2023 in media (3/3) — listening, etc.


Almost zero new releases for me this year, so instead here’s a top 10 of albums I listened to for the first time (or the first time in many years) and then over and over:

  1. Automatic for the People, R.E.M.
  2. Townes Van Zandt, Townes Van Zandt
  3. Cymande, Cymande
  4. Dummy, Portishead
  5. Midnight Marauders, A Tribe Called Quest
  6. Violator, Depeche Mode
  7. Halfaxa, Grimes[1]
  8. John Prine, John Prine
  9. Visions, Grimes
  10. Our Mother the Mountain, Townes Van Zandt


Blank Check with Griffin and David, Trillbilly Worker's Party, Trashfuture, Taskmaster: The Podcast, Tech Won't Save Us, Who? Weekly, Tides of History, This Had Oscar Buzz.


Bieke Depoorter's Michael — see Erin Brockovich entry here.

These three in particular from the lovely but quite weirdly presented exhibition of Paul McCartney’s photographs at the National Portrait Gallery. With love, the few by Linda that made it into the gallery showed him up a bit, because she really has the eye, however you articulate what that means, but there's something very moving about witnessing that period from a lens at the inside, and particularly how often he was looking outward — at the boys, yes, but also the fans, the police, the cars. For a while, if you headed from Charing Cross to Leicester Square through the St Martin-in-the-Fields path, you could catch that perfect image of George framed in one of the gallery windows, like a shining vision from the past.


I played lots of other things as well (Banished, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor/War (Mordor is better), The Sims 4, Watch_Dogs 2, Detroit: Become Human, Animal Crossing: Wild World, etc), but the only game I want to talk about is Red Dead Redemption 2.

When I was applying for university — almost a decade ago, now — I went for an open day at Edinburgh, and one of the things the computer science department was particularly proud of was the number of their graduates who went on to work for Rockstar North. When the head of department was telling us this, he also said that every former student who'd gone to work there had essentially dropped off the map — excruciatingly long hours and a culture of secrecy will do that — and he made it sound like they'd all gone to war, or to Dracula's castle, or MI5. I think at the time this sounded attractive to me, part of a misguided longing for prestige that has ebbed with age, but now it sounds horrifying, even though they've made more perfect games than any other AAA studio.

I played RDR2 all the way through (77 hours’ worth) while I had a cold (I always have a cold), which made it an odd 4DX experience — every time Arthur coughed from his TB I coughed from my cold. “Immersion” is an incredibly overused word in relation to games given how rarely it actually happens, but it happens here, and the rewards this game gives you for your attention and your time feel so careful and so considered — a kind of respect for the audience we should expect from all of our artists. Maybe I'll play through it again during my next cold.

I also want to shout out my Nintendo DS, already the best thing I bought this year but made even better because it helped me to bond with my cousin’s brilliant kids. Growing up I was always the youngest — by decades in my UK family and by years amongst my cousins — so I spent very little time with younger children in my teenage years/early adulthood, and I sort of worried I wouldn't know how to talk to them, but there was something deeply reassuring about how easy it was to find a rapport, a melding of the minds between generations of Pritchard nerds, uniting under one shared feeling: Nintendogs.


Slightly weak year, tbh! The CMBYN piece is a stealth Maurice piece and is pretty good, I think. I also wrote 20+ capsule reviews for the mags, some of which were decent.

The best “”work”” I did this year was volunteering at my local library, something I would recommend to anyone who has a tendency towards nihilism.[2] Over summer one kid had read an abridged edition of Macbeth and when I asked him about it he described the entire plot of the play to me in flawless detail. Just makes you feel a bit better about the state of the world!


Just because this is something I got really into this year, and it would feel ridiculous talking about it anywhere else. I’ve played around a bit and done loads and loads of research (i.e. watching hours of journalling videos on YouTube) and this is what I’ve landed with — it works perfectly for me and it’s helping me to stay off my phone a bit more. For this year, I’m keeping the Stalogy and the Atomas but also throwing in a Take a Note A6 for scheduling and task tracking.






I know people are sick of these but I love them!


handwriting, cheap thrills, eroticism, dream analysis, literacy, hacking, textures, house parties, piracy, permacomputing, negging, strangers, the alternative press, youthful vigor, irony, action


puritanism, perfectionism, moderation, stools, small plates, remote work tourism, posting, personal brands, the cloud, unearned cynicism, "young adult", streaming, mindfulness, SEO, pivot to video, western civilisation

If you read all of these posts, thank you, and belated Happy New Year <3

My media resolutions for 2024 mostly revolve around leaving the house more — listening to more new music in order to attend more gigs (send recs!), going to more plays (vs zero times in 2023), going to more gallery exhibitions, going to more rep screenings, and reading more books.

No big personal resolutions really — just want to use my phone less, negotiate myself a raise, and to try to have more fun. And, as always, to keep hoping machine running.

  1. NB most of these were “”procured”” a while ago and listened to on my iPod, so I am categorically not funding or approving of anything these artists (Grimes) have said or done since!! ↩︎

  2. Doesn't have to be a library, obviously, although it's a lovely chill environment. Anything that aligns with your interests and involves other people is worth doing for your brain and your soul. ↩︎

Tagged: , , , , ,

Previous article: 2023 in media (2/3) — watching