It’s been a few days, a week to be exact, since we’ve rolled onto a new year. A new decade in fact, which somehow feels bigger and more significant than it did when we rolled on into 2010. Not for me, I couldn’t give two fucks, it’s just another year. But people online like to make a big fuss over a change in decade. 2019 was, in fact, a year, that much can be true. And I kind of feel obliged to write some sort inREVIEW for the year that was. I did a year-in-review article at the end of 2018, which was of some significance for me as I saw the end of Radio Friendly’s first year. Now I’ll do the same for the year twenty-nineteen anno domini.
I’ll start this off by quoting the many amateurly-written, wannabe-philosophical, yearly reviews I’ve seen pop up on social media, “wow, what a year 2019 was,” and “2019 was such a mood.” Whatever the fuck that means. If anything, 2019 saw a more cynical writer take a step back in his own productivity. Maybe it was the sheer dumbfoundedness that crept up inside me like a chest-bursting-alien every time I scanned my waning eyes upon the stupidity being spewed onto social media and online publications, making me slightly less motivated than the year before. Which in turn made me question my own participation in the deterioration of our social online community. Maybe it was a bit too much pressure on myself to be different, for the RF content to stand out more from the crowded competition. Maybe even too much pressure on the consistency of said content, to which I think I might have burnt myself out in doing the year before. All this flowery talk is just saying that I was less motivated in 2019 to churn out bi-weekly content like I did the previous year. Instead, I wanted to take a focus on more creative, or socially conscious pieces, which I think I did a fairly good job at doing, though they weren’t as consistent as I would have liked. It’s just ya boi running this site, and sometimes I’ve got to focus on bringing home the bread.
I wrote socially conscious and commentative pieces like Sometimes I Hate Social Media and The Devil Wears SWOP, the latter a story that still hits a nerve with me regarding the superficial landscape of second-hand clothes shopping in Brisbane. I’m quite proud of that one. And then there was Do I Dare Look On The Flip Side? – a story I wrote a couple days after the controversial Wil Wagner (Smith Street Band) emails were leaked. A story that has been the highest viewed article on Radio Friendly and still gets daily views – for the life of me, I don’t know how. If anything, I think Flip Side personifies what Radio Friendly, and by proxy myself, is all about. Tackling a subject matter that other writers are quick to jump onto for clickbait reasons, but commentating fairly, dare I say logically, to bring a non-biased yet entertaining read. I feel that Flip Side might have been the line in the sand for some, as I didn’t take Wagner’s side, but I certainly questioned the other party’s motives instead of jumping on the internet bandwagon and lighting my keyboard-pitchfork. It might have been a catalyst for people to shun RF, I don’t know, maybe I’m paranoid over that story. But I’m proud of it.
I wrote a few creative travel pieces on my time in Tasmania as I honeymooned with my wife. Yes, I got married in 2019, but this is more about Radio Friendly and less about my personal life. I never finished that series, which I should probably go back to at some point. I enjoyed writing more creative stories in 2019. And Welcome to the Bottom of the World was a series that was entertaining to write – especially Part 1, that was a good bit of fun.
I still reviewed music in 2019 too. The weekly inReviews on the RF Facebook were amusing. I enjoyed the short-form style of reviewing what I was listening to each week and not being confined to what was new each week – though I did include many first impressions on new singles. Many independent Australian bands reached out to Radio Friendly for some small exposure and a smart write up, to which I am thankful and humbled. I like showing support for underground bands across the country and wanted to give a fair review on whatever was sent my way. I will continue this in 2020.
I also read more in 2019. I read more books last year than I can remember in recent memory. Full books too, I’m not just talking one-hundred pages and move on to the next; a habit I’m slowly trying to kick. And I enjoyed reading, I enjoyed listening to audiobooks on my drive to and from work as well. Which was also a reason for the lack of consistent music-based reviews, my time was being eaten up by the literary works of Stephen King, Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Hill, Conan Doyle and Joe Abercrombie, to name a few.
Fleabag was the best show of 2019, Marriage Story was the best movie of 2019, and Tyler the Creator’s IGOR was the best album. But I want to briefly mention Fleabag, a show that has surprised me and inspired me to a ridiculous level. If you haven’t seen Fleabag, you are doing yourself a disservice. And I won’t harp on about it too much, but Phoebe Waller-Bridge (writer/actor/creator of the show) has been the biggest inspiration to me in 2019. Her writing style, her ideas, her humour, the show, impacted me in a way I did not expect. I have always loved the idea of a story centred around the hardships and fuck-ups of someone in their twenties. Shows like Fleabag, Skins, The Other Guy, were always like ideas for stories I’ve kept locked up in my head ever since I was in uni. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, through Fleabag, was the kick up the ass I needed in 2019 to do something, or at least try, to get the ideas out of my head and onto paper.
Over the Christmas Break I really enjoyed sitting down and watching movies. It’s something that I loved to do when I was a teenager though I’ve slowed down more in my twenties in favour for binge-worthy, long form narratives. I’m going to change that; I want to watch more movies in 2020 and maybe even write about a few here and there. I’ve already sat down and seen Rise of Skywalker, Jojo Rabbit and Knives Out in the past couple weeks, and delved back to Blackkklansman and Three Billboards, which I lazily never saw when they came out. I’m not going to write about those films here, or maybe ever, but it’s something I’ve enjoyed doing, which I think I’ll continue throughout the year.
2020 will be the eighth year I’ve been writing, reviewing and commentating about music in Brisbane. Though I don’t focus heavily on the Brisbane music scene anymore, it’s still a long time writing about this shit in general. And though I love it, and I probably could never see myself not having a strong opinion on music, I do want to try and write different things. I have been writing notes on a series/novel/screenplay that I want to write this year. I don’t know what it is, or what it could be, but it feels good to be motivated.
If anything, reflecting on the year gone by has shown me that yes, I was less motivated, and that really pisses me off. I love to write, and I love to spew my thoughts onto the internet in a some-what entertaining fashion. But it also showed me sometimes it’s fine not to post something every week, let alone every day. Sometimes it’s fine not to live by the Silicon Valley algorithms and to just do what you want to do, when you want to do it. It’s preachy, I know, but I published more identifiable content in 2019 than I did in 2018. Yes, I didn’t write as many AFTER THE HYPE articles, for that I am sorry, but I can say I’m proud of the work I’ve put out on Radio Friendly in 2019. And I don’t give a fuck that they only get a handful of likes on social media. I’ll keep liking them myself throughout 2020 and beyond.