Monday, 31 December 2007

Tis the traditional time....

Now that the miasma of goodwill to all and sundry has started to subside, and we are all gearing up for the objective-setting flurry of new year, it seems the perfect time to give this blogging thing a go.

So, I will start in the traditional way, with a summary of 2007 according to Chatterbox. (This is highly coloured, of course, by the fact that I can only remember certain bits of it this morning, but hey, who's reading anyway....).

2007 started with a bit of a bang with the Green Wing Convention. I got roped in to help a bit, and ending up running the games with the lovely Jools. Many real friendships made on top of the (already pretty real) online ones. Online friendships continued apace, as I began helping Jools with her website, and we had a series of catch up events through the year. I joined myspace, got quickly baffled and so joined facebook instead, briefly leapt into the world of add on applications inviting me to 'superpoke' friends, throw sheep and join facebook pressure groups, then retreated to the cosier world of scrabulous and status updates where I remain today.

No review of the year would be complete without some cultural highlights, so lets see....

Books, I continued to wade my way through William Boyd's back catalogue, loving them all, but Restless just failed to knock Any Human Heart off my personal top-spot. Favourite book of the year was Atonement, which I only got around to this year when I realised the film was about to come out, and I wanted to be able to do the usual muttering about how the film isn't a patch on the book. 2007 was, of course, the year of the final Harry Potter, and despite getting heartily sick of the last couple of instalments, I thoroughly enjoyed it, particularly as it made sense of the casting of the great Alan Rickman as Snape in the films.

Theatre trips this year included at the National, Joe Penhall's latest offering Landscape with Weapon (which I saw seven times for reasons I may or may not reveal in the future), Joan of Arc (fantastic performance by Ann Marie Duff), Emperor Jones (the energy of Paterson Joseph left me breathless), Philistines (a bit underpowered), Caucasian Chalk Circle (excellent, with the rock chorus providing a great counterpoint to the blue rinse audience), Rafta, Rafta (gorgeous leading man and lots of belly laughs in the old fashioned sex farce mode, but stayed with me for days afterwards). At the Globe, Othello was a big highlight this year, with Iago played with gusto, but I have to say that I am starting to feel the loss of Mark Rylance and Liam Brennan as regulars in the company.

Other theatre...Boeing Boeing was a joyous revival of a sixties farce, with Mark Rylance as the country bumpkin, Frances de la Tour as the long suffering maid, and Michelle Gomez as the scary Cherman girlfriend - all performances wildly over the top, and all the funnier because of it. My theatre year ended with Spamalot, with Peter Davidson as a beautifully inept King Arthur. But I think overall, Elling at Trafalgar Studios is my best play this year, with a wonderfully thoughtful but intensely physical performance by John Simm , and perfect support by the rest of the very small cast...The wonder of watching Simm cast off his role at the end and return to himself to take the ovations still gives me goosebumps. It also had my favourite quote of 2007 ' Mother did all the shopping, I was in charge of ideology', so kudos to the translator/adaptor.

TV then... well the passing of West Wing is still leaving me grieving, as is the short life and premature death of Studio 60 at the Sunset Strip. Yes, both could be smug and self-satisfied, and cheesy in that peculiarly American way, but they were also sublime. I never got into Sopranos due to the scheduling, but one of my objectives for this year is to start at the beginning and work my way through. I loved Help and The Thick of It, and in 2007 wished that court cases could be made to vanish just so that I could keep looking forward to more. The Thick of It survived the loss of Chris Langham, but I can't see Help managing the same trick - it only worked because of Langham's particular lethargic energy balancing out the cleverness of Paul Whitehouse which might have become cloying. Life on Mars, Doctor Who and Torchwood were all stars of 2007, as was 'The Street', but there was little else that I couldn't live without.

Film was a bit so-so this year, but then I didn't seem to get to the cinema much, or even have time for DVDs. Bourne Ultimatum was perhaps the best action movie to date, but the third of the Pirates series was a bit of a washout, despite the eye-candy. I did love the look of Atonement, but wished for more time on the later parts of the story.... Joe Wright is becoming my director to watch though - his adaptations are very sensitively done, and beautiful to look at, so I think he is still likely to produce a masterpiece.

On the personal, front the kids have morphed into teenagers, but all still fine, amazingly.... Some hiccoughs toward the end of the year to do with inanimate objects breaking as soon as I get near them, (you know who you are, bathroom window, car door, loo seat, best plate, fridge, heel of favourite boots, elbow of favourite jumper....) but overall, I seem to be a happy bunny - how did that happen?

Hmmm, so that's my summary of the year - ended with all pets intact (almost unheard of), and with more friends at the end than at the beginning, so that is a bit of a result really.