This year started, as per tradition, with me dragging my hung-over body to the pub rather than for a run. The rest of the world acted in the same sense of tradition: the Dutch grumbled about minor tax issues; the British grumbled about everything, taking only a short jolly break during the summer to get excited about memories of times when they were Great; the Germans thought they ruled the world; so did the French, but nobody believed them; the Americans had a big election that changed nothing; China made stuff, Greece didn’t; North Korea continued to be the greatest country on earth; Latin America continued its tradition of noisy socialism; Russia and India existed; the Middle East continued to quibble, as did Africa.
However, this year also brought things that were of interest. I can’t think of any of the top of my head, but luckily the internet is awash with reviews of the year, which I will now summarise as 2012 – like other years – is one in which I excel at procrastination.
This year’s version of the Macarena. Noteworthy only because Psy is from the same country as the UN’s Ban Ki-moon, who took this opportunity to show the world he’s down with the kids (not in the BBC sense!) and also doesn’t want to waste time trying to fix the world’s problems.
Putin “won” re-election, as did Obama. In Europe centre-left leaders were replaced with centre-right ones and vice versa. Middle Eastern dictators were upgraded to spanking new versions. China had a massive election (I believe at least seven people got to vote) in which some communist dictators were replaced with others, who will continue to make stuff and disregard human rights. North Korea’s newest Dear Leader didn’t go to the loo but did get married to a pop singer; Berlusconi probably promised a few he would. Palestine became a country of sorts, which must surely mean the peace process will run smoothly from here on.
This. And only this.
The BBC showed they still have their finger on the pulse of society by randomly accusing people of paedophilia after failing to suspect the dirty old man who “loved children.” They also had dancing, singing and cooking, but that sadly didn’t generate as much press coverage.
Also in the UK, it transpired that people who work for tabloids aren’t nice and upstanding citizens. This was such a shock that a parliamentary investigation was launched, which showed that their dislike of pasties and the eaters of them (known in their circles as “plebs”) is not the only thing that separates the Tories from “the taxpayer”.
Europe’s leader continued their homeopathic approach to economic policy, agreeing to do something in the future. Southern Europe remained unemployed. Northern Europe already had everything they needed, so they refused to buy new stuff, except for iPhones.
There were Olympics and doping in professional cycling. The first filled the airwaves with results of sports that I presume the BBC has made up to fill its air time in ways that don’t involve “investigative journalism”. The second saw Armstrong stripped of his seven victories in the Tour de France, as – and anyone who has ever been to Amsterdam or a coffee shop in the south of The Netherlands will recognise this – the French do not like drugs. Or Americans.
This year we learned Mars is made of rocks and sand. And that throwing Austrians from high altitudes is not as effective as it used to be. The Higgs boson was finally discovered; leading to exciting new developments such as nerdy fat jokes.
Russia’s most famous girl band is no longer Tatu, but Pussy Riot. Julian Assange moved to Equador, from which he plans to run Australia. Tom and Katie split up. Unfortunately, Nickleback didn’t. There were marriages, divorces, births, deaths, new haircuts and Justin Bieber.
No year is complete without a promise of Armageddon, so 2012 saw an updated historical version of Y2K, as some people got worked up about the fact that the Mayans only made calendars 1500 years in advance. I can only imagine the stress these people feel every year as their calendar starts to run out, not knowing which days or months the next year will bring. Will next year be the year of the 8-day week and 4-day weekend? When will Christmas be? Rest assured that 2013 will be a bland year again, like the others.
NOTE TO SELF: If the world does prove to end on December 22rd, remove this section.