For the second year in a row, I haven’t made it to an exhibition. There’s a ready-made New Year’s Resolution.
Two Three cinema trips this year. The Martian was far funnier than most comedies, and despite the ludicrous set-up I was rooting for Matt Damon right the way through.
I also saw Spectre. I’ve missed most of the recent Bond films, but given that they’re not really about the plot I didn’t have any trouble following events. Come to think of it, I bet Bond could survive on Mars on his own without all the fuss it seemed to cause Matt Damon.
Technically last year but too late to make my review was Exodus: Gods and Kings. The less said the better.
Amazingly, I forgot my cinematic highlight of the year. Pitch Perfect 2 might not have reached the dizzying heights of the first film, but those were some heights. What a film. The real wonder is how this escaped my memory given the otherwise mediocre material I had to draw on. I take it all back. 2015 was an excellent year for cinema.
The second run of Inside No. 9 was very good, although it naturally felt less significant than the first because it’d been done before.
London Spy was artistically beautiful, showing off some very familiar parts of London in a way that few TV programmes manage. The story itself had nothing to reward the loyalty of five spent hours, but I admire the brave decision to pace a TV drama entirely through monologues and awkwardly long silences. That could really work on a story worth telling. And the pictures were brilliant.
Doctor Who was more daring than it has been in recent times, and that really paid off. Capaldi is a classic.
New albums from One Direction, Justin Bieber and the Vamps. Surely a high water mark for western music.
I enjoyed hearing Lang Lang play Rachmaninoff and watching him make eyes with the people on the front row.
Sundays have been busier recently, but I’ve managed to catch up on Formula 1 highlights. There’s been some real gold this season. One benefit of not watching all the build-up every time is that you focus on the racing rather than the commentary. The racing is much more interesting.
Channel 4 have taken over the BBC’s contract for free-to-air broadcast, so we’ll see how much I’m able to follow in the new year.
At long last, I worked through Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. It’s remarkably readable, and the sort of book that I know I’ll want to come back to every so often to discover more of the deeply-drawn characters.
I re-read Generation X in the summer. I was quitting my job in marketing to go and work for a church, so it seemed somehow appropriate. It’s brilliant.
I’m very late to the game with this, but Bill Bryson’s Short History of Nearly Everything is probably the most memorable non-fiction book I’ve read this year. I’ve been more focused on Christian literature this year, but this was a very secular reminder that the world is far bigger than I normally imagine it to be.
Of the Christian books I’ve read this year, the most lasting impression has been that left by God’s Unfaithful Wife by Raymond C Ortlund Jr. It’s a biblical-theological study of the theme of spiritual adultery and it makes for pretty powerful reading. It’s academic in style but pastoral in purpose, and is a vital contribution to a neglected area of Christian teaching.