The Final Fives


OK, let’s review this sucker. 2009 is drawing to a close, we’ve almost reached the big 25th rehomed cat in the Cats Protection advent calendar and the remainder of the year is dominated by 6 Music stints and the occasional pear cider. I shall call 2009 The Year Of Secret Dancing, Cylons and Pear Cider, and in order to make nominal sense of it, I present my Final Fives in a number of categories, plus an additional Significant Seven, where relevant, in no quantitative order, for each. (And if you don’t get the Final Five and Significant Seven reference, you won’t have watched number one in my Final Five: TV Programmes.)


The Final Five: Films

1 Moon (Duncan Jones)
2 Das weisse Band/The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke)
3 Up (Pete Docter)
4 Pranzo di Ferrogosto/Mid-August Lunch (Gianni di Gregorio)
5 Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)

The Significant Seven:
(Lars von Trier)
2012 (Roland Emmerich)
Bright Star (Jane Campion)
The Wrestler (Darren Aronovsky)
In The Loop (Armando Ianucci)
Star Trek (JJ Abrams)
The Hurt Locker (Katherine Bigelow)


The Final Five: TV Programmes

1 Battlestar Galactica, Seasons 1-4, DVD box set
2 House, Seasons 1, 5 and 6, Sky1; Hallmark; FiveUSA
3 Red Riding, C4
4 30 Rock, Seasons 1, 2 and 3, DVD box set; Five; Comedy Central
5 Modern Family, Season 1, Sky1

The Significant Seven:
True Blood
(FX, Season 1)
Celebrity Masterchef (BBC1)
Garrow’s Law
Prison Break (Fiver, Season 1)
The Thick Of It (BBC2)
Mad Men (BBC4, Season 2)
Arrested Development (DVD box set)

The Final Five: Songs

1 Cellz by Doom (Born Like This)
2 The Promise by Girls Aloud (Out Of Control) – BOO! Just found out this came out at the very end of 2008 but I’m leaving it in, because I got into it late, this year
3. Sticks’n’Stones by Jamie T (Kings & Queens)
4 Rave On by M Ward Ft. Zooey Deschanel (Hold Time)
5 Reflection Of The Television by The Twilight Sad (Forget The Night Ahead)

The Significant Seven:
Vlad The Impaler
by Kasabian (West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum)
Heads Will Roll by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (It’s Blitz)
I Felt Stupid by The Drums (Summertime!)
Teenage Body Count by Jim Bob (Goffam)
Daylight by Matt & Kim (Grand)
Just Like You by Ian Brown (My Way)
Mirror’s Image by The Horrors (Primary Colours)


The Final Five: Albums*

1 Where The Wild Things Are by Karen O and the Kids
2 Born Like This by Doom
3. My Way by Ian Brown
4 Goffam by Jim Bob
5 Forget The Night Ahead by The Twilight Sad

Significant Other:
A late entry – I’ve been listening to Luke Haines’ 21st Century Man all day, and it’s a triumph!


The Final Five: Live events

1 Blur, Glastonbury Festival, June
2 Swamp/Come, Been & Gone by Michael Clark, the Barbican, London, November
3 Daniel Kitson, The Stand, Edinburgh, August
4 Hairspray, Shaftesbury Theatre, London
5 Hitler Moustache, Underbelly, Edinburgh, August

The Significant Seven:
The Specials, Glastonbury Festival, June
Karaoke Circus
at the 100 Club, London, July, and the Pleasance Ace Dome, Edinburgh, August
Edwyn Collins, Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, August
Sarah Millican, Pleasance, Edinburgh, August
Robin Ince, Glastonbury Festival, June
John Otway, Glastonbury Festival, June
Alan Moore, Bloomsbury Theatre, London, December


The Final Five: Books

1 The Red Riding Quartet, 1974, David Peace (1999)
2 The Red Riding Quartet, 1977, David Peace (2000)
3 The Great Crash 1929, J.K. Galbraith (1954)
4 Bad Vibes, Luke Haines (2009)
5 The Red Riding Quartet, 1983, David Peace (2002)

The Significant Other**:
The Red Riding Quartet, 1980, David Peace (2001)


The Final Five: Heroes

1 Bonnie Greer, for dealing with Nick Griffin in a way that no other Question Time panelist could have done: calm, reasoned, intelligent, cool, patient and armed with the secret weapon of historical fact
2 The Green Party, for keeping me interested in politics and the environment when I might just as easily have given up on both
3 Alan Moore, for being a true original and uniting all who saw and met him at the Bloomsbury Theatre in December in the conclusion that sometimes you should meet your heroes and they won’t let you down; also, for speaking in the Northampton accent of my grandparents and making me homesick by pronouncing “Einstein” correctly as “Oinstoin”
4 Robin Ince, for his tireless work in bringing together comedians and non-comedians, scientists and non-scientists in the name of genuinely stimulating entertainment for non-idiots
5 Seymour Hersch, Hendrik Hertzberg, Steve Coll and the “far flung correspondents” of the New Yorker, for showing me that there is more to American politics than posturing and disappointment


The Final Five: Places to be

1 HMVCurzon Wimbledon; Curzon Soho; Curzon Mayfair – these three buildings have made cinemagoing enjoyable again
2 RSPB Titchwell reserve, Norfolk
3 Richard Herring’s attic, Shepherd’s Bush, London
4 Duke Of York’s Picturehouse, Brighton
5 Downstairs bar, Oriel, Sloane Square, London


The Final Five: Proudest moments

1 Secret Dancing in front of live audiences at the Duke Of York’s, Camden Roundhouse, the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, the Phoenix Bar and the Bloomsbury Theatre – quite a “journey”, as they’d say on The X Factor, while fanning their faces
2 Being given a glug of champagne by Mickey Rourke, and being hugged by Robert Downey Jr at the Baftas, February
3 Recording the audiobook of Where Did It All Go Right? in Cardiff with Chris and Gerald, February, blocked in by the snow – and seeing it onsale and being bought by nice people: an indie victory!
4 Being asked by the Times to speed-read Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, overnight, a rare moment of Fleet Street journalism
5 Episode 2, Series 3, Not Going Out, Winner, BBC1, broadcast February

The Significant Seven:
Being on More4 News
Returning to 6 Music on a “holiday cover” basis
Being a small part of Mark Watson’s 24-hour gig in Edinburgh
Being interviewed by Germaine Greer for The One Show
Hosting Q&As with Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton at the Edinburgh TV festival, the creators of Lost at the Curzon Mayfair, the makers of Bunny & The Bull at the Curzon Soho, and Shane Meadows at the Curzon Wimbledon
Being in the Top 10 Comedy Podcasts in the Guardian‘s otherwise rubbish Comedy Special
Thanks to Robin Ince and Martin White, sharing comedy/variety bills with Stewart Lee, Josie Long, Alexei Sayle, Waen Shepherd, John Otway, Ben Miller, Chris Addison, Barry Cryer, Jim Bob, Robyn Hitchcock, Simon Amstell and many, many more


The Final Five: Exhibitions

1 Rothko, Tate Modern
2 Anish Kapoor, Royal Academy
3 Futurism, Tate Modern
4 Wild Thing, Royal Academy
5 Rodchenko & Popova: Defining Constructivism, Tate Modern


The Final Five: New Things

1 Twitter
2 Pear cider
3 20-minute workout at new gym (thanks, Dom)
4 Oyster card – damn you!
5 Working with Iain Morris and Damon Beesley at BWark – the future of my sitcom career?

* Quite the worst year for albums in living memory; nothing outside of this Final Five (and one Significant Other) really merited being in my list – I’m sure you’ll have loads of personal suggestions, but I fear the album is becoming a lost art and it pains me that so many promising artists fail to fill a whole two sides and keep my attention; still, it makes this six all the more precious, I think
** Didn’t read enough books this year


20 thoughts on “The Final Fives

  1. I used to serve Alan Moore when I worked in HMV in Northampton. Lovely bloke. Used to bump into him in Morrisons too; extremely down to earth chap, always kind enough to chat.

  2. I've been watching Top Of The Pops episodes from 1976 on German telly over the last few months. If the singles were anything to go by then that has to have been the worst year for albums in living memory.Top five mid-seventies Top Of The Pops presenters:1. Emperor Rosko2. Dave Lee Travis (surprise entry)3. Jimmy Savile OBE4. Tony Blackburn5. Noel Edmonds (no wonder he wouldn't let the BBC show them)It's been that kind of year…But the Emily Loizeau album is great, and at least half of the Tune-yards one is too.

  3. Out of your top 5 I haven't seen any of the films, only saw one of the TV shows and that was one episode of red riding, haven't heard any of the songs nor the albums, read any of the books.I'm sure there is nothing wrong with any of them (apart from Ian Brown who couldn't hit a note if someone held it down for him and gave him the worlds biggest note-seeking hammer.) It's just been a funny old year. I doubt I could come up with 5 in each category, let along the five best.Instead here are my top five sharks1. Great White – The Daddy2. Hammerhead – Who can resist it's crazy noggin?3. Tiger – The knife-wielding hoodie of the shark world.4. Thresher – Check out the spoiler on this baby.5. Whale – The huge gobbed shark not the flabby mammal.

  4. In regard to my area of speciality, the albums, I know absolutely everyone goes on about it but I really do think The Horrors' album was excellent. Also, did you hear The XX album? That was my personal favourite of the year. And as a Kasabian fan what did you think of their album? I thought it was probably their best yet.

  5. Dara – it's all the rage for middle-aged musos to dig Girls Aloud – didn't you know that? See also: Alexis Petridis and Peter 'thinks he's 14 years old' Robinson of Popjustice.Give me another seven or eight years and I'll be bopping to that shit myself, no doubt – it comes with the grey hair an loss of faculties.

  6. Dara, if you've ever listened to me on 6 Music (and you're entitled not to have done), you'll know how much I love Girls Aloud. It's down to the tunes and the singing. Swineshead may be pertinent in mentioning my advancing years, but all reaching my 40s has done is make me comfortable liking anything I like. (I find the whole concept of "guilty pleasures" preposterous – guilty for liking something? Not since leaving sixth form, surely?)When I was a teenager I tied myself up in knots trying to be "cool" and like the "correct" records and bands. Then I defied my "punk" (or "new wave") pretentions and admitted I loved disco AS WELL and, frankly, life became all the more stimulating and exciting. What I'm saying is, it's been a long time since I pretended to like or not like anything. Which is how some of us got into a state here when I declared my love of a) Kate Nash, and b) Adele. By the way, I don't think Girls Aloud's album is good enough to go into a Final Five, which is why I picked out the track. So, like, I'm not unconditionally in love with them.

  7. I wasn't having a pop about your advancing years, AC – we're all getting on.But Girls Aloud is unforgivable as they sound dreadful. Nothing to do with any established idea of cool. I'm always happy to declare my love for Carly Simon or REO Speedwagon. Both particularly uncool – moreso than GA by some margin.But Adele, Kate Nash and Girls Aloud, in my useless opinion, are teeth-grindingly bad. As for the stir you provoked with your Adele post – I recall the major factor was that you expected us to choose between two when the blindingly obvious answer to the provocative blog post 'Adele or Duffy' was 'NEITHER!', you enfant terrible of the blogosphere.

  8. Some random personal highlights, despite obviously experiencing very little culture: Radio: Radcliffe & Maconie on R2 – keep lapsing but when I do listen I always think it's perfect; Danny Baker on 5Live – missed the whole of his second run but essential that it continues (ideally with more airtime, and Danny Kelly); first Collings & Herrin stint on 6. TV: the judges said it quite a lot but the modest winner of non-celeb Masterchef really was an artist; Craig Kelly on Strictly – the ever-widening gulf between what he expected the judges to say and what they said made him the funniest contestant yet; the BBC's digital coverage of the European cross-country champs had no commentary for a while and was like an affecting short film. Songs: 'Daniel' Bat For Lashes; 'No One Does It Like You' Department of Eagles; 'Signs & Wonders' Animal KingdomPointless time-waster: Neutral's beautiful online escape room games.Alarming beauty: the Norway spiral (malfunctioning Russian rocket producing perfect spiral in night sky above Norway); Monday 2nd Feb, other-worldly snow. Special mention for the continuing, multifaceted Collins and Herring pretend-friendship service for nerds.

  9. I COMPLETELY disagree about 2009 being a bit rubbish for albums – for me, it’s been an absolute triumph of a year. Animal Collective? St. Vincent? The xx? Volcano Choir? Surely one of those baby boys must’ve tickled your fancy. Here’s my top albums of 2009 list, for your perusal:

    By the way, love the show Steve. You did quite a wonderful job filling in the coveted Adam & Joe slot. Hope 6music stays for a bit longer, I’m hoping to hear more of you! Katherine x

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