It’s fair to say that 2016 has been something of a tumultuous year. Here, DJ Lauren Laverne looks back on the past twelve months and ponders what 2017 may bring.
“There aren’t many years so notorious they have become a satisfactory explanation for their own awfulness, but so it was with 2016. Any time something rubbish happened and we went online to share the news, the only real context required was the hashtag #2016.
“From my vantage point as a radio DJ, 2016 was so full of awfulness that even our patch – pop music – wasn’t immune. The tone was set on January the 8th when our usually-cosy cultural corner suffered a seismic blow with the awful news of David Bowie’s death (just two days after the surprise release of his final masterpiece Blackstar on his 69th birthday). The shock and sadness which descended that grey morning continued. There was no prediction what 2016 throw at us, or who it would take away – from Prince to Prince Buster; Maurice White of Earth Wind and Fire to Leonard Cohen. Glastonbury collided with the consternation over Brexit. More widely in pop culture it felt like many of the comforting voices my generation grew up listening to were falling silent. Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Victoria Wood and Terry Wogan all left us. Set against global events these losses may seem small, but pop culture is a place of refuge, renewal and inspiration that is open to everyone.
“In 2016 it seemed as if it was shrinking – as if the people who helped us make sense of the world were leaving us – precisely when we needed them most. In physics every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I don’t suppose Newton’s third law really applies to feelings, but it certainly seemed like the bad bits of 2016 created spectacular contrasts – the darker the cloud, the more brilliant the silver lining. It was a pleasure to enjoy so much amazing new music. There was so much! Arc Iris, Amber Arcades, Kate Tempest, Angel Olsen, Agnes Obel, Laura Mvula… It also seemed that their music mattered more. Losing some of our greatest artists was a sharp reminder of how precious and powerful creativity is. I’m looking forward to Nadia Rose, Maggie Rodgers and Sarah Walk carrying the torch in 2017.
In 2016 it seemed as if it was shrinking – as if the people who helped us make sense of the world were leaving us – precisely when we needed them most.
“On a personal note 2016 has shown me the difference between our private lives and history – and solidified my belief that the best way to change the latter is to work on the former. Last year made me more grateful than ever for the many wonderful, ordinary things I sometimes take for granted. Food, friends, my family and a warm bed in a safe place. It reminded me to enjoy the things I could, even when they weren’t perfect. I intend to hold that thought in 2017. My new year’s resolution is to ‘ring the bells that still can ring’. I stole it from someone much cleverer than me, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. Happy New Year!”
Read more of Lauren’s articles over on her news site, The Pool.
Thinking of turning over a new leaf for 2017?
Follow Lauren’s lead and pick up some fresh styles for the new you.