Tag Archives | ReviewOfTheYear

Favourite Tracks from 2018

Here are my 10 favourite new 2018 released tracks that I discovered. There is an Apple Music Playlist to listen to them here.


Ariana and the Rose – Lonely Star.

52 Hz track artwork

Chrysta Bell – 52 Hz.


Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending.

Yonaka – Waves.

Yonaka – Fired Up.

Yonaka – Death By Love.

Manic St. Preachers & The Anchoress – Dylan & Caitlin.

Mackenzie Davis & Carrie Coon – Axemen.

KT Tunstall – Human Being.

Ina Wroldsen – Sea.

Favourite Podcasts from 2018

There are lots of good podcasts available. So many good ones it’s like a renaissance in radio, but for the digital age. Roger Taylor was quite prescient with his lyrics in Radio Gaga by Queen:

So stick around cos we might miss you
When we grow tired of all this visual

Quite. Although to be fair there is an explosion in video content as well with Netflix and others.

Here are the podcasts that I enjoyed the most in 2018:

Favourite Books from 2018

I only read 27 books in 2018 (got through 52 in 2017.) I’ll set a goal of 26 for 2019 and aim to read a book a fortnight. From the 27 I finished here are my favourites. I read all four of the books in the Fractured Europe Sequence but I’ve just listed the two most recent ones in the list below.

2017 Freelance Writing Statistics

I didn’t write as much this year as I did in 2016.

I only wrote 21 new articles in 2017. Compared to 50 in 2016. I edited or rewrote ten pieces in 2017. Compared to 16 in 2016. As a result, my income from writing was 14.9% before tax. It was 18.8% of my pre-tax income in 2016.

The plan is to get back to 2016 levels of output in the forthcoming year. There is a lot to do I hear. Happy days.

Favourite albums from 2017

There was a lot of good music released in 2017. Here are my top five albums or EP’s that I discovered. There is an Apple Music Playlist of my top 10 favourite tracks here.


Yonaka – Heavy.


When I Was Young – MØ.


Truth is a Beautiful Thing – London Grammar.


Plunge – Fever Ray.


At The Rainbow – Hawkwind.

Favourite films from 2017

I continued the One Film Per Week thing I started in 2015 this year. I highly recommend it. From the 52 films I saw in the cinema here are my favorite ten, in no particular order.

Wonder Woman film poster

2nd June – Wonder Woman.
Rating: 10/10.

Ghost in the Shell film poster

31st March – Ghost in the Shell.
Rating: 9/10  – Read my review.

Their Finest film poster

21st April – Their Finest.
Rating: 10/10.  – Read my review.

Baby Driver film poster

4th July – Baby Driver.
Rating: 9/10.

The Big Sick film poster

29th July – The Big Sick.
Rating: 10/10.

A Cure For Wellness film poster

24th February – A Cure For Wellness. Rating: 9/10.

Get Out film poster

18th March – Get Out.
Rating: 9/10.

Mother! film poster

15th September – Mother!.
Rating: 9/10.

Blade Runner 2049 film poster

6th October – Blade Runner 2049.
Rating: 10/10.

Happy Death Day film poster

26th October – Happy Death Day.
Rating: 9/10.

Favourite Books from 2017

I managed to read 52 books in 2017. Over the three formats of paper, iBooks, and audiobook. My favourites, in no particular order, are the six below. It was initially going to be a list of five, but Who Let The Gods Out? snuck onto the list in the final week of the year.

2016 Freelance Writing Statistics

I wrote a post about my freelance writing output in 2015 a year ago. How did the 2016 writing output compare?

I wrote 50 new articles in 2016. As compared to 48 in 2015.

I edited, and rewrote, 16 articles by others. As compared to 24 in 2015.

I haven’t counted the words this year. It’s a meaningless metric. Articles are as long or as short as they need to be to get the ideas and information across.

I didn’t hit the 25% target for income from writing that I wanted to. It delivered 18.8% before Tax. I didn’t do as much writing as I’d hoped for a few months from May to July due to some very early starts. Getting up at 03:30 four days a week turns your brain to mush! Want to hit 25% at least in 2017.

Thanks again to those who asked me to do writing for them. Let’s create all the content in 2017 🙂

Favourite films from 2016

I saw 55 films in the cinema this year. Here are my top 6 from this years selection:

Room film posterRoom – This is not the film you would think it is from the description. It is not a horror film. It is not a explicitly sexual or violent film, although there is some of that. It is about a 5 year old boy, and his mother, discovering the world after she was held captive for 7 years. So the boy has always been a captive. He only knows about Room where they live. Until he turns 5 and his mother starts to tell him about the outside world. I cried, laughed, and at one point my heart rate must have been up about 140 bpm. The performances by Brie Larson as the mother and Jacob Tremblay as the boy are remarkable. I was fully invested in the characters. Hence the heart rate thing. The supporting cast are also good. It was easy to rate this 9/10. Came very close to being a 10. Once again, it’s not the film you think it is.


The Big Short film posterThe Big Short – Can a film make you root for the financial traders and market analysts who foresaw the 2008 housing crash in the USA, and who bet that it would happen in order to short the market and make money? Turns out you can. Bankers don’t rate too well in opinion polls about professions. But at the end of the day they are just people. And if they are interesting people then their story will be interesting. The characters in this film are interesting. I really liked it. It breaks the fourth wall quite a lot and this usually makes me twitchy. But it works in this. I thought Steve Carell’s character and performance was great, although the whole cast is good. Vinnie Daniel politely asking the auditors to leave Mark Baum’s office is brilliant.


Maggie's Plan film posterMaggie’s Plan – If you showed this film to someone without credits and told them it was a Woody Allen film they would believe you. It’s actually a Rebecca Miller film and its better than the film Woody Allen released in 2016. I loved it. Have watched it several times since seeing it in the cinema. As good every time. The whole cast are brilliant. Julianne Moore especially so.




The Neon Demon film PosterThe Neon Demon – What to say about The Neon Demon. It is sharp edged, stylish, colourful, beautifully shot, has a great score, and a set of background songs. It tells the story of a teenager who moves to Los Angeles to pursue a modelling career. She very quickly gets booked by some big photographers and fashion designers. Much to the chagrin of a group of existing models and fashion industry insiders. Who then take some extreme measures. It’s a wonderful film covering ego, jealousy, shallowness of people, and obsession. One of the best films I’ve ever seen.


The Meddler film posterThe Meddler – Another film with a Woody Allen vibe. Which is a lazy description. It’s much more. Susan Sarandon plays a widow who moves from New York to be near her daughter who is a screenwriter in Los Angeles. She can’t help getting involved in her daughters life, and when rebuked, her friends lives. Great script and performances from Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne as the daughter, and J. K. Simmons as a retired cop.




Me Before You film posterMe Before You – There was a lot of negative flak about this film before it was released. People said it promoted the idea of euthanasia for people with disabilities. Turns out the film isn’t pushing that agenda. If anything most arguments in the film are against doing that. I’ve never watched Game of Thrones so hadn’t seen Emilia Clarke in that, but I had liked her in the latest Terminator reboot. I liked Sam Claflin in The Hunger Games. Both are brilliant in this film. Emilia Clarke has one of the most expressive faces I’ve ever seen. Her eyebrows seem to have a life of their own. She is awesome in this. Sam Claflin is also great, and he is only using his head to act as he’s playing a character paralysed from the neck down. This film raises several important issues, and deals with them responsibly. At the same time it is a funny and poignant story in its own right.

Favourite books from 2016

I only managed to get through 16 books in 2016. I had to do some very early starts (03:30 four days a week) in day job for a few months and it turned my brain to mush. That’s all sorted now, so hopefully I’ll get more reading done in 2017. From the books I did read here are my top five. These would have been up there even if I read 50 books this year.

Speak – Louisa Hall. View on iBooksAmazonAudible

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street – Natasha Pulley. View on iBooksAmazonAudible

Join – Steve Toutonghi. View on iBooksAmazonAudible

The Big Picture – Sean Carroll. View on iBooksAmazon

Europe at Midnight – Dave Hutchinson. View on iBooksAmazon

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