Saturday, 31 January 2015

The darker side of a hero

Yesterday marked the fiftieth anniversary of the burial of Winston Churchill, a man who really needs no introduction. The media unsurprisingly devoted a great deal of time to this momentous occasion, much of it hagiographic in the extreme, including a repeat on the BBC of the network's 1965 coverage of his funeral.

There can be little doubt that Churchill is a hugely important figure in the history of both the UK and the world at large, and no-one should forget his vital role in both the safeguarding of these islands during the Second World War and the defeat of Nazism. There aren't many Conservative politicians, past or present, that I hold in high regard, but he would certainly be one exception.

However, I think it's also important that we remember that, like most people, Churchill was a man riven by contradictions, and there remain aspects of both his personality and his conduct in office that are rather less rosy than "official" accounts, and sufficient ink has been spilled documenting his more laudable achievements that I'm sure his memory will survive paying heed to the darker side of this war hero. Among other less favourable qualities, he was also an imperialist, a virulent racist and a supporter of eugenics, and strongly opposed votes for women.

In addition, today is the anniversary of another event closely connected to Churchill: the so-called "Battle of George Square". On 31 January 1919, workers in Glasgow occupied George Square to campaign for more favourable working conditions. When the police failed to disperse the protesters, the UK government sent in the army. Tanks and soldiers armed with machine guns invaded and occupied Glasgow, effectively imposing martial law until the threat of "revolution" had been contained and the leaders of the protest jailed. Local regiments were confined to their barracks in Maryhill out of fears that they would side with the protesters, with the soldiers instead being bussed in from further afield.

Who gave the order to send in the troops? One Winston Churchill, then the Home Secretary.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Common sense prevails

Earlier this month I posted about a petition asking for the charges to be dropped against two teenage girls, Sarah and Sophie, who stood their ground against Neo-Nazi thugs in George Square during the post-referendum rioting that took place in Glasgow on 19th September. Today, I was pleased to discover that common sense had prevailed and the charges had indeed been dropped.

As CommonSpace reports:
TWO young women caught up in the loyalist riot following the independence referendum will face no criminal proceedings.
Sisters Sarah and Sophie Johnson, ages 20 and 16, were in George Square on the night of the 19 September 2014 when British nationalists caused widespread disorder resulting in 20 arrests.
The Johnsons were threatened by the crowd forcing the police to intervene. They chose to stay in the square only for the police to arrest them on the grounds of ‘obstruction’.
In a statement to CommonSpace regarding the case, the Procurator Fiscal said: "After full and careful consideration of the specific circumstances of the case and the available evidence, the Procurator Fiscal instructed that there should be no criminal proceedings."
Sophie Johnson, as part of a full interview with CommonSpace, said: “They could have taken us home. It was out of line to arrest us for not moving as part of a protest, since no one else was being made to move. The people spitting at us or throwing things didn’t get the same treatment.” 
The fiscal’s conclusion will please the 10,000 people who signed a public petition in their support.
On the night of 19 September images and video footage of the Johnsons was widely shared as a symbol of peaceful protest in contrast to the uglier scenes of conflict in George Square. 
You can read the full interview with Sarah and Sophie Johnson ‘here’.
Of course, it's unclear whether or not the petition had any direct impact on the Procurator Fiscal's decision, and I note that the public apology called for in the petition has yet to materialise. Still, I'd like to think that people power does work, and either way I'm glad these two women can now carry on with their lives without the threat of criminal proceedings weighing over them.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

The generation game

Further to yesterday's post on the Ipsos Mori poll that gave the SNP a whopping 52% of the vote in the upcoming general election, a breakdown of voting intention by age group has appeared over at SCOT goes POP! It makes for fascinating reading:

41% SNP
31% Lab
18% Con
7% Lib

58% SNP
21% Lab
10% Con
7% Green
4% Lib

18-24 yrs
77% SNP
11% Lab
7% Scottish Socialist
4% Green

Put it this way: if all these voters were to retain these allegiances (unlikely, I know, but let's run with it for the time being), the Conservative Party would literally be extinct within a couple of generations. If that's not a reason to have hope for the future, I don't know what is!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Terrible, terrible damage

As the 2015 general election approaches, we've been getting voting intention polls on an almost daily basis. All seem to agree that the two "main" UK parties, Labour and the Tories, are hovering somewhere around the dismally low 30% mark. In Scotland, as I've blogged about previously, the picture is quite different, with the SNP, perceived as the "losers" following the defeat of the independence referendum, steamrollering ahead into first place. Virtually every single poll released has placed them ahead of Labour in terms of Westminster voting intentions -- a shocking turnaround, given that Scottish voters, however they might vote at Holyrood and local elections, tend to coalesce around Labour when it comes to Westminster elections. Still, there's now so much polling evidence that it seems impossible to avoid the fact that a shift has occurred in Scottish politics and that voters are now looking more and more to the SNP to stand up for their interests in London.

Today's poll, commissioned by STV and carried out by Ipsos Mori, puts the SNP on 52% of the vote -- i.e. more than that of every other party combined. For a party that polled just 19.9% of the vote in the 2010 election (albeit with a very different picture in the Holyrood election the following year), such a result would be nothing short of remarkable, and it must be stressed that this poll is at the extreme end when it comes to favouring support for the party. Indeed, I'm slightly suspicious of this succession of stories all predicting a near wipeout for Slab. I can't help but thinking that they're preparing the ground for being able to spin anything less than total annihilation as a victory for Labour's northern branch office.

Nonetheless, if these numbers were to prove accurate on polling day, this is what the Scottish electoral map would look like:

Source: STV News

As someone who desperately wants to see Labour and the Lib Dems punished for the myriad of offences they have committed in recent years -- not least (in Labour's case) the unlawful invasion of Iraq and the heinous actions both parties and the Tories committed during the independence referendum in order to secure a No vote that was, in my opinion, unfairly won -- such a prospect fills me with absolute glee. Quite apart from the schadenfreude angle, however, a large contingent of SNP MPs in Westminster would be good not just for Scotland but for the whole of the UK. They are by far the most progressive and left-wing of the large parties (the Greens are further to the left, but, much as I admire their ideals, the level of support they currently command just isn't going to translate into more than a seat or two UK-wide, more's the pity), and today the party's leader, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, signalled that they were prepared to abandon their long-held convention of not voting on matters devolved to the Scottish parliament. This, she said, means that if a bill was put to the house that would restore the English NHS to public hands, then the SNP would vote for it.

It's a curious state of affairs that the party whose raison d'etre has, since its inception, been to dissolve the Union could end up coming to the aid of the rest of the UK. Because let's be honest, they'll do more good than a similar number of Labour troughers ever will. So take heart, progressives in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: help could be on the way. As I've said before, we live in interesting times.

Is that a Trident in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?*

Every year, the block of SNP, Plaid Cymru and Green MPs get one day to set the agenda for the Westminster Parliament. Today was that day, and they chose to table the motion calling for the non-renewal of Trident -- a position I wholeheartedly support. Quite apart from its very existence being an obscenity, it is utterly ludicrous to contemplate pouring upwards of £100 billion into replacing a weapons system that, by its very nature, can never be used, when public services are being cut left, right and centre, a new food bank is popping up seemingly every time you blink, and public spending has been reduced to pre-war levels. To add insult to injury, these weapons are housed mere miles from Scotland's most populous city. My city. Oh well, at least if something were to go wrong, I'd probably be killed instantly.

The picture above shows how many MPs could be arsed to show up to the debate.

Labour's official line was that it was abstaining from what it called a "meaningless" debate. In reality, this was simply an act to save face, allowing them to avoid having their party's pro-Trident policy subjected to scrutiny, thereby dodging the issue in typical Red Tory fashion. Of course, that didn't stop them and the original Tories -- the blue ones -- from showing up in large numbers for the actual vote, ensuring that it was resoundingly defeated by 364 to 35.

A handful of Labour MPs, on both sides of the argument, did bother to turn up to the debate. In addition to the ever-reliable Dennis Skinner (the only MP who appears to treat his job as an actual job and turns up to work every day), Joan Ruddock, MP for Lewisham Deptford, gave a particularly impressive speech (viewable in two parts here and here). All in all, though, it was an utterly dismal showing, committing the UK to spending a fortune on a new generation of weapons of mass slaughter (and that is exactly what they are, designed to inflict as many civilian casualties as possible -- any "destruction" that occurs is merely a by-product) when families are struggling to put food on the table.

If you can stomach it, you can read the full transcript of the debate here, along with the Hall of Fame (those who voted for the motion) and Hall of Shame (those who voted against). In the interests of brevity, I'll simply record the names and constituencies of all Scottish MPs who bothered to turn up:

Katy Clark (Lab) - North Ayrshire and Arran
Michael Connarty (Lab) - Linlithgow and East Falkirk
Mike Crockart (Lib Dem) - Edinburgh West
Ian Davidson (Lab) - Glasgow South West
Stewart Hosie (SNP) - Dundee East
Mark Lazarowicz (Lab) - Edinburgh North and Leith
Angus MacNeil (SNP) - Na h-Eileanan an Iar
Fiona O'Donnell (Lab) - East Lothian
Sandra Osborne (Lab) - Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock
Angus Robertson (SNP) - Moray
Mike Weir (SNP) - Angus
Eilidh Whiteford (SNP) - Banff and Buchan
Pete Wishart (SNP) - Perth and North Perthshire

Willie Bain (Lab) - Glasgow North East
Russell Brown (Lab) - Dumfries and Galloway
Margaret Curran (Lab) - Glasgow East
Thomas Docherty (Lab) - Dunfermline and West Fife
Brian Donohoe (Lab) - Central Ayrshire
Gemma Doyle (Lab) - West Dunbartonshire
Michael McCann (Lab) - East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow
Gregg McClymont (Lab) - Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East
Anne McGuire (Lab) - Stirling
Iain McKenzie (Lab) - Inverclyde
David Mundell (Con) - Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale
Pamela Nash (Lab) - Airdrie and Shotts
Alan Reid (Lib Dem) - Argyll and Bute
Jim Sheridan (Lab) - Paisley and Renfrewshire North

I hope the electorate remember how their elected representatives voted when 7th May comes around.

* Because ultimately, it really is nothing more than a penile extension, right?

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Je suis Charlie

It's at times like this that I find this quote from Stephen Fry more pertinent than ever:
It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that." As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. "I find that offensive." It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I am offended by that." Well, so fucking what?

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Petition mission: Public Apology to Sarah and Sophie

The night of September 19th featured some of the ugliest scenes I've ever seen in Glasgow, as far-right British nationalists, fuelled by alcohol and triumphalism over the No victory in the independence referendum, took to George Square, for the past week a hub of Yes activity, and proceeded to perform Nazi salutes and verbally and physically attack anyone they perceived as being a Yes supporter, gay or "foreign".

One of the most powerful images to emerge from that night was that of two teenage girls bravely holding a saltire while surrounded by a baying mob of Britain First/EDL types. There's some particularly upsetting footage doing the rounds on Facebook of one of the girls being knocked to the ground by an overweight skinhead, who proceeds to rip the flag out of her hands, dragging her along the concrete in the process.

The girls' reward for staging that stand-off was to be carted off by the police to spend a night in the cells. They're now facing charges for "obstructing the police".

The actions of these girls were perhaps foolhardy, but I fail to see how they can possibly justify such a response. A petition has been set up demanding a public apology for the way they've been treated and calling on the Procurator Fiscal to drop all charges against them. Whatever your stance on the issue of Scottish independence, I think most would agree that the way they've been treated by the authorities is totally out of order, and I would urge people to sign:

Bullshit season begins

It’s election year in the UK, and the usual suspects (pictured above) are setting out their stalls, each founded on a pack of lies and cynically designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

It’s not an election I find it easy to get very excited about, due in no small part to the fact that I had hoped it would be an election that wouldn’t affect me. And, in many ways, it does feel like an election taking place in some parallel universe in which I have no part, what with the media’s blanket coverage of UKIP (a party with nothing more than a fringe following where I live) as a major force, the incessant demonisation of migrants and increasing anti-EU rhetoric (again, issues that don’t exactly figure large north of the border, at least as far as I can tell). These people speak a language that is utterly alien to me, and I find myself wishing I could just wash my hands of the whole affair and take nothing to do with any of it.

Still, affect me it does, and I can’t deny that this particular election is at least somewhat interesting due to how uncertain the outcome appears to be, with several wild cards coming into play with the potential to upset the apple cart. The two “main” parties, Labour and the Tories, are both polling at around a miserable 30%, with the remaining 40% spread among parties that were previously considered fringe groups. In Scotland, long considered a bastion of Labour support, the party’s vote share has -- seemingly in defiance of all logic -- plummeted like a rock in the aftermath of the independence referendum, with the supposed losers, the SNP, riding high in poll after poll. Psephologist John Curtice recently opined that, in the face of mounting evidence, there is nothing for it but to accept that every single Labour seat in Scotland is at risk of falling to the SNP in May, with the swing most pronounced in the constituencies that once recorded the highest support for Labour -- places like Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire, all of which voted Yes in the referendum.

Let’s examine the various possibilities. Assuming that the pundits are correct and that a majority for any party is extremely unlikely, I’m going to ignore the prospect of an outright Tory or Labour win and consider the various alternative permutations. I’ve also omitted the possibility of agreements between the Tories & SNP/PC/Greens and Labour & UKIP purely because of how implausible they are. The SNP, for instance, actually passed a conference resolution several years ago stating that they would never go into coalition with the Tories. That leaves us with:

Minority Tory government
Minority Tory government with supply and confidence deal with UKIP
Minority Tory government with supply and confidence deal with Lib Dems
Tory/UKIP coalition
Tory/Lib Dem coalition
Minority Labour government
Minority Labour government with supply and confidence deal with Lib Dems
Minority Labour government with supply and confidence deal with SNP/PC/Greens
Labour/Lib Dem coalition
Labour/SNP/PC/Green coalition

When you look at that list, it becomes... well, “exciting” is the wrong word, so instead I’ll say “unpredictable”. Looked at through the prism of what is best for the UK as a whole, I’d be inclined to say that a minority Labour government kept in check by and dependent on the votes of of the so-called “progressive alliance” of the Green Party, SNP and Plaid Cymru would probably be the option that would do the least harm -- not least because their conditions for support would include an immediate end to the austerity programme that both Labour and the Tories have so gleefully embraced. And then of course there’s the fact that Alex Salmond will almost certainly be heading back to Westminster (unless the unthinkable happens and he loses in his bid to win the Gordon constituency). I should probably begin stockpiling the popcorn...

That said, it should come as no surprise to readers of this blog that my primary goal remains an independent Scotland as soon as is humanly possible. I’ve given no small amount of consideration to how that would most readily be achieved, and have come to the conclusion that the most plausible scenario would be some sort of Tory or Tory/UKIP government holding a referendum on EU membership, with England voting to leave and Scotland voting to stay (for the purposes of simplicity, I’m not including Wales and Northern Ireland in the equation). Faced with Scotland being dragged out of the EU against its will, the Scottish Government would have the clearest possible mandate to hold a second independence referendum, with the likely result being a Yes victory -- partly because the majority of Scots are, according to the polls, pro-EU, and partly because a second Tory victory, coupled with the already clear failure of Westminster to deliver on the “near federalism” and “Devo Max” promises made in the days leading up to 18th September, would help focus minds. As infuriating as it may be, September’s No vote was quite clearly “No, but...” We know the majority of Scots want Devo Max. We know the majority of Scots want to remain in the EU. We also know, again according to polling carried out in the aftermath of the referendum, that the majority of Scots want another independence referendum within the next decade. If the south of England elects another Tory government and proceeds to drag an unwilling Scotland out of the EU, that could come a lot sooner than ten years from now.

There’s another possibility not listed above, and one that has, in the last couple of weeks, been seriously mooted by a surprising number of media pundits: a “national unity” coalition between the Tories and Labour, designed to freeze out what one journalist hilariously referred to as “the insurgents” -- meaning the SNP in Scotland and UKIP in England. Personally, I can’t see it happening. Don’t get me wrong, I suspect the Tories and Labour would work incredibly well together -- they did during the referendum, after all, and you can barely fit a fag packet between their respective policies -- but it would be electoral suicide for both of them. Both parties have retained their privileged positions by perpetuating, for more than half a century, the Great Lie that an election is a binary choice between the two of them. According to the Great Lie, the two parties are mortal enemies, Labour representing the left and the Tories representing the right. The sight of them working hand in glove in government would bring that illusion to an end in the wider UK... in much the same way that the sight of them working hand in glove during the referendum appears to have brought it to an end in Scotland. Again, such a scenario would almost certainly hasten rather than stall the break-up of the UK, and for that reason I can’t imagine the Tories or even Labour being so stupid as to actually do it. (Mind you, Labour thought they would suffer no ill effects from campaigning with the Tories for a No vote...)

So... here we go again. The scripts practically write themselves. Once in a generation opportunity... Only this party can deliver X, Y and Z... This time we really mean it... A vote for the SNP is a vote for David Cameron... No, a vote for the SNP is a vote for Labour... Pooling and sharing... Nick Clegg making another pledge... I can feel my eyes beginning to glaze over already.

Friday, 2 January 2015

That was the year that was

Well, another one's been and gone. For a variety of reasons, I can't say it's one that will go down in the history books as one of the all-time greats for me, though it contained a number of individual moments of sheer joy. Most of these involved the referendum we had in Scotland on the 18th September on the matter of independence -- or rather, the run-up to it. The result, a narrowish No vote, ranks as one of the most crushingly disappointing moments of my life, and it casts a shadow over the entire year. However, the campaign itself, and in particular the fortnight or so before it, when a bizarre and quite intoxicating euphoria seemed to grip Glasgow, are memories I wouldn't trade for anything. And if the immediate aftermath of the referendum has taught us anything, it's that September 18th was merely the beginning rather than the end of Scotland's journey towards independence. Much as the unionists wish it wasn't the case, the debate is going to continue to run and run. In any event, 2014 was a year of political firsts for me. I attended my first protest rally, joined a political party and voted on the constitutional make-up of the country I live in. The latter, I hope, is something I'll have the opportunity to repeat before too many more years have passed, hopefully with a more agreeable outcome.

I mention all this not simply to indulge in a bit of political tub-thumping but because of the impact it had on my film viewing. I hate to say it, but for a while the act of watching movies started to feel like a rather trivial pursuit and I found myself getting far more satisfaction out of spending a couple of hours reading the latest opinion pieces on the various independence web sites rather than sitting in front of the projection screen. As a result, my viewing figures -- 138 films seen, of which 108 were first watches -- are way down on last year's, and significantly short of my original target of 175 new films.

Still, heres's the full chronological list. (An asterisk designates a rewatch.)


1. The Croods (2013) - 1/1/14 - 5/10
2. Upstream Color (2013) - 2/1/14 - 3/10
3. Mud (2013) - 3/1/14 - 5/10
4. The Kings of Summer (2013) - 5/1/14 - 8/10
5. Trap for Cinderella (2013) - 7/1/14 - 6/10
6. Frances Ha (2012) - 9/1/14 - 8/10
7. Something in the Air (2012) - 10/1/14 - 7/10
8. Me and You (2012) - 11/1/14 - 6/10
9. American Hustle (2013) - 13/1/14 - 7/10
10. The World's End (2013) - 15/1/14 - 8/10
11. Cloud Atlas (2012) - 16/1/14 - 7/10
12. *Stoker (2013) - 17/1/14 - 4/10
13. In a World... (2013) - 17/1/14 - 6/10
14. Before Midnight (2013) - 18/1/14 - 8/10
15. Demons 2 (1986) - 20/1/14 - 5/10
16. *Zero Dark Thirty (2012) - 21/1/14 - 9/10
17. *Broken (2012) - 26/1/14 - 4/10
18. 12 Years a Slave (2013) - 28/1/14 - 10/10
19. *Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) - 31/1/14 - 9/10


20. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) - 6/2/14 - 8/10
21. The Long Goodbye (1973) - 7/2/14 - 8/10
22. Babylon (TV) (2014) - 9/2/14 - 6/10
23. Heat (1995) - 18/2/14 - 7/10
24. The Lego Movie (2014) - 20/2/14 - 7/10
25. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013) - 28/2/14 - 5/10


26. Dallas Buyers Club (2013) - 7/3/14 - 8/10
27. Page Eight (2011) - 16/3/14 - 8/10
28. Veronica Mars (2014) - 18/3/14 - 7/10
29. Under the Skin (2013) - 20/3/14 - 7/10
30. Turks & Caicos (2014) - 21/3/14 - 8/10
31. Salting the Battlefield (2014) - 29/3/14 - 8/10


32. Frozen (2013) - 1/4/14 - 7/10
33. The Book Thief (2013) - 3/4/14 - 5/10
34. *Gravity (2013) - 4/4/14 - 8/10
35. *The Counselor (2013) - 7/4/14 (with audio commentary)
36. The Interpreter (2005) - 10/4/14 - 7/10
37. Bug (2007) - 14/4/14 - 6/10
38. To Live and Die in LA (1985) - 19/4/14 - 7/10
39. Magnum Force (1973) - 20/4/14 - 8/10
40. The Enforcer (1976) - 21/4/14 - 5/10


41. Tracks (2013) - 1/5/14 - 8/10
42. In Our Name (2010) - 5/5/14 - 7/10
43. *Operation Crossbow (1965) - 12/5/14 - 7/10
44. The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears (2013) - 19/5/14 - 8/10
45. Sudden Impact (1983) - 26/5/14 - 8/10


46. Diamonds are Forever (1971) - 1/6/14 - 4/10
47. *Live and Let Die (1973) - 2/6/14 - 6/10
48. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) - 2/6/14 - 3/10
49. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) - 4/6/14 - 7/10
50. Moonraker (1979) - 8/6/14 - 2/10
51. *For Your Eyes Only (1981) - 9/6/14 - 7/10
52. Octopussy (1983) - 11/6/14 - 5/10
53. A View to a Kill (1985) - 14/6/14 - 3/10
54. *The Living Daylights (1987) - 15/6/14 - 9/10
55. *Licence to Kill (1989) - 18/6/14 - 8/10
56. Goldeneye (1995) - 21/6/14 - 7/10
57. Gangster Squad (2013) - 22/6/14 - 3/10
58. Lucie Aubrac (1997) - 23/6/14 - 6/10
59. *Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) - 24/6/14 - 5/10
60. *The World is Not Enough (1999) - 29/6/14 - 6/10


61. Taking Liberties (2007) - 3/7/14 - 7/10
62. *Frozen (2013) - 3/7/14 - 7/10
63. *Hercules (1997) - 4/7/14 - 6/10
64. Non-Stop (2014) - 5/7/14 - 6/10
65. Out of the Furnace (2013) - 6/7/14 - 5/10
66. *Tangled (2010) - 8/7/14 - 7/10
67. Hunger (2008) - 13/7/14 - 8/10
68. Video Nasties: Draconian Days (2014) - 15/7/14 - 7/10
69. *Halloween (1978) - 17/7/14 - 8/10
70. In Fear (2013) - 18/7/14 - 6/10
71. *The Special Relationship (2010) - 20/7/14 - 7/10
72. Jeune & jolie (2013) - 21/7/14 - 7/10
73. Welcome to the Punch (2013) - 31/7/14 - 4/10


74. Shell (2012) - 3/8/14 - 4/10
75. Pusher (2012) - 6/8/14 - 5/10
76. The Seasoning House (2012) - 9/8/14 - 6/10
77. Insomnia (1997) - 10/8/14 - 7/10
78. *Opera (1987) - 11/8/14 - 9/10
79. The Congress (2013) - 15/8/14 - 5/10
80. Good Will Hunting (1997) - 15/8/14 - 10/10
81. Pioneer (2013) - 20/8/14 - 8/10
82. Scotland Yet (2014) - 24/8/14 - 7/10
83. Lucy (2014) - 25/8/14 - 8/10


84. Brick (2005) - 2/9/14 - 4/10
85. Before I Go to Sleep (2014) - 9/9/14 - 5/10
86. The Quiet Ones (2014) - 21/9/14 - 6/10
87. A Most Wanted Man (2014) - 22/9/14 - 9/10
88. The Guardian (1990) - 26/9/14 - 5/10
89. Halloween II (1981) - 28/9/14 - 6/10
90. A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014) - 29/9/14 - 7/10
91. *Excision (2012) - 30/9/14 - 7/10


92. *The Loved Ones (2009) - 3/10/14 - 7/10
93. *The Haunting (1963) - 3/10/14 - 9/10
94. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) - 6/10/14 - 7/10
95. Gone Girl (2014) - 7/10/14 - 8/10
96. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) - 13/10/14 - 6/10
97. Edge of Tomorrow (2014) - 14/10/14 - 8/10
98. *Halloween (1978) - 16/10/14 (with audio commentary)
99. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) - 17/10/14 - 2/10
100. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) - 18/10/14 - 4/10
101. *Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998) - 19/10/14 - 6/10
102. '71 (2014) - 21/10/14 - 7/10
103. *Halloween (2007) - 21/10/14 - 3/10
104. Halloween II (2009) - 22/10/14 - 4/10
105. Halloween: Resurrection (2002) - 29/10/14 - 1/10
106. The Babadook (2014) - 31/10/14 - 7/10


107. Nightcrawler (2014) - 4/11/14 - 10/10
108. *A Most Wanted Man (2014) - 9/11/14 - 9/10
109. *Suspiria (1977) - 12/11/14 - 10/10
110. The Hypnotist (2012) - 16/11/14 - 6/10
111. Oculus (2012) - 17/11/14 - 6/10
112. Interstellar (2014) - 19/11/14 - 7/10
113. Her (2013) - 22/11/14 - 4/10
114. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) - 24/11/14 - 8/10
115. The Imitation Game (2014) - 28/11/14 - 8/10


116. Eurocrime! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled the '70s (2012) - 1/12/14 - 8/10
117. Grizzly Man (2005) - 3/12/14 - 7/10
118. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) - 5/12/14 - 8/10
119. Locke (2013) - 7/12/14 - 4/10
120. Haunter (2013) - 7/12/14 - 5/10
121. Grand Central (2013) - 8/12/14 - 7/10
122. The Two Faces of January (2014) - 9/12/14 - 7/10
123. The Double (2013) - 11/12/14 - 8/10
124. Calvary (2014) - 12/12/14 - 5/10
125. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) - 14/12/14 - 7/10
126. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) - 15/12/14 - 4/10
127. The Fault in Our Stars (2014) - 16/12/14 - 5/10
128. Venus in Fur (2013) - 19/12/14 - 6/10
129. Withnail & I (1987) - 22/12/14 - 7/10
130. How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989) - 24/12/14 - 6/10
131. *Edge of Tomorrow (2014) - 25/12/14 - 8/10
132. *Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) - 27/12/14 - 7/10
133. Two Days, One Night (2014) - 27/12/14 - 6/10
134. *Good Will Hunting (1997) - 28/12/14 - 10/10
135. Welcome to New York (2014) - 29/12/14 - 7/10
136. Enemy (2013) - 30/12/14 - 7/10
137. Paddington (2014) - 31/12/14 - 7/10
138. Saving Mr. Banks (2013) - 31/12/14 - 8/10

Best film I saw? Tied between 12 YEARS A SLAVE, GOOD WILL HUNTING and NIGHTCRAWLER. Worst film? Without a doubt HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION. Yeesh.

I also found time to read a handful of books, albeit a far lesser quantity compared to the number of films I consumed:

The Devil's Staircase - Helen FitzGerald
Dying Light - Stuart MacBride
Nordic Noir - Barry Forshaw
Driftnet - Lin Anderson
Rachel Cord PI and the "Bad Bitch Blues" - R.E. Conary
*The Devil Rides Out - Dennis Wheatley
I am Pilgrim - Terry Hayes
Dario Argento - L. Andrew Cooper
Broken Skin - Stuart MacBride
The Silence of the Lambs - Thomas Harris
*Hannibal - Thomas Harris
The Negotiator - Frederick Forsythe
My Last Confession - Helen FitzGerald
*Garnethill - Denise Mina
The Girl Who Played with Fire - Denise Mina
The Argento Syndrome - Derek Botelho
This is Where I Am - Karen Campbell
The Night Hunter - Caro Ramsay
Stieg & Me - Eva Gabrielsson
The Secret Place - Tana French
*The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - J.R.R. Tolkien
Red Fox - Gerald Seymour
The Annotated Hobbit - Douglas A. Anderson/J.R.R. Tolkien
Red Dragon - Thomas Harris

We'll see what 2015 brings. With any luck, rather more books read and movies watched, and a whole lot more political unrest. A better-paying job with more contracted hours would also be nice, not to mention making some headway on the writing front. Anyway, here's to the next twelve months. May they bring you good health and prosperity!