Book Of The Year. Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. Though not without its flaws, this is his best novel ever. The style and concerns are those of the Virtual Light / Idoru / All Tomorrows Parties trilogy, but the austere prose is more polished. The portrayal of the rarefied world of boutique consultancy and of modern London is spot-on in the way that, say, the portrayal of the software business in Cryptonomicon isn't. The main characters, Cayce and Bigend, are also well drawn and believable.
Book - Pleasant Surprise Of The Year. Hey, Nostradamus by Douglas Coupland. I was prepared for the worst, given poor reviews in the press and by readers on Amazon - so much so that far from buying the hardback when it first came out, which I have done with most of his books since Shampoo Planet, I didn't bother reading it until Maria got it out of the library. In fact, this is his most engaging for a while. The elegiac quality of the prose is very reminiscent of Life After God.
Book - Marginally Worse Than My Low Expectations Of It. Quicksilver by Douglas Coupland. I may return to this if I can be bothered (I have made an incoherent comment on pmcray's journal which will have to do for now)
Film - Goodbye, Lenin. Possibly the only film I have seen at the cinema this year. Certainly the only one that I remember seeing, but not just included on that basis. Funny, moving, cleverly done. For all those who, like me, thought that the East Germans were going to be shafted when the reunification happened, and with particular resonance for those interested in the Soviet manned space program.
Gadget - a toss up between my Goodmans DAB Car Radio and our '120 quid for dish and box but no channels' Rupovision. The DAB radio provides me with 6 Music and the World Service (mainly) whilst driving, and the Rupovision provides us with lots of channels, of which we mainly watch the BBC digital channels, The Vault (music videos, mainly 80s and 90s) and EuroNews (a news channel run by a consortium of European broadcasters, comparing this with CNN shows the unbridgeable gulf between the US and Europe. There are no on-screen presenters, everything is done with video, with the commentary broadcast in about 7 languages. The weather forecast is completely automated with a sort-of prog rock sound track and 'voice over guy' saying things like 'and in Scandinavia this is the way the weather is shaping up', 'moving into central and eastern Europe, and the outlook for tomorrow', but you can play 'guess the temperature in Tel Aviv').
TV Series, new- Umm, tricky one this. Maybe ER. These days TV is the new radio - we have it on as background news usually tuned to The Vault, EuroNews or News 24. The American series we do watch mostly come by - ahem - other means and I can't remember when I watched a British drama series (do they do them any more?).
TV Series, old - ER. Having bought season 1 on DVD, I discovered that subsequent seasons are not available in the US or UK, they ARE available in Japan, so I have bought seasons 2 and 3 from a company in Japan which specialises in exports and has its website in English. Whilst they have Japanese menus, they have English and Japanese soundtracks and subtitles, and for playback I use Videolan which can easily bypass the menus anyway.
TV Channel. Did I mention how much I like EuroNews? In addition to the things mentioned above, the news is pretty upbeat compared to CNN and News 24, the news and features show a very un-Anglo-Saxon view that people (politicians / bureaucrats / technocrats) sitting round making decisions and plans is a good thing and can make people's lives better.
Music CD, new issue - again, I think I have bought about one of these this year, which is slightly but not massively below the long term average, Everything Must Go by Steely Dan. Some fine 'post DotCom boom' songs.
Music CD, old - I finally tracked down Barry Andrews (ex of XTC) old stuff, on a CD produced by him called 'And if I Refuse'. Contains 2 version of Rossmore Road and the track I was particularly after since I didn't even have a recording off the radio 'Win A Night Out With A Well Known Paranoiac'.
More later, perhaps, he said archly and ominously