2009 draws to a close, as does another decade. Here are the year's favourite things, which have formed the backdrop, on a personal level, to the happiest of times.
The deliveries sourced from Amazon and Biblio are still arriving thick and fast. Now having renewed a taste for rare out-of-print works, the cost for this regular literary fulfilment has at times been considerable, but so so worth it when referring to classic works such as Albert Goldman's Disco, David King's The Commissar Vanishes, and Helen Hazen's Endless Rapture.
Apart from the predictably sublime pleasure that the ever-reliable Saw franchise delivered with VI, there are three films that for me stand out. The knowingly neo-Bergmanesque Daisy Diamond by Danish director Simon Staho; the scandalously fun popcorn horror of Orphan featuring Esther, one of the most badass characters in memory; and the marvellously satisfying Swedish horror Let The Right One In - let's pray there's never a Hollywood remake.
Despite being an unreformed Sony fanboy, and despite having an instinctive hostility against Apple and Microsoft (along with several other hardware manufacturers), I have to confess to finding my iPhone 3GS a true marvel. But even that doesn't compare to the scandalous magic of the SpiderBox 9000HD.
The ferociously, sadistically, unforgiving time sink from Japan that goes by the name of Demon's Souls (PS3) is not only the best game in 2009, but of this decade. Play it to death.
Too many incredible memories to choose from: Whitehouse at OutFest in Portugal, Cut Hands concerts in Germany and Poland (not to mention dear Auld Reekie), Benetti at Cocadisco and Bloc 2009, are but a few of the highlights. Thanks to everyone who made these shows possible, and thanks to everyone who came along, I hope you also had an amazing time.
The undeniable excellence of Cologne's Ludwig Museum was trumped only by the visit to Wellcome Trust's exhibits in the history of medicine at the Science Museum in London.
And yes, I'm sparing you the restaurant reviews this time around.