Too Much Culture

Too Much Culture: Review of the Year.

Posted in Uncategorized by tneenan on 12/21/2010

Too Much Culture presents a review of the year examining the best and worst cultural moments from the last twelve months, how many do you remember?


2010 was a strong year for theatre with a number of career defining performances. Sheridan Smith wowed West End Audiences by taking on the Reece Witherspoon role in the musical version of ‘Four Christmases.’ Smith was flawless delivering such show stopping tunes as ‘The baby has just been sick on me’ ‘Too much turkey’ and ‘John Favareux and Vince Vaugn are talking fast at each other.’  Rory Kinnear delivered a spellbinding performance as Hamlet in a production of Hamlet, an adaptation of John Simm’s performance as Hamlet, inspired by David Tenant, who last year wowed audiences as Hamlet in Hamlet. It was clear audiences were crying out for another adaptation of Hamlet as, since Tenant’s version, the play was last performed by Laurence Olivier  who delivered a seminal performance in 1599. Clybourn Park at the Royal Court sparked with originality and bravery, Martin Freeman leading a stunning ensemble in a play about the tensions that exist in the production office of The Hobbit film.

2010 was also known as the year of upset. Kevin Spacey walked away from his position at the Old Vic. Witnesses reported him, at first, limping from the building, his gate then improved, he lit a cigarette and muttered to himself: “The greatest trick Andrew Lloyd Webber ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.’ Martene McCutchen’s continued illness meant she missed all her performances of My Fair Lady this year. The ex-Eastender star has now missed 32,597 performances of the show which opened in 2002.

Theatre in 2010, however, will be known for one thing, boxing. Both Beautiful Burnout and Sucker Punch delivered knock out blows to the theatre world, all other productions were out for the count, they threw in the towel, hit the canvas, they got in a van (Der Holyfield) and drove away. The gloves were off. Ding Ding, next round 2011 lets hope it as good as 2010.


Controversy was still the order of the day for comedy in 2010. The main culprits were Jim Jeffries who this year toured his show Paedophuckyourself, and Frankie Boyle, whose show ‘Tramadol Nights’ featured shocking sketches, with their taboo busting four minute running time and censor bating absence of jokes. But Frankie’s gloves were truly off when he laid into a blind, autistic eight year old boy. In Frankie’s defence the boy shouldn’t have heckled him, and you should know what to expect if you’re going to see Frankie Boyle live.

It was also a golden year for sitcoms, ‘Grandma’s House’, ‘Roger and Val Have Just Got In’ and ‘Him and Her’ prompted wave of critical praise. Mark Freeland even went so far as to say: ‘with the success of all these intimate, contained sitcoms, we are hoping to make all set designers redundant over the next three years, freeing up tens of thousands of pounds that can be used on Dara O’Brien’s jackets, he’s a big guy and he likes to dress smart.’


The publishing world didn’t set the world alight in 2010, but there were some superb novels to get reader’s Kindles racing. Just for starters there was Jonathan Franzen’s ‘Fre*edhomm’ which was later rereleased as ‘Freedom.’ The gripping tale of the disintegration of the Beguld family cemented Franzen’s position as America’s greatest living novelist. Franzen is cagey about his next project, but has confirmed the cover will be a picture of him raising a middle digit to a distraught Toni Morrison.

‘The Thosand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet’ is a beautiful tale of love between Jacob, a Dutch Bookkeeper and a young Japanese Girl, and earned its author David Mitchell a booker prize nomination. Mitchell dictated the entire novel over three months, it was soon after Lee Mack correctly identified the story as a lie.

Seamus Heaney’s Human Chain may have been awarded the 2010 Forward Prize, but it may be more familiar in its cinematic form. Heaney’s poems telling of a mad scientist obsessed with face/bum sutras was a box office smash, expect a sequel in 2011.


It was megabucks vs Shoestrings in 2010. While Huge Blockbusters like Avatar stole the show, it was the smaller pieces, such as Gareth Edward’s Monsters and Paranormal Activity 2 which were gaining momentum. Impressively, Edwards’ Monsters only cost $75.00 to make, the budget breaks down as follows: $5.00 RED Digital camera (The same camera used to make The Wrestler, Children of Men and Drunk Aunt at Wedding: You’ve Been Framed Gold.); $1.00 English / Mexican phrasebook (To learn how to say: ‘are there any massive squid around here, I’m making a movie and it would be so handy if there were.’) $69.00 To reinvest into the UK Film Council. Richard Curtis later used this $69.00 to light a cigar upon being told he had the Green Light for his new project “The Boat That R&B’d.”.

‘The Social Newtork’ emerged as an Oscar front runner with its no holds barred examination of the Craig’s List Empire. Aaron Sorkin was uncompromising in his depiction of Craig as an Oscar Schindler style character, in the sense that he had a list and helped in the distribution of things that didn’t work.

But the film of the year title has to go to French film ‘Of God’s and Men’ the true story of the massacre of seven monks in 1996, if not just for the hilarious blooper reel at the end.


Too Much Culture’s Top 5 Albums for 2010 are as follows:

5) I Am Kloot – The Sky at Night

I Am Kloot’s remix of Patrick Moore’s best xylophone playing was a perfect summer album, made all the more appealing as it was made available free from the Guardian, who emptied seven boxes of albums from the windows of their offices onto the street below. Three people were seriously injured, but its worth it for tracks like ‘The Moon is a Blind Eye, That’s Why I Wear a Monocle’.

4) MGMT – Congratulation

Collaborating with Paul McCartney, writing songs in tribute to Brian Eno, this is a hot new band with its routes squarely in the classic rock. Expect a new album next year under their new name M-Daybreak.

3) Rhianna – Moderate Volume

Rhianna’s most commercial album to date is a change of pace from 2009’s ‘Rated R’ (known in the UK as ’18: May Contain some strong language and mild sex references.’) Great tracks include: ‘You Don’t Want To Hurt Your Ears’ ‘Think of the Neighbours’ and ‘For Heaven’s Sake I Can’t Hear Myself Think.’

2) Vampire Weekend – Contra

Great Album, great album cover. Unfortunately the album cover landed the band in hot water when the mysterious woman on the cover demanded $2 Million from the band. Coincidentally the same model sued Nirvana for using an image of her as a baby, and The Prodigy who took an unlicensed photo of her going to a beach fancy dress party as a crab.

1) Hot Chip – One Life Stand

Another Lo-fi project, the band used garage Band and Logic to create a number of these tracks, getting back to a more home grown feel, the band also pioneered the ‘rubber band and tissue box’ sound in an album that truly rocks the ‘drumming on an empty Quality Street tin’ vibe.


Reality shows may have dominated the ratings but British TV showed there was still room for scripted drama. Take for instance Jimmy McGovern’s superb ‘F***ing Miserable’ series. Through six stories, McGovern examines the lives of people who have experienced f***ing misery. ‘Drama can illuminate entertain and teach’ Said McGovern in a recent interview, ‘I want to make people f***ing miserable.’

Channel 4 followed up Speculative drama ‘The Execution of Gary Glitter’ with the gripping ‘Gary Linekar Gets Over Charged For Roof Repairs’ and ‘Peter Sallis Gets Shanked.’ The dramas provoked a great deal of controversy from people who thought the depiction of Sallis was far too agressive

Well that’s it for this year, but Too Much Culture will endeavour to keep you informed and entertained in 2011… See you then, and Merry Christmas!