OK, so it's here at this time of the year that I traditionally write about what books, films, TV shows and music I have enjoyed over the course of the last 12 months. But I'll be honest, 2012 has been a bit of a weird old year for me, specifically because I spent 10 weeks in LA but also because the months since I've been back have been some sort of weird old whirlwind; I genuinely don't feel like it's the end of the year even though I just had a lovely Christmas. More to the point, because the latter half of this year has been a bit odd, I really haven't had the time to catch that many movies or watch that much TV.
That being the case, I'm going to break with tradition and just kind of list the meagre offerings of things I liked rather than doing a top three countdown. That OK with you? Tough if it's not. BOOM!
I started the year with The Devil all the Time, a new novel by Donald Ray Pollock, which I loved, then followed it up with such great books as Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars, some new Love and Rockets, and Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, which is an insightful glimpse into the life of a remarkable man. Perhaps my favourite read of the year, however, was Michel Rabagliati's The Song of Roland, the latest instalment in his series of semi-autobiographical graphic novels featuring the character Paul; it's a heart-wrenching, beautifully written and illustrated book that's deserving of your time.
Along the way were some disappointments: I read three Elmore Leonard novels, none of which really grabbed me, and the latest in C.D. Payne's Youth in Revolt series was a bit of a let-down after the hilarity of earlier volumes.
I know lots of other people hated it, but by far my favourite movie of the year was John Carter; it was, I thought, a wonderfully realised, slightly old-fashioned action adventure film that truly sold me on Edgar Rice Burrough's vision of Mars (or Barsoom, I should say). Well worth a look, in my opinion. Elsewhere, I liked Prometheus, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Dredd 3D, and The Dark Knight Rises, even if I did think it was overly long and lacking the coherent feel and strong antagonist of its predecessor. Oh, and Battleship. Everyone hated that but I thought it was immensely enjoyable.
Movies I didn't like? Not many, really - or at the very least not many I can remember. I seem to recall thinking The Avengers wasn't as great as everyone else thought it was, purely because I felt the first hour spent getting the team together was just a bit slow. Once the action got going it was good fun.
OK, I've barely watched any television this year. I saw a few episodes of Archer's third season, which was great, and only half a dozen of One Tree Hill's final year. I started watching Friday Night Lights because everyone raves about it but found it a bit boring. Maybe it's just a bit too football heavy for me? Most recently I watched the first season of the original Twilight Zone which is fantastic, and I've got One Tree Hill Season Nine and Supernatural Season Seven to watch, so maybe they'll figure in my year in reviews next year?
I did watch the first season of I Just Want My Pants Back, based on the book of the same name by David J. Rosen, which I found to be a great little show - rather like a slightly more gritty, saucy, and more realistic version of Friends with a nice line in humour and some fun characters. Sadly it was axed in May after just 12 episodes, but don't let that stop you from giving it a whirl.
Saw Panic! At the Disco in concert in February who were as awesome as ever, as were Matchbox Twenty at Shepherds Bush Empire (their new album, North, is worthy of a mention too; bit different from their past records, but really good once I'd listened to it a few times) and Willy Mason who I saw at the Scala. Album-wise? I enjoyed the soundtrack to the Dredd 3D movie - really nice and grungy industrial sound - and there were fantastic expanded editions of the soundtracks to a few of the Star Trek movies. The Rolling Stones - who I didn't get to see live because the ticket prices were EXORBITANT - released a brilliant new song called Doom and Gloom, and Sufjan Stevens made my Christmas by releasing a new festive boxset mixing traditional songs with some utterly brilliant new tracks (the haunting Christmas in the Room and 12 minute long Christmas Unicorn among the most notable).
Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in LA - perhaps the best thing I've ever done with my life. Wonderful city, wonderful people, and it all led to a wonderful new career at Bikram Yoga Chiswick and Bikram Yoga Surbiton upon my return. I genuinely don't think I've ever been happier, and it's ridiculous that I get to call what I do work; no one should be able to have this much fun and get to call it a job.
Elsewhere: Kindle Paperwhite: love it.
Same time next year? I promise to be more comprehensive then.