Blink and You Missed It : Farewell to the Year of Bieber

1 01 2011

Don't look now but Snooki is approaching!

On the television, the clock is counting down to 2011. The end of another year and the end of another decade.

Dick Clark, a man who has lived through many of these events, is precisely one second behind the countdown that is on the screen behind him whilst Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy are barely able to contain their excitement.

Times Square gets ready to party; I get ready to go to bed.

But as 2011 arrives in a televisual display of Nivea-sponsored hats and fleeting glimpses of New Year tongue action, one thought is prevalent in my head.

Where did 2010 go? I still haven’t uploaded my pictures from last year into Facebook!

I have quoted him before and I am not afraid to use him again, but Ferris Bueller was right when he remarked “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

But I have stopped and looked; I have been paying attention to what has been going on. If I hadn’t kept my eye on the world then I wouldn’t have known that Kim Kardashian earned $6 million last year or that it is now possible to remove a decorated General from his job after a Rolling Stone interview.

I am fully aware that the Catholic Church still has the capacity to be embarrassed by the amount of sex scandals carried out in the name of the Lord by those sent to bring his message and I am also fairly sure that going yachting whilst your company pumps oil into the Gulf of Mexico is probably not the best PR move ever undertaken.

Life moves fast but it is still slow enough to let us see that politics isn’t just cyclical but an ongoing process. How else can we explain the resurgence of the Republican Party after they were whupped two years ago by a young upstart from Hawaii who has promised more than he has delivered. Inviting someone round for tea has an entirely different context thanks to the media whirlwind that calls herself Sarah Palin – who has had time through the year to publish books, support candidates for election, be a correspondent for Rupert Murdoch’s evil empire, reduce the animal population in Alaska and watch proudly as her daughter narrowly missed out on being crowned champion on Dancing with the Stars (possibly now a looser definition than Bristol P’s ‘relationship’ with Levi Johnston).

And in the UK, the electorate decided that no political party was believable enough to govern on their own and ensured that the way forward was to make sure that anyone but the Labour Party would do a better job – which meant that the Liberal Democrats finally got a taste of power and realized that sitting on the fence doesn’t actually help provide efficient government.

Whilst the failings of a single currency in the European Union brought several large chickens home to roost and ensured that the Celtic Tiger and the Greek Kebab would be considering whether unfetered/unchecked expansion was really worth the price of a Guinness and a dodgy mousaka. Still at least their mates in the EU were only too happy to lend them some spare change.

Did anyone know who Julian Assange was 12 months ago? Did we know the correct way to play the vuvuzela? Did we even imagine that a volcano could cause travel disruption? Did nobody consider that just because a movie is released in 3D that it might still need to have some sort of plot to go with the visuals? Has the entire cast of Jersey Shore really been elevated to celebrity status? Will Justin Bieber be the next Michael Jackson?

2010 wasn’t the greatest for the people of Haiti. It started badly (Earthquake) and then continued to push this religious country to the limit with political upheaval, accusations of child kidnapping on behalf of enterprising charities and then, just for good measure, decided that what the island needed was cholera. On the plus side, they managed to ensure that Wyclef Jean remained a pop star.

The mining community also managed to tweak both sides of the emotional spectrum. In Chile 32 miners were trapped underground for some weeks while the world held it’s breath and they were eventually rescued to huge sighs of relief and the opening of checkbooks for “their story”. Across the world in New Zealand – which had also had some earthquake trouble – another mining disaster produced no survivors.

And Don Blankenship, arch-villain of the coal-mining community in the USA decided that, following a detailed review of his life and working methods in Rolling Stone, the time had come for early retirement. A case of jumping before being pushed.

Over in California, Steve Jobs decided that this was the year that we needed another piece of Apple technology by introducing the iPad and then making sure that everyone who bought an original iPhone would be made to feel inadequate by bringing out the iPhone4 – which was supposedly better (although it did have some teething problems).

No such worries for Mark Zuckerberg who continued to monitor our lives through the phenomenon that is Facebook. Time Magazine named him their Person of the Year, David Fincher directed a movie that didn’t need 3D to make it a compelling watch and Zuckerberg decided that he didn’t need all the billions that he was making from his social network and joined the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in the growing field of philanthropy.

Other events just continued as they have done for some time.

There is still war in Afghanistan, there are still US troops in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay is still open for business, Climate Change is believed by some and decried by others, people who fly on planes are still subject to heavy-handed security checks, banks decided that the best way to avoid another recession would be to stop lending money to anybody and Lindsay Lohan continued her personal quest to be forgotten for Herbie Fully Loaded.

And the Royal Family ensured that they had their finger on the pulse of public opinion by graciously deciding that what the country needed was a wedding in 2011 – most of which would be paid for by the British taxpayer (or the Father of the Bride as he is known!)

12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8 765.81277 hours and 525 948.766 minutes.

I hope you used the time wisely.

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