Ruth Spencer considers the big deal issues for 2020.
We know what last year's big topics were – they're still causing ructions from the great Christmas Dinner Debate of 2019 and Aunt Joan still isn't answering texts. But what are people going to be discussing in 2020? We've narrowed down five of the issues we'll all be talking about this year.
Alternate Living Situations
Let's face it. House prices now occupy a stratum of fantastic numbers, beyond space and time. Forget the trillion and the Googleplex, the two-bed townhouse is the new unit of ludicrous numerical exaggeration. How far away are the stars, Dad? Oh, at least a Sandringham villa away, darling. Too far for humans to reach in this lifetime. So, most people can't own a house. There are other options though and the pros and cons of each will be a hot topic this year. Could you really live in a tiny house, where if you hang your feet over the edge of the bed you could brain your partner in the kitchen below? Is that living, when the toilet is in the lounge? Or is the lounge? A toilounge. Lounget? Even if you can handle it, you need a piece of land to put it on. You can't just freedom camp an entire house in a beach carpark, although that actually sounds pretty sweet. Other alternative living solutions include multi-generational living, which is basically not leaving home, and cohousing, where you live communally with shared facilities. Cohousing works ideally with 12-32 people living together, which may put quite a strain on your definition of "ideal".
Will this finally be the year we embrace Matariki, not just as a cultural New Year celebration but as a replacement for Guy Fawkes? It just makes sense to shunt all those fireworks into the middle of the year, when darkness falls early enough for little kids to enjoy the show. Celebrating the appalling death of Guy Fawkes should be cancelled anyway – that's a no-brainer, an antiquated shame we should quietly retire and hope no one remembers we once encouraged children to throw human effigies on to bonfires. So, move the sparks to Matariki. Yay. But the topic will be hotly debated, because there are some people they forgot to ask. Who says Māori want their festival co-opted by shipping container sparkler shops? Isn't that just colonialism by Roman candle? Discuss.
We're hip-deep in a cycle of movie reboots and so-called expanded universes. Until the inevitable onslaught of Trump biopics begin (they'll be the mainstay of cinema by 2022, so don't cancel your Netflix), we're doomed to relive the mediocre reincarnations of our childhood movies over and over again. Not yet announced but bound to be in the works: the gritty Bambi remake from the perspective of the hunter that shot his mother; Die Hard 17, the brave story of ageing Detective John McClane's battle against shingles; Perfume - but he's allergic to essential oils. Been there, bought the Funko Pop. Your nostalgia will be taxed to its limits and your only other choice at the multiplex is Baby Yoda 3: Goodnight Moon. Where are the new ideas? That's what we'll be asking each other through mouthfuls of popcorn as the grease spots sink into our Princess Bride XV T-shirts (official merch). The only upside is they might finally make some decent Harry Potter movies. There, if that doesn't get you arguing, nothing will.
We can't ignore the unwieldy, frightening elephant in the room: the general election is the big topic on the table for 2020. We can't know how it will go, but all year people will try to convince us they already know the result because they took a poll. Really, the only thing we can know is that the polls are wrong. They can't help it. Pollsters are up against some tough obstacles: people who lie, people who haven't decided yet, the fact that they only ask people who are willing to chat on the phone. Do you know anyone who speaks on the phone? Let alone answers unknown numbers to yarn to a stranger asking awkward personal questions. That's how you get scammed! Lies and scams have no place in an electio… oh. Anyway, we'll be talking a lot about the latest rousing or heart-sinking polls this year, but maybe we should be talking about doing away with the overly-influential soothsaying nonsense of polls altogether. The only exception is the exit poll, that most weirdly redundant of surveys. They're accurate because they're like going to the confessional. What's done is done and it's a relief to admit it. Bless me, pollster, for I have voted according to my true nature and it's too late to stop me. No correspondence will be entered into.
12 ways to be a happier, more effective parent this year
If you have opinions about these or any other vexing issues for 2020, save them for your podcast. By 2021 it will be compulsory to host your own podcast. Your study or toilounge will be converted into a "pod studio", which is to say you'll buy a desk mic. You and your friends will come together weekly to verbally solve the world's problems. No one will listen to your podcasts and it will be tempting to blame the way your mate Josh laughs at everything in a misguided attempt to make it seem funny. It's really derailing the impact of your world hunger exposés and you should probably speak to him about it. Anyway, if you run out of topics, or if you simply can't find a decent pun on the word "podcast" to name yours after, start one debating the nature of podcasts themselves. You can call it Podcast Will Eat Itself. You're welcome. In any case, the truth is that no one has time to listen. They're too busy recording their own. You should hear Aunt Joan's Family Secrets podcast. Or not. Joan, if you're reading this, please let's talk.