Remember 2016? There was a lot of “Worst Year Ever” chatter as it wound to its close, four years ago this month. We lost David Bowie, Prince, Gene Wilder, Maurice White, Muhammad Ali, Bernie Worrell, Greg Lake, Keith Emerson, George Michael, Carrie Fisher and so many other “big” names that year. We also elected President Bonespurs Tinyhands, made Brexit a sick and sad reality, watched global climate change unfold in tragic ways in real time, experienced a devastating number and impact of mass shootings, and suffered the extreme right-wing media giddily expanding its reach and impact in the aftermath of international fellow-traveler efforts to sabotage our already-sickened democracy through the infectious cesspools of social media.
It all seemed utterly dreadful at the time, and it certainly felt wonderful to wish it all good riddance come January 1, 2017. But then 2020 arrived, said “Hold My Beer,” and made 2016 look like a veritable paradise of goodness and justice and equity in comparison to the horrors that the past 12 months have heaped upon us, domestically and around the globe. If you want or need concise hot takes on why 2020 was such an ass-end of a year, I’m sure you can find plenty of them in the newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, televisions shows or social media feeds of your choice. I generally try to avoid such wallows, and I doubt that I can add anything worthwhile to that bewildering stream of chatter, so I’m not even going to bother to try. Suffice to say that 2020 was a truly shitty year on a truly macro basis for an immense number of people, and that my normal website year-end report (which follows) is offered as a diversion for the record, not as a summary of recent horrors.
ON THE BLOG:
In 2019, I posted 70 articles on this website, noting 12 months ago that “as satisfying as that is, given my own goals for the upcoming year, I doubt that I will hit the same high post mark in 2020.” Well, surprise, surprise, 2020 didn’t quite go the way I planned it, and I ended up writing 147 posts, the most I’ve done since the Poem-A-Day Project in 2004. Retiring from full-time work certainly gave me more time to write, as did the cancellation of planned travel, and the need to fill socially isolated time in some satisfying and/or productive fashions. Interestingly, other folks being similarly isolated seemed to have an impact on readership here, per the following trend analysis of 2014-2020 website hits and visitors (actual numbers edited out, as it’s tacky to share them; the trend line is what matters):
I’ve owned this domain since the mid-1990s, but prior to 2015, I split my writing between a variety of sites with a variety of hosts. Since consolidating everything here in 2015, our Anno Virum has clearly been the most successful year in terms of readership numbers. It is nice to think that perhaps I helped some folks distract themselves, even if just briefly, from the day-to-day awfulness that 2020 has inflicted upon us. I suppose at some point I should consider trying to monetize that. Though I know from experience that turning fun/hobby undertakings into work/income ones that way usually never plays out as happily as one might expect it to.
As I report each year, here are the dozen most-read articles among the 147 new posts here in 2020:
- Favorite Songs By Favorite Bands #11: The Fall
- The Voice of Energy: Florian Schneider-Esleben (1947-2020)
- Unchained: Eddie Van Halen (1955-2020)
- Favorite Songs By Favorite Bands #5: Steely Dan
- Thoughts on Thoughts
- Best Albums of 2020
- Favorite Songs By Favorite Bands #9: Hawkwind
- Dear WordPress: Your New Editor is Terrible
- Supplemental Music Nerd Adventure
- If I Had The Time: Ken Hensley (1945-2020)
- Best of the Archives #4: Interview With Kim Deal
- Five By Five Books #11: “The Maze of Transparencies” (2019) by Karen An-hwei Lee
And then here are the dozen posts written in prior years that received the most reads in 2020. It always fascinates me which of the 1,000+ articles on my website interest people (or search engines) the most, all these years on since the first 1995 post on an early version of this blog. (Note that I exclude things like the “About Me” page or the generic front page from the list, even though they generate a lot of my traffic). And once again, here’s hoping that people realize that the perennially-popular “Iowa Pick-Up Lines” post is a joke . . .
- The Worst Rock Band Ever
- Iowa Pick-Up Lines
- How To Write A Record Review
- March of the Mellotrons
- Simple Things: Johnny Clegg (1953-2019)
- Pink Flag at Map Ref 41 N 93 W
- Don’t Take Me Alive: Walter Becker (1953-2017)
- Five By Five Books #6: “The Flounder” (1977) by Günter Grass
- Five By Five Books #2: “Skin” (1993) by Kathe Koja
- Five By Five Books #9: “Gog” (1967) by Andrew Sinclair
- Interview with Neil Peart of Rush (1997)
- Down That Road: Neil Innes (1944-2019)
ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB:
See this earlier post: Best of My Web 2020.
See this earlier post: The Roads Not Taken.
See these two earlier posts: Best Albums of 2020 and Most Played Songs of 2020.
LIVE PERFORMANCES AND ART EXHIBITIONS:
Yeah, right. That didn’t happen, for obvious reasons.
See this earlier post: Best Books of 2020.
See this earlier post: Best Films of 2020.
AND THEN . . . .
. . . onward to our brave post-Trumpian world, hopefully one that is anchored in science, justice and truth, all of which we will enjoy from our new homestead in Arizona. At least until travel is safe(r) again, anyway. I assume that I will be back here at my desk in December 2021 with a similar report (as has become my habit), marveling at that which was, and eagerly anticipating that which is yet to come. See you then?
4 thoughts on “2020: Year in Review”
Pingback: What’s Up in the Neighborhood, January 2, 2021 – Chuck The Writer
Yes, see you then.
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Let me just give you my continued appreciation for your intelligent, witty writing. I’ve been reading for well over a year, with you being a ray of sunshine amidst all the clamor, chaff, and trendiness. Every skyline has been like Des Moines’.
I was poised at the beginning of this year to make good on a music career after nearly three years of unemployment. When the lockdown came in the middle of March, I was planning on playing at least 1-2 gigs a week in the NYC area. I’ve had to retreat, reformulate, and give up so much, but at least by doing so, I knew I helped others. Like many, I look to next year with grave caution, but we shall overcome.
I wish you and yours nothing but good health and a prosperous new decade.
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Thanks for a most kind and thoughtful comment, and for reading along through this weirdest of years. I appreciate the support and encouragement very much!