Welcome to the 2015 Coven Awards, and thank you for enduring yet another year at Castlette DeVice.
Yes, although we've celebrated ten years of this blogging lark, this is only the seventh Coven Awards ceremony due to three rather slack years.
Yeah! We're looking at you 2011, 2012, and 2013.You may be pleased to know that this year's awards show will not be as drawn out as last year's tedious affair.
That's what you think!
Yeah! We got our second wind when creating the award headers and now there are loads of them!Oh, dear gods... We'd better get on with it then, I suppose. As usual, I'll recap our blogging efforts through the year.
And I'll present the various awards.
Right. Take a deep breath and don't look down as away we go:
January: The year began with a visit from Beaky and his rather shrill wife; we flicked through a future issue of wwwWOW!; and Bridget Jones's Houseboy's Diary was on the reading list.
February: Procrastination meant an array of cakes were displayed; members of the Coven and certain Flying Monkeys journeyed over the Cusp to star in On The Mistress's Secret Service and Glitter is Forever!
March: We got lost with the Stepford Houseboys; finally escaped from the Cusp in Goldfing-longerer; got mistaken for a UFO; and managed to get another year older.
Exceedingly Good Cake: Although Mr Kipling has nothing to be concerned about, I did rather enjoy making these quilted cupcakes:
And this rich chocolate cake has become a staple here at Castlette DeVice:
A Delightfully Distracting Discovery: Actually, we've discovered a few snippets and whatnots this year that have stuck with us rather than being a flash-in-the-pan.
Things like The Fall TV series with Gillian Anderson as a senior police officer after serial killer Jamie Dornan (yes, him from the 50 Shades of Grey film - we didn't watch it, but Inexcuseable has kept us up-to-date, sadly);
Bones - the Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz vehicle about solving crimes with just the victims bones as clues/evidence (we binge-watched box set after box set);
Syntax - an English electronic band (after we heard the track "Pride" in an episode of Bones);
Temples - another English rock band with a 60s sound (thanks to Ms Scarlet, here);
and Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection - a fortnightly magazine that comes with a little metal and plastic model starship (see below).
The Sleekest Starfleet Starship: This is not open to all Starfleet starships otherwise the Vesta-class USS Aventine would easily win. No, this is only including the five little starship models I have from The Official Starships Collection (as mentioned in the Delightfully Distracting Discovery section above). The Collection is up to issue 62 now, but I only have five - my favourites of those that have been released so far:
In last year's Coven Awards, the Excelsior-class USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-B) won the Sexiest Starship award. This year, however, is a different matter. While the Enterprise is undoubtably sleek, the model just isn't quite good enough to see off the, frankly awesome, Akira-class USS Thunderchild!
April: Thor, a merman, and a hunky warlock got us a little hot under the collar; Barbara Cartland's hats made a showing; the battle of the year took place - Jelly Babies vs Zoids; and we visited the beach to get over it all.
May: Beaky popped back; we held an exclusive display of some of Barbara Cartland's private-collection hats; the year's first look around Castlette DeVice's garden; and, along with some blog redecorating, the Coven was reorganised.
June: Amidst music and aquilegias, Brenton Thwaites popped in; we suffered another monstrous week; from the artistic fingers of the Host, quilted cakes and be-zippered tight T-shirts appeared; and the Coven paid a visit to Australia (in the space shuttle, of all things) to celebrate Princess's birthday.
The Most Phenomenal Physique: The nominees for this award have all had me clutching my pearls and "having thoughts I haven't entertained since World War II". Step forward Thor (that merman was pretty impressive, too); that warlock from the next village over; Mistress Maddie's BarBoy from The Raven; my Hulking Blond Delivery God; Brenton Thwaites; and Razorlock.
|Who needs a face with arms like these?|
(although the Hulking Blond Delivery God's face is brutally handsome)
And just look at that simply astonishing BarBoy!
I find that I can't choose between the Delivery God and the Barboy. I've already spent far too long
Showdown of the Showiest Chapeaux: Not the Tin Foil ones, sadly (as they've already featured in their own competition and awards ceremony). No, this award is aimed squarely at the many hats of Dame Barbara Cartland.
As I can't decide between Coy Car Park (by Issey Miyake) and Koi Carp Ark (restored by Majorie Courtenay-Latimer), I've chosen Puffer Fish instead.
The Most Enchanting Chocolate: This category is all Ms Scarlet's fault. It was her coverage of the Littlehampton Confectionery Display Team's annual 'Exposure' competition that did it. So, without further ado, may I present the nominees: Ferrero Rocher, Cadbury's Flake, and Cadbury's Milk Tray.
To be honest, I'm not a big fan of any of these chocolates, although I do love the now infamous adverts! If I had to pick a favourite (and I suppose I do), the ad for Milk Tray would be my winner because who on Earth would go through all the hassle of cliff-diving and shark-wrestling to deliver a box of crappy old Milk Tray? Ridiculous!
August: Getting rid of Houseboys (books); a not-quite-infernal potato salad; my hulking blond delivery god didn't deliver; our 800th post was celebrated with brownies and bees; Pens!; and, finally, a walk in the woods.
September: Tits and 'tails made a show in the garden; and the Tin Foil Hat Compo was unleashed.
The Most Exquisitely Exuberant Eyebrows: We have
|Here we have Grant Gustin, Brenton Thwaites, Tom Mison, and The Raven BarBoy all eyebrow-voguing for the camera!|
The Most Popular Post: I've already mentioned three of the most popular posts from this year back in November with Who is the Muddy, Solanum Sallet-eating Cowbag?, so it should come as no surprise that the most popular post is one of those three. With by far and away the most hits is: Solanum Sallet. I still can't quite work out why a recipe for potato salad - however infernal it was originally intended to be - should be such a hit?
The Hunkiest Highbrow Houseboy: Maybe describing them as "highbrow" is being too generous? Just because they appear on the cover of a novel doesn't mean they actually read it (or any other books), or are even capable of reading, for that matter!
Nonetheless, out of all the Houseboys that have appeared on the covers of Infomaniac Publishing's Houseboy Books, the one on the cover of Bridget Jones's Houseboy's Diary is my favourite. Plus, I like the fact that he appears to be smirking at the 'words of praise' for the author. Or that he's about to pull his jeans off...
October: A musical interlude; Queen Victoria is to blame for the UK smelling like cum; The 10th anniversary of this blog was celebrated with a Tin Foil Hat Extravaganza!; we were distracted by demons and warlocks; took a magic carpet ride around Cromer with the family; and told a Hallowe'en tale.
November: Sunset at Samhain; another OFFICIAL SPARKY TIM CUT OUT 'N KEEP ACTIONLESS FIGURE! (well, it was his birthday); and we caught up with a semi-clothed Brenton Thwaites again.
December: The Host tried his hand at LCARS displays; Cedplop killed Christmas; we walked towards Winter; Items of Interest returned with Ampelmännchen; and macabre Cromer Crab Cadavers were displayed.
The Most Watched Movie: Despite having watched the darkly comedic, retro futuristic Space Station 76 three or four times this year, there is one film that I've seen far more times. Surprisingly (for me too, as I initially poo-pooed this film as a load of twaddle), that film is Austenland!
Never taking itself seriously, Austenland is an hilarious romcom/faux-period drama masterpiece full of taxidermied birds, painful hair-dos, engineered romance, stuck-up hostesses, ghastly fake-tanned servants, a male lead who manages to out-Darcy Mr Darcy (who doesn't appear in this film except in cardboard cut-out form), impressive abs and pecs, inappropriate Nelly songs, hopeless English accents, Jennifer Coolidge, bizarre tannoy announcements, large arses (oops! I mean largesse), live foal births, surprise ninjas, more quote-able lines than one can shake a stick at ("Shut up, Fartright!"), Jane Seymour, rubbish theatrical productions, Kiwi actors who weren't in The Hobbit, make-overs, more Jennifer Coolidge, trouser bulges, pool parties, "Bloody Amerwicans!", and an example of locomotion right out of the Ministry of Silly Walks.
This is a film that absolutely needs to be seen more than once as there are so many things happening in the background of many of the scenes, that only become apparent with multiple viewings. I can't recommend Austenland enough!
The Most Melodious Music: I've bought five albums this year - the first four you can read about here, but, if you don't want to click, they are: Syntax - Meccano Mind, Temples - Sun Structures, Erasure - The Violet Flame, Royksopp - The Inevitable End. I rediscovered Kim Wilde here, especially the singles "You Came", "Four Letter Word", and "Never Trust A Stranger"; and, later in the year, discovered Miami Horror while clothes shopping in H&M and ended up buying their album All Possible Futures.
Miami Horror is the surprise winner here, beating perennial favourites Erasure and Royksopp easily, as there's not a track on the album that I'd skip past. Here's their track "All It Ever Was" (no video, so maybe just open it in another window and listen to it while perusing the rest of this post).
The Least Frightful Filthy Friday: Just like with last year's awards, I didn't scar my retinas too much this year scanning through the Filthy Fridays, as The Mistress has been (unsurprisingly) slack. With the frequency of her posting, that is.
No unruly bush or overhanging fupa, no items inserted where they were never meant to be: I'm going with this one from 13th November which heralds the opening of the Infomaniac Cocktail Lounge. Hurrah!
Intriguing Titles: A selection of post titles from the Coven that ensnared my attention immediately.
From Infomaniac: If it's not on the internet, does it exist?
From Wonky Words: An Extract from a newspaper article - November 2045, or Charmaine escapes, and an accident waiting to happen...
From lx entropy: Thunder Sleet, or Xyvatba
From Palais de Steff: Invasion of the Triffids...
Bewitching Book: With 59 books read this year, one may think that choosing the most bewitching would be a difficult task. However, among the many fantastic books, one stands out head and shoulders among the rest (and it's not even a Star Trek book!) - Here it is, the 55th book from back in November along with my review from the time:
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers
"I love this book. I LOVE IT!
"It's about the (mostly) close-knit crew of a spaceship, the Wayfarer, that opens interstellar tunnels from one star system to another, allowing travel, commerce, etc. What they do isn't anywhere near as important as the crew themselves, something that the author and I agree on, which is why I enjoyed this book so much.
"This wonderful novel focuses on how the diverse crew get along and interact with each other and the people they meet during their year-or-so long job. There are so many set-ups for obvious conflict and cliched tropes, but none of them ever come to pass which is so wonderful! These are nice people. They are enlightened, fun, accepting, loving, definitely not perfect, but a far cry from the damaged, bitter characters that could so easily have populated this story. Race, gender, sexuality - all these topics and more are explored without hand-wringing angst, melodrama, and violence.
"There are a few horrible moments, though: an attack by space pirates (but even this is handled in a brilliantly enlightened way), the nearing extinction of a sapient race, the arrest of a crew member, and an unexpected death. But, even these moments are handled in a non-obvious, non-stereotypical, but realistic way.
"While reading this book, and now that I've finished it, I'm reminded of Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future in Star Trek: A utopian future with no war, no disease or famine, where everyone gets along for the greater good. The author has managed to capture this vision, but with realistic touches.
"Amazing! I thoroughly recommend The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, and I hope Becky Chambers gets to write more stories in this universe she's created."
~ ~ ~
And that's it! Another year at Castlette DeVice is almost over.
Thank you all for visiting and putting up with us.
And thank you for having us over at your places, too.
From myself, the Host, and the SubCs, we wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year!