What an epic year it’s been. For all the wrong reasons. For starters, I think we might have seen some of the Grim Reaper’s finest work. EVER. He got super slashy with the old scythe, over-enthusiastically mowing down: Prince, David Bowie, Victoria Wood, Robert Vaughn, Leonard Cohen, Pete Burns, Jean Alexander, Gene Wilder, Caroline Aherne, Harper Lee, Muhammad Ali, Ronnie Corbett, Paul Daniels, Sir Tel, Alan Rickman, Ian McCaskill, Grizzly Adams (wait what?!?!) Nnnnnnoooooo!!!! My first telly crush and maybe uniquely responsible for the birth of my beard obsession. Garry Shandling… Andrew – I know nothing – Sachs, AA Gill, George bloody Michael amongst *many, many, many more. And I’ll be honest, revising this bit of my post every couple of days is getting tedious. You got that, Death? Knock it off now.
The British public went into meltdown about the issues that really matter: Great British Bake Off was sold to Channel 4 and Paul ‘dollar sign’ Hollywood, went with it. It pretty much summed up the entire year. Was nothing sacred? A possible Marmite drought due to price hikes due to Brexit hit shops, a missing every other triangle in Toblerones due to price hikes due to Brexit and Quality Street removing the Toffee Deluxe. Prolly because they’re the ones always left over at the end of Christmas (or something to do with something to do with Brexit).
And what exactly was this Brexit? Well, it was a collective swelling of proud ‘English’ chests (somewhat forgetting that we are in fact, a United Kingdom. For now) – longing for a return to a rose-tinted, bygone era of wave conquering and country plundering. Aahhh, those were the days. ‘We were a great trading nation’, they cried, ‘and we can be again!’……. (If we just get back out there in our boats, sail the seven seas and steal all the precious metals, minerals and gems, fabrics and textiles, tea and spices that we don’t have on our own tiny island, just like we did four hundred years ago. Without any argument from anyone, because after all – THEY NEED US MORE THAN WE NEED THEM.) And as a consequence, a handful of goons and buffoons persuaded seventeen million people to vote for a perfect nostalgic past that doesn’t actually exist beyond the pages of an Austen novel, and the UK exited the European Union.
If 2016 showed us anything, it was that sadly HateTrumpsLove after all, as a tidal wave of hysteria consumed the people of the West and they voted in droves against progress, inclusivity, tolerance, culture, peace and basic human rights. And we discovered that the thing that strikes most fear into the hearts of millions across the region, is the colour brown. Weird.
The UK became the laughing stock of the political world as its voted representatives (not YOU Theresa May), ran around like headless chickens clucking about Brexit means Brexit/hard/soft/black/grey/red white and blue/ top to toe/ soft shoe shuffle/bull in a china shop Brexit. And Jeremy Corbyn said this:
“…… from the fourth industrial revolution – powered by the Internet of things and big data to develop cyber physical systems and smart factories.”
Boris Johnson became Foreign Secretary
Boris Johnson became Foreign Secretary
The USA proved the American Dream really does exist (hums Wish Upon a Star by Disney), and quite literally anybody can make it to the top. Even if you are a tiny-handed, weird-coloured, POW/disabled-mocking, raging, wiggy, xenophobic, shouty, illiterate, thin-skinned, racist, tax-dodging, dream-crushing-student-money-stealing, rampant sex pest and suspected rapist.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you – drum roll please – President Elect of the United States, Donald Trump. *rubs eyes, does triple take* Really America, really? And like the proverbial rat fleeing the sinking ship, after steering it towards the iceberg, Union-Flag-waving Farage flew to the States to congratulate President Elect Trump (sniff around for a job).
Characters you couldn’t make up (or had been by Loony Toons), were now in charge. And facts no longer mattered; lies are de rigeur dontcha know – the new black, if you will. We are not, I repeat, not to trust the experts anymore. They’re the bloody blighters who say God doesn’t exist and the Devil is a nonsense, but we all know Theresa’s got a hotline to the former (and Trump IS the latter). So to experts, on the advice of pretty much everyone in charge right now, I say “PAH! We don’t need you.” So if you need legal advice, want to build a house or you’re feeling a little peaky, don’t bother with the solicitor/architect/quack; just get onto Andrea Leadsom (or someone of her ilk) and let them recommend a healthy dose of nationalism. And/or some jam. Forget everything you thought you knew; because the Earth is flat, global warming is an invention of the east, people are just running in and out of countries unchecked and never have to wait for hours in queues at airports – EVER -cheese is good for your heart, smoking won’t kill you, rich, privileged white men, Trump/Farage/Johnson, are on the side of the working classes and the socialist parties are now the liberal elite.
Post truth was born…… or born again.
Brangelina split up, and as if things couldn’t get any worse – Len Goodman quit Strictly Come Dancing.
Have you no compassion 2016?
There was a little light in the darkness, as the Olympics and para Olympics lifted our spirits for a brief moment. Like, quite literally a nanosecond. And joy was brought to us by that Icelandic chant at the European Championships. Much joy. Like a lot a lot of joy….. Lots. (YouTube clip saved in favourites).
Also this was the year that watching a puddle live got more than five hundred thousand views on YouTube and a British bloke asked to have his photo taken with a hijacker on a plane, for shits and giggles. A HIJACKER ON A PLANE….. it transpired the hijacker just wanted to see his ex-wife in Cyprus. Sean Penn revealed he’d met El Chapo and forthwith described a fart he had shared with him. The Panama Papers Scandal revealed a shocking amount of international rich people were evading tax (which greatly surprised absolutely no one at all), people photographed a pair of specs left on the floor of a gallery thinking it was art, Kim Kardashian retired from social media, an ex Argos security guard became the President of Gambia and thanks to my participation in the 365 photo challenge; I discovered people like photos of coffee more than they like photos of most of absolutely everything else that might be of interest. Like actual human beings, flowers, sunlight and urban landscapes.
So, there you have it. The worst year in my living memory (not because of Kim-K or the coffee pic), which includes getting married, getting divorced and turning forty (and forty five). As a result, I’m giving this year a very enthusiastic, grimace-accompanied, double-middle-finger. You really have left us emotionally drained husks of our former selves, you right royal motherf*cker of a year. I have finally crossed the line from realist to pessimist. From ‘shit happens’ to ‘shit is definitely gonna go down!’
And for that I say a massive: f*ck YOU 2016, all the way to hell and back.
For all of our sakes, let’s find some love in our hearts, shake ourselves vigorously by the shoulders and start employing some reason and sense again. And if 2017 can’t be a rip roaring success of a year, at the very least, for the love of sweet baby Jesus – let it be a soupçon better than this one.
*Carrie Fisher – and now I’m well and truly done
**Debbie Reynolds – and now I’m well and truly done