The Thommy's XX

Every year my friend Thom hosts a year-in-review group newsletter called The Thommy’s. Forty questions on music, movies, films, book and other bits of pop culture. I’ve been taking part since 2006.

What are your favourite songs of 2020?

In no particular order:

  • Alien Mode – Pearson Sound
  • Energy – Pa Salieu
  • Lone Swordsman – Daniel Avery
  • Apricots – Bicep
  • Whiskey Story Time – Alabaster Du Plume
  • Home – Caribou
  • The Struggle – Robert Hood
  • Tondo – Disclosure
  • Kyoto – Phoebe Bridgers
  • might bang, might not – Little Simz

Tidal Playlist

What are your favourite albums of 2020?

Also, in no particular order:

  • Send them to Coventry – Pa Salieu
  • Twice as Tall – Burna Boy
  • Saint Cloud – Waxahatchee
  • Hannah – Lomelda
  • E3 AF – Dizzee Rascal
  • RTJ4 – Run the Jewels
  • Heaven to a Tortured Mid – Yves Tumor
  • Dwell – Recondite

What were your favourite live performances of 2020?

Streaming from Isolation – Peggy Gu

Who are your favourite band of 2020?

Run the Jewels. Activism and great tunes.

Who is your favourite solo artist of 2020?**

Burna Boy

What are your favourite compilations / re-issues / live albums / mixes / EPs released in 2020?

  • Drop 6 – Little Simz
  • Palo Alto – Thelonious Monk

Who is your favourite new band or artist to emerge in 2020?

Pa Salieu

What non-2020 songs / albums / artists will you forever associate with this year?

For their, I miss my friends nostalgic quality, All My Friends and 1979 got played quite a bit.

I also rewatched The British Office (see nostalgia point above) and remembered how good the scene when Dawn and Tim first kiss is. Only You is playing in the background, which also appears in Normal People. Then it quickly became my two year olds favourite song which means it’s been on repeat even since, and I now can’t stand it.

“More ‘azzoooo?”

He even likes the weird best of album cover that has two manakins on it…

What new apps have you been using in 2020?

If you ever find yourself writing something over ~2,000 words you need to ditch Word/Docs and download Scrivener.

I also switched from Spotify to Tidal. Turns out the lossless quality and lack of royal podcasts is worth the extra money.

Who is your villain of 2020?

After the events of 2020 I think we all deserve a look in for this one.

What is the most overrated album, artist or song of 2020?

Couldn’t get on with the Jay Electronica album. Shame as I really wanted to like it.

What is your musical disappointment of 2020?

Snowdog. They give him a plane for fucks sake.

What was your most pleasant musical surprise of the year?

I May Destroy You’s killer soundtrack.

What were your favourite films of 2020?

  • Host
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Parasite

What were your favourite books of 2020?

After starting a master’s my fiction reading has fallen off a cliff.

Master’s Related

  • The Rise and Fall of American Growth – Robert Gordon
  • Liberalism at Large – Alexander Zevin
  • Automation and the Future of Work – Aaron Bennenav
  • Capital is Dead – Mackenzie Wark
  • Automating Inequality – Virginia Eubanks
  • The World After Capital – Albert Wegner
  • The Triumph of Injustice – Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zuckman
  • Linked – Alberto-Laszlo Barabasi

Other Good Non-Fiction

  • If Then – Jill Lepore
  • A Paradise Built in Hell – Rebecca Solnit
  • The Other Side of Sadness – George Bonnano
  • Seven Brief Lessons on Physics – Carlo
  • Big Capital: Who is London For? – Anna Minton
  • Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

Fiction

  • Girl, Woman, Other – Bernadine Evaristo
  • An American Marriage – Tayari Jones
  • Jazz and Palm Wine – Emmanuel Dongala
  • In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

Special mention to the short stories of Dongala. If you’ve ever wondered what happens when tribal culture rubs against a newly installed communist regime in modern day DR Congo this is the book to read. Hint, it’s fucking hilarious.

What were your favourite television programmes of 2020?

  • The Undoing
  • The Last Dance (you should also watch Magic and Bird)
  • The Plot Against America
  • Mrs America
  • The Mandolorian
  • Small Axe
  • Normal People
  • I May Destroy You
  • My Brilliant Friend

What were your favourite radio programmes and podcasts of 2020?

A History of Ideas – David Runciman

What were your favourite videogames of 2020?

The Last of Us 2

What were your favourite comedy / spoken word / theatre / sporting performances of 2020?

That week after the presidential election was debilitating. But at least there were some funny tweets in the middle.

Who’d have thought you could fit jokes about mail-in voting, electoral college expansion, “voter fraud”, nepotism and Dr Fauchi into a two minute speech about Pokemon?

”..93 21 triangle circle, that’s what they call it, right around Nickajack Farms.”

What were your favourite restaurants of 2020?

  • Barge East – near the Olympic Park
  • Men Noodles – Chatsworth Road

What musical experiences are you looking forward to most in 2021?

I have gig tickets for May. Fingers crossed everyone!

When did you last cry as a response to a piece of music?

Second lockdown is on the way and I’m watching Arlo Parks and Phoebe Bridgers perform Fake Plastic Trees.

Daniel Bower

Product manager turned student. Currently researching algorithms, platforms, interoperability and kill zones at DDH. Read more about me.