Why 2016 Was Shit...

The natural reaction to a stinker of a year such as the one we’ve just trudged through is: ‘where is the Bowie-sphere and how do I get to it?’. I very much hope that the theory put forward by the memestrells of the internet - that David Bowie set up an alternative, star-studded planet upon his death in January 2016 - is true. We’ll never get there though, you and I. And if we did, it wouldn’t be until we turn rain purple, grow a long black bob, or sing Pure Imagination. Good luck my dudes.

So back to our mother earth, who still spins despite an onslaught of shit hair and false promises, interrupted occasionally only for deaths of innocent refugees, and the total destruction of one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The easy thing is to moan, to meme, and to blame the world for your bad mood. Isn’t it funny though that those of us moaning and memeing are those with access to Instagram for beautifully edited angry political posts, or the money to buy party drugs with which we can drown our sorrows? There is no point trying to paint a rainbow over the sky of 2016, but whilst we do still share this world with fake-tanned Trumpets and a shaven-head Russian with a penchant for riding bears, let’s make the most of it.

Instead of ‘reacting’ with the angry face at photographs of small, shaking, bloodied children arriving on the shores of European countries, unlock that smartphone of yours, and ask Mr. Google ‘how can I help?’. In every city in Europe there is some form of refugee care initiative, desperately in need of clothes, food, or simply, your time. It is so deeply hammered into our brains to keep scrolling, looking for the next hit of intrigue, that caring for something, and taking time over it, has fallen out of fashion. Our news sources work in the same way; we hear about Donald’s daft deeds instead of the hundreds of people dying in Avdiivka, Ukraine every day because his tower sits on a street, in a city, in a country which has controlled the spotlight for hundreds of years. The same goes for the UK: we saw a headline about an inconvenient puddle soar to the top of the news charts, climbing over the continuous stream of deaths and deportations along the way. How on earth are we supposed to know what to think? Sadly, it seems it’s not even enough to watch Russell Brand’s weekly Trews instalments either, since the theory that he’s a puppet for the consumerist West emerged…

It’s important to address the blindingly obvious fact that there has always been horrible stuff happening in the world, to good people, bad people and everyone in between. We only cried so much into our lattes this year because amongst the horrible stuff we had to say goodbye to Snape, David Bowie and the dream-maker himself, Mr. Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder). If you can tear yourself away from the myriad of ‘2016 be like…’ memes, and instead use your cultivated internet humour for witty protest signs, you might feel a little better at the end of the day. Many consider protest marches to be futile, and simply a tool for the privileged to cleanse themselves of guilt. This is undeniably true, but the symbolic power of a group of people holding aloft their statements of intent, and walking determinedly towards change, is not something the world can afford to sneer at right now. If, on the 10th January we hadn’t lost David Bowie, and on the day it snowed in April Prince hadn’t died, would we have whined and moaned so much? A celebrity is president of the United States of America, and he wants to build a wall that not even Humpty Dumpty could withstand, but silence is compliance, so we gotta keep making waves.

And so we come full circle, the green grass and blue seas are being dyed red, white and blue and there ain’t nothin’ we can do. Except, to look to simpler times, like in the final scene of Bugsy Malone, where the simple instruction is to give a little love and it all comes back to you…but in the meantime, here's a playlist of cheerful tunes to keep year head bumpin' and your face smiling. One love.

Words by: Imogen