2002: A Year In Review
Inside looking out

Bitter experience has taught us that there's always someone we leave out, so think of this piece as our contingency plan. Admittedly, 2002 hasn't been the greatest of musical years, but we're old enough to have seen worse . . .

David Bowie, Robert Plant and Johnny Cash proved they're all still out there for a reason - both Bowie's Heathen and Plant's Dreamland made it into the upper reaches of our pick of the year. Shakira, Sugababes, Pink and Avril Lavigne renewed our faith in the power of pop, and while there weren't a whole load of classic albums this year, there were a whole stack of fantastic singles. Please stand up Basement Jaxx, Jimmy Eat World, The Hives, Timo Maas, Busta Rhymes, Outkast, The Vines, Fischerspooner, N.E.R.D., Aqualung, Turin Brakes, Liam Lynch . . . hell, even Oasis.
    2002 also heralded saw the return of some of our favourites from the past. The remnants of Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden came together for the titanic Audioslave, and The Wildhearts laid down a new manifesto with comeback single Vanilla Radio.
    And spare a though for those who narrowly missed out in counterculture's end of year chart: The Streets, Murderdolls, Bruce Springsteen, Def Leppard . . . once again the list could go on and on.

In the book world, both Phil Rickman and Mark Billingham have upped the ante on the competition by delivering great novels - both have new material out early 2003.
    On the graphic novel front, 100 Bullets is killer and both Hellblazer and Batman are looking strong. Look out for a whole string of comic based movies in 2003, with Dardevil, Hellboy and The Hulk leading the way. Talking of which . . .

Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers destroyed all opposition in a furry footed fashion while Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones amazed by being not half as crap as its title, or Episode I, suggested.
    James Bond's Die Another Day proved there's life in the old spy yet, Dogtown And Z-Boys proved history doesn't have to be boring and Spider-Man and Blade 2 proved that X-Men and er, Blade weren't flukes.
    XXX divided the counterculture team - so dumb it was awesome or just plain dumb - whilst Resident Evil and 28 Days Later confirmed once-and-for-all that zombie flicks rock. Rollerball and One Hour Photo? Zzzzz.

The world in general delivered some fun: The World Cup was great - and that's from a bunch of non-football fans. We usually prefer pro-wrestling, but despite the much-needed influx of new blood, WWE need to seriously look at their game. Upstarts NWA-TNA on the other hand . . .
    On terrestrial TV: The Office of course, and I'm Alan Partridge; while on space TV: Charmed is still kicking Buffy's ass, but the new seasons of both Buffy and Angel (yet to air in the UK) are looking very good so far. Smallville turned out to be far better than it had a right to be, 24 was totally gripping, and Scrubs was outrageous . . . Susan.

We don't get out much. Roll on 2003.

:: counterculture

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