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December 2009
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February 2010

VidBinge 2009

Operation Kino The first thing you’ll want to know is: did people turn up? After all, last year’s VidBinge – my annual one-day DVD marathon made up of audience selections from the previous calendar year’s film releases – was notorious for only having two attendees other than myself. Happily, the event held on Saturday December 12th 2009 was a much more popular affair. The running order was based on selections from six of your favourites from Spank’s Pals – Seapea, Lesley, Old Lag, The Belated Birthday Girl, The Cineaste and Jon – with a special guest appearance from Caroline, who decided to join us even though she hadn’t voted. I’m normally quite strict about that sort of thing, but after last year’s debacle I was happy to bend the rules a bit.

The process remains unchanged from the first ever VidBinge, held ten years earlier. I assembled a list of twenty films that were released in the UK during 2009, all of which I had available on DVD (apart from Tokyo Sonata, which I'd taped off the telly a few weeks earlier). The people coming to VidBinge voted beforehand for their five favourites, and I amalgamated their choices to come up with a programme based on the most popular. As you can see from the official results (click graph above for readable version), there was a fair old logjam in fifth place: but let’s focus on the top four, which are the ones we actually watched on the day.

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Every Day Is F***ing Perfect: Pick Of The Year 2009

...then I took him to my yard and I wrapped it upIt's that time of year again, by which I mean 'later than it should be.' But you're used to that by now, I guess. So for the 17th year running, here comes my selection of the best tracks of the preceding twelve months, which will just fit onto a standard CD with three seconds to spare. (Always nice when it works out like that.)

Opening observations: yes, it does appear to be a little bit heavy on the mucky language this year, a fact reflected in the overall compilation title. (I came up with it in a fit of bitterness, following the single most unsatisfying day of my working year.) If you're planning to play it in the presence of kiddiwinks, you may want to program your CD player to skip tracks 1, 5, 10, 11 and 14. And if that hasn't put you off, at the end of this page you'll find the usual competition to win your own copy (closing date February 28th 2010).

Track by track, it looks like this.

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Simian Substitute Site for January 2010: Cheeky Monkey Treehouses

Cheeky Monkey TreehousesHappy New Year, everyone. Sadly, Warren Ellis has already beaten me to it in terms of the best possible message for the first day of 2010. (Mind you, by now I'm used to doing things long after he does. Did I mention that I have a book out?)

Typically, these January 1st posts are written in some sort of hungover fugue state, but not this year. New Year's Eve was pretty quiet: our usual selection of North London comedy clubs didn't seem to want to bother this year, so we stayed in and made a nice risotto instead. However, you'll be pleased to hear that once again we got to spend Christmas in one of the most happening cities in Europe, so you'll be getting the details of that some time in January.

Also coming this month: the usual fashionably late roundup of the year just gone in music (via my Pick Of The Year CD) and film (via a report on the VidBinge 2009 event). And maybe those pictures and videos from China, too. If I get them done before the end of January, it'll only be a six month delay...

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