2005 Annual Awards

Book of the Year (non-fiction)
Between You and I: a little book of bad English – James Cochrane
“A cool, disdainfully precise A-Z of linguistic misuse”.
The absolute bible for those of us who abhor misplaced apostrophes, split infinitives and the use of “criteria” as a singular noun. Warning – you will find yourself shouting at this book joyfully as you realise what a kindred spirit the writer is – even if you are on the Tube.

Book of the Year (fiction)
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

On her way home from school, 14-year-old Susie Salmon is lured into a cornfield and brutally raped and murdered, the latest victim of a serial killer. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold’s haunting and heartbreaking debut novel, unfolds from heaven, where “life is a perpetual yesterday” and where Susie narrates and keeps watch over her grieving family and friends, as well as her brazen killer and the sad detective working on her case. A moving exploration of loss, mourning and the after-life, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Song of the Year – Joint Award!
Hey Ya – Outkast (from Speakerboxxxx/The Love Below album)

I first heard this song when the video came on TV one night. I was so engrossed in the video, the song went right over my head. But it got played every hour on the radio in Australia when we were there for Christmas. My best memory is trying to dance to this tune cramped in the back seat of my sister’s car coming home one night in the scorching heat of Christmas Week. It’s so infectious, every time I hear it I still want to hand-jive!

Your Game – Will Young (from Friday’s Child album)

My mate Sue said she loved Will Young. I didn’t get it myself, until I heard this song. We spent a cold winter redecorating Orlando’s flat and listening to Kiss (the only radio station we could get for some reason). Again, this song was played hourly but it didn’t matter – I couldn’t get enough of it! I am not sure if it the gospel backing group or the funky music or Will’s own sweet voice, but this song uplifts me every time I hear it! Even if it is about walking away from somebody who hurt him…

Album of the Year
Speakerboxxxx/The Love Below – Outkast

What else could I have chosen? It gave us two out of my Top 3 songs of the year – Hey Ya (see above) and I Like The Way You Move. It was a weird choice for me but I was not disappointed by either album (there are two distinct albums in this, one by Andre 2000 and one by Big Boi). Lyrics are intelligent and funny. I love it!

Restaurant of the Year
La Guarida, Havana, Cuba

Up three long flights of poorly lighted stairs in an old beauty of a building is one of the most famous Havana’s paladars – La Guarida. It owes its renown in equal parts to the wonderful ambience, dependable cuisine, and the starring role it played in several scenes in the Cuban blockbuster film Fresa y Chocolate. The three small rooms of this converted apartment are decorated ornately with huge chandeliers and walls crowded with art. Signed celebrity photos shows you just what a desirable destination it is.

The food is good but not spectacular – La Guarida is more about the ambience, the location, the style and 1920s sophistication of such a place in Castros’ Cuba. Starters include gazpacho, rabbit lasagne, or their signature appetizer of eggplant caviar. Main courses are plentiful, with a good selection of fish, lamb, pork, chicken or rabbit, but you won’t find any beef as only government-owned establishments can serve it!Reservations are necessary as this tiny place gets booked out quickly.Go there!

Movie of the Year
Hero

Already the single most pirated movie of all time, this mythical story is a feast for the eyes and a wonderful concept. A tale of kings, assassins and heros, the tale is told from four different perspectives. Each perspective is depicted in a different dominant colour – white, red, blue, black and green. As the movie progresses you can’t help but analyse each story to decide which one you think is true. Whether you like martial arts movies or not this movie is such a visual spectacular it’s a must-see!

Move Scene of the Year
Will Smith in the shower – I, Robot

Well, let’s face it. Why would you go to the trouble of having your own website and website awards if you can’t completely manipulate both to include your own few moments of 2004 cinematic heaven!!!Mmmm Will Smith in the shower. We like a man who takes his nude scenes seriously enough to work for a body like that.If only I could have found a decent still photo to include here, but sadly nothing is available online. We will all have to wait for the DVD to come out, and then revel in how magnificent the pause button works…

Website of the Year – Joint Award
These two great sites are my current favourites.

www.bookcrossing.comConceived by software developer Ron Hornbaker, this great site encourages everyone to dust off those books you have on your shelves and release them into the wild for someone else to find and read. Each book released is logged on the website so that you can see how far they travel. Furthest travelled so far is a French book of poetry which has been found and passed on 95 times! Log on and perform a Random Act of BookCrossing Kindness (RABCK) today!

www.wearewhatwedo.org
Ever felt a quiver of social responsibility in the depth of your hedonistic soul, but was too damn lazy to do anything about it? Then this website is for you! Click on the link and find 50 quick and easy things to do. Most cost nothing, most take very little time, all make you feel great afterwards! I bet you will be surprised how many of these 50 things you do already – so think about one more you can add to your altruistic list!

Man of the Year
My Dad

Who else could I have picked but the man who has been there from the start?
Follow this link to find out why Ben Doyle Senior is my Man of the Year!

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