“Hi everyone, I’m Tasmin Archer. You may remember me from The Harry Hill Show on TV’s Channel 4, where following a freak accident that NASA have banned me from talking about, I died and was reincarnated as a badger, and was forced to parade up and down for the entertainment of the masses on a weekly basis. How I escaped from my mustelid destiny and returned to Sunderland in human form will remain a secret I shall take to my next grave. Just know this: I can never look Gareth Southgate in the eye again.”
Lovely to hear from you Tasmin. On to the next part of the countdown!
So I saw 397 films in 2014, 156 of them in the cinema. Of those films, 148 were released in the UK in 2014 and thus would be eligible for a list of the best films of 2014. And 2014 was a year of really rather interesting films. Films, unlike music and to a lesser degree comics, are released up until the very end of the year and the vagaries of what is known as award season means that there are films released in the very last week of the year which should potentially be considered for a best of list. There is also the fact that films from the 2014 award season pretty much all came out over here in 2014. This means that sometimes a list of the best of the year will feel a little disjointed, didn’t we say everything we had to say about Dallas Buyers Club in March? Well we did so I shall say no more about it.
Anyway this leads to a list. I didn’t do a poll. I’ve never done a movie poll because on the whole on FT people are less interested in films. If there is a clamour, I’ll do a poll next year. But in the meantime I am going to run through my own personal top twenty(-one – it will make sense) over the next week or so.
Inside the Arctic Base, the men from the website peered nervously out as SHAKO paced the snow. The giant bear showed no signs of tiring. But what could it want? All they had were the Freaky Trigger Comics Poll Results. What use could a polar bear have for a rundown of the top comics of 2014? Outside, Shako waited. Like all polar bears, Shako could be… patient when it came to his prey. This was just like the fishing hole, where he waited for a seal. His instincts told him the humans would soon be exhausted… ready to… PLAY WITH SHAKO. Shako could smell the meat of analysis and vote totals. Very soon now, it would be his.
Ahem. Yes, thankyou Shako, and thankyou those readers who voted in the first annual FT Comics Poll for the best titles of 2014. We’ll get into your Top 25 comics of the year in other posts, but here, first of all, are the titles that ranked (i.e. got more than 1 vote) but placed outside the final 25.
“Greetings from the future, pop lovers! We are robot pop duo Daft Punk and we’re happy to be kicking off the 2014 Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll! We’re definitely not bitter about there being no 2013 poll (one excellent human voted for us this year anyway – your place in cybernetic heaven is assured). One more time: we’re not bitter AT ALL. If you want to see bitter, you should see all the red pen on Robin Thicke’s Christmas Card list! Anyway, a whole bunch of you biological entities from around the world voted this year and the list is harder, better, faster and stronger than we possibly could have imagined!”
Thanks Daft Punk! Without further ado, here’s #40-#31:
This is another one of our decade polls, where we ask: which year was best for pop? Pick one only! Using the Popular vault of scores as a guide, I’ve selected a few songs to act as a reminder BUT – you should make your judgement on whatever criteria you see fit, not only the number ones.
And don’t forget our 1999 poll, which I put up yesterday.
I give a mark out of 10 to every Popular entry. In these year end polls, you get to tick any of the singles that you would have given 6 or more to.
With the most #1s yet, 1999 saw me give my highest scores (9s) to Britney and Fatboy Slim, and a brace of 1s to Baz Luhrmann and (less controversially) Sir Cliff. Over to you, and use the comment boxes to talk about the year in general. Tomorrow I’ll put up a decade poll too.
In that other great Irish exploration of the experience of death, Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman, the protagonist endures an afterlife built on the principle of recursion. Having murdered a man to fund a quixotic and obscure self-published project – I can only sympathise – he finds himself subject to a string of comical and terrifying events which, the novel implies, he will repeat in minor variation for eternity.
Just a last reminder – we are running two exciting POLLS this year, for the best tracks and best comics of 2014. You can still vote in them both! And, indeed, you should, if you have any interest in those things.
For each of them, the deadline is midnight tomorrow night, and you should send up to 20 nominations, ranked in order*, to:
email@example.com (for the POP POLL)
firstname.lastname@example.org (for the COMICS POLL)
*as was pointed out at the pub crawl yesterday, I failed to mention this when I started the comics poll. A Rigelian Hotshot for me, I fear.
The intro: 00’00 – 00’39
In December 1987 the Pet Shop Boys released “Always On My Mind”, a cover of the song made famous by Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson. It became the Christmas Number One that year. Almost a year later, they released Introspective, their third album, whose fifth track is a nine-minute version of “Always On My Mind”, including an acid house inspired breakdown that features Neil Tennant rapping. Introspective marks, in Tennant’s words, the end of the band’s “imperial phase”, where virtually anything they tried came off and was commercially successful. It charted at number two, behind U2’s Rattle And Hum.
Sixteen years later, at the end of a Freaky Trigger pub crawl, someone said that “Always On My Mind/In My House” was the best record of all time, and around a dozen of us agreed, or at least did not disagree, and that installed it at number one on our list, a list, we promised, that we would write up for the website over the course of 2005. And so we all went home the merrier for it.
And ten years after that, here we are.
How do you mark a millennium? British pop culture has its rituals to accompany a change of the date: fireworks, lists, and Jools Holland feature prominently. They’re geared for a shift in year. They can be scaled up, just about, to a decade. But a century? A millennium? We were, with hindsight, hopelessly and inevitably unequal to the event, however arbitrary it was. Schedulers flailed, putting together “best of the millennium” shows in which – and how could it have been otherwise? – 900 years went begging. In a milieu where “of all time” means a lifetime at best, a millennium is a preposterous span. Imagining people could think about it seriously was always folly. But in the gap between people’s sense of what the occasion ought to merit, and what was actually on offer, strange things could thrive. This is one of them.