That’s Entertainment

At the end of every year, I like to make a visit to a little site called Blurb.com. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a place where you can upload, print and publish professional-looking books. They can be a variety of styles, sizes, hardcover or soft – and at the end of each year, I like to print a copy of my year in blogging. I’ve only been seriously blogging since the latter part of 2009, so the books I have to date may not be the most substantial, but I think 2010 is going to be one I’m excited to add to the shelf. It’ll be a record of an absolute rollercoaster of a year, of new experiences, of firsts, of hopes, dreams, goals, challenges, reflections and observations – but I also want to make note not just of thoughts, but of the day-to-day. Things that filled my days, music I was passionate about, TV that rocked my world, books that changed my life, things that made me laugh so hard my face hurt, words that touched my heart, and moments I want to hold onto forever. Moments that made me feel lucky to be alive. That which inspires passion is important to chronicle. So, some of the things that blew me away this year include:

Creative genius

I’m not a big movie-goer. The thought of going to the cinema fills me more with panic than excitement, and sitting through two hours of having my chair kicked, being distracted by the glare from other people’s phones, and leaving with my wallet $25 lighter isn’t generally my idea of a good time. When it comes to visual entertainment, I’m more a stay-at-home kind of girl. This year has been full of incredibly imaginative movies and TV that have just made me feel proud to be a human being, including the epically intelligent Ashes to Ashes, a series following a gun shot, present-day police officer waking up in the mid-eighties, trying to figure out if she’s gone mad, dead or alive, in a coma, or literally back in time, the finale to which was probably the most intelligent piece of screenwriting I’ve ever witnessed and kept me mesmerised, and firmly on the edge of my seat. Movie-wise, it was the year of special effects and 3D glasses, and the detail in films like Toy Story 3 and Legend of the Guardians was simply breathtaking.

Literary brilliance

Almost a year ago, I made New Year’s Resolutions, and one of them was to get back into reading. I seem to have gone from reading books every day to reading blogs every day, and though I still make time for brain food (I have an entire shelf dedicated to back issues of Psychology Today and Discover magazine), I want to get back into the habit of Real Books. At the beginning of the year, I read Audrey Niffenegger’s follow-up to The Time Traveller’s Wife, Her Fearful Symmetry, and though wildly different, I loved every part of it. Ghost stories amongst a backdrop of my favourite city, Doctor Who references, two parts imagination, one part wonderfully creepy, this novel had me thoroughly captivated from the start. Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked was an enjoyable, lighter read following dysfunctional relationships and a lifelong quest fuelled by musical passion, I finally got on the Lovely Bones bandwagon, Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth completely changed my life, and currently, I’m savouring the final Harry Potter book so I can finally see it on the big screen!

Spine-tinglingly talented musicians

I loved Mumford and Sons the moment I first heard them, and seeing them perform an intimate venue halfway across the country, playing songs that stirred my soul, while proclaiming how humbled and honoured they were to have sold out in a country they hadn’t released any music to yet. Knowing that every person in that space had discovered this incredible music through word of mouth, and became so passionate about it they queued out in the cold and bought so many tickets they had to move venues was just refreshing, and the atmosphere of being a part of something so amazing was just electric.

2010 was also the year of the ‘nu-folk’ movement in the UK, with bands like this taking centre stage, coupled with banjos, mandolins and accordions. Suddenly, countryfolk were as popular as the Black Eyed Peas, and the masses were exposed to real musicianship and literary lyricism. A girl of 20 by the name of Laura Marling exploded onto the world stage with the album I Speak Because I Can – a stunning collection of heart-wrenching, poetic songs tales that delve into haunting stories filled with beautiful words and melody; sounds ranging from the frenzied, supernatural, old-world gypsy-esque “Devil’s Spoke” (with the fabulously determined “all of this can be broken, take your devil by his spoke and spin him to the ground“) to the beautiful “Rambling Man” (“beaten, battered and cold, my children will live just to grow old, but if I sit here and weep, I’ll be blown over by the slightest of breeze”) reminiscent of Joni Mitchell. The epic “Hope in the Air” is pure, chilling, sumptuous storytelling at its absolute finest, and continues to give me goosebumps with every listen (“our hearts are small and ever thinning, there is no hope ever of winning, so why fear death? Be scared of living“). Not all is high drama – if you’re looking for something to play your sweetheart one cold winter’s night, try “Rest in the Bed“, and allow beautiful words to express a sentiment of love (“there lies a man of my heart, a fine and complete work of art, here, I his woman, his home, and his heart, and proud to be playing that part“).  If you’re hooked by haunting melodies, exquisite lyrics and truly intelligent musicianship, don’t hesitate another second before adding this to your collection.

Entertainment this year was pretty fantastic, I must say, and 2010 was filled with great, clever imagination from all sides. Here’s hoping next year’s just as stimulating, inspiring, and impressive – full of things that make you proud to be a member the human race.

What were some highlights of the entertainment world for you in 2010?


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41 comments

  1. Ooooh, the blurb site looks amazing! I’ll definitely be looking into that.

    Also, the snow on your site seriously freaked me out for a second and I thought I was going crazy and seeing things.

  2. Hi, Emily. Found your site from Wendy’s blog at Herding Cats. Your blog looks terrific; aesthetically appealing and not too busy. And your writing is very strong, which is always a pleasure to come across.

    Thanks for the info on Blurb.com. I’ve been wondering how I can best make a printed copy of my blog to leave for my kids to look at one day, although they may wish I hadn’t after they actually read it.

    Take care,

    Chase

    http://SomeSpeciesEatTheirYoung.com

  3. I didn’t know about Blurb, so thanks for the tidbit. I used Blog2Print last year to save my blog into .pdf and printed a copy for my mom as a “New Years” gift. She loved it! 🙂

  4. Printing your blog entries of the year sounds like the coolest thing ever. It’s like a backwards journal. You’re rejecting technology and going back to printed mediums! Haha ok so maybe that’s not your intention, but it works. It seems like a nice keepsake. Never heard of Laura Marling, but I am officially a fan. I feel like your list of interests grows every time I read your blog.

  5. I love that you print your blog each year. What a great keepsake should we ever go Y2K and lose our online information! Imagine sitting down with your kids in 20 years and showing them your life… great idea. Hadn’t heard of Laura Marling but wow, she is fantastic! I read HFS this year too and it was so different to Time Travelers Wife, but I still enjoyed it. This year I loved The Hunger Games and I finally started the Dan Brown books and they’re great. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I have been thinking of printing my blog! I should just do it, so hard for me to spend the money though. I love that you have Her Fearful Symmetry on here! I just love her writing, even though it was so different from our beloved TTW. 🙂 How is married life???

    1. You should print your blog, what an investment for the future to look back on with the boys when they grow up 🙂 Married life is good, thanks! Straight back to work but looking forward to having a few days to just BE together over Christmas 🙂

      1. Just remember the old rule: play no favorites on Christmas eve. That is to say, make sure the evening is spent in your home. Invite as many people as you want, but it’s your first Christmas as a new couple and you should spend it in your place. Your in-laws (as did mine) will want you over at their places, but be firm: you need to build your own traditions as newlyweds; you can be flexible in the future. Having Christmas eve only me and my wife at our very place the very first Christmas was the best thing we could have done to show the family that we’re “no longer children.” I’m glad you’re going to spend time together during the season. You need a nice break!

        1. I feel that I should reference my comment above. I’m certainly not alone in suggesting that newly wed couples spend Christmas eve alone together: It’s actually a common (and wise) practice.

          If you start the very first year by going to his or her parents’ house, no matter how close they live, you can be assured that the same will be expected from this year until their grandchildren arrive.

          This will only lead to hard feelings in the future: Christmas eve 2010 should be yours.

          http://www.articlesbase.com/relationships-articles/first-christmas-as-newlyweds-3743450.html

          http://www.ehow.com/how_2113494_holiday-traditions-that-last-newlyweds.html

          http://www.prlog.org/10960347-over-third-of-newly-weds-plan-first-christmas-alone-together.html

          http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081209044529AAxt3kj

          1. Thanks Jason – definitely a good point, starting as we mean to go on. I can see how it might get difficult saying no at a later date (i.e. when we have our own children) if we set the stage for being expected to go to every function now… as of right now, there are about 6 different family events between the two of us, and it’s quite exhausting!

  7. I love blurb books. I have been meaning to make one w/ my Paris photos! Yah, that trip was over 2 years ago so I have clearly procrastinated on that goal, but I am MAKING myself sit down and do it during the month of January!

  8. I agree! This year has been amazing as far as entertainment goes. I also read Her Fearful Symmetry and LOVED it, I think I even have a journal entry I wrote about it because it was so hauntingly beautiful. Ahhh it was so creepy and disturbing and brilliant, I adored it! I also enjoyed Avatar, Inception, and Sex in the City 2 (Ok…not really a work of art but I just enjoyed it for the show’s sake, you know?) Music: this year has been hugely about She & Him, Fleet Foxes, and Band of Horses for me. ❤

    1. I think I saw Avatar in 2010 too, and LOVED it – same with Inception!! Speaking of which, it just came out on DVD, so I may have to go buy myself a copy… 🙂 And YAY for awesome music! I hear Fleet Foxes have another album coming out in 2011… can’t wait!

  9. woooo laura marling!!! i have you to thank for introducing me to her this year, she’s phenomenal. this year i’ve loved the apprentice lol and x factor… what can i say… it’s too compelling & i couldnt’ tear my eyes off matt haha. Inception was my fav film this year!

  10. hmm, entertainment wise, I loved The Fantastic Mr. Fox – the stop animation was really quite brilliant.

    I also saw Mary Poppins on stage at it was quite magical. There is something about stage productions that make me feel….like a kid.

  11. I love Blurb. I’ve made a book of all things 2009 but have yet to print it – I’ve just had so much playing with all the options! Love your idea of printing out blog posts as well. I think that’s a great way to remember the year!

  12. I must, must, must check out that Blurb site! This has been the first year I blogged regularly and it’s definitely a year I would like to be able to look back on in book form!

  13. I already had always kind of considered past emails to loved ones (especially when i was living abroad) to be a kind of journal, and I have saved them. A blog is sort of similar in that it isn’t a traditional artifact, but it might be the norm 10 years from now to make blogs into books? who knows?

    Have you read Netherland? By someone O’Neill? It’s really good!

  14. Ahhhh! Fellow Mumford & Sons devotee!!! I saw them twice this past year, both at sold-out shows, the first one very small, very intimate, before “Little Lion Man” totally blew up on the air waves, and then the second one this past fall, at a much bigger, grander venue. Both shows blew me away. Absolutely *incredible* musicians.

    Also, I’ve never heard of Blurb.com but I am going right now to check it out. Thanks! 🙂

  15. I nearly used Blurb to make a book for my wedding pics but ended up with My Publisher instead because Blurb took SO long to upload all my huge pictures. However it’s still a great service!

  16. awesome. i actually have two books of my blog(s) already but the site i ordered with then (it’s been a few years) unfortunately doesn’t exist any more. but it is great to have an actual book with all the stories and memories and definitely worth the money! 🙂

  17. Love Blurb even though I’ve never ordered anything from there YET. Ordered my first one with Picaboo for our wedding guestbook. Now just got a groupon for Picaboo and can’t wait to order some more and maybe some day try ordering from Blurb too.

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