent, teacher or trusted adult.

And so I left high school and started my career as an Executive in Charge of Brown Liquids at Gloria Jeans. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but something in those disgusting coffee-flavoured drinks spoke to me, and told me what I had to do.

I had to battle the shyness. I had to battle the fear. I had to battle the nerves. And I found a way. I may be Patrick: shy, quiet, retiring, considerate friend. But when I sit down at the Year in Review console in Cremorne, I become Sasha Fierce.

That is my alter ego and now he has a last name. I have someone else that takes over when it’s time for me to work and when I’m writing, this alter ego that I’ve created that kind of protects me and who I really am. And now, for the 2008 Year in Review, say goodbye to Patrick, because I AM…SASHA FIERCE.

Okay sportsfans, now that Sasha is at the console, we’re gonna have some rules: consider my opinion to be the Gospel, or the sacred text of your belief systems; only reply with encouragement and praise; forward to your friends and co-workers, but make sure you include my email address; and single ladies, for God’s sake, if you like it then you’re sure to put a ring on it.

Sport

It’s been a tough year for your reminiscing raconteur, starting 360 days ago with Monkeygate and ending yesterday with Rocky Pinting meekly surrendering to the Saffers. Like all clear-thinking, moderately intelligent cricket fans believe, Punter should be relieved of the captaincy. His ability to let games drift, poor field placings and bizarre bowling changes have directly led to not just losses against India and South Africa, but also the Ashes in 2005. England is currently playing great cricket, with English-born stars Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss and Matt Prior all in top, top form. England will win the Ashes unless Australia head to the land of rain and concealed knives under the watchful eye of Simon Katich. The Kat is the greatest cricketer in the history of the world, and with his moody personality and propensity to play across his pads, the Aussies are sure to win.

(Australia did lose that Ashes — Ed.)

In other sports, the Socceroos are two wins away from being the first country to qualify for South Africa 2010. This has been a great achievement, one made all the sweeter by rugby union being at its absolute nadir. Rugby is a boring sport played by boring people for the sole benefit of promoting accountancy firms. People go on an on about it, but how many of them actually got up to watch the Wallabies play Wales?

(The Socceroos became the second team to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, after Japan. And, incidentally, Patrick did stay up to watch the Wallabies play Wales in the 2015 Rugby World Cup — Ed.)

Cricket Team of the Year

Graeme Smith
Gautam Gambhir
Hashim Amla
Kevin Pietersen
AB De Villiers
Shivnarine Chanderpaul
MS Dhoni
Harbhajan Singh
Dale Steyn
Makhaya Ntini
Ryan Sidebottom

(Note AB’s inclusion, a full six years before everyone else realised… — Ed.)

Association Football Team of the Year

Pepe Reina
Jose Bosingwa
Nemanja Vidic
Rio Ferdinand
Gael Clichy
Ronaldo (Cristiano, not the fat one)
Cesc Fabregas
Steven Gerrard
Tim Cahill
Fernando Torres
Emmanuel Adebayor

People still reading this might notice that only English Premier League players are included in this team. This is because English football is by far the most entertaining of all football types. You’ll always meet some tosser who goes on about Spain being technically better or Italy being a harder league to win, but these tools are just trying to sound really smart. I know I’m really smart, so I don’t need to be pretentious. Except for the Old Firm Derby, there is no club football game in the world I’d rather watch than the worst English Premier League game (which, bizarrely, is normally Chelsea v Liverpool).

I’ve thought this for some time, and due to the magic of empiricism, I can now claim my opinion as indisputable fact. That the Champions League Final was played between two English clubs, and that only English clubs knocked out English clubs, is proof enough to vindicate me. QED.

But the Year in Review isn’t just about my opinion, here are the Top 10 Sports Moments of 2008, as voted by our writer.

10. 26-year-old Blake Aldridge blames 14-year-old Tom Daley for ruining his Olympic dream. (They’re like a married couple)

9. New Zealand wins the Rugby League World Cup. (The most important World Cup of 2008)

8. Tiger Woods wins US Open on play off hole after play off round. (It’s rare I feel sorry for losers, but it can’t be fun losing after 91 holes)

7. John Terry misses penalty that would win Champions League. (I turned off after that and still don’t know who won the game)

6. Spain wins Euro2008. (Not so much for winning, but for beating Germany)

5. Patrick backs Newport to win the Metro at 50/1. (I went out to Oktoberfest that night, and what a night it was too)

4. Liverpool don’t win the English football premiership for the first time in 18 seasons. (I feel like a soldier in Vietnam: praying we make 19)

3. Australia’s continued progression through World Cup qualifying. (AND, it pisses off the Japanese)

2. Almost all Australian Gold Medallists at the Beijing Olympics. (All except for:)

1. Matthew Mitcham wins Gold in 10m platform. (Best of the best)

The 2008 Sportsman of the Year is Steve Waugh.

News

The big news for me in 2008 is that I got a job. And what does the man who writes this drivel do for a living? He’s a professional writer. It sounds a lot more glamorous that it is. Essentially, I write 8,000 word essays about fridges.

But despite my protestations, my psychiatrist has assured me that the world does not revolve around me, and that other things are important too. Under the terms of my court enforceable community undertaking, here are the Top 10 News Stories of the Year:

10. World Youth Day hits Sydney. (Insert your own paedophile joke)

9. Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe, Elections, Inflation, Cholera: you know the drill. (It used to be called Rhodesia, and its capital? Salisbury)

8. A lot of Thais arrive at the JetStar counter like one minute late and are refused boarding. (So they overthrow a government; let that me a lesson to you, with your smug sense of undeserved satisfaction, you work at an airport counter, you’re hardly flying the planes)

7. Pirates of the Somalia: Curse of the Star Princess. (I don’t care what those hacked up dead people think, piracy is cool)

6. Israel bombs the shit out of the Gaza Strip. (What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?)

5. Earthquake hits China, killing 70,000. (Thankfully, the people who staged the fake opening ceremony were alright)

4. Sarah Palin is selected at John McCain’s running mate. (She may be the refined governor of Alaska, but she fights like a fucking banshee)

3. Kevin Rudd says sorry to Indigenous Australians. (Don Randall, Sophie Mirabella, Dennis Jensen, Wilson Tuckey, Luke Simpkins, Peter Dutton and Alby Schultz abstained. #NeverForget)

2. The economic crisis. (If I have to see one more battler on Today Tonight banging on about interest rates…

1. Barack Obama is elected the 43rd US President. (Celebrates by coming out of the closet as a secret Muslim)

Vale

Brad Renfro’s heart lost count
Sir Edmund Hillary fell off the mount
Smoky Dawson felt a lot of chills
Heath Ledger took a lot of pills
Bobby Fischer met his own checkmate
Gordon B Hinkley ‘rived at Heaven’s Gate
Anthony Minghella took his Oscar to the sky
Arthur C Clarke finally got to fly
Sydney Pollack wore his last scarf
Yves Saint Laurent died lookin’ suave
Tim Russert had his last chat
Isaac Hayes put away his chef hat
Paul Newman brewed his last sauce
Jørn Utzon drew his last concourse
Harold Pinter lost all his che’er
Michael Crichton went to the E/R
They all died and turned to sod
But I’m still here, so let’s thank God.

Movies

I saw 51 this year and they are were all pretty bad. Some of these are from a few years ago, but I’ve included them to pad this out a bit.

51. No Country For Old Men
50. The Black Dahlia
49. Superbad
48. Drillbit Taylor
47. Four Holidays
46. An Inconvenient Truth
45. Hairspray
44. Tropic Thunder
43. When A Stranger Calls
42. December Boys
41. How To Eat Fried Worms
40. When Zachary Beaver Came To Town
39. Oliver Twist
38. Quantum of Solace
37. The X-Files: I Want To Believe
36. The Darjeeling Limited
35. The Number 23
34. Death of a President
33. Little Manhattan
32. Hoot
31. The Departed
30. Disturbia
29. Keeping Up With The Steins
28. United 93
27. The Break-Up
26. The Chumscrubber
25. Hostel
24. Minutemen
23. High School Musical
22. Sunshine
21. Blades of Glory
20. Atonement
19. The Devil Wears Prada
18. Trust The Man
17. The Queen
16. The Rocker
15. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
14. Knocked Up
13. C.R.A.Z.Y.
12. Letters From Iwo Jima
11. Hancock
10. Flags Of Our Fathers
9. The Black Balloon
8. Michael Clayton
7. Sex And The City
6. Slumdog Millionaire
5. The Savages
4. Juno
3. There Will Be Blood
2. In Bruges
1. The Dark Knight

Christian Bale is the best actor in world, Daniel Craig is the worst Bond ever.

(Patrick eventually came to reverse these two opinions — Ed.)

Did you know that IMDb lists movies numerically, rather than by their name, a la Wikipedia? The #1 movie is Carmencita. This is a 1-minute documentary of a young girl performing a dance while wearing “a hoop skirt and white high-heeled pumps”. It’s rated 5.8 out of 10.

Television

It was a big year for me in television. I gave up on Scrubs, and finally finished watching The West Wing and The Sopranos. The show which is #1 below is now officially the best TV show of all time.

As with all years, there is a certain minimum standard just to make the TV list. As opposed to the movie list, where I hated every movie after Knocked Up.

14. I’m On Setanta Sports (I’m fantastic…Be champions!)

13. Family Guy  (This is a story of love and loss, fathers and sons, and the foresight to retain international merchandising rights. This is the story of Star Wars. Let’s begin with Part Four.)

12. Desperate Housewives (I know another man whose sexual pleasure is going to be greatly reduced.)

11. Skins (My last best mate’s Maxxie. He’s a bit new, he’s a bit cool, he’s a bit gay.)

10. Dexter (Am I good? Or am I really good?)

9. Lockie Leonard (I don’t know, Mum, looks the same as it always has.)

8. The West Wing (You can stay, but stay standing.)

7. The Colbert Report (Good news, Nation! I am furious.)

6. Greek (He really loves that volcano.)

5. South Park (Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Angelina Jolie.)

4. The Office (US) (I’m going to dominate this office, and I’m going to do it by personality mirroring, name repetition and never ending a handshake.)

3. Jeopardy! (I’ll make it a true Daily Double.)

2. Extras (Ohh, fucking hell, I’m Clive Owen, that is mental.)

1. Sopranos (The highway was jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive.)

Food

I’d be very happy to give this to KFC if it weren’t the tedious ads that company is running every 15 seconds during the cricket. It is inverse advertising: it has made me resolute in my determination never to eat KFC again. Of course, I’m just kidding, I finished off around 280 Wicked Wings while writing this.

I’m on Sydney’s social register, so I get to go to a lot of parties and events. These things are a bit of a drag, all you get is free food and alcohol all night, a goody bag with a new mobile phone or microwave and Jennifer Hawkins for company. Hang on, these things are awesome. In fact, there the only reason I get out of bed in the morning. Presuming there isn’t a Conference North game on Setanta: that definitely takes precedence.

Anyways, food… the two things I like most at events are an open bar and prawns. The best prawns I had all year were at the HP Halloween party, but you can’t really stuff up prawns. Battered, grilled, fried or raw, the prawn has it all.

The 2008 Food of the Year is the KFC Zinger Burger.

Humorous Quips

The 2008 Quip of the Year is the last comment in the following conversation:

Tom: What did you guys do this morning?
Matthew: We played Scrabble.
Tom: Who won?
Matthew: I did.
Tom: No wonder Patrick hasn’t mentioned it.

Well done Tom, you beat my “It’s probably better if you argue in French; it’s less awkward for the rest of us”.

Women

Insecure and mentally inferior, woman is a mysterious beast best confined to the kitchen or laundry. A John Travolta character, I think the kid in Grease, once quipped, “women are only good for 15 minutes of the day, the rest of the time they’re useless”. I assume he was talking about the girl I employ to wipe my bottom after I take a poo. She does a great job – I pay her in heroin.

Before anyone sends me an email complaining about my 1730s mindset, let me remind you that this is Sasha Fierce, not Patrick. Direct all your enmity to her.

The 2008 Woman of the Year is Matthew Mitcham. Oh no he didn’t.

Men

Before I pass on the perpetual trophy to the new winner I have to get it back from the 2005 winner who I don’t to speak to anymore. But before I get it back to give to this year’s champion, let’s pay tribute to the outgoing Man of the Year.

Matthew has put in a sensational year as the figurehead and international representative of the Year in Review. I won’t go into specifics, but he certainly put in a better shift than the 2005 winner. He doesn’t like swearing, drinking or modern music. I have no idea what he gets out of reading these…

But today’s your last day, Matthew, so prepare to be consigned to the past, as a new man has stepped up to take the crown. He’s passionate, reliable, outgoing and open to new ideas. He’s the clag glue that holds a KFC Zinger Burger together. He has the same name as a member of the Beatles.

The 2008 Man of the Year is Matthew.

Interestingly, this is third year on the spin that that Man of the Year has been named Matthew. Can Matthew rise to the challenge in 2009? I think he can.

Books

I didn’t read that many this year, mostly because of that little inconvenience called work. Of those I did read, the one that stood out above all others was The Satanic Verses (Salman Rushdie). The Blind Assassin (Margaret Atwood) and The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen) are recommended.

Music Video

After a tough night out on the lash I woke up on the Mayoral family couch naked and disoriented. After donating me a Parisian nightsuit (also known as a onesie), J and I settled in to watch early morning music videos. Despite our night of alcohol abuse and illicit schnitzel consumption, J and I were in fine form, dissecting the music videos not just as promotional or marketing tools, but as statements about society, and the subcultures that emerge within. One video particularly piqued our interest. It concerned a young woman earning an honest wage working at a fried chicken restaurant. One day, a quasi-famous D-list rapper enters to buy 400 Buffalo Wings. As he leaves he gives her his number and tells her to hook them up for a booty call. Well, this is like a dream come true to this girl, lets call her The Original Fried Chicken Whore, and as the video progresses, we see what her dreams are. Fidelity? Happiness? Children? A job that is both mentally challenging and financially rewarding? Of course not. Take it away, TI, what were her dreams:

Stacks on deck
Patron on ice
And we can pop bottles all night
Baby you could have whatever you like
Late night sex so wet and so tight
I’ll gas up the jet for you tonight
Baby you could go wherever you like.

That translates to normal people speak thus:

Amplifiers on the table
Tequila cooling in an ice bucket
And we can open champagne bottles until dawn
I can give you any materialistic possession you need to boost your self-esteem, providing Raul comes through with the cash from his meeting with our commercial supplier
While the sun is down, I will insert my penis into your well-lubricated and surgically reconstructed vagina
I’ll put airline fuel into the private plane I planejacked earlier in the day
I can then put a gun to the pilot’s head and he’ll fly us to any city you want, providing it’s in Somalia.

Regular readers will know that the Music Video of the Year award goes to the one that most sexually objectifies women. Normally that means some dance video featuring a bevy of delicious babes thrusting their partyzones at the camera while wearing a handkerchief. What I like most about Whatever You Like (TI) is that this video objectifies women in a more complex and intellectual fashion. He is able to subjugate the Original Fried Chicken Whore without making her strip down to her T-bar to perform some bizarre sexual routine involving chicken skin, stuffing and a spatula. This video has layers to its sexual objectification of women, and I approve.

But it still isn’t the winner. One video stood out in 2008, and it’s such a great video I’m forsaking my own rules to properly recognise how much I liked it.

The 2008 Music Video of the Year is Use Somebody (Kings of Leon):

Albums

I only listen to the radio when I’m in cabs, and only then if it’s not time for prayers, so my exposure to music is limited strictly to what the music channels on Foxtel play. Doesn’t mean these albums aren’t good, because they all are, it just means I have no idea who Vampire Weekend, Glasvegas or Grates are. No wait, I do know who the Grates are, I just don’t know what their appeal is.

The third through sixth best albums of the 2008 are:

Day & Age (Killers)
Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends (Coldplay)
Pretty. Odd. (Panic at the Disco)
Fleet Foxes (Fleet Foxes)

I really loved this album, it’s a lot better than former Best Album of the Year winners:

Our Love To Admire (Interpol).

The 2008 Album of the Year is Only By The Night (Kings of Leon).

Intermission

I’m worried it’s not as good as previous ones, or that it’s not very funny, or that nobody gets the Sasha Fierce reference. I hope they look it up on Wikipedia, because if they do, I’ll think they’ll appreciate not just how funny that opening section was, but also how incisive it was as a piece of social commentary. Surely no-one has read this far.

Instructions

I used to send this drivel to a lot more people. Since I moved all my social emailing over to Gmail, I’ve lost a lot of contacts. My major sponsor, KFC, is not happy with this drop in circulation, so can everybody please forward this on to their friends and co-workers? Then, if you’re one of these friends or co-workers can you please email me so I can put you on my list?

Doing this won’t bring you good luck and not doing it won’t result in a 12-year-old dying in the boot of my car (I’m killing him regardless), but it will keep my self-esteem up at an acceptable level, and that’s all the encouragement I need to keep doing this.

Bonus points for forwarding it to the 2005 Man of the Year.

The End

Thank God! Here is the Top 80 of 2008 (get it?):

80. Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis
79. Dream Catch Me – Newton Falkner
78. Something Good 2008 – Utah Saints
77. Another Way To Die – Jack White & Alicia Keys
76. Two Doors Down – Mystery Jets
75. Crackagen – Antony & The Johnsons
74. Certamente – Madreblu
73. Rebellion (Lies) – Arcade Fire
72. My People – Presets
71. Dance Wiv Me – Dizzee Rascal & Calvin Harris
70. When The Day Met The Night – Panic At The Disco
69. 4 Minutes – Madonna, Justin Timberlake & Timberland
68. So What – Pink
67. Tell Me In The Morning – Cold War Kids
66. Mammoth – Interpol
65. Human – Killers
64. Just Dance – Lady GaGa
63. Shake It – Metro Station
62. Electric Feel – MGMT
61. Strawberry Swing – Coldplay
60. Walking On A Dream – Empire Of The Sun
59. Naughty Girl – Mr G
58. Weekend Warriors – MGMT
57. Black Books – Nils Lofgren
56. No Air – Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown
55. Black & Gold – Sam Sparro
54. Crawl – Kings of Leon
53. Lets Dance To Joy Division – Wombats
52. Touch My Body – Mariah Carey
51. Live Your Life – TI
50. Low – Flo Rida & T-Pain
49. Joy Ride – Killers
48. Rehab – Rihanna
47. This Heart Attack – Faker
46. Pace Is The Trick – Interpol
45. Disturbia – Rihanna
44. Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) – Mika
43. Hang Me Up To Dry – Cold War Kids
42. The World We Live In – Killers
41. Spaceman – Killers
40. Reverie – Kings of Leon
39. Another World – Antony & The Johnsons
38. I Want You – Kings of Leon
37. See You Again – Miley Cyrus
36. Kids – MGMT
35. This Is Your Life – Killers
34. All Fired Up – Interpol
33. Lost! – Coldplay
32. I Kissed A Girl – Katy Perry
31. 17 – Kings of Leon
30. Fairytale of New York 2008 – Pogues & Kirsty Maccoll
29. Rehab – Amy Winehouse
28. A Crippling Blow – Killers
27. 7 Things – Miley Cyrus
26. Violet Hill – Coldplay
25. We Used To Vacation – Cold War Kids
24. Hot N Cold – Katy Perry
23. Living On A Thin Line – The Kinks
22. Paralyzer – Finger Eleven
21. Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors – The Editors
20. Paper Planes – MIA
19. 5 Years Time – Noah & The Whale
18. No I In Threesome – Interpol
17. Viva La Vida – Coldplay
16. Nine In The Afternoon – Panic At The Disco
15. Whatever You Like – TI
14. Poker Face – Lady GaGa
13. If I Were A Boy – Beyonce
12. Pioneer To The Falls – Interpol
11. Time To Pretend – MGMT
10. Losing Touch – Killers
9. All Summer Long – Kid Rock
8. Northern Downpour – Panic At The Disco
7. Are You Magnetic? – Faker
6. Dashboard – Modest Mouse
5. Use Somebody – Kings of Leon
4. Fans – Kings of Leon
3. The Heinrich Manouver – Interpol
2. Sex On Fire – Kings of Leon
1. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

Well you done done me and you bet I felt it.

One thought on “2008 Year in Review: I AM SASHA FIERCE

  1. Pingback: 2016 Year in Review — The 16 of Trumps (and Tweets, Footballers & Exotic Bet Types) — #16 in Films, TV, Albums, Books | completepatrick

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