Monday, 5 January 2009

Looking back, over my shoulder

... I can see that look in your eye.

(It's a sort of pitying look, actually. Which I'm not so wild about. But let's move on.)

So – what did we all think of the twelvemonth jamboree that was 2008? Here's the year, in retrospect, through the eyes of a hooligan.

That aren't actually current any more, obviously

Well, it was the year when credit finally crunched like a momma. Like a big, crunching momma. With nutcrackers. And the people of North Oxford did collectively throw up their leather-begloved hands and gasp at the prohibitive price of lemons. In 2009, we must ask ourselves: will these poor people be able to put food on the table?

And, if so, what about pudding? Not only have prices soared; Britain's confectionary shelves have been disastrously decimated.

Meanwhile, would-be crunchbuster Obama won an election. The starving hordes of North Oxford, too hunger-enfeebled to cheer, instead blasted the horns of their 4x4s in jubilant celebration (and the Intellectual Hooligan had a mouthshriveling glass of Pinot Grigio, before returning to Michael Tomasky. Ridiculous –> sublime.)

Unfortunately, all of the above has been defined as 'not news', relative to the messageboard-clogging bolus of importance that was Strictly Come Dancing. Sorry, Obama, mate: any other year, you'd've made it.

Putting the 'lite' back into literary criticism

With the cinematic adaption of Revolutionary Road due out at the end of this month, 2008 was the perfect time to read Richard Yates' wonderfully observed, psychologically penetrating novel. This is one, the hooligan predicts, that will remain better served by the written word than the cinema screen.

Hamlet has been battered around the ring (I begin to see innuendo in everything I write), meanwhile – first hated by his creator, then rudely regurgitated. Poor chap.

In the interim – without any particular contemporary justification for so doing – we sprinted through Martin Amis's Rachel Papers (old novel), and found him acting like a bastardly, dosed-up Henry James.

Amidst all the hurly burly, the hooligan even took time out to scribble a line or two of his own.

Peg on nose, the Hooligan filters out the malodourous

In a manner which may attract allegations of partisanship, the mesmeric world of Rebecca Mosley and her adopted objects has continued to entrance. And allegers of partisanship can, frankly, sod off. Go to Zimbabwe and do your noble work there, why don't you?

Elsewhere, we were shown that zooming in on something can suddenly become like zooming out. No, we weren't on hallucinogens whilst watching the mosaic screensaver on Mac OS X – we were digging the fine work of Tara Donovan.

Because you wanted to know all about the Intellectual Hooligan's personal life, didn't you? Yes, you did. You poor, poor fool.

A year of upheavals, 2008 has seen an heroic resignation of the kind destined – I humbly submit – to be chronicled and retold by historians and irritating bard-type fellows in years to come. The hooligan – hear ye! – righteously kicked some corporate ass. Or some public sector ass, at very least.

Your hero has been crushingly humiliated (or has, rather, recalled – in premature-wrinkle-inducing immediacy – past humiliation). He has been the target of malicious rhetorical questions and chilling grimacewinks. He has been cruelly deprived of evocative olfactory stimuli – and, sickened to the core, has found out what lies behind his inability to tear his hungry eyes from the crotches of humans and animals alike. Throughout this trauma, moreover, his dreams have been reechoed with the omnipresent footfalls of the Mobile Phone Grim Reaper. Alack!

Before said Reaper has done his baleful work, howsoever, telephonic devices have wreaked their own variety of havoc, facilitating nefarious narcotic exchanges via the worldwide web of lies, sin, infamy and, y'know, illegal mp3s and photographs of naked ladies and suchlike. Perhaps these phones deserve all they get?

Amidst such cataclysms and shattering revelations, however, have been moments of almost heartbreaking tenderness. From sexy, sexy dimples to the girth-boosting people of Peterborough and their deformed bird, light has shone, time and again, betwixt gathering stormclouds.

May such light continue to shine – however fitfully – upon the road through 2009, o noble blogprodders. And, through the humble vessel of this blog, may it be a lantern to your inbox, and a light upon your RSS feeds. Oh, Christ, that was cheap and a little mangled.

So: it stays.

Finally, for the delectation of those of you to whom happiness is a statistical readout (Birdface), the most 'popular' posts of 2008. Giles Coren is hot stuff, it would seem.

  1. Giles Coren knows how to do a leak
  2. Shakespeare hated Hamlet. He really did, you know.
  3. Photos on the internet – for drugs. It was bound to happen some time.
  4. Alas! Mourn the passing of the dough[t]y Battenberg!
  5. Oh, those crazy pharmacists ...

That's all, peeps. Thank you for choosing to exercise your eyes (and, occasionally, your brains) in this corner of the worldwide gymnasium. Come back soon to hear tales of gin and tonic to make grown men weep – and other sundry undercrackers fished daintily from the laundry basket of the Intellectual Hooligan's holiday season.

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