Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Grønmark Blog Non-Political Awards for 2014

Most heart-warming story of the year award
"An Isis commander at a terrorist training camp north of Baghdad accidentally detonated a belt packed with explosives during a demonstration in front of a group militants on Monday, killing himself and 21 nearby trainees.” Belfast Telegraph, 10th August

Dumbest tweet of the year award
Naomi Campbell tweeting “Congratulations Malaria” when Malala Yousafzai  was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Best TV drama series of the year
1. True Detective, with brilliant acting performances from Matthew McConoughey and Woody Harrelson. I suspect it was better than anything produced for the big screen in 2014 – the standard of recent releases available on Sky Movies has been abysmal.
2. Fargo – brilliant serialisation of the classic film
3. Line of Duty – second series of moody UK cop drama

Best factual TV series of the year award
1. Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year, second series – won by the enormously talented Gibraltarian painter, Christopher Hook.
2. Brilliant Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities – three-part art history series presented by Dr James Fox (BBC4)
3. Art of Gothic, three-part series presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon (BBC4)
4. Rococo: Travel, Pleasure, Madness, three-part series presented by Waldemar Januszczak (BBC4)
5. Bunkers, Brutalism, Bloodymindedness: Concrete Poetry, three-part series presented by Jonathan Meades (BBC4)
6. A Very British Renaissance, three-part series presented by Dr James Fox (BBC4)

Best TV comedy of the year
W1A (BBC2)

Cutest YouTube video of the year award

My classical music discovery of the year award
Australian composer Frederick Septimus Kelly’s lovely Elegy for Strings: “In Memoriam Rupert Brooke” (thanks for the tip, mahlerman).

My pop music discovery of the year award
A tie between Ritchie Barrett’s much-covered Ray Charles-ish 1962 R&B classic, “Some Other Guy” (here) and The Handsome Family’s “Far from Any Road”, which was used as the theme for the TV series, True Detective (here).

Literary discovery of the year
Just how good Len Deighton's Harry Palmer novels were.

Literary obsession of the year
Golden Age British detective fiction.

Non-fiction book of the year
Tom Lubbock's Great Works: 50 Paintings Explored. Published in 2011, this book by the Independent's chief art critic (who died in 2010, aged 53) is essentially a guide to how to really look at paintings - invaluable for someone like me, who loves art, but whose eyes tend to slide over the surface of paintings, unsure where to focus. (Thanks are due to my friend Richard Murphy for recommending this invaluable work.)

Goal of the year
Van Persie’s astonishing header against Spain for Holland in World Cup, tied with Lamela’s ridiculous rabona shot for Spurs in the Europa League

Personal insight of the year
That Nigella Lawson was born to play Cleopatra.

Most odious statement of the year
Arch-atheist Richard Dawkins ordering parents who discover they’re about to give birth to a Downs’ Syndrome child to abort it and try again. Lovely man!

Most unexpectedly moving public event of the year
The ceramic poppies at the Tower of London, which shouldn’t have worked, but somehow just did.

Worst sculpture of the year
The one of Portuguese footballer, Ronaldo – evidently quite excited at the prospect of taking a free kick - erected in his hometown:

Best internet video series of the year
A tie between retired lawyer John Berresford’s multi-part series, A Pumpkin Patch, A Typewriter, And Richard Nixon: The Hiss-Chambers Espionage Case, and Sarah Koenig’s rivetting 12-part true crime podcast, Serial.

Most bizarre celebrity story of the year
Jonathan Ross’s TV presenter brother Paul admitting to gay “dogging” and having a chap snort meow meow off his face. His wife is standing by him - but hopefully not too close. (I had to check this in case I dreamt it, but apparently I didn't - full story here).

Ghastliest journalistic trend of the year
A strange obsession with the families of passengers on missing airplanes.

And so we bid a fond farewell to:
Jack Bruce, Alvin Stardust, Paul Revere, Gerry Goffin (for co-writing "The Locomotion"), actress Kate O’Mara (a friend of mine used to babysit for her), Phil Everly, Acker Bilk, Clarissa Dickson Wright (for being so gloriously un-PC), Jeremy Loyd (for playing silly asses, rather than for his comedy script-writing), Raphael Ravenscroft (for playing the saxophone on “Baker Street"), Warren Clarke, Eusébio, Phil Hughes, Mike Nicholls, Jimmy Ruffin, Franny Beecher (lead guitarist with Bill Haley and the Comets), Chip Young (played guitar on “Jolene” and produced Billy Swann’s “I Can Help”), Peter Underwood (prolific author and parapsychologist), Chapman Pincher, Lynsey de Paul, and Richard Broke (TV producer and esteemed member of our local church and book group). Catch you later...

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