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December, 2018

Hello. I’m back and that. How are you? Good? Good. So, December. This month I am revisiting the big questions of 2018. Cultural, political, that sort of thing. Hopefully my answers will solve all misunderstandings between the people of the world and bring peace on earth for everybody. Or they will approach being, but not quite be, insightful. Or they will be vaguely amusing. I’ll chuck in a few swears to be on the safe side.      

My favourite poetry of 2018

I’m not really sure how to write about poetry. A poem either speaks to you or it doesn’t. I probably shouldn’t have set myself the task of writing about all of my favourite things when I’m so out of practice at writing about anything but here we both are, going through the motions of it all, so I may as well tell you what I liked. In no particular order, my favourites from last year were… Liz Berry – The Republic of Motherhood The Black Country and Birmingham accents are… Read more My favourite poetry of 2018

My favourite soundtracks, albums, etc of 2018

Yeah, dunno mate. I thought this was a good idea, doing lists and that, but does anyone listen to albums anymore? It’s all just gifs now, isn’t it? Probably. I didn’t think it was a particularly exciting year for soundtracks, or I saw the wrong films, or I listened to stuff removed from its film and it doesn’t work as well on its own, or something. I liked the Jurassic World soundtrack film more than the film because it was nicely stompy and it subtly laid the groundwork for the… Read more My favourite soundtracks, albums, etc of 2018

My favourite podcasts of 2018

My taste in podcasts tends to be thing-I-can-listen-to-at-the-same-time-every-week and more people-talking-about-something than people-talking-about-nothing. I find it almost impossible to focus on fiction or drama unless it is in a very short form and I don’t listen to true crime because it makes me sad. If you can cope with a list of podcasts defined by those parameters, here you go, here it is, my list of podcasts that I enjoyed listening to the most* last year. The New Statesman Podcast. A healthy retreat from the back-and-forth bickering of British politics hosted by… Read more My favourite podcasts of 2018

Ben has seen… Stan and Ollie

It takes a brave director to tackle a biography of Laurel and Hardy. To be blunt, unlike a lot of their contemporaries, a lot of their stuff is still funny, so any portrayal of them, however good, is doomed to be not quite as good as the original. Unlike somebody like Chaplin, whose style of humour is so out of fashion that it could all but be ignored when making a film about him, parts of Laurel and Hardy’s act still resonate with a modern audience, but is impossible to… Read more Ben has seen… Stan and Ollie

My favourite novel I read last year (that was published last year)

My plans to get back into the fiction loop last year ended up involving more in the way of buying books than actually reading them. For shame etc. I have a to-read pile full of treats but very little in the way of recommends. Soz. So instead of a chart, or what have you, here are two books that I did manage to read and that I thought were very very good indeed. It’s quality over quantity or something, yeah? Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss explores the previously untapped literary potential… Read more My favourite novel I read last year (that was published last year)

My favourite novel I read last year (that wasn’t published last year)

OK, runners up first. Naomi Booth’s Sealed more than deserved its place on the Not the Booker shortlist and has an ending that will stay with me for at least an ever or two. Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos was funny and smart and angry in all the right ways. Lacey Noonan’s two novellas, I Don’t Care If My Best Friend’s Mom is a Sasquatch, She’s Hot and I’m Taking a Shower With Her and I don’t Care if My Sasquatch Lover Says the World is Exploding, She’s Hot But… Read more My favourite novel I read last year (that wasn’t published last year)