Music: Getting close to year end now, which means that I'm trawling through all the records I bought in 2011 in preparation for my traditional Pick Of The Year compilation. Along the way, I've been musing about the state of The Album as a concept, and how the way we listen to music has changed over the decades. Take Florence And The Machine's new record, Ceremonials, as an example: I've enjoyed the raw bombast of individual tracks when I've heard them on the radio, but trying to listen to twelve of the buggers in a row is absolutely unbearable. Kate Bush's 50 Words For Snow, on the other hand, is an old-fashioned album: it has a theme, a sequence, an ebb and flow to it that makes it work brilliantly as a piece. In another old-fashioned touch, it also has a whimsical comedy song which doesn't entirely work, much like serious bands used to do in the seventies. Nevertheless, I'm pretty certain that Kate will be making an appearance on this year's compilation, and Florence won't. Wait and see.
Telly: Obviously I'm way behind everyone else here, but I'm making my way through series one of the top-rated middle-class jumper porn that they call Forbrydelsen, and we call The Killing. (Series two is currently in progress on BBC 4, and I felt I had some catching up to do.) It's a good, solid police procedural: it doesn't really do anything radical with the genre, other than show a remarkable determination in keeping its focus on its central crime story for the full twenty hours, without branching off into issue-of-the-week subplots to pad out its running time. Enjoyable as hell, but I've been getting somewhat distracted by the realisation that dodgy politician Troels Hartmann has a lookalike. "Nanna Birk Larsen. RIP. Miss you big man. Gone but not forgotten."
Travel: I've spent a few days in Ireland this month, thanks to work: a week-long assignment in Navan, one of the world's few palindromic towns. (Adaven Nevada can just piss right off, frankly.) For a small town, it's got a lot to offer: a nice hotel, plenty of fine restaurants (from a perfectly decent chippy to a slap-up posh nosherie, with a good brasserie and curryhouse in between), and an acceptable cinema. Amusingly, it turns out that the cinema had a brief period of YouTube fame a few years ago, thanks to their answerphone message around the time that Bruno came out. God knows what they'd make of Sensation, the cheerfully mucky new Irish film that I caught in Dublin on the way to Navan, and which Lesley reported on here over a year ago.
And yes, sorry that things were a bit quiet around here in November - I've been so busy that, in the words of Friendly Fires, "I can't stop to take a shit". (That is what he sings at 0:57, isn't it?) Hopefully things will calm down a bit in the run-up to Christmas... ah. Well, feel free to amuse yourself in the comments box while you're waiting for me to write new stuff.