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2016 — The Good Stuff. Team Jim Bob Annual Cultural Lists
posted by jim on 14/12/16


Do Hollywood – The Lemon Twigs
Ruminations – Conor Oberst
The Hope Six Demolition Project – PJ Harvey
Skeleton Tree – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Let the Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul
Blackstar – David Bowie
Adam Green’s Aladdin
9 Green Songs – Chris T-T
2013 – Meilyr Jones

The Loney – Andrew Michael Hurley
The End of the World Running Club – Adrian J Walker
Heroes of the Frontier – Dave Eggers
Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain – Barney Norris
Patience – Daniel Clowes
The Girls – Emma Cline
City on Fire –Garth Risk Hallberg
The Sympathizer – Viet Thanh Nguyen
Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink – Elvis Costello

Halt and Catch Fire
Making a Murderer
Peaky Blinders
Better Call Saul
People Just do Nothing
Silicon Valley
Happy Valley
War and Peace
Grayson Perry — All Man
Deutschland 83
Mr Robot
Ripper Street
Modern Family
Game of Thrones
American Crime Story — The People v OJ Simpson

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Captain Fantastic
The Nice Guys
Sing Street
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Love and Mercy
Bridge of Spies
A Bigger Splash
The Lobster

The Adam Buxton Podcast
Mark Watson Talks a Bit About Life
Vitriola podcast
Do the Right Thing podcast
Mark Steel's in Town
Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar

The Jam — About the Young Idea at Somerset House
David Baddiel — My Family: Not the Sitcom
Adam Buxton's Bowie Bug
Jilted John at Brixton Windmill
The Frank and Walters at the Borderline
Bowieoke Circus
Chris T-T at St Pancras Church
Elvis Costello at the London Palladium

CHRIS T-T's favourites

Beyonce – Lemonade
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree
The Furrow Collective – Wild Hog
Kiran Leonard – Grapefruit
David Bowie – Blackstar
Shirley Collins – Lodestar
Petrol Girls – Talk Of Violence
Esmé Patterson – We Were Wild
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
Skinny Girl Diet – Heavy Flow

This year I gave 55 albums 8/10 or better. I’ll put my Top 20 + honourable mentions on my 2016 Review blog next week. I’ve sadly excluded Jim Bob Sings Again and Non Canon’s self-titled debut, because of being on them both.

Can’t do my FILM yet – I’m seeing four films in the next two weeks that might feature. Hypernormalisation, Dheepan, Spotlight and Beyoncé’s Lemonade are all strong contenders though.

Planet Earth II
Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle
Better Call Saul
Imagine: One Night In 2012
The Story of China with Michael Wood
The Crown
Stranger Things
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Paul Kingsnorth – Beast
Benjamin Myers – Turning Blue
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
Dark Mountain #9
Teju Cole – Known And Strange Things

vrLAB at The Old Market, Hove
Visuals and lighting design for the Moderat concert, The Dome, Brighton
Gem Fletcher’s Instagram feed of Getty photographers and sessions
Siam – Through The Lens Of John Thomson, Museum Of Culture, Chiang Mai
Sam Hewitt at Dynamite Gallery
Not Vital at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Shardcore – ‘map portraits’ series
Nona Faustine – nudes in slave trading sites in Bust magazine
Clement Valla – Postcards From Google Earth
Pure Evil – Hollywood Vampires at 99 Mary Street, Sheffield

West Wing Weekly, PRX Radiotopia
Longform Podcast
Kermode & Mayo: Wittertainment, BBC Radio 5Live
Slate Political Gabfest, Slate/Panoply
The Junk Shop with Marc Teare, TotallyRadio
Simon Mayo interviews Bruce Springsteen, BBC Radio 2
SongExploder, PRX Radiotopia
Vitriola with Robin Ince & Michael Legge
In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, BBC Radio 4
Marc Riley, BBC 6 Music

Bellowhead, The Dome, Brighton
Kiran Leonard, The Albert, Brighton
Shellac, Koko, London
Dream Wife, Photo Shop, Great Escape, Brighton
Moderat, The Dome, Brighton
Chrissy Barnacle, Conroy’s Basement, Dundee
Skinny Girl Diet, Green Door Store, Great Escape, Brighton
Helen Chambers, Black Swan, York
Roxanne De Bastion, Latest Music Bar, Brighton
The Vega Bodegas, Le Pub, Newport



Blackstar – David Bowie

Jim Bob Sings Again – Jim Bob (& Chris T-T)

Do Hollywood – The Lemon Twigs
Ruminations – Conor Oberst
9 Green Songs – Chris T-T
Can’t Stop Us Now – Madness
Lazarus Soundtrack – Original Cast Recording
Super – Pet Shop Boys
Flawed Is Beautiful – S*M*A*S*H/These Animal Men
Tanya Donnelly – Swan Song Series


The Complete David Bowie – Nick Pegg

The End of the World Running Club – Adrian J Walker (though it has an awful ending)
Set The Boy Free – Johnny Marr
My Life With Bowie – Woody Woodmansey
The Romford Pelé: It's only Ray Parlour's autobiography - Ray Parlour
Journeyman: One Man's Odyssey Through the Lower Leagues of English Football - Ben Smith
Psychedelic Suburbia: David Bowie and the Beckenham Arts Lab - Finnigan, Mary
Let's Make Lots of Money: Secrets of a Rich, Fat, Gay, Lucky Bastard - Tom Watkins
Twin Ambitions - My Autobiography - Mo Farah
100 Acts of Minor Dissent - Mark Thomas
Heroes of the Frontier – Dave Eggers



Modern Family
American Crime Story — The People v OJ Simpson
Alan Partridge: Scissored Isle
The Walking Dead
Cougar Town
Black Mirror



Sing Street
The Jungle Book

Nocturnal Animals
Man Who Fell To Earth – BFI Screening
The Nice Guys
High Rise
Finding Dory
How To Be Single
Elvis & Nixon


The Adam Buxton Podcast

Kermode & Mayo Film Review
Guardian Football Weekly
Desert Island Discs


Pet Shop Boys – Royal Opera House

Matilda and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory – in London’s West End.
Attended with Poppy Ollington

Adam Buxton's Bowie Bug
The Jim Bob Sings Again Tour
The Frank and Walters - The Borderline
Belly - The Kentish Town Forum
Madness – Clapham Common
My Life Story – The Borderline
Chris T-T – St Pancras Old Church
British Sea Power – Tunbridge Wells Forum
La Femme – Shepherds Bush Empire
a-ha – The o2
Lazarus – Kings Cross Theatre
Indiedaze – London Forum


Hello all, and a Merry Christmas to you all. Usual rules apply: ridiculously late again and betting without the favourites (i.e. TJB output) otherwise it’d be a pretty repetitive list.

Off we go then… in no particular order, but favorite in each category starred…

BlackStar – David Bowie*
Songs of the Walking Wounded – The Frank and Walters
Rest & Relocation – Split Seconds
Forum Residency Boxset – Gary Numan
Girl at the End of the World – James
Ruminations – Conor Oberst (finally succumbed to the magic!)
Head Carrier – Pixies
No such thing as a Protest Singer - Grace Petrie
Still Valid – MJ Hibbert & the Validators
Let the Record Show– Dexys (less for the music, it became the most bizarre soundtrack to our journey thru’ Kenya – can’t remember when I laughed so hard in my life)

Mick Thomas African Tour 2016*
Gary Numan - Oxford Academy
Madness – 100 Club
Gavin Osborn/MJ Hibbert/Jenny Lockyer – SpreadEagle Croydon
Bowieoke – Bethnal Gren WMC
Grace Petrie – MayDay Orgreave Benefit Barnsley
James – Brixton Academy
Adam Ant – Hammersmith Odeon
Adam Buxton Bowie Bug – Greenwich
The Frank & Walters - Borderline

Well I can’t have Doctor Who as there hasn’t been any this year (yet), and that spin-off series on BBC3 was, sadly, bloody terrible, so…

Line of Duty
The Americans
The Crown
American Crime Story — The People v OJ Simpson
Mr Robot
Deutschland 83*
The Big Bang Theory

2016 BEST FILM: The Big Short

The Lobster
(Jim’s only put it in his list to wind me up - don’t think I’m not wise to his ways)

Not a lot done again this year, but I’ve developed a weird fascination for reading Appalachian Trail diaries.

BEST PALACE MATCH: 2016 was Palace’s very own Annus Horribilus, despite getting to the FA Cup Final (which of course we bloody lost), thus it’s been difficult to pick a game from such limited choice. In the end I’m going to cheat and go for one I didn’t actually see live: The 2-1 Semi-Final win against Watford, because it will forever remind me of the reason I couldn’t be there: running the London Marathon.

BEST FOOTBALL MATCH (Non-Palace): Lancing 3 Beckenham Town 4 (FA Cup Extra Prelim Round Replay)… deep in the heart of seaweed country: Beckenham go a goal up, Lancing have a man sent off but rattle in three goals. Beckenham stage a late comeback, scoring the winner from a disputed free kick in injury time. The one Beckenham Town fan in the ground goes mental and on full time is stalked by a mortally obese Lancing/Seaweed fan who, having also just spotted a small Palace logo on his cap, now wants to kill him… just catching him would have been a start… (yes, the Becks fan was me – I nearly died laughing).

posted by jim on 10/12/15


2015 has been a year. I seemed to spend so much of it indoors writing and let’s be brutally honest with myself, trying to write a new book. I touched my guitar twice in the whole of 2015 I think. I played one song each time. I can’t remember what the first song was. The second one was Breaking News. My fingers hurt afterwards both times. It’s strange being able to do something (play the guitar and sing) and yet not do it. But I suppose a lot of people are great swimmers but never swim. Lifeguards at swimming pools for instance. Some of the only times I left my house this year was to go swimming and I never once saw a lifeguard get so much as a toenail wet. Is there a job that requires less swimming than swimming pool lifeguard? I sort of miss performing. I made about three (non music) live appearances this year, maybe four. I was rubbish for at least one of them and I still haven’t got over the shame I feel about that months later. I won an award this year. It was my favourite thing that happened to me in 2015. Anyone who says that prizes are vulgar has clearly won too many. My second Frank Derrick book came out in June. Thank you if you bought it or said nice things about it. I’ve been very lucky. So, I’ve got a lot to do next year. I’d like to think that I’ll do some of it. I hope there’ll be a new novel. Maybe I’ll pick up the guitar for longer than one song’s worth. We can’t avoid getting a new central heating boiler any longer. Must do that next year. Need to get rid of a bit of clutter and do some exercise. Park Life! I’ve got to do jury service at the start of the year. I’m not looking forward to that to be honest. I’m torn between growing a beard and not washing and filling my pockets with peeled oranges and wetting myself deliberately, or being like Henry Fonda in the big jury service movie and disagreeing with the other eleven people in black and white until I’m hailed a hero to justice.

Jim Bob December 10 2015 x

Anyway. Lists. Everyone loves lists these days don’t they? From these lists you can see I didn’t get out much. There’s a lot of television. Not many gigs. I’ve probably missed some of my most favourite stuff. I’ll add it if I remember it. Scroll past my choices for those of MARC OLLINGTON, MISTER SPOONS and CHRIS T-T.


Jim Bob’s Favourite Live Stuff of 2015
1. Tree at the Old Vic
2. The Jam – About the Young Idea Somerset House
3. Laura Marling at Queen Elizabeth Hall
4. Elvis Costello Q & A with Nick Hornby at the Royal Festival Hall
5. Luke Wright at Port Eliot
6. These Animal Men and S*M*A*S*H* at Heaven
7. Decemberists at Brixton Academy
8. Eddie Argos spoken word
9. Ferocious Dog at the Putney Half Moon
10. Mr Spoons and Chris T-T at Eden Fest
11. Frank and Walters at the 100 Club
Also… Tom Drury at the Bookseller Crow, John Otway at Port Eliot

Jim Bob’s Favourite Books of 2015
1. All Involved – Ryan Gatiss
2. Preparation for the Next Life – Atticus Lish
3. A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
4. Our Souls at Night – Kent Haruf
5. Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink (Audiobook) – Elvis Costello
6. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
7. The End of Vandalism – Tom Drury
8. A Book for Her (Audiobook) – Bridget Christie
9. So You’ve Been Publically Shamed – Jon Ronson
10. Jonathan Franzen Purity

Also… Dennis Lehane World Gone By, Mobile library David Whitehouse, Child 44 Tom Rob Smith, The Farm Tom Rob Smith, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Jim Bob’s Favourite TV of 2015
1. Detectorists
2. Fargo
3. The Bridge
4. Beck
5. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
6. Better Call Saul
7. Game of Thrones
8. Cradle to Grave
9. Arne Dahl
10. Wolf Hall
11. Car Share
12. Happy Valley
13. Ripper Street
14. House of Fools
15. People Just Do Nothing

Also… Unforgotten, Peep Show, Modern Family, London Spy,Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, True Detective, The Casual Vacancy

Jim Bob’s Favourite Films of 2015
1. Legend
2. The Lady in the Van
2. X + Y
3. The Martian
4. Mistress America
5. Jurassic World
6. Foxcatcher
7. Pride
8. The Skeleton Twins
9. The Theory of Everything
10. Northern Soul

Also… Wild, Nightcralwer, Our Idiot Brother, The Imitation Game, St. Vincent, Still Alice, Most Violent Year, While We’re Young, EX¬_Machina

Jim Bob’s Favourite Albums of 2015
1. Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit – Courtney Barnett
2. Key Markets – Sleaford Mods
3. About the Young Idea the Very Best of The Jam – The Jam
4. I Love You, Honeybear – Father John Misty
5. What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World – The Decemberists
6. Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance – Belle and Sebastian
7. Short Movie – Laura Marling
8. Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink – Elvis Costello
9. Eels Royal Albert Hall DVD and CD
10. Shadows in the Night – Bob Dylan

Jim Bob’s Favourite Podcasts and Radio of 2015
1. The Adam Buxton Podcast
2. Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Podcast
3. Vitriola Music podcast
4. It’s Not What You Know with Miles Jupp on Radio 4
5. Terry Hall whenever he was on BBC6 Music
6. Steve Lamacq on BBC6 Music
7. The News Quiz on Radio 4


Marc’s top albums this year
1. Cathal Smyth – A Comfortable Man
2. Chvrches – Open Every Eye
3. British Sea Power – Sea Of Brass
4. Belle & Sebastian – Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance
5. Blur – The Magic Whip
6. New Order – Music Complete
7. Pop Will Eat Itself – Anti Nasty League
8. Sleaford Mods – Key Markets
9. A-ha – Cast In Steel
10. Slaves – Are You Satisfied?

Marc’s Fave Live Stuff
1. Chris T-T – 9 Red songs @ The Little Hedgehog
2. The Lion King @ London’s West End
3. Any Tonbridge Angels match
4. These Animal Men/Smash – Heaven
5. Stewart Lee – Leicester Square Theatre
6. Madness – Hove Cricket Ground
7. Morrissey – Hammersmith Odeon
8. Edenfest
9. German Supercup: Wolfsburg v Bayern
10. Pop Will Eat Itself – Cargo

Marc’s Top TV
1. The Walking Dead
2. Cradle To The Grave
3. Doctor Foster
4. Humans
5. The Newsroom
6. Peep Show
7. Modern Family
8. Doctor Who
9. Catostrophe
10. This Is England 90’

Marc’s Bestest Films
1. Pride
2. Whiplash
3. Amy
4. Birdman
5. Love & Mercy
6. Gone Girl
7. Inside Out
8. The Riot Club
9. Guardians Of The Galaxy
10. Begin Again

Marc’s Poppin’ Podcasts
1. The Adam Buxton Podcast
2. Kermode and Mayo
3. Desert Island Discs
4. Sunday Supplement
5. The Tuesday Club
6. The Newsquiz
7. The Guardian Football weekly
8. The Comedian’s Comedian
9. The Online Gooner
10. The Danny Baker Show

Marc’s Brill Books
1. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – Jon Ronson
2. Number 11 – Jonathon Coe
3. Twenty Eight Months and Twenty Eight Days – Salman Rushdie
4. Red Letter Days – Jon Spurling
5. Purity – Jonathon Frantzen
6. Clothes, Clothes, Clothes… - Viv Albertine
7. Running With The Kenyans – Adharand Finn
8. The Last Word – Hanif Kureshi
9. Us – David Nicholls
10. Nowhere Men – Michael Calvin


My top 10 favourite albums of 2016
1. Hamilton: Original Broadway Cast Recording
2. Stick In The Wheel – From Here
3. Esme Patterson – Woman To Woman
4. Grasscut – Everyone Was A Bird
5. Laura Marling – Short Movie (Director’s Cut)
6. Sleaford Mods – Key Markets
7. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love
8. Young Fathers – White Men Are Black Men Too
9. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Just Sit And Think, Sometimes I Just Sit
10. ibeyi – ibeyi

My favourite gigs
1. Sleater-Kinney at the Roundhouse, London
2. Sweet Billy Pilgrim at Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
3. Dan Friel at Mutations Festival, Hope & Ruin, Brighton
4. Fever Fever at Jen’s Birthday All-dayer, Brixton Windmill
5. Ibeyi at Coalition, Great Escape Festival and Concorde 2, Brighton
6. Chvrches at The Dome, Brighton
7. Grace Petrie at The Good Ship, Kilburn, London
8. In Gowan Ring at the Dark Mountain book launch
9. Paul Goodwin, Annie Dressner at CB2, Cambridge
10. Provincials at The Railway Inn, Winchester

My top 20 favourite TV – what an amazing year for television, plus this year I discovered Also, please note I’ve fallen behind with The Walking Dead and not seen this year’s episodes yet, or it’d definitely be in my top 10. And I haven’t seen Jessica Jones yet, ditto.

1. Wolf Hall
2. Adventure Time
3. ShroomzTV and Kiwo adventure in Ark Evolved on
4. Avatar: The Last Airbender / The Legend Of Korra
5. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
6. Fargo
7. How To Be Bohemian with Victoria Coren Mitchell
8. The Bridge
9. Survivor Gamez VI on
10. The Good Wife
11. Sense8
12. Broad City
13. Better Call Saul
14. Unreal
15. Chef’s Table
16. ShroomzTV plays Arma III BR on Twitch
17. Louie S5
18. Inside The Commons
19. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
20. Master Of None

My top 10 favourite films – but I haven’t yet seen Spotlight, The Martian, Bridge Of Spies or Star Wars, all of which might make it into my Top 10.

1. The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya
2. Brooklyn
3. Inside Out
4. The Lunchbox
5. Amy
6. 45 Years
7. Calvary
8. The Internet’s Own Boy
9. Mad Max: Fury Road
10. CitizenFour

My top 10 favourite books. Are we allowed to include Jim?
1. Ta Nehisi Coates – Between The World And Me
2. Various – Dark Mountain 8: Technê
3. Kazuo Ishiguro – The Buried Giant
4. Robert MacFarlane – Landmarks
5. Sunjeev Sahota – The Year Of The Runaways
6. Molly Crabapple – Drawing Blood
7. J.B. Morrison – Frank Derrick’s Holiday Of A Lifetime
8. Paul Mason – PostCapitalism: A Guide To Our Future
9. Miranda July – The First Bad Man
10. Patti Smith – M Train

If Jim's not allowed, then I guess either Carrie Brownstein – Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl: A Memoir or Jon Ronson’s book about slagging people off on the internet.

My top 10 favourite podcasts and spoken audio
1. Longform – especially Ira Glass, Jazmine Hughes, Jess Hopper, Karina Longworth
2. Brian Eno gives The John Peel Lecture, BBC6Music
3. Kermode & Mayo’s Wittertainment
4. In Our Time, BBC Radio 4
5. Slate Political Gabfest
6. Stephen Fry at Hay Festival
7. Radiolab
8. Slate Culturefest
9. Eddie Argos interviews Ezra Furman for Talkhouse
10. This American Life


An incredibly busy year with lots of changes in my life and some great travel experiences. Overall, 2015 was a good one for me.

As usual, my review is incredibly late (but done properly this time, Mr J!) and also doesn’t include stuff from my beloved Carter family, although a special mention for Chris & Gill’s album and live set which were simply amazeballs!

1. Girls in Peace Time – Belle & Sebastian
2. Where Did You Come From? – Darren Hanlon
3. Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit – Courtney Barnett
4. Whatever’s Left – Grace Petrie
5. Live in Zimbabwe – Mick Thomas & Squeezebox Wally
6. Smoke & Mirrors - Tenek
7. Share your Toys – Gavin Osborn
8. Alison Moyet Album reissues (ok, not technically this year but it did include unreleased Bonus stuff so I’m having it!)
9. Angels & Ghosts – Dave Gahan & the Soulsavers
10. Music Complete – New Order

1. Gary Numan Classic albums Gigs @ The Forum (lush, lovely and there may have been a few tears…)
2. Mick Thomas UK tour (incl. Edenfest!)
3. Madness @ Hove
4. These Animal Men & S*M*A*S*H @ Heaven
5. Polyphonic Spree @ Electric Ballroom
6. My Life Story @ Brighton
7. Grace Petrie @ Star of Kings
8. Holy Holy @ Sheps Bush Empire (before in fell down)
9. Gavin Osborn @ The Phoenix
10. Morrissey Farewell (yeah, right) UK Gig @ Hammersmith Odeon
Absolutely gutted to have missed the The Franks at 100 Club, heard it was a corker.

1. Star Wars*
2. Ex Machina
3. The Lunchbox
4. A Walk in the Woods
5. Wild
* - Look I haven’t actually seen it, but am going next Monday and even the trailers are better than the other four I did see this year.

1. The Bridge
2. Doctor Who (a season with more ups and downs than the TARDIS Time Rotor)
3. The Game
4. The Newsroom
5. Homeland (a welcome return to form and set in Berlin, so I guess I was always going to love it)
6. Luther (a great start, anyway)
7. Car Share
8. Better Call Saul
9. Arne Dahl
10. The Big Bang Theory

Books & Podcasts:
*** cough, cough, moving swiftly on ***

Best Palace Match:
Chelsea 1 Palace 2 – I’ve waited a long time to see us win at Stamford Bridge, now everyone bloody does it!

Best Non-Palace Match:
German Super Cup: Wolfsburg 1 Munich 1 (Wolfsburg won on pens) – not so much the match itself but the whole unbelievable weekend!

TEAM JIM BOB'S Favourite cultural gubbins of 2014
posted by jim on 9/12/14

New Gods – Withered Hand
Upside Down Mountain – Conor Oberst
Divide and Exit – Sleaford Mods
World Peace is None of Your Business – Morrissey
Seaside Arcade Bingo Patrol – Abdoujaparov
A.T.D.R.I.P – Akira The Don
High Hopes – Bruce Springsteen
Eels Performs the Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett – Eels

Under the Skin
American Hustle
The Possibilities are Endless
Captain Phillips
Frances Ha
Grand Budapest Hotel
The Double

Game of Thrones
Parks and Recreation
The Trip to Italy
Silicon Valley
Peaky Blinders
Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle
Genration War
Dave Gorman's Modern Life is Goodish
Scott and Bailey
Grayson Perry: Who Are You?
Inside No. 9
24 Hours in Police Custody
The Mekon River with Sue Perkins
The Code
Modern Family

Fourth of July Creek – Smith Henderson
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
The Way Inn – Will Wiles
The Free – Willy Vlautin
Your Fathers, Where are they? And the Prophets, Do they Live Forever – Dave Eggers
Theo – Ed Taylor
Us – David Nicholls
Stoner – John Williams
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour – Joshua Ferris
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler

Conor Oberst – Koko
Chris T-T and the Hoodrats – London
Los Quattros Cvunts – Brixton
The Indelicates with the MFMO – East London somewhere

Richard Herring's Leicester Square Podcast
Mark Watson Talks a Bit About Life
Vitriola Music Podcast
Do the Right Thing podcast


I just want to start off by saying I always feel sorry for December with these lists. Most are compiled early in the twelfth month which means whatever happens from around the 10th onwards is written out of history.

Albums Of The Year

I have to confess that even though I bought loads of music this year (over thirty albums!) only eight long players were from 2014. Here they are with marks out of ten.

Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business 6/10
Manic Street Preachers - Futurology 8/10
Akira The Don - A.T.D.R.I.P. 8/10
Conor Oberst - Upside Down Mountain 9/10
Withered Hand - New Gods 9.5/10
Abdoujaparov - Seaside Arcade Bingo Patrol 9/10
Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots 3/10 (the one about the elephant was a highlight)
Tanya Donnelly - Swan Song Series (all volumes) 9/10

Books Of The Year

As a previous fiction junkie I am consuming biogs by the dozen at the moment. I don't have any idea why! Here is my yearly top 10

1. The new Frank Derrick book to come out next year - J.B. Morrison
2. The Circle - Dave Eggers
3. From Last To First - Charlie Spedding
4. Anger Is An Energy - John Lydon
5. The Goldfinch - Donna Tart
6. Straight White Male - John Niven
7. Going Off Alarming - Danny Baker
8. Only When I Laugh – Paul Merton
9. Invincible: Inside Arsenals' Unbeaten Season - Amy Lawrence
10. Rock Stars Stole My Life - Mark Ellen


Here are the films I remember seeing and marks out of 10

Her: 8/10
The Grand Budapest Hotel: 9/10
Frank: 10/10
Wolf Of Wall Street: 4/10
Wolverine 2: 7.5/10
Postman Pat - The Movie: 3/10
Tinkerbell And The Pirate Fairy: 4/10
Frozen: 9/10
Don Juan: 7/10
Rush: 8/10
Gravity: 9.5/10
Despicable Me 2: 7/10
Philomena: 9/10
Saving Mr Banks: 9.5/10
Enough Said: 8/10
Last Vegas: 6/10
Hunger Games 1: 7/10
The Way Way Back: 10/10
Boyhood: 10/10
Captain America 2: 7/10
Nutjob: 2/10
The Lego Movie: 9/10
Spiderman 2: 5/10
American Hustle: 2/10

There were lots more but I haven't written them down...


1. Carter USM - Maida Vale/Shepherds Bush/Brixton
2. Kate Bush - Hammersmith Odeon
3. Manic Street Preachers - Brixton Academy
4. Conor Oberst - Koko
5. Pet Shop Boys - Brighton Centre
6. Morrissey - 02
7. Tony Visconti & Woody Woodmansey - Man Who Sold The World
8. Chris T-T – The Lexington
9. Erdal Kizilcay - The Borderline/ The Water Rats
10. Clinton USM – Jamm


1. The Tuesday Club
2. Wittertainment - Kermode & Mayo
3. Danny Baker
4. The Gooner
5. Desert Island Discs
6. Sunday Supplement
7. Guardian Football Weekly
8. Radio Four Friday Night Comedy
9. Radio Free Skaro
10. Simon Mayo's Confessions

TV shows

1. The Walking Dead
2. Doctor Who
3. Modern Family
4. New Girl
5. Sherlock
6. About A Boy
7. Gotham
8. The Newsroom
9. The US Office
10. The Trip To Italy


Right, here are the thoughts of the Spoons Jury - late as usual. This year rather than Top Tens, I’m just going to ramble on a bit – I have increasing difficulty it listing ten of anything I’ve seen/read/listened to in a year other than football matches and gigs, so rather than a belaboured effort to make myself look cool and cultured, I thought I’d just give it to you straight.

The usual caveat applies, I don’t include the ‘family’ treasures as favourites– but what wonderful riches they have been this year: three knockout Carter Gigs, Maida Vale, Frank Derrick, the new Abdou LP, the first run-through of the Dance with a Stranger musical and a host of seriously kick-arse Hoodrats gigs... we have been blessed.

As per usual my visits to Stage and Screen have been somewhat limited: just two cinema trips in 2014 and Peter Capaldi was in both of them. His debut bow as Doctor #12 (or is it #13) - he was magnificent, the story less so. And he was also in my favourite movie of the year... possibly several years, in fact: Paddington. Ok so, ever since I saw the Jungle Book as a wee boy, I’ve a sucker for a talking bear, but this film is just lovely. A beautiful homage to our fair city as well as being funny as. Stuff I watched on planes/DVDs included Frank – which I adored (despite being told I’d hate it) and The Muppet Movie which I didn’t. Somehow never got around to the Lego Movie.

Books – My impoverished 2014 literary diet consisted of reading the entire set Jo Nesbo/Harry Hole stories as holiday escapism, travel books about Brazil and The Pantanal, a draft of Jim’s latest and Futebol Nation – a book about the history of Football in Brazil. I wouldn’t have thought it possible to tell such a fascinating tale quite so turgidly – hardly a page turner, but definitely an eye-opener.

Onto Music – my album of the year is James: La Petite Mort – possibly their finest effort and still on constant play over six months after release. An honourable mention to Morrissey’s album, although it did get a little overshadowed by James - bought at the same time. I think Santa is bringing me the live albums from Depeche Mode (a recording of my favourite DM gig ever in Berlin) and Alison Moyet, so taking onboard Marc’s point about December never getting a look in, I thought I’d give them a shout here too,

Gigs - so many great ones this year, I’ve probably forgotten some: Gary Numan in Germany and at Hammersmith Odeon recently, Alison Moyet at the Albert Hall, the Boomtown Rats, Pet Shop Boys in Brighton, The Indelicates/MFMO in Bethal Green, Alabama 3 at The Forum (Dec 2013). Also a quick mention for the Brazilian ‘Ricky Martin’ in the Fortaleza FanFest after Brazil had won 4-1 – he rocked and I danced like a loon having drunk all day.

Football: the World Cup (can I get away with mentioning that yet again?) was a hell of an experience, but my favourite game of the year would have to be Everton 2 Palace 3 (the first one!) – the game at which Palace effectively stayed up completely against the odds... the piss-up afterwards in Liverpool was also legendary. My favourite non-Palace game? Hmm, tough one that... seen some really good non-league games (and yellow hoses) this year, it’s difficult to pick just one. So instead. I’m going for Newtown v Airbus... again more for the whole day out – my mate Wags’s 40th – than the actual football, of which I confess, I remember very little.

TV: Not such a good year overall. The aforementioned Doctor Who series was up and down like an old Type 40 Time Rotor, still my favourite thing on TV by a mile though. Also part of the flotilla: Marvellous, Hinterland, The Newsroom, The Bridge II, Borgen, Sherlock, The Fall, The Big Bang Theory and the final series of True Blood. I’ve got a load of stuff on my TIVO still to watch include The Walking Dead, the second and last series of Revolution and the last three series of Falling Skies, although I must confess I’m lacking the enthusiasm for tackling any of them at present. This year’s TV turkey: The Detectorists... at the insistence of Jim or Marc, I sat through it all. Didn’t get it – sorry chaps, don’t hate me. Actually on second thoughts Ship of Fools was far far worse...

Team Jim Bob's Favourite Gubbins of 2013
posted by jim on 8/12/13

JIM BOB (Guvnor)

I didn't buy a lot of new records in 2013. Not enough for a top ten. I didn't go to many gigs either. I'm going to blame this on being of an age where I would do anything rather than leave the house. I'll go if Mr Spoons is driving but otherwise the telly always seems so inviting. Even though a lot of the time there's actually sod all on. Although there were some greats programmes on in 2013. A lot of them we had to watch on DVD box sets. I hope I've remembered what they all were and have included them below. I expect I've missed out on loads of great new records this year. I've come close to buying both Elvis Costello and The Jam albums that I already own at least twice. That The Jam box set that cost about a hundred quid was really tempting. My daughter bought me and Mrs Jim Bob membership to a cinema last Christmas so we went to the pictures more than usual. We saw some superb films in 2013. I've read more books than are on this list but I can't remember them at the moment. I might update this list. Is that allowed? I'll try and go out more next year. And buy some new records. And so on.

The Next Day – David Bowie
The Bear – Chris T-T
Wise Up Ghost – Elvis Costello and The Roots
The Stand-In – Caitlin Rose
Once I Was an Eagle – Laura Marling
Understated – Edwyn Collins
Reflektor – Arcade Fire

Gulls – Chris T-T
Black Tambourine – Withered Hand
Where Are We Now? – David Bowie

Alpha Papa
Silver Linings Playbook
Behind the Candelabra
The Way Way Back
The World's End
Robot and Frank
Good Vibrations

Breaking Bad
Game of Thrones
Top of the Lake
Ripper Street
The Newsroom
Parks and Recreation
Modern Family
Dave Gorman's Modern Life is Goodish
Arne Dahl
Big Bang Theory
New Girl

The Circle – Dave Eggers
Lolito – Ben Brooks
Plainsong Trilogy – Kent Haruf
Ciarán Collins – The Gamil
Denis Lehane – Live By Night
Rod The Autobiography – Rod Stewart
Erlend Loe – Doppler

Julius Caesar at the Domnar Warehouse
Roddy Frame performing High Land Hard Rain at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Dexys 'One Day I'm Going to Soar' at the Duke of York's Theatre
Caitlin Rose at Dingwalls
Bowie exhibish at the Vicky and Bert
All Day Edinburgh at The Phoenix
Emily Barker/ Chris T-T in Sevenoaks
The Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra at Union Chapel
Boomtown Rats at a polo club
Championship Play Off Final at Wembley – Crystal Palace v Watford
Ben Moor reading Each of Us at the Bookseller Crow
Kristen Hersh at the Bookseller Crow

Richard Herring's Leicester Square and Edinburgh Podcast(s)


CHRIS T-T favourites of 2013


Insanely good year for albums. I’m not including The Bear, nor Jim’s album What I Think About When I Think About You though I’m proud of both and think they deserve to be in any chart – but they’re banned from this list. Other albums I played/sang on are fine because I only did tiny bits.

1. Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
2. 65DaysOfStatic – Wild Light
3. Gill Sandell – Light The Boats
4. Future Of The Left – How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident
5. Savages – Silence Yourself
6. Los Campesinos! – No Blues
7. British Sea Power – Machineries Of Joy
8. Yo La Tengo – Fade
9. Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle
10. My Bloody Valentine – mbv
11. Bill Callahan – Dream River
12. Thirty Pounds Of Bone – I Cannot Sing You Here, But For Songs Of Where
13. Lorde – Pure Heroine
14. Chvrches – The Bones Of What You Believe
15. Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo – Dear River
16. Steve Mason – Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time
17. Jon Hopkins – Immunity
18. Danny & The Champions Of The World – Stay True
19. My First Tooth – Love Makes Monsters
20. The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law.

Honorable mentions: John Murry, Kate Nash, David Bowie, Frank Turner, The Bronx, Ben Marwood, Serafina Steer, Jamie Lenman, Lady Gaga, Eels and Kathryn Williams.

ps. I know Kanye’s record has incredible sounds but I can’t get beyond how deeply the lyrics (and Kanye himself) annoy me.


1. John Parish Band at SXSC Festival, Winchester
2. Cut Ribbons at Great Escape, Brighton
3. whole lineup unlugged at Uncivilisation Festival IV, Hampshire *
4. Ben Marwood at the Xtra Mile Takeover, 2000 Trees Festival
5. Brodsky Quartet ‘America’ short concert at Kings Place Festival (thankyou Ben Eshmade)
6. Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo, various venues on the Dear River tour
7. Frightened Rabbit, The Concorde, Brighton
8. Robyn Hitchcock’s 60th Birthday gig at Village Underground, London
9. Murray Xcert at the Xtra Mile Takeover, 2000 Trees Festival
10. Annie Dressner in Folk In A Box at King’s Place Festival
11. The Strypes at Great Escape, Brighton

* Small Shipwrecks, Grace Petrie, Thirty Pounds Of Bone, Matt Hocking, Owen Tromans and The Retrospective Soundtrack Players. Absolutely perfect evening.

by the way my favourite live music performance I saw on telly was Biffy Clyro’s headline set at Reading Festival


An exciting, innovative but dark / intense year for films.

1. The Selfish Giant
2. Pig The Dog (Maxy Bianco short for ‘Random Acts’ at Baltic Gallery, Newcastle)
3. The Act Of Killing
4. Gravity
5. 5 Broken Cameras
6. Don’t Move (Anthony Melton’s directorial debut from the Bloody Cuts series)
7. Nebraska
8. In A World
Springsteen & I
Robot And Frank

Honorable mentions: Enough Said, A Band Called Death, A Royal Affair (sort of last year but I only saw it when it popped up on Netflix) and I haven’t seen Blue Jasmine, Saving Mr Banks or Captain Phillips yet but I’m sure I’ll enjoy them.


1. The Story Of Film: An Odyssey by Mark Cousins (was only screened in US this year)
2. Parks & Recreation
3. Storyville: Google and the World Brain
4. Black Mirror
5. Orange Is The New Black
6. Newsroom Season 2
7. Top Of The Lake
8. Russian dashcams / crash compilations on Youtube (sorry, got addicted)
9. The Deadliest Catch
10. close proximity wingsuit flying on Youtube

honorary mentions: The Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones, Bob’s Burgers, Attenborough’s Africa, Boardwalk Empire, Peaky Blinders, Only Connect

BOOKS (not necessarily published this year)

1. Steven Pinker – The Better Angels Of Our Nature
2. Peter Ames Carlin – Bruce
3. Jim Crace – Harvest
4. David Sedaris – Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls
5. Jeff Noon – Channel SK1N
6. Tracey Thorn – Bedsit Disco Queen
7. Oliver Gray – Zander
8. F.W. Bateson – Essays In Critical Dissent (from 1972)
9. Annalee Newitz – Scatter, Adapt & Remember
10. Emily Bazelon – Sticks & Stones (incredible investigation of bullying, US schools & tech)

honorary mentions: Beck – Song Reader, Lauren Beukes – The Shining Girls, Alan Johnson – This Boy and Dave Eggers – The Circle (only just started it but it’s amazing so far), Hanna Rosin – The End Of Men (and The Rise Of Women). I haven’t yet read Bob Stanley’s Yeah Yeah Yeah but at a glance it’s excellent.


1. Death at the Wellcome Trust
2. Barbara Hepworth Studio and Garden, St Ives
3. Women From The Fine Art Collection at Brighton Museum
4. Soviet Art 1960–1980s at S**tchi Gallery, London
5. Shardcore at 68 Middle St and elsewhere, Brighton
6. Subversive Design at Brighton Museum
7. ‘Random Acts’ short films at Baltic Gallery, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
8. Russians at the S**tchi Gallery, London
9. street art and public art in Newcastle
10. St Mungo Museum of religious art, Glasgow

Honorary mentions: Finders Keepers at Michael Hoppen Gallery, Hong Kong New Contemporaries at S**tchi Gallery, GOMA, a visit to the Science Museum, butterfly garden and Minerals Gallery at NHM with Rifa and Anthony Melton and Keith Bennett’s community portraits, The Discovery Centre, Winchester.


1. Tony Harrison reads V on Radio 4
2. Alexandra Loske: The First Giraffe (on my podcast)
3. Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo – Wittertainment
4. 500th episode of This American Life
5. Stuart Maconie – The People’s Songs
6. Bryan Cranston reads ‘Ozymandias’ for the Breaking Bad trailer
7. Soul Music, BBC Radio 4
8. Slate Culturefest
9. Chris Packham's Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4
10. Colbert on the Slate Gabfest live show

honorary mentions: Danny Boyle and (only this week) Harvey Weinstein interviews on Wittertainment, This American Life / Planet Money investigation into disabled benefits, Slate Gabfest and Double X Gabfest, BBC Radio 4 Any Questions, BBC Radio 4 News Quiz, WTF with Marc Maron, Kermode’s 50 Years Of Cinema


MR SPOONS' favourites of 2013


1 Splinter – Gary Numan… superb follow up to the fan club release Dead Sun Rising which I also adored and his best 'proper' album release for many many years.
2. The Next Day – David Bowie – a lush and lovely surprise
3. The Minutes – Alison Moyet
4. Delta Machine – Depeche Mode
5. Electric – Pet Shop Boys


1. Doctor Who
2. An Adventure in Time & Space
3. Big Bang Theory (Finally got around to watching it and now a convert)
4. Borgen
5. The Killing 3
6. The Newsroom
7. Breaking Bad (just started watching it so only up to Series 3 so far)
8. Homeland
9. Top of the Lake
10. True Blood

1. Depeche Mode - Berlin
2. Boomtown Rats – Polo Club
3. Gary Numan - Roundhouse
4. Alison Moyet – RFH
5. Frank & Walters – Cork (ok so it was 29/12/12, but it was too late for lasy years awards)
6. Amy McDonald - Brighton
7. Neds Atomic Dustbin – Leeds
8. Grace Petrie – Firebox
9. Total Hero team: MJ HIbbert – Green Dragon
10. Emily Barker & Red Clay Halo - Sevenoaks

FILMS (just the two cinema visits this year)
1 The Day of the Doctor
2 Star Trek: Into Darkness
Oh yeah and I saw Sliver Linings Playbook on a plane… which was quite cool.

1. Dinner at The Fat Duck
2. Dr Who Convention – Excel
3. El Bulli Expo & Flim at Somerset House
4. Depeche Mode Expo – Berlin.
5. Woody Said - a musical about the Life Of Woody Guthrie
Didn’t get my arse in gear to go to David Bowie expo, much to my shame

Best Football Match of 2013:
Seaweeds 0 Palace 2 – Play-off Semi Final 2nd leg. I didn’t stop laughing for a month…


MARC OLLINGTON'S favourites of 2013

Television Programmes
1.       Day Of The Doctor/ An Adventure In Time and Space/ The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot/ Night Of The Doctor
2.       The Wrong Mans
3.       Modern Family
4.       David Bowie: 5 Years
5.       Dexter – The Last Season
6.       The Walking Dead
7.       The Politician’s Husband
8.       The Newsroom
9.       Danny Baker Album Show
10.   Agents of SHIELD
11.   Utopia
12.   Charlie Brooker’s Wipe
13.   Strictly Come Dancing
14.   DaVinci’s Demons
15.   The Bridge (US remake)
16.   Kelly & Bakers VSPO
17.   Would I Lie To You?
18.   Falling Skies
19.   Peppa Pig
20.   Match Of The Day
Albums Of The Year
1.       David Bowie – The Next Day/The Extra Day
2.       Manic Street Preachers – Rewind The Film
3.       Jim Bob – What I Think About When I Think About You
4.       Pet Shop Boys – Electric
5.       Chris T-T – The Bear
6.       Scott Walker – First 4 albums box set
7.       Various – Scared To Get Happy (Cherry Red 80s Indie Box Set)
8.       Arcade Fire – Reflektor
9.       British Sea Power – Machineries Of Joy
10.   Suede – Bloodsports (5 good songs on this one but I only bought 10 new albums)
Songs Of The Year
1.David Bowie – Where Are We Now?
2. Chris T-T – Gulls
3. Jim Bob – Breaking News
4. Pet Shop Boys – Love Is A Bourgeois Construct
5. Manic Street Preachers & Richard Hawley – Rewind The Film
Books of The Year
1.       J.B. Morrison – The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81
2.       John Niven – The Amateurs
3.       John Niven – Straight White Male
4.       Dennis Bergkamp – Stillness and Speed
5.       Ben Brooks – Lolito
6.       Rod Stewart – Rod
7.       Victoria Broakes and Jeffrey Marsh – Bowie Is
8.       Morrissey – Autobiography (for the first 150 pages – which are sublime)
9.       Mark Kermode – Hatchet Job
10.   Simon Goddard - Ziggyology
11.   Matthew Quick – Silver Linings Playbook
12.   Stephen Chbosky – The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
13.   Mark Haddon – The Red House
14.   Suggs – That Close
15.   Pat Long – History Of The NME
16.   Chris Evans – It’s Not What You Think
17.   David Mitchell – Back Story
18.   Tom Hingley – Carpet Burns
19.   Anon – Tales From The Secret Footballer
20.   John Lloyd – QI Facts
Films of The Year (what I saw that was rather new rather than what came out)
1.       What Maisie Saw
2.       Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
3.       Crazy, Sexy, Love
4.       Moneyball
5.       The Bachelorette
6.       The Dark Knight Rises
7.       The Look Of Love
8.       Perks Of Being A Wallflower
9.       Iron Man 3
10.   American Pie 3
11.   Despicable Me
The following were average: Ted, Wanderlust, The Hobbit, This Is 40, X Men: First Class, The World’s End, Blue Jasmine, Star Trek Into Darkness
The following were rubbish: Die Hard 5, The Guilt Trip, Parental Guidance, Man of Steel
Events Of The Year (I didn’t go to a gig for the first time since 1990)
1.       Birth of Evie Rose Ollington
2.       Bowie Is – V&A + live cinema screening
3.       Doctor Who – 3D Day Of The Doctor at the cinema
4.       Bear McCreary – Creative Inspiration session (a work thing – but a super work thing)
5.       Stewart Lee – Live at Soho Theatre
6.       Doctor Who 50th Celebration – Excel Centre
7.       Peppa Pig’s Treasure Island – Criterion Theatre
8.       Room On A Broom – Tonbridge School
9.       My Nevermind The Buzzcocks letter going viral (30,000 ‘likes’ on the carter page, and over 100,000 retweets that I know of. Mental.)
10.   Becoming a BA gold card member
Podcasts Of The Year
1.       The Tuesday Club
2.       Desert Island Discs
3.       Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews
4.       The Danny Baker Show
5.       The Gooner Podcast
6.       Sunday Supplement
7.       The News Quiz
8.       CBeebies Radio
9.       Guardian Football Weekly
10.   Richard Herring Leicester Square Theatre (When he reigns himself in. I still squirm thinking about the Stephen Merchant one the other day)

posted by jim on 8/04/13

I wrote this in my fanzine Art Wank And 6th Form Poetry round about 1995.


It was my thirtieth birthday, we were halfway through recording our second great pop album, when The Antichrist decided to hand in her notice. I should have done a cartwheel, put another candle on the cake and got fantastically drunk. But I put the candles and the cartwheel on hold. I wanted to see the stake through the heart, the smoking pistol with the missing silver bullet, or at least get a look at Peter Cushing’s Polaroids.

Margaret Thatcher - Milk Snatcher, Iron Lady, the girl next door who lived above a grocer’s shop and had to eat spam for Christmas.

I definitely got a lot of inspiration from her, as far as songwriting was concerned. Two whole bands worth of hatred and bile, set to music, recorded and sold, we were a small business, she would have been proud of us. But we couldn’t go to the dentist, get a decent education or ever get to perform at one of those free G.L.C. concerts or enjoy one of their over the top Bonfire Night fireworks displays. She was basically a spoilsport who turned selfishness and single bloody mindedness into an Olympic sport, she set the standards that helped to lower ours. I don’t know for sure but I have my suspicions that if it wasn’t for Margaret Thatcher Wet Wet Wet would never have made it past the fourth week at Number One.

My mum really didn’t like her. Whenever Thatcher was on the TV it was almost too much for my mother. She’d bang the arm of the settee ranting about, ‘That bloody woman!’, which was the only thing my mum ever referred to that bloody woman as. I don’t know what it was that made Margaret Thatcher so aggravating. The clothes? The smile? That hairstyle? The patronising manner that would have made Cilla cringe? A voice more irritating than Whitney Houston’s? All this and politics too.

I remember cycling down to the D.H.S.S. in Norwood Junction, it was nearly Christmas, the padlock for my bike was frozen and I didn’t have any W.D.40. (only a U.B.40. ha ha ha!). Anyway, I left my unsecured bike outside Kwiksave hoping that all the Kwiksavers would keep an eye on it for me. It was still there seven hours later when I left the dole office, fed up and empty handed, having spent the whole day sat on an orange plastic bucket seat , fighting off bored children, growing a fantastic beard, waiting for my number to come up, and wishing I’d brought a good book with me (maybe War and Peace).

I was finally seen by the clerk and told to come back tomorrow. I think I managed to get a giro the day before Christmas Eve, so I could cash it just in time to nip down the shops and get some spam.

I held Margaret Thatcher personally responsible for my long hours at the dole office and quite frankly for just about everything else that depressed or frustrated me at the time.

Before she left office she made herself a Baroness, I would have made her walk the plank.


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