My Top Things In 2011

My Top Things In 2011

We've seen a lot happen to the world in 2011 but nothing quite as exciting or important as the events going on in the world of iamdanwalsh.com.

In this review of all the best bits of 2011 I'm not going to go into the European financial meltdown, the Arab Spring or mad Kitty off X-Factor, they are of little consequence when compared to my choice of holiday destination, food, beer and so much more.

Top Life Changing Event

As life changing events go there's none much bigger than becoming a parent (technically I'm not a parent yet but I will be any day now). I did join a badminton club this year and I have been getting some dad practice in with my new niece Sophie but even they pale in comparison to the task of fatherhood and all the dirty-nappies, gurgled first words and sleepless nights that go with it.

Runner-up: Growing a beard

Top Holiday

Driving across California was the trip of a lifetime for me. I'd always dreamed of doing a driving holiday in America so our journey down the Californian coast from San Francisco to Santa Barbara and taking in the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas was an experience I'll never forget.

Runner-up: Ischia

Top Book

I picked up a copy of The Rotters' Club by Jonathan Coe at a boot sale in Hornsey in the summer and as soon as I began reading I was hooked. It's so good I read it again later in the year and that's not something that happens often in my slow readers group.

Runner-up: One Hand Clapping

Top Festival

I haven't been to many festivals this year but the one that I have the fondest memories of is Field Day. The pre-event excitement, the release of the line-up and fervent timetable crafting followed by rushing from tent to tent to watch the huge number of artists playing on the day and contstantly arranging meeting points until it gets silly.

Runner-up: Wireless

Top Film

When I heard about the Senna film it was about a week before it was released so I didn't have much time to get excited but I've made up for it since seeing as I haven't stopped gushing about it to anyone that'll listen. By far and away the best film I've seen this year.

Runner-up: Drive

Top Consumer Purchase

One thing stands out as the king of things this year and that is my Barbour waxed jacket. Light yet warm, completely waterproof and with a pocket for every conceivable object it's spent more time in my company than anything else this year.

Runner-up: Flickr Pro

Top Restaurant

I love a good burger and this year I've been served more good burgers by Byron than anywhere else. I've taken to collecting their playing card/business cards whenever I visit and the four I've been to this year have all been excellent.

Runner-up: Gokyuzu

Top Pub

There were a few pubs I dicovered or was introduced to this year but my favourite has to be The Jolly Butchers in Stoke Newington. The staff are always smiling, there's a great selection on tap all served in those proper thick pint glasses with handles.

Runner-up: Craft Beer Company

Top Album

It's always tough picking an album of the year but this year it goes to Kuedo for the album Severant. So much variety and interest throughout I haven't got bored of a single second of it yet.

Runner-up: Lego Feet by Lego Feet

Top Single

I don't often get the time to sit down and listen to my vinyl collection these days so when I do I grab something that goes straight for the jugular and this year that track was Far Nearer by Jamie XX. Distorted vocals, syncopated beats, steel drums and a drop that always made me smile. Instant pleasure.

Runner-up: Hex by Pangaea