From my end of year review 2020 – ‘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.’
Anyone else have déjà vú?
Got to give it credit, it started with an impressive bang. On the 6th January, I celebrated Kings Day with a lunch at my bubble’s house. When I arrived home and got into bed, I thought I’d just quickly check out the news. I was still watching the Capitol riots as they unfolded in realtime at 3am.
We all thought, ‘ah, ok, we see where this is going’, took a collective deep breath and buckled up.
More Covid happened.
Two weeks later Kamala Harris was being sworn in as the first female Vice President of the United States. I watched it. It was pretty amazing. And shortly after that, Joe Biden quickly set about undoing as much of the angry Wotsit’s damage as possible, first by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement. Dare we hope for a better year?
No. The answer was no.
When I woke to the Suez news, I thought, ‘that’s it, Covid really has shifted the space time continuum’, but it was just a container ship lodged sideways in the canal. I say just, but it blocked international trade for six days, sparking a global panic of a different sort. The gazillionaires shat the bed. Did anyone else start to feel the fragility of everything that we take for granted, or was that just me? The tiny digger that was deployed to dislodge the EverGiven became a metaphor for our times, our lives. Memetastic.
More Covid happened.
There was more high-profile willy waggling this year than you could shake a luxury sex toy at in the form of the billionaire space race. Because that was what the world needed most in these troubled times. Most of the news headlines were grabbed by Elon Musk (who, by the way and inexplicably, was named Time Person of the Year) and Jeff Bezos, the latter of whom gifted his mum a Lizzie Duke (look it up) necklace upon touchdown and, without even a hint of self-awareness, thanked his workers for enabling him to reach the edge of space in his rocket-fuelled penis. Those would be the same employees he fired for having breast cancer, cooked at 46º centigrade in US warehouses and forced to work during an imminent tornado. The same workers forced to break speed limits and pee in their trucks. Yeah, thanks, you guys totally rock! Pay rise and decent toilets? Fuck you! Later in the year, Musk, also renowned for his exemplary employee care and who also split up with the mother of E=mc2, launched the first civilian crew into orbit. Yeah chaps, excellent, really top notch. Just joust with your dicks and be done with it.
In amongst all of the not solving the world’s poverty, we mustn’t, of course, forget that handsy fraggle, Richard Branson, who himself also jettisoned to the edges of the earth’s atmosphere. There didn’t seem to be as much media coverage of this – could be that he’s not so much Bond villain, as pervy uncle lawsuit waiting to happen. Not so good for the clicks.
We don’t have the time or space to list all the times Boris Johnson lied.
Who had the gate of Hell opening up in the Gulf of Mexico, Captain Kirk going to real space, Armie Hammer wants to be a cannibal and Australian mouse plague and plague control snakes on their 2021 bingo card?
Almudena Grandes and Joan Didion passed away.
More Covid happened.
In UK royal news, Prince Philip died, in an exclusive Oprah Winfrey interview, the Sussexes revealed that there is racism in the ‘Firm’ (who’d have thunk it), they also had another baby, rumours continued to swirl around Prince William’s alleged affair, and Prince Andrew started sweating again on or around the 29th December. It’s a Christmas miracle! His lawyers also held ‘crisis talks’ the day of the Maxwell verdict. Because nothing says ‘I’m innocent’ like refusing to help the inquiry, doing a car crash interview (that could, by the way, be used as a case study for the “how to spot a liar” module of a forensics degree), being retired (from what, lord knows) by your own nonagenarian mother, trying to discredit the victim and instructing your lawyers to ‘crisis talk’ immediately after yer pal is convicted of sex trafficking minors. Totally innocent. Completely. 100%. Yep. Nothing to see here.
On the 19th November, Kamala Harris became the first woman to have presidential powers. For a whole 85 minutes. What was fascinating was that America didn’t implode. You see that USA? Nothing. To. Fear. Something to bear in mind in the future, perhaps.
Can we venture that a little faith has been restored in justice by the high-profile convictions of Derek Chauvin, Kim Potter and Ghislaine Maxwell? Maybe.
We had the first volcanic eruption in La Palma in 50 years, record temperature highs and lows around the world, and Greece burned – but we needn’t have worried because numerous world leaders, and Jeff Bezos (?), travelled to Glasgow for Cop26 to solve the climate crisis over a lovely barbecue, in private jets.
As Greta Thunberg said, ‘blah, blah, blah’.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom – Almost 8.5 billion vaccines were distributed worldwide, NASA’s Perseverance Rover successfully converted some of Mars’s carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere into oxygen (Elon Musk nearly died of boner, which might have been cited in the Time article), United Airlines flew the first passenger plane with one engine running on 100% non-petroleum-based sustainable fuel made from sugar water and corn, and researchers at Brown University successfully transmitted brain signals wirelessly to a computer for the first time, opening up boundless possibilities for paralysed people.
Donald Trump was banned from Twitter. We laughed for days.
The UK supreme court ruled that Uber drivers were employees not self-employed meaning greater protections for gig-economy workers.
Amanda Gorman exploded onto our radar, Bennifer reunited, there was more high-profile diverse representation than ever before, Simone Biles led by example by prioritising her mental health and Tom Daly charmed us with his poolside knitting at the Tokyo Olympics. Adele released her latest album (it was big news, so I should include it) and Beyoncé set a new Grammys record. ABBA RETURNED! BRITNEY WAS FREED!
Paris Hilton and Ariana Grande got married. Not to each other.
I turned 50, became menopausal, started art classes (god bless that sanctuary), doom scrolled endlessly, got vaccinted, made an appointment for the booster, watched the entire back catalogue of Sex and the City in preparation for the reboot (oof), meditated, walked, did every online creative workshop I could lay my hands on, wrote, had my first chat with an immigration lawyer, started to make my house a home and half read numerous books.
And now, the end is near, and so we face the final curtain… of the year. Or of life as we know it. Who knows. I mean, the radio bursts from unknown origins in space seem to be coming thick and fast now, maybe that’s what we can expect next. Nothing would surprise me. At all.
So, I leave you with this… as the weirdest year in our history (I hope) comes to a close, a tiny glimmer of light can be seen as booster 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 ’21 to ’22 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.