Sunday, 29 January 2017

THE BELATED FOURTH ANNUAL WICKEDLAND AWARDS

We are barely breaking the new year in, and here are the Wickedland Awards. You lucky sods what a feast for the senses. Better late than never, right? Have a bang on these then



FILM OF THE YEAR - Nocturnal Animals

Admittedly I’ve slacked this year. Reviewing this years cinematic releases I realised I’ve not frequented the cinema as much as I would like but I think it’s fair to say that the year that offered me Angry Birds: The Movie hasn’t met me halfway. I don’t like Star Wars, and there hasn’t been too much on offer. One film I did see and really enjoy was Nocturnal Animals. Written, Produced and Directed by Tom Ford, with a strong cast (Amy Adams, Jake Gylenhaal) it really was a ride. The film has a wonderful unique lineage, as is cuts between Amy Adams reading a script sent to her by her ex boyfriend, and then into the story in the script itself when Jake Gyenhaal stars as the lead. It was unique, gripping, thought provoking and interesting. The movie I enjoyed the most this year by far.



ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Skepta - Konnichiwa 

Wasn’t a bad year for Skepta was it? 2016 meant we finally got Konnichiwa, his long awaited fourth studio album, and first full length project since 2012. It’s a lean record with only 12 tracks, a few of which we’d already heard, much to the annoyance of a lot of fans. Although the album did have a couple of pretty old singles on, I can understand why Skepta did this. This was always due to be a big project, and with the international attention it was getting it made sense to put “That’s Not Me’ and ‘Shutdown’ on the record. In 10 years people aren’t going to remember they were released a year before the album dropped.


All in all, it’s wonderful, varied and complete. I love that this album was going to attract the attention of the mainstream media and it’s still a grime album. It’s authentic, and sounds like the music I fell in love with. That’s not to say it’s stunted in the usual way grime albums are. It isn’t samey or low fi, there are some real nice pieces of instrumentation. When he won the Mercury Prize for it I was made up, I’m glad it got recognised. A 100% independent artist releasing an album on his own label and rightly getting the kudos he deserves.



TRACK OF THE YEAR - Kanye West - Ultralight Beam

Can you remember where you were the first time you heard this song? Kanye did me the favour of holding the album release/listening party/Yeezy season 3 launch on my birthday way back in February, and I went to the cinema to watch a live stream with Darryl. The next day I flew off to Dam and whilst highly intoxicated I must’ve listened to the audio rip from the stream 100 times over the weekend. I was mesmerised by this beautiful song. Although sadly the album didn’t hold up to the high standard the opener set, it doesn’t make that one track any less wonderful.



NEWS STORY OF THE YEAR - Brexit Britain

The whole Brexit thing was pretty nuts wasn’t it. I’ve never been the biggest follower of politics, and for the first time in my life I was really interested. It seemed like the stakes were higher, the things they were discussing were likely to affect people my age regardless of class, race or gender. Everyone around me was talking about it. The live coverage as it unfolded overnight and the social media meltdown that followed in June was insane, it was everywhere. I don’t remember feeling so immersed in a political issue ever in my life. What a fascinating part of history to live through as a Brit.



SHUBBZ OF THE YEAR - Vicky Park Leicester City Title Parade Celebrations

Have you ever known a turn up like it? The whole city turned into a carnival under the blazing sunshine with an eventual pilgrimage to Victoria Park, and absolutely everyone was there getting pissed in the sunshine and celebrating our city becoming world famous. I saw everyone. I’ll never forget it, the scale was mind blowing, they said 240,000 people. Sadly a few of those 240,000 were Kasabian, but nothing in life is perfect.

I remember thinking on that day that the richest rich is seeing the people you love happy. This day has got to be top 5 best days of all time because everyone you knew was there having the sickest motive. How can anyone in this city possibly hate football?



SPORTS MOMENT OF THE YEAR - Hazard’s goal V Tottenham to win Leicester City the Premier League

It was starting to crack wasn’t it? A couple of wayward results and points dropped and people were starting to think City were gonna get pipped at the post. Spurs, who were bang in the running found themselves 2-0 up at halftime with plans on closing the gap between them and Leicester with a couple of games to go.

Cahill scores in the 58th minute and the whole world of football fans were watching mindful of the fact that if Chelsea levelled the score and finished the game with a draw, Leicester would win the league. It was the 83rd minute and I remember watching the build up to the goal and you just knew it was going to go in. Hazard slots it and Leicester City, against all odds become Premier League Champions 15/16. The city erupted and as one marched to the King Power stadium for an impromptu all night party. Wonderful.

It’s almost poetic and ironic that despite all the talismanic heroics last season and stand out performances Leicester put in, the moment that caused city-wide hysteria was sculpted by a Chelsea player. I was living near a main road when the goal went in and I remember the noise that instantly followed the goal. Everyone was following the score. Car horns beeped all night. It was surreal.

(Skip to 8:16 if you're in a rush)




WICKEDMAN OF THE YEAR - Gucci Mane

Look at how this guy is living! Fresh out of prison and he’s really turned it around. He’s an upstanding member of society. On March 6th Gucci was finally freed and soon after it was clear something was real different. Little videos surfaced where he was speaking completely differently, being all light and polite and shit. Not to mention the radical weight loss. Fast forward a few more months and he’s swimming, mountain biking and still finding time to write, record and release 3 full length albums in one year. Be like Gucci.



WICKEDWOMAN OF THE YEAR - Michelle Obama

I pondered over a few different possible winners with this one. I consulted a few people too to see if I was missing an obvious front runner. Although I was hesitant to give the cake to Michelle Obama it just made sense. She’s the name people kept coming back to me with and the name I had at the front of the pack from my first thought. She’s been the picture of class in the twilight of Barack’s reign as the POTUS, so dignified whilst the world falls down around her. What a role model.



WASTEMAN OF THE YEAR - Donald Trumps

In writing this I looked back at last years Wickedland Awards post and I gave Trump the award of best twitter breakdown, noting how mental it is that he wanted to be the leader of the free world. Alas, here we are, on the brink of the biggest backwards step the western world has made in a very, very long time. One thing the world doesn’t need is more column inches explaining why Donald Trumpington is a donut, and I’m sure you’ve done your reading so I’ll spare you. But it couldn’t have been anyone else.


Or my remix version of this picture hahahaha 




WASTEWOMAN OF THE YEAR - Hillary Clinton

Bow bow bow bow US election triple bill for you. It couldn’t be anyone else. Really though, how the fuck did she lose this election? Could she have been more pedestrian and boring during the campaign if she tried? I had an interesting conversation with someone the morning after Trump won and they said It’s pretty clear looking at how the last few general elections have gone (and a very successful Brexit campaign) that charisma is king in capturing the votes of the masses. Hillary had an absolutely golden angle in that she was a woman. The first ever woman running for office who was really in with a good shout. Why was that not leaned on and completely milked? When Obama ran for office way way back he leaned on the fact he was a black man, and demanded everyones attention with his ‘CHANGE’ campaign. The first ever black president? Obviously he had the backing of black people and non racists across America and thereby won. Hillary had wonderful tools at her disposal and squandered it.



WICKEDLAND HONOURABLE MENTION AWARD - Netflix Originals

Pretty mad how good Netflix Original content is, isn’t it. Netflix has grown from a lesser Love Film that people accidentally got signed up to by an annoying bloke in the Highcross to this global institution, something that’s almost not optional to the modern home entertainment set up. They’ve been doing it right for a number of years, but Making a Murderer and a few other titles were hugely spoke about in 2016. Netflix are putting in important work for the culture. Also, if you’ve not seen Last Chance U, go watch that. One of my favourite things I watched last year.



COOL SHIT OF THE YEAR - Desus and Mero (Viceland)

For those who don’t know Desus and Mero are two social commenters/comedians from The Bronx. I’ve followed Mero’s various ventures for a long, long time. I originally come across him when he was an admin for a graffiti forum I used to read in school. Fast forward ten years and after a successful web series released via Complex to YouTube, a great weekly podcast sponsored by Red Bull, slots on MTV2 shows and constant fire tweets from the pair of them they landed a late night show on Viceland, the new(ish) Vice cable TV channel. It’s hilarious, relevant, interesting, authentic and informative. They seem like two super normal guys who are working hard and building their brand. I knew sooner or later someone would pick them up and I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy for someone I’ve never met to finally be really doing well. Episodes are around 22 minutes long and air Monday to Thursday every week. I love it, I’ve not missed an episode and I’m so glad it exists haha.




BEST FEATURE VERSE OF THE YEAR - Chance The Rapper on Baby Blue - Action Bronson

Chance is fucking awesome man. This verse was right waaaay back at the start of the year, and it gave me the idea for this award, because I’m always interested in feature verses. They’re an interesting part of rap culture. I was mindful of this verse and almost looking for it to get beaten as the year went on and various projects were released. I still think it holds up. It was a rare highlight on what was an otherwise disappointing project from Action Bronson in my opinion. It divided fans. Chance's delivery is as perfect as the lyrics. His crippling vulnerability in the last few lines of the verse gets me every time.

The whole song:



Set to start at 3:34, Chances verse:



BEST NEWCOMER - Drumstick Squashies

There was a 3/4 month long period as summer turned to autumn last year where bags of these were on offer at the Tesco Express near my old flat for £1. I rattled through them. I cannot remember a sweet with such a perfect consistency. They’re light, delicious and moorish. As if that isn’t enough they’ve got a few different flavours to choose from. They really had me for a while, it’s rare a new sweet comes out and cleans up the way this one did. It’s like when Man City got their big cash injection and could suddenly swing it with the big boys. I hope they never leave me.



FOOD SPOT OF THE YEAR - Crafty Burger @ St Martin’s Coffee

My love affair with Crafty started a long time ago when I first reviewed it for the blog. It really was love at first bite. The beautifully crafted gourmet burgers would stand up anywhere in the world, let alone in little old Leicester. I think they still hold the top spot, even after this recent boom of independent restaurants in Leicester. The burgers are juicy and made with love and the topped fries are just gorgeous. If you haven’t been, go. I don’t know anyone who has been who doesn’t rate it very highly.



BIGGEST L OF THE YEAR - Instagram


What the fuck went wrong man? Instagram used to be a wonderful chronological archive of pictures, nice and neat and orderly. Why is it everything Facebook touches turns to utter shit? Now every other post is an advert, and it’s just in any old order, so even though you follow certain people you simply will not see their posts. You can even refresh the timeline to see more content and it only shows you the few posts it chooses to show you. The algorithm timeline really is one of the most rancid things about modern social media. Instead of seeing the content you want to see you get adverts. It was perfect before. Now we’ve got live videos like Facebook, Stories like Snapchat and you can like comments too. What is that shit? Is that what Insta is? I just want a neat, chronological archive of little square photos. You can stick your Boomerangs up your bollocks.


Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed this post please share it! it would mean the world to me, STAY WXCKXDLXXXXXNDDDDDXNG 2017

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