Monday, December 28, 2009

Stan Awards

I love the end of year lists that clutter up the newspapers and TV schedules at this time of year. It's a great opportunity to pick up out the stuff that actually has lasting importance from the flashy and the superficial. So much the better that we've got a whole decade to look back on.

The following are the Stan Awards for the twenty-noughties - beverage of their choice in my local coffee shop for any of the winners who fancy collecting the award in person.

Book of the Decade

Carol Ann Duffy - "Rapture" (2005)

So few words, all of them exquisite. Never has the arc of a passion been more skilfully evoked. You can read the poems in the book in an hour and that's one of the best uses of an hour I can think of. Set aside two or three hours though - you WILL want to read it over again when you finish.

Band of the Decade

Radiohead

Look, they had the album of the last decade with "OK Computer" and still somehow managed to follow it up with four great albums that bore little resemblance to their greatest hits and to each other:

2000: Kid A
2001: Amnesiac
2003: Hail to the Thief
2007: In Rainbows

Seemingly infinitely creative, even going so far as to offer "In Rainbows" as a download with a voluntary price tag.

Album of the Decade

Florence + the Machine - "Lungs" (2009)

In a different mood I could have chosen :-
  • Radiohead - any of the four albums from the decade
  • Amy Winehouse - "Back to Black" (2006)
  • Arctic Monkeys - "Whatever people say I am, that's what I'm not" (2006)
  • PJ Harvey - Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea (2000)
But I couldn't resist making a fuss about this amazing d├ębut album - warped lyrics, a fine voice, sound textures like no other, and an intoxicating sense that here is a performer with a future and I can't wait to hear her next five or six albums over the next decade.

TV Show of the Decade

The Wire

You've heard it all before, not least from me. Makes the best of the rest seem amateurish and lacking in ambition by comparison. Mrs Stan bought me the complete box set for Christmas.

Best. Present. Ever.

Film of the Decade

Shrek (2001)

Funny and imaginative, rewarding repeat viewing in a way that the sloppy sequels don't.

In a different mood I could have chosen one of these :-
  • Mulholland Drive (2001)
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  • Children of Men (2006)
  • Man on Wire (2008)

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