2017…Meh: Looking Ahead to 2018

2018So, 2017 huh?  Look, I’ll be honest with you, I’ve really been struggling to come up with some kind of year-end list of pop culture phenomena and detritus that were special to me or that made the year great or whatever, and I just don’t think I can do it.  I’ll always have “Twin Peaks,” and this new cinematic Stephen King Renaissance has been pretty cool to watch take off, as well as all the other films I enjoyed (which you can read about here) this year.  And sure, I’ve got my albums and songs that I dug on a whole bunch just as I do every year (which you can also read about here, here, and here respectively), but I just can’t summon the power or the energy to write a recap that won’t sound like I’m repeating myself…or that will make up for the general, overwhelming hopelessness and despair that 2017 has been wrought with.


I can’t take 3 more years of this bullshit.  It’s been horrifying to essentially watch democracy die in real time, led by a seemingly endless parade of cowards and charlatans in the GOP hellbent on cashing out and crushing as many impoverished and disenfranchised peoples as they can muster.  And there’s only so much fleeting comfort I can get from the latest LCD Soundsystem record playing on my headphones before the real world comes screeching back with its jagged and bloody talons outstretched and ready to rend and kill.

So, I’m just going to leave 2017 be for now.  I’m going to try and ignore all the hopelessness and dread for now.  I’m going to recharge because my boys need me.  And I’m going to focus on the future.  Instead of reflecting on the things I liked from this year, I’m going to look ahead to 2018, and list 4 things I’m giddy with anticipation for, like…

1. Avengers: Infinity War

avengersStarting off with some nerd stuff.  I would be lying through sinister teeth if I didn’t admit to being fully and incomparably stoked for the continuing saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe next year.  And it finally feels like things are slowly coming to a close, at least for our first batch of characters.  On a gamble that has been paying off like gangbusters for almost a decade since the original Iron Man came out, Marvel has shown again and again how to portray their intellectual properties on the silver screen, crafting immensely likable characters and fun, action packed stories and set pieces.  Sure there have been some ups and downs in this series of films, but there always seems to be way more good than bad in the long run.  And Infinity War looks to expand this universe even more, with the trailer bringing out my inner fanboy (the fun kind, not the obnoxious blowhard kind you find in comment sections) and getting me all nostalgic for the longboxes of comics I read as a kid.  Just look at the thing.

Even if you have only a passing affinity for comic book movies, how can you help but get excited for the next one?  And I haven’t even touched on Black Panther which looks amazing in its own right.  2018 is going to be big.

Make mine Marvel.

2. New Albums on the Way from The Wrens, My Bloody Valentine, and More

2018 won’t be the first year that we’ve been told that we’re getting a new album from The Wrens, but god willing, it will be the last.  In the almost 15 years since the New Jersey band released The Meadowlands, one of my favorite records ever and arguable the best breakup album of all time, band members have claimed to be working on a new record, or to have finished a new record, or to be mastering a new record about a hundred times.  And then nothing materializes.  Their website even cheekily says: “Keeping Folks Waiting Since 1989.”  Now, the myriad of reasons for the multiple delays certainly do make sense, and I’m sympathetic to them, with band members dealing with things like cancer or just the general prospect of having to work for a living while playing in a band that does not pay the bills.  But, I’ve got to cop to being a little bit selfish here.  I’ve been holding on for this record for a long time now, and I need it.  It’s not unlike the 20+ years I had to wait for a new My Bloody Valentine record…

The Wrens

The Wrens

…And speaking of My Bloody Valentine, after putting 22 years between Loveless and m b v, it looks like the wait is only going to be 5 years this go around, with Kevin Shields saying a new record should be out sometime this summer.  I’ll believe it when I see it, but dreams do come true.

Next year is also looking to finally give us some new music from Chromatics (fingers crossed…again), Damon Albarn led Britpop supergroup The Good, The Bad, and The Queen, and probably some amazing stuff that’s not even on my radar yet.  My turntable will be at the ready.

mbf3. Milwaukee Brewfest

Admittedly, most people reading this probably have little to no feelings at all about this summer’s Milwaukee Brewfest (except for you John), and I’d be right there with you if I weren’t planning to attend the thing.  But this is my list, not yours.  An old friend and former roommate of mine (you again John) has concocted a plan for the two of us to make a yearly visit somewhere in the United States (or the world?) to hit up a beer festival and sample as many local brews as we can possible stomach.  Some people might call that a “bro-cation.”  I would smack those people.  Anyway, next to music, movies, and books, beer is my go-to hobby (I home brew my own, and I even write about it from time to time), so this inaugural brew holiday at the end of July already has me gleefully excited.

(See you there John.)

4. The Rescue of America

I have to believe that things will get better.  I just have to.  But it’s so hard.

The inner cynic and pessimist within me feels that things have always been the same, and will continue to always be the same, the evil, greedy, and powerful monsters of the world never ceding control, a boot planted firmly on the metaphorical neck.  There will always be people to prey on.  And comeuppance is never guaranteed.

BUT, with the slow but growing trickle of progressive victories in elections around the country from Washington to Virginia to Goddamn Alabama, a tiny ray of hope is beginning to break through.  Maybe 2018 can bring even more victories, progressives and diverse peoples becoming the representatives of their communities the whole country over.  And maybe we can shine a light on more of the wretched and ugly bastards who reside among us, women feeling all the more empowered to expose their harassers and assaulters.  Maybe we can start hearing our science community and actually do something about climate change.  Maybe we can make health care for all a reality.  And maybe we can save ourselves from ourselves.


whitehouseOptimism has never been my forte, but there’s a cultural sea change going on, and we all need to pay attention.  Maybe there’s hope after all.


Well, there you go.  May 2018 be so, so much better than what came before.  In the meanwhile, here’s a video from the end of 2016 that made this year just a little more bearable when things seemed their bleakest.  Enjoy.

Peace and Happy New Year!


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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