Lists, damn lists

What’s with all these “best of the year” lists, already?

Come November, and the world media started pumping out their idea of what was best in 2010. By December, the mania for getting a fix on the best of everything had hit fever pitch.

Okay, I’m as much a sucker for these lists as anyone else, but hold on a minute, I’ve got to tell you something: 2010 does not end until Friday, December 31, at midnight.

Call me a pedant, a stickler; hey, call me whatever you want. The fact remains that 2010 isn’t quite over yet, which means that an injustice has been perpetrated by these lists.

“Best of year” lists where the cut-off date is, say, mid-November (just to suite the glossy magazines and their publishing schedules, or is it really more to grease the loins of the Christmas buying market?) perpetrate an injustice.

I wouldn’t care if there wasn’t a negative consequence, but there is, and it’s demonstrable.

Fact is, that if anything happens between mid-November and the real end of 2010, it just DIDN’T HAPPEN. If the best gadget, the best hi-fi, the best home theatre system, the best album, the best film – whatever! – hit the shelves in roughly the last month of the year, it won’t get counted.

That injustice is compounded by the fact that, when the lists are compiled in 2011, they will only count “best of year” products that hit the market in January or later, meaning that those poor suckers who dared to release anything in December are total, and utter, losers.

There are a few side benefits. The music industry tends to issue its most preposterous and lame recordings in November and December; dreadful compilations like ‘Ten Guitars 2″ or by acts you hoped had crawled under the sofa and expired, or half-hearted cash-ins like the new Susan Boyle – albums geared totally towards the Christmas market and mostly bought by second parties for their Mums or Grandmothers. I’ve just had the new Sting album turn up in my mailbox, for example. It’s a double, and I’m dreading having to listen and watch (it’s a CD and DVD package) this monstrous concoction. No, I haven’t listened to it yet, but it’s Sting with an orchestra, for godsakes. THIS is Christmas, and I have a feeling that Sting’s opus won’t make many 2010 or 2011 “best of” lists. What’s more, I doubt that many will notice that it hasn’t made the list of finalists.

This year, I’m going to do the “best of” list thing. Balls and all. It will be my wee opus. But I refuse to put pen to paper until January 1. Of course, that day my head will be aching and I’ll be bleary, and will have already forgotten whatever New Year’s resolutions I made the night before. But that very day, dammit (and not a minute before) my rare, GENUINE “best of 2010” will go live to the world. GARY STEEL

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