Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011 Cultural Round-Up

I’ve been looking through the end-of-year lists of books of the year and cds of the year, so thought I’d present a cultural round up. Save you some time and trouble, and ask for your feedback.

Cds of the year

Women have topped a few of the lists for releases of the year in the music publications lits (Rolling Stone, Q, plus the Guardian etc). The bulk of the lists are music by blokes, but some female artists rate highly, and in all lists.

Florence & The Machine - Ceremonials
Adele - 21
St Vincent - Strange Mercy
Laura Marling - A Creature I Don’t Know
Gillian Welch - The Harrow & the Harvest
Kate Bush - Words for Snow
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
Bjork - Biophilia

All worth listening to, I reckon, and would make good gifts.

I’d add some more.

Rumer - Seasons of my Soul
Seeker Lover Keeper
Joan as Policewoman - The Deep Field
The Unthanks

SMH had a little article about how well women recording artists are doing, with mention of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Beyonce. I reckon we’ve all heard enough abo them. Others on my list are more interesting to me.

Can you tell I only buy cds by women?

Books of the year

These are the books that appear a few times on various lists. I read male as well as female writers. But predominately I read female. I haven’t read a lot of fiction this year. Studying. But these from the lists appeal. I’ve got the Ali Smith from the library.

The Stranger’s Child- Alan Hollinghurst
The Wine of Solitude - Irene Nemirovsky
There But For The - Ali Smith
A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan
The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes

And two non-fiction
What is Madness? - Darian Leader
(sic) - Joshua Cody

A big year for shows

Well, I said at the beginning of the year that I want to go out more, and see shows, and I have.

I’ve seen concerts: Bat for Lashes, Joan as Policewoman, kd lang, Sufjan Stevens, tributes to Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen. I loved all of them.

I’ve seen plays: Lady Nerd, The Threepenny Opera, Motherhood: The Musical, Silent Disco, Speaking in Tongues, Mary Poppins, In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play.

I have to say it; I’m truly over the use of projected filming of actors on stage during performances. I get it, people. Move on. Threepenny Opera, I’m looking at you, but I believe Kevin Spacey's Richard III does it too. Hmmm. I don’t know that I’ll be seeing any mainstream theatre next year. It really is too expensive. I’ll try for some independent, and performance events put on by The Arts Unit, and some free talks at Belvoir and the Opera House. That might be all.

So, how have you fared with cultural events this year? Any shows or books or cds you’ve particularly enjoyed? Anything you've missed and hope to catch up on?


sister outlaws said...

The PJ harvey album is fantastic and I'm keen to get the Bjork too. Another good release this year was Eilen Jewell "Queen of the minor key" If you like good female singers, her voice is dreamy and strong.

Melissa said...

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides was good.

I don't know about PJ; I was very disappointed with her album...

sister outlaws said...

Ooh good to hear.I'm saving Eugenides and Murakami for Summer. I'm also interested in reading Alex Miller's "Autumn Laing" and "On Canaan's side" by Sebastian Barry...

sister outlaws said...

Oh and I also want to read "The Forgotten Waltz" by Anne Enright...

Melita said...

Florence a fave with me and my daughters. Saw Laura Marling at the Sydney Festival last year (year before??) and she was amazing. Camille and Neko Case also firm favourites in our household. Looking forward to listening to lots of music on my holidays, starting now!!

Motherhugger said...

Thanks for the tips.
I'm enjoying the rainy weather with this music.