Aaahhh, remember the Dolly Parton Challenge 160 years ago? That was fun.
I posted —>>>> on the 1st January on Instagram and, as they say over on the Twitter, ‘this aged well’.
It was the year I bought a beautiful pair of Mary Janes that will never see the light of day now that my formally size 35 feet are 42 – sideways. There is an upside to the giant feet though; they now perfectly support my also newly giant, not leaving the house body. Swings and roundabouts. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their shock retirement from Royal Family life and right about now, it feels like we should be looking at photos of Archie graduating with a master’s and reading about him being groomed to take over the family media empire.
Time has changed shape.
Really though, the apocalyptic Australian bushfires should have been a sign of what was to come. There was the almost war between the USA and Iraq after the US took out their second in command, a Ukrainian passenger plane was downed by the Iranian military, Trump was impeached, the worst plague of locusts in 70 years descended on East Africa, Taal Volcano in the Philippines began erupting, there was an earthquake in Turkey, an avalanche in Kashmir and floods hit Jakarta. In a parallel universe, Gwyneth Paltrow invited us to sniff her bits. That was just January. ‘You’re welcome’, said 2020. It also said, ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet.’
I went to London for the Lucien Freud exhibition, Sevilla with girlfriends and saw Caitlin Moran in conversation. These five weeks (five weeks!) feel like they happened a hundred years ago.
Then came the plague. We clapped, we cried (more of this later), we were glued to the horror unfolding worldwide. We were equally horrified as we looked on the public killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, a tragedy that provoked a worldwide outcry and saw millions march in solidarity for equality. It really shouldn’t take this level of devastation to bring us together.
We were confined to life indoors, got furloughed, lost work, but we were joined together in an overwhelming appreciation of those on the frontline, incredulity at the celebrity rendition of Lennon’s Imagine, Houseparty’s fifteen minutes of fame, Zoom quizzes and Tiger King. I firmly believe the only thing Carole Baskin was guilty of was partaking of some heavy duty happy pills, because absolutely no one is that chill about a rumoured murder plot against them. While others were setting up side hustles, I watched the entire Sopranos back catalogue and learned how to play poker.
We adapted quickly to new ways of working and kicked ourselves for not buying shares in Zoom and TikTok. Some of us kicked ourselves for not taking future financial security seriously at any point in their life up to that moment (Me. I did that). While economies crashed and families struggled to feed themselves, the super rich were having a smashing time of it. Kim Kardashian couldn’t put off her 40th birthday celebrations for a minute and spent an estimated $2 million on a private island getaway, where her and 30 friends could, ‘… pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time’, Jeff Bezos busily capitalised on the tragedy of the pandemic to become the world’s first quajillionaire and Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched four astronauts into orbit in what seemed to say, ‘I see your superhuman science efforts to develop a vaccine to counter the current world health crisis and raise you a futile and needlessly extravagant rocket launch’. The latter also became a father to little X Æ A-12. Don’t ask.
The conspiracy theorists veritably exploded with joy at the ensuing chaos. I’ve never seen a collective ejaculation before, but there it was right in front of our eyes on the news. They were so excited. Finally, it was their moment, their most fruitful year to date. I mean, it literally all had to be a deep state operation of a magnitude none of us could even begin to imagine, to brainwash us with magic bat juice made in a lab and distributed via 5G megawaves through our phones and the forthcoming microscopic control chip vaccine, fed to us by cannibal politicians (and George Soros), right? Right? The Whitehouse was leaking like a tap without a washer (yeah, I know stuff), but all the above, yeah that, that was successfully kept under wraps. That’s one hell of an NDA.
Talking of questionable male behaviour (this will make sense when you read the footnote), reformed sex addict Russell Brand was quick to jump on Cardi B’s somewhat controversial record (but was it, was it really?) to offer his opinion, and literally everyone could see the hypocrisy of that except him. He was in great company (!), as the alt-right came out in droves to denounce it, sounding off about the inappropriateness of a woman talking about her sexuality so explicitly. Some might say that the lyrics simply mirror the overtly sexual lyrics uttered by male rappers for decades. Some might say.
MURDER HORNETS. That is all.
The last quarter seemed reluctant to relent in the year that just kept on giving (us palpitations) and November gifted us an epic find of more than 100 well-preserved Egyptian coffins dating back 2,500 years, discovered in Saqqara Necropolis. In any normal year this would be pretty exciting stuff, but we were all so disastered out, and had become so suspicious and jumpy, that in unison we cried, ‘NOT NOW ANCIENT EGYPTIAN CURSE!’ I don’t think any one of us would have been surprised if they had unleashed some ancient evil into the world. 2020 innit. Continuing on the never ending rollercoaster journey from hell that had been this year’s events, we came out of the potential curse trough to climb to another Dolly Parton peak with the revelation that she had donated to Moderna’s vaccine research; and it was finally confirmed that angels really do walk among us. I don’t think anyone could have foreseen they’d be masquerading as brassy country music stars.
DONALD TRUMP WAS VOTED OUT and the circle was complete. Even if Joe Biden, who at the age of 2,102 is the oldest President elect ever, he successfully ousted the angry orange lunatic. More exciting than that though, is history making Kamala Harris, who will be the first female Black and South Asian American to become (Vice) President. As Julia Louis-Dreyfus said, ‘Make sure to wear shoes, ladies. There’s glass everywhere’.
So, what has 2020 left me with, apart from mysophobia, giant feet and a fat arse? Well, it appears that I have very much lost the ability, as I suspect have many others, to control my tears. The rocky road that is this year has opened a portal to a never ending reservoir of saltwater. It’s a wonder I’m not dangerously dehydrated. I mean, I watched the Christmas Chronicles (1 and 2), one of which I paused while I made a coffee, because I really wanted to see how it ended, and I cried. Happy/sad/good/evil/puppy/BLM protest rescue hero/sleepy/no Quality Streets – it all makes me cry. I fear the portal will never close and I’ll be that woman you approach in the street to see if she’s OK because she’s alone and sobbing, only to discover she simply saw a particularly beautiful golden autumn leaf fall to the ground. Never. Happened.
As the weirdest year in our history (I hope) comes to a close, a tiny glimmer of light can be seen as vaccine programmes are rolled out around the globe. However, I am being cautious with my optimism. I’ve vowed to never say, ‘this is it, this is the year!’ ever again. I’m just going to let it roll over quietly, a seamless transition from ’20 to ’21 without recognition or celebration and keep my head down. I hope it’s going to be better. That’s as much as I’m willing to proffer.
I think it’s enough.
**There was a paragraph here about the Prince Andrew interview. As this year has been so long and the concept of time and space distorted so much, I genuinely thought it was in November 2020! ^adds accomplishment badge for fake news to Scout collection^.