At the end of every year, after I receive a new diary from my parents for Christmas, I sit down and write my resolutions for the coming twelve months. I have always been enamored with the idea of setting myself tasks, even though I’m somewhat less successful in following up on said ambitions. Hey, there’s a reason I always add a sub-header declaring my resolutions to not be legally binding. You have to cover your backs with stuff like this. The one area of resolutions where I am consistently successful is in my pop culture challenges. Every year, I pick a new project related to film, television, music, or literature and it provides a welcome distraction from more serious resolutions (in fairness, I did manage to cut fizzy drinks out of my diet this year and exercise more, but my once-a-year promise to actually write a book once again failed miserably.) In 2017, I decided to listen to everything David Bowie ever released (yes, including Tin Machine.) The following year, I aimed for a total viewing of Billy Wilder’s filmography, a resolution I failed but only because I was without a DVD player for several months so it technically wasn’t my fault. This year, I committed to a total re-listen of the works of another of my favorite musicians, Madonna, and I completed that one easily. What can I say, I like Madonna and she doesn’t have as many albums as Wilder had movies. With 2020 around the corner, it’s time for a clean slate and some new challenges, so here are my plans for pop culture challenges and resolutions over the coming year. If you do pop culture resolutions as well, please share yours in our comments section. If not, I hope this will encourage you to try it out for yourself.
Re-read Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles
As a teenage girl, I was predictably obsessed with vampires, but especially Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. There’s something so full-throated and hypnotic about her attention to detail and endlessly intricate character studies that had me hooked from page one of Interview With the Vampire (true story: my high school library demanded I have my parents sign a permission slip before they would let me check out that book, even though by that time I’d already read the entire Hannibal Lecter series from their shelves.) The Vampire Chronicles is extremely addictive, even when the books take a drastic decline in quality, although I admittedly skipped a couple of books during my first reading because I couldn’t find a copy of them. Now, as a woman pushing 30 who is still predictably obsessed with vampires, I feel it’s time to revisit Rice’s world. She’s still writing books in the series after a hiatus and I’ve just felt the pull towards Lestat and friends a lot recently. This resolution will also be the kick in the pants I need to finally read her Mayfair Witches series, which ties into the Vampire Chronicles with Merrick. The first book in that trilogy, The Witching Hour, is over a thousand pages long, so you can understand my adolescent apprehension (the font was so tiny!) I am curious to see if this series still has the power over me that it did as a teen. I typically don’t revisit the stuff that molded my tastes at that age for fear of discovering it was rubbish and thus cracking the illusion of my nostalgic past. This resolution could be an absolute heartbreaker if it all goes wrong. Hopefully, it won’t.
Watch Films From Countries Where I’ve Never Seen Any of Their Films
Doing my Master’s degree in film studies helped to reignite my cinematic bravery after a few years of getting lazy and becoming too focused on the same handful of comfort movies. It’s been especially fulfilling to watch more foreign-language films over the past couple of years, especially since such titles have become more accessible than ever. Still, there are many gaps left in my knowledge that I would like to fill. As a Brit, I tend to find that our culture’s focus on foreign language cinema is heavily limited to Western European countries — France, Germany, Italy, Spain — and Asian cinema primarily from South Korea and Japan. There are exceptions but it’s all too easy to fall into the rut of seeing the beauty and potential of film limited to a handful of nations. That’s why I’m keen to do a little cinematic traveling. There are dozens of countries on this planet where I haven’t seen a single film produced there: Estonia, Laos, Madagascar, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, and way too many to recall right now. Who knows what incredible unseen gems their film industry has produced that are just waiting for the attention of the wider world. I can’t wait to find out. The above trailer is for an Estonian film called November that I’ve heard amazing things about.
Finally Look Into this K-Pop Thing
I tend to buy one or two albums a year and have very little interest in exploring mainstream stuff outside of my unchanging tastes. I’m fine with liking what I like and sticking to it but I also have no desire to become one of those grumpy old crones who do nothing but whine about how music was so much better in their youth and none of this racket the kids listen to these days can surpass it. It’s not that I’m disinterested in K-pop or anything like that — although its online fandom is intimidating, to say the least — but I really have no idea where to start with it. I know there’s a band called BTS who people seem to like but otherwise, it’s completely impenetrable to me, and I don’t want it to be because I think it’s genuinely wonderful that this generation of teenagers is embracing pop culture in different languages and with sensibilities so unlike that of what I was brought up with. So, any help you, my dear readers, can offer on this front would be greatly appreciated!
Header Image Source: Getty Images.