Best Book: ‘Flash Boys’ – Michael Lewis. The opening chapters about fiber optic cable were not all that compelling, but after that the ‘us against them’ story had me hooked. Sergey Aleynikov, the Russian computer programmer with his remarkably zen attitude to shit going down, was my personal ‘hero’ in the book.
Album: ‘Lost In The Dream’ – The War On Drugs. In his book ‘Retromania’,
Simon Reynolds talked about ‘hypnagogic pop’ – music with eighties sounds that
referred back to the music that today’s musicians listened to when they were
toddlers falling asleep. The War On Drugs’ wonderful third album is kind of
like that; it’s like the music I listened to as I drifted to sleep in the back
of my parents car: Springsteen, Don Henley, etc. A ‘cool’ album built from ‘uncool’
Song: ‘Come To’ – Bombay Bicycle Club. I wonder if anyone else will pick
this as song of the year; I had to check if it was even a single (it was
actually the fourth from the album). Bombay Bicycle Club’s latest album was
their best yet, mixing in Indian influences without seeming forced, and ‘Come
To’ for me was pure bliss to listen to. ‘Bamboo’ by Deers is a close second.
TV Show: ‘The Walking Dead’. If you had asked me which would be
my favourite show at the start of the year I would have said ‘Game of Thrones’
or ‘Mad Men’, and would have put long odds on ‘The Walking Dead’, which I
barely paid attention to as I was watching the third season. But the fourth
season was fantastic, as the series cut out the padding, and almost every
episode felt distinct from the others.
Film: 12 Years A Slave. Absolutely devastating movie, and a worthy Best
Picture winner at the Oscars. ‘Boyhood’ was really good as well.
Comic: ‘Saga’ – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. For the third
year running this gets my nod even if it was not quite at the same level as it
was in its first two years. Very close was Bryan Lee O’Malley’s ‘Seconds’,
which will appeal to fans of his wildly successful ‘Scott Pilgrim’ series.
Sporting Event: The
football World Cup – particularly the group stages. I have only watched a
few World Cups, but this was the definitely the best one I had seen, and kept
me bleary-eyed and addicted to coffee for several weeks.
Sportsperson: James Rodriguez. Yes, Lionel Messi was named the
player of the World Cup, and he is still the best footballer in the world. But Colombia’s
James Rodriguez was every bit as good in the World Cup, and he provided the
tournament’s finest moment against Uruguay.
Website: Fivethirtyeight. It’s a group of
writers using advanced but intuitive analytics to answer questions about sports
and economics (and other stuff as well). It’s like it was designed for me! …
well, me and thousands of other nerds …
Worst Cars To Have Sex In. Possibly I love this post more than I
Beer: Bacchus Sex, Drugs & Rocky
rocky road flavoured beer. I had a really good peppercorn steak-flavoured beer
that day as well.
Best Twitter Feed: Tim Harford. The Undercover Economist author always seems to receive links to
something interesting. Bastard.