Fidget spinners, another series of Stranger Things, Ed Miliband’s podcast: 2017 changed everything. I can’t remember a more iconic year since the halcyon days of 2009, or 1994, or indeed 1989. More than anything, though, 2017 changed the way we communicate. Gone were the days of the laugh-cry emoji, "Brexit" and "Hygge" – here came a big bad year with a totally new way of looking at things, and a totally new set of words to describe those things.
As Roland Barthes said: "language is a skin" – and 2017 gave it a full facial scrub, baby. Let’s run through the words that defined the year.
Apparently "stashing" is where you date someone but never mention them on social media, so that you can maintain the illusion that you're single to the rest of the world. Personally, I don’t think this is real. I think this is something the Metro made up. If I ever hear someone talking about "stashing" I will lock them in a toilet and not let them out until boxing day!
"Let’s be clear" was something politicians started saying this year as a way of distracting people from the fact they didn’t have a fucking clue what was going on. It's really clever, because if you say "we've been very clear" before something, it doesn't matter if the following sentences are as clear as lentil soup. As in:
What is Labour’s stance on Brexit?
Look, we’ve been very clear about this: single market customs union and we've got to respect that mandate. It that's simple.
And the Ting Goes… Skrrrahh… Bap… Pap… Pu-Pu etc
Less a word and more a series of noises. Nevertheless, your "Uni Pengalengs" WhatsApp group has no doubt been going pap-pap all year long! Genuine respect to Big Shaq, though, who has been more ubiquitous this year than Drake or the manifold crises of Western democracy.
"Youthquake" was a word made up by political columnists to make young people voting sound like an unexplained, isolated incident.
This was the year the word "content" crossed the threshold out of glass-tank marketing meeting rooms and out into the slipstream of the world’s consciousness. Films, articles, albums, documentaries, sitcoms, songs, games and memes were all rolled into an amorphous plasticine blob shielded from definition or development by the great content umbrella. And culture was much, much better for it. Journalist? No, sir – I am a content creator.
Corbynmania was this crazy cult teenagers got into in 2017. A bit like the Pokemon Go thing, but with this old socialist instead of Squirtle.
"Fake Instagram" – an alternative, private account to share selfies, jokes and all the delicious banter that’s just too spicy for the mainstream TL. Ideal for people who think pretending to have a double-chin is the height of humour.
Mood is a thing people in 2017 said alongside a picture of something silly, to convey how they were feeling. For example…
You might say "mood af", if you were feeling particularly "let’s pretend to be American".
Moggmentum was a hugely successfully Tory rival to Momentum – the Labour activist group in part credited with Jeremy Corbyn’s surprise success at the general election. Moggmentum was built around Jacob Rees-Mogg, the lovable anti-abortion aristocrat who has single-handedly rescued the Conservative youth vote. Expect to hear a lot more about Moggmentum in 2018. This definitely won’t be a flash in the pan.
I think a type of drink.
It’s been a very long year, hasn’t it. Back in January, the President’s Counselor Kellyanne Conway made the sensational claim that Trump’s lies about his inauguration turnout being the "biggest in history" were in fact "alternative facts". Still, I’m sure you got some great banter out of it down the pub. Oi, I thought it was your round? Those must be… alternative facts! Hehe.
Sidebarring – another new word for "being a cunt" – is apparently when you and your mate start texting each other when you’re both in the same room, normally to say nasty things about everybody else in the room. Let’s say you’re at a party with your friend, and the vibe is terrible – just a load of lads called Dan taking it in turns to play "What’s a Girl to Do?" on Spotify. Now, let’s say you slyly text your friend, hiding your phone in your coat pocket as you go, and suggest you leave the next time somebody goes out for a cig. You, my friend, have just sidebarred. And you are so 2017.
If 2016 was all about Brexit Dad, this year has been all about Centrist Dad: the New Statesman reading, Blair-loving father figure offering a genuinely sensible alternative way of doing things. He thinks Corbynmania is a death cult, has an EU flag on his profile picture and really liked the most recent Elbow album. Despite being a "diehard liberal" he was secretly very annoyed by the general election result.
Screaming and/or Dying
This year, lots of people started saying "SCREAMING" or "DYING" on Twitter when they found something particularly funny. They weren’t actually screaming, of course; they were staring blankly at the glass wall of their phone. That said, it’s worth noting that, like all of us, they really were dying.
Bag of Cans
In a year of murder, mayhem and meme saturation, perhaps the lasting image should appropriately be a bag of cans: the simple offering of a plastic carrier full of tinnies which became a symbol of hope and community through the long, strange summer of 2017. All that remains is to crack a cold one and bring on the new year. And the ting goes… 2018!