Friday, 31 December 2010

We'll take a cup of kindness

Well, this is it. The final post of 2010. And what a year it's been. I hope this series of memory joggers has helped you reflect on the ups and downs of the last 12 months, and that not all the memories gave you a headache.

George Bush had his own troubling moment of reflection in November as he reflected on his eight years in the Oval Office. Strangely, it wasn't the economic meltdown, Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, an illegal war, corporate corruption or dubious election results that caused him sleepless nights. It was being called names by Kanye West. Still, at least he has a newfound empathy for Taylor Swift.

Speaking of music, Katy Perry, P!nk, Ke$ha and Lady Gaga plucked their pens from behind their ears and scribbled some inspiring songs to show their support for their gay fans. One person who was unable to contribute to this musical outpouring was Michael Jackson, although that didn't stop his canny record label from cobbling together an album from recordings of the King of Pop clearing his throat and practicing his scales.

Nadine Coyle also released her long-awaited debut album, but only on the shelves of Tesco. As a result, she shifted fewer units than a warehouse worker on long-term sick leave. Poor promotion was blamed for the project's failure, but ultimately, it came down to what her bandmate Cheryl repeatedly refers to as 'the likeability factor'. In that she didn't have any.

The celebrities were also out in force this November - another bunch of desperate 'stewing steak' stars tried to convince us they were still fillet, by gobbling down all manner of marsupial genitals in the Australian jungle. Hungry fans were also able to join in the fun of the Bushtucker Trial this time, thanks to the release of witchetty grub chocolates.

If you prefer your celebreality entertainment with fewer dry-heaving scenes, you could have tuned into Celebrity Coach Trip - a remarkable show which stretched the concept of celebrity to its illogical conclusion. Forget about BAFTAs, what everyone needed to see was Barry Chuckle sharing a beer bath with Ingrid Tarrant.

The Daily Mail continued its war on logic, tolerance and professional journalism, by writing an article warning its white readership that they're just fifty years away from being a minority. Less politically minded readers had to content themselves with a remarkable story investigating the science of celebrity. Its stunning conclusion: famous people mix with other famous people in expensive place. Mystery solved. There were also some handy hints on how to buy your wife the perfect Christmas gift. If you missed this incisive piece, here's the summary - listen.

The recession maintained its icy grip on the wallets of the nation, so David Cameron commissioned the Office of National Statistics to conduct a survey assessing how happy we all are. It's just a shame no-one has found a way to measure the happiness of Britain's turkeys, who had good reason to celebrate on Thanksgiving (for once) when Bernard Matthew finally bit the big Golden Drummer.

The True Clean Towel was also made available, promising to put a smile (and nothing else) on the faces of anyone with a phobia of letting their damp parts touch. The surprisingly graphic ad shocked and amused in equal measure, although if anyone does want a pair of balls rubbing in their face, I can recommend a number of clubs.

Finally, November was a month of shocking revelations, as Michael Moore received a long-awaited apology, Tomasz Schafernaker showed his casual side, and Hobbits were uncovered as a bunch of undersized white supremacists.

Which, rather neatly, brings us to December. As five inches of snow managed to bring the whole country to a standstill, we found ourselves under house arrest, much like Julian Assange. The Australian journalist was eventually released on bail to await extradition, having ironically found himself on the receiving end of a tactical intelligence leak.

Bernie Ecclestone showed his battered features in an ad for Hublot watches, making it the desirable timepiece for anyone who wants to be beaten and robbed in the street. In contrast, Nike became a much less desirable brand when the shoe manufacturer decided to sue a guy who mistakenly bought a fake pair of shoes on the internet.

A school in Memphis waged war on low-slung denim, by creating a wall of shame for slouchy students revealing a little too much underwear. And Disney tried to help out the kids by bringing in Britney Spears to teach the next generation of child stars about how to handle the pressures of fame. Which was a little like asking Katie Price for advice on getting the 'natural look'.

We endured the finals of the X-Factor and The Apprentice, both of which ended rather predictably, with winners that most viewers had picked out in the first couple of weeks. However, both shows did give us some fantastically entertaining highlights, thanks to the most objectionable contestants since Goebbels and Goering appeared on Double Dare with Peter Simon.

So here we are. It's December 31st, the Prosecco's chilling in the fridge, and many of my work colleagues are shivering in the cold by the banks of the Thames, waiting to trigger the fireworks. Whoever and wherever you are, I'd like to wish you a Happy New Year and thank you for spending some of your time on this blog. I hope you'll be back again in 2011.

Now, to play us out, here's a mash-up of 25 of the biggest hits of the year, courtesy of DJ Earworm (Warning: may contain traces of Ke$ha)...

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