Monday, December 31, 2007

List fatigue

Well, did you have a Happy Christmas? I did: thanks to the relentless plugging of my Amazon wish list to all and sundry I ended up with a bunch of presents I actually wanted, we managed to slim down the commitments and travelling so that it actually feels like we've had a holiday, and now I'm looking forward to a cosy New Year's Eve with a shepherd's pie and a bottle of fizzy booze.

So now's the time of year when we all make up big lists of what we liked in 2007, isn't it? Top Tens, all that. Well, I thought about doing that, but you know what? I'm not going to. I've written about most of the things I've liked (and not liked) here at some point over the year, so if you're really interested in what I think you can spend a while browsing through the last 12 months' posts.

And anyway, why make lists? Of course, being a boy I spent a fair portion of my youth drawing up lists in the semi-autistic way that boys do; top ten records, TV programmes, films, books, gigs, and so on. But now it all seems so pointless and arbitrary. Why try to make value judgements between, say, Radiohead and Bill Callahan? How can I choose which goes higher up my book list, Ulysses or Strontium Dog Case Files Volume 3? Can I say that Vialka were a better gig than PJ Harvey? Did I enjoy either more than the other? And isn't whether I liked something just about the least interesting thing I can say about it anyway? And haven't there been way too many rhetorical questions in this paragraph?

So, no lists here*. Because it's all worthwhile. The good things (such as those mentioned above) and the bad things too, because the jewels stand out all the better for the shit thy float in. Because what I may say is my favourite today may change tomorrow. Because lists attempt to set in stone something that is, and should be, fluid. Because a butterfly is more beautiful fluttering than pinned to a board. And experience changes every moment.

And may I wish you a happy new year, and more of it in 2008, whatever it may be.

* I did briefly consider doing a list of the best lists I've read. But that would be too much smart-arse wankery, even for me.

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