Just an Observation FridayDecember 21st


 So according to the Mayans, today supposedly sees the actual end of the world. Well apart from a bit of heavy rain it seems this prediction has gone much the way of similar ones as we all appear to be here; unless of course this is actually the after life and we simply haven’t noticed the difference.

Despite this false prediction the weather over the last year has been apocalyptic what with the torrential rains, gusting winds and dark days-and that was the bulk of our summer- but pretty much everything else has felt a bit like a year in stasis. Not that it has been an uninteresting year mind-personally I have had an extremely eventful year- but with 2012 drawing to a close it feels as if  although much has changed  at the same time so has very little.

The main stories of the year have been  the Jimmy Savile paedophilia allegations which were long overdue  but the scale of corruption and subsequent cover ups which surrounded them must have surprised even the most cynical of observers. Typically in the run up to Christmas a trigger happy, mentally unstable fame seeker shot his way through a school in Connecticut cutting short several young lives unnecessarily. And still no change in American gun laws seems to be on the agenda.

Elsewhere the vocal pyrotechnic histrionic warbling of Whitney Houston was also cut short by her longstanding drug problems- to little public interest or sympathy- whilst the X Factor also gulped its last breath and took us a little closer to what must be –hopefully- its inevitable demise. Fingers crossed that this is the death of such blanded out slop masquerading as pop music but with so many lining up to carry this mantle I fear it has just cleared the way for a whole new generation of crap.

The Olympics were apparently the big story of the summer but admittedly interested me little although I did catch some of the closing ceremony which I found excruciatingly embarrassing –although by all reports the opening ceremony was amazing- and left me feeling glad the whole affair passed me by.

At the cinema there have been some great films but at this stage it is hard to reckon which ones will stand the test of time. The year started out with The Artist, Shame, Martha Marcy May Marlene and Carnage but then slowed down somewhat. Of the summer blockbusters both Prometheus and the latest instalment in the Batman franchise The Dark Knight Rises were competent enough but neither gave their predecessors much concern in the classic stakes. On the other hand the Bond effort Skyfall was perhaps the best of the genre since its sixties heyday with a tight plot and great performances all round.

Probably the best film I have seen in recent months was The Hunt a compelling Danish drama- what is it with Danish Drama at the moment as it seems to excel quiet consistently?- which looks at a wrongly accused paedophile and how these allegations impact on his life and a community. Relevant, controversial and extremely well acted as well as directed this film remains poignant throughout and even though it is set around the run up to the Christmas period it is the least festive film you could imagine lacking the lachrymose schmaltz which usually accompanies such films.

If you were looking for a feelgood film then French film Untouchable would be a good choice but ultimately it would be trumped by the true story documentary Searching for Sugarman which won’t so much make you feel good but actually re-affirm your faith in human nature. Hell, it even made my ice cold heart of stone melt a little.

At the end of last year I bemoaned the lack of effort from the male of the species as far as interesting new music went as females easily wrestled the mantle from them and almost effortlessly overpowered and dominated in this field. This year I am bemoaning the lack of effort from a younger generation as much of the best music has come from old original stalwarts. Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Dr. John and Patti Smith all turned in their best and most complete collections in years and not one of them is under sixty five.

Jack White and Mark Lanegan snapped at their heels from a comparatively sprightly late thirties/early forties perspective. Grimes-23 year old Canadian Claire Boucher-flew the flag for the youth contingent-alongside Bat for Lashes- with a fizzy electro confection of missives which sounded like snippets being transmitted down from Mars. The hype surrounding one of 2013’s brightest hopes Lana Del Rey fizzled out pretty quickly despite her album being a more than adequate effort which sounded like being stuck in a David Lynch movie. She does need to cheer the fuck up however!

Speaking of Mars apparently Will.I.Am is to be the first music played on the red planet and I feel we should insist upon an immediate promotional tour- as of this  very moment- in the interest of mankind. Seriously though is this the best we can come up with as a representation of music in the 21st century? If so then the end of the world might be something we should instigate and not leave to chance or the predictions of the Mayans.

What 2013 holds in store then is anyone’s guess as there have been no emerging new trends for us to gauge from. On that note just exactly what is Gangnam style and why would I possibly be interested anyway? I predict more of the same but slightly different which may seem a bit of a cop out but I bet at this time next year it will transpire I was right. I sincerely hope not though!

Merry  Christmas and bring on 2013 !

Here is one of my favourite tracks from 2012 -great video too- from Grimes called ‘Oblivion’ which has everything good pop music should have and makes you want to dance from its opening pulsating rhythms.



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