Running the risk of sounding unoriginal, it’s fair to say that 2020 has been a year memorable for all the wrong reasons. Aspirations and hopes for a brand-new decade were put on pause when the world seemed to stop in springtime, but the tail end of the year has promised a better 2021. With a return to normality seeming imminent, Voice writers share what they’re most looking forward to in the coming months…
Album releases and the return of live music
While I’m cautiously optimistic, news about the Covid-19 vaccine makes me hopeful that most gigs scheduled from spring onwards will go ahead, even if venues require a reduced capacity. Live music is the thing I’ve missed the most this year, and I’ve already bagged myself tickets to see You Me At Six’s intimate Kingston show in July.
Talking about YMAS, their upcoming record Suckapunch is top of my release radar for 2021. Given the strength of recent singles ‘MAKEMEFEELALIVE’ and ‘Beautiful Way’, the Surrey rockers’ seventh album is sure to kick off 2021 with a bang when it drops in January.
2020 has seen many amazing releases (Blossoms’ Foolish Loving Spaces, Machine Gun Kelly’s Tickets To My Downfall, Hayley William’s Petals For Armour), and with upcoming records by Drake, Sia and Royal Blood due for release early next year, the 2020s is sure to be a musical decade to remember.
Matteo Everett | Image: Underdog Records/AWAL
With the vaccine being rolled out in the UK at the moment I’m cautiously optimistic about 2021, despite all the mis-information swirling around about vaccines possibly affecting uptake (watch this space for my myth-busting article on that).
The vaccine doesn’t mean the end of restrictions and certainly doesn’t mean the end of pandemics with avian flu rearing its ugly head, but it does signal the end of what has been a really difficult year for us all. It will be a literal lifeline for those living in isolation in their homes or in care, and it means the whole country can breathe a sigh of relief and get back to worrying about other stuff like jam or cream on scones first, or how you’re meant to say Shrewsbury.
As a self-proclaimed pessimist I do struggle to be ‘positive’, but this vaccine does really give me hope about how 2021 will pan out, and the thought of hugging friends and family again is guaranteed to put a smile on my face.
Bea Kerry | Image: Willfried Wende from Pixabay
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Yes, Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Anybody who knows me will attest to how much I moan and complain in the lead-up to – and often during – the largest arts festival in the world, but man, did I miss it this year.
Maybe it’s the social aspects, maybe it’s the gorgeous city, or perhaps it’s the opportunity to see some exceptional shows from incredible artists who I’d never ever normally consider, but Edinburgh Fringe is unlike anything else I experience during the year, and I am so excited to dive back into planning our coverage for 2021. (No, I don’t want this quoted to me in July when I’m complaining about stress levels).
The Mandalorian Series 3
Anyone who read my recent article about how The Mandalorian retrospectively improved the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy in the same way The Clone Wars did the Prequels will know that I’m a big Star Wars fan.
With Series 2 of the Disney+ flagship series upping the stakes and improving upon the formula that made the first season of the first live-action Star Wars show so compelling, I can hardly wait for Series 3 to drop next December. And with Disney’s recent announcement of a wealth of new Star Wars content – including two spin-offs from The Mandalorian – demonstrating the multimedia giant’s ambitious vision for the series, the show seems to be going from strength to strength.
We might have to wait a while for the new Star Wars live action shows to watch, but The Mandalorian Series 3 might just introduce us to the next phase of Disney’s grand plan for the franchise . . .
Matteo Everett | Image: Disney/Lucasfilm
The Future of the MCU!
Most Marvel fans are counting down to January in anticipation of the next chapter for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Whilst 2020 has had a huge impact on the film industry, 2021 certainly looks brighter and more hopeful. Fans (myself included) simply cannot wait to embark on Marvel’s next Phase of content and with so many exciting announcements last week, comic fans are on the edge of our seats!
Let’s start with Disney+ and the release dates we actually know! Next year will bring us the much-anticipated WandaVision on January 15th, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on 19th March, while Loki will be released in May. I’m counting down the days until we can watch these huge cinematic series of superheroes in 2021!
In terms of MCU’s blockbuster movies, Black Widow is set to be released on the 7th May, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will reach screens on the 9th July and The Eternals will be released on 5th November. Finally Spider-Man 3 will be released on 17th December and with an increasing list of amazing actors rejoining the spider-verse, it couldn’t be more exciting!
Additionally, Sony’s Morbius release date is currently set to be 19th March and Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage is slated for June 25th.
2021 looks to be incredible for True Believers!
Mary Strickson | Image: Disney/Marvel
I, like so many others, haven’t seen most of their family since January or February and there is nothing like getting everyone together for Christmas games, Easter egg hunts or Sunday feasts. As someone with a broad extended family, I am really missing the fun, laughter and general chaos when the whole gang is together. From the 80 something year old grandparents right down to the littlest child, we all can’t wait to be reunited.
Ellen Taylor | Image: Free-Photos from Pixabay
Travelling and Festival Season
If you're anything like me, then the excitement of travelling again is absolutely the top of the 2021 (hopeful) to-do-list. The exploration of new places, new cultures, new food is the excitement which gets me through the year, particularly the dark, gloomy winter months. A countdown, by the days, to the anticipation of leaving England fuels me through my workouts, work and studying. (At the time of writing this article, it's officially 211 days until my hopeful Belgium trip).
When travelling, I always try to visit a festival or event in the country I'm in. Doing so allows me to mix with locals and try new things I hadn't previously considered and overall, gives me wonderful memories and experiences that easily outweighs any material possession. For me, and I'm sure many others, this year has been continuously non-stop work without the much-needed break of travelling.
2020 has been the longest I've stayed in England, and by my standards, that's horrifically too long.
Elle Farrell-Kingsley | Image: Elle Farrell-Kingsley
A Maskless World?
Masks are life-savers, let’s not in any way downplay that: they are fundamental to being able to go out into the world safely; for yourself and those around you. However, they definitely have their downsides, and in a post-covid world, one has to ask whether and when we will be leaving our masks on the table?
In certain cultures of course, especially in urban areas particularly affected by air pollution, mask-wearing is completely normal. However, contrary to popular Western opinion not all pre-covid mask-wearing cultures have developed such a culture out of desire to protect from pollution; some were in fact from previous disease outbreaks leaving a cultural mark, such as China’s previous encounter with the SARS outbreak. Some cultures which place particular stresses on public hygiene like Japan consider mask wearing, especially when one is ill, courteous and polite to people around you.
However, walking around it seems very evident that the majority of British society hasn’t adapted well to face coverings even months after the mandatory imposition in enclosed public spaces. Miscommunications and awkwardness and steamed-up-glasses abound. Studies into how we communicate show that, for the most part, people treat faces holistically rather than by individual features, meaning that the exposure of only the eyes and eyebrows when wearing a mask can really mess with communication. It would be interesting to see if this has any long-term impact on our body-language and body-language reading, perhaps looking at a person’s stance, eyes, gestures, and posture more than faces to gauge non-verbal communication.
I think it’ll be interesting to see how masks are seen in a post-covid world. I personally, as an oft mist-blinded glasses user, long for the day where we are safe to remove them, but I also wait with curiosity to see how mask culture evolves in the post-covid world.