Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Year That Was

It's not usually until my birthday that I reflect on a year; what happened, and what I learnt or became. December is just so busy; Christmas preparation, and then Christmas, and then the minute that's over it's on to packing for holidays and hoping for sun, and then the new year is here before you can say 2012, let alone think about it. It was strange hearing people say it had been a bad year; it seemed tactless to ask why, but I wanted to - not because I don't think a year can be bad. It just seems a long period to be having a bad time of things, and so unfortunate for things to have been so unpleasant that they define the entire year. Maybe it's because I remember things in terms of my age; when I think about the worst time of my life, I remember what we all looked like, and where we lived, and what we were doing rather than the year. Maybe I'm just prone to thinking about things in relation to myself.

Anyway, Vincent and I had planned to talk about our year's bests and worsts but then we ran out of time, and although I'm not sure they will be of any interest to anyone else, here they are. A personal wrap up of mostly impersonal things in 2012, the year that was.

Best gig: Bon Iver. This could have been an almighty disappointment, considering my expectations. Instead, it was completely transfixing, temporarily transforming, and transcended what can be articulated in words.
Worst gig: Justin Townes Earl. What a whiney dickhead.
Special mentions: The Specials, which were the most fun. Fleet Foxes, which had the best live vocals (no surprise there). Beirut, which had the best crowd-singing and most inspired us to learn instruments (project for 2013 - trumpet for Vincent, trombone for me).

update: Worst gig should have been Radiohead! such disappoinment... such self-indulgent prickism.

Best movie: Beasts Of The Southern Wild and Searching for Sugarman. Both of these completely took me out of myself, but left me completely inspired to be the best I can be. (Sorry about the vomit.)
Worst movie: Two Little Boys. I wanted so much to like this, or for its flaws to be forgivable or at least funny, like those in Good For Nothing. But it was really, really bad, and it wouldn't be fair to all of the amazing NZ films to say otherwise.

Best tv: Mad Men, Season Four. Like an injection of The Sopranos; dark and infectious humour juxtaposed with unbelievable tragedy.
Worst tv: Almost everything on free tv, but I'll go with Dr Phil, because he's a smug, paternalistic arsehole.
Special mentions: New Girl, which is very enjoyable and occasionally surprising, in spite of its safeness. Girls, which I was prepared to hate but ended up loving because it's hilarious and Hannah is so perfectly flawed. 30 Rock, which I can watch over, and over, and over, and still laugh.

Best book: I should begin by saying I didn't read anything written in 2012. New fiction takes a long time to trickle down to me; there are so many classics to get through! So my best books are: Published - Breakfast Of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut. I highly recommend this; it's totally original, insightful, and often ridiculous. Unpublished (but watch this space) - Vincent's book, Swing Towards The Mainland.
Worst book: Welcome To The World Baby Girl, by Fannie Flagg. Was Fried Green Tomatoes just a fluke? This book was completely horrendous, and patronising, and at times made me wonder if it was a big elaborate joke. And I chose it over The Bluest Eye at the Unity book sale! Never again.

Best website: Jezebel. Hands down.
Best magazine: Tar. I just discovered this yesterday, but the issue is from Spring 2012, and is just miles better than anything else I've looked at in the past year. The usuals have become so predictable; I swear I've read the same article in different frankie issues about ten times (besides which they persist in catering almost exclusively for middle class white girls), and while Vogue still does the pretty stuff very well, the ratio of good to bad articles is around 1:5 (Australian Vogue 1:10), besides which it's Vogue; rich, inherently racist, and unashamedly capitalist. Tar is innovative, presupposes I have a brain, and errs a bit on the cheesy side when it comes to art, which is cringe-worthy but also refreshing; to them it's okay to be really passionate about something, while everyone else equates cool with ennui.

Best restaurant: Mexico. I resisted this for so long, knowing exactly what the owners' dream was (to make loads of money - accomplished) and who was queueing up outside it every lunchtime for months (every pretentious idiot in the city)... but now we eat there once a week. The food is simple and pretty consistent, the decor is great, the staff are efficient, slightly haughty in a strangely appropriate way, and don't hover, and it's totally cheap.
Best shop: Junk & Disorderly. I only went once, and am a bit afraid to go again, considering we're moving cities and last time we came away with a couch.
Best bookshop: Jason bookshop. The most peaceful place in the city, and impossible to leave without buying something.

I know I've missed all of the important things like political events, and disasters, and people who died, but it's not because I haven't been thinking about them, it's just that I really don't want to 'best and worst' those things. For me, 2012 was a really good year. But I think 2013 is going to be even better; not necessarily because it's happier, but because it's going to be an adventure, and a challenge, and pretty scary.

Onwards and upwards, comrades!

No comments:

Post a Comment