A complete and utter shambles. I could end the blog post right there. Whilst 2016 is certainly not the worst year on record as some people have claimed – at least the UK population was not in the middle of a famine, plague or wartime this year – it’s been 12 months full of the unexpected, with surprises and shocks around every corner. I was intending to write this post a few weeks ago, but since then the most morbid events of the year have occurred, all ironically timed around the usually cheery festive period. 2016 will forever be remembered at a time where the political diaphragm of the world was constantly reshaped; shockwaves hit the core of the world’s most influential nations, and polls were turned upside down on their heads when political ideas once far-fetched and unlikely, became a reality.
2016 in Political Events…
Arguably, 2016 will go down in history as one of the most topsy-turvy years in recent political history. On November 9th, a very unwanted late birthday present was wrapped up in the form of America’s long-awaited Presidential Elect. This time last year, the prospect of a Donald Trump win was non-existant, and I pictured his campaign crashing and burning just like many of his celebrity predecessors have done previously at the first hurdle. As a child, I perceived Trump as an elitist rich persona, and pretty much a dumbed down version of Alan Sugar, due to being the former host of the glammed up Celebrity Apprentice. Although I did not particularly wish for either Hilary Clinton or Trump to emerge from the polls triumphant (I was still holding a slither of hope come election night for a Bernie Sanders miracle), the natural choice out of the pair was clearly a woman who had a degree AND prior political experience, rather than a xenophobic, racist, and sexist bigot. I could not believe the result initially and I still cannot; it is a frightening prospect that so many Americans have invested trust and faith into a human being who was clearly recorded as stating that it is acceptable to ‘grab a woman in the pussy’.
And then there was Brexit. A referendum which has arguably triggered political activism in several EU countries from extreme right-wing parties, and the as mentioned above Election result. In the days preceding the election, my town was inundated with Leave posters and banners. Where I come from, Lincolnshire, the majority of registered voters actually opted and supported the motion of the UK leaving the European Union, but I always imagined my county would be in the minority half of the overall decision. I never expected the country to sway towards a Leave result – I thought neither argument from either side of the coin was especially convincing, thus the result would just fall the same way as in the previous 1975 European Union vote. Despite the result evidently not pleasing everyone, I feel that the UK needs to show why it is called the United Kingdom, and everyone supporting each other and working with the outcome of the referendum, which occurred democratically.
2016 in Entertainment…
A ridiculous amount of talented entertainers tragically passed away within the last 12 months – death is inevitable, and with the quantity of people in the public eye drastically increasing through the expansion of television, cinema, and the Internet in the past few decades, celebrity deaths will only increase in future years. Still, this does not take away the sadness of losing so many dearly treasured superstars. The celebrity death which personally affected myself the most was that of George Michael; amongst my first memories are singing along to Wham on various singing games I played on my priced PlayStation 2. As I became older I realised more the meaning of lyrics in their songs, and Wham is one of my favorite bands. Eerily, just a couple of days before George’s untimely passing, I watched TOTP purely to watch George and Andrew perform ‘Young Guns’ on a repeated episode of the cult music show. I had had a wonderful Christmas Day, but I just burst into uncontrollable tears once I read the sad news of his death that Sunday night.
George Michael was of course not the only famous face to pass away this year. Other musicians who were favourites of mine who died in 2016 include Prince, Bowie and Viola Beach; Bowie was affectionately known as the ‘Duke’, and although I was aware of his music before his passing, I’ve delved further into his music collection since January and he is now one of my most-played singers now. Courtesy of The Hyve YouTube channel, I found and subsequently fell in love with Viola Beach’s ‘Boys That Sing’; it was bittersweet that the lads received all the public and critical acclaim that they deserved beyond their death. Other noticeable names who passed away included comedians Victoria Wood, Ronnie Corbett, and Caroline Aherne, arguably one of the greatest sportsmen ever to have graced this Earth Muhammad Ali, and actors/actresses Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher, and her mother Debbie Reynolds.
Of course, 2016 was an extremely creative year in entertainment as well, and there was a wide breadth of outstanding music and film released, some names you will recognise in polls at the end of this feature! Any year where Leonardo Dicaprio finally gets his hands on a well-deserved Oscar is certainly a good year in my eyes!
2016 in Sports…
The sporting world was hit with as many shocks as the entertainment and political world this year – one of the first surprises was the story of the underdog beating the golf masterclass at the 2016 US Masters; in a tense final round, Yorkshire’s finest Danny Willet succeeded to beat Jordan Speith in the nerve-wracking last eight holes of play. Following this, Premier League team Leicester City went from zeroes to heroes; in 2015 Leicester were facing relegation woes, but by May 2016 had won the title! 2016 was the year the Summer Olympics and Paralympics were held in Rio; Great Britain managed to overhaul the number of medals won in their home Olympics and Paralympics four years earlier, a feat no nation has ever matched. We will just not mention the performance of England in the Euros 2016 (at least Wales reached the semi-finals and as they were my sweepstake team, woo go Wales!)
A few more reasons why 2016 will go down as a memorable year included the invention of a smartphone game based on a cult 1990s series which brought the world together and encouraged depressed and people suffering from mental health issues to leave their houses into the outside world (woo!), the animal conservation efforts bringing several species out of their ‘endangered’ status including pandas and manatees, Honey G on the X Factor, Ed Balls on Strictly Come Dancing, and the incredible Planet Earth II series premiering on BBC and hosted by beloved David Attenborough.
Time for a few, fun end of year polls! I asked the good folks of Twitter to vote in several categories, and here are the results – I wonder if you will agree with how the Twitter population voted…
Most Shocking Event of 2016!
- Voting in Donald Trump (71%)
- Voting to Leave the European Union (21%)
- Numerous celebrity deaths (8%)
- Leicester winning the Premier League (0%)
Best Film of 2016!
- The Jungle Book
- Rogue One
- Fantastic Beasts
- Suicide Squad
- Captain America: Civil War
Best Alternative Song of 2016!
- Catfish and the Bottlemen – Soundcheck
- Courteeners – Modern Love
- Glass Animals – Youth
- Blossoms – Charlemagne
- The 1975 – Love Me
- Declan McKenna – Isombard
- Circa Waves – Wake Up
- Two Door Cinema Club – Bad Decisions
Best ‘Popular’ Song of 2016!
Tied first = Drake – One Dance & The Weeknd – Starboy
2nd = Major Lazer – Cold Water
3rd = Clean Bandit – Rockabye
Best Album of 2016!
- David Bowie – Blackstar
- Blossoms – Blossoms
- Slaves – Take Control
- Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
- Christine and the Queens – Chaleur Humaine
- Skepta – Konnichiwa
- Bastille – Wild World
- The Weeknd – Starboy.
Thank you to everyone who has read any of my blog features this year! Have a wonderful rest of your New Year’s Eve and a Happy New Year!