So sue us, we're just now revealing the Second Annual outsideLeft Best of 2005™ list an entire month after 2005 ended. Why the delay? A multitude of reasons: Too many votes, not enough monkeys; the extended stay in rehab after that New Years Eve bender; the garden-variety panic attacks and mental breakdowns. So chalk the delay up to what you will, but I'm here, you're there and we're yours. Now on with the handing out of the Golden Bootlace™ trophies.
Goalhanger of the Year
As you may or may not know, the outsideLeft Goalhanger of the Year™ is our hallmark award - the award that we should probably reveal at the very end of this list in an attempt of some sort of suspense, but we're so excited about ourselves, we couldn't wait. So without further ado, the Golden Bootlace™ for Goalhanger of 2005 goes to Jann Wenner. An interesting pick for sure, but it makes sense - as publisher of the most popular pop culture magazine in the world, Wenner has pandered to the lowest common denominator for the last 10 years, but 2005 in particularly. With cover stories on "the Children of Rock," Coldplay and Paul McCartney, the magazine truly scraped the bottom of the barrel.
Honorable mentions: Pat Riley, Miami Heat head coach & Ben Wener, OC Register
Album of the Year
Beck + Guero: In a year where every hipster with either a shaggy beard, white vinyl belt or skinny tie broke their back to be different, Beck said "fuck you" to the music de jour and released an album that can really only be described as a mix of the cut & paste sloppiness of Odelay, the funk of Midnite Vultures, the bossa nova touch of Mutations and the lushness of Sea Change. Not a stinker on the album and you readers thought so too. Yes, one of our writers gave Guero a lukewarm review earlier in the year, but if you notice, he's not around anymore - Beck is.
Honorable mentions: Broadcast + Tender Buttons, Architecture In Helsinki + In Case We Die
Song of the Year
There weren't many songs that defined 2005, were there? Sure there were a few catchy chestnuts like Jamiroquai's Seven Days In Sunny June (my personal pick), but other than that, where were the anthems? The calls to arms? The ass shakers? We would have even settled for a mild toe tapper. But it's not our call, it's yours and the majority of you voted for Franz Ferdinand's Do You Want To and we agree - a great song. Very catchy, very quick (all songs should be 3:38 minutes) and very danceable, which any hipster with a copy of the NME tucked in their hip pocket will tell you, is essential.
Honorable mentions: "Seven Days in Sunny June" by Jamiroquai & "Take My Time" by Junior Senior
Performing Artist of the Year
George W. Bush, Jr. and his administration: Not exactly what we were looking for, but maybe that was our fault as we really didn't list any rules or restrictions this year (we just assumed you knew). With that said, we really don't see much fault with your choice, Bush really has mastered that deer-in-the-headlights gaze, hasn't he (any Juliard-trained thespian will tell you you're either born with it or you ain't). We were thinking more along the lines of the White Stripes who we caught at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles about six months ago - - some say that show was almost spiritual - - but that's just us.
Honorable mentions: Franz Ferdinand & the White Stripes
Movie of the Year
Match Point (Woody Allen, director): A seamless film through and through and outsideLeft readers felt the same way. Some attributed this to the fact that he stepped out of his Manhattan bubble, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it was because he wasn't in the actual film (there's nothing worse then having to deal with a senior citizen Woody hook up with a twentysomething blonde with huge tits). He was smart to let Jonathan Rhys-Meyers do all the heavy lifting.
Honorable mentions: The Squid & the Whale & The History of Violence
Drink of the Year
Vodka: For two years straight, vodka has swept the Golden Bootlaces with dominance (the crystal clear elixir took this year's votes by over 75%. And we have to agree - vodka is the best - we're partial to Grey Goose, but readers really like had a thing for the tried and true Stolichnaya brand vodka.
Honorable mentions: water & mineral water (with lemon)
Website of the Year
Defamer.com: There'll be some days when I'm so bored, I'll just click on to Defamer.com and hit the refresh button for a few hours until something new pops up. Sure, it's a blog, but as our readers stated in their voting ballots, it's still the best blog of 2005 by far. I do find fault with their layout (sometimes their left margins disappear off the screen), but that could be my fault - I use a three year old, refurbished IBM - yep, I'm broke.
Honorable mentions: CraigsList.org & Google.com
Record Label of the Year
Matador Records & Southern Lord Records (TIE): Matador didn't put out a whole lot this year, but the stuff that did make it to the shelves also made it straight through to our reader's hearts. New stuff from outsideLeft favorite Laura Cantrell, Steven Malkmus, that Interpol remix album, the midyear Belle and Sebastian release and Yo La Tengo's triple disc set all helped Matador to take home the Golden Bootlace Award for the second year straight. Congrats, Matador. As for Southern Lord Records, 2005 was the year outsideLeft readers got back in touch with their dark side and Southern Lord provided the breadcrumb trail that was followed through the underworld of black and doom metal. From their reissues of classic albums by Saint Vitus and Boris to their in-house talent like Sunn O))) (the first metal band in decades cool enough to name drop) their impeccable roster has opened outsideLeft reader's eyes to the darkness. Hail Satan!
Honorable mentions: New West Records, Warp Records
Read of the Year
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (Hardcover, leatherbound edition): outsideLeft readers have been long accused of being pretentious and pompous and maybe that's true, but one can't deny the fact that OL readers picked the new leaterbound boxset of the complete masterworks of the Calvin and Hobbes. A good pick in my book. I once remember coming down after a night of taking a few mushrooms after my second girlfriend broke up with me while trying to read a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. The strip came alive and began moving like a black and white film. I don't know why I mention that, but I think about that beautiful evening when I read Calvin and Hobbes.
Honorable mentions: Freakonomics & POPLife Magazine
Television Program of the Year
Arrested Development (Fox Broadcasting): Best show of 2005 for sure: All the in jokes, the intertwining storylines, the sharp writing - it all equals programming which is deemed too smart for the unwashed masses. As of early February, Arrested Development is getting bumped off of Fox, but there's a slight chance that a cable network (Showtime is the current frontrunner) is going to pick it up. Too bad since absolutely no one subscribes to Showtime.
Honorable mentions: Katrina Hurricane coverage & Survivor: Guatemala
Artist or Art Show of the Year
Basquiat @ MOCA/Los Angeles: Because outsideLeft has such as huge base of readers in California, it's no surprise that Basquait's show at LA's MOCA won this category with a landslide victory. Although reports of the show came back as overwhelming and maybe too much to take in all at once, it was still nice that LA finally got a respectable show.
Honorable mentions: Forms & Functions @ Washburn Gallery NYC, Vintage Vandals @ Savage Gallery Portland, Oregon
Gadget of the Year
Numark iPod DJ Mixer: Surely this cute little device is going to make it that much easier for amateur DJs with tin ears to ruin a perfectly good evening out at your local bar, but there's also the chance that the Numark just might also expose you to more new music - there's a chance, right? Personally, I'm a little concerned that the birth of the Numark is going to put the final nail in the vinyl record's coffin, but that's progress I suppose.
Honorable mentions: the Xbox 360 & the Hitachi Magic Wand
Person of the Year
The Google Nerds: This one was quiet obvious - the Google nerds (founders Sergey Brin & Larry Page) were my choice, too. Is there anything these geeks can't do? Email, instant messaging, rapid porn downloading, news gathering services, 3-D maps and much more. And when the CIA (or was it the FBI?) told them they wanted the search results of one million random Google users so the government could check up on the American web browsing public, they said, "Fuck You." Well, maybe not fuck you, but they balked at the idea. Who knows what these rich geek gajizillionaires have in store for 2006?
Honorable mentions: Willie Nelson & Bram Cohen
Death of the Year
George Best: The worst blow outsideLeft.com and its readers suffered in 2005 was the death of George Best, the original outside left. George began his football career at 15 when Manchester United scout Bob Bishop telegrammed coach Sir Matt Busby and proclaimed, "I have found a genius." Even though he played for over 14 football clubs in his 21 years in uniform, he'll always be known as a Man. U Red Devil where he scored 178 goals over 466 games in 11 seasons. A combination of searing pace, incredible balance, ability with both feet, goalscoring prowess and "cheeky-chappie" image helped rank him amongst the greatest players ever to have set foot on a football pitch. News of his death led to tears on the streets of his hometown of Belfast, before and during his funeral not unlike the tears that fell in the offices of outsideleft.
Honorable mentions: PitchforkMedia.com & Pat Morita
DJ of the Year
Janda Baldwin, KCRW: By a landslide, Janda Baldwin swipes the Golden Bootlace from such DJ luminaries as Howard Stern, Nic Harcourt, DJ Jazzy Jeff and anorexic actor, DJ Qualls. Readers have followed her from her early gig at the now defunct Soundbreak.com (when fans and stalkers could watch her in the studio via a distorted webcam while Ms. Baldwin spun hits of the first year of the millennium) to one of the best DJs on KCRW. Why do outsideLeft readers and staffers love Baldwin so much? Maybe it's her sultry voice, maybe it's her impeccable taste in indie tunes (a sweet mix of stuff like Nick Cave, Cornershop, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, t-Rex and Belle & Sebastian. Maybe it's just that she's the most beautiful human being in the world.
Honorable mentions: Nic Harcourt & the skinny Asian guy who DJed my sister's wedding
Alarcon co-founded outsideleft with lamontpaul in 2004. His work for o/l has attracted the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers, oh and probably the fbi too.