Saturday, 31 December 2011

Flavours of the Month: December 2011...


Glove And Boots - a new favourite YouTube channel of mine, I discovered it via their video "The Walkie Talkie Dead". If you like puppets, you're going to love Mario, Fafa, and Gorilla. Fantastically funny stuff!

Carnivale - I finished up the second season this month on Sky Atlantic and well, they certainly cancelled it back in 2005 on a bit of a cliffhanger, didn't they? I preferred the first season, especially as the second seemed to get a bit too lost and a bit too plodding at times ... and you can't beat that first season closer.

Ross Kemp On Afghanistan - a new run of the hard-hitting documentary on Sky 1. Illuminating, fascinating, chilling.

Black Mirror - from the mind of Charlie Brooker (which says a lot already), comes this trio of darkly twisted tales. The first episode was perhaps the most caustic, bleak, and ultimately haunting dose of satire I've seen in a long old while (perhaps ever). The second episode was overlong and lacked focus, but there were impressive ideas, and a strong cast. The third episode picked things up again by taking a brilliant little sci-fi 'what if' idea and spun it against the backdrop of a classic plot about adultery.

Charlie Boorman: Extreme Frontiers Canada - for a very long time now I've had this fascination with Canada (indeed I one day hope to visit the country), and being a fan of all the sorts of journeys that Boorman has undertaken over the years, I quite enjoyed this four-part series on Channel 5 ... but it would be nice if they put an extended version out on DVD.

Boardwalk Empire Season 2 - this richly detailed, masterfully written, deeply considered series is one of the best shows on television. The second season ramped up the complex motivations, suspicions, and double-dealings of all the well drawn and perfectly performed characters, and bloody hell - don't worry, no spoilers - the season finale is not only a brave move, but one that literally dropped my jaw and made me sit bolt upright in shock. I eagerly await the third season of this utterly engrossing drama - and if you haven't checked it out, then for goodness sake get yourself in on it.

Prometheus - the teaser trailer finally appeared and oh, the intrigue of it all. This is my most anticipated movie of 2012, with The Dark Knight Rises coming in second, and The Avengers in third on the anticipation scales.

Super 8 (Blu-Ray) - I loved it when I saw it in the cinema, and a second viewing confirms my love for this wonderful film. It's got real heart, real spectacle, a great range of adult and child characters, and well, it's just so damned nifty.


M83 "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" - sometimes you need the right time to listen to an album properly, especially a double album, and I finally got a chance to return to this great record that I've not been able to listen to enough for my liking. Top stuff.

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross ft. Karen O "Immigrant Song" - a driving, pulsing, thumping cover of Led Zeppelin's track, as featured in David Fincher's version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. This track provided the backdrop for the superb teaser trailer.

Saints Row The Third - numerous tracks, but particularly "Pepper" by Butthole Surfers, "Angry Elephants" by Junkie XL and "Slow Revolution" by Tugboat.

Prometheus - the music from the trailer ... ooh, it's spine-tingling. That aural call-back to the trailer for the very first Alien movie just makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end in an instant.

Dick Figures "Bath Rhymes (Instrumental)" - from the excellent YouTube cartoon series "Dick Figures".

Alice Cooper "Spark In The Dark: The Best Of" - nearly two-and-a-half hours of excellence.


Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky - after weeks of pouring through this deep, dense, dramatic novel, I finally got it finished. It was a demanding read at times - for good reasons and bad at different times - and despite some sections around the middle where it seems to get a bit lost and lumpen in its storytelling, once we arrive at Polis the pace picks right back up again. Fascinating, extremely detailed, and very atmospheric.

The Festive Season - Christmas adverts on the telly (including that old one from Coca Cola that everyone of my age loves and considers the kick-off for the season once they've seen it), mince pies fresh from the oven, decorations, wrapping (with a nifty little tip I learned from James May's Man Lab Christmas Special on BBC2), and all the assorted festivities. 2011 has been a bit of a rough year - indeed at times it's been utterly awful - but then again there were good times and productive times, so it wasn't a total write-off ... but I do hope 2012 proves to be far better than 2011 was.

Dirt 3 - nabbed it on sale. The first non-shooty-or-sandboxy game I've bought for four ruddy years; I'm gradually getting the hang of this spiffing rally racer which features an entertaining Gymkhana section.

Ross Kemp On Afghanistan - I was given this book for Christmas two years ago, and I never got around to it until now. Fresh from the latest series on Sky1, and in search of (relatively) lighter reading after the demanding-yet-involving Metro 2033, I ploughed through this. Like the series its connected to, it proved to be a fascinating, illuminating, and at times sombre read. It really makes you better appreciate - from the comfort of your living room, admittedly - what the soldiers fighting on our behalf go through.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - one of my presents this year. I've only done the first act of the story mode, but so far it's rather enjoyable. Nothing that changes the formula, but it's good to return to this particular story arc. More on it in next month's Flavours of the Month.

Until then - I hope you've all had a spiffing holiday season, and here's to 2012!

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