Monday, January 01, 2007

Sweeping The Nation 2006 at a glance

The best posts of the year. But, y'know, read the lot because we've put a lot of effort in every week of 2006 and it all deserves an audience.

January 1st: A list of who various outlets picked for big things in 2006. Most of those named who succeeded were dead on for success at the start of the year anyway, and there's quite a few we've still never come across in more than snatched name (Child Ballads? Pyrelli? Lord God?) Also, we put our own necks on the block, predicting Jarvis' album, the Young Knives' emergence, the Victorian English Gentlemens Club, the North American renaissance and the arrival of Future Of The Left.

January 2nd: The results of the first annual UK blogger albums of the year poll

January 19th: BBC3's The Story Of Common People in precis

January 25th: Not that they really needed it, but we revealed a weak spot for the Arctic Monkeys in the face of bloggers seemingly thinking it was a major social faux pas to admit liking them

February 1st: The decline and fall of Smash Hits is mourned

March 7th: Summary tribute is paid to the late Ivor Cutler

March 28th:
Q name the ten worst albums ever. It's full of smug stupidities, of course. They had Beck's Midnite Vultures in the full top 50!

March 31st: Our first Friendly Chat - a title that took us three days to think up - is with the soon to fulfil all prospects Jeremy Warmsley - who, incidentally, we've yet to see live despite three distinct opportunities to this year, due to family commitments, illness (ours) and illness (his). Much as the story of our gigging year, unfortunately

April 7th: Occasional buyer's guide An Illustrated Guide To... kicks off apropos of nothing with Wire

April 15th: We'd kind of hoped our searing deconstruction of When You Wasn't Famous might become a blogging cause celebre. Instead it became the fulcrum for hundreds of 'who was mike skinner singing about when you wasnt famous' Google hits

April 20th: Apart, oddly, from a Weekender that started a discussion about Captain, our most commented on post this year was the forty greatest opening lines ever

April 22nd: An Illustrated Guide To Billy Bragg, who we saw a couple of weeks later encore with about two thirds of Life's A Riot With Spy Vs Spy

April 22nd again: Just as things were about to break big we landed a Friendly Chat with Fyfe Dangerfield, who we met four months later at Summer Sundae and is not only a nice bloke but remembered our exchange

April 29th: Self indulgence overtook us as we broke down the first year of our existence

May 13th: On the untimely death of Grant McLennan, An Illustrated Guide To The Go-Betweens

May 18th: When in doubt, post some material you'd written two months earlier for someone else - C86 in memoriam

June 1st: Friendly Chatting with producer Gareth Parton, who we later indirectly introduced to one of our favourite new bands of the year. See our Myspace comments for details

June 20th: Our first video jukebox

June 23rd: We'd picked up on multi-handed Michigan outfit Anathallo a couple of months before and had plenty of success introducing them to people, so a Friendly Chat with pianist and flugelhorn player Andrew Dost. Never really took off for them, unfortunately, and promised UK dates haven't happened to date either, but we do recommend Floating World if you like your ambitious, expansive stuff

July 7th: In the midst of blogger frenzy around them Gwenno from the Pipettes took the Friendly Chat challenge. She too later remembered us upon meeting, although this is less notable as it was a day after completion. She's lovely too, mind

July 8th: What did happen to the supposedly inevitable Spice Girls reunion? Ten years to the week on we took a raincheck on the first top 40 they appeared in

July 18th/19th/21st: Ahead of our first Truck Festival we got prepared by Friendly Chatting with organiser P-C Rae and precising every band on the bill, which we're not doing next year as it takes the fun out of it

July 21st: Before setting off we left the reader(s) with another video jukebox. Two of the six have since been deleted, and while the Nirvana Top Of The Pops is still up elsewhere the ¡Forward Russia! single is only now represented in the best way the band should be, live

July 26th: Back from Truck, and and what tales we had to tell

August 3rd: After renewed interest in Life Without Buildings we found out what Sue Tompkins is up to now and, not for the last time, managed to write it in such a confused way that a directly involved party took issue with a meaning we didn't intend

August 12th/14th/15th: Our annual visit to Summer Sundae was the wettest so far, but were we downhearted? Well... it hopefully doesn't come across in our write-ups of Friday, Saturday and Sunday

August 17th: Myspace favourite became Truck favourite became Friendly Chatter Emmy The Great. We're not sure the anti-folksman in the comments box took our rejoiner in the spirit we intended it in

August 25th: And more Chatting - our last to date, not for the want of trying (we're looking daggers at you here, Goodbooks' go-between - even Max was surprised when we told him we hadn't heard anything) Oh yeah, it was a feast of badly worded questions with The Victorian English Gentlemens Club

August 29th: We became keen to find out more about critically acclaimed music-based supernatural comic book Phonogram, and that we already kind of knew the writer was nothing to do with our interest

August 31st: And another holiday filler video jukebox

September 20th: The extraordinary rise and petulant fall of Stiff Records is one of our favourite stories, and they're responsible for some of our favourite music. A BBC4 documentary helped us express ourselves

October 4th: Madness' history in advertising is fully examined

October 6th: Our own take on The Myspace Phenomenon, Web 2.0 and all that - interrogating innocent people who just happened to be in the top eight of nearly famous artists

October 17th: The first of our compilation Covermounts, the Ronettes/Wrecking Crew-cribbing roll of honour Be My Babies. Can't remember if anything in particular inspired it, but it seemed to go down well

October 21st: After too long a gap, Illustrated Guide returned with an Usbourne-like approach to Luke Haines' various projects

October 31st: Covermount 2 followed with indecent haste, just because we wanted to get Reasons To Be Cheerful, the list of list songs, out before...

November 1st-30th: Songs To Learn And Sing! One of the best things we've ever done, and not just because we didn't have to do all that much work towards the text, all the mp3s are still up at the time of writing. Such is the interest, in fact, that we may well do it all again at some point during 2006. Let us know just in case...

December 1st: December can only mean one thing - Christmas is within 24 days. With that in mind, we put together a double seasonal Covermount. We've already started compiling for next year. Yeah, we know.

December 6th/13th/16th: Our usual gutbusting effort to provide maximum information for minimal readership included four more classic Christmas top forties in precis: 1986, 1980, 1978 and 2002.

December 1st-31st: With 2006 drawing to a close we began the slow climb to declaring year-long favouritism with the top 30 albums of 2006 countdown, the top 100 singles of the year (100-67, 66-34, 33-1), the year's best books and DVDs in top ten format and Yearender, a round-up of all that we saw on YouTube, heard on Myspace and, well, both but didn't get to round up in the first two.

December 31st: At 3,700 words or so, our review of the year was actually shorter than last year's. We do apologise, with the caveat that at least we won't have to do all that again for another twelve months.

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