"What a surprise," I hear you all sarcastically scoff - "Matthew has sought shelter in that most idle of journalistic refuges: the end of year review."
In December, we writers are not required to compose a genuine article. We simply need to organise a meaningless - and utterly subjective - list of our favourite highlights from the year. I have baptised this lumpen practice, listomania©. In essence, it is the equivalent of a spoilt child cataloguing their favourite Transformers and sending the results up the chimney to Santa. Mind you, I have successful friends in their late 20s who continue to write Christmas lists every year to their long-suffering and impoverished parents.
As you know, I am already beyond the pale and I have therefore resigned myself to penning my own retrospective. You see, I am actually no better than any of my fellow writers; I just like to think I am. Self-deception is the one superpower I am in possession of.
In any case, are there any reasons to be feeling particularly sanctimonious this Christmas?
Doom and Gloom, as the Rolling Stones sing on their latest single, lingers in the atmosphere like a particularly unpleasant body odour. These days, Mick and Keith - the crinkled granddads of rock - are far too rich to position themselves as relevant social commentators, but they do have a point: pessimism is everywhere.
I suppose you think I'm being unfair. After all, 2012 was the year of the Olympics. It was a year of national unity, sporting prowess, and patriotic flag-waving at a tempestuous jubilee. But really, if I see another ageing politician attempting the Mobot, I might emigrate to Greenland, Kazakhstan or, as a last-ditch resort, Australia. Honestly, my father does more convincing impressions of Eminem.
The Chinese zodiac tells us that 2012 was the year of the dragon. It wasn't; 2012 was the year of the Boris. While George Osborne looked vampiric beside an increasingly choleric Cameron, Mayor Johnson marched through the capital with the air of an all-conquering war hero - his elephantine limbs akimbo as he addressed the masses.
I admit it, even I was momentarily swept up in the magic of it all. Who could resist Boris' bumbling charm, his glacial eyes and his really rather hysterical asides? He's like an intelligent Humpty-Dumpty, but with fantastic hair. Yet I can't help thinking that the so-called 'feel-good factor' he has so successfully promulgated is not just another grand deception to distract us from the real issues.
Since it's Christmas, I am going to attempt to bury my misgivings and indulge in some rare positivity. Heaven knows, all my despondency is beginning to smack of Morrissey and he'd hardly make an ideal dinner guest at Noël.
Granted, in 366 days (2012 is a leap year remember), I have enjoyed fleeting moments of mild satisfaction with my band Kites. We performed a series of bedizen shows throughout the year, including Tramlines, Liverpool Sound City and Scala - where we supported my doppelganger, Aiden Grimshaw. The experience of performing to an adoring audience, who initially mistook me for a well-dressed Mr Grimshaw, was not wholly disagreeable. The poor, deluded creatures.
Anyway, enough about me - no really, even I occasionally tire of talking about myself - what have been 2012's standout moments?
I want you to think of my list, not as a hierarchical chart, but as a smorgasbord of brilliance. Feel free to disagree in the comments section below. You always do...
1. Best radio: Adam Buxton and Edith Bowman partnering for a new show on BBC 6music.
2. Best psychedelica: Tame Impala - Lonerism
3. Best handsome dance musician: Matthew Dear - Beams
4. Best read: The Leveson Report. I'm kidding, it was Will Self's Umbrella (although both were equally impenetrable)
5. Best pop single: Sky Ferriera: Everything is Embarrassing
6. Best comedian: Tony Law (half-viking, half-pirate) Maximum Nonsense
7. Best heroine: Eddi Front - Gigantic EP
8. Best melancholia: William Basinski - Disintegration Loops
9. Best theatre: You me bum bum train
10. Best Christmas present: iPad mini (with GarageBand)
11. Best stocking filler: Pocket squares (this is the same every year)
12. Best film: Moonrise Kingdom
13. Best restaurant: Honest Burger (Soho, London)
14. Best Artist: Elizabeth Price (previously of Talulah Gosh)
15. Best Cocktail: Negroni
16. Best Tailor: A. Sauvage
17. Best athlete: Mo Farah
18. Best exhibition: Edvard Munch - The Tate
19. Best comeback: European Ryder cup team. Actually, do I look like I care about golf? Stone Roses
20. Best Personality: Well, Boris, obviously...
Merry ruddy Christmas one and all!
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