Once again this year, I haven't seen many films - not sure why but I haven't been particularly attracted to very many films this year. The nominees are:
- 'The Watchmen'
- 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'
- 'Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince'
- 'Broken Embraces'
- 'A Christmas Carol'
Best Theatre - Drama
I added four Shakespeare plays to my list this year, only one of which I'd seen before (and that was 30 years ago) so that's not bad, and two productions make it into my top five. The nominees in the drama category are:
- 'The Pitmen Painters'
- 'All's Well That Ends Well'
- 'A Doll's House'
- 'Time & The Conways'
Best Theatre - Musical
It's been an odd year for musicals, with a few opening based on films ('Sister Act' and 'Legally Blond' spring to mind) and others have been revived, but I haven't seen many - one of the ones I did see, 'La Cage' was nominated for a Baggie last year. The 2009 nominees are:
- 'Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert'
- 'La Cage Aux Folles'
- 'Into The Woods'
- 'Sweet Charity'
Best Theatre - Entertainment
This is my catch-all category for bits of theatre in its broadest sense that aren't drama or musicals. The nominees this year are all comedy shows, some with music as well:
- David Benson: 'To Be Frank' (Frankie Howerd)
- Justin Bond: 'Rites Of Spring'
- Sandra Bernhard: 'Without You I'm Nothing'
- Janeane Garofalo
I've seen 39 gigs this year so that gives me a wide selection to choose from, but it makes it very difficult to narrow the scope down to just five nominees and one outright winner. I've seen some of the artists more than once over the year and I've changed my mind several times in the run up to announcing the Baggies but I'm going to stick with:
- Grace Jones at The Roundhouse
- Madonna at The O2
- Pet Shop Boys at The O2 (December)
- Ray Davies at Hammersmith Apollo
- Public Image Ltd at The Electric Ballroom
I'm pleased to announce that the Baggie for Best Gig of 2009 goes to Public Image Ltd. I've waited 30 years to see and hear some of those great songs played and John and the lads played for over two hours, mining a great selection of songs and presenting them in a tight and forceful way. I hope there is new PiL material next year and a new tour. I'll be there.
Best Live Performance
This category is for the best individual live performance of a song and previous winners include The Human League (2008) and Siouxsie (2007). The nominees this year are:
- Grace Jones: 'Hurricane' at The Roundhouse
- Pink: 'Sober' at The O2
- Buffy Sainte-Marie: 'Soldier Blue' at The Queen Elizabeth Hall
- The Unthanks: 'The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw' at Shepherd's Bush Empire
- Pet Shop Boys: 'It Doesn't Often Snow At Christmas' at The O2 (December)
Simply for what it was and when it was, I must award the Baggie for best performance to the Pet Shop Boys and 'It Doesn't Always Snow At Christmas' at the O2 just before Christmas. A very happy memory indeed!
Best New Album
There's been a bumper crop of new albums this year, many re-mastered/re-released and loads of new compilations. This year I'm sticking to new albums in the sense of new music and previously unreleased music. The nominees are:
- New York Dolls: 'Cause I Sez So'
- The Unthanks: 'Here's The Tender Coming'
- Maximo Park: 'Quicken The Heart'
- Pet Shop Boys: 'Yes'
- Ray Davies: 'The Kinks Choral Collection'
The award for Best Album 2009 goes to 'Yes' by the Pet Shop Boys, an unrelentingly positive album even when dealing with difficult and tragic subjects. The extended version includes the great 'This Used To Be The Future' with Phil Oakey which is a big plus. The sheer bouncy joy of songs like 'Love, Etc' and 'Pandemonium' make this, for me at least, the best album of 2009.
Best New Song
This category attempts to single out the best new song of the year, not necessarily best new song released this year, but the best song I've heard for the first time this year so I include discovering 'old' songs for the first time. How do you narrow down thousands of new songs to just five nominees? Here's my attempt:
- Grace Jones: 'Williams Blood'
- Pet Shop Boys: 'Love, Etc'
- Julie Felix: 'Masters Of War'
- Maximo Park: 'The Kids Are Sick Again'
- Blondie: 'We Three Kings'
Once again this year, I've seen a good selection of legends from the '60s and '70s, particularly with the Motown 50 celebrations going on this year:
- Grace Jones
- Marianne Faithfull
- Yoko Ono
- Patti Smith
- Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
- Mary Wilson
- Ray Davies
- Buffy Sainte-Marie
- Gladys Knight
- Brenda Holloway
- Chris Clark
- Chaka Khan
- Steeleye Span
- John Lydon & PiL
The Baggie for Best Legend goes to Chris Clark for her sheer delight at singing to a big live audience and her happiness that people still want to hear her sing - we do Chris, so please come back soon!
And there you have it, the Plastic Bag Awards for 2009. Congratulations to all the nominees, to the winners and, indeed, to everyone I've seen, whether nominated or not, for making it a very entertaining year.