I always like a good Best Of The Year list. The group ones are always rubbish, and always end up going for bland consensus over individual adoration, but you can see deep inside an individual's soul when they tell the whole world what they really liked.
There won't be one here this year. It's mainly because I've been cut off from a lot of culture - I didn't go out to a movie for four months, (although I just saw three in four days), and there's just no way I can keep up with all the latest films, TV shows, comics and music. It's a goddamn river of content, and we all just have to swim through what we can. Even so, I've been particularly useless this year.
There's also an acute sense of detachment from a lot of modern culture, when all the films look the same and there are far too many great comic books to keep up with, and the things I've liked the most this year are all old or uncool.
My favourite comic reading experience this year was knocking over all 9000 pages of the magnificent Lone Wolf and Cub, which had more thrills and emotion than anything I've read all year, but is 40 years old. The best regular comics are, as always, 2000ad and Love and Rockets, and they're both old and dusty too.
The best movie I saw all year was Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, but that's largely due to all the circumstances around it, and I can't remember most of the 20-odd novels I read in 2019, so I'm going to say the best was the new Anno Dracula from Kim Newman which I scorched through last week, because that's always my favourite book.
My favourite TV show was absolutely Game of Thrones, which gave me everything I wanted. I found most of the criticisms to be facile, picky and entitled, and while I knew that not everybody was watching the same story I was, it was still surprising how many weren't into the 'war is fucking shit' show like I was. (Also, I just think having a giant climactic battle end with half an hour of almost no dialogue is a feature, not a bug.) At least it cured me of my long-running addiction to TV recaps - my enjoyment of things like Watchmen and Fleabag and Barry and other shows with one-word titles has been greatly enhanced by not worrying what Rolling Stone thinks about it.
Most of all, I became a Dad in 2019, which was so unlikely and improbable that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. But I'm into it, and get more entertainment and feels from her beautiful fat face than I did from anything on a screen or page all year.
It's been a shit year for so many people - here in New Zealand the Christchurch mosque attacks and deadly Whakaari/White Island eruption have made it a year bookended by horror - but 2019 has been okay for me. And when I come home to that smile, I don't give a damn about how far behind the culture I slip.
See you in 2020!