Some Trivial 2017 Stats

Let's start with cards. Christmas cards.
For information, I make a list each year, and end up giving or sending around 70 cards, to family and various groups of friends from past and present. I keep up with who I'm not hearing from, who I'm still in touch with, that sort of thing. But the stat I want to mention here is one which gives me weird amusement; weird, because it doesn't mean anything.
It's to do with the subjects featured on the Christmas cards, and the apparent trends each year.
As far as figures go, it's almost always Santa that wins, or else it's the Holy Family. In the objects or symbols category, I noticed quite a few wreaths this year. But the big perennial fascination is animals. I have no idea how fashions or trends would work on this one, all I can say is that it doesn't seem to be utterly random. Some years there really is a predominance of eg. reindeers, others, of robins. As a footnote, when I was checking out the Christmas postcards in Finland a few weeks ago, I discovered that Finland has a Christmas bird too, not the robin, but the bullfinch. Anyway, the big winners in the creatures category in 2017 was the deer (NB not reindeer, of which there was a total absence), tying for first place with sheep.

I went to the cinema seven times this year, but saw only four films.
I won't repeat what I said in reviews you can read in previous blogs; you can infer that my favourite films of the year were Blade Runner 2049 and Dunkirk. But to be honest the other two were massively enjoyed as well, in very different ways. Logan was terrific, with several powerful acting performances (one by an incredible child actor). And Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was a dazzling piece of cinema; frustrating because yet again the Anglo world is impervious to the rich heritage of French comic books, but a huge sugary treat for me, knowing that we'll never see Valerian on screen again.
I went to see Blade Runner 2049 four times. I was always going to see it more than once, to relish the visuals on the big screen, and to digest its themes. As it went on, I admit I became obsessed with the sliver of Finnish in it, finally seeing it in Helsinki, with Finnish subtitles. Very interesting, because the subtitler made it far more sweary than it was in English. Even than the bit of Finnish which is actually spoken. I don't understand that at all. That last showing was also in 3D, proving not that I expected otherwise, that 3D is a waste of time, especially for a film that is practically in 3D in the first place.

Music. I bought five records. My favourites were Red and Blue Baby by Pintandwefall, and Adrian by one of their band members, performing as The Hearing. But here's the interesting trivial statistic. Only that first one was a CD, whereas I bought four vinyl LPs. I had no personal intention of following the current vinyl trendiness, I was assuming that it's a flash in the retro pan, and it just happened that those records were only available on LP; but perhaps I'm wrong. I saw in both the record stores I went into in Finland, that over half the floor space was given over to LPs. I must check out one or two stores in Manchester and Preston to see if it's anything like the same. And I need a new record case.

Last, and definitely least, let's get silly and talk about calendars.
I don't have much of a thing for calendars, and once upon a time, didn't have one. I think I didn't much like the look of them on the wall, next to proper pictures. Then, as it became a habit, going down to South Devon each year, my cousin Jill started sending me South Devon calendars (the new 2018 one is second from the right), and I liked the scenes of that lovely part of the world, and also found it handy to use it for practical purposes, noting down appointments and so on.
But this year it got wildly out of hand, and four people gave me calendars. I feel very bad, because I couldn't help my initial confounded reaction. I will have to go round and apologise, especially as I've now decided that I should put them all up, in different places. After all, there's no rule which says I have to write on each one. Each one sort of suits the rooms I've put them in. So, left to right (click on the image to see it larger), they depict: RAF vintage planes, mainly Lancasters; Johnny Halliday; South Devon; and Audubon's Birds of America. Thank you, Pat, Chris, Jill and Jane. And a Happy New Year.

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