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Best of '09

What was the most memorable arts event of 2009? Were you blown away by Enron at the Royal Court? Did you love Lily Allen at Glastonbury? Was Antony Gormley's Fourth Plinth the defining cultural moment of the year? Or perhaps it was an unheralded gig or play in your local theatre which stole the show?

Here, Independent writers name some of their favourite cultural moments of the year.

In the comments form below or via email to arts@independent.co.uk nominate your favourite - in film, music, theatre, comedy, dance or visual arts - with a brief explanation as to why it tops your list and we'll print a selection in The Independent Readers' Review of 2009.
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independent minds

Julian Hall: Just for Laughs and more

Posted by Best of '09
  • Tuesday, 8 December 2009 at 12:34 pm
My cultural highlight of 2009 was the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, held in July. I realise that this may not sound immediately relevant to a UK readership but in actual fact there was a lot of homegrown talent out there including John Cleese. Writing exclusively for independent.co.uk I was able to get a sneak peak at Cleese’s return to live performance, notable more for the occasion than the content.

Moreover, there was a chance for me to flag up great US acts like Louis CK before he came over here and to check out the stand up set of Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari, a young man with some corking gags and hopefully a great future ahead of him. I have to also name-check "blast from the past" Bobcat Goldthwait (aka Zed from the Police Academy series) for one of the funniest half hour sets I’ve heard in a while.

While mooching around Montreal my mp3 was largely playing Flo Rida’s R.O.O.T.S. which would count as another highlight of this year. While decidedly not a fan of the track ‘Jump’ I got hooked by the bewitching arrangements on the tracks ‘Finally Here’ and ‘Never’ as well as the riffs of ‘Available’ and ‘Mind on My Money’. While we are stopping for tunage I am currently wearing out Jay Z’s ‘Empire State of Mind’, I might yet give the rest of that album (The Blueprint 3) a chance. While I wouldn’t want you to think that all my cultural life was packed into the month of July, I caught the film Adventureland on the way over to Montreal and found this ‘Apatow-lite’ effort played very well to my penchant for cute teen movies.

During the rest of the year I greatly enjoyed the Edinburgh Fringe shows of Tom Wrigglesworth and The Pajama Men, meanwhile, on tour, Daniel Kitson, Dylan Moran and Michael McIntyre stood out for me. During my down-time in between comedy shows I’ve lapped up True Blood on TV and am now safe in the knowledge that I don’t just have to watch Buffy on repeat for a heady mix of hot blondes and vamps. Result.

Julian Hall is The Independent's comedy critic

Tell us your favourite cultural moments of the year in the comments form below or email them to arts@independent.co.uk. We'll print the best in the paper.


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