When I think of 2013, those are the words that immediately spring to mind. Don’t get me wrong, I quite enjoyed the year. A lot happened, some sad and some funny. And then there was AJ Clemente. The poor man got his dream job as a news anchor this year, and he was understandably nervous at the start of his first broadcast. Much like any human being would, he let out those immortal words up there to get the tension out… just as the cameras started rolling.
AJ’s gaffe went viral and he was sacked at the end of his first broadcast. After appearing on a load of talk shows and giving interviews that caused most of the people who had complained about him to just want to give him a hug, he settled into a bartending job in his hometown. In 2014 AJ will be starting a new course in broadcasting, presumably teaching up and comers how to make sure the cameras aren’t rolling and how to block the microphone when they are.
Of course, the year wasn’t all fuckin’ shit. There were a few celebrity deaths too which, as always, caused a certain sort of person to become overwhelmed by the concept of mortality.
But… they can’t have died!
Well they did. From movie stars to world leaders, this was the year that whatever deity you believe in decided they had to “catch ’em all” in a rather more sinister Pokémon game than Nintendo were comfortable to claim as their own. From the world leader types we lost both Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher, to wildly different reactions from the crowds.
When Mandela died we were treated to some long unread interviews and lists of his virtues. We learned of the shock he felt when leaving prison to find that the streets were full of cheering people. He always knew his struggle was a worthwhile one, but to see so many white faces amongst the crowds after decades in prison being told to give up and stop fighting was a triumph for him.
Thatchers death brought out a split in Britain that hasn’t been seen since, well since she was in power actually. Many people cheered, and some went out of their way to show effigies of her dead body being hung. Which was… classy? There were protests over her being given a state funeral and even riots, mostly populated by people too young to know why they should be angry. “She did something to my father that left our family destitute for a few years, and he was angry so now I am too.” they shouted, mostly over Twitter from their six hundred pound iPhones.
Early in September I was flicking through my feeds and found a video which was starting to go viral. It had eleven thousand views at the time I watched it. I immediately rushed into the kitchen where Kim was doing the washing up. “Woman of mine!” I exclaimed. “Verily thou dost have to watch this shit!” By this point the video had over twenty-seven thousand views. She sighed at me wearily, partly because I tend to get excited by things that bore her and partly because we’d both been skimping on the washing up for a while and she’d been doing this load for about twelve straight hours. I pressed play on the video and she fell as much in love with it as I had, and as each of the three hundred million views it has had since.
Why were so many people interested in what the fox had to say? Probably because all those ying-a-ding-dings made a hell of a lot more sense than anything the people were saying. Apart from Jennifer Lawrence, who the world fell in love with, we all talked some shit this year. Some “fuckin’ shit” as our friend AJ would say. Seeing all the gaffes made by politicians saying they aren’t racist while talking about “Bongo bongo land” or pop music brats ruining Christmas Day for their fans by publically retiring via Twitter as a joke, chances are we might have made a bit more sense if we’d just sat there with our tongues lolling out of our mouths and not said a word.
Or perhaps not eh? 2013 was the year that Miley Cyrus constantly lolling tongue and oddly jerking body showed the world that even worldwide stars can get scurvy if they don’t eat right. The girl also hit that stage of childhood superstardom where she was too old to be cute and keep fans that way, and even the paedophile crowd was moving away from her. The only possible way to keep the spotlight on herself was to show as much flesh as possible, be as outrageous as possible and be as offensive as possible to those who were trying to tell her that she’s just a cog in a machine. Of course, as it has with every other star who went through that transformation/breakdown, the tactic worked and the world couldn’t get enough of either slagging her off or wondering what the hell kind of father Billy Ray Cyrus is that he won’t try to protect his little girl from herself in a situation like this.
As Jennifer Lawrence rose in our esteem, Miley fell all the way down to her knees and proceeded to fellate a sledgehammer. It was horrific, even if only for how blatant the whole licking a tool thing was. However, the whole debacle did give us this, so it ended up as a good thing in my book.
There was so much more to this year. Meteors flew over Russia and at least half of Twitter claimed to be the Bond villain responsible. King Richard III was found in a car park and, unlike other royalty found in car parks, he wasn’t trying to buy a bag of cocaine from a dealer known only as Bushwhacker. Supermarkets in the UK served up meat dishes that contained horse DNA, making half the population outraged and the other half start drooling over the Grand National. Pewdiepie became the king of YouTube. GTAV was released and took over the world. Oh, and we discovered a load of new species including this frog, which will make you go “Awwwwwwwwwww” if you have a soul.
This was also a year of watching doors. There have been more doors on news programmes than ever before. Everything political had its own door in the background as always, because apparently you have to have on location reporting for things happening inside a building that reporters aren’t allowed inside. I’ve never quite understood that.
The most watched door in the UK was a hospital door as people anxiously awaited the birth of a royal baby. As giving birth is a new thing and the royal family isn’t really able to afford the best doctors available, everyone waited with bated breath, staring at the door of the hospital for the moment when Prince William came out and started handing cigars to everyone. People camped outside the hospital in full Union Jack paraphernalia, hoping to be one of the first to hold the royal baby when it was presented to the crowd. Sadly the baby wasn’t brought out, and Prince William refused to support smoking around his new child, so the door remained the star of the show.
We also got to watch a door shutting on the Pope. This particular door was slammed by God himself who speaks through the Pope and apparently told him that he’s no longer his mouthpiece on earth and should quit the day job. Presumably God just got to the bit in the Popes autobiography where he covered up hundreds of child abuse cases and was rewarded with that position. After watching that door slam on the Pope, we got to watch a chimney to see if the new Pope would be a shock appointment or the fan favourite of Russell bloody Brand. Pope II – Revenge of Pope was an elderly white guy, so the answer to all those questions was a resounding no.
2013 had Paul Walker hit the news twice. The most reported one was the tragic death of the movie star, but it’s the other story that I want to relate to you as it was pretty much buried. This is a different Paul Walker, a renowned geologist who visited the Canadian Arctic in 1959 and set up an experiment there. Aged only 25, he had a stroke from the rigours of travel in such a harsh environment and was taken home where he died shortly afterwards. No-one knew about the experiment he set up until this year.
During an expedition to the Arctic this year, we found a cairn of stones that Walker had built all those years ago. Beside it was a note in a bottle that explained the experiment and directed the finder to another cairn of stones that had been built exactly four feet away from the first. The idea behind the experiment was to measure whether the Ward Hunt ice shelf was growing or retreating. If Pauls theories were correct, the second cairn should have moved somewhat. Fifty-four years after he had set the experiment up his request in a bottle was carried out and the second cairn was found three hundred and thirty-three feet away, proving Walker right. This man who died so long ago shifted our view of reality just a little with what he left behind and that is something I can’t help but respect.
You can never tell what a year is going to bring. It may be good or it may be bad, it may be an amazing new species or it may simply be a pile of rocks that is further away than expected. Until the year arrives, there’s nothing to do but wait, look back on what has come before, and perhaps watch the door…