Monday, 12 January 2015

Wait, It’s 2015 Already?

by Charlie Albuery

We’re fast approaching two weeks into the New Year, when the bang of New Year’s Eve and our yearly half-hearted commitments to change for the better slowly begin to give way to the whimper of a return from the festive season to our standard, monotonous lives.

A few days ago, I was asked to sum up my 2014 - and found it absolutely impossible. A year (while essentially an arbitrary measurement of time) is a horribly long-winded and complex time period; like any other year, SO MUCH STUFF happened in 2014, surely it’d be impossible to boil down to a few key points?

But then I saw that Google had made this video:

Quite besides producing a video that I found genuinely moving and inspiring going forward, Google have done what I considered impossible with regards to one person on a worldwide scale: used their clout as the world’s foremost search engine to more or less condense 2014 into ten key talking points, the ten most googled phrases of the last year. 

I found this a rather neat way to sum up the public zeitgeist over the last twelve months and it is something I think you should all see, to remember the highs and lows of 2014 for yourselves. 

#10 - Sochi Olympics – I can’t be the only one who completely forgot we had a Winter Olympics this year… Anyway, we once again saw half the population suddenly become transfixed by and quasi-experts in curling as seems to happen every four years.

#9 – Frozen – Despite coming out in late 2013, Disney’s latest princess-themed offering has shown remarkable staying power both in terms of continuing to earn money with merchandise, DVD and soundtrack sales as well as in the public consciousness, I suspect largely due to the vast number of parody and cover videos seemingly inescapable on the internet.

#8 – ISIS – The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is a Sunni Islamic rebel group that has committed numerous human-rights abuses and war crimes; without wishing to delve too deeply, this group's extremist political agenda means they will still very much have a media and current-affairs presence in 2015.

#7 - Conchita Wurst – On a far lighter note, the delightful Thomas Neuwirth, better known by the name of his drag act Conchita Wurst, won the Eurovision song contest this year with an anthem of acceptance and self-confidence titled ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’. Both surprisingly and wonderfully, the reaction to this was almost universally positive, with only very limited conservative backlash.

#6 - Flappy Bird – This is ridiculous and it angers me that people cared that much about this stupid app. That said, my high score was 47, and I’m proud.

#5 - ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – A charity push for a particular form of neurodegenerative disease that raised hundreds of thousands of pounds and huge amounts of awareness for the disease and its charitable fund, simply by people (celebrities, politicians, philanthropists and even us normos) dumping buckets of iced water over their heads. It just goes to show that being a little silly can really have a positive impact on the world sometimes.

#4 - Malaysia Airlines – A plane, more specifically the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 totally just disappeared from the face of the earth, apparently never to be found. This bizarre event made the world become just a little bit scarier in 2014…

#3 – Ebola – Ebola tragically broke out in West Africa in March 2014 and has begun to slowly spread around the world, despite a largely successful movement of aid and healthcare being put into place to prevent anything on a pandemic or epidemic level. SO far there have been over 21,000 reported cases. This new Ebola story originated in 2014 but certainly will not be disappearing any time soon.

#2 - World Cup – Sports or something, I guess..? No comment

#1 - Robin Williams – A comedy icon tragically passed on in 2014, but the spike in searches for every piece of media he had played a part showed that the impact he had will endure forever. Robin Williams is gone but not forgotten, into 2015 and beyond; he should and will remain an inspiration and a source of boundless joy for people around the world.

So, that was 2014, the highs and the lows. Here’s to 2015 guys – let’s see if we can make it as eclectic as last year!

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