Friday, June 26

The 10 Greatest Things From The First 10 Years Of The 21st Century

The close of this year not only marks the cessation of another annum, but also the end of the first decade of the 21st century. Now, it's pretty arduous to brief up 9/11, reality TV and the rise of the internet in half a sentence. So what I've done is sift out what I deem are the best records, the best TV shows, the best movies, the best brands, the best things, the best people - essentially telling why pop culture has been rather majestic this past tensome or so...

10. Big Brother - Find one human being in the UK that hasn't seen Big Brother. Unconditionally treasure it or abhor it with your every power - it's impact on our culture, our technology, our media, is inimitable. Really, this is a point for the mount of 'reality' TV in general, but BB has made by far the biggest significance, and in my book, some dazzling entertainment and actual 7-million-people-voting-for-gay-winner-type significance.

9. Death Cab For Cutie ‘Transatlanticism’ - I'm not certain Death Cab For Cutie will ever make a better record than this. Wallowing in the screaming sun on Santa Monica beach or ducking down amid Hamas rockets in the Mid East, this album's every sweet soar of inspiration, staggering keys-coated rapture and devilishly heart-rending lines will forever make me feel all warm inside.

8. Bloc Party ‘Silent Alarm’ - How can you tell when an album is great? You go back and listen to it some years after its release, and if it still sends those same ol' blissful shivers through your spine, then it's great. Such goes for this - Bloc Party's debut. They've arguably bettered themselves with 'Intimacy', but the callowness and vivacity swamped within 'Silent Alarm' means more to me than any other.

7. Original Penguin - Sometimes when I see a fellow human lolling around, just so completely unconcerned by society and its trendy, sticklerist conventions, sporting somin' no-one would ever deem happening, I sorta... respect them. Like they're brave or something. But then I think, 'Wait, how can they not care?' I mean, if you've figured yourself out and whatever, then you know what works. You're proud to show yourself off and your garb says everything. 'S'all about relation, hence my lust for Original Penguin.

6. Little Miss Sunshine - There's been some killer pictures out this past decade, most of which were directed by the legendary pissed-off Clint Eastwood, but this has got to be my dearest. 'Everyone pretend to be normal' struts its tagline, flapping disfunction right in the mug of downtrodden suppression. And I usually hate to watch people sing and dance - which FYI made up the dramedy's most prolific scene - yet I was more than happy to demur at myself for it. Seen it? Great. Love it? Even greater. Hated it? That much better. Or just go fuck yourself.

5. The Office - See, growing up on Saved By The Bell followed by Sister Sister then Home Improvement proceeding Friends etcetera, I sort of developed a real hatred for British telly. Partially because we call it 'telly' but chiefly cause it sucks. Obviously I made an exception for Only Fools, but that was about it. Then came Ricky. And don't get me wrong, I was well disappointed with Extras. But The Office? It really is the best thing this country has ever, ever, ever produced - barring what else is to come on this list and is from Britain. It's so real, so funny, so perfect it hurts.

4. Sacha Baron Cohen - I don't love Ali G, Borat and Bruno because they're funny. Which they are. In fact, they're very funny. Three of the funniest characters known to mythical man. But I love them, well, Cohen, because he's the most important comedian out there. In case you didn't get the drift, the whole point is to shed light on the absurdity of homophobia, racism and gosh-darn ignorance. He is a genius. So there.

3. The Internet - I vaguely remember life without it. Or at least getting excited by the prospect of going to my dad's work because he had it there, as I printed off the homepages of countless Friends fansites just because I could. But now? Now I get pissed off at the fact that my street isn't wireless. Or aeroplanes, for that matter. Ooo, can I bung the iPod in this number and all? Course I can. It's my blog.

2. Home Box Office - Reiterating my embarrassment for 99.9% of British TV, HBO is mine and every other perspicacious spirit's shining light. The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Six Feet Under, Entourage, The Wire, Da Ali G Show, True Blood, Little Britain USA, Flight Of The Conchords, The Comeback and Big Love. Case and point.

1. Coldplay ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’ - Well, here we are. This is it. Number one. The champion. The best. The most greatest thing that I think has occurred in the last ten years. I could easily and quite self-centredly spend the next few hundred words pounding on about why, but nothing I say will do it justice. Well, I will say this though. It was the first record I ever truly fell in love with. It was the first record that brought me in to the whimsical abundance of good music. It was the first record that made me happy. Every living soul has an all-time favourite, and though I've got the rest of my life to find another, I just don't see it changing.