Making lists, ticking things off, savouring the results with a sigh of satisfaction – it must be a boy thing.
I'm not talking about shopping lists, to-do lists or anything that might actually be useful in my day-to-day domestic life. No, these countdowns of inconsequential achievement, measured in individual flicks of a pen or strokes of a keyboard, always seem to have something to do with music I should listen to, films I should watch, books I should read. Like I say, it's probably a boy thing.
I have to admit, though, there's something extra-pleasurable about giving the hours of my entertainment some sort of external structure. Not all of the time – there is room for spontaneity in my routine, honest – but there are occasions when the very fact that things are lined up, one after the other, and have been heard/seen/read in a defined order, offers an additional level of contentment.
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It's why those 1001 Blah-de-blahs Before You Die books could have been published for me alone: if I'm guided by even one of their entries, I feel it's almost a duty to try out the lot, crossing them off as I go along. I've been doing this for the better part of 20 years with a book called Guide For The Film Fanatic by American critic Danny Peary: I've currently seen 989 of the 1500-plus movies (ranging from midnight schlock to foreign arthouse) he recommends for a complete take on cinema.
All of which is a roundabout way of apologising for the fact that I've inflicted another list-based project on Twitter. Twelve months ago, I decided to recommend a different album by a different Scottish act every day for a year, drawing attention to the breadth of music produced here over the past century.
So, in my list-like way, that's music ticked off. Let's move on to film for 2013. This year on my Twitter account (@mralanmorrison) I'll be building up #360DegreeCinema – a ride through the history and geography of world cinema, moving country by country around the globe (and chronologically within each country) one tweet at a time. In the final days of December, I'll select five films released in 2013 that also merit being on the list.
The whole thing is basically an expansion of the Around The World In 80 DVDs series that ran in the Sunday Herald a few years ago. I'll try to stick to films that are available on DVD, ones that in my opinion best represent a particular genre, era or national trait in filmmaking. I'm five entries into the series already, having begun in France at the birth of cinema with the Lumiere brothers' Arrival Of A Train At La Ciotat, before moving through the silent era with L'Arroseur Arrose, A Trip To The Moon and Napoleon, and into sound with Marius.
As with the albums, it's an excuse for me to revisit some favourites and, more importantly, introduce unfamiliar names to anyone interested enough to follow along. At a time when subtitled movies are rarely broadcast on TV, I genuinely hope it will give a few pointers when you're checking the arthouse listings or wondering what to order next from LoveFilm.