Sunday, December 28, 2003
Dah-dah-dah-daaaaah-da-dah... Laydeez and gen'lemen, it's the inaugural, slightly-rushed and not-at-all-pointless

MarkCity Awards 2003

aka the Markies. Even though that sounds like a make of dog biscuit.

2003 has been packed full of more fun than a bag of fun-sized Mars bars. It started beside a temple in Kyoto and will end (probably) in a flat in Tunbridge Wells. Hey, that's not our flat I'm talking about - we're not sad enough to stay in on New Year's Eve. Not this year anyway. We shall be raising a toast to all the marvellous things that happened in 2003: coming home, spending two months on the dole, new jobs, the patter of tiny rat feet, Wife Swap, parents splitting up, failed Mars missions, war, worldwide death and mayhem! Hurrah! So without any further preamble, let's start awarding the, um, awards. Starting on a musical note.

The Spandex Catsuit Award for Best Band: There's only one contender - they came, they saw, they sang in shrill voices. They believed in a thing called love. They are The Darkness. They started the year as no-hopers and ended it astride the globe. Well, at No.2 in the UK singles chart. They're all about 45, proving that I could still be a rock star if I wanted to be!

The When I Hear Music I Just Can't Make My Feet Behave Award for Best Single: No longer will we ever have to sing 'Happy birthday to you'. Instead, we can chant, 'Yo shorty, it's your birthday/We're gonna sip Bacardi like it's your birthday'. The single of 2003: 'In Da Club' by Fiddy Cent.

The Tinnitus is Great Award for Best Gig: Suede at the London Astoria. But don't get me started on it coz I'll start blubbing again...

The That Dog Don't Give a F*** Award for Best Album: Yes, it's the Lowestoft rock gods again. Just pipping Belle & Sebastian and The Strokes to the title, the top album of 2003 is 'Permission to Land' by The Darkness. Bringing big hair and bigger choruses back to music and not being at all ironic. He said ironically.

The Phil Collins Award for Crimes Against Ears: As always, the charts this year were clogged up with crap. But who was the worst offender? Phil didn't do anything this year - apart from getting mugged (tee hee) - so he's ruled out. The biggest pile of musical poo this year was probably the appalling 'Make Love' by Oliver Cheetham. Closely followed by Westlife's 'Mandy'. Even they hated it. But not as much as the rest of us.

And the rest...

The Wot No Hobbits Award for Best Film: Yes, yes, the Return of the King was pretty fab, but it's ruled out because it hurt my bum too much watching it. And because The Two Towers was better. Best movie of 2003 was the sublime Lost In Translation, which just beat Kill Bill and the Rules of Attraction. BTW, the biggest cinematic disappointment of the year had to be the Matrix follow-ups, which were so awful that one of the Wachowski brothers is having a sex change so no-one will recognise him.

The Mmmm...Pink Knickers Award for Top Foxstress: Of course, my girlfriend (who owns some rather fetching pink knickers herself, courtesy of Kylie and Agent Provocateur) has had to be ruled out of this award in the interests of fairness. So, narrowly beating Eliza 'Faith-out-of-Buffy' Dushku, this honour goes to Scarlett Johansson. Sophie Ellis-Bextor ruled herself out this year by having a dodgy hair-dye job and releasing a rubbish 2nd album. I'm sure she'll be mortified.

The One For the Ladies Award for Superbuff Hottie: Just to show you that MarkCity is not one of the last refuges of the sexist, I've allowed Butter to name her own object of desire. She insisted it should be me, but I persuaded her to name someone else, so she reluctantly nominated Orlando Bloom (the elf-bloke out of LOTR). Hmmm, he's so dreamy... Actually, I wish my name was Orlando.

The Not Vernon God Little Award for Best Book: It hasn't been a vintage year for books, despite JK Rowling's best efforts. It was the year of the teen massacre in fiction, with DBC (Dull Bloody Crap) Pierre's Booker-winning debut and my own winner - Twelve by Nick McDonnell. Waddya mean, it was published in 2002? Damn. But that's the kind of year it's been.

The I've Just Got Something In My Eye, Honest, Award for Saddest Farewell. Sniff. Parp. Sob. This year we sang a rousing chorus of 'We'll Meet Again' for Japan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and - no surprises - Suede. Well, it made me sad, anyway.

The Squeeeeeeeaaaaaaaak!!! Award for Rat of the Year: Hey, I'm not going to show favouritism. This award is shared between Nancy and Syd. I love both those little critters.

The Jim Davidson Award for Most Despicable Tosspot (Um, As Opposed To Lovable Tosspot?) Award: Whew, this is a tricky one... there are so many candidates, from the obvious (hi George) to the more obscure (hello, New York subway cop). The winner, though, in this most prestigious category, is Madonna. I used to be a big fan of Madge's, when I was 15 and hormonal, but this year she didn't do a thing right. Her records sucked, she vanity-published two rubbish books, she went hunting, she snogged Britney (ooh, controversial), she made that Gap advert and she continued to sleep with the almost-as-loathsome Guy 'I'm really rather working class, me' Richie. Spit. This award comes in the form of a bucket of bile.

And finally...

The Mother Theresa Award for Most Wonderful Human Being: Fewer candidates here than in the previous category, but there are lots of people who deserve it. And no, that doesn't include any of the bloody England Rugby World Cup Squad. I was tempted to give the award to Mori Chax, the inventor of Gloomy Bear, for bringing al that joy to the world. But my hero of 2004 is Jonathan Ive.

Who? I hear you cry.

Jonathan Ive is the head designer at Apple. He invented the iPod. And the iMac. And the iBook. He isn't a politician or an artist (not in the strictest sense, anyway) but in his own small way, he makes people a little happier.

Happy New Year - see you in 2004.