End of year review lists are funny things.
I mean there's only so many times you can say Bon Iver or Foals released the best album of the year (although personally, my favourites were Santogold, Crystal Castles and Fight Like Apes, sorry, had to get the album picks in there somehow!), or what the best gigs over the past 12 months were (Leonard Cohen and Jay Z @ Glasto, Justice @ Webster Hall, Chromeo @ Electric Picnic, Ricardo Villalobos @ the Tivoli, fuck, there, I did it again, I'll stop now), or who you think should get Oscar nominations or whether Obama is a bigger story than the recession and so on.
So instead, I'm looking to the foo-ture, and on a whim have come up with a few points of reference which I think will probably influence the foundations and framework of behaviour in 2009. They happened in the past (this year) but seem relevant and telling enough to point to the future (next year). Most of them are recession-based/inspired/influenced, as you can't really get away from the economic reaper pointing a scythe in our direction at the moment, but others are about fashion, music, general social change and so on. I might be wrong, it's just how I'm thinking at the moment. Feel free to add yours in the comments section.
So, in no particular order;
Getting €10 notes from ATMs
Yes, in case you haven't noticed, we're all broke. Wage cuts, more conscientious spending and a drop in disposable income will change how we spend, socialise, give, receive and value money.
Going to a gig at the Hideaway House
Talk to anyone who attended gigs at the Hideaway House in Deansgrange this year, or anyone in the music industry who is aware of the work 21-year-old Dylan Haskins is doing, and they will all tell you that this guy and this scene (anti-scene?) is forming the starting blocks of a trend in how music is consumed and watched. I think a lot of 2009 will be about going back to basics, be that through non-commercial social spaces, warehouse parties, house gigs, or whatever. Because of the economic climate, the commercialism of gigging will have to be stripped down. Dublin is ready for this due to the maturation of various young creative minds, who are taking back clubs and parties, and coming up with inventive concepts that involve something other than sitting in a boozer and drinking.
Keywords: back to basics, creativity.
Attending 'going away' parties
Our friends are emigrating. For those who stay, this will transform our social circles, and it also provokes an internal debate. Why will you stay? What can Dublin offer you that London or Sydney can't? If you're going to stay, how will you improve your lifestyle and your surroundings? This will probably contribute to new projects for those justifying staying put.
Keywords: maybe the streets aren't paved with gold.
Seeing lay-offs left right and centre
Plenty of friends and acquaintances got the boot in the fourth quarter of 2008, and for the first time for my generation, job losses became something other than a montage of queues on Reeling In The Years. They became real. In the industry I work in - print media - it's pretty obvious that newspapers are being squeezed hard. Is this the beginning of the end, or merely a blip? What Irish newspapers will have to do is something that they are really shit at: adapting. Irish newspapers have yet to cop on that most people consume information online, this is not due to the lack of innovative, technologically aware and Internet-smart people working in Irish newspapers, but due to the people in management positions who are simply out of touch. Unless this changes now, newspapers will continue to be in trouble.
Keywords: Online presence, blogging.
Constantly wearing shiny leggings
While economic times are filled with doom and gloom, fashion should be the opposite and will be informed by everything sparkly, futuristic and, most importantly, GOLD. American Apparel opening in Dublin in '09 will have a big impact on the dress sense of the capital.
Keywords: American Apparel, popart (Kanye, not Warhol.)
LGBT Noise getting the crowd to boo civil partnership at Pride
(I recall Tainer Bang being pissed off about this.) With regards to the gay rights movement in Ireland, LGBT Noise were certainly the most vocal and innovative this year. Whether they might have also been the most rudderless is up for debate, but the advent of this group - whether you agree with their methods and beliefs or not - is very important, in fact, it probably has greater resonance with regards to what it means than what they actually achieve. In the macro picture, it marks a more forceful voice in the Gay Rights movement here at home, something which is echoed globally, driven this year by the huge mobilisation of gays before and in the aftermath of Prop 8. In the micro picture, it demonstrates the repatriation of gay rights to younger gays in Ireland. It seems to me that supporters of LGBT Noise feel that the old guard of gay rights activists in Ireland have essentially become collaborators in forthcoming government policy; policy, by the way, which they aren't happy with. As a result LGBT Noise are becoming a mosquito around Leinster House and also around other gay rights groups. Can they make their cannon a little less loose in '09?
Keywords: protests, unity, civil rights.
Realising some of the best gigs in town were by Irish bands
Whatever the boring bitches on the scene say, I believe we are entering an extremely exciting age for young Irish music. The most important thing about it is the lack of scene. Everyone seems to be operating rather separately, which prevents the pilfering of ideas, and encourages musicians to up their game and foster a healthy culture of competition. Fight Like Apes will probably break the UK in a big way in '09, and make inroads in Japan. A&R heads will come looking in Dublin for the source, and a few other bands will start a similar process.
Keywords: Choice Music Prize
Watching Sarah Haskins' 'Target Women' on Current TV
Haskins was one of the loudest voices in feminism in '08. Her deconstruction of the ridiculousness of the American TV advertising industry was a serious shot in the arm for female cynicism and smashing this silly era of what the Pussycat Dolls might call 'post feminism'. There wasn't just a dominance of women in comedy (Haskins, Silverman, Poehler, Fey, etc.) but as collective backlash to the ridiculous situation of anti-women sentiment and warped perception of the female ideal in popular culture. Ariel Levy started this current wave of change, and it will continue.
Keywords: Target Women.
Going to Sex and the City the movie
This category is also known as 'OMG, it's not just straight white men who go to the cinema.' Alongside 'Twilight', SATC opened up filmmakers eyes to a huge - and more importantly for them, lucrative - demographic. And so, expect a certain amount of money-grabbing diversity and tailored films for women of all ages in '09 and beyond.
Keywords: 'He's Just Not That Into You', Sophie Kinsella.
On the Record readers not knowing who Chris Brown is
Like in cinema, there's often a complete unawareness of what is beyond the demographic you exist in. The biggest acts in the world right now are the Jonas Brothers, the endless conveyor belt of starlets from the Disney stable (Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and so on) and High School Musical. The spending power of the kids who buy into these products will continue to be tested and milked.
Keywords: Fetch (joke)
Other keywords for '09; Obama, self-publishing, gay marriage, parties, anti-apartment living, homemade/DIY, bikes, creativity forced by unemployment (or as FionnTimes would say, 'opting out of the economy'), Pantibar and the indie gay scene, social spaces, thrift, collaboration, group blogging, and some buzzwords that don't even exist yet.