Hey, Barbecutie

Archive for December 2010

Despite a title that sounds like a suicide note, I have decided to celebrate the end of this annus horribilis with my traditional listus awesomeous. You’re so incredibly welcome.

Song of the Year – “Bad Boyfriend” – Talulah Does The Hula

Song from another year that I only heard this year – so many, but “What” by Judy Street is untouchable.

Film of the Year – I finally saw “A Serious Man” in early 2010 (oh God it’s so good) but if that can’t count, “Four Lions”, though I’m not sure I can bear to watch it again.

Book of the Year – “Birds of America” – Lorrie Moore

Career Choice of the Year – Finally getting a full-time job after eight months. Take that, economic climate!

Emotion of the Year – Ennui. The thing with a negative outlook is you’re never disappointed. Hooray!

Successful Costume of the Year – Countless era-specific nights out with costumes crafted from clothes I own anyway. 1920s, 1960s, 1980s – I got it covered. (“it” being my body, conveniently.)

Unsuccessful Costume of the Year – My unicorn costume. Why couldn’t you let me be great, world?

Achievement of the Year – Various stories published, public readings, zine fairs, events run and art exhibitions. Keep on truckin’.

Anti-Achievement of the Year – Every other facet of my life.

Dog of the Year - The tiny bouncy spaniel in Hyde Park who disturbed a flock of about 200 roosting geese, causing them to remove themselves at great speed into the lake, and honk for some time with annoyance. It was amazing.

Dream of the Year – The one about the Church of St Nazi’s and its sister chapel, St Failure’s.

Revelation of the Year part 1 – When the worst thing happens, eventually everything becomes okay again.

Revelation of the Year part 2 – THIS.

Happy 2011 everyone. May 2010 never come back to ruin us.

Is this still ongoing? Yes it is. If I’m honest all this exercise has done is put extra pressure on me for my 2010 edition. I can’t even remember half the films I saw in 2010. All I know is I’m very glad that 2010 is over, and that’s the attitude I expect will permeate my memories. 2009 was somewhat cheerier. Massively moreso. Voila:

Song of the Year – “Bad Things Coming, We Are Safe” by Emmy the Great.

Film of the Year – Should be “In The Loop”, probably is “Fantastic Mr Fox”.

Book of the Year – “What A Carve Up!” by Jonathan Coe.

Dissertation of the Year – “A History of Knots” by me. Coming soon to a recycling depot near you.

Emotion of the Year – For 2009, there was a gaping hole where my heart should be.

Hobby of the Year – Filling in newspaper brainteaser sections epically incorrectly then leaving them on the train for other people to find.

Hobby I Want To Have of the Year but Never Have the Nerve For – Photobombing.

Catchphrase of the Year That Never Really Caught On Because Not Enough People Saw In The Loop – Difficult difficult lemon difficult.

Achievement of the Year – Well, I suppose this should be the MA, but finally getting my hair cut surely warrents a mention.

Anti-Achievement of the Year – Trying to get a job with an MA in Creative bloody Writing, of all things. Why didn’t I do dentistry when I had the chance?!

Ringtone of the Year – Cat Party.

Dogs of the Year – These Ones!

Continuing my trawl through past glories, we reach 2008, a year full of stuff and things that I sadly can not recall. Thankfully I have my list to fill in the many, many, significant blanks in what was surely a red letter year.

Song of the year – “Young Love” by Mystery Jets and Laura Marling

Eurovision Song of the year – “Divine” by Sebastian Tellier

Film(s) of the year – “There Will Be Blood” and “Son of Rambow”. No similarities between the two except for their extreme awesomeness.

Classic film of the year – “My Favourite Year” (not available on DVD, why must the heavens mock me so?!)

Book of the year – “Wise Blood” by Flannery O’Conner

Newspaper headline of the year – “Newry Sex Offender Living In Wheelie Bin” from The Newry Reporter, 13th February 2008. No, really. Yes. Really.

Celebrity sighting of the year – Bill Bailey at Latitude, on a warm Saturday afternoon, in black shirt, black trousers, black sunglasses, full length black leather coat, and black cowboy hat, flanked by an adoring Ross Noble and Robin Ince, trailed by a small but increasing group of fans like the rats to Bailey’s Pied Piper of Hamlin.

Emotion of the year – the apathetic cynicism that prevailed throughout the final few weeks at work and for the entirity of my MA so far.

Surprise of the year – discovering that “dearth” means the exact opposite of what I thought it meant. Lack of, not plenty of.

Witty/biting comment of the year – From the imdb trivia page for “The Red Shoes” – “When people complained to Hein Heckroth about the grim ending, he pointed out to them that in Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale, the ballerina had her feet hacked off by a woodsman to stop her dancing.”

Onstage banter of the year – Sebastian Tellier at Latitude, with such hits as “This is a song about…my bee-sexualllitee”

Greatest success – Buying a ukulele for £15.

Greatest regret – My inability to play music.

Oh. Apparently I did a Masters. Well, that explains the wonderful career in writing that has followed.

I love lists. I have a near deranged obsession with the bastards. Just last night I watched a five year old programme counting down the best (“best”) celebrity meltdowns. Oh, I watched the hell out of that bastard. I gave up on keeping a diary long ago but have been making a yearly list of important things for a few years. Over the next few days I’m going to post my past collections in anticipation of my new list for 2010. Hooray!

Today – 2007.

Song of the year – “Galaxy of the Lost” by Lightspeed Champion.

Film of the year – “The Darjeeling Ltd”.

Book of the year – The one I haven’t written yet. Or ever.

Dog-spotting city of the year – almost Berlin, but pipped to the post at the last minute by Paris. (The bichon frise by the Sacre Coeur! So small its owner stood on it! It emitted a noise not unlike a squeaky dog-toy!)

Emotion of the year – the mixture of sympathy, empathy and heart-melting gooiness arising from seeing a puppy with a bandaged paw or Same Difference.

Witty/biting comment of the year – the one I make about “Atonement” in the ‘Favourite Books’ section*.

Greatest success – Probably some shoes.

Greatest regret – My inability to maintain my fringe.

* something along the lines of “the first two-thirds of Atonement before it all goes to shit” which it completely does by the way. Damn you, McEwan!

I’m supposed to be flying home for Christmas tomorrow, but it’s looking about as likely as my being mangled by a hopped-up tapir before night’s end. The snow is, from my vantage point, six stories above North London, astonishingly beautiful. Rooftops whitewashed and unblemished, brick moorings beneath, like Christmas cards sent by your unimaginative relatives. On the ground level, as I ventured out earlier, it’s pretty rank. I live on the mainest of main roads, and the ground is slick with grey-brown mush that filters through your soles and makes your toesies drop off. It’s hard to have one without the other.

So the country in which I lay my wee head to sleep tomorrow is still up for grabs. I mean, it’s either going to be England or Ireland, unless something goes significantly wrong mid-journey. I should really be packing now, but there are things that appeal more, like watching a documentary on folk music on iplayer or pondering over ordering pizza (the latter, probably not, it’s a bit of a kerfuffle, the former, ONGOING).

My Pantoum challenge from the last entry is going surprisingly well, but I want more. Pantoum me up like wow. I’m not a critic, I’m not going to yell at you. Alternatively, give me a story to write, and I’ll do it. I’ll do it good. Write a fine ass story. With quite poor grammar.

Will someone buy me Cold Comfort Farm? I owned it years ago but never got round to reading it. Ahh, go on. I’ll make you food in January in return. You don’t even have to eat it.

I’m cold.*

* Physically and emotionally**.

** No, just kidding, I’m lovely.

I was never good with poetry, because, for all my fine qualities, I lack discipline. I always thought my attempts had their own rag-tag charm, but there’s something about a well-constructed poem that can be dazzling. And I know for a fact that I get five page views a day, so I am setting a challenge to anyone who dares make beautiful words.

A pantoum is a poetic form without set length, subject or rhyme scheme. It is comprised of quatrains. The second and fourth line of each stanza reappear (with some variations) as the first and third line of the next stanza. The first and third lines of the first stanza return as the last and second lines of the final stanza.

For example

Milltown Auspice by Ben Jahn

How to explain his death – with humour
The best jokes start serious:
He fell asleep on the beach with his pockets full of bread
Seagulls carried him away –

The best jokes start serious:
The Governor went north (the mills full of men) God knows
Seagulls carried him away –
It was a thick-fog day, and still

The Governor went north (the mills full of men) God knows
How to explain his death – with humour
It was a thick-fog day, and still
He fell asleep on the beach with his pockets full of bread*

God, it’s dreamy. Send attempts to bronaghfegan[at]hotmail[dot]com and I’ll write you something in return.

*from McSweeney’s 31

On the tube this morning a man used my head as a bookrest.

I don’t know where September went. I’m missing that month entirely. I know things have, if I may get personal here, slightly gone to shit, cookie-wise, and I can only assume that at some point between a trip home at the end of August, and my return to London in so-called, swiftly-passing “September”, something truly awful happened and all the things that once were good are now bad.

And now it’s Christmas! Perfect time for my favourite and unfairly forgotten Christmas song, “Things Fall Apart” by Cristina. It’s called “Things Fall Apart”, for a start, and also contains the line he licked me like a candy cane. It’s just super.

Today’s word of the day:


You will note that the word of the day is a stupid word.

Full disclosure: I work in (near) publishing. This is where I encountered this word. I find it unputupable.