Monday, 18 January 2010

The Noughties A-NZ

Better late that never, I suppose: here’s my interview with Radio New Zealand from the end of last month/year.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Feeling good

At the Feeling Listless blog, coverage of the Noughties book (fair point about the Rage vs Joe confrontation) and the History of Now TV show (which included fleeting appearances by your humble author in two out the three shows).

Friday, 1 January 2010

Back so soon?

Said I might reappear. You can now read the full text of the Prospect piece, plus some YouTubey bells and whistles, even if you’re not a subscriber.

Thursday, 31 December 2009

Walkie talkie

A few months before the Noughties began, I was walking down Las Ramblas in Barcelona with my then boss, and he started talking and chuckling to himself, then shouting in French. I really thought he’d gone mad, until I realised he had one of those new-fangled hands-free, in-ear phone thingies; the first time I’d ever seen one. (Or not seen one, which is part of their appeal, I suppose.)

Then, 10 years on, a few months before the Noughties ended, I was in Marks & Spencer in Croydon when I saw a man coming down the escalator, talking to himself. I presumed he had one of those by-now-tediously-ubiquitous hands-free, in-ear phone thingies; and then I realised, no, he was just mad.

That, I think, goes part of the way to summing up the decade. Not my journey from Barcelona to Croydon (there’s another tale entirely) but the extent to which things that so recently were startling, almost uncanny, have so quickly become ordinary, unremarkable. And how often we forget the people who get lost down the cracks that those changes leave behind.

And as the Noughties finally trundles towards oblivion, it would seem a good time to bid farewell, although I may pop up with a few relevant nuggets in the coming months; for one thing I’ll almost certainly be nagging you to watch BBC2’s History of Now, which begins next week. If you’ve purchased my book, thank you, and if you’ve read it, even better. Why not tell us what you thought of it, either here, or at Amazon, Waterstone’s, Book Depository or the like? If you haven’t yet done so, from tomorrow you’ll have the perfect perspective from which to tell me how utterly wrong I really was about the decade, since it will finally have made the transition from Current Affairs to History. I always intended the book not to be a definitive statement, but the opening salvo in a debate, an argument, a conversation.

Over to you.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Hair today

Forget all those best book, best film, best album polls: Glastonbury supremo Michael Eavis has seen off Fidel Castro and Monty Panesar to be named as Beard of the Noughties.

Also: a joint review of The Noughties and my Leonard Cohen tome in the Bangkok Post; and I’ll be popping up on Radio New Zealand some time tomorrow to chat about CCTV, Donald Rumsfeld, China and stuff. Hope to post details, links shortly.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Nearly done

Well, my rant against small children on TV talent shows didn’t make it to the final cut of The Greatest TV Shows of the Noughties (tonight at 9pm on Channel 4) but feel free to watch it anyway. And those of you in Scotland might like to read the retrospective I’ve penned for The Sunday Post, home of course of the magnificent Oor Wullie. Or you might not.

And in the Observer, David Mitchell coins a neat phrase for the SuBo/Jedward/John Sergeant phenomenon: “mediocrity chic”. While the Times looks ahead to 50 trends for the Teenies. Parasitic shoes. Cool.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Noughties Noel

Hoping the last Christmas of the Noughties is good for you all. See you on the other side.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Nothing is real

AA Gill in the Sunday Times defines the Noughties as the age of the amateur:
“Reality” grew to mean a particular type of closely choreographed and edited ultra-reality — a hyperventilating, tearful, exhibitionist spectacle initially hailed as the democratisation of television. Or, alternatively, as the lunatics taking over the asylum.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Making up the deficit

Had completely overlooked these kind words from the big cheese of book blogging, Scott Pack, who suggests that The Noughties “might make a good gift for an older teenager who might not have been paying attention when the decade started or for anyone interested in contemporary cultural history.”


Perhaps we should just call the decade unnerving or unsettling or even unhinged.
—The BBC’s Matt Frei puts the Noughties to bed.