Our Christmas After-Lunch Picture Quiz

The Christmas After-Lunch Picture Quiz has become a bit of a tradition in our family, and I thought I’d post this year’s here on the blog so that if any of you wanted to steal it and use it in your own household or at your own party, you could. Note this is the 2015 version – see above for the latest update. Feel free to take as much credit as you like. The quiz shows thirty people who’ve been in the news this year, and all you need to do is name them. It’s been designed so that Uncle Alf is as likely to get the answers as little Hayden, Jayden and Kayden, and it usually generates a lot of “ooh, hang on, I know this”. You could probably use it as a picture round for a pub quiz too. If you still want the 2015 quiz, here is the low-resolution version. If you want the full printable version, here it is in high-resolution version (an 11Mb PDF). But I recommend this year’s version at the top!

Movies of the Year 2015

So, I didn’t manage to see 52 new cinema-release movies this year, despite the best of intentions. To date I’ve seen 47, although there may be time for one or two more, if our local cinema can afford to stop showing Star Wars on almost every screen simultaneously. But hey, that’s not a bad number, and a big thank you to The Light Cinemas for taking over our multiplex and running it so well. You can read my interview with their Chief Executive Keith Pullinger here. Anyway, from bottom to top, here we go…


  • Birdman
  • Into The Woods


  • While We’re Young
  • Insurgent
  • Tomorrowland
  • Jurassic World
  • Minions
  • Maze Runner: Scorch Trials
  • Five Flights Up


  • Big Hero 6
  • Chappie
  • Jupiter Ascending
  • The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Spooks
  • Mr Holmes
  • Going Clear
  • The Longest Ride
  • San Andreas
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
  • Ant Man
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Macbeth
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2


  • Ex Machina
  • Focus
  • Avengers: Age Of Ultron
  • Far From The Madding Crowd
  • Mad Max
  • The Age Of Adaline
  • Danny Collins
  • Building Jerusalem
  • The Man From UNCLE
  • Suffragette
  • Steve Jobs
  • The Lady In The Van
  • Gascoigne


10. Spy
No great expectations. Turned out to be hilarious.

9. Man Up
Won’t trouble the critics’ awards. But a Simon Pegg rom-com? Can’t go wrong. Didn’t.

8. Selma
Powerful, affecting.

7. The Theory of Everything
Opening credits: “Cambridge, 1963”. Cinema actually cheered.

6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Opening scrolling text deliberately in slight wobbly-vision. You know it’s going to be alright.

5. Amy
In any other year this would have been the best documentary.

4. Bridge Of Spies
“Would it help?”

3. Inside Out
Pixar at its best. But you know that.

2. The Martian
Did the book justice. No higher praise.

1. The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson
The story was incredible, but the film-making rose to the occasion. And then we saw Wilko live at the Cambridge Folk Festival. It was all true, you see.

My Top 20 Songs of the Year for 2015. Enjoy.

One of the joys of streaming audio is that you can listen to new music all year long and just file away anything you particularly like into a “best of the year”playlist. Here it is on Spotify if you fancy a full listen. This year the list reached reached 74 songs, slightly up on 2014 but well down on 2012 and 2013. From that list, here’s the Top 20, with the usual rule that only one song per artist is allowed. Enjoy.

20 Weight of Love by The Black Keys

19 Get Better by Frank Turner

18 Needle And A Knife by Tennis

17 The Tower by Pure Bathing Culture


16 Pages Of Gold by Flo Morrissey

15 On the Swings by Sarah Cracknell

14 Nothing But a Fool by New Order

13 Satellites by Mew

12 What Time Do You Call This? by Elbow

11 Immortals by Jean-Michel Jarre

10 A Boat Lies Waiting by David Gilmour

9 Loud Places by Jamie xx

8 I Can Change by Brandon Flowers

7 I Am Yours by Monster Monster

6 Lake Song by The Decemberists

5 Tompkins Square Park by Mumford & Sons

4 Love Song of the Beta Male by Stornoway

3 Mount the Air by The Unthanks

2 New York Raining by Charles Hamilton, Rita Ora

1 The Other Side by Public Service Broadcasting