Though I’m just as much a sucker as the next guy when it comes to end-of-the-year lists (see below), I would like to engage in a few moments of reflection as a means of taking stock of the past year. After all, Socrates said that “The unexamined life is not worth living” and seeing as he’s one of the most annoying people with whom to argue, it’s probably prudent to do some life-examining from time to time. What better occasion than when one stands on the precipice of an old and new year, remembering what is past and imaging what is to come.
So, Euthyphro, you in?
I remember quite precisely where I was and what I was doing one year ago. It was, to put it mildly, the worst December of my life and I was reeling from the force of some particularly catastrophic news. I hoped, as one often does, that the coming year – 2012 – would be a pathway to relief; to respite. On the contrary, the year proved to be the basin in which hope dripped, droplet by droplet, through my fingers and into some darkened repository. Yet empty-handed and faced with my own lack, there came – much to my surprise – a quiet, parallel, renaissance. Now, a year later, I see that what I once thought was a wall was in fact a window, and that what I thought would be my undoing has made me more whole. And I have found something greater than relief.
There were many of these traversals in 2012 for me. Despite being in a plethora of bands over the years, I finally released my very own album (http://lunchtime.bandcamp.com). I said goodbye to my twenties and officially became a thirty year old. I moved from Hong Kong to Winnipeg after three years of being away. And my grandfather, whom I have spoken of on occasion (“The Year My Grandfather Got Cancer” and “A Camera is Worth a Thousand Words“), passed from this life onto another.
So much happens as our planet circuits the sun. So much in our little lives and in our little planet, really.
As I think about the year to come, there is a palpable expectation, anticipation, hope. Somehow these sentiments – though familiar – feel more rooted this time, more aware, as if I have arrived at the shore of one island in the archipelago, and can only now see the next. Whatever the reason, it has never felt more genuine to believe that the best is yet to come. And I’m thankful that for all its perplexing, bruising, and even shattering, 2012 has brought me here. The clarity is stunning; as Howard Carter said in 1922 upon first gazing into King Tutankhamen’s tomb, “I can see wonderful things.”
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Best Films (That I Watched for the First Time in) 2012
Film Title | Director | Date of Release | Country
01. The Master | Paul Thomas Anderson | 2012 | USA
02. The Artist | Michel Hazanavicius | 2011 | FRANCE
03. A Separation | Asghar Farhadi | 2011 | IRAN
04. Life of Pi | Ang Lee | 2012 | USA
05. Being Flynn | Paul Weitz | 2012 | USA
06. The Dark Knight Rises | Christopher Nolan | 2012 | USA
07. Lorna’s Silence | Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne | 2008 | BELGIUM
08. Moonrise Kingdom | Wes Anderson | 2012 | USA
09. Looper | Rian Johnson | 2012 | USA
10. Chicken with Plums | Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi | 2011 | FRANCE
* I am highly disappointed not to have seen Amour (Dir. Michael Haneke), Rust and Bone (Dir. Jacques Audiard), Beyond the Hills (Dir. Cristian Mungiu), The Angels’ Share (Dir. by Ken Loach), and This is Not a Film (Dir. Mojtaba Mirtahmasb & Jafar Panahi) this year as I’m quite certain they would’ve featured quite high in the list *
Best Albums (That I Bought in Non-Digital Format in) 2012
Artist | Album Title | Date of Release | Record Label
01. Bat for Lashes | The Haunted Man | 2012 | PARLOPHONE
02. Beach House | Bloom | 2012 | SUB POP
03. Twin Shadow | Confess | 2012 | 4AD
04. Wild Nothing | Nocturne | 2012 | CAPTURED TRACKS
05. Jessie Ware | Devotion | 2012 | UNIVERSAL ISLAND
06. Grizzly Bear | Shields | 2012 | WARP
07. Propagandhi | Failed States | 2012 | EPITAPH
08. King Creosote and Jon Hopkins | Diamond Mine | 2011 | DOMINO
09. Jay Z and Kanye West | Watch the Throne | 2011 | ROC-A-FELLA
10. Neil Young | Harvest Moon | 1992 | REPRISE
* I have kicked myself every time I have not walked out of a record store with Frank Ocean’s debut “Channel Orange” in hand. I have heard various samples of the album and it most certainly deserves all the acclaim it has received – but I don’t feel it’s in good taste to include it here as I have neither listened to it in full nor purchased it. Next year *