Photo by Chris Bethell
Let’s face it. You can attempt to leave the house in just a T-shirt, snap up a minimum-wage flight to the Balearic isles, or reload that UKG mix you’ve been abusing for the last few months, but summer is done. The dream is over. I’m sorry. Let it go.
This presents one looming question. What are we supposed to do with ourselves now that summer—and the Sol drinking, exchange-student romancing, Goodbye Charlie Bright paracosm we associate with it—has disappeared?
We can’t continue to participate in the same extra-curricular activities that we enjoyed over the last few months because a.) it’s freezing and b.) it’s raining. And even if it’s not pouring torrential ice buckets, all anyone seems to want to do is stay in bed watching Netflix, drinking a lonely mug of hot cocoa, wanking furiously until summer blesses us with its warmth again.
It shouldn’t be this way. Winter is incredible. Here’s a few reasons why:
We Can Start Visiting Clubs Again
Photo by Jake Lewis
I understand that clubs stay open all year round, even serving the hardcore contingent on hot mid-summer evenings when the only thing most people want to do is lie in a field drinking gin and tonics and watching Norman Jay. But, really though, a night out in an over-priced room makes the most sense in Winter. Clubbing in summertime can be fun—but it comes second-best to drinking in a stranger’s garden, and attempting to relive your youth on park benches. In Winter we can get back to the point: pre-planned trips to dark rooms when you can sweat profusely into a bottle of Tiger while you gurn and nod at a DJ in-between trips to the smoking area.
Not only are there a bunch of great, large-scale events that happen in the winter, but there’s also a knowing sense of reassurance that you can slide comfortably through the next few months in narcotic-fuelled familiarity. Summer is a time for exploration—places, people, and internet-bought pills. But in the winter you’re back in the warming arms of pub gak and pints. Welcome home, fiends.
We Get to Bitch About End of Year Lists and Award Shows
Each year, usually around December, but sometimes inexplicably in the middle of November, music publications post their End of Year lists. This involves the two or three main members of staff putting the tracks they actually downloaded to iTunes into some sort of coherent order, which is then published on the internet, so that a lot of people on the internet can call them tokenistic for only including one artist of colour/female/DJ/guitar band/rapper/white anglo-saxon male. The main thing to understand here is that talking about music is a real boner killer. If someone asks me to rank Radiohead's albums in order, I politely request an Uber. But while I take no pleasure in ordering music myself, I do enjoy making forty year-old men in Wisconsin cry after I’ve told them listening to Sun Kil Moon’s Benji is about as enjoyable as suffocating myself with a cum-crusted fleece gilet.
You Get Your Weekends Back
Photo by Mary Alice
Music festivals can steal entire summers. You go to one on the weekend, attempt to recover in the week, and then visit another the following Saturday. Once you’ve added the umpteen amount of outdoor events and barbecues that your benevolent co-worker insists on hosting into the mix, any semblance of a chilled summer weekend is rendered obsolete. This is not a bad thing—the only beings that enjoy being inside during summer are daddy-long legs and virgins in their 20s. The few sun-filled months we have should be spent gauging on as many SPF drizzled activities as possible. But it does mean now it’s cold again we can actually spend all weekend in bed without having to find an excuse for not attending a mutual friend's gathering in the park or their latest attempt at an outdoor "rave".
Q4 Is Full of Treats
To anyone that doesn’t spend their entire working week throwing away promotional CDs and deleting emails from PRs that claim to have the “hottest new Normcore duo” to showcase, Q4 refers to quarter four, which refers to the remaining months of the year when record labels attempt to spend the last of their money, and put out the last few big-hitting records before Christmas.
This year is particularly varied with everyone from Flying Lotus to Eminem to Toro Y Moi to Bush to Cheryl Cole to Slipknot to Hilary Duff putting out albums all before anyone has opened the first door on their advent calendar. These are all exciting, sure. But the best surprise comes when one big record label decides to splurge all the money they’ve been hiding all year and puts out one big release. Last year it was Beyonce. This year it could be Kanye West. Personally, I am hoping it’s Marky Mark’s comeback. You were gone too soon, bruh. Too soon.
A Lot of Music Only Makes Sense in Winter
A lot of music sounds better in summer: “Summertime”, “Summer of 69”, and “Long Hot Summer”, for example. And, sure, no one refers to a song released in October as a “Winter Anthem!!!11!”. But there's something about music and winter that can widen the emotional palette and the music we place upon it.
For a start, every ambient song ever was basically created for winter. Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, The Knife, Grouper; they resonate more when the only light outside is darkness and the only feeling inside is a sharp pain shooting up your left-leg because you can’t afford the heating bill. You can wrap yourself up in sadness in the winter, listening to desolate recordings by everyone from Morrissey to the Red House Painters without feeling like a dickhead for looking solemn as everyone is already glum, sedated by the fact the sky resembles a HB pencil's diarrhea rather than an establishing shot in Spring Breakers.
And then there’s sex. For a start sex is, like, a thousand times better in winter because it’s not as conducive to the sweat-smell stench that claims every orifice in the heat. But it’s also better because, duh, sex music only makes sense in winter. Case in point: I pitched this ideology to a mate and he said he likes winter because that’s when he makes love while listening to Massive Attack. Which sounds cool, I guess.
The summer look really works for women. We all know this. And men who consider themselves to be sartorially proficient because they buy all their clothes from Cos and the APC sale have a breakdown every time the temperature slips above 72 degrees. Out come the Hawaiian shirts, the white tees covered in kebab sauce stains, the zany shorts and the backwards snap backs. It’s as everything they could possibly learn about getting dressed was taught when they were at the age of seven.
In October that all changes. Suddenly everything is about thick autumnal woolens and starched shirt collars and suddenly men look great again. You know why? Because, even if it makes you look like a member of Fleet Foxes, layering rules. This is good news for men, but it’s also great news for the people who have to fuck men.
Photo by Jake Lewis
Even though most of us spend more money on unwanted presents we give rather than unwanted gifts we receive, Christmas is obviously the best part about Winter. This comes down to a few things: mainly time off work, but also that Christmas parties are better than any festival. You can say what you like about Glastonbury; but in December you're guaranteed to get to see someone from HR dutty-wine along to D’Angelo, and witness an intern over-loaded on bravado and cocaine sing “Boys are Back in Town” on the karaoke. Good luck out there, guys!
Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanBassil