High Fidelity

Riverhead Books
375 Hudson St.
NY, NY 10014

Review

Top Five Lists: Nick Hornby's High Fidelity

by Erik Swedlund

By now, everyone should have read this book. Itís been out since 1995, so youíve had ample time. If you havenít, immediately step away from your computer and invest a few bucks in antiquated print media. o this point, Iíll forgo a review of the book as a whole, and instead focus on the Top Five Lists. Rob, the protagonist of High Fidelity, is endlessly making lists, like the standard "top five films," to the non-standard "top five breakups." Besides being a thoroughly entertaining book, the inclusion of these lists reminds me of what a great thing lists are.

Making lists is fun. I think everyone should make lists--and not just grocery lists. List what shirts you wore for the last week. While out with friends, do your top five movies or top five books; argue about the differences between your lists. Some people like to make a list of their plans for the future, then store it away for a much later date. I donít like that idea: lists are spontaneous and have a very short shelf life.


Delight in the inadequacies

From High Fidelity

"My Five Dream Jobs"
  1. New Musical Express journalist, 1976-1979
  2. Producer, Atlantic Records, 1964-1971 (approx.)
  3. Any kind of musician (apart from classical or rap)
  4. Film director
  5. Architect
Lists are so entertaining because they are at once both all-inclusive and a ridiculous simplification. When you make a list, you presume that what is on the list is exhaustive--a list contains everything relevant, and you didnít forget anything--which is never true. Also, putting things in a list takes them out of context, simplifies them as simply under the heading "best books," or whatever. Although this makes list wholly inadequate, it also makes them fun. Delight in the inadequacies. Exploit them for the purpose of humor. Make lists like "my top five parents."
Neutrino Power!

We want lists.

Send us your most grossly oversimplified ways of looking at the world, and weíll post them here. Email your "top five whatever" to topfive@toomanycolors.com

Readers Respond

We asked, and you sent! Below are some readers' Top Five lists. Send yours in, too, and see them here!

The top five clips on home video TV shows that reveal television to be a vast mind-control conspiracy because the people laugh SO hard at these clips:

by Michael Kreger
  1. Pants falling down
  2. Bat in the crotch
  3. Motorcycle spinout
  4. Kid acting like a moron in front of video camera because he doesn't think his parents will EVER watch it
  5. Pet used as a mop
Sorry, "Wedding ruined cause somebody tripped" didn't make the cut!

Top Five Mullet Names

by Jeff Swedlund
  1. The Shag
  2. The Mudflap
  3. The El Camino (somewhat redundant)
  4. The Neck Beard
  5. Business Up Front, Party Backstage!

©1999-2000, all rights reserved