Another year over. Finito, done, never to be seen again. But there’s no time to mourn its passing because – quite frankly – we’re just too amped-up with excitement and hoopla for everything that’s coming up in the next 12 months. It’s goodbye 2019 and hello 2020, you absolute, spanking new beauty. And if you’re not up to speed yet with all the buzz, here are 12 things to get seriously excited about in 2020 – and year-defining cultural and social happenings about to change your world.
Little Tony Soprano
Big franchises might continue to dominate the multiplexes in 2020 – Marvel, DC, Fast & Furious – but the follow-up film to be excited about in 2020 is The Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark. Going back to the late 1960s, it will tell the story of Sopranos-verse OG Dickie Moltisanti, much talked about father of Sopranos wild-child Christopher and mentor to Tony Soprano himself. Series creator David Chase is behind this, so there’s no need to worry about it not living up to the standards of what is still (no arguments, please) the greatest TV show of all time. There’s a stellar cast lined up, including Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, and – most excitingly – Tony Soprano actor James Gandolfini’s real-life son, Michael Gandolfini, playing the young Tony. In a word: fuggetaboutit.
The Return of Bond
It’s been a strange few years for 007. After the huge success (but critical meh) of 2015’s Spectre, it sounded like Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond was finished. “I’d rather slit my wrists,” were his words, though he was probably joking, about returning to the role. Then Trainspotting director Danny Boyle dropped out of the problem, the first of several production problems. So many, in fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Bond’s arch nemesis Blofeld had a cat-stroking hand in it. But after five long, Bond-less years, Her Majesty’s finest is back for No Time To Die – now confirmed as Craig’s final outing as 007. The trailer has got us excited already – stunts, suits (yes, we haven’t even seen the film, and already Bond is looking fine), the sexy cars, and deadly woman. Ana De Armas in eveningwear shooting the place up? Take our money. Take it now.
Football Coming Home (For Real This Time)
Remember when football sort of came home for the World Cup in 2018, but then also sort of didn’t at the last minute? Well, this year it comes home for real when the Euro 2020 stages games in both London and Glasgow, plus 10 other European cities for the tournament’s first ever multi-nation event. Expect the football fever that gripped this country during the World Cup to be booted all the way up to 11 because a) England are actually good again, for the first time in a quarter century and b) games on home turf always make it more special. But also expect football style to be at the forefront of menswear this summer. Retro football shirts will be out in force, a callback to the terrace fashion, while contemporary labels are also game for football these days.
Exploring A ‘What If?’ World
While alternate history novels usually explore what might have happened if the baddies had won (such as in Robert Harris’ Fatherland about a Nazi-controlled future), the real world feels a bit like an actual dystopia these days. Science-fiction maestro William Gibson is putting a spin on the concept with Agency – both a sequel and prequel to his time-travel novel The Peripheral – about a future in which Trump didn’t win the 2016 election, Brexit never happened, and – presumably – the world isn’t burning and on the verge of war. It could be the anti-nightmare escapism we need in 2020.
Getting Up To Speed With 5G
After a staggered (and sometimes controversial) soft launch last year, 2020 is the year that 5G will become the new, super-fast standard in data networks. But it’s not just about facilitating our mobile phone addictions at increased speeds; the capacity of 5G will change our devices, technology, how business operates, and how we communicate with each other. In short, in a world ruled by technology and connected by digital communications, 5G is going to have a major impact. Samsung already has a 5G phone available here in the UK and an Apple phone is set to follow sometime in 2020. In the UK, 5G is slower than many other parts of the world but it’s just getting started – already in the US, 5G is capable of speeds almost 100 times faster than 4G smartphones.
We’re now 20 years into the century, during which time the state, consequences, and future of masculinity has been fiercely debated, and the parameters of what it means to be a man redrawn. It’s quite right that in 2020, a number of exhibitions are set to offer interesting perspectives on this undefinable thing we call masculinity. Between February and May, the Barbican will host Masculinities, a collection of film and photography exploring how masculinity has been coded, performed, and socially constructed from the 1960s to now. Exhibitions at the Tate on David Hockney and Andy Warhol show social and cultural perspectives from two of art’s great male personalities. But most exciting is an exhibition at the Tate (Feb-May) celebrating 25 years of the Turner Prize and Oscar-winning artist Steve McQueen’s work, one of the most crucial, diverse, and relevant masculine voices in 21st Century British culture.
An Upgrade For Gamers
After years of being promised that VR is the future of gaming, that looks set to actually happen with the arrival Half-Life: Alyx, the much-anticipated VR game(-changer). Couple that with the Oculus Quest, and we’ll be glad to spend 2020 escaping the real world for virtual alternatives. Regular gaming is also due an upgrade with next generation consoles due towards the end of the year. The Xbox Series X is rumoured to be four times more powerful than its predecessor, and will see the return of Master Chief with the all-new Halo. If you think 4K looks sharp, its 8K resolution will poke your eyes right out. Never one to be outdone by a rival machine, Sony will also launch the PS5, rumoured to include next-gen VR and visual techniques used in Hollywood blockbuster SFX. Rainbow Six Quarantine, Godfall, and a mysterious new title from the designers behind Shadow of the Colossus are all confirmed.
50 Years of Glastonbury
The greatest music festival in the history of mankind will be throwing a whopper party for its 50th anniversary this year. Sorry, Burning Man, you’re good, but your sunbaked pretentiousness can never top some music-in-a-field debauchery. Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift have been confirmed to headline Glasto, with Kendrick Lamar tipped to headline the Friday night. If you haven’t got a ticket, don’t worry – tickets go on resale in April, but even if you’re not there, Glastonbury is more than a party in Somerset – it’s a cultural happening that will rock the entire country. Even from the comfort of your living room, expect to discover new bands, experience amazing sets, and make promises to yourself that you’ll never miss getting a ticket ever again.
Inspired perhaps by the shame of getting a thundering, disapproving look from Greta Thunberg, there’s been a surge in people seeking out environmentally friendly travel options – and 2020 could be the year we all think about saving the planet as well as travelling it. Both Rolls Royce and Airbus will put electric aeroplanes to the test this year, while zero-waste travel accessories and eco travel apps such as Green Globe and Olio are becoming hot (but not too hot, they’re keeping the emissions low) trends. Train travel has also seen a rise in popularity. And it’s not just the means of getting there, but destinations themselves, with eco-friendly resorts across the world. Usually for a less-than-modest price, of course, but less extortionate options are out there – nature-based travel, or hiking, climbing, and rambling hols. And if you can hang on until 2022, the world’s first energy positive hotel – Svart in Norway – is due to open.
Streaming Wars = Massive Binge
If you’re old enough to remember the lukewarm battle between VHS and DVD, you’ll know what this is all about. It’s happening all over again, but this time nuclear, as top streaming platforms will lock and load to compete for your eyeballs’ attention. Apple TV has already launched and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max is set to launch in May. But the real fight will be between Netflix and Disney+. Netflix will aim to continue its dominance with After Life Season 2, The Haunting of Hill House follow-up series Bly Manor, and – probably – Stranger Things 4. Not to mention it’s never-ending supply of soul-troubling true crime docs. On the other channel, Disney – whose stronghold on all other areas of entertainment is reaching Galactic Empire levels – will fire back with Star Wars series The Mandalorian, Marvel series The Falcon & The Winter Solider, and 90 years’ worth of back catalogue blockbuster hits. While 2020 is the year these entertainment titans battle it out, for the rest of us it’ll be a year of pure relaxation and binging.
Getting Your Body Biohacked
You may have heard of the biohacking – a tech-based, systems-thinking approach to reaching optimum fitness and health. The term is associated with the kind of eccentric, Silicon Valley bros and entrepreneurial lifestyle gurus who claim they’ll live to the grand old age of 160, like some sort of super-healthy Bond villain. But biohacking isn’t all that bonkers. In fact, it’s going mainstream, with leading biohacker Dave Asprey’s dedicated body-hacking gym in Los Angeles and the opening of BelleCell, London’s first biohacking clinic, which offers sports performance optimisation (using 3D body scanners), “body potential treatments”, genetic testing, and tech-based beauty treatments.