Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Decade with No Name (Yet)

The other day I was flicking through music channels and noticed that a lot of them categorise the music they play by the decade to which the music was released. For example, 'Number ones of the nineties'. But then I thought, how will the music be categorised if it was released between 2010 and 2019? What is the name of the decade we are currently living in?

The last decade (2000-2009) is most commonly known as the ‘noughties’, although this name only really came about in 2008. So it seems the last decade got its name retrospectively.

As 2009 ended, social commentators, linguists and lexicographers realised a name for the next decade wouldn’t emerge straightaway either. And it still hasn’t in 2013. As 2010 began however, there wasn't a shortage of possibilities. Surveys asked the public about what they would call the period 2010 – 2019, and a number of names materialised. These included ‘the deckers’, ‘the twenty-tens’, ‘the tens’, ‘the tweens’, ‘the teenies’, ‘the teens’ and ‘the tenties’. Some may seem gimmicky – ‘teenies’ or ‘tweens’ may sound too childish to become mainstream (whereas the last decade may have created naughty or cheeky connotations despite the fact nothing naughty actually happened. Rather, it was just more linguistically convenient to call the decade ‘the noughties’). In Australia, a competition-winning name was ‘the woneder years’ (although this never caught on either).

A century ago, we also failed to label the period 1910 – 1919. Instead, events which happened in that decade is how that period is remembered today. This is why many refer to this period a century ago as ‘The War’ or ‘The War Years’.

It may be the case that this decade won’t be called anything, and even if it will be named, perhaps we won’t know what it will be called until the end of the decade, and the start of the twenties, or twenty-twenties.

So going back to what started this whole post, who knows how music channels will categorise music 2010 - 2019, or indeed how anything will be grouped conveniently in terms of the years to which they came about. Time will indeed tell.

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