Review of 2020

It was a strange year as I suddenly lost my interest in fiction (films and books) in the middle of it; doubt that this was related to COVID-19 but… So, much of these ‘best 10s’ refer to the first six months of the year.

Films of the year

  1. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  2. So Long, My Son
  3. Lillian
  4. Parasite
  5. The Truth
  6. Bacurau
  7. Weathering With You
  8. Little Women
  9. Lovers Rock
  10. Kuessipan

Films seen this year

  1. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  2. The Searchers
  3. Blade Runner 2019
  4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  5. Casablanca
  6. Children of Men
  7. Under the Skin
  8. So Long, My Son
  9. Lillian
  10. Parasite

Books of the year

  1. Beethoven, Anguish and Triumph, Jan Swafford
  2. Olive, Again, Elizabeth Strout
  3. Miles Davis, Ian Carr
  4. Infinite Detail, Tim Maughan
  5. The Eighth: Mahler and the World in 1910, Stephen Johnson
  6. Wagnerism, Alex Ross
  7. The Blue Moment, Richard Williams
  8. A Theatre for Dreamers, Polly Sansom
  9. The Nickel Boys, Colston Whitehead
  10. Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell

Albums of the year


  1. Debussy-Rameau, Víkingur Ólafsson
  2. Part, Macmillan, Vasks, Clare College, Cambridge, The Dmitri Ens – Ross
  3. Rava, Herbert, Guidi, For Mario
  4. Vasks: Viola Concerto; Symphony 1, Rysanov – Sinfonietta Riga
  5. Barbarians, Young Knives
  6. Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Schmidt, BPO – Petrenko
  7. Gogo Penguin, Gogo Penguin
  8. Beethoven: Symphonies 1-5, Le Concert Nation – Jordi Savall
  9. Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde – Het Collectief, Yves Saelens, Lucile Richardot – de Leeuw
  10. Jehnny Beth, To Love is to Live

Top Live Events

  1. Beethoven: Rasumovsky No3 and Op. 131 quartets, Elias String Quartet, Square Chapel – Halifax 
  2. Celtic Connections: Nitin Sawnhey, Fruit Market – Glasgow
  3. Celtic Connections: VILDÁ and Fatoumata Diawara, Tramway – Glasgow
  4. Celtic Connections: Anaïs Mitchell and Bonny Light Horseman, Fruit Market – Glasgow 
  5. Iceland Symphony Orchestra – Yann Pascal Tortelier, Town Hall – Leeds
  6. Cries and Whispers, Manchester Collective, Town Hall – Leeds
  7. Alaw, The Live Room – Saltaire
  8. Rossini, Vaughan Williams, Schubert, Beethoven, Apple, Childress, RLPO – Petrenko – Leeds
  9. Beethoven and Bruckner: Yeol Eum Son, Liverpool Philharmonic – Andrew Manze, Philharmonic Hall – Liverpool
  10. Oscar Marzaroli, Street Level Gallery – Glasgow