Review 2005

Neil Perryman

2005 - the year I finally came out of the closet.

After spending many lonely years hiding my feelings and lurking on the fringes of the "underground" scene, I can now finally hold my head up high and declare to my friends, my family, and my colleagues at work that YES!, I *am* a 'Doctor Who' fan!

Then again, who isn't these days?

In 2005 you couldn't move for Daleks, TARDISes, and Christopher Eccleston's ears. These days, when I buy the monthly 'Doctor Who' magazine from WH Smiths I don't have to hide it inside a copy of FHM, and I still can't get over the fact that many of my lunch times this year were spent filling in newcomers on the subtle complexities of Gallifreyan history or the finer details of the Doctor's regenerative cycle.

I'm still pinching myself. Did it really come back in such a triumphant blaze of glory? Seriously, did it really happen or am I lying in a coma and simply imagining it? I suppose it's a bit like faithfully supporting a Conference League Football Team for years and years and years, and then they suddenly win the FA Cup *and* The Champions League.

Anyway, besides the return of my favourite Time Lord, 2005 was a fairly eventful year for me: construction work finally started on our severely delayed barn conversion; I started work on my PhD; I started a couple of blogs; I saw my first short story in print; I saw Edgar Froese play wah-wah guitar; I played in my first real life poker tournament (and won!); I saw the 'One-Man Star Wars Trilogy' in New York; I made some new friends and I managed to re-establish ties with some old ones, but when I try to pin-point a moment that really sums up the year for me, I am drawn to Friday October 7th at approximately 6:25pm. On the A19, just outside Stockton.

I'm on my way to see 'Serenity' for a second time, which is reason enough to remember the date, I suppose, but what really marks the moment out for me is the fact that my daughter is the one driving the car.

She had passed her driving test the day before and we'd somehow managed to scrape enough money together to buy her a second-hand VW Polo (I think we had to sack some of the builders). Now, I can't drive (I've never really seen the attraction, although living 25 miles out in the middle of nowhere is beginning to challenge that long-held position), and this was the very first time that I had been in the car with her. And it felt... weird. As a father I was supposed to be responsible for her, but when she disengaged the hand-brake to that car I suddenly felt the ground shift beneath me. I had a flash-forward to the moment where she finally drops me outside the Old People's Home and I knew in that single moment that things have changed forever.

As she took the roundabout to the cinema with a self-assurance that masked her limited experience, it hit me - she was all grown-up. It was a profound moment for me - a mixture of pride, terror (where did all the years go?) and the growing realisation that 2005 would be the last full year we would spend together as a family; this time next year she'll be living it up at a university somewhere and we'll probably only see her at Christmas time or when the loan money runs out. It really knocked me for six, I can tell you; this was compounded a few moments later when she asked me to explain 'Firefly's back-story to her, and if you know my daughter then you'll appreciate just how surreal a moment *that* was!

Finally, as it's Christmas, I can't really end this without a list. I love lists, me. I could watch Channel 4's 'Top 100 Christmas Moments' on an endless loop until the end of time (as long as you cut out all the Jimmy Carr links, of course). And so, without any further ado, here are my picks of the cultural year:

TV Drama of 05: Part of me wants to be controversial and say 'Bodies' (I programme I really do watch behind the sofa) but 'Doctor Who' wins simply because it reinvented television for the 21st century, and you can't say fairer than that.

TV Comedy of 05: Not exactly a golden year for comedy. Sandwiched between the thoroughly predictable 'Catherine Tate' and 'Little Britain', and a terrible second series of 'Don't Watch That', 'Extras' surprised me by being just as good (if not better) than 'The Office'. But the clear winner has to be 'The Thick Of It' for its semi-improvisational realism and Peter Capaldi's surreal Scottish sarcasm.

Reality TV of 05: While I enjoyed the rackety philosophical experiment that was 'Space Cadets', the Americans still produce the best reality shows bar none. Best of the bunch has to be 'The Apprentice' with Donald Trump. This season's finale also featured one of the most gob-smacking moments of year when the winner, Randall, refused to let Trump hire the second-place contestant as well - the jerk!

TV Moment of 05: A tie between Pink Floyd at Live 8 and a certain cricket match being rained off.

Music of 05: Coldplay's 'Talk' went from being annoying as hell to really quite wonderful the moment I finally worked out that the melody was sampled from Kraftwerk's 'Computer Love', and while Depeche Mode's return to form was welcomed with open arms, the album of the year has to be Kate Bush's 'Ariel'. A work of such unparalleled genius it even managed to make Rolf Harris sound good.
Film of 05: 'Serenity' was everything I wanted it to be and more. Except, sadly, the runaway hit it deserved to be.

Neil Perryman writes Behind The Sofa Again

For an introduction and list of contributors to Review 2005, follow this link.

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