Saturday, 31 December 2011

Crumpet's Top 10 Cultural Highlights of 2011

Top 10 Non Nail Highlights of the Year

Hi Goddesses

I know some of you like the posts where I just write.  (Or ramble lol).  So just a pre-warning – this post is not related to nails, nail polish or nail art in any way.

I wanted to gather some of the moments this year that really rocked my world.  I love music.  I love books, and films, and I wanted to commemorate that.  So here they are, in no particular order …. Until we get to the final 3 J

The End of 24

Farewell Jack Bauer, farewell.  You redefined TV drama, introduced a rocking way of telling stories, and now you’re gone (until the movie).

Series 8 was great … until about episode 18.  Once Renee died, Jack went off the rails, and the series limped to an ending that was so much less than it deserved.

Other than that, this represents some of the finest drama US TV has ever produced.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows part 2

I was really nervous about watching this film, because the book contains a moment that destroys me every time I read it, and the films have NEVER captured the emotional depth (such that it is) of the books.

One of the things that connects me to Harry Potter is how he misses his parents.  Drawn from JK Rowling’s own loss, it perfectly captures that endless ache of wanting one final moment or hug with the person who died.  The scene with the resurrection stone reduces me to tears in the book, every time I read it.  It’s true, it’s not mawkish, and its very simplicity captures the perfect hold-your-breath nature of the scene.

Thankfully, the film did not disappoint, and Lily’s “we never left”, gets me every time.

England – The Best Cricketing Nation on Earth

Wow, it’s been a long time coming, but nothing could beat the incredible and almost incredulous results of the Ashes test Down Under and the achievement of the team’s 2 year goal – to be the best team in the world.

As a team leader who loves psychology, let me share this with you fact fans – when Andy Flower took over coaching of the team 2 years and appointed Andrew Strauss as captain, they shared with their team their 2 year goal to be the best team in the world.

Most team meetings would end there.  But Flower and Strauss then proceeded to draw out on the wall, every single match that stood between today and that 2 year goal, and which teams would be in their way.  Together, the entire team plotted what results would be required, with the result that no team in history was better prepared or motivated to achieve their goal. Is it any wonder they achieved it?

Rory McIlroy

When Rory McIlroy self-destructed on the back 9 in Augusta, single- handedly throwing away his first ever major golfing title, the 21 year old put it into perspective on Twitter – “Well that wasn’t the plan! Found it tough going today, but you have to lose before you can win. This day will make me stronger in the end.

6 weeks later, his words rang true as, learning from his mistakes, he did the unthinkable and came back from the loss that everyone predicted would destroy his future career to win the US Open with confidence, and the steel of a champion.

An amazingly inspirational triumph.

Meg Gardiner

I love books, thrillers mostly, and there is nothing I like more than discovering an author who has already written 8 brilliant books which I can devour 1 by 1.  The author I found this year has become one of my all time favourites.

Meg Gardiner writes 2 series of books about strong, independent women – Evan Delaney and Dr Jo Beckett.  What sets her apart is that she is the only author who does not operate on the scale of diminishing returns – every book is as good as its predecessor.  If you’re looking for a new author to get stuck into, get stuck into her.

Stieg Larsson
Continuing the book theme, Stieg Larsson has dominated this year.  I have nothing but respect for any author who can become big news, and it is extremely sad that he died 2 years ago, before he could see The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo and its 2 successors become global phenomena.

The books aren’t necessarily literary masterpieces, but the characters are, especially the female anti-heroine, Lisbeth Salander.  Larsson’s books prove the number one rule of all creative art – it starts with the character.  Get your characters right, and people respond, react and get sucked in.

One Day – David Nicholls

My final book choice is One Day which came out a couple of years ago and has sat on my shelf ever since.  It’s about a couple who meet at University and what happens to them on the same day every year.  To be honest, it probably would have stayed on my shelf unless there was a film coming out, and I am so glad that gave me the push I needed to  read it.

Again, this is a book about characters so acutely defined that they leap off the page.  The story meanders – as does a life – but the characterisation keeps it gripping.  And then the ending just destroys you.  Wonderful.


Glee has a lot of knockers, but how can you hate a program that is the very definition of its name ?  At its very best (which is hasn’t been for some time) Glee makes me cry with joy and empathy, and when Glee is less than good, it only succeeds when the music rocks my world, as it did when Gwyneth swung into Forget You; when they ripped off their cardies in the empowering Born This Way episode; when The Warblers created the acapella masterpiece of Teenage Dream; or when the TroubleTones mashed up Someone Like You and Rumour Has It.  Genius.


There’s not very many films these days that the minute they end prompt me to say “I need to see that again”, but Inception was one such film.

A total mind fuck, it succeeded on the basis of great actors, a fantastical story, great special effects and enough suspense and wonder to keep you guessing into the heartache of the final reel.  Masterpiece.

The Royal Wedding ..

… captivated most imaginations everywhere this year, and I captured most of my thoughts in my blog back in April.

8 months on, and I what I still zero in on is a couple so clearly in sync with each other, oh and yes – more bank holidays please.  We enjoyed our 2 back to back 4 day weekends J

9/11 rebuild

Did anyone catch the Discovery Series this year about rebuilding Ground Zero? Awesome.  Inspirational.  And emotional.

That series was full of people who have not only rebuilt something, but in so doing have forever left the imprint of their soul on the project.

From the sheer perfection of the imagery of the disappearing waterfalls, to the fact that the architectural layout of the plaza is dictated by the sun’s position at every key moment that fateful day, this whole project could not have been delivered with more respect, tenderness or awe.

And now my Top 3 …..

3.  Lady Gaga – Born This Way

THE album of the year, no questions asked.

When you’re as far out there as Lady Gaga, the only way you can achieve credibility and be more than “just a novelty” is to have the talent to back it up – and she has it in spades!

This entire album is a pop masterpiece, topped off with the sublime HAIR.  Whatever mood I am in, that one song makes my very soul swing.  A masterpiece.

2.  Adele at the Brits

By now, I am sure you have all heard of Adele.  Back in February, when she performed at the BRIT Awards (like the UK Grammys) she was fairly unknown in the US, but this performance changed EVERYTHING.

If you haven’t seen it, you MUST YouTube it.  It is one of those performances that STOPS TIME. 

Someone Like You is a paean to a lost lover who is about to remarry.  It defines heartache and hope, and ache travels through every syllable.  Adele performed it half a beat slower than on the album, dressed in black, with just a piano.  Starkness and simplicity.

And then, just as she reached the key emotional note of the song, gold tickertape fluttered down to create a moment of magic, a moment of unimaginable emotional intensity, and a moment that defines an artist in history.

1 – the end of LOST L

Oh wow.  LOST.  THE best TV series of all time and it ended this year.  I have so much respect for this show, and for Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, for the fact that they went to the network and said “no, we’re not doing this forever.  We want an end date”.

The moment they got their end date (mid-way through what was a meandering Season 3) the show took off like a rocket-fuelled firework.  Series 6 promised so much, and tried its best to deliver, but when you have an audience sooooo incredibly emotionally invested in your show, you’re never going to please everyone.

If you know me, you know I am the Queen of Sleep.  This is the only thing this year I crawled out of bed for at 5am.  Nothing else could have made me do it.  And if I was disappointed with the finale the first time I watched it (I really was), by the 3rd time, it made perfect sense AND accomplished what the writers promised they would do – create an ending that was true to the characters (and if it didn’t complete the story, tough).

Finally – can we just shoot whoever it was at ABC who decided to run scenes of the original crash over the end credits and therefore create an unintentional and frankly insulting cyber-discussion that the whole 6 series of the show had been a dream.  You twat.

And that’s it from me for 2011 – see you on the other side J  xxx


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