1. The Chemical Brothers – Further
Where on Earth did this come from? While I kinda liked the single Swoon when it was played on the radio, I certainly wasn’t expecting anything much from the full album, particularly as the Chems have been growing increasingly irrelevant since Surrender, their third full-length back in 1999. So it was most pleasing to discover that the record as a whole lifts its mojo from the classic Private Psychedelic Reel track at the end of Dig Your Own Hole, and ditches the gimmicky guest vocalists from the previous couple of albums. The result? Brilliance. The brothers back to their best.
2. Matt Smith
No, of course I didn’t know he’d be any good. Who did? How could anyone replace David Tennant? Well, now we know. By halfway through the first episode of Doctor Who season 31, or New Doctor Who season 5, or New New Who season 1 (your choice), it seemed like Smith had been playing the role forever. Old beyond his years, and with by far the most alien interpretation of the Doctor yet seen, Smith’s stock is now so high that he’s made the FTSE 100 index meaningless. Hell, he even appeared at Glastonbury:
Let’s not go too far into this one, eh, for fear of reopening wounds that are still so tender and hurtful that they make me want to cry and weep and rain tears over the whole of our fair land. Joke. Still, we were pretty damn shit, weren’t we?
Less than two weeks after bashing the shit out of each other in the final Prime Ministerial debate, David Cameron and Nick Clegg were bum chums. I don’t think Ladbrokes did odds on that before the election. The Tories have done pretty well out of the coalition agreement so far, as it gives them the latitude for savage cuts while also being able to push the message (or untruth, depending on your political viewpoint) of a progressive agenda. And it’s confused the hell out of BBC’s Question Time, which has been fumbling around trying to work out the balance of its weekly panel ever since election day. The Liberals, however, are plummeting in the polls at present, so it’ll be very interesting indeed to see whether the chalice of power turns out to be more poisonous than Asda own-brand Diamond White.
5. The Mirrorball and the rest of the One A Day network
Well, it would be remiss of me not to point out that nearly six months later I’m still here writing One A Day. Hell, if you’d told me back in January that I would actually stick with it and (most of the time) enjoy doing it, I wouldn’t have believed you. The One A Day network’s numbers may have dropped since the high point of thirty-odd people (or thirty odd people) writing daily blogs at one point, but there are still a few of us going, and I would be very surprised now if most of the remaining souls didn’t make it through to the end. Affectionate pats on the back to all. Anyone who started on 01 January, of course, is now very nearly on the downward stretch and will soon be able to see the finish line looking all inviting very far off. I look forward to joining you. And for me it’s the biggest surprise of the year so far that I’m 100% confident in saying that.