So as I did last year, I’m going to take a look at what sort of non-food things I consumed throughout the previous year. That is, books, music, films, games and stuff. As before, I’m also uncertain whether this will be of any interest to anyone other than nerdy ole me, but I hope you will enjoy, particularly if data recording is a bit of a thing for you. Because, as you certainly should have gleaned from sticking around here, it is for me.
(I have been told this is all a bit Patrick Bateman. I disagree: I save my discussions of the work of Phil Collins for facetime.)
A caveat before we begin: the figures probably won’t reach the stratospheric heights of last year as it’s been a bit of a rough year for me: I haven’t had as much time to spend on pastimes (or been in the right headspace to enjoy ’em) as I previously would, so my consumption of some stuff is way down. Still, consider this my cultural annual report.
I still record a lot of my music using the last.fm service. Unlike last year, though, I won’t be able to give you as many distractions of a visual nature, as the service updated their website (in a spectacularly bad fashion) and this has broken almost all of the tools I used to create some kind of musical eye-candy for you last year.
I was particularly disappointed that the site chose to pull the feeds used for analysis, as 2015 marked my tenth year of using the site, and I would’ve liked to have seen what ten years of musical data (more or less) looked like. But nope, sorry.
As of writing, I’m sitting at something like 145,000 songs recorded on the site. With the help of this site, here are some of the more interesting things I’ve calculated:
- I listened to 1195 artists in the last year, 21 per cent of the artists I’ve listened to overall.
- I listened to tracks from 1777 unique albums, or 19 per cent of the unique albums I’ve listened to overall.
- I listened to 12,935 tracks over the past year.
- 82 per cent of the music I listen to overall comes from artists outside my top 25 artists list.
- 92 per cent of the albums I’ve played overall come from outside my top 50 albums list.
2015’s top 20 albums by tracks played: The Walker Brothers: My Ship Is Coming In: The Collection, Kirin J. Callinan: Embracism, Gareth Liddiard: Strange Tourist, Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti, Down: NOLA, Nirvana: Nevermind (Deluxe Edition), Depeche Mode: Violator, Leonard Cohen: Popular Problems, Arvo Pärt: Arvo Pärt: Fratres, The Hives: Veni Vidi Vicious, Elena Kats-Chernin: Blue Silence: Complete Works For String Quartet, The Smiths: The World Won’t Listen, Guitar Wolf: Golden Black, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Don Giovanni, Einstürzende Neubauten: Kalte Sterne: Early Recordings, The Auteurs: Luke Haines Is Dead, Queens of the Stone Age: …Like Clockwork, Charles Gounod: Faust and Brian Eno: The Drop.
There’s some artist crossovers with last year – Embracism, Strange Tourist and …Like Clockwork figured there, too – and I note that a couple of the albums appear by dint of them having lots of tracks (Guitar Wolf, the two operas) rather than because they were played a bunch. I did, however, play Violator and Popular Problems a lot (and in a row) and noticed that despite their separation in time and genre, both Depeche Mode and Leonard Cohen use the same fucking synth patch.
2015’s top 20 artists by tracks played: Einstürzende Neubauten, Led Zeppelin, Crow, The Smiths, Arvo Pärt, The Auteurs, The Beatles, Guitar Wolf, Johann Sebastian Bach, The Walker Brothers, Nirvana, Morrissey, Kirin J. Callinan, Sixfthick, Tom Waits, The Hives, The Mountain Goats, Cheap Trick, Bohren & der Club of Gore and Leonard Cohen.
My favourite song remains Gareth Liddiard’s ‘Strange Tourist’ though in terms of bands I’ve found out about this year, I’d go with Gold Class, who are kind of like what would happen if Morrissey fronted Joy Division, only less terrible than that might sound. ‘Life As A Gun’ is a bit of a cracker:
The process of ripping and entering albums into a database continues. It’s vaguely Sisyphean so I wouldn’t expect that to be done any time soon.
I’m still using Goodreads to record my reading. For the first year in the five I’ve taken part in the Goodreads Book Challenge I didn’t make my book target – this is because I’ve found it difficult to concentrate on reading this year. This bummed me out, as I get a lot out of reading, and when I lack the concentration I feel pretty weird. I managed to read only 40 of the 60 books I’d set myself as a target, though I suppose this is still a reasonable whack of text.
For reference, here’s my previous years’ goals and stats. See last year’s post for an explanation of the bump from hundreds to fifties.
- 2011: 104/100 books – 24,220 pages
- 2012: 113/105 books – 24,467 pages
- 2013: 100/100 books – 22,861 words
- 2014: 58/52 books – 23,702 pages
- 2015: 40/60 books – 11,358 pages
Goodreads have made a nifty infographic of all the books I’ve read over the year, with scores and everything. You can check it out here. I have written reviews of everything I’ve read this year, too, so if you would like even more me you can click through to the reviews on each book’s page, or by checking out the ‘books’ tag on this site.
Of the books I’ve read this year, I’d say the ones that stayed with me the most were M. John Harrison’s Climbers for fiction and Johann Hari’s Chasing The Scream for non-fiction. There weren’t many I didn’t enjoy, but Nick Groom’s The Forger’s Shadow can fuck off forevermore. I was glad I read those Gibson trilogies – I now don’t have to worry that I’m missing out – and dipping a toe into the world of manga was pretty rewarding, though pretty fucked up.
Kinda-sorta related to reading is writing. I’ve been keeping up at times with my 750words usage, which was a pretty good writing prompt. I’m going to start it again soon. Last year also saw me start my haiku review project 575 Reviews which is ongoing and hopefully not too wanky to live.
I spent a lot less time gaming on the PS3 in 2015, largely because I finally got off my arse and built a PC. There’s information on that here, and it means I can finally play my way through a lot of my Steam backlog on fancy-pants graphical settings, so I Did Precisely That by working through Valve’s Half-Life games and both Portal episodes. I played a bunch of other things – walking simulators, capitalism simulators, showering simulators – but none stuck in my mind so richly as The Typing Of The Dead: Overkill which is excellently terrible.
I’m still playing through Borderlands 2 at present which features some excellently mindless mechanics clothed in some fancy cartoons and passable story.
The neglected PS3 did get a work-out with the end of my Tom Clancy game playthrough (the remastered PS2 games, at least – I tried one of the newer ones and found it so bad I couldn’t continue), from a couple of Telltale games, and from the excellently fiddle-dee-dee-potatoes The Saboteur,, which is best described as Paddy O’Guinness Kills Nazis, Sees Boobs.
I also played the last Assassin’s Creed game on the platform, Assassin’s Creed: Rogue and found my much-vaunted love for the series undimmed. Though now I suppose there’s the question of having to get a PS4 to continue the love affair. Hmm…
(I didn’t crank out anything on the X360 or Vita this year. Boo!)
Another year of using Letterboxd to record films (and provide brief, perhaps amusing reviews) and it seems I’ve watched 59 films. More than last year, though also with more repeats – apparently I have a thing for watching The Collector, which is perhaps a little alarming.
Again, watching TV series probably interfered with the film consumption: I worked through both series of Penny Dreadful, as well as Jessica Jones, and a fair slog of The X-Files. I didn’t see all the ’70s classics I’d planned to in 2015, which is a shame, but I guess there’s always next year. (My profile is here, if you’re interested.)
I watched a lot of stuff, and I recorded reasonable amounts of useless data about it. This stuff provided a good escape this year, when I needed it, and so I have to take any frustrations about my books read (or not read) with a bit of a grain of salt. I’m still here, still able to read and listen to things and that’s a pretty good thing. Always onwards and upwards.
One last thing…
The cats remain awesome.