Saturday, January 9, 2010

You've All Been Very Patient, And Finally...

I’ve been a bit wary of speaking at formal occasions ever since I disgraced myself by welcoming everyone to my wedding, something Mrs Abahachi still appears not to have forgiven me for twelve years later, but nevertheless it gives me great pleasure to introduce the much-coveted glittering prizes and career-wrecking notices of disapproval that are the Over Awards 2010. As voted for by a random selection of regular contributors to the ’Spill, and then fixed by yours truly in the absence of any clear winner...

Our first segment could be entitled ‘How was it for you?’, a look back at the people and events that marked 2009. It seems typical of the communal atmosphere of the ’Spill that many people were happy to admit that they saw this in very personal terms; so nominations for Villain of the Year include ToffeeBoy’s soon-to-be-ex-Head of Department (“yes, I mean you, you penny-pinching, soulless heap of crap!”) and Events of the Year included AliMunday’s half century, Abahachi winning a research grant, CaroleBristol escaping redundancy and the debut performance of THE BOX, featuring debbym’s TheBoyWonder. On the sporting front we have Tottenham Hotspur’s 9-1 defeat of Wigan (May 1366) and the first twenty-five seconds of the FA Cup Final (TB), while Thierry Henri only narrowly missed the top slot for Chief Villain. Inevitably, however, the winners come from the worlds of politics and economics that continue to shape our lives in largely but not entirely depressing ways...

Event of the Year: 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall: an unforgettable series of exhibitions , films , gigs etc., commemorating a historic event now alien to a generation of youngsters from all over the world - education please! (thanks to gremlinfc)

Villains of the Year: reckless, greedy bankers (i.e. most of them, with an honourable exception, as debbym pointed out, being the Sparkasse employee who started redistributing wealth to those in need...), and the politicians who sucked up to them.

Hero of the Year, for all you incurable optimists, and Norwegians: Barack Obama.

Secondly, we come to the section for miscellaneous non-musical culture. Very little consensus in the book category – several recommendations for Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, but since that’s now thirty years old I’m not sure I’m going to allow it – so I’m going to leave this as a list of recommended reading: Dakota by Martha Grimes; From Right-Wing to B-Wing : from Premier League to Prison by Mark Ward; The World According to Garp by John Irving; 2666 by Roberto Bolano; Heliopolis by James Scudamore; Tom Holt's popular history Millennium; If the Dead Rise Not by Philip Kerr; Thanks For Nothing by Jack Dee and The Baader Meinhof Complex by Stefan Aust.

We have at least been watching some of the same films, so that we have a genuine competition:

4: Away We Go (2 votes, but since it’s Blimpy and Mrs Blimpy it gets beaten by...)
3. Synecdoche New York (2 votes)
2. Star Trek (3 votes, but since one of them is Mrs Abahachi our winner is...)
1. Let The Right One In (“A swedish vampire film for people who don't like a) swedish films or b) vampire films or indeed c) films. Actually people who c) don't like films will hate it. Oh, well.” (magicman))

Next up we have the People’s Choice section. Obviously that doesn’t mean that the People had anything to do with the choice; just like Birthday Honours for lollipop ladies and teachers, this is all about a shadowy elite making a few populist gestures...

The GremlinFC Hunk of the Year Award,for his renewed hunkiness in one of the year's low-level great fillums, goes to ....GEORGE CLOONEY!

Double-Act of the Year: even though one of them had clearly imprisoned the other in a dungeon and forced him to communicate his love of obscure indie through a speaking tube, it can only be JAPANTHER and SATANKIDNEYPIE!

The Way of the Hippo Lotus Flower on Pond for Peace and Harmony

The Godlike Genius Award for Services to the ’Spill: yet again, it’s BLIMPY McFLAH!

And that brings us at last to the music awards. I don’t know if Snadfrod had a similar problem last year, but we all seem to have been listening to completely different things, so there’s almost no overlap at all in our votes. Stand by, therefore, for some disorganised lists...

Rediscoveries: I’m tempted to suggest that I should win this one, for somehow managing to ignore Mogwai until this year. Other, rather less embarrassing rediscoveries, include: Corb Lund: Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier!; Clifford Brown: The Ultimate Collection; Paul Butterfield Blues Band: East/West; Azure Ray: Azure Ray; Boy Hits Car: Boy Hits Car; Malcom Middleton: A Brighter Beat; Barry Adamson: Oedipus Schmoedipus; John Coltrane: A Love Supreme; Kip Hanrahan: Tenderness; The Beta Band: Best Of; Bellowhead: Burlesque.

The Overcooked Award, for ‘could try harder’: some controversial suggestions here... Bob Dylan (“I can't get beyond the voice and the downright misery of it all (yes, I know I'm a Smiths fan) - I'm sure there's a reason that so many 'Spillers are so keen on him but I can't see it myself - a touch of the Emperor's New Clothes as far as I'm concerned” – ToffeeBoy). Van Morrison (“He has been trading water for the last two decades. I am beginning to think that he is never going to release anything decent again.” – Carole.) Florence & the Machine, Animal Collective and Thea Gilmore all got nominated as well, but the winner – if only for the eloquence of the put-down – is Beyonce Knowles (“She's been responsible for four or five epoch-making records but currently doing half as much as ever before with twice as many 'personas'” – May1366).

Which brings us finally to Album of the Year, and the winner is...EVERYBODY! I’m going to take the optimistic view that it’s a good sign that no single album or artist got more than one vote, as clearly there was so much great music out there last year; we all listened to completely different things and yet we all still get along – how cool is that? Yes, I could have fiddled the results (how would you know that I was the only person who really adored Fever Ray?) or exercised a casting vote (but would I have supported Prefab Sprout for the quality of the record, or the back story, or the fact that Toffee was really helpful with some genealogical queries last year?), but no: here, my friends, in alphabetical order, are (some of) the Albums of the Year:

Doves: Kingdom of Rust
Fairport Convention: Live at Cropredy ‘08
Fever Ray: Fever Ray
The Horrors: Primary Colours
King Creosote: Flick The Vs
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba: I Speak Fula
La Brassbanda: Uebersee
Micachu & The Shapes: Jewellery
Prefab Sprout: Let’s Change the World with Music
Royskopp: Junior
Tom Russell - Blood & Candle Smoke
Oumou Sangare – Seya
White Denim: Fits
Withered Hand: Good News

Thank you and goodnight!


bishbosh said...

Feels a little inappropriate for me to comment first seeing as I was too lazy-assed to contribute, but as I'm here... Fantastic reading, Mr Abahachi! To my shame, I don't own any of those albums of the year. Must get with the programme...

Good work, sir (and all who contributed)! bb

CaroleBristol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CaroleBristol said...

Excellent work there Abahachi and a nice post too.

What this really shows is that we are a community of very different people, brought together by our almost (almost?) obsessive love of music.

I for one am really happy to be a 'Spiller and have my life touched by all you lovely people.

Blimpy said...

Yay! Abahachi! This post was ace, what a nice surprise,

despite low voter turnout (i think it's due to the sheer number of posts that fly thru the 'spill - things easily get shunted off "down the bottom" there) i fink it's quite lovely that i can pretty much tell who voted for which best LP of the year (apart from White Denim?)

we rented "let the vampire kid in" and only managed 5 minutes - the normally unflappable mrs mcf got the fear and the squeamishness.

FP said...

Giggling at "let the vampire kid in" but a worthy winner. The American remake is to be called "Let me in" which works well too. Stellar résumé, Herr Hach - very much enjoyed reading it... FP

Blimpy said...

how many votes did elbow get last year, by the way?

saneshane said...

certainly makes up for the wedding debacle!!

if this was a game show I'd only stick my neck on the block for knowing 3 peoples album of the year choices.

great post - will join in more when I improve my computer and relax into the new house - I'm building more book/cd/record shelves.. if I thought my Saturday nights would be this great 5 years ago.. It would have boggled my mind!

Shoey said...

Nice job, Aba. Was hoping, unrealistically, for something more aural - perhaps next year. Many thanks for comiling & hosting with your usual unduplicatable style.

Abahachi said...

Something more aural? I assume you wanted the tracks rather than me wittering, but I assumed they would be on the festive spill thing, which I haven't had a chance to listen to yet.

FP, have you heard anything about the proposed US remake of Bienvenue Chez les Ch'tis? Mrs Abahachi and I have been speculating about where it might be set - Mid West? Appalachians?

tincanman said...

Very entertaining read! Well put together and presented.

DaddyPig said...

Thanks Abahachi, I'm sorry I never got a contribution together but I enjoyed reading your excellent overview of everyone else's.

DaddyPig said...

PS - I think Willie Mitchell is going to be hard to beat for "greatest loss to music" in 2010.

DarceysDad said...

I get an award?? WTF for? I mean, I love you all, obviously, even fyodora, falkenberg and BloodyParadise, but at times I've been to "peace and harmony" what Ferguson has been to the Referees Appreciation Society .... cf. BloodyParadise again.

Re the rest - I simply don't ever get to either read books or watch new films these days, and can't even remember if I contributed a list for consideration on the more music-related topics, so it's lovely to read your summary of what I've missed, Abahachi: thank you very much.

Hope to buy you another coffee sometime in the near future.



sourpus said...

Yes, an enjoyable post Abahachi, I'll try harder to contribute next time..I also note that 'the true identity of Speng becomes known' was already on the way to forgotten (except maybe by Darce - congrats on the Peace Prize, by the way DD) by the time the 'Event of 2009' polls were pasted up. But, looking at the competition, I now concede it wasn't such a big story after all. Ho-di-hum, im off to fine tune my splash making apperatus ready for next year (sound of whistling down the garden path and disappearing behind the shed door with a dull clunk)

Japanther said...

brilliant stuff Abahachi!

a very entertaining read and of course I am honoured to receive an award...I think it might be the first one i've ever won...thank you, thank you!.....hopefully we'll be able to solve the technical difficulties in order to make another one soon...

there's another few great lists of recommended stuff to get investigating too, thanks everyone!

AliMunday said...

And I think Abahachi should win the 'patience in adversity' award for wading through all the e-mails and putting together a splendid post. Many thanks.

May1366 said...

Well worth the wait, Aba. I'd like to say I'm feeling a warm glow inside but that would be a lie. I'm not warm - I'm cold, cold, cold - however, were I to experience a degree of thawing this afternoon, this post will have been the reason.

ToffeeBoy said...

@ Abahachi - great post - well constructed, well thought out and clearly written with intelligence, humour and not a little love and care. Thank you.

My boss is now my ex-boss (which sound a bit like one of those electronic game thingummyjigs but is actually far more fun). I am now officially a freelance researcher (and will happily and shamelessly advertise my services here!) and a part-time teaching assistant. Stress was SO 2009!

@ sourpus - I think the revelation of the true identity of Speng was a huge moment in last year's calendar and I still don't believe it. Like the whole Holy Grail nonsense, I refuse to believe the evidence before my eyes...

Abahachi said...

@DsD: think of it as being a bit like Obama's Peace Prize: we're sure you have it in you to spread the Way of the Hippo, even if you still fight the odd war on the way.

For some reason I thought Speng's identity was revealed back in '08; can someone remind me of the date of the great event?

gremlinfc said...

I had forgotten completely about this so what a brilliant surprise to get back from the snowy woods to find the whole ceremony well in swing- well done Toffeeboy from me!
DsD -hope it;s going well...
It's fun fun fun and recht vielen Dank (i think i can say that to you) Mr. A for warming up a very cold GFC.

debbym said...

Thank you, Herr Hachi, this made wonderful reading and brought a smile to my tired face.
All the best for 2010!

debbym said...

And just in case anyone is wondering what I was wittering on about when it came to the bankers, you can catch the latterday Robin Hood story here

SatanKidneyPie said...

I'd just like thank...


"Yo, SKP, I'm really happy for you. Imma let you finish, but Hale and Pace are one of the best double acts of all time..."


Fuck off, Kanye.

Cheers, Abahachi. That was very entertaining and a great summary of the year.