Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The 2008 Jock Awards

It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid.
At Christmas time, we let in light and banish shade.
And we also rank the year's best records, bands and movies to determine which will be remembered forever more and which will be consigned to a bargain bin in a high street store other than Woolworths.
Like the Oscars, except Roman Polanski is allowed to attend the ceremony if he wants to.

The Stone Roses award for Album of The Year: (Nominees: Kings of Leon - Only By The NightElbow - The Seldom Seen Kid; AC/DC - Black IceThe Fireman- Electric ArgumentsPortishead - Third; Glasvegas - Glasvegas)
It's been a cracking year for albums, and in any other year we could have expected Oasis, Primal Scream, Coldplay, Supergrass and The Verve to be amongst the leaders for the first award. But once again it was Elbow who proved to be probably the best band in the country, their fourth record standing shoulder to shoulder with its three classic forebears. The Seldom Seen Kid also helped belatedly vault the band to the next level of their careers, scooping the Mercury Music Prize. Opening track Starlings is as good a love song as I've ever heard, and One Day Like This was the soundtrack to the summer's festivals. Simply put, The Seldom Seen Kid stood head and shoulders above every other album released this year.

The Strawberry Fields Forever award for Single of The Year: (Nominees: Oasis - The Shock Of The LightningOasisI'm Outta TimeThe Verve- Love Is NoiseElbowGrounds For DivorceElbowOne Day Like This; Kings Of Leon - Sex On Fire; Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah)
"I remember the days when a single was a proper CD - yes a CD - and it had FOUR songs on it - yes FOUR SONGS." I can already foresee a future when I'm telling young, impudent, relatives that things were so much better in "my day". Anyway, in the download era, any track available on iTunes can top the singles chart, as so nearly happened with Jeff Buckley's rendition of Hallelujah, propelled into the chart for the first time by the anti-X Factor masses. But for me, the defining track of the year was The Verve's comeback single Love Is Noise, complete with odd hooting noise looped throughout the whole length of the song. I picked up the album the day I flew to Norway with four colleagues, and drove them to distraction by "singing" the hooting part on repeat. And every time I hear it, I'm back in the Stavanger sun, drinking free beer.

The Rolling Stones award for Live Act of The Year: (Nominees: ElbowOasisGomezGlasvegas; The Dusty Rhodes River Band)
Unusually, I've not been to many gigs this year - holidays in China tend to soak up large swathes of time and disposable income. Nonetheless, Oasis gave a solid performance at the AECC to bring back memories of the first concert I ever saw, the same band at the same venue in 1997. But the best performance I witnessed all year was Elbow's mid-afternoon slot at the Connect festival in Inveraray. Far too short, the band were nonetheless spectacular, opening with Starlings and closing with One Day Like This, with the cracking Leaders Of The Free World in between. A performance that really whetted the appetite for seeing them again in March. Although next year they'll be up against AC/DC at Hampden and Robert Zimmerman at the SECC....

The Goodfellas Award for Movie of the Year: (Nominees: The Dark KnightNo Country For Old Men; Wanted; There Will Be Blood; Charlie Wilson's War; Wall-E; Quantum of Solace)
Absolutely no contest. Daniel Day Lewis may have won an Oscar for There Will Be Blood, and the Cohen brothers for No Country For Old Men, but one movie stood cowl and cape above the rest during 2008. The Dark Knight may end up being most famous for being Heath Ledger's final, frightening swansong, but the movie kicked ass from beginning to end.

The Knight Rider award for TV Programme of The Year: (Nominees: Spooks; Desperate Housewives; Lost; Fringe; Heroes)
For the first time in the three-year history of The Jock Awards, Lost fails to take the top TV programme gong, and for the first time a British show leads the way. Spooks may be a dramatised version of life within MI5, but it's created in such a way, with believable characters, absorbing back stories and gripping action, that it draws the viewer entirely into the world of British and international espionage.

The Marilyn Monroe award for Babe of The Year: (Nominees: Megan Fox; Hayden Panettiere; Salma Hayek; Nadine Coyle; Cheryle Cole)
Assuming, as always, that Mrs Wife is the genuine winner of this category from now until the end of the Blogosphere, Salma Hayek lifts the crown as the hottest woman on Earth. Why? Here's why.

The Jet Set Willy Award for Computer Game of The Year: (Nominees: Football Manager 2009; FIFA Soccer 2009)
Probably the only two "new" games I've played this year go head-to-head for the title. And, as ever, Sports Interactive's glorified spreadsheet scoops the gong. Now with an added 3D match engine, Football Manager continues to go from strength to strength.

The Godfather III award for Biggest Disappointment of The Year: (Nominees: The Verve - ForthDirty Pretty Things livethe death of Woolworths)
It was a comeback that promised so much. The early glimpses of The Verve's new material, courtesy of the free download Thaw Sessions, suggested a swirling psychedelic thunder of guitars and Richard Ashcroft's booming baritone. Then came first single Love Is Noise, the best track of the year and the soundtrack to my summer. But the album fell flat, lacking direction, attitude and excitement. A big disappointment from a band capable of so much more.

The Screamadelica award for Scottish Album of The Year: (Nominee: Glasvegas - Glasvegas; Primal Scream - Beautiful Future) Slim pickings north of the border once again, with The Fratelli's second record failing to set the pulse racing. Glasvegas stole the show with their tales of heartbreak, social workers, flowers, fitba taps and lost daddies.


Inchy said...

Merry Christmas!

bigrab said...

And a Happy New Year!