My 25 best things of 2010

Posted: January 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

25. Leslie Nielson Tributes:

“Have you heard?  Leslie Nielson is in a better place.”

“Better place? What is it?”

“It’s an emotional construct designed to deal with grief – but that’s not important right now”

Well done that person.

24. Visitors.  We are blessed to have a nice place to stay in New York.  Our visitors this year have been of all shapes, sizes, colours and creeds. What they have in common is that they’ve all been fun to have to stay.  We look forward to welcoming more in 2011.

23. Own Goals. This could easily have made a Worst 25 things list as well, but it was as hilarious as it was depressing.  I liked being a student.  I’m absolutely for everyone having the opportunity to study at university.  With the greatest will in the world however, I also remember how little the average student works on any given day and I’m pretty sure most people who were university students remember just as well as I do.  So choosing a Wednesday to go on a protest march through London and allowing some of your number to vandalise private and public property which will either 1) have to be paid for through insurance policies – meaning they will be more expensive for everyone going forward, or 2) will have to be repaired using taxpayers money – you know, the same taxpayers sitting in offices working… yeah, those ones you’re asking to help pay for your further education, well, it’s not the brightest idea in the world now, is it?  And I’m not Winston Churchill’s greatest fan, but… really?  The goal you’re wanting to shoot at is that way *points in opposite direction*.

Nice one. Brilliant.

22. Busting the 2010 unintentional comedy scale: Trailers for the Norwegian TV show ‘Gylne Tider’ (means “Golden Times” and who’s to argue having seen these).  I mean – what were they thinking?

21. The Thomas Mars Experience:

Part 1: Thomas Mars is the lead singer of Phoenix, officially the best French band of all time. Due to Hannah’s planning brilliance, we saw Phoenix in the Santa Barbara Bowl – one of the best places ever to see a live show – on holiday in September.  It rocked.

The support band, Neon Indian, had a guitarist who looked like a Musketeer and their main song used the riff from Dream Weaver that Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World used to simulate a fade-out into a dream sequence, waggling their fingers down in front of their faces. “Dedeleeloo, dedeleeloo, dedeleeloo”. Hannah and I spent the next five minutes doing the Wayne and Garth hands in time with Neon Indian, who were suddenly taking themselves waaaay too seriously.

For no discernible reason, there was a guy just in front of us in the audience dressed head to toe in purple lycra.  We thought it may be Tom Cruise trying to do the fan experience incognito. He was short. Anyway, part of the crowd nearby sang “Purple guy, give us a wave, purple guy purple guy give us a wave”. He obliged, which was also fun.

Give us a wave

Part 2: I was in the LAN (airline) lounge in JFK waiting to go to Chile in November, and Thomas Mars sat down opposite me.  He looked tired and I didn’t want to disturb him to tell him his band are great, so I left him alone.  But he was wonderfully, impossibly French – speaking his native tongue over his phone and shrugging Gallically in that ‘je ne sais quoi?’ way. Awesome.

20. Lucy Roberts’ X-Factor updates on Facebook: I have not been as consistently amused by anything else this year. Brilliant and roughly 743 times better than viewing it oneself. I’m also really going to enjoy the “Vote TV” backlash that’s coming. Right now, half the new shows on TV ask the audience to vote on their outcome. Roughly 5% of them are vaguely good. There is nothing wrong with them in limited numbers but today we find ourselves one step from “Celebrity Accountant” – being asked to choose which of the 12 random celebrities from the Gylne Tider promo best audited the accounts of Tesco. Enough is enough and ‘enough’ happened in 2010.  I welcome the backlash as Betjeman welcomed the friendly bombs to fall on Slough. (NB: If you only click on one link – make it this one).

19. What I haven’t seen and heard from 2010 yet – I was trying to figure out what music and TV I had been listening to and watching this year and found that, by and large, it was from 2008 and 2009.  I’m busy, I work a lot, and I therefore don’t have much time to stumble across things and tend to rely on recommendations. I therefore can’t wait to see Breaking Bad, Waking Dead, The Secret In Their Eyes, and all of the great music and books that 2010 will bring me in the coming years.

18. The US version Top Gear being utterly rubbish. Maybe it will finally teach the Americans not to try remaking great British TV.  Some things we really do best.

17. Inception and The Social Network – big films with big pedigree.  One had Christopher Nolan with Leo Di Caprio and a giant budget, the other had an Aaron Sorkin script directed by David Fincher.  Both should have been great. Both were. Nolan produced a big, bold and badass film that simply asked it’s audience for a little concentration and a little faith and I loved it.  The Social Network reminded me why Aaron Sorkin is the best – he only writes characters in shades of grey.  Baddies are never black, heroes never white. You know – like real people. Also, he makes you care about characters. Everything I’ve seen that he has written has me routing for someone.

16. The continuing excellence of The Daily Mash

15. Stephen Fry’s piece on Twitter. Everyone I know who uses Facebook uses it like Twitter. Status updates are usually not status updates – they’re tweets.  It’s weird.  Not wrong, just weird.  Makes me wonder if both will survive and how they will evolve. And besides, Stephen Fry says things better than nearly everyone else.

14. The Trifecta. The idea of owning a Playstation 3, and Xbox and a Wii.  One of our friends in NY has this. I’m one third there. Hannah is scared.

13. Teaching the Americans how to chant.  World Cup 2010. USA vs England.  English fans in a NY pub outnumbered 10 to 1 respond to chants of “U-S-A!, U-S-A!” – “It’s here, it’s there, it’s every f***ing-where, BP’s oil…. BP’s oil…”

12. Driving. I drove on the 14th October 2009.  I remember exiting the roundabout at the top of Blackheath that evening and sinking my right foot into the footwell.  The corners of my mouth curled upwards, perfectly synchronized with the woosh of the turbo.  The next day I flew to New York.  I didn’t drive again until 14th September 2010.  That evening I drove us from beautiful, quiet little Yountville in the Napa Valley to nearby Sonoma where we had dinner.

Exiting Yountville onto the main road with nothing coming.

Me, in a 315bhp 4.6 L V8 rear wheel drive Ford Mustang with great big fat tires.

Angry looking muscle car. Fun.

Really?  I mean, really?

A depressed right foot, healthy amounts of opposite lock, a wonderful sounding engine complaining at it’s rev limiter and a resigned sigh of ‘honeeeeey…?’ from my wife in the passenger seat.  11 months later, the corners of my mouth curled upwards into a grin once more.

11. The iPad. A guy I used to work for in London, one of the brightest people I’ve ever met, was in New York this week. He had purchased an iPad for his mother, who must be pushing 70. My current boss mentioned how impressed he was that she could use it.  The guy from London replied that she couldn’t yet, but would be fine as…  as… “have you used one?” That’s the point. Great design in technology is not about just making things look pretty or making them last along time – OK, it is a little about making stuff look pretty to -it’s about making the experience of using it easier and better. That’s what Apple does better than anyone else right now. It’s a dream to use, it really is. Downloading magazines also means I save a few trees and annoy my wife less by creating stacks of them everywhere.  Talk about a win/win.

10. Getting a year closer to Virgin Galactic. Another generation of those who said “not in my lifetime” now say “oh” instead.

9. New York.  Keeps on making me love it more.

8. The Barnes and Turley weddings. I love the way my friends do weddings.  The most enjoyable things from start to finish.  We’re running out of opportunities.  Some of us need to start getting divorced so we can do it all over again.

7. The Stags. Barnes’s in New York and Turley’s in Blackpool.  Polar opposite stags, both hilarious.  The weekend in New York was just magic.  Flying from New York to spend the weekend in Blackpool was one of the most surprisingly worthwhile things I’ve ever done.

6. Seeing the Seahawks: Roughly 24 years after getting a Seattle Seahawks keyring and beginning one of the more random fan experiences I know of, we interrupted our holiday so I could see a Seahawks game in person for the first time. They beat the heavily favoured 49ers 31-6 and I had a simply great time.  Thanks honey x

5. The little people. Meeting Ollie, catching up with Bea, Toby, Georgie, Ruby, Sandy, Rory and getting pictorial updates of the apparently extremely happy life of Dominic:  Our family and friends have great kids.

4. Thanking Harry Redknapp. Spurs 3-1 InterSpurs 3-2 Arsenal.  Thanks, and ‘ave an ‘Appy Christmas ‘Arry.

3. Making new friends in New York. They’re not any better or any worse than old friends. They’re just more friends.  Fun.

2. Madi’s Blog – speaks for itself better than I can.

1. The world getting smaller and smaller. I live in NY with my wife but travel all the time. My sister lives in Australia. My parents live in England.  We all speak face to face over Skype on a regular basis.  Blogs, e-mails, texts, Facebook, cheaper and more frequent flights.  It doesn’t matter where we are, it’s easier to stay in contact and be together. Don’t go telling me progress isn’t good. It’s just that – progress. Let’s have some more in 2011.

  1. Mum says:

    What a lovely roundup to the year – roll on the next one! xx

  2. LaMurph says:

    I’ve never used an iPad but I bet it’s not as good as Lucy’s X Factor rants. Also you seem to have failed to mention the best thing that happened in 2010. I’ll give you a clue, it involves a German, a genius, a scarlet bovine energy drinks company and sweet, sweeeeeet victory xx

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