As is tradition, on New Years Eve it is time to kick back and reflect on the best and the worst of the year that was 2014. And of course, take a sneak peak at the 2015 news headlines to come.
Late on the scene (Boxing Day) but a worthy and timely historical perspective on the Gallipoli campaign from both sides. It avoids the usual jingoistic Australian triumphalism that usually surrounds anything dealing with the Anzacs, and it explores something deeper.
Honourable mentions: Guardians of the Galaxy; Gone Girl; The Maze Runner; The Hunger Games; Boyhood
Best song: Take me to Church – Hozier
When I first heard this I thought that Elton John had brushed the dust off his old piano and released a hit after 20 years in the wilderness. Not so. Hozier’s song is deep and powerful. Worthy of being dubbed the top song of 2014.
Honourable mentions: Talk is Cheap – Chet Faker; Nobody to Love- Sigma; Sky full of Stars- Coldplay; Thinking Out Loud- Ed Sheeran; Begin Again – Knife Party; Waves – Mr Probz; Definitive History – Augie March; The Days – Avicii ft. Robbie Williams
The original song, Baby got Back, was terrible. Unfortunately, it was sampled again in 2014 by Nicki Minaj, a woman who compensates for her lack of talent by parading about in next to nothing at every opportunity.
Dishonourable mentions: All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor.
Best artist: Ed Sheeran
No other artist or band dominated the airwaves like this guy in 2014. It helps that he’s a top bloke too.
Honourable mentions: Taylor Swift (will never buy her album, but it’s refreshing that she’s a pop star of actual talent); Chet Faker; Calvin Harris.
Best album: Ghost Stories: Coldplay
A new Coldplay album never disappoints, and the brilliant British band delivered the goods once again with Ghost Stories. A rather deep and solemn album, it was essentially Chris Martin’s final goodbye to Gywneth Paltrow.
Probably the best show for four years running, along with Breaking Bad. There’s little that needs to be said here, other than bring on season five!
Honourable mentions: Orange is the New Black; Walking Dead; The Project.
Most overrated show: The Bachelor
Not only were blokes around the country pissed that their girlfriends had heightened expectations for expensive and exorbitant dates, the whole concept of a group of women desperately trying to win the affection of one man is a throwback to a bygone era.
Dishonourable mentions: The Block; Dancing with the Stars; X Factor; Desperate Housewives of Melbourne (notice a trend here…)
No surprises here. The male stripper managed to piss off both genders by the show’s end. Guys hated his pretentious babble on the show, and girls soon learnt that he was a love rat of the highest order. Blake Garvey, you are the flog of 2014.
Dishonourable mentions: James Hird; Jacqui Lambie; Vladimir Putin; Gabi Grecko.
Best newcomer: Five Seconds of Summer
I’m not necessarily a fan, but 2014 was their year – love them or hate them. After hearing Good Girls, I decided these guys aren’t bad. Any Australian group that goes worldwide has to be met with a nod of acknowledgement.
Honourable mentions: Nick Kyrgios; Chet Faker; Hozier; David Leyonhjelm.
Could easily have won biggest flog of 2014 too – but she’ll be in the Senate for the next five years so there’s plenty of time. On one level, we can admire her no nonsense attitude, but on another level, we really wish she was more humble and knew what she was doing there.
Dishonourable mentions: Kim Kardashian; Tony Abbott; ASADA/Essendon.
Better luck next year: Joe Hockey
2014 was the year from hell for our treasurer. He had the unenviable task of selling a tough budget, and it went down like a led balloon. Smoking cigars after its completion and asserting that poor people don’t drive cars didn’t help his cause.
Biggest social media craze: The Ice Bucket Challenge
While I still wonder whether people actually knew what amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is, there’s no doubting that the Ice Bucket Challenge was 2014’s social media craze.
Honourable mentions: The selfie; NekNominate; #putyourbatsout
Biggest disappointment: The AFL Grand Final
We’ve been blessed with a series of close Grand Finals since 2005 (apart from Geelong’s 119 point thrashing of Port Adelaide in 2007, but that was okay), but this year’s decider, billed as one of the game’s of the decade, was a complete fizzer. Sydney failed to show anything, and the match was all over by half time. Neutral supporters moved to the beer fridge and started discussing the cricket and A-league by the 10 minute mark of the third quarter.
Dishonourable mentions: Shelving the East-West Link; Geelong’s finals series; Brazil’s capitulation to Germany in the World Cup; David Villa’s stint at Melbourne City.
AFL Game of the Year: Preliminary Final: Hawthorn 15.7.97 def. Port Adelaide 13.16.94
Hawthorn seem to enjoy scaring their fans in preliminary finals. Six of their last seven preliminary finals have been decided by an average of five points. The Hawks looked home with a 29 point lead 14 minutes into the final term, before Port Adelaide gallantly went down swinging.
Honourable mentions: R23- Carlton 14.6.90 Vs. Essendon 13.12.90; R21- Geelong 11.16.82 def. Carlton 11.10.76; Round 13- Sydney 14.14.98 def. Port Adelaide 13.16.94.
Saddest moment: MH17 Flight getting shot down over Ukraine
There were many global controversies that raised our concern in 2014. The Ebola Crisis, ISIS, The Nigerian schoolgirl kidnapping and the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370; but none raised more anger, confusion and geo-political controversy than the Ukraine Crisis and the shot down plane carrying 38 Australians.
Other mentions: Robin Williams’ death; Phillip Hughes; Aid workers’ executions at the hands of ISIS; Charlotte Dawson’s death; hostages’ death at Martin Place, Sydney.
Woman of the year: Julie Bishop
Our Foreign Affairs minister has no doubt been the best performer in what so far has been a modest record for the Abbott government. My favourite moment was when she said she did not need to identify as a feminist to get places in life. She is too busy doing rather than being. A future Prime Minister, our very own Margaret Thatcher in the making.
Honourable mentions: Taylor Swift; Chelsea Clinton; Angelina Jolie.
Man of the year: Samuel Johnson
For those of you who don’t know, Sam Johnson is the man who rode around Australia on a Unicycle to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research after his sister was diagnosed for the third time. He raised $1.4 Million by the time his ride finished in February, and he has since released the book: Love your Sister. What a great bloke!
Honourable mentions: Eddie Maguire; John Green; Ed Sheeran; Dr Charlie Teo (neurosurgeon); Thomas Picketty (economist).
Phillip Seymour Hoffman
….And of course, a quick look at the headlines for 2015…
Michael Clarke retires
Ebola finally under control
U.S deploys ground troops in war against Islamic State
Abbott facing Liberal Leadership Challenge
Kyrgios falls second in Australian Open
Hawkins wins first Coleman Medal
Essendon players escape penalty
‘Dumb & Dumber To’ flops
Star Wars breaks opening weekend sales
Record number of Australians fined for illegal downloads
Ablett announces return to Geelong
San Antonio Spurs pull off surprise back-to-back championship
Abbott breaks wind, students protest
I hope 2014 brought you personally all that you hoped for. Happy New Year for 2015, and remember, the year will be what you make it.