26/11/15 Top 5 lists (or 10, 20…)

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Top 5 lists (or 10, 20…)

Daily, we receive Facebook requests to publish our ‘Top Lists’ of favourite songs, films and books. We love it, don’t  we? After all everyone has an ‘inner nerd.’ 

Vocabulary. Read and check you understand this before you read and listen to the article:

lovelorn  (adj): unloved, without love.

nerd (n): introverted socially awkward intellectual.

cameo (n): A single very brief appearance, especially by a prominent celebrity in a movie or song.

vinyl junkie (n): Record collector who cannot get enough vinyl. Obsessive.


Twenty years ago, the British author Nick Hornby published the novel High Fidelity, in which the main character, lovelorn record-store owner and all round nerd Rob Gordon and his staff compulsively make  ‘Top 5’ lists.

The book was made into a movie starring John Cusack and Jack Black with a cameo role by Bruce Springsteen.

Rob is a vinyl junkie who is more  interested in his record collection than his relationships.

Nick Hornby pre-empted the craze for ‘Top Lists’ on social media today as the book was written in 1995 when the Internet was in its infancy.

Here is my tribute to the book and film with my nerdy lists of “Top 5’s”

John’s Top 5 Movies

  1. Land and Freedom
  2. Casablanca
  3. Groundhog Day
  4. Tess
  5. Goodfellas

John’s Top 5 Books

  1. Germinal – Emile Zola
  2. My Life – Leon Trotsky
  3. Confessions of an Irish Rebel – Brendan Behan
  4. The Good Soldier Švejk -Jaroslav Hašek
  5. Out of the Night – Jan Valtin

John’s Top 5 Vegetables

  1. Onions
  2. Turnips
  3. Rhubarb
  4. Leeks
  5. Chilli peppers

John’s Top 5 Live Concerts

  1. Frank Sinatra
  2. The Clash
  3. The Pogues
  4. The Smiths
  5. Thin Lizzy

John’s Top 5 English Words

  1. Serendipity
  2. Dialectical
  3. Revolution
  4. Harbinger
  5. Efflorescence

John’s Top 5 Places He Has Lived

  1. Liverpool
  2. Glasgow
  3. Sarajevo
  4. Al Khobar (Saudi Arabia)
  5. Vitoria-Gasteiz

I could go on…..

Why are we obsessed with lists and ranking? Psychologists theorise that humans have a need to make order out of the chaos they find in society.

It is said that Picasso had a long hand written list of what made ‘good’ art.

Nowadays, lists are omnipresent, the Internet is after all like a long list of stuff! If you are interested here is a list of 127 Reasons Why We’re Fascinated By Lists.

There is no hope!

Look at page 2 for some list-based conversation starters

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