At this time of year it’s impossible to open a newspaper or browser without being inundated with various 2013 ‘lists’. Best this, worst that. Funniest moments. Most important celebrity selfies. Most outrageous benefits cheats (thankyou Daily Mail).
To get into the spirit, I’ve put together my highlights of the year. Why not? It’s my blog and I’ll blog if I want to. For most of the year I worked 3 days a week. What did I do with the rest of my time? I can tell you that my lofty plans to learn German and attend lunchtime lectures in Art History failed to eventualise.
I absorbed popular culture, that’s what I did.
- Daft Punk Random Access Memories. I played this all summer, often whilst singing and dancing along.
- Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of the City. I usually find ‘too cool for school’ indie bands to be vastly overrated, but not these chaps.
- John Grant Pale Green Ghosts. Brooding and introspective, but also funny.
- Barbara Kingsolver Flight Behaviour. A novel about climate change and butterflies may not sound particularly great. But it is.
- Donna Tartt The Goldfinch. Brilliant. Worth the 10 year wait, although the cringeworthy philosophising at the end almost did me in.
- Behind the Candelabra. Michael Douglas at his best since Romancing the Stone. Matt Damon in white speedos. Need I go on.
- Blue Jasmine. Cate Blanchett proves to be Australia’s best actress once again (note the sharp contrast with Naomie Watts in Diana)
- House of Cards, Breaking Bad. Universally acclaimed by all. Excellent tv.
- Borgen. The final series, and yet my crush on Sidse Babett Knudson refuses to die.
- The Returned. Intriguing, menacing, atmospheric. Creepiest child character since The Omen. Also nonsensical and irritating, but still great.
- Broadchurch, Southcliffe. Nobody does grim drama like the British.
- The Great British Sewing Bee. The sewing room banter between Saville Row tailor Patrick and the contestants was more comforting than a cuddle and a lamington, but it also had tension and drama. Would Stuart’s zip pucker? I was on the edge of my seat. Fell neatly into the ‘admiration of people who have skills I don’t have and will never attempt to acquire’ basket.
- The Book of Mormon. So good I saw it twice, and I can’t stand South Park. Funny, full of energy, great songs. Everything you want in a new musical.
- Chimerica. Personal and geopolitical thriller about the twin superpowers.
- The arrest of Ai Weiwei. Eye-opening depiction of the Chinese government’s treatment of one of its most famous artists.
- Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. Captivating, even aside from the ‘men in feathers and naught else’ factor.
Food and Drink
- Kale. I embraced the latest superfood. I extracted it into smoothies, I steamed it, I stir-fried it.
- Duck. B became a duck specialist this year. His duck and mango curry and confit duck leg put the birds to good use.
- Mocktails. 2013 was completely alcohol free for me. I will see in the new year with this cranberry and coconut concoction.
- Cake. I successfully replaced alcohol with baked goods. This will come back to haunt me when I attempt to give up processed sugar in early 2014.
- Nutribullet. I’ve become one of those irritating people who drink green smoothies and then tell people about it.
- Thermomix. I don’t have one (yet) but I coveted my sister’s. There is almost nothing this machine can’t do. Led to me shouting ‘T’mix!’ whenever I spied one on Masterchef.
What did I miss – what floated your boat in 2013?