The world didn’t manage to end in 2012, unless your happened to be a relative of the late Sir Jimmy Savile OBE, KCSG. It was a year of cringing indifference, political incompetence and shuffling entropy. Prince Charles became a weatherman. Clearly it was a strange year and a particularly anticlimactic one at that, after 2011’s season finale feel, being a year of revolution, rioting and the occasional nuclear explosion, 2012 instead brought us another step closer to having a Prime Minister with the initials ‘BJ’.
The Leveson inquiry was the best daytime television ever apparently (or so I’ve heard, I was stuck at bloody school when it was going down). It was a good excuse to watch dreamy Perry Mason-a-like Robert Jay QC utter stupendously big words like ‘propinquity’ and ‘condign’ with terrifying control and accuracy. Celebrities usually seen in the context of desperately trying to distract us from the crashing awfulness of the real world and its often horrible ‘news’ became part of its fabric for a few weeks. Hugh Grant, Imogen ‘shagged Giggsy’ Thomas, Steve Coogan – even a sallow faced J.K. Rowling rubbed painfully sawing shoulders with the political and (serious) media establishments. It was like a high brow Big Brother house or an intellectually charged edition of Jeremy Kyle with Sienna Miller in place of some web-footed delinquent from Norfolk. Wonderfully all involved seemed to have an axe to grind, chickens came home to roost with all the precision of the underground during the Olympics and Robert Jay QC joyously made David Cameron look like a total mug in regards to his ‘country supper – yes we can’ texts to Rebekah Brooks. 2012 being the unavailing year it was Cameron managed to completely ignore recommendations of Leveson’s report. Still, it made for good television.
Cameron didn’t have a great 2012. Allowing his stooge George Osbourne to slap a 20% VAT surcharge on hot foods led to the embarrassing Pastygate fiasco, leading swarms of sycophantic politicians to besiege branches of Greggs nationwide in a desperate effort to show that they were human beings like the rest of us. Memorably, class dork Ed Miliband and his bouncer Ed Balls ordered a staggering eight sausage rolls from one branch of Greggs which seemed excessive in these times of austerity, Mr Balls enjoyed ‘the lion’s share’ of the sausage rolls apparently. Cameron upped the cringe factor by telling an apocryphal story about eating pasties:
‘I think the last one I bought was from the West Cornwall Pasty Company. I seem to remember I was in Leeds station at the time. The choice was to have one of their small ones or their large ones. I’ve got a feeling I opted for the large one and very good it was too.’
Within minutes Network Rail confirmed that Mr Cameron’s story was entirely false. Nice try Dave.
Kony 2012. Stop at Nothing. Cover the Night. Stumbling nakedly through 2012 like its misguided evangelical christian poster boy creator Jason Russell came ultra-viral video Kony 2012. This was a video made by the charity Invisible Children; their campaign was a classic example of streamlined, quintessentially American exercise in utter bullshit. The video itself was a blatant, if admittedly well made, piece of propaganda, seemingly designed for simpletons to share on Facebook and Twitter. The people behind the film encouraged the proliferation of the video on social networks aiming to make Ugandan warlord and all round bad apple Joseph Kony ‘famous’. This was duly achieved by said simpletons. And then… Invisible Children asked us to help capture Kony by, err, buying one of their $30 action kits? Or, um, a bracelet? Or a t-shirt? It wasn’t long before half the internet called bullshit on the Kony campaign, and the other half went and cried in the corner of their rooms about how ill-informed they were. If ever a disingenuous charity campaign was to end with its architect screaming and publicly masturbating it was this one (although Bob Geldof still looks like he would be capable of something similar). Poor bloke. Oh and as of 2013 Kony and his band of child soldiers are still at large in central africa and presumably more pissed off than ever. The power of social media!
The excitingly 20th century-like Arab Spring was one of the bigger let downs of the year. All those words and names newly emblazoned in the public lexicon: Benghazi, Tahrir Square, Mohamed Bouazizi – these words and the feelings they engendered began to sour in 2012. This wasn’t particularly surprising, after all most governments run by mobs of half-starved militiamen with a penchant for ululating and shooting at the sky for no reason whatsoever don’t do too well.
Finally it was another massive year in the Royal Family‘s continued rebranding exercise . The Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in classically British style by watching Poseidon completely shit on her boat pageant, Prince Harry went to Vegas with unsurprising consequences and the Duchess of Cambridge‘s breasts caused the most cross-channel consternation since the Hundred Years War. The actual Diamond Jubilee itself was risible. Risible weather, risible coverage by the BBC and the risible and ubiquitous Will.i.am shouting ‘yo’ over the top of Stevie Wonder during the Jubilee concert. Even Peter Kay was wheeled out, performing a joke so old that he had to dig up its fossil on the morning of the concert to get it ready. A healthy dose of karma arrived for the bloodsuckers later in 2012 in the form of court jester and notorious shagger Prince Harry’s regal buttocks. All the usual platitudes where spluttered out: “Give it a rest he’s only young” (Harry is 28), “He deserves a holiday after what he did in Afghanistan” (morally questionable), “its not his fault the pictures were taken” (then why do we pay for his bodyguards to do this) and so on. Brendan Gleeson sums up the Royals better than I could.