David Biddle

Frontend Web Developer

2021 end of year roundup

Another year around the Sun. As with 2020, not exactly a vintage year on planet Earth, but still worth reflecting on.

I said in last year's post that I'd try and blog more this year, but I didn't. I also said that I don't generally make resolutions and I'm sticking with that. I've written a separate post on the biggest thing I did this year because this post is long enough as it is.


Cinemas have been open for a lot of this year, which has been nice, but I've been keeping to larger, emptier screens wherever possible. My nearest cinema (14-screen neon behemoth Showcase Avonmeads) was apparently once the busiest cinema in Europe, but is now virtually empty at most showings. Not ideal for them, but perfect for social distancing! That does skew the list slightly towards films with a wide release.

Eligibility criteria: I've limited myself here to works that got a UK theatrical or streaming release in 2021, which rules out Chungking Express and Desperately Seeking Susan among others.

There are also some films I haven't watched yet but which I think I'm highly likely to enjoy. I reserve the right to watch these over the long weekend and add them to the list above if I like them.


Like last year it's sitcom-heavy and there are a few repeat appearances (Ghosts, Succession, Inside No. 9). Halt & Catch Fire falls afoul of the eligibility criteria, so I'm calling it out here - I'm not going to stop recommending it until everyone I know (including you!) has watched it.

Eligibility criteria: here I've only included programmes which had at least 1 new episode in 2021.


I got to go to a small number of live events this year, of which my favourite was Daði Freyr at the Trinity Centre.

Eligibility criteria: albums or EPs listed as 2021 releases on Spotify or Bandcamp. I'm not including reissues or rerecords, so Kid A Mnesia and Red (Taylor's version) don't qualify.


In May I decided it was a good idea to give John le Carré a try. I'm glad I did! I'm going through his books chronologically and I'm about to start A Perfect Spy (1986). I didn't particularly enjoy The Naive and Sentimental Lover (1971) (his only non-'genre' novel) but the rest have been very good so far. This has skewed the list a bit.

Eligibility criteria: books of any age which I read for the first time in 2021.


Board games

Here are some board games I played for the first time this year and enjoyed:

Video games

I recently got a Nintendo Switch and have since sunk a lot of hours into Cuphead - it's maddeningly difficult, especially given my poor hand-eye coordination, but it's also fantastic. I also played SpyParty - another one that I enjoyed despite being terrible at it. I played through A Way Out with my partner, which was a lot of fun (I loved the split screen mechanic) but i felt was undermined a bit by the ending.

Spoiler At the end, one of your characters betrays the other, and then you end up fighting. Prior to this, the game is entirely cooperative, and works well for 2 players with different levels of ability and experience. After this point, it's just a matter of time until the more experienced player kills the other, and there's no alternative ending that allows you to avoid this.


Over the course of this year I: