It’s been a hell of a year, hasn’t it?
I don’t just say that as a reflection of my own life (that hasn’t really been interesting on a global level), I say it as a matter of fact. 2011 has been a huge year for all kinds of things. We’ve seen mass murderers, well, murdered, we’ve seen London go back in time and resemble itself at the height of the blitz, we’ve seen pop stars die, royals get married and we’ve seen the whole of Africa change radically.
I’m also pretty sure the rapture was supposed to happen, twice, this year too.
Each month this year I can genuinely say something has shocked me, or made me stop and think. Until I saw all this online I truly hadn’t thought of how big a year this one has been. It’s nearing the end of the year now, so I thought I’d summarise for you.
2011. What on earth happened?
Before I begin, the BBC have a 52 question quiz on the year, so before you read this, why not give it a go? (I didn’t do very well)
It’s been named the international year of forests AND chemistry by the United Nations. (errr, okay then). At the beginning of the year over here, the Tory government raised VAT to 20%, to the dismay of the majority of people living here.
Well, in January, Estonia joined the Eurozone, mud slides killed 903 people in Brazil and the South Sudanese people voted for a separation from Sudan, we should have known here that it would be a big year. Pete Postlethwaite and Dick King-Smith also died in January, if that wasn’t a warning sign to anyone then I don’t know what would be. A mass shooting occurred early this month too, with 19 people shot in the city of Tuscon, Arizona. One of those killed was 9 year old Christina Taylor-Green, who was one of the children born on 9/11.
Also in the news: The Egyptian people staged riots across the country, and caused the President of Egypt, Mubarak, to resign in early February. Neil Young, an ex-Manchester City player died this month as well, and everyone joined together in remembrance of those lost in the Christchurch Earthquake on the 22nd of the same month.
March brought with it more disaster, with a 9.1 magnitude earthquake striking the east of Japan, causing a huge tsunami and massive loss of life. March also sparked the no fly zone over Libya, a country facing its own civil unrest after Egypt. We also saw the tragic death of Knut, the baby polar bear in Berlin, (a loss we will surely remember forever). April saw the end of the Ivorian Crisis (2010-11) with the arrest of former president Laurent Gbagbo, (not sure if I could ever forget that name). In this month Doctor Who actress Elisabeth Sladen died of cancer, the death was leaked on twitter hours before it hit the headlines of the major press organisations. It also saw two million people from across the world glue their eyes on the United Kingdom as Prince William married Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.
May began with the announcement from Barack Obama that Osama Bin Laden had been shot dead following a military operation in Pakistan. This was celebrated in many countries across the globe, however it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that Obama announced that major military operations had ended in Iraq. Former Bosnian Serb leader Ratko Mladić (wanted for genocide, amongst other crimes) was arrested in Serbia, and this month also saw the European union agree to a €78 billion bail out deal over Portugal.
June appeared to be a relatively quiet month (compared to those around it) with the death of Jackass star Ryan Dunn and the worlds oldest person (Maria Valentim) joined the latest events of Arab Spring and the eruption of a volcano in Chile in the headlines.
South Sudan seceding from Sudan and the first artificial organ transplant saw us into July, with this month looking like it was going to be more bearable. Just a couple of weeks later though, tragedy struck. Twin attacks in Norway saw 76 people killed. Most of them at a youth camp. Only a day later the news broke of the sudden death of singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, at her home in Camden, seeing her join the famous “27 club“. This year also saw the eruption of the phone hacking scandal, leading to the closure of the News of the World paper on July 10th. A few days after this Sean Hoare’s body was found – he blew the whistle on the entire scandal. With Libyan rebels taking control of the nations capital in the battle of Tripoli and Gaddafi going into hiding after being overthrown, Augustwas a quiet month. At least up until the riots that gripped the whole of the United Kingdom at the end of the Summer.
September also was reasonably quiet, with India and Bangladesh signing a pack to end a 40 year dispute. There was a large loss of life across the world, with a Zanzibar ferry sinking, a petrol pipeline explosion in Nairobi and the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash, and the United Nations launched a million dollar appeal for the victims of the 2011 Sindh floods. A solidarity occupation of Wall Street started as well, which lead to ‘occupy‘ protests all over the world, with the one outside St. Pauls in London starting mid-October. These protests are against economic and social equality. The 10th month didn’t start off very well, with the co-founder of apple Steve Jobs dying, after taking a leave of absence from the company. October also saw the eviction of the residents living illegally in Dale Farm, and Amanda Knox was found not guilty of killing Meredith Kercher, after an appeal. Steve Jobs, the director of Apple (who had retired a few months previously for health reasons) died at the beginning of the month, which was a tragic event and millions world wide paid tribute. As well as this, it was also a bad month for racing fans, as British IndyCar driver Dan Whelon and Italian Moto GP racer Marco Simoncelli both died in accidents, within a week of each other. Colonel Ghadaffi was captured and killed by rebels after evading them for weeks. The month didn’t get any better with Jimmy Savile dying at the end of October, with his funeral being held in November. However, the last day in October was selected (by the UN) as the symbolic day when the 7 millionth person was born. (really makes you think doesn’t it?).
In November we saw Dr Conrad Murray being convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson, and sentence for four years. We also saw the Leveson Inquiry, which followed on from the phone hacking scandal and the closure of News of the World. Many faces were seen, including Steve Coogan, Sienna Miller, the McCanns, JK Rowling and Alastair Campbell. We also saw the biggest strikes over pensions since the 30s, as thousands took to the streets against the new pension reforms. These strikes lead to TV personality Jeremy Clarkson sticking his nose in and getting the BBC into a lot of trouble..
(Video from YouTube)
There was another huge death towards the end of November, Gary Speed, the (at the time) Welsh Football Teams manager, was found dead in his home, hung at the neck. This threw the sporting world into a period of mourning with the huge question being ‘why?‘ It’s still not known the exact reason for his suicide, however rumours have been flying about since. (Ones that I am not going to speculate in)
December brought with it cold temperatures and gale force winds, with Scotland eduring 165mph winds throughout the worst of it. On the 17th North Korea announced the sudden death of Kim Jong-Il, which was greeted by tension from many countries. Two giant pandas touched down in Scotland from China as the latest addition to a zoo, and David Attenborough and the BBC faced complaints after a ‘misleading’ episode of Frozen Planet.
What a year.
This year also saw..
The mighty Southampton Football Club gaining promotion to the Championship from League one, and ending the year at the top spot,
President Obama having to release his birth certificate, thus proving he was an American citizen,
Britain’s oldest person, Margaret Fish, died in March aged 112,
A dog rose to instant fame after a video of him chasing deer went viral,
The entire Blackberry Internet Server went down across Europe for three days (funnily enough it was just after Steve Jobs’ death),
Beyoncé announced that she was expecting her first baby with Jay-Z,
A whole host of deaths in the entertainment sector,
This goal.. (thanks to Adam Clery for showing me this)
(Video from YouTube)
What about my year?
Now, I know you’re all probably feeling lost and confused because you just don’t know what I did this year. Well, fear not reader, your reward for reading this huge post is about to be rewarded. (If I can remember what I did this year).
I started my year on the Isle of Wight, not gonna happen again this year, woo Stoke! (Start as I mean to go on and all that..). It’s been a mixed up year, full of radio and journalism. I spent a month over summer travel writing in Berlin, and the rest slaving in a kitchen in Pizza Hut, and getting a job behind a bar. I broke my bones for the first time in August (middle and ring finger on my right hand – nightmare) and I left my teenage years behind. I moved into a student house with my five girls. I’ve met some amazing people, and I’ve had a lot of laughs. Photos speak more than words my friends.
Best photo competition (out of my own photos) goes to the beautiful Josh Peett, who had the best idea for his birthday party in October…
it’s been an amazing year for me, it’s been a busy year world wide, so here’s to 2012.
I’ve probably forgotten loads of things (or omitted a few – can’t go on forever), feel free to post your 2011 highlights below as a comment, videos, photos, or just little anecdotes. Lots of love, and all the best for the new year x