The last post. 2007. That was my year that was.


As I head off to enjoy, with a heavy cold, the Hogmanay celebrations it’s time to bring the 2007 blog to an end.

Looking back on the year one thing will rise above all other memories of 2007, the passing away of my father.

A great man who had a great send off.

Saturday past was a poignant ending to the year as we committed his ashes and closed a half open door. My Mum, all of my sisters, Jeana, Denny and James were there at a simple ceremony that was just right.

I have said much on this subject , but it can be summed up here.

The Hibees winning their first cup in 16 years was a great highlight too, but slightly marred by the aftermath and then JC’s ‘walking on water’ turning into ‘JC plays Judas’ in December.

Shame on you JC.

A full year of working for myself was very rewarding and proved I can bring the family up at the same time. That meant a lot to me.

As did my 78 on The Queens Course in November and my 78 at Ratho in August, my first ever single-figure-above-par golf round.

Amy’s Standard Grade results were outstanding and made both Jeana and I very proud, as did Tom with his pre-eminence on the golf course and Ria’s determination on the Gymnastics floor. She finally achieved that elusive bridged kick-over during the summer but was once again thwarted in her chase for a merit at her cnmpetition in November because the judges raised the bar and docked her points because her cuffs were too long.

It will happen.

Jeana’s contribution to a beautiful; Queensferry and her ability to manage the Queensferry’s non-gardening population in a rendition of Strictly Come Cat Herding was worthy of merit.

In books Joshua Ferris’, Then we came to the end was my new book of the year.

In music it had to be Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand.

And my movie of the year? A tough one, but I’ll plump for Control, just edging out Atonement.

TV show of the year? UI’m tempted to go for The Secret Millionaire but the one that inspired me most was the Genius of Photography.

The greatest thing that happened to me technologically was the discovery of Flickr and the amazing avenues it opened for me.

Gig of the year was a close call between midlake at the ABC in Glasgow and Candie Payne at Cabaret Voltaire. But I have to give it to midlake because they are the greatest band on earth right now (including Arcade Fire) and I saw them.

Ridiculous decision of the year undoubtedly goes top The Nobel Prize Jury who gave Al Gore the Peace Prize. Why? Great guy, great politics, great movie. Peace prize? Get real.

But awarding that free kick to Italy in the 90th minute runs it close. But that’s not just ridiculous. That’s corruption.

And my man of 2007, for several reasons, was Mike Donoghue.

Restaurant of the Year was, no question, Kismot.

Best day out was, ironically in a way because it was set amongst so much sorrow, the day Jeana and I walked to Cramond Island in a post-funeral state of exhaustion, shock and trauma to return, in a way spiritually refreshed, and to be met by Tony Delicata’s offer of a free lunch at The Cramond Brig.

Tony. That hit the spot.

Performance of the year went to my sister Jane for her rumbustious rendition of A Fairy Tale of New York at the FAT Christmas show.

Twats of the year? Mondial Insurance. Get it up Ya.

Muppets of the Year. Sky. Get it up ya. (But at least we’ve had a laugh at their expense.)

Wife of the year? Jeana Gorman.

Put it this way. I couldn’t live with me.

And so to 2008.

My hopes?

Terry makes a full recovery.

Terry and I share school barbie duties at St Margarets in June.

Hibees remember they are a football team now that they are a succesful business. You’re not in the dock yet Mr Petrie but there will come a point after you’ve coined in another few million in January when enough is enough. (Oh yes, and we win the Scottish Cup, but even before it starts I’m putting that one on hold for 2009.)

Tom gets down to a 14 handicap.

Tiger Woods wins the Grand Slam (I don’t care I love Tiger Woods) but Scotland also find a golfer (Mark Warren looks the only real contender.)

I win something, anything, at Dundas Park.

PT Anderson wins Best Director at The Oscars.

Amy skooshes her highers.

Ria gets a merit at Gymnastics.

Jeana realises her potential. (Or at least realises she’s realised it!)

My mum and Emily have a fantastic time in China.

Carlisle Utd get promoted to the Championship.

Boris the Spider returns to the racetrack.

I am healthy throughout.

Books of the year


It was a slow year for me. I can’t have read more than a dozen books in all, but very few duffers came my way, indeed I think the Mrs may have out-read me and will no doubt post her own best-of by close of play today.

However many of the best books I read were recommended by Ian Dommett, so he goes to the top of my critics list.

In no particular order my favourite reads of the year were.

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood.

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In truth this probably wins by a nose. The fact that it was written in 1985 is a strength as it shows off her perceptiveness even better than if one read it at the time of its release. Is it her best book? Hard to say as she is such a brilliant writer, but it certainly sits alongside Oryx and Crake, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace and he Blind Assassin. All magnificent.

You’ll find my full review here if you are interested.

Then We came to The End by Joshua Ferris

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I predict this will be a monster in paperback. It’s been on many year end lists this year and so should get the reviews it deserves when it comes out in PB in 2008. I think it’s slated for a movie too, although the mystery that is implicit in its writing will probably be diluted on screen. I reviewed it here.

The Damned Utd byDavid Peace

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My all time favourite sports book. It’s a novel but reads like a Biography od Brian Clough in his 43 days as manager of Leeds Utd. Not a happy experience. It is frightening how out of control Cloughie was. So good was it that I asked for, and recieved, “provided you don’t Kiss me, 20 Years with Brian Clough” for my Christmas. I’m really looking forward to that. Anyway I reviewed David Peace here. Highly recommended.

An Occurance at Owl Creek by Ambrose Bierce

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It’s just a short story but it’s packed with drama and a brilliant twist.  Read more here.

 The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides

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I was blown away by this.  Far superior (aren’t they all) to the movie; it gets right under your skin in a very odd way.  But he’s a very odd writer.  My mother read this and his other masterpiece, Middlesex, on my recommendation and loved both of them.  More here.

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

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This is an interesting but overwritten and ultimately pompous diatribe against the existence of God.  Nevertheless, until he starts getting overly political about it all it is a very interesting essay and worthy of reading for anyone who has any interest in the existence of god(s).  Read more here.

 Auchwitz by Laurence Rees

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I was gripped by this book and I also liked the BBC Drama later in the year that depicted the liberation of Auchwitz.  Not by the same writer.

It’s a detailed account of the concept behind Auchwitz and throws the net of Nazi guilt far wider than Hitler.  Well written and absorbing it is, despite its gruesome content, a compelling read. 

 On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

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Great, but not his greatest.  I wrote an overly glowing review of this on completion, but, in hindsight, it’s a bit style over content.  Still beats most of the muck that gets published though.

Agent Zig Zag by Ben Macintyre

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If this was a novel it would be rejected on grounds of ludicracy.  It is in fact, the true life account of an English Double agent who crossed sides more often than Michael Stewart.  It’s real boys own stuff and a splendid read.  What ho!

Albums of the year


This is always one of my highlights of the year.

Making the big choice.

And this year was full of rich pickings.

Q said Arcade Fire was numero uno and I am inclined to agree.

Mojo said Radiohead, I can’t comment. I didn’t download it for free.

The Observer went for The Good, The Bad and The Queen. Now, despite my utmost admiration for Damon Alborn I have to say, I didn’t like that at all. Strange choice.

My top ten goes like this.

Neon Bible by Arcade Fire

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Wow. They came back bigger (much bigger) and better than before. Although I wasn’t at either Glastonbury or T in the Park I saw both on TV and on each occassion they were the best live band. My biggest disapointment, musically, of the year was having to turn down tickets to see them at the SECC.

Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

This year’s out of the blue. One off classic. Like The Ballad of The Broken Seas last year by Isabel Campbell and Mark Lanegan. There’s no reasons why albums like this exist but they do, so just take it while it’s going.

I reviewed it on the 60 Watt blog here.

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I wish I could have loved you more by Candie Payne

Saw her live and it was my favourite gig of the year. Totally overlooked by the media, this may be my favourite album of the year. A modern day take on wjhat dusty Springfield might have done if she’d been starting out now. I reviewedit  in more depth here.  And there’s a video too!

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Shine by Joni Mitchell

From the first chord to the last, a masterpiece. reviewed earlier in the year on my blog here.

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Favourite Worst Nightmare by Arctic Monkeys

Great Rock n Roll. just great. Easily surpasses their first great album. But it’s not cool to like a second album is it. Well, that’s what the music press seem to think. Reviewed here.

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Boys and Girls in America by The Hold Steady

No holds barred R and R that blew me away when I first saw them on Jools. Chips Ahoy is a masterpiece. Reviewed here.

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The Reminder by Fiest

Soft jazzy stuff reviewed here.  Is Canada the hottest place on the planet just now?  I’d say so.

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This is the Life by Amy McDonald

I presumed this was a teen angst set. It’s not it’s great folk rock album.

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A Lily for the Spectre by Stephanie Dosen

Beautiful and quiet singer songwriter stuff reviewed here.

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Kala by MIA

The best world music album I heard last year. It’s a hip hop travelogue with a heavy third world political doctrine behind it. Much of it is great fun.  This was my review and there’s a video too.

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and on heavy rotation but either not released this year or just not quite top ten material were…

Cansei De Ser Sexy by CSS

Very naughty Brazilian rocky, poppy dance music, compared in some quarters (but not this one) to the rather overrated Klaxons.

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Four on the Floor by Juliette and the Licks

Totally written off as crap and uncool and yet this is a vicious, hard working and actually, great Rock and Roll album.

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Ma Fleur by Cinematic Orchestra

Lush orchestral jazz, that’s beautiful but one of the guest singers sounds too like Chris Martin for my liking.  Reviewed here.

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Thirst for romance by Cherry Ghost

Three great songs, but although a good album it turned out to be my disappointment of the year because, for me, the est ddn’t live up to the promise of the singles. Still really good, personal singer songwriter stuff with a heavy dose of arrangements thrown in.

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Made of bricks by Kate Nash.

No need to comment. You’ll love her or hate her. Foundations was a single of the year (probably my No 2 after Grace Kelly). The album is every bit as good as her arch rival’s – and another whom the media love to hate, just ‘cos she’s famous, Lily Allen – actually it’s probably better.

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Re-release of the year was, no question…

Collosal Youth by Young Marble Giants.

Sublime.  Reviewed here (and a video)

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And actually, compiling my tracks of the year is harder to do than albums. I’ve made up my usual compilation CD and anyone who wants a copy is welcome to it. Just ask.

For the first time ever I found it a major challenge to limit it to 19 tracks. No Norah Jones, despite one excellent song on her 2007 release. Mika had to be in, despite being desperately uncool.

Smash and grab – Juliette and the licks
People help the people – Cherry ghost
One week last summer – Joni mitchell
No Cars go – The Arcade Fire
Why should I settle for you – Candi Payne
Chips Ahoy- The Hold Steady
Brandy alexander – Feist
Grace Kelly – Mika
Crual Storm – Espers (A KF reccomendation)
15 – Rilo Kiley
505- Arctic Monkeys
Alala – CSS
Only getting better – Stephanie Dosen
Ma Fleur – The Cinematic Orchestra
Dickhead – Kate Nash
Gone Gone Gone – Plant and Krauss
Mr Rock n Roll – Amy McDonald
Missing my Son – Tom Waits