A Top of the Pops

I was asked in December to take part, with a group of other people, in getting together lists of the best of 2012. I took too long to reply and, in a way, I’m pleased because four albums which I’ve grown to like, that were produced last year, I hadn’t heard at that point. If I’d taken part I would not have included them. I know it’s a bit late into this year to be looking back at the last year, but ‘what the hell’ I’m going to do it anyway.


Amazon did a top 100 of the year, NPR Music did a top 50, as did NME. I wrote in November about Piccadilly Records doing one at the end of November. I only got 14 new albums during the year, and 4 of those were over Christmas so dividing them into a top 10 and ranking them seems a bit superfluous. It was heartening as someone who turns 50 in less than a month to see Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan return with strong new albums and I have grown to love the John Cale very much. I would strongly recommend any of the ones from this list:

  • Old Ideas – Leonard Cohen
  • Tempest – Bob Dylan
  • Blunderbuss – Jack White
  • Sun – Cat Power
  • Sonic Kicks – Paul Weller
  • Island Fire – Gemma Ray
  • Not Your Kind of People – Garbage
  • Standing at the Sky’s Edge – Richard Hawley
  • Come of Age – The Vaccines
  • Co-Exist – The XX
  • Born to Die – Lana Del Rey
  • Carrington Street – Adele & Glenn
  • Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood – John Cale
  • One Day I’m Going to Soar – Dexys


I saw more films than I bought and listened to music. Special mention goes the ‘The Guard’ ‘The Separation’, The Descendants’, ‘Millennium’, ‘Margin Call’. ‘Ruby Sparks’, ‘Ides of March’ and ‘Skyfall’. I was blown away by ‘Life of Pi’ and I can see why people said it could no be filmed, and without special effects it could not have been, and a an extra special mention for ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ which was charming. Special opprobrium for Sherlock Holmes which was rubbish and I only went to see it because the first minute or so was filmed here in Strasbourg.

  • The Guard
  • J Edgar Hoover
  • The Separation
  • The Descendants
  • Mrs Henderson Presents
  • Sherlock Homes & Games of Shadows
  • Millennium
  • Iron Lady
  • Margin Call
  • W.E.
  • Ruby Sparks
  • Paperboy
  • Ides of March
  • 3 Days of the Condor
  • Skyfall
  • Life of Pi
  • Moonrise Kingdom


In terms of number I read slightly fewer books than films I watched but more than albums I bought and listened to. However, signing up to Goodreads in June means it was easy to track what I read in the last year and to rank them. As I gave five stars to the autobiography of Madeline Albright, the fourth instalment of Robert Caro’s biography of LBJ and to Stonemouth by Ian Banks they were obviously the top three with a one, two, three in the order I mentioned them.

  • Priors Garden – Jane Griffiths
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Unfinished Revolution – Phillip Gould
  • I An Actor – Nicholas Craig
  • A View from the Foothills – Chris Mullin
  • Back to Blood – Tom Woolfe
  • Sweet Tooth – Ian McEwan
  • Master of the Senate – Robert Caro
  • Stonemouth – Iain Banks
  • NW – Zadie Smith
  • Transition – Iain Banks
  • Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half Forgotten Europe – Norman Davies
  • Lionel Asbo: State of England
  • Prague Winter: A personal Story of Remembrance and War – Madeleine Albright
  • Love Me Do – Michael Braun
  • The Human Factor – Graham Greene

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One Response to “A Top of the Pops”

  1. Jane Griffiths Says:

    the film is “A” (not “The”) Separation, and the book is Priors Gardens (not Garden)

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