New Beginning

Right so we’re on the brink of a new year, which has led to me deciding to make a blog. 2012 has been a brilliant year for me, and I’m going to kick of this new blog with some of my highlights from the past year. As well as trips to Granada and Washington, during Obama’s re-election, there have been some great Musical, Sporting and Film moments over the past year and here are my favourites.

Ok first up music, and 2012 has been another great year for music, both new releases and live performances, so I’ve decided to make top fives for both.

First my top five albums of the year:

  1. Alt-J ∆ – An Awesome Wave. I first heard these guys at Green Man festival, and they were good, then a week later they played Reading, more of which later, and they were incredible. I purchased the album almost as soon as I got home, and thankfully it lived up to the live shows. It then went on to win the Mercury prize, which I think was a absolutely the right decision. 
  2. Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know. No I’m a massive fan of the Twilight Sad, and although this is a slight departure from the wall of sound on their first two albums, I still thought it was it was another masterpiece and would encourage anyone to try and see a live show.
  3. Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Americana. Neil Young is a genius, and he keeps making great music, this latest album is no different. With him once again getting Crazy Horse to play with him he brings a great new sound to some songs you’ll defiantly have heard of, probably most interestingly with ‘She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain’.
  4. Django Django – Django Django. Yet another Mercury nominated album, I was taken to see Django Django in a small church in Cambridge, and although the sound was awful, the energy of their live performance was great. This energy really does carry across to the album well, a brilliant debut album and hopefully they can keep it up.
  5. Joe Pug – The Great Despiser. I’d not heard of Joe Pug before I saw him at Green Man, but if your a fan of Bob Dylan you’ll love Joe Pug. His set at Green Man was outstandingly beautiful and this album would be higher, if only my favourite songs weren’t on older albums or Eps.

I’ve already alluded to a couple of the best live shows of the year, and in a year where the Stereophonics have come to Cambridge, it was festivals that stole the show. All of my favourite live performance came at Reading, Green Man or Cambridge Folk Festival. So here goes:

  1. Daughter at Green Man. I saw Daughter twice at Green Man, once with a small acoustic set in the music tent with less than 50 people, and again in their main slot. Both times they were hauntingly beautiful and spellbinding, and I can’t wait for a full album release next year.
  2. Foo Fighters at Reading. I remember hearing people saying 3 hours was too long to give to Foo Fighters, well I’ll tell you what, they couldn’t have been more wrong. Dave Grohl and the boys were on top form and that night will live long in the memory. 
  3. Joe Pug at Green Man. Well we return to the Pub Garden stage at Green Man for, as I’ve already said, a brilliant live performance. Joe’s voice and brilliant songs really did put me in mind of Bob Dylan, without feeling like he was just trying to be Dylan, and his song Hymn #101 was my favourite song that I heard this year.
  4.  Alt-J at Reading. Again, I’ve already mentioned this performance. So last year I saw Twin Atlantic, quite a big band, play the Festival Republic stage at Reading and it busy, however that was nothing compared to this. You could barely get within 5/10 feet of the tent, and I did somehow squeeze inside the atmosphere was electric. Sublime gig from a sublime band.
  5. Roy Harper at the Cambridge Folk Festival. Now I’ve seen plenty of guys who used to be good, or so my dad tells me, play at the CFF when their old and not be able to cut it, by my god, Roy was sublime. My dad was absolutely transfixed by it, and I will admit so was I, and I know none of Roy Harper’s material.

Now my main sporting passion is football, but I’ll watch pretty much any sport thats on, and with an Olympic year, thats where many people’s sporting highlights will have come from, but to be honest not mine. I didn’t even watch super Saturday on account of being my 18th. The stand out in sport in general was Sir Bradley Wiggins’ victory in the Tour de France, something that I’m so glad people recognised in SPOTY. And for me not only was this the sporting highlight of the year, but the greatest british sporting achievement ever. Not even the revelations about Lance Armstrong could demising the achievements Britain made in cycling this year.

At the Olympics it was the cyclists that were the stars. Every single track cyclist broke a world record… every single one, that is truly unbelievable. Sir Chris Hoy became the most successful British Olympian ever, and Dame Sarah Storey the most successful British Paralympian. Further more, Victoria Pendleton’s tears after she finished her last race had me in tears right there with her, as I’m sure it did most of the country. We must mention other olympians. Obviously Ennis and Farah were the main headline makers, but also Nicola Adams becoming the first female boxing gold medalist, and Anthony Joshua winning gold having taken up boxing probably about 20 mins before he stepped out. Furthermore Ellie Simmons, Jonny Peacock and David Weir have all become household names, which is great for the Paralympics. Bolt and Phelps also proved they were two of the greatest athletes we’ve ever seen in these games, Bolt retaining his three golds, and Phelps becoming the most successful Olympian ever.

In football my two teams, Liverpool and Kilmarnock, had differing years. Liverpool’s was abysmal, and only the small consolation of a league cup is was there. It got so bad that living legend Kenny Daliglish was sacked. But shoots of recovery under Rodgers makes me believe than in 2 or 3 years we could be in contention for a title. Killie also one the league cup, this time in Scotland, however for such a small team this was incredible, and one of the greatest days in my life. Also a top six finish, and the possibility of another this season meant we had a great year, topped by our first win over Ranger in my lifetime, and our first win at Park Head in my dads. But once again it was the usual suspects, Spain in international football and Barca in club football, who wowed us. In particular, Lionel Messi. 91 goals in a calendar year, 91… I can’t even do that on FIFA.

I even managed to be interested in golf for a day. That last day of the Ryder cup was beyond description, and it is the first, and probably last time I’ll ever follow golf. So overall 2012 was a superb year of sport, despite me getting Ukraine in the Euro 2012 sweepstake.

Finally 2012 was again a top year of film. It was probably the year of superhero films. We had Dredd, good mindless fun, the Amazing Spiderman, for me the best spiderman film yet, Avengers Assemble, which somehow didn’t make my top 3 films of the year, and the Dark Knight Rises. DKR was a fitting end to Nolan’s batman trilogy, and wasn’t just a great superhero film, but a great film. Furthermore Bond was back on form with Skyfall. After Quantum of Solace, most of us probably thought Bond was done, but no, Skyfall was one of the best Bond’s ever, although Sean Connery will always be the best Bond. In foreign language films, the Raid is without doubt my favourite. An Indonesian martial arts film, it was gripping and intense, and I only hope it doesn’t get a Hollywood remake like Dragon Tattoo and Trollhunter have. Topping the films of the year for me though was the Hobbit. I had my doubts going in, about making it into three films, about the addition of the issue of the Necromancer, but Pete pulled it out again for me. I know some people have issues with the length, particularly the first scene, but as a massive Tolkien fan and Lord of the Rings nerd, I felt that it was perfect, and could not have been any shorter.

So thats my review of 2012, the greatest year of my short life so far. I hope it gives a flavour of what this blog is about. I’m sorry it was so long, but I had a lot to cover, future post won’t be this long, unless people start moving to Mars, or some equally big news occurs.

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