JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just An Observation
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So that was 2016 (almost) then!
Certainly a year to remember from its shock opening with David Bowie’s death in early January right up until its troubled closing days. Shock followed shock as each month progressed and benign concerns became very real and troubling realities on both sides of the Atlantic and at times it seemed as if we had all stepped into some parallel universe.
As already mentioned David Bowie set the tone in the early stages only two days after releasing one of the best albums of his long and illustrious career. When the news arrived early in the morning it was hard to take in and there was a sense we had lost a colour or some other vital element; so ingrained in our culture is he.
His was just the first in a long line of celebrity deaths- which it turns out despite what many feel is no greater than usual- and among other notable losses were Prince, Alan Rickman, Terry Wogan, Pete Burns, Caroline Aherne, Victoria Wood, Leonard Cohen and just when it felt as if the Reaper was easing up for the Christmas break the shocking news that George Michael had died came through swiftly followed by that of Carrie Fisher’s death and the very next day that of her mother Debbie Reynolds.
Aside from celebrity deaths there was the small matter of Brexit wherein a referendum about leaving the EU that no-one was really paying attention to or overly concerned about turned in a result which seemed to shock just about everyone. Not least those who had campaigned for it.
What the future holds on this matter is far from clear but it is certain it doesn’t herald a new age that I am overly keen to live in. A new age where xenophobia, bigotry, division and out-and-out racism all have a place is a scary world indeed.
Meanwhile across in America a man with a bad hairpiece and orange colouring who mocked the disabled, insulted women, incited racial and religious hatred and basically lied about everything he talked about was somehow elected President in a campaign which if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes and heard with my own ears I would not have actually believed.
Meanwhile atrocities in Syria and Palestine continued to haunt our consciences and give the right wing media something to rally against fuelling hatred and division.
Post Truth became buzz words and a phrase to bandy about but in reality were just a term for lies!
In fact there is little I can add to the year’s events as they have all been dissected and discussed even if they have not been properly absorbed yet. I would like to think 2017 will be better but more likely we will still be reeling from the repercussions of 2016. Possibly for several years yet.
On a positive note however there has been some great music released this year including brilliant final albums from David Bowie and Leonard Cohen:-Blackstar and You Want It Darker respectively- as well as fine offerings from PJ Harvey, Christine and The Queens, Anonhi, Nick Cave and Iggy Pop who along with Keith Richards is last man standing of one particular rock and roll school. No-one ever saw that coming certainly not back in the seventies when both sailed as close to the wind as is possible.
Can’t say it has been a particularly stunning year for cinema however or television for that matter. However The Fall, Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty all managed to hold an audience in their thrall and were a welcome back to more traditional times, pre-Netflix, where tension is ratcheted up by the week.
So 2016 it’s been an interesting and turbulent year but here’s hoping it has prepared us for whatever 2017 has to throw at us. I hope at least now we will be more ready and aware. A little bit less complacent too!

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