Best and Worst of Culture 2011

Worst TV

The Jonathan Ross Show: he used to be annoying, now he is execrable. Everything on Channel 5. Everything on Viva, Disney or the Hallmark channel. Anything featuring Ross Kemp, Alexander Armstrong (fetch my stick), Matthew Wright (pass me my lovely little gun), Jeremy Kyle (where did I leave my waterboard?) or Piers Morgan (bring back hanging).

Best TV

I haven’t seen ‘The Killing’ or ‘The Killing 2’ yet (I know, I know)… I will do when everyone has stopped telling me I have to watch it.

‘Misfits’. Great acting, great writing, terrific premise. So much better with the inclusion of Joseph Gilgun’s Rudy Wade.

I thought ‘The Hunt for Tony Blair’ was clever and full of highlights but I seem to be alone in this view.

Worst film

‘The King’s Speech’ – this was brilliantly acted, brilliantly directed and brilliantly written. So why do I hate it? I hate it because it puts out to the world, the same, and in my opinion, false, image of England and English people: that we are repressed, class obsessed, small-minded bigots (ok, we are but I still don’t want the rest of the world to know).  This would have been a better film if it had been about a bus driver with a speech impediment, who had to give a speech at his daughter’s confirmation party.

Best film

‘Poetry’ – this was such a subtle and surprising central performance and the story didn’t do any of the things I thought it would do. Didn’t try and patch up the rift between grandson and grandma, didn’t milk the terminal illness for dramatic effect. The sort of film Mike Leigh would make if he was a film director instead of a theatre director. The sort of film the English would make if they knew how to make films.

Best books

‘King Crow’ by me (– come on, give me a break). Published by the wonderful Bluemoose Books.

‘Chavs’ by Owen Jones. Much needed analysis on why the media hates the working classes.

‘Kill All Enemies’ by Melvin Burgess. A gripping and unflinching look at teenage delinquency. I’d like to stuff it down Michael Gove’s gullet.

‘Spurious’ by Lars Iyer. More a comic monologue than a novel, but hugely enjoyable nevertheless – Mercier and Camier for our age.

‘Jude in London’ Julian Gough. A very original bawdy picaresque journey through a London landscape that has been replaced by an exact replica – only darker… think Douglas Adams, having been run over by a truck transporting Cervantes, Flannery O’Brien and Lewis Caroll on the way to the funny farm.

‘Room’ by Emma Donohue. A masterclass in five year old child’s POV.

Worst books

Believe it or not, I haven’t read anything outright barbarous this year. However, I doubt ‘Round the Bend’ by Jeremy Clarkson has any literary merit (It’s the fourth book he has published this year incidentally – do you think there is a sweatshop in Indonesia?). Other contenders: ‘May I Have Your Attention Please’, by James Cordon (only if it involves me punching you repeatedly in your face); ‘Jonny: My Autobiography’, by Jonny Wilkinson (he can’t even spell his own name right); ‘The Book That’s More Than Just a Book – Book’, by Peter Kay (put us out of our misery Kay, does it also double as landfill?). I must stress, I HAVE NOT read these books and I advise you, for your own health and sanity, not to too. If you see them coming towards you – run.

Worst album

’50 Words for Snow’ Kate Bush – actually this is a lovely album, but for the crime of including Elton John, she will never be forgiven. Also, and even less forgivable: Stephen Fry. ‘Phlegm de neige’ indeed.

Best album

All of these are worth a listen:

‘Crazy Clown Time’ David Lynch

‘Trans-Love Energies’ Death in Vegas

‘Trust the Witch’ Big Sexy Noise

‘Skying’ The Horrors

‘90 Bisodol (Crimmond)’ Half Man Half Biscuit (and extra points for album title of the year)

Michael Stewart


About headspam

I'm a writer from Salford, now based in Bradford. I've written for theatre, radio and TV. And the following books: King Crow (novel: Bluemoose Books); Couples (poetry: Valley Press); Cafe Assassin (novel: Bluemoose Books); Mr Jolly (short stories: Valley Press) Author page:
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