OH HAI 2009

How was your year? Mine was pretty good.

I didn’t see a lot of gigs, but Leonard Cohen, Elbow, dEUS, My Bloody Valentine, Scott Walker’s Drifting and Tilting and the Rogue’s Gallery shows were very memorable. While many reviewers dwelt upon the alleged darkness of Walker’s Drifting and Tilting, the one thing I took away from the show was its wicked humour.

Punching a pig. Photo by eleventhvolume.com.

Musically often impenetrable, these lighter moments were brought to the fore by Walker and show director Ann-Christin Rommen’s staging. Afterwards, Walker’s albums, Drift, and Tilt, didn’t seem quite as ‘difficult’ to deal with and the show stopping ‘Patriot’ became my most played track of the year’s final three months.

Leonard Cohen (by Caroline)

Musically I mostly stuck to old favourites, but I enjoyed newcomers Duffy, Rachel Unthank, Sam Sparro, The Aftermath, and welcomed the return of Tricky and Grace Jones. In the last few months of the year, I mostly craved Hi-NRG beats. Hercules & Love Affair, Sparro, The Potbelleez, Ne-Yo and Robyn all scratched that particular itch. I’m not an album listener anymore, my iTunes/iPod is always set to ‘shuffle’, but judging from my iTunes and Last.FM stats, Duffy’s Rockferry was my favourite, or at least the most played.

I spend more time watching TV-series than I do listening to music and genre shows came out on top this year: Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, The Sarah Connor Chronicles were unmissable. Comedy came second, with 30 Rock and The Office constant features on my list of weekly downloads. My favourite drama series of the last two seasons is still the awesome Friday Night Lights.

Battlestar Galactica - Last Supper

I’ll spare you the full list of the shows that I watch, it is endless. I think watching TV-series (and following some of its complex stories) has replaced watching films and reading books for me. I don’t do either much anymore. In fact I haven’t read a book in years, certainly not since I stopped commuting. I find most (Hollywood) movies disappointing and have not made an effort checking out arthouse flicks as I would have in the past. Films I did enjoy this year included Burn after reading (One of the few Coen Brothers films I liked), Iron Man (I’ll watch anything with Robert Downey Jr), Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (same goes for Philip Seymour Hoffman) , and In Bruges.

On a personal level, while the economy plummeted, my health improved steadily and I lost quite a bit of weight and dropped from a size 18 to 12. To compensate for no longer being able to tuck into Chinese roast pork and other such delicacies, I picked up a serious on– and offline shopping habit, partly necessary as I had to replace my wardrobe, partly pure indulgence. (Six pairs of new shoes? Really?) Consequently I rekindled an interest in fashion and started reading fashion magazines and websites.

I finally got a job that seems to agree with me, in a place where I can learn things. I made a bit more money, spent it even more. I travelled a lot. Four great trips to Ireland, three to the UK, three to Paris and two trips to Cologne and Antwerp.

Salthill - Before you leap (by Caroline)

I’ll remember walking along the Salthill promenade in Galway, hanging out with Ben in Coffee @ Whitecross Street, becoming my nephew’s godparent in the Eglise de la Trinité, sitting in a park in Brighton with Stuart, looking for chickens in Gav’s garden in Killiney and, of all the time I spent with him this year, our mad dinner in that dingy cellar in L’Ecurie in Paris.

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In 2009 I hope to continue doing well in my job, which is going to change slightly as our project moves out from development to production. I’ll have to travel less, because I really can’t afford what I did last year. I need to pick up the camera again, didn’t do enough of that in 2008. I intend to stick to my food regimen, drop another stone or so and hopefully be taken off even more of my medication.

U2 is releasing a new album and will be touring, so that’s going to create a bit of work over at u2log.com, even if I don’t know why I’m still doing that. Whedonesque.com will enjoy a traffic spike as Joss Whedon’s new series Dollhouse will start airing on Fox on February 13. But there are other things afoot on Planet Prol that eclipse Whedon (easily – I’ve kind of lost interest, really) or U2 (just as easily) which are going to be as time consuming as they will be rewarding. I can’t wait to tell you more about that.

Engage! So say we all!

On rewatching Battlestar Galactica

Easter. Wanted to travel, but everywhere was too wet, too cold, too dear. And so I am rewatching Battlestar Galactica, Season 1, for the fourth or fifth time.

Starbuck: Now, if you were human, you’d be just about ready to start offering up some false information about the location of the nuke. Some tiny thing that might get you a reward and maybe spare you a few minutes of this. But then I keep forgetting, you’re not human. You’re a machine.
Leoben: I am more than you could ever imagine. I am god.

Battlestar Galactica is a weird show for me. I stopped watching it back in 2003 when the first season was in progress, finding it too dark for my mood back then. I like darkness a lot, but at the time I wasn’t up for it. When my head was in a better place, I started re-watching everything and now think it’s fantastic. I can’t wait for more and I am sad it’s ending, but happy it will end before it starts to suck. I’m also pleased a spin off, Caprica, will be made.

Starbuck: Permission to speak off the record, sir?
Tigh: Granted.
Starbuck: You’re a bastard.

The strange thing is I don’t like anybody in the show. ‘Like’ on lots of levels. I am not a fan of any of the actors, I don’t find anyone particularly attractive, I don’t care much for them as individual characters… they’re all bastards. But I love the show, love the ensemble, love how they interact, love the way everything looks and I love how smart the show is and how it touches on various political and religious topics.

Romo Lampkin: There is no greater ally, no force more powerful,
no enemy more resolved, than a son who chooses to step from his
father’s shadow.

If I had to pick a favourite on the show, it would probably be Romo
Lampkin, who only appears in a handful of episodes in Season 3. Played
by the always charming British actor Mark Shepard
(Firefly, Medium)  Romo’s presence managed to make me forget the utter
drudgery of the Starbuck/Anders relationship, if only because I kept
wondering why Shepard was putting on an Irish accent for the part.

Shepard himself is a fan of he series, he called it
‘the most political show on television’ in a Q&A session last year and practically begging Ron Moore, the show’s creator, for a part.
His love for the material shines through in his performance.

Baltar: Congratulations… You’re not Cylon. 100% human, and
very, very bright green as well… You couldn’t be more human if you

BSG in ways is like the West Wing, another show so dense I can watch it again and again and again and never get bored. What’s so good about Battlestar Galactica is that it’s not about the scifi, just like the West Wing wasn’t about the President. It’s about us. Which everybody who is watching the show already knows, but now you know too.

I’m bloody tired of those Taiko drums though.

Cold, cold heart

It’s been snowing on and off all day. Everybody, including myself, is complaining about the cold despite the fact that it’s not even below zero. It’s 1°C (34°F).

We’ve been through much worse (’96, it was -15 to -25 for a long time). We’ve either turned into wimps or our age is beginning to matter. Or maybe events this winter (watching all the tsunami footage did wreck my head, I’m telling ya) have worn us out and we’re just gasping for the sun. I know I am. There’s some darkness there that could do with the light.

There’s a big gap somewhere at the back of my house, where my neighbour wrought a new balcony and windows, so there’s a bitch of a cold draught going through the house, creating permafrost all over the place. Just over my keyboard feels like the North pole.

I’m hoping for an Irish heatwave this weekend.

Taking a train

There is a chance I will be taking a train to Dublin, rather than a plane. There’s a chance it will have to be the Eurostar, which goes underground in France, underneath the Channel and arrives in London Waterloo. I have a fear of tunnels, darkness, being stuck. I start to sweat when the London tube comes to a halt, especially the Northern line. Does anybody have any experience taking the ‘Chunnel‘ and can they tell me if there’s plenty of light in the thing?