Music of the Year 2016

So for the fifth year running, every time I came across some new music I liked in the last 12 months I added it to a ‘best of the year’ Spotify playlist. And for the third year running, the list ended up at around 70 songs (back in 2012 and 2013 it hit 100 songs – maybe I’m getting more discerning). From that, a bit like my favourite films list, I’ve picked out a Top 10 Songs of the year, and 10 which nearly made it. Some choices were chosen to acknowledge a great album, others just did it for me on their own. The only limiting rule was that I only allowed one song per artist.

Didn’t Quite Make It (but have a listen, they’re all great)

  • Go! – M83, Mai Lan
  • I Exhale – Underworld
  • Suen?os – Santana
  • You, Darling You – Treetop Flyers
  • Are You Lost In The World Like Me? – Moby And The Void Pacific Choir
  • Particles – Island Songs Vi – Ólafur Arnalds, Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir
  • I’m In Love – Teenage Fanclub
  • Miss Fortune – The Coral
  • High Castle Rock – Chris Forsyth, The Solar Motel Band
  • Red Eye – King

The Top Ten

10. Can’t Stop The Feeling! – Justin Timberlake

9. Ether – Mogwai

8. Black Rabbit – Turin Brakes

7. Choke – King Charles

6. Death Of A Bachelor – Panic! At The Disco

5. The Sound – The 1975

4. I Can’t Give Everything Away – David Bowie

3. Drive It Like You Stole It – Sing Street

Admittedly largely because it was the centrepiece of my film of the year, but nevertheless a joyous standout song.

2. Because I’m Me – The Avalanches

One of the surprise comeback albums of the year was patchy, but when it was good it was sublime.

1. Kiss Me Goodbye – ABC

The album concept which had disaster written all over it (“The Lexicon Of Love 2”) turned out to be quite glorious. This was my highlight.

And here’s the Spotify playlist of the whole 72 songs…

Films of the Year 2016

It’s that time again. Absolutely delighted to report that after several years of trying, and always narrowly failing, I managed to watch 52 new release films at the cinema this year. Here then are my 10 favourites, and the rest placed into some vague generalisations. Many thanks to everyone at The Light Cinema in Cambridge for making the place such an enjoyable and friendly local, and to the Arts Picturehouse in the city for filling in a few gaps by showing some films which The Light disappointingly failed to show, including my top two! Perhaps a little bit more ambition next year guys?

The 10 which just failed to make it (liked them a lot though!):

  • Bridget Jones’ Baby
  • Eye In The Sky
  • Hail Caesar
  • Moana
  • Passengers
  • Rogue One
  • Spotlight
  • The Accountant
  • The Magnificent Seven
  • War Dogs

Unremarkable, but I guess worth the trip:

  • 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Central Intelligence
  • Daddy’s Home
  • Doctor Strange
  • Fantastic Creatures
  • Girl On The Train
  • Jason Bourne
  • Joy
  • Love & Friendship
  • Our Kind Of Traitor
  • Star Trek: Beyond
  • Tarzan
  • The Danish Girl
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Man Who Knew Infinity
  • The Nice Guys
  • The Revenant

Hard to say, I can barely remember these:

  • David Brent: Life On The Road
  • How To Be Single
  • Lo And Behold
  • Morgan
  • Now You See Me 2

…and the disappointments:

  • Absolutely Fabulous
  • Christmas Office Party
  • Creed
  • Dad’s Army
  • Ghostbusters 2
  • Grimsby
  • Independence Day 2
  • Sausage Party
  • Sully

Drum roll…

The Ten Films Which Gave Me The Biggest Buzz At The Cinema This Year:

10. Zoolander 2

9. The Edge Of Seventeen

8. A United Kingdom

7. Florence Foster Jenkins

6. Finding Dory

5. Eight Days A Week

4. Arrival

3. The Big Short

2. Youth

1. Sing Street

The top five I can seriously say I’d watch again and again. And again. If you didn’t see any of them, and have any inclination to see them, I can only say… drop everything and do it.

What did I miss out? What do you thoroughly disagree with? Let me know below.

“Faces Of The Year” Christmas Quiz 2016

I made up a quick quiz for our Christmas party last night, and one or two people asked if they could have copies to recycle at their own gatherings, so here it is (below, click for printable PDF). All entrants need to do is to identify the faces who have been in the news for good and bad reasons this year. Do use and enjoy, wherever you may be. I reckon it’s best tackled in teams of two – each row has a connection, and if people do it on their own and one of the rows isn’t their thing, they’ll struggle to compete. But teams of three or more might find it too easy.

Our winners scored 19/20, only coming unstuck (perhaps surprisingly) on the very last one.

Anyway, here it is (click to enlarge before printing):

…and here are the answers!

If you print this out and use it, please give full credit as: “I got it off some bloke’s website somewhere”. Thank you.