2011. In hindsight.

2011. That was the year that was.

2011 was rather less fraught than 2010.  I didn’t work to such ridiculous extremes, and the year end saw my portfolio change quite considerably compared to 12 months ago.  Three big new clients at year end were Maidsafe, Vets2 and Front Page Design, all autumnal starters and all brilliant to work with.  My STV contract finally came to an end after three years but its been great and I am very grateful to them for all the work.

Some old troopers still stand by me; 60 Watt, Paligap, The Usability Lab, Corporation Pop, Ampersand and LA Media, with occassional work from a small number of others.

To you all; slainte and have a great 2012.

If my golf was bad in 2010 it beggared belief in 2011.  I gave up my membership at Dundas Park and clearly that did not have a galvanising effect on my game.  I was shit awful on both trips of the year and even my winter game has been poor.

We didn’t go away as a family in 2011, for a variety of reasons but I had the holiday (maybe an exaggeration to call it that) of a lifetime in June when Ria and I went to Glastonbury.  To say it was memorable would be something of an understatement.  There is one abiding memory of it, I have to say…the bogs.

Not good. And this was on day 1

But there were other memorable sights and moments, like this…

Not good. Day 4.

And this…

All good. Day 4.

Which brings me onto my musical highlights of the year.

My best of CD which you can have if you like included these tracks…

In a good year for music my song of the year, without question, was Video Games by Lana Del Rey.

My albums of the year were;

Bad as Me by Tom Waits (overall my favourite record)

Let England Shake by PJ Harvey

You and I by The Pierces

The English Riviera by Metronomy

A creature I don’t know by Laura Marling

50 Words for Snow by Kate Bush

Hotel Shampoo by Gruff Rhyss

Build a Rocket Boys by Elbow who also performed the gig of the year at Glastonbury (closely followed by King Creosote at The Liquid Rooms)

A different Kind of Love by Bombay Bicycle Club

21 by Adele

I did a lot of cinema in 2011…

Here’s what I thought of what I saw in my IMDB profile…

Two ten out of tens and a few nines show that it was also a good year for movies.  In retrospect I plump for three as my best of the year


A Separation and


On TV This is England 2008 moved me to tears and was by far the year’s greatest offering.  I liked Top Boy too.

I didn’t read a great deal this year but have really enjoyed

The Brothers Sisters by Patrick DeWitt.

The Childrens Hospital by Chris Adrtian.

And Filthy English, The How, Why When and What of Everyday Swearing by Pete Silverton.

But the best read of the year by far was…The Guardian which I grow deeper in love with.

This was a big year of theatre for me.  I reckon I saw at least 20 different productions but easily the stand out was Dance Marathon in which Jeana and I and Chris and Liam danced our asses off for five hours before I was told I was relentless by the Producer.  We also had amazing nights at The Kings for James Cordon in One Man, Two Guvnors and The Lyceum for both Dunsinane and Age of Arousal.

This year was sadly marked by way too much illness among our friends for me to want to dwell on but Matt, David and Jenny I am thinking of you now.

Also, we lost James King, Joyce Cambell and Fiona Pirie from FCT and Rachel Appolinari at the outrageous age of 19.  RIP all of you. xxx

All of the family have blossomed in the past year, thank God, and long may it continue.  In particular Amy has shown an almost exponential growth in confidence and skills in many different areas.

2012 is University year for Tom and Ria should they both choose to go down that path.

And so, to 2012.  It’s the year I turn 50, Amy 21, Tom and Ria 18 and I aim, with Pete the Meat, to lose at least 50 pounds each before we turn 50 in May. We are raising money to do so and you’ll soon hear of our plans.

Thanks for being my reader once again in 2011.  My year end Technorati rating was an all time high closing in on a top 1% of all the blogs in the world rating.

16,000th out of 1.2 million.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

For the second time in as many years Hollywood has come out to face up to the competition from outstanding Swedish cinema with remakes that, at the time of announcement, seemed indecently hasty.

Cashing in, one might conject?  Maybe so, as the movies in question, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “Let me in” could both be accused of copying the Swedish originals quite closely.

So, Boxing Day in the UK saw the much anticipated Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, stateside version, hit our screens and boy does the US cinema industry once again show that it can hold its own against European art house with some ease.

The original (Swedish) movie, which was adapted from a mega hit novel by Steigg Larson, was outstanding.

This reviewer gave it an IMDB score of 9.0.  So how does this compare?

In a word.  Admirably.

Indeed the US version actually communicates the story slightly more clearly than the Swedish adaptation (and that’s not a comment about subtitles).

The fact is, David Fincher is on fire and he has once again crafted a thriller that sits proudly alongside Se7en.

The film opens with a thundering, and truly awesome, cover of Led Zepellin’s Immigrant Song by Trent Reznor and Atticus Rose (the Social Network) – there’s a nice touch early in the movie when Lisbeth’s go to man for forgeries appears wearing a NIN T shirt – and the opening credits, again like se7en are worthy of an Oscar in their own right.  Brilliantly mixing oil and flame (a theme that bookends the movie) they set the scene to perfection.

Black.  Black as you can get.

You’ll probably know the plot if you’re reading this so I won’t go into it; it’s a complex and interwoven tale of historical murder and modern day defamation mixing religion, Nazism and extreme sexual torture, but it’s all handled with a restraint that makes it all the more shocking in a directorial masterclass by Fincher.  With the exception of the brutally bad Benjamin Button, Fincher is building a body of work (including The Social Network, Fight Club, Zodiac The Panic Room and Se7en) that makes him the current king of the thriller and one of the best and most reliable directors in Hollywood.

Daniel Craig is very good in this but Rooney Mara blows him away with a performance every bit as good as Roomi Rapace’s in the Swedish version.

This is a languid, but often shocking, storytelling experience.  It’s a great movie.  Sure, it’s only really a pseudo cop film but it’s got everything that anyone loves about great film making could hope to see in a luxuriant 156 minutes.

Magic. 9/10

I think we did the right thing bailing from the golf this morning

80 mile an hour wind gusts with the prevailing windspeed around 30mph.

The group that went out in front of us at Lundin Links on Fife’s southern coast lasted one and a half holes, lost one of their trolleys which blew onto the beach and one of the players had already also lost three balls.

We had a bacon roll, a cup of tea and headed home.

Common sense prevailing over the prevailing winds.


The inconsistency of justice…

How come the “Big Guy” in this video is vilified in many circles for stepping in and sorting out a situation and risks losing his job when all he has done is sort out a wee nyaff that delighted the onlookers..

But this old lady, who stepped in and sorted out a situation becomes a  national treasure when all she has done is sort out a bunch of wee nyaffs that delighted the onlookers.

For the record I think the “Big Man” did everyone on that train a favour and should be lauded.

The Scotfail guard summed the company up quite nicely.