#16s of 2016 + Tweets, Footballers & Exotic Bet Types (Part 1)
#15s of 2016 + Journalism (Part 2)
#14s of 2016 + Gigs (Part 3)
#13s of 2016 + Food (Part 4)
#12s of 2016 + Words (Part 5)
#11s of 2016 + Memes & Emoji (Part 6)
#10s of 2016 + People (Part 7)
#9s of 2016 + Football Moments & Trivia (Part 8)
#8s of 2016 + Extreme Crosswording (Part 9)
#7s of 2016 + Patrick’s Christmas Message (Part 10)
#6s of 2016 + Sport in 2016 & Top 100 Songs of 2016 (Part 11)
#5s of 2016 + Patrick’s Best Tweets & More Great Tweets & More #P100 (Part 12)
Totsiens 2016 (almost)…
When I was in Year 12 I studied 3-unit English, which at the time was the most advanced English offered for the New South Wales High School Certificate. One of my modules was Utopian and Dystopian Literature (you might know the latter by its newish name Anti-Utopian Literature) and it comprised works such as Utopia by Sir/Saint Thomas More, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, 1984 by George Orwell and Virtual Light by William Gibson. This course was taught outside regular school hours: 5-7:45pm on Thursday evenings, with a dinner break splitting the pedagogy at 6ish.
There were eight of us in this course — I was by far the dumbest and am currently comfortably the least successful — and we would pile into two cars to burn up to the local shops during this interstice to have takeaway from the barbecue chicken shop. One of those two heroes providing the palanquin service had the initials JDM (he used to also drive me home afterwards because we lived close by and he was always a genuinely nice guy and we would listen to U2 or Silverchair on his speakers and he and another friend LB would complain vociferously about the tonality or otherwise of my singing along) and a few days ago he tweeted out a link to the New York Times’ best photography of 2016 and it is a very good collection of imagery from the year that was. Spoiler Alert: Trump wins. Thanks JDM for that recommendation and I hope life has treated you well since those halcyon days talking oppressive theocracies and singing ohh-whoah the sweetest thing…
We have #4s today in the flagship categories, move from 60-41 in the Top 100 Songs of 2016 (#P100) and there is my traditional poem celebrating celebrities that died in 2016. Why do we care more about celebrities more than, say, scientists? Because celebrities are just like normal people except much more interesting. Time permitting (I’m having dinner with my family at a pub in Sydney later to blow $230 in trivia winnings — thanks brain!) there will also be a riff on Food Trends and something about advertising in 2016, both of which were requests sent to my Twitter.
#4 in Films…
It’s a tale as old as time itself: girl grows up opposite a library in Colorado dreaming of becoming an actress. She moves to Hollywood and takes up the baristal arts while shuttling to auditions. Meanwhile, boy grows up tickling the ivories dreaming of a time when jazz is no longer the worst form of music ever improvised. She battles for callbacks, he ends up singing Flock of Seagulls covers at pool parties. They meet, they, well, I’ve said too much already.
I lo lo loved everything about La La Land: the music, the costume design, the colours, the dreamy magical reality (kinda), the unusual character arcs and, especially, the divine romance of Gosling and Stone, two of the truly beautiful people.
A wittier man than me — BL as it were — once commented that visiting LA is like having a holiday on Parramatta Road and my experience did nothing to repudiate that sly invective. But La La Land belongs to the new clutch of titles elucidating the City of Angels as a diverse hipster hub with multivalent neighbourhoods and diverse experiences at the end of every Uber X journey. I am not convinced the reality comes close to the screen city of BoJack Horseman, You’re The Worst, Love and La La Land but the in-theatre experience is gorgeous.
John Le Le Legend, who normally puts me to sleep with his milquetoast crooning, is very good in a supporting role. That’s how good La La Land is!
#4 in TV…
The West Midlands’ finest export since Duran Duran was totally on fleek in 2016, tackling weighty if prosaic subjects like voter ID laws, credit ratings, debt purchasing, police accountability, multilevel marketing and prescription drug use with insight, wit and journalistic integrity. It’s one thing to write/produce an article/package about Puerto Rican government debt, it’s quite another thing altogether to make it appointment viewing TV.
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver is a show I genuinely love watching. I feel good about life while sitting down on a Monday night and firing it up on my piracy box. It’s hardly an escape from terrible reality — au contraire — it’s a deep dive into the maladies of western society and culture yet it is truly ALOL funny.
LWT proves that current affairs programs do not have to treat their viewers like morons, don’t have to resort to humourlessness when taking serious stands on wedge issues and can inject interestingness into any subject through creative acuity. And boy am I glad that this is still a thing.
2016 what hath ye wrought!
So many farms celebrities bought!
So much so it has become a cliché
To emote when another passes away
That is one of my triggers
Please say ‘die’
When at the gravediggers)
First things first: Vera Rubin
Fidel Castro was a tyrannical Cuban
Frank Sinatra Junior was chairboy of the board
Glenn Frey was an Eagle who soared
Carrie Fisher had an aeroplane heart attack
Rob Ford smoked his last crack
Gene Wilder had Alzheimer’s
Antonin Scalia now in hell-ya!
Rick Parfitt’s status: no
Cancelled: Garry Shandling’s show
Muhammad Ali to the end overrated
George Michael permanently sedated
Phife Dawg now fronts A Tribe Called Rest
While mincing in heaven with David Gest
John Glenn didn’t quite reach the moon
Reg Grundy developed Wheel of Fortune
Goin’: Leonard Cohen
Ragged: Merle Haggard
Significantly calmer is Arnold Palmer
Well past sick is Alan Thicke
Black is the shade for White, Maurice
Everybody grieves for Roberts, Doris
Zsa Zsa Gabor was famous for being famous
Bob Ellis liked to defame us
Richard Adams went down with the watership
Prince filled his last prescript
Gwen Ifill’s newsdesk is now vacated
And Gordie Howe is here to keep the Canadians placated
Anton Yelchin has boldly gone where bold men go
And I thought George Kennedy died 25 years ago
Harper Lee gave us Boo Radley
Nancy Reagan’s demise I took gladly
Jon English: long hair, no longer there
Max Walker: Legs tangled, life strangled
Florence Henderson: dead lady Brady
Alan Rickman: expired character actor
Capping a bad year for the showy
Was the apotheosis of David Bowie
But celebrate and rejoice because a new year is nigh
And come 2017 no celebrity again will ever die.
Here’s a YouTube playlist sans Stepkids because it has no online presence…
And here is where we’re up to:
100. Untitled 08 09.06.2014. – Kendrick Lamar
99. Glad That You’re Gone – Hard Aches
98. Lost (Season One) – Camp Cope
97. Me, Myself & I – G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha
96. The Boys – Lisa Mitchell
95. Roses – Chainsmokers & Rozes
94. Simulation – Tkay Maidza
93. Gimme The Love – Jake Bugg
92. Thresher – Hellions
91. Good To Be Alone – Matt Corby
90. I Know A Girl – Preatures
89. Do It, Try It – M83
88. Faded – Milwaukee Banks
87. 1000x – Jarryd James & Broods
86. Stranger Things Theme – Luke Million
85. Cocoon – Milky Chance
84. No Chill – Vic Mensa & Skrillex
83. I Know What You Did Last Summer – Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello
82. Idiot Oracle – Paul Dempsey
81. Cake By The Ocean – DNCE
80. How To Taste – Violent Soho
79. Colours – Avalanches
78. Edge Of Town – Middle Kids
77. Cruel – Snakehips & Zayn
76. Satan – DD Dumbo
75. Over You – SAFIA
74. Apple Cider, I Don’t Mind – Modern Baseball
73. Ivy League – Alex Lahey
72. Black Beatles – Rae Sremmurd & Gucci Mane
71. 1993 (No Chill) – Paces & Jess Kent
70. Stepkids – Avalanches
69. Oblivius – Strokes
68. Adore – Savages
67. Choose Me – James Blake
66. Weatherman – Panics
65. Rollling Dice – Just A Gent, Ella Vos & Joey Chavez
64. Scott Green – Dune Rats
63. Till It Kills Me – Montaigne
62. Light Tunnels – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis & Mike Slap
61. Stressed Out – Twenty One Pilots
60. You Know – Flume & Allan Kingdom & Raekwon
59. Panda – Desiigner
58. 1955 – Hilltop Hoods, Montaigne & Tom Thum
57. Burn The Witch – Radiohead
56. Hold Up – Beyonce
55. Sad Songs – Sticky Fingers
54. No 28 – Methyl Ethel
53. Palo Alto – Jack River
52. Together, Locked Safely – SAFIA
51. Muchacho – Kings Of Leon
50. 4 Degrees – Anohni
49. Blown Away – DMAs
48. The Colour In Anything – James Blake
47. Good Grief – Bastille
46. The Element Of Surprise – Last Shadow Puppets
45. I Feel It Coming – Weeknd & Daft Punk
44. Starboy – Weeknd & Daft Punk
43. Waste A Moment – Kings Of Leon
42. Rising Water – James Vincent McMorrow
41. Smoke Signals – Olympia
The next instalment will take us from 40-26! Experience it live on my Twitter!
Food Trends & Adporn…
#4 in Albums…
(Australia #3, US #1, UK #1)
Almost feel embarrassed glorying Kings Of Leon’s seventh studio release with such a high-ranking place in my albums chart. Sure, everybody loved the Kings’ midcareer triptych of Aha Shake Heartbreak, Because Of The Times and Only By The Night, and the cool kids crush hard on Youth & Young Manhood, but after the ho-humminess safety of Come Around Sundown, the cognoscenti had essentially given up on this particular royal family. And but so Walls drops and I do my duty as a aficionado of the American indy scene and throw it a listen on my streamer. And what I hear isn’t completely terrible so I listen back again. And I’m starting to appreciate some interesting sounds and am enjoying the flow and the sundrenched short stories of Americana permeating the 11 tracks so I listen back again. And I am singing along to every song and shortlisting virtually the whole album for the #P100 and by now the walls have completely come down and I am out and proud loving this record.
This is a rock n roll LP avec bluesy guitar riff and sans pretension. It’s the kinda album you just want to soundtrack a leisurely drive up the coast to a secluded beach while your elbow rests on the open window frame and you are scoffing down carbs because they make you feel good inside. You don’t drink and drive but you make it there in time to enjoy a summer ale or a golden lager over the closing moments.
Kings of Leon was at its most commercially successful when pumping out radio-friendly ballads to our darkest impulses. While the singing Followill does hit a few dolorous notes on Walls, especially on the title track, there is a lighter, happier pulse that beats through Waste A Moment, Reverend, Around The World and Over, even if the last of those four is about a break-up. Two minor key achievements form the emotional core: Muchacho, about the death of a best friend (who amusingly bears taunts for wearing double denim), and Conversation Piece, about a prodigal son returning to La La Land and looking to hook up with an old flame (but only for the conversation, please).
Walls concludes with a sumptuous revelation: the walls have come down and now there is nothing in the way. Take down the wall in your head re Kings of Leon’s new stuff and there will be nothing stopping your enjoyment.
#4 in Books…
(I’m done explaining myself)
June 2016: I’m experimenting with empathy (Vejunetaria) and sobriety (No Schoon June) so I need to always have a book with me to pass the time in case I get bored. My Mum couldn’t get past the first page of The Luminaries so I wanted to show her up by reading this Rashomonesque tale from the goldfields on the rugged western shores of New Zealand’s South Island, ca 1850. Turned out to be one of the most satisfying reading experiences of my year.
A young girl is dead and her paramour is missing, gold is missing, money is owed and the goldfields are awash with mendacity, subterfuge and laudanum. Boats come in and out of the harbour bringing new fortune hunters to eat food at the inn and drink plenty at the hotel. Naturally, nothing is as it seems.
Told with lyrical panache, the prose imbued with a poetic rhythm that is near operatic, The Luminaries unravels several spellbinding mysteries via multiple narrators of vacillating and capricious reliability. The amazing Eleanor Catton, who wrote this when she was like 12, devises some fantastically memorable characters: a feckless bank clerk in need of a cash injection, a conniving hotelier-cum-madame minting gold from other’s misfortune and gullibility, an honest but plaintive Maori coming to terms with colonisation, the haughty Englishman in need of comeuppance and the maligned Chinese prospector out to overcome classically imperial racism. It’s a heady mix but Catton never lets the reader lose track of the action, cleverly refreshing our knowledge of exposition without dawdling in repetition or lazily lapsing into didacticism. There are even scenes set in Sydney!
I took The Luminaries with me to The Rubens ostensibly to read in the period between work ending and the gig starting, which can be like four interminable hours when you are not partaking in potent potables, and afterwards, when I met the band at a very generous impromptu signing session, lead singer Sam chided me with the sardonic, “Thanks for bringing a book to our concert!”, before drummer Scott commented that his own mother was currently reading The Luminaries and he was interested to know what I thought. I loved it, thanks Scott! And thank you Eleanor for your craft!
BTW I got Sam to sign my Rubens tshirt thus…