This year I turned down commissions from the TLS, the London Review of Books and the Observer, and decided instead to treat my publics to a free retrospective of 2012 culture here on my blog.

P.s This review is slightly limited by the fact that I don’t really get out much.

Films

Going out:
Madagascar 3 (2012): can’t remember, too busy eating sweets and telling my boys to ssshhhhh.
Skyfall (2012): Bang bang chase around bang bang the end. Meh.
My year has also been spent avoiding star wars in all its forms which is hard going with two boys obsessed with the films, the games, the lightsabres and the Lego versions of everything.

Staying in:
Insidious (2010): scary good
Idiocracy (2006): sci-fi clever good, not sure why I’d never heard of it
Little Fockers (2010) because Owen Wilson being smug in lycra is always good.

A special mention here for the frankly underhand strategy of lovefilm of harassing for a subscription like a menacing stalker, treating a short flirtation with a trial period as if I had given my hand in marriage, and sending tear-stained please-come-back messages every month. Just. Get. Lost.

TV

Downton combined with the series about Servants (read more) have been very satisfying. And Maggie Smith does have some great dry lines “parenting is hard enough, even when you like each other!”.
(P.s talking of period dramas, I made the mistake of watching Call the Midwife on xmas day: what’s with all the flour on everything?)
Horrible Histories, brilliant brilliant.
But my absolute highlight is True Blood. For the sexy vampires, for the gratituously naked chested men, for the music, for the pace, and for the dialogue. When Sookie swears with such perfect timing, when Tara warns someone the gore-splattered floor is “slippy”, when Jason is wide eyed stupid, it is just wonderful.

Books

50 Shades of Grey trilogy. I think I read some other stuff too, not sure. They’re blanked out by the image of Christian in those jeans. I used to read proper books you know.

Music

Staying in:
Adele is pretty good. who knew? (Apart from the general public who kept buying her music thus signalling to my cultural snobbery that she mustn’t be that good. Well I was wrong. Lesson learnt).
The XX coexist, ethereal loveliness but less sexy than their first album.
Finding Joanna Newsome’s recording of Ca the Yowes on youtube. Hauntingly odd.
Randy Crawford’s greatest hits. I know, I surprise myself. But as I am loyal to both Dolly Parton and Stevie Wonder, one more cheesy icon won’t hurt.
Current karaoke favourites for solo car journeys: “get here”, “close to you”, “you’ve got a friend”.

Going out:
I did actually go to a gig thanks to my friend Emma. Rufus Wainwright at Birmingham Symphony Hall was fantastic, complete with Adam Cohen leading a singalong to his father’s So Long Marianne. The encore was amazingly operatic too.
My music highlight of the year was the Warwick Folk Festival Scratch Choir: seven rehearsals, two performances, I got a solo, but most of all being exposed to music I wouldn’t otherwise of heard. Thank you to the choir leader Bruce Knight 🙂

Theatre

Room on a broom, tiger who came to tea, we’re going on a bear hunt. Can you see a theme emerging?
(I live 20 minutes from the RSC in Stratford upon Avon and am a little ashamed of myself)

Food

Eating in
On my second coffee machine of the year. Big story is I have cut out sugar from tea and coffee, just to prove to that bitch dentist that I am not “a nibbler”.
I have so mastered risotto, which makes me a proper grown up.
Too many meal deals and accompanying overly sulphuric wine.
Also on the cheats list: Paw paw warwick and spice hut warwick have both kept chez Dumbleton-Thomas supplied with what-the-hell-its-a-school-night-but-why-not.
Hendricks gin and fevertree tonic (I blame Suzanne Hardy for recommending that combination).

Eating out
7 course tasting menu with wine flight at the Manor Hotel, Moreton on the Marsh, an anniversary treat with my husband.
And a new favourite is my mum’s new local, the Urban Reef in Boscombe near Bournemouth

Fashion

Going up: other people buying me jewellery because left to my own devices I only buy reduced crap from Claire’s accessories and that is not the route to elegant chic.
Going down: generally my coloured tights that require vigilance and frequent re-hitching which I am rather indiscrete about.
The whole 1980s revival makes me feel jaded. Lets face it, the Sweater Shop was a low point in history not to be repeated. Unfortunately I seem to be alone on that matter.

Looking ahead

I would make predictions for 2013 but you’d laugh at me.

Happy New Year!

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