So here it is, the one thing every blogger is obliged to churn out at this time of year: an annual review of stuff:
Iron Man and The Dark Knight were both excellent, and promise to take superhero/comic book movies into a whole new era, for better or worse. I’m a bit worried that Marvel are going to get carried away with the crossovers and shared-universe thing (like they have with their comics – see below), but for now it seems to work. Indiana Jones and the Yadder Yadder Yadder was as terrible as everyone thought it would be. Changeling was unexpectadly brilliant. And the only thing holding There Will Be Blood back from masterpeice status is that I still can’t get Dr B to watch it. My highlight of the year though was watching an old scratchy copy of The Sting. It broke several times, some of it was upside down, but it was just great. Paul Newman will be missed.
Apart from several weeks spent in the company of my Absolute edition of Watchmen, the best reads of the year came courtesy of Brian K Vaughn’s Y: The Last Man and his stint on Buffy Season 8. Marvel and DC continued their descent into headline-hungry intertextual hell with Secret Invasion (all £250 of it) and Batman RIP.
The online design community grew stronger, but also became a little bit too inward facing (clients? What are they then?) and Creative Review’s blog became the centre of everything – even if that meant it was competing with its own print version (has anyone else had the whole “I feel like I’ve already read this” feeling when they pick it up?). The Designer’s Review of Books got off to a good start, despite a LOT of disagreement over that apostrophe. Spherical logos appeared all over. Great posters appeared from Greig Anderson and Peter Crnocrak, and then found a home on Typo/Graphic. The Serif was eaten by Form Fifty Five. The Editorial Design Organisation hosted some amazing (and cider-ful) events. Everyone wanted a Ffffound invite. Oh yeah, and I launched my portfolio.
London got one step closer to becoming its own Richard Curtis simulacra with the election of a floppy-haired dippy posho caucasian. New York remained the focus of all alien/zombie/tourist/hipster invasions. Paris was cold but magical. York’s obsession with turning every vacant building/parking space into “luxury” apartments showed no signs of abating, particularly along Stonebow, but continued to be lovely and homely.
Despite frequent obituarising of the album as a viable format for pop music, the year threw up all kinds of goodies from REM, Long Blondes (RIP), Raconteurs, Kings Of Leon, Glasvegas, Santogold and Guillemots. Latitude proved to be the best festival around (Blondie, Interpol, Elbow and plentiful corn-on-the-cob? Yes please) and the Foos rawked Wembley Stadium. A last-minute treat was the launch of the Amazon MP3 store. As much as I love the iTunes store, it’s good that it’s finally got some hefty competition … especially at three quid for new albums.
Lost got good, Heroes got bad, and, if memory serves me correctly, Doctor Who featured an episode in which Catherine Tate actually piloted the TARDIS over a shark. Survivors was so-so. Futurama returned. And, out of nowhere, Louis Theroux became our best investigative journalist with his shocking, brave study of Johannesburg’s mean streets.
I got drawn into GTA IV, but even the scope of the production design couldn’t make up for some incredibly repetitive gameplay. Too many hours were spent building and repairing sentry guns on Team Fortress 2, and my brief stint on Gears Of War 2’s Horde mode left me dumbstruck. And as for that heart-wrenching level on Portal where you have to incinerate your companion cube – why did nobody warn me? Why?
So there you go. All comments welcome, although please accept the simple fact that I Am Right About Everything.