How was it for you? I'm almost embarrassed to admit that it's been pretty good from my point of view.
At the risk of sounding like one of those circular newsletters which fall out of Christmas cards from people you haven't sent one to, any year which sees the birth of grandson Maximillian (in June), the wedding of Guy and Sophia (in April) and Jill's 60th birthday (in September) has got to go down as something of an annus mirabilis.
Especially when it ends with England retaining the Ashes in Australia for the first time since I was in my 30s. (Boy, does that seem a long time ago.)
It hasn't all been good, of course.
I didn't make it to Fenway and I know that our failure to reach the post-season is directly attributable to my absence. We delayed our departure for France in the (vain as it turned out) hope that our votes might make a difference, but ended up with Ant and Dec. ("What two things do you hate most about Clegg? His face.")
We have lost some important people. To name just three: the Captain, the great jazz pianist Billy Taylor, and the exemplary Jayaben Desai, who led the Grunwick strike and changed the lives of immigrant workers for (I hope) ever. We miss you all.
But at this time, late afternoon on New Year's Eve, my feelings are primarily and profoundly personal.
A very happy new year and love to: Jill; to Guy and Sophia; to Vic, Andi and Max; to Lara and Adam; and to Cass and Michael. (It's in age order, ok?)
And also to all our families and friends: may you have a great 2011. Loads of love.
Today's listening: BobDylan, Theme Time Radio Hour, Season 3, #25 Goodbye.
Readers of this blog - a form of words I use in hope rather than expectation - will know that I have even less time for the current crop of LibDems than for the Tories.
The reason is simple: the Tories are doing what they said they would do; Dec's lot are doing what they said they wouldn't. They have sold out for the sake of power.
So I don't have much sympathy for Vince Cable as he told undercover Daily Torygraph journalists all about the "nuclear option" to bring down the government, and how he had "declared war on Murdoch".
What he was really doing, of course, was bragging.
He was boasting about the power he had to a couple of reporters who played him perfectly, giggling coquettishly at each of his statements. And because he is new to power, he couldn't resist showing off like a teenager on a first date. The really powerful, those who are brought up to be in power, don't boast about it; they exercise it.
Power corrupts some; others it makes stupid.
And that, unless something happens which really pisses me off, is it for this year. Tune in again on 01.01.11.
If you have been, thanks for reading. Happy Holidays.
Today's listening: still the Captain ...
I'm an Anglican atheist, so entering the gilt- and guilt-dripping edifice of our local Catholic church last evening was a tad disorienting.
But the real culture shock was musical. Because apart from the 90 minutes of choral Christmas celebration superbly directed by James Brash, yesterday was Beefheart day.
Safe As Milk, Lick My Decals Off, Mirror Man, Clear Spot, Spotlight Kid and of course Trout Mask Replica - I played and am playing them all.
But as I do, I'm musing about the nature of such a great talent. Because Don Van Vliet was, much of the time, a total shit.
By his own admission, he studied brain-washing techniques. He abused his Magic Band members, including greats such as Ry Cooder, physically and mentally. He signed them on contracts which meant they earned nothing for entire tours. He rehearsed them unmercifully. He starved them. And kept them in a state of virtual imprisonment.
But the results, on record and on stage, were sensational, a sound which was unique and inimitable: the range of that voice, the rhythmic innovation, the Delta blues, the soul, folk, rock, free jazz - "the centre cannot hold/mere anarchy is loosed upon the world".
I missed his tour in 1968, but made up for it in 1972 - London, Leicester, Coventry and Warwick on successive nights. Ed Mirimba, Rockette Morton, Zoot Horn Rollo, Alex St Clair Snoofah. Wow. In May of that year, I stood in the mud in a small village in Lancashire called Bickershaw and watched him blow the crowd away. (That was Saturday night; Sunday night, the Dead did the same. They don't do festivals like that anymore.)
In 1978, the Captain released a live album entitled "I'm going to do what I wanna do".
I guess he did. And I'm grateful I was around some of the time.
Today's listening: the Captain, complete works.
At last some semblance of common sense, if not precisely justice, has been achieved: Julian Assange has exchanged his small cell in Wandsworth for the rather more generously proportioned rooms of Vaughan Smith's mansion in Suffolk.
But what the hell are the Swedish prosecutors up to?
They appear to be motivated, at least in part, by sheer vindictiveness, a determination to make Assange suffer the ignominy and discomfort of prison even though it is unlikely that a conviction would result in a custodial sentence.
But it also seems pretty clear that the US State Department is involved in some way. Alleged victims and prosecutors have changed their stories and their minds in a manner which suggests some form of external pressure. And we have seen how the State Department can influence multi-national companies such as Amazon, Paypal and Mastercard with 'legal' advice.
(As we know, the State Department can produce lawyers who will advise that waterboarding and other forms of torture are legal, so it's not very difficult to generate legal advice which claims that hosting websites and processing payments to a defence fund is also against the law.)
The fact is, Assange is merely the messenger. The material involved was, apparently, officially available to a couple of million people before it hit WikiLeaks - which stretches any definition of the word 'secret' - and nothing I have seen can reasonably be thought to endanger security.
What we are seeing, in fact, is the full resources of assorted states being brought to bear on an individual citizen in order to save a bit of embarrassment. Now that is scary.
Today's listening: Test Match Special, of course, and - with many thanks to Campbell - Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, Crazy for Christmas.
Ann Widdecombe has agreed with a Daily Mail journalist that "yes, I may be remembered as a dancing banana and not a politician of 20 years. So be it."
Not in this household you won't.
We will always remember you, Ms Widdecombe, as the Home Office minister who ordered a female prisoner to be chained to her bed whilst giving birth.
Another memory may be the defining example of a pot calling a kettle black, when you claimed that there was "something of the night" about Michael Howard. (It might also be characterised as a statement of the bleeding obvious.)
Widdecombe is not a national treasure. She is a national disgrace.
And she continues to be completely out of touch. In the same interview last week, she told us that "what really saddens me is that people don't care tuppence about what's going on at Westminster".
Don't we? Ask Dec Clegg. Ask the thousands of protesters in the streets last week whether we care tuppence. Ask that theatre-going couple in the limo.
We care a great deal about what is happening in Westminster. We care about the effect of the cuts on those who are already disadvantaged. We care about the ways in which millionaire Cabinet ministers and their friends are allowed to evade their responsibilities in the so-called bigger society.
What we don't care about, Ms Widdecombe, is you.
Today's listening: Mississippi John Hurt, 1964-07-05, Ash Grove, LA.
Someone called John Jurgensen, writing in the Wall Street Journal, has declared that it is time for Dylan to retire.
He rolls out the usual stuff - Bob is too old, his voice is shot, and "casual fans, especially, are vexed by Mr. Dylan's ongoing habit of mutating his most familiar songs".
Well, Bob is 70 next May, so he's certainly too old to die young. But anyone who has seen him live recently will know that he is looking younger and fresher, interacting more vigorously with his audience, and clearly enjoying his music-making. (My personal theory is that the return of Charlie Sexton has a great deal to do with this.)
The voice. Sure it's croaky. But Bob knows how to use it in this form. He is not trying to re-create the sound of fifty years ago, or even five years ago. Things have changed. Bob is acting his age.
Which is why the third point is so frustrating.
Bob has always re-interpreted his songs. From Newport onwards, he has changed lyrics, arrangements, moods. Each time we see him, we hear something new.
If you want hear it like the album, listen to the album. But bear in mind that the version released was merely one version of many and Bob has been famously contrary in his choices of songs and takes.
Me? I'll continue to listen to the albums, and the out-takes and the shows.
Today's listening: Bob obviously, 2004-06-27, Pearse Stadium, Galway. A great show, the highlight of a great weekend in the west of Ireland.