End of the decade roundup. We look back at the moments that shaped 2019 and the 2010's as a whole
As 2019 and the 2010's draw to a close I'm sure many of us are struggling to contextualise such a tumultuous ten years. With the increasing presence of social media it can seem like we are living in the most eventful period in living memory. Undoubtedly eventful, the drama of the past decade has been heightened by the expansion of who gets to share their stories. Any opinion or volition now spreads like wildfire, as does opposition to it. Prime examples include the #MeToo movement, a campaign started by activist Tarana Burke to hold men to account for the rampant sexual misconduct that infects modern life. Unfortunately met with the rise of incels, men who feel so entitled to sexual gratification from women they are willing to organise acts of terrorism. Or the #blacklivesmatter campaign, thrust in to the limelight by global anger at the United States (amongst other Western nations) violent and disproportionate mistreatment of black citizens. Juxtaposed by the election of a Nazi sympathiser in Donald Trump to the presidency. The London Olympics presented the U.K. to the world as a beacon of multiculturalism. Only for the political rhetoric around Brexit, the Windrush scandal and the hostile environment to remind us that "belonging" in Britain is skin deep. The pendulum that is "society" swings left and right in equal tandem. One could argue that people and society haven't got specifically better or worse in the last decade, they've just got louder and more forthright in expressing who they truly are.
That is why here at Sludge Magazine we're taking this opportunity to shine a light on the arts and moments that have managed to cut through the noise and make a genuine lasting impression. Amidst an internet landscape so erratic it's not easy to stand out. Thankfully we've got some of our favourite ever Sludge contributors to give us their favourite works in their respective fields.
Film & TV
For everything film, TV and Netflix we couldn't do this roundup without getting some picks from Shannon Watson. You'll know her from her brilliant works for Sludge Mag including Responsibility in LBGT filmmaking: lesbians through the male gaze and founding What The Flick, a platform that gives you insight in to the best (and worst) studios have to offer. Television and film are important if only for the enjoyment and escapism a good narrative can offer us. Beyond that they have the power to be even more, as genuine markers of social change. Tariye Peterside has contributed a myriad of pieces to Sludge Magazine outlining just that. If you haven't already be sure to take in What ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ can teach us about manoeuvring for power in the Patriarchy and Adelaide and Red: The dichotomy between Diaspora and African Blackness (Spoilers). In the meantime read her picks for the most culturally significant film/TV show of 2019
Favourite film/tv show of 2019
Wary (and frankly, bored) of the Groundhog Day trope, I was hesitant to watch Netflix’s Russian Doll. But, seeing it was created by Leslye Headland, Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler, I figured it was worth a shot.
And it paid off. The short, 30-minute episodes help move the narrative along nicely, rarely (if ever) leaving you frustrated at the repetitive nature. Natasha Lyonne is insanely watchable, captivating in every scene as the cynical New Yorker with a potty mouth. It’s a fun, bingeable watch with a fantastic supporting cast, extremely catchy theme song and impeccable set design – that bathroom though?!
And luckily for fans, season two will be on our screens in 2020.
Photo: Russian Doll/Netflix
Favourite film/tv show of the decade
In just three years since Stranger Things was released, Netflix has changed the way we watch and how it promotes its content. In the summer of 2016, Stranger Things appeared on Netflix with little to no promotion, through word of mouth and the internet it practically became an overnight sensation. There are countless factors to its success, including an incredibly talented cast, directors, producers and crew. But what it comes down to is that Stranger Things is authentic. It’s not a halfhearted production or cash cow (although it’s one of Netflix’s most successful original series). The Duffer brothers grew up in the 80s, watching and reading Stephen King, their excitement and arguably, geekiness of the decade translates perfectly to screen. Each episode, track, shot and style hits the mark.
This passion evidently spreads through the cast – while watching it’s clear that everyone involved is 100% committed to the series and because of this, it’s received 30 Emmy nominations, including 6 wins. It’s my TV show of the decade as I don’t think another TV show has managed to cause such an impact and root itself firmly as a fan favourite so quickly. I can’t wait until season 4 next year!
Photo: Netflix/Stranger Things
Most culturally significant film/TV show of 2019
Surviving R. Kelly
For the way in which it revealed the abuses of a culturally ubiquitous pop star and re-focused the attention of #MeToo movement on to black women and the ways in which their abusers are enabled
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
For providing a fantastical look at the necessity and nature of growing up and letting go
Photo: Surviving R Kelly/Lifetime
Most culturally significant film/TV show of the decade
Brooklyn Nine Nine
For continuing to be a lesson in what humour can look like when it doesn't punch down
For marrying the two modes of "gritty underbelly" and "period drama" that british drama tends to fall into and giving us lush and diverse feminine perspectives as well as handling mature and sexual themes with more maturity than "Game Of Thrones"
Photo: FOX via Getty Images
This year we were lucky enough to photograph and interview M.I.C in an editorial that took place around the streets of Peckham. The self proclaimed iconoclast of grime has had an unbelievable year packed with rampant shows and revolutionary sets. Topped off by his recent track Birthmarks (featuring Snowy). He was the first person we deemed fitting to ask about the music that has shaped his decade.
Favourite album of 2019
Tyler the Creator - IGOR
I have cried a lot to this album. Happy tears, sad tears, this release proved that my tear ducts work!
Favourite song of 2019
FKA Twigs - Fallen
Flawless song, hit me as hard as when I first listened to Never For Ever by Kate Bush. Twigs killed it.
Favourite album of the decade
Danny Brown - XXX
Had I never heard this album, I would have quit rapping. Life affirming album.
Favourite song of the decade
Deftones - Royal
Deftones are my favourite metal band of all time. It took a little while for this song to impact me, but I remember really acknowledging it's grandiosity and thinking how I need to make music that carries this much power.
As is the case with any magazine, visuals are at the epicentre of what we do. This year in particular we've been fortunate enough to work with some very talented photographers. Whose subject matter covers documentary, street photography, fashion and the the intersections in between. The advent of camera phones, more affordable cameras and social media has meant that we are inundated with more images than ever before. Every year the memory of the collective photos uploaded to Facebook outdo the equivalent data of every piece of literature since the dawn of time. Met with the impossible task of picking some standouts we've enlisted Jinsun Park, who we interviewed this year to give us her favourite photograph of the year and decade. Then we have frequent contributor Martyn Ewoma who's lensed our interviews with Jess Lawrence and our Smear editorial.
Favourite photograph of 2019
We are going to live this summer by Minhyunwoo
Just love his photographs. From this series I particularly chose this pic because it has the feeling of free but at the same time pain.
Photo: 민현우 (Minhyunwoo)
Favourite photograph of the decade
By Yein Kwak
The bravery and absurdness in her photographs on women but at the same time the model’s causal manner make me want to break rules and be free like how Kwak is portraying women.
Photo: 곽예인 (Yein kwak)
Favourite editorial of 2019
In terms of a favourite shoot this year I don't have one. I don't look at other photography work as much anymore. I'm sure lots of it is fantastic but I think it can confuse your own vision as to what you want your work to look like a bit. Instagram has sort of killed the age of the editorial as well. Lots of magazines that used to run them don't anymore. Also I unfortunately haven't had the leisure time due to studying!
Favourite editorial of the decade
This Is What Our Generation Will Look Like When We Retire by Alex Demora
I think this came out in around 2015. I think I might have been in university doing my first degree in photography, or maybe about to start. Anyway this shoot was great because it showed how creative you can be in a studio setting. I'm more location orientated because I rely on settings to drive concepts, but the strength of this concept shows that there's other ways to drive a narrative home. I also like how cohesive it is. From the colour palettes of the styling, to the eye make-up etc. Little details like the accessories were really big for me to pick up on when I was starting out as well. Even the fact that the images are edited to be a bit more grainy, which I think accentuates the idea that the models are elderly. All round great editorial and my personal favourite I think!
Photo: Alex Demora/VICE UK
You could be forgiven for thinking that a decade that began with Lady Gaga's meat dress in 2010 couldn't get more eventful. On the contrary the past ten years have seen a myriad of trends come and go and an influx of new products and designers emerging in to the mainstream. As eluded to in the introduction, nothing exists without it's equal and opposite. Take for example the rise of fast fashion and influencer wear-once trends, placated by a newfound onus on sustainability and ethic shopping. Who better to make sense of the sporadic fashion scene than our past interviewee's Vincenzo Borrelli and Jess Lawrence. Read up on Enzo's collection of 2019 and the decade. Then since no good outfit is complete without the right footwear, we have Jess's selections for trainers of the year and decade.
Favourite collection of 2019
Fortunately sustainable and just perfect, I always look for the most unique and intriguing brand to emerge every year and this is the one. Their mix match of quilted and raw materials with sometimes crude prints and washed colours just work perfectly to create something that’s not been done yet and just look amazing; all their proportions are perfect.
Photo: Bode New York
Favourite collection of the decade
Raf Simons SS17
A very tough decision but I don’t think I can deny his unbelievable set of knitwear from this season. Potentially one of the greatest sets of knitwear to be produced in fashion history in my opinion - from the colours to the odd silhouettes to the yarn itself, it’s one of my favourites of all time and will be forever I think.
Photo: Umberto Fratini / Indigital.tv
Favourite trainer of 2019
Sacai x Nike LDV Waffle
This was the only super stand out shoe that moved away from the Jordan brand this year, and focuses on a collaboration with a luxury brand which just proves how seamless the streetwear and luxury world has become both this decade and notably this year. Haters will say the Jordan 1 Travis but fuck that.
Favourite trainer of the decade
Jordan 1 x Off White (red, blue, white)
It completely domintated the sneaker world with it's hype, the collaboration and exclusivity - something which still resonates throughout the sneaker community
Photo: Sole Collector
Thank you and Happy New Year to all our readers and contributors. Stay locked in for 2020