Finding solace in art – the best of 2016

David Bowie laughing the face of death. His final photo shoot. PHOTO: JIMMY KING

David Bowie laughing the face of death. His final photo shoot. PHOTO: JIMMY KING

It seems few will mourn 2016. I among them won’t miss it terribly. Personally, I had a terrible start to the year, with an anxiety setback leaving me afraid of anything that went bump (in the day or night). Then, just 10 days in, a post appeared on David Bowie’s official channels, his website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, announcing his passing. It sent me into a spin; for a solid hour I steadied myself that it was an insensitive hack, until finally his son Duncan confirmed it for the world via Twitter.

2016 was 10 days old and the one medium that I had always been able to turn to in times of strife – art – had turned its back on me. This was the first time in my life that I had been viscerally affected by the death of someone I did not know. No matter how glum I had been, I had always been in able to seek solace in music; now, the man I consider to be the greatest artist the world has known, was dead, and music provided me only more sorrow, not solace. I ended up watching The Bachelor with my girlfriend that night; music was just too raw.

The year rolled on uninhibited and unconcerned about the much-loved victims left in its wake – Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder, George Michael, Carrie Fisher. Politically, ugly strains of nationalism continued to rise both at home and abroad. Couple that with my anxiety and I was beginning to think I wouldn’t view 2016 very fondly.

But take an objective look and you’ll see that the law of averages tends to hold true. I had near-constant dread in the first week of the year, which sucked, but I also went on holiday with some much-missed family, up in Wooli, and I caught a huge jewfish that comfortably fed 10 of us. March and April I spent surveying the best that the Melbourne International Comedy Festival had to offer. Footscray defied all the odds to win their first premiership in 62 years. I drove from Mackay to Hobart on the Shitbox Rally with a great friend to raise money for cancer research. I got to go to Europe, twice, to visit my wonderful girlfriend, living life in Paris.

Doing what I do best on the #shitboxrally #heyya

A post shared by Daniel Paproth (@thepaproth) on


And though I thought art betrayed me at the start of the year, it hadn’t, not really. As you’ll see in the posts on my blog, there was so much good music released last year. So even if 2016 was a irredeemable dumpster fire, the one constant, great art, remained. Solace is always there to be found, sometimes you just have to step back to realise it.

So will I miss 2016? Probably not. But I’ll still mourn it. And part of mourning is celebrating the good things, so without any further ado, this is my best of 2016. Across my blog I’ll be doing a few posts: best songs, best albums, best gigs, rearview appreciation and 2017 anticipation. If you’ve got a few minutes spare have a read, and please, let me know your thoughts on the best of 2016! :)

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