james debate
james debate

Saturday 27 December 2008

Well it's that time of year again. The holiday season is upon us, with Christmas eve parties, Christmas parties, boxing day parties, and also parties in between. This is a wonderful time, as it is only under the influence of alcohol that people feel compelled to tell me how much they enjoy reading this website, and in particular last year's Debbie awards were a big big hit.

I have now completed the foundation portion of my BSc and so far so good. If current grades are anything to go by I should be heading for an upper second or possibly even first class degree, which would just be phenomenal. If I manage that then I am automatically qualified for a post degree PhD should I want to, and I'll probably write a book or something.

That's in addition to my novel I'm still writing. Done about 100 pages so far but hit a snag recently, just not so inspired at the moment, too busy actually having a life and doing things, which is clearly a shame.

In a few short days I will be off to Paris for another kick ass New Year's celebration like last year's, so before then I felt it would be appropriate to once again sum up all the highs and lows of the past year bText Coloury announcing the winners of the 2008 Debbies.

On top of this I will also look ahead to the coming year at the films, bands and events that you should all keep an eye on, and look back at last year's predictions to see how close I was (it looks like I was spot on with pretty much all of them).

So without further ado, here are the 2008 Debbie Awards:

1. The Debbie for Best Videogames Console
Winner: the Nintendo Wii

Runner up: Xbox 360

nintendo wiiWell no prizes for predicting this one. Many were wondering if the Wii could maintain it's complete domination of the home videogame market once the novelty had worn off. To say that it has done would be an understatement. The Wii sold more units than Xbox 360 and PS3 put together, and the Wii + DS together sold almost twice as many as Xbox 360, PS3, PS2 and PSP all put together. Life is good for a Nintendo share holder.

Meanwhile the Xbox360 gets the runner up prize. Even though Microsoft are ignorant and useless scumbags who can't do shit right, their console happens to have a lot of good games available. The PS3 right now is completely without redemption.

2. The Debbie for Best Videogame
Winner: Grand Theft Auto IV

Runners up: Super Smash Bros Brawl, Spore

grand theft auto iv 4The most universally acclaimed videogame since Zelda, Grand Theft Auto IV has broken numerous industry records and shown even the stingiest of doubters that videogames can provide as rich and deep a medium for story telling as cinema. The rest of the competition was simply blown away this year.

Super Smash Bros on the other hand was the exact opposite, a celebration of everything arcadey and pure about videogames, whilst simultaneously embracing the heritage of the last 30 years of gaming. The multiplayer experience is second to none.

Meanwhile Spore attempted to go in a different direction, videogame as a vehicle for self expression and creativity, and if not for a myriad of technical problems it could well have pushed GTA4 for this year's Debbie.

3. The Debbie for Best Party of the Year
Winner: International Man of Mystery House Party

Runners up: Josh's Summer Party, Cardiac Arrest at Diva Beach

house party sixtiesThis party, coincidentally around the time of my birthday, was really quite ridiculous. It didn't have the physical damaging out of control nature of the end of term party or the err added benefits of the first xmas party, but it kicked ass.

4. The Debbie for Douchebag the Year
Winner: Guy who tried to steal my money on eBay

Runners up: My Driving Instructor, Phil Dowd

Don't ever try and steal money from me, especially if it's a lot. Let's just say vengeance is sweet.

Meanwhile my driving instructor was just not suited for teaching adults, and Phil Dowd is the childish clown who reffed the Chelsea game the other day and booked any Chelsea player who talked to him, even for legitimate reasons such as "Can you check if the wall is 10 yards back?"

5. The Debbie for Good Guy 2008
Winner: Jeremy Debate

Runners up: Ben Fitzgerald, Alex Roberts

Don't get me wrong, a lot of my friends could have made this list but some dudes are a few particularly good solid people that I can really respect, and that's not something that happens too often. So here's a pint for you dudes.

6. The Debbie for Good Girl 2008
Winner: Sophie

Runners up: Clio, Louise, Jenny

Sophie's a standup gal, and it's good to stay friends with someone after dating a few months. The runner ups here deserve a mention too, some of whom i've known for ages, other's i've only just met. Clio deserves kudos for putting up with me as flat mate for an entire year.

6. The Debbie for Best Restaurant 2008
Winner: Gallopapa

Runner up: Caprice

Gallopapa is, in my opinion, the best restaurant in the world, located in the picturesque tunnels under the quaint Tuscan village of Castellina. The chef is a genius, he can take any ingredients in the world and create something that sounds awful but looks and tastes absolutely divine. So much so that I was even moved to hug him after my last meal there, well done sir!

7. The Debbie for Best Theatre Production 2008
Winner: Ivanov

Runners up: August: Osage County

kenneth branagh in ivanov anton chekhov donmarOne of the all time great playwrights, Anton Chekhov, combined with one of the great actors of his generation Kenneth Branagh, and the Donmar theatre company. It was never going to miss, and it hasn't, it's as good as anything you will ever see on the stage.

Meanwhile I went to see August: Osage County at the National, pretty much just to see Gary Cole (Office Space, Dodgeball, Entourage) for a laugh, and was treated to one of the best written plays i'd seen in a long while. Witty, cutting and multi-layered, it was a smash hit, and despite being more than 3 hours long, the time just flew by.

8. The Debbie for Best Album 2008
Winner: Day & Age - The Killers

Runner up: Feed the Animals - Girl Talk

the killers day and ageWell no surprise here if you read my review of this album. It was truly fantastic, one of the most consistently good albums i've heard in many years and with some truly great songs on it like This is Your Life and A Dustland Fairytale. A latecomer in the running for this award but certainly deserved.

Meanwhile Girl Talk's infectious and brilliant mash up album gets the runner up prize and narrowly beat Coldplay's Viva La Vida and the Last Shadow Puppets' The Age of Understatement.

9. The Debbie for Best Debut Album 2008
Winner: The Age of Understatement - The Last Shadow Puppets

Runner up: Oracular Spectacular - MGMT

the age of understatement last shadow puppetsA side project of the frontman from the Arctic Monkeys, who I never was that crazy about to be honest. I certainly didn't expect this side project to be so good, mixing the best elements of smarmy British rock and oldies from the sixties creating a sound the likes of which you won't have heard in a long long time, and it's damn good. Make sure to check out Standing Next to Me and My Mistakes Were Made for You, brilliant.

MGMT came close to snagging the prize with their synth heavy electro-rock album Oracular Spectacular. This album is a real experience and really almost tempted me to award them the Debbie.

10. The Debbie for Best Song 2008
Winner: Time to Pretend - MGMT

Runners up: Death and All His Friends - Coldplay, Sing the Changes - The Fireman, This is Your Life - The Killers

time to pretend mgmtComing from the excellent debut album Oracular Spectacular is Time to Pretend, the first single released from the album, and what a song it is. One of those songs that combines a stunning fresh sound with meaningful and highly evocative lyrics about youthful excess and coming to terms with growing old, the must hear song of the year, just try not to look directly at the video, it's a little TOO trippy unless you're stoned.

Coldplay's fantastic Death and all His Friends came close too, being one of the finest few minutes of music Coldplay have ever produced. Also in the running was Sing the Changes, a song that reminds us of the ever lasting genius of Paul McCartney, even after a staggering 40 years. And of course, the best song from the new Killers album This is Your Life (linked earlier ^)

11. The Debbie for Best Television Show
Winner: House

Runners up: Lost, Ashes to Ashes

house tv showIn a year where most tv shows seemed to be of a lower quality than last year (Fringe, Heroes and the Simpsons were not great, and Pushing Daisies never lived up to its promise) House remains one of the most consistently excellent tv shows. it deserves the Debbie this year.

Lost almost took the award, being awesome, and one can't help but be even more impressed with Lost seeing now how all the imitator shows (heroes, fringe) have become so poor by comparison, standing as a testament to the quality of the show and its writers. Ashes to Ashes meanwhile was a bit of a disappointment, despite being a smash hit, as I predicted last year, but then Life on Mars was always going to be a tough act to follow.

12. The Debbie for Best Film
Winner: The Dark Knight

Runners up: Frost/Nixon, Cloverfield

the dark knightWell duh, this movie is probably high on everyone's list for movie of the year, and deservedly so. The Dark Knight stands tall as a great crime movie, even without the Batman elements, but for a comic book franchise to give way to such an excellent piece of cinema is unprecedented and truly memorable.

Frost Nixon, meanwhile, is an adaption of the play by the same name, telling the story of the David Frost interviews of ex-President Richard Nixon. I will post a full review soon, maybe today maybe not, but it is truly excellent. Cloverfield, another hotly tipped item on my list last year was another massive hit and was a real experience in the cinema, absolutely unforgettable.

13. The Debbie for "That Defining 2008 Moment"
Winner: Barack Obama Wins the Presidential Election

No contest. Rarely is there a moment where people all over the world are so joined in a moment of pure joy and celebration. People singing and dancing in the streets of New York at 1AM, and simultaneously in London at 6AM.

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