Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear me-eeeee.
Yes, indeed, the candle has almost burned right down on another year, and I’m thirty six today. When the hell did that happen? It’s been a busy couple of years, what with one thing and another. Five months looking for a house, finding a house, and buying a house. Eleven months living in it, largely untouched for forty years and the wiring and plumbing for a lot longer, without such niceties as showers, decent windows, or working drains, while we planned what we were going to do with it. Then eight months living in a rented place while the builders stripped the house back to the bare bones and beyond, extended, renovated and otherwise created the house of our dreams … or occasionally nightmares. Hard work, this stuff, even if I didn’t do any of the actual work myself. You watch Grand Designs, and they say things like, “wow, this is really hard work,” and you think, “yeah, whatever.” But man, this is really hard work. Most stressful thing I’ve ever done, I would say. Anyway, yesterday, we moved back in. Wa-hey! Crack the champagne! Or maybe, you know, just a can of coke or something, ’cause I’m really knackered, and there’s still a lot to do.
A lot for the builders to do, both inside and outside, and a lot for us to do shifting furniture around, discovering those things that have exceeded expectations and those things that have fallen short (malfunctioning central heating, I’m looking at you) and otherwise getting things the way we want them, but we’re in the house. We’re in. Now, I hope, I will have more time to do things like, I don’t know, write stuff. And maybe blog, and reply to email, and sit staring out the window with an enigmatic smile upon my face like what writers are supposed to ain’t they? But probably some other piffling destraction, like book tours or children or whatever will get in the way. Still, we can hope. We can dream.
An odd year, this one, 2010, in the sense that, for the first time in four years, the first time since 2006, I didn’t have a new book out. At least in the UK or US. So no doubt I shall be cruelly excluded from consideration in the various year’s best lists, not to mention next year’s glittering prizes. So no Pulitzer, Booker or Nobel next year. Well, the Nobel is given for a body of work rather than an individual book, so I suppose that’s still very much on the cards, in fact. I shall wait by the phone for the committee’s call. But while I wait, I could always tell you of some things that I’ve enjoyed this year:
FILM: You know, nowt really stands out for me. Not that I’ve seen much at the cinema, since parenthood tends to keep me away. I was enjoying Toy Story 3 until my elder daughter insisted on leaving because it was “too boyish”. As for the rest, Star Trek – Kack. Inglorious Basterds – Pretty Kack. Hurt Locker – Bit Meh. Inception – Very Meh. Do you know what, I think the most interesting thing I saw was a very old black and white film about the aftermath of the second world war from the point of view of various veteran inhabitants of a small town, called “The Best Years of Our Lives.” Predates the hollywood decency rubbish, and is surprisingly vibrant and modern in its characterisation.
TV: Again, can’t think of much that has truly electrified me. The Wire, The Shield, Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood have all gone. Pacific seems like real crud compared to Band of Brothers. House is always good. Breaking Bad is good. Damages is good. But nothing’s really knocking the socks off lately. Roll on Game of Thrones…
GAMES: Now this is more like it. A truly vintage year, with the latest generation of consoles seeming to have finally come of age. Red Dead Redemption was my number one game of this year, with Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Fallout: New Vegas coming in two and three among a lot of stiff competition.
BOOKS: That there The Heroes was pretty damn awesome, wasn’t it? Oh no, wait, you lot haven’t read that yet. A ha ha. As per usual, it’s mostly been non-fiction for me this year, and mostly on the subject of WAR by way of research and preparation for the aforementioned The Heroes, and the book that really stood out for me was David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers, a non-fictional account of one unit’s involvement in Iraq, but with a fictional eye for theme and character. Top stuff. Sebastian Junger’s War wasn’t bad either…
Let pop the corks. Or at least the ringpulls. See you in 2011, suckers…
30 comments so far
Happy birthday and congratulations on the getting into the house. I’ve very much enjoyed reading the blog for the last year and I’m really looking forward to reading Heroes. Cheers, David.
A Happy and Propserous New Year to you Joe.
Looking forward myself to what 2011 brings, a 43rd birthday and The Heroes in January alone. No doubt the rest of the year will bring just as much of the excellent, and not so excellent, too.
All the best to you and your family.
Happy New Year, and congratulations on moving in.
This is the year where I read “Best Served Cold” and realized that I really needed to read the entire First Law trilogy and check out yor blog and add this Abercrombie fellow to my “must read” roll of authors.
Glad I wasn’t the only one who thought The Pacific was pretty weak. There wasn’t anything on TV that I thought really qualified as good drama, but the return of Futurama and the continued excellence of Community meant that comedy wasn’t so bad, which is nice because it seemed to me taht TV comedy was dead just two years ago.
Toy Story, I thought, was a brilliant breakdown of the afterlife via toys. And Game of Thrones can’t come soon enough.
Happy Birthday & New Year Joe – looking forward to The Heroes. Currently listening to the 1st Law trilogy (having already read it a couple of times). Superb narration by Steven Pacey – I listen to loads of audiobooks; take it from me he did you proud.
Good catch with Breaking Bad – probably the best TV series around this(and last)year.
Missed you last night at the BwB London meet btw – your name came up once or twice believe it or not!
Happy New Year, Joe!
Happy Birthday and Happy New Year, Joe. Can’t wait for The Heroes to be released and hoping Game of Thrones will live up to expectations. In the meantime, there’s always Fringe…
Happy Birthday old bean, and I’m looking forward to next year and a spot of The Heroes. Best TV, consistently for the last 5 years, has to be Dexter for me. Very dark, very twisted and on of the best written. Supernatural, hmm, series 6, not so good Al. Not caught up on Breaking Bad, but thankfully there is a new BSG show waiting in the wings, so maybe we’ll get that next year, or early 2012.
Oh, best game I’m looking forward to for next year is a great new MMORPG, DC Universe Online, coming out in January. Another chance for me to be yelled at by 11 year olds and called a Noob!
Happy Birthday & Happy New year Joe
Check out Generation Kill , only a short mini series but I reckon you would enjoy it ( ten times better that the hurt locker ).
36 indeed…. pffff… just a snot nosed kid ( I have ten years on you and I feel like shit, cheery thought of the day )
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL YOU OTHER CROMBIEPHILES
Happy birthday and happy new year, Joe! Really looking forward to ‘The Heroes’.
In other news, I still haven’t finished watching ‘The Wire’ so I’ve still got some good tv to watch. Yay
Happy Birthday and congratulations on the house.
I had a similar house experience once and all I can remember is looking with horror at the gutted rooms and the endless choosing choosing choosing of things. I hope you really like the end product.
Happy New Year! Hey, your birthday is really close to mine. Mine is exceedingly anticlimactic. Yes, this was a narcissistic moment!
If you have a chance, see True Grit.
Also, if your daughter thought that Toy Story 3 was too boyish what will she think of your books when she eventually reads them? Yikes!
Best wishes for a much less stressful 2011.
Tell us what you think of Black Swan if you see it. I loved it and haven’t heard from anyone who saw it and didn’t really like it.
Happy New Year and Happy Birthday Joe. Looking forward to The Heroes, it’s one of my things to read in 2011.
I ended this year in the best way possible. By receiveing an eviction notice.
Best wishes to all of you (even Joe) and I hope your 2011 is better than my 2010 was.
Happy Birthday Joe and Happy New Year everyone.
I have The Heroes on preorder through Amazon. Looking forward to its imminent release.
Re: Films – I just saw and enjoyed “True Grit” – an uncharacteristically straight-forward film for the Coen Brothers. Cool characters, a bit dark, a bit funny. Certainly not the bloodbath that was “No Country for Old Men”. An enjoyable popcorn muncher though.
Happy Birthday and New Year in equal and good measure amigo. Looking forward to The Heroe’s landing on my door mat. Really looking forward to it, in fact…
Ooooh grats. Strange day to count years but so much easier. Pat your parents for their masterful planning 🙂
As for books, I’ve never been one for instant / day one buys, so years means less to me. Reading Return of the Crimson Guard lately. Esslemont is slowly reaching Eriksons’ … hmmm … entanglement? skills, while developing a voice of his own. Enjoying that very much. And stonewielder just arrived, so fun ahead for me.
But next year. Hooo boy. Heroes. Crippled God. The Wise Man’s Fear. The White Luck Warrior. Just a few of my most anticipated ones. Excellent year. (Hope you don’t mind me mentioning competition, but I’m sure you look as much forward to these as I do)
This year in games though.
New Vegas. Finally a return to swearing and crazy world quests. Dunno how many dates I’ve had with FISTO, but please don’t tell my mom. This one is my Game of the year.
RDR. Just pure poetry in gameform. Absolutely stunning world / music / graphics / writing. I’ve bought the zombie DLC but not played it yet. Must do so soon.
Dunno if you’re a PC gamer, but I very much enjoy Minecraft (new internet sensation) though it is best played together with friends while drinking I find. Spending 5+ hours, each man alone, to set up elaborate TNT traps for your friend-foes is much fun 😀
Another love of this year is the new Lara Croft and the Guardian of the light. It’s absolutely stunning and fun and back to basics platforming while innovating and keeping it all fresh kinda awesome. Bought it for PC though and its controlling is clearly consoleish. Still, one of the best games of this year.
Anyway. Happy birthday and best wishes for the year ahead. Sure you’ll ace it.
Also worth mentioning, 2010 is the year GOG went out of beta and brought in Planescape: Torment. I re-bought it but haven’t played it through yet.
I rose-colour-cloud remember it as the best RPG game ever. Anyone who disagrees will be sentenced to an hour long clockwork orange’ish sitdown (eyedrops and all) watching of me and FISTO making happy. Just saying.
36!? You don’t look a day over 34!
Best films of the year I’d say were Inglorious Basterds (I’m a Tarantino nut)Winters Bone and the excellent Monsters. Inception was highly enjoyable bollocks.
Computer game experience of the year was the venrable Icewind Dale II.
As for TV…….True blood was crap but curiously arousing,Pacific was quite good but no Band of Brothers, V was a poor mans Sarah Connor Chronicles. I’m looking forward to Board Walk Empire, Game of Thrones,Sons of Anarchy, Dexter. All american tv it seems. Depressing. The best we brits seem to manage is Doctor Who. Not good enough really.
Boardwalk Empire is excellent! The first season just ended a couple fo weeks ago. Best TV of the year. Why does HBO make Britain wait? True Blood season three ended in the summer.
No one’s mentioned Misfits, good fun. Sherlock was a superb take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous character.Breaking bad, Dexter continue to be excellent.
Poor year for film, Inception was over rated, in fact I can’t think of a film that really impressed me, Tron, Shutter island, Inglorious basterds all an anti climax.
I’d just like to point out that I have read The Heroes. ARC copy for the win 😀
Well, don’t be coy, Chris, tell me what you thought of it…
Yeah, I agree Best Years of Our Lives is pretty damn good and still fairly fresh. But then, I’m a classic film fan.
Check out Act of Violence (1948), a film noir set in L.A. It also has an “aftermath of war” theme (which is unusual for a noir) and some twisty character development. It’s a classic in spite of its pat ending.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. I prefered it to Best Served Cold; I liked BSC, but this felt much more like the First Law books. Without giving too much away – I hate spoilers – my favourite bits were the entire Red Beck plot, the letters from Gorst, and the way Whirran’s story came to an end.
What I loved most of all was the fact that, by the end of the book, I really just wanted the whole mess to end for both sides and everyone involved. I can’t remember a book I’ve read where I’ve cared so much about the fates of people on both sides of the conflict, so that’s a job well done.
Can’t wait to read the story in the Waterstones edition.
Ugh, Chris, you tease! Needz :O
Happy BD Joe, and hope you have a prosperous 2011!
You should definitely get Mass Effect 2 when it comes out for PS3 later this month. Amazing Sci-Fi RPG.
I’m gutted – I had the opportunity of an advance review copy and missed it because I was too busy celebrating Christmas to notice the invite. Too late now. Damn, damn, damn.
Yep Inception was really a bit overrated. Nice optic but no real surprises.
Liked “The Road” Typical McCarthy. Sad and very intense. But you need to like those movies.
Sad that Pacific did not impress you. I kind of liked it and read a lot about Hugene “Sledgehammer” Sledge. Might be it was cause he became a biologist like me… But a few of the interviews where very intersting and honest. They left aside a lot of storys he had in his own book about this time.
you only didn’t like any movies out this year because you didn’t take my recommendation and video-on-demand Valhalla Rising. 🙂
cracked my ARC of heroes today on my lunch break; didn’t even make it through the characters list before cracking up and getting a baleful and confused glare from other people trying to read more peaceably. you’d think it was a fucking library lunch room or some–oh. heh. anyway, i sense another glowing review coming…in like 2 weeks when i finally finish it and can be arsed to write it up. lol
BTW you should have a suggestions section to this lol.
Have you tried Big Bang Theory TV show? Think you’d like it. First 3 seasons on disc.
Burn Notice another good TV series (it has Bruce Campbell in it so just THAT much better!) you might want to try.
Dexter is a great series on Showtime.
Happy belated Bday, btw!