TV: Game of Thrones, Dr. Who, Homeland, Colbert Report. Maybe it's because i turned 30 this year, maybe it's because i bought a big TV and i needed justify the purchase. This year i watched more TV than i have in the last 10 years. I try to reserve my TV time for specific series and episodes, but who am i kidding, There's alot of House Hunters and Hoarders in their too. 3 Shows i'm not ashamed to say i enjoyed though are Game of Thrones, Dr. Who (thanks to my girlfriend.) and a Homeland. GoT is all things wonderful about a premium HBO series married to a dungeon masters guide. Dr. Who, while i admit to only a handful episodes is Sci-fi for real lovers of sci-fi - it reminds me of watching old Star Trek episodes in that ability to be both totally weird, and totally wholesome. Homeland satisfied my interest in geo-politics, which is to say, i wanna pretend i have some actual understand of it (them?), which i don't. Colbert Report is just, well... one of the greatest pieces of television of our generation. The man is a satirical genius and doing something truly unique in comedy. Watching Colbert work is like watching a tight rope walker dance an irish jig nightly.
Movies: Melancholia, Beginners, Drive Melancholia gave me a panic attach. 3 days after i saw it. People wrote about how cathartic it was, i suppose they were right - i always thought catharsis felt better than that, but if feel-bad, transgressive nihilism is what we've come to expect from Von Trier and with "Anti-Christ" being his most over the top example to date, in my mind, Melancholia makes Anti-christ look like Date Night. My advise is if intend to see it - follow it up with a great unicorn chaser like "Beginners" or "Drive". Beginners is one of those Indie-feeling flicks with alot of clever dialog and so-cal locations, about a father an son both looking for love in life. The twist being that Father who's in his 70's and recently widowed, just came out of the closet. If that doesn't sound awesome, it's got Ewan McGregor in it, and dad is Christopher Plummer playing against type (stuffy menacing dude). If either of those aren't you're cup of tea, well there's Drive. Which is such a perfect distillation of itself that its practically a haiku.
Books: Logicomix, High Fidelity I love comic books. It's probably because i don't read that fast, because i'm a bit lesdixic. See what i did there? This year i ready Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis - a great biopic on the life and trials of Bertrand Russell, famous 20th century mathematician and philosopher. I read it over 5 days i spent with my girlfriend's family in Arizona and i after i read it i said "Look i finished a book in 5 days!" and then my girlfriend said. "That's good honey." and gave me that look she also gives my dog when he gets his leash caught around his back legs. She loves my dog. High Fidelility was the second book i finished this year, it's not a comic book, and i finished it in about a month, so for that reason alone it deserves it's place on this list. It's also an incredible book and as a record store employee i felt it was my duty to have read this book so as to be able to say "The book was better." when anyone brings up the movie, which was good, but not as good as the book. Which was better.
Music: M83 - Hurry up, we're dreaming, Clams Casino - Mixtape I predicted 2011 to be the year i got into Hip Hop proper - while i listed to a bit more, i think most would say my interests still sit firmly inside of the whiteboy safety zone. Kanye, G-Side, Drake, Shabbaz Palaces etc. If i didn't properly get into hip this year, i can say that it was the year that i actively pursued music that wasn't quite as dark or sad bastardly and i have in the past. Maybe i'm getting old, but this year i needed things to pump me up a bit more than usual, give me bit of bravado, energy, swagger - something that goes well with sitting in my home office in flannel pajama's, a full carafe of incredible french press to drink, and a full day of work ahead of me. (video is Clams Casino's backing track to Lil' B's Motivation.)
#1 Album of the Year - Handsome Furs ~ Sound Kapital I wasn't expecting this to be on the top of my list when i started compiling my music favorites - M83 seemed to be the clear winner but when i looked my top # of listens in iTunes the truth was, this gem of electro-rock aggregated to the top. There's something about Sound Kapital that really captures that excitement of being a traveller, of walking around a city where the language and customs are alien to you. Where suddenly everything in life is so novel, and you wonder how you could ever go back to your old life. It's a very romantic album on one sense, very populist, angry, wide-eyed - i'd almost call it naive - except it seems to come as cathartic revelations from a world weary man who's perhaps lived a little more than your average guy. Maybe it's his voice, classic swagger a la Bowie, Springstein or *gulp* Neil Diamond (still here?) It sounds to me like a an album hard won from touring the more un-toured areas of the world, and because of the sites seen, the people met - an album for changing perspectives.
I’m a long time Pure Pop employee but these days i spent less time behind the counter at Pure Pop, and the majority of my time at my desk at home as freelance web designer / developer. This year’s be a great year for change, and i expect 2012 to be even more so.