Saturday, 31 December 2016

The Best of 2016

So much heartache this year, so much division being foisted on us. Racial, tribal, political, gender and that old nutmeg, class. So many loved ones dead. Bowie, Mum, Cookie, Leonard Cohen, Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood - the list is long. Yet, even in light of this, there is always a positive side. We had them gift our lives with immeasurable pleasures and even in death the memory, in some cases, their work, lives on.

Of all the albums released this year, and there have been a great many worthy of high acclaim, from Paul Simon's "Stranger to Stranger,"  Anoushka Shankar's "Home," Leonard Cohen's "You Want it Darker," Radiohead's "Moon Shaped Pool," and of course David Bowie's final recording "Blackstar."

In spite of my passion for the man, his music, his art, this was one hell-of-an-album, perhaps his best. For this reason alone, along with my love of him, "Blackstar" is my album of the year.

Image result for "The Census Taker"Selecting which book I favoured from the many I wrote about here, was equally as hard as choosing my album of the year - a nigh impossible task.  There was Elizabeth Stout's beguiling tale so simply told - "My Name Is Lucy Barton" such direct narration without frills or fancy just a mother visiting her daughter in hospital then discussing the life events that shaped them both.

Patti Smith's snap-shot biography  "M Train" that gathers then presents neat little slices of a life lived yet still being lived. Sarah Perry's delicious "The Essex Serpent." otherworldly fiction which contains some of the most exotic writing I have read then manages to slide in some beautiful erotica. Also, worth mentioning is Jacen Burrows and Alan Moores "Providence" not forgetting the incredible "The Natasha's" by Yelena Moskovich which, as debut novels go, thrilled me almost as much as...   China MiĆ©ville's extraordinary "The Census Taker."
MiƩville manages to maintain the pace, tension and interest while shifting from first person narrative to third but also slipping between time zones. A magnificent achievement

No bones about the best film as far as I am concerned. "Moana." Simply incredible.

Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.


Cara H said...

Honestly, I don't expect the coming year to be any better. Waxing metaphysical, we are in a time of transition, and it will probably get worse before it gets better.
We can always hope I'm wrong.
I hope the coming year treats you kindly.

Russell Duffy said...

I keep reminding myself the progress we have made in the last sixty years. No more black segregation. Far more, if not enough, equality for women. How human rights have made giant leaps since the fifties, sixties and seventies and yet....we have taken three steps forward only to take one step back. All the best for 2017. Thanks for having me on 'One Love.'

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A Utility Fish Shed Blog

A Utility Fish Shed Blog