Back in July I had a quick listen and rate of the first half of 2014′s number ones. Here’s the sequel, picking up where that left off. As before, this is based on very few listens, and you can confidently expect my opinions and order to change should I ever get as far as this in Popular. Off we go.
“Wotcher, HUMES! Sewer robot RO-JAWS here, taking time out from cleaning THARG’S CLUDGEY to bring you the second part of the 2014 Freaky Trigger comics poll. And MANKEY MOSES, it’s taken some bringing! Those nurks at Freaky Trigger have tried to cram FIFTEEN of 2014′s best comics into ONE post. Like HAMMER-STEIN says when stepping out of the ROBO-LAV after a hard night on the oil — GIVE IT SPACE TO BREATHE! They’re round the bend – THE U-BEND! The last time I saw anything this full, I was -”
That’s, ah, all we have time for from Ro-Jaws, but he’s right – we’re into the list proper of the 2014 poll, your Top 25 comics of the year. And here they are –
“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!
“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:
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:
firstname.lastname@example.org (for the POP POLL)
email@example.com (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.
A disco track is second on this list because – Rock Hall of Fame shenanigans notwithstanding – disco is almost universally beloved. If you’re a wedding DJ in a tricky spot, the late 70s will not let you down. Perhaps that was truer in 2004, when we compiled the list, than 2014, but even so a Whig History of Pop – one in which the aim is to create a sense of progress to the present day – might as well start with disco. This stuff is foundational. The intuition of disco’s discontents – like the Comiskey Park crowd who took the Trammps’ chorus on “Disco Inferno” as an order – was that disco was a break point, the end of something they had loved and the beginning of something they would not. This intuition was not entirely wrong.
Christmas traditions are funny things – some of the most fixed turn out to have relatively recent roots, and new ones are manufactured all the time. Witness much hand-wringing this year about the import into the UK of Black Friday, a notoriously busy shopping day that makes sense after Thanksgiving in the USA (people have the day off) but far less over here. Still, it worked, and having successfully taken culturally will surely stick around.
Part of the British Christmas has been a canon of Christmas pop songs – Slade, Wizzard, Shakey, Jona Lewie, Greg Lake, Kirsty and the Pogues, Wham! Et al. The Christmas Canon has been a part of Christmas since I was a kid in the 80s, it feels as firmly set a tradition as you might find. But I suspect that’s an illusion: it’s changing, and the canon as we know it is on the way out.
On Facebook I mentioned that we’d know a generation had fallen from cultural influence when Jona Lewie got booted off the Christmas Canon. This was met with much sadness and shaking of heads from fans of “Stop The Cavalry”, but the point wasn’t that I dislike the song. I was 7 in 1980, disliking the song would be like disliking Christmas itself. It was put on the office playlist last week, though, and it struck me how odd it must seem to somebody who hadn’t been around then – this lugubrious, kinda-sorta new-wavey thing that bobs along all about “nuclear fallout zones” and cavalry. It’s like that one ugly bauble you always hang on the tree because you bought it as a kid: the time will come when you aren’t decorating the tree any more, and the bauble might be quietly pushed to the back, then forgotten entirely.
The 15th Annual Freaky Trigger Between Christmas And New Year Pub Crawl : The Kentish Town Ducks Arse
Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, it’s FTBCANYPC time!
This year for our 15th crawl we will be having a little saunter around Kentish Town. or at least down the hill from Gospel Oak to Kentish Town West, taking in Vines, pineapples and Tapping An Admiral or two…
Every year, on the 29th (except when it wasn’t) we go an a merry trail around a list of pubs, many of which may be closed, to appreciate the architecture, and, you know, maybe drink. This year’s route takes us from the foot of Parliament Hill to the heart of Kentish Town in our bid to never actually do a crawl in Camden.
The Route is as follows:
3pm Bull and Last (why not get a scotch egg?)
4pm The Southampton Arms
4.45pm The Vine
5.30pm The Pineapple
6.30pm The Oxford
7.30pm The Grafton
8.30pm Tapping The Admiral
There is a Handy Google Map here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zYR9Ng15Ymbs.kfOdKF4nYYvI
Look forward to seeing you!
‘Hi everyone! I’m long-haired Canadian warbler Alanis Morisette, and I’m here to remind you that you “oughta know” that submissions for the Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll 2014 are now OPEN! I thought I’d been uninvited to last year’s poll but it turns out there wasn’t one! How ironic*. Now all I really want – is to know your favourite songs of 2014!’
Thanks Alanis. The rules are very simple:
- Send your top 20 tracks to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11.59pm GMT on 31st December 2014.
- As with previous years, we will be lenient on release dates. If you think it was released this year, it probably counts. If something on your list is egregiously out of place we’ll let you know and you can choose something else.
- The order of your top 20 is important! Your #1 will be allocated more points than #20.
- If you can’t think of 20 songs then 10 or 14 or 2 is just fine.
*In the true spirit of Alanis, this term has been used incorrectly.
This is part of a series of critical essays on the Pokémon games. This one is about Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the third “main games” in the series, and unavoidably contains LOTS of spoilers for the remakes of those games released this month.
A BREAKING POINT
Pokémon games are consciously built by developers Game Freak around very high-level themes – single words that are meant to capture the spirit of each game and the region it’s set in. With X and Y the theme was “beauty” – for Black and White it was “cool”. In discussing the imminent remakes of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, and their home region of Hoenn, a spokesman suggested the idea behind the games had always been “abundance”. And you can see their point. Hoenn is a region bursting with life and incident. It offers a lush range of new environments and new ideas, a rethinking of the series’ established use of rivals and villains, and a sudden expansion of the franchise’s gameplay in terms of breadth (a whole parallel career path in the form of Contests) and depth (the introduction of Natures, Abilities and Double Battles). Not everything comes off – in fact the crowding-in of ideas means few of them completely work – but the bright ambition of Ruby and Sapphire is delightful.