When you stop and think about it, this decade has overseen a wild amount of change. Phones aren't simply for calling and texting. The internet is no longer something you access ‘on the computer’ at night after school. Jobs like ride-share driver and social media strategist exist – jobs that, if you tried to tell me about in the 00s, I would waft away as conspiracy theories.
The 2010s have killed many things, my spirit among them, but what else have we lost to the sands of increasingly fast moving time? Let us take a moment to remember these fallen soldiers of culture, confined to history alongside dial-up and Patisserie Valerie.
A: AMERICAN APPAREL
American Apparel filed for bankruptcy in 2015 after CEO Dov Charney was marched out following mismanaged funds and a string of harassment allegations. Technically it still exists as LA Apparel, but it’s no longer a cultural institution. As far as their key audience – skinny women for whom the skater skirt is an entire sexual identity – is concerned, it’s been replaced by Brandy Melville.
Gone are the corny days of poster girls with D-cups and low-rise jeans (famously, a garment for the flat butted). Quests to secure a conceptual “big tiddy goth gf” aside, this has well and truly been the decade of the arse.
Cats may have been the stars of the early internet, but dogs have been our guardian angels in the age of austerity. When people are miserable and searching for crumbs of affection, the apathy and mystique of a cat just doesn’t do the job. RIP Lil Bub.
In 2009, you'd have been hard pressed to find a simple carton of soy milk outside a health food shop. Now, after a brief fling with almond milk, oat milk has risen as a sustainable and genuinely-good-in-tea alternative to dairy, bringing shame to those who still succ the cow titty.
The ‘worst decade for the environment’ award arguably goes to the 50s for overseeing the mass production of plastics. Still, the 2010s began with the largest marine oil spill in history and continued on a trajectory of wildfires, heatwaves, record numbers of people dying of pollution and the highest CO2 levels in human history, so they haven’t exactly helped.
For anyone under the age of 35, Facebook died alongside the short-lived culture of taking a compact camera on every average night out and spending your hangover tagging 207 unserviceable photos of your mates holding vodka mixers at clubs called ‘Glam’ and ‘Tunnel’.
Famously a construct, but this decade saw dialogue around expressions of gender beyond the binary enter mainstream conversation more prominently than ever before. Sadly this development hasn’t come without a vitriolic backlash from blue tick journalists and ‘personalities’ who feel like the basic human rights of trans and gender nonconforming people are somehow assailing them personally, but we march onwards to progress.
And lo, the dregs of fixie bike riding, beard-grooming mumblecore enthusiasts at last hung up their fake horn rimmed glasses, got promoted into middle management and either pivoted to wearing suits or became an early 30s hypebeast.
I: INDEPENDENT COMPANIES
Acquisitions and mergers abound in these economically precarious times, particularly within media and publishing, but all across the board from porn to public services. Can’t wait to do my shopping in 2025 at the big Unilever-GlaxoSmithKline-Walmart-EDF-Pentland-Sainsbury’s.
J: JJB SPORTS
Precious mems of driving to the retail park before every new school year to get a fresh pair of poppers from JJB and wash the experience down with 20 McNuggets. It’s a crying shame this institution ceased operation in 2012 before getting to experience the great athleisure boom.
K: KANYE WEST
Blonde and gone, Kanye West went from releasing My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – categorically one of the greatest albums ever made – to challenging sound and thought through Yeezus and important conversations about mental health, to… a libertarian who rates Trump and wants the woman he married and spent the last decade rapping about fucking to dress more modestly? Okay boomer.
L: LIB DEMS
If Nick Clegg getting into bed with David Cameron, overseeing austerity and ditching the one promise to end tuition fees they hung their youth vote on wasn’t a big enough nail in the coffin, Jo Swinson pulling on a “girly swot” shirt to recreate Hilldawg’s presidential campaign – which famously failed against Donald Trump – three years later and without the coherence of policy ought to do it.
M: MUSIC JOURNALISM
NME went free, Lizzo and Lana Del Rey are beefing with critics on Twitter, algorithms have strangled the blogsphere and dedicated music sites have either been absorbed, stripped for parts or axed in the mass pivot to video. I’m positive the next decade will see the return of blogs and subscription-based curation, or maybe something else entirely, because if there is a future of music journalism it absolutely isn’t cover features of celebrity mates interviewing each other.
Rolf Harris? Convicted. Ian Watkins? Behind bars for the foreseeable. Saville? Literally dead. Epstein? Also dead. This decade has seen a reckoning for the few, while also shining a light on the extent to which literally the worst people imaginable have been allowed to wield their power unchecked.
O: OWNING STUFF
Property? A car? Analogue media? Anything except six flat-packed cardboard boxes to move house every eight months and the passwords to various streaming services? In this economy? You must be having a laugh.
P: POLITICAL SATIRE
Not to get all Old Man Yells At Cloud but the UK used to be the home of socio-political satire. The Day Today, The Thick Of It, Smack The Pony, Brass Eye, Alan Partridge... Now our primetime TV slots are filled with an endless dirge of privately educated quims who look like YouTubers and do jokes about how Jeremy Corbyn is Dobby. Scintillating stuff!
Q: QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Still a few days left of 2019 lads, fingers crossed!
R: ROCK \m/
Been a piss poor decade for the old rhythm, lead, bass and drums set-up, I have to say. With the exception of Architects and actual DIY artists who haven’t had much of a look in over the last five years, guitar music in the UK has mostly amounted to lads yelling about rizla in tailored trousers.
According to almost any study of young people published this decade, we’re having less sex than previous generations. You could blame this on social media withering our ability to interact with one other, porn rotting our brains, dating apps spoiling us for choice or, simply, that we’re too stressed and knackered to be arsed.
Yeah we might have endured two unelected prime ministers, sanctioned another five years of Tory cuts and voted to exit the EU based on a campaign of lies and deceit but we also got “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead” to number two in the charts when Maggie snuffed it, so, swings and roundabouts.
From Rihanna to David Beckham to the author of this blog, no one escaped the fabulous trend that was shaving off a patch of hair like someone stuck gum in it at a sleepover.
Many apps have given us many gifts, but only one gave us Danny Trejo in a fedora demanding “dicks out for Harambe”.
Before austerity, the UK had a welfare state that at least tried to provide a safety net for the most vulnerable people in society. That’s no longer the case – but now we have an epic new system called Universal Credit, which was so badly rolled out it left some claimants without money for several months. Woohoo!
X: THE X FACTOR
X Factor ended the minute the British public voted for Matt Cardle over One Direction in 2010 in my opinion, but in all fairness it did continue to produce some worthy contributions to the UK charts (see: Little Mix and, uh). By and large though it’s just created a massive pile of D-list celebrities who have one massive Christmas single and then dine out forever on Instagram sponcon and one-off nights at Chepstow Racecourse.
I don’t know a single person who has made it through the decade without losing something vital (their chill, their general faith in humanity, their dignity to a skater who runs a meme account and ghosts you after giving you chlamydia etc), so shout out you for enduring one of the most stressful decades in history.
Z: ZOOEY DESCHANEL
New Girl? More like Gone Girl aha.
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.