The Costa Concordia ran aground, Julia Gillard took a tumble, Whitney Houston died, Pussy Riot was jailed, Julian Assange locked himself up … but it wasn’t all bad news. Crikey’s writer-at-large on the year that was (almost).
It’s been a big year. Here’s some slightly edited highlights …
Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia is run aground by financial journalists desperate for a metaphor for the current state of the world economy.
Photos of prime minister Julia Gillard being dragged down the street by burly police officers cause alarm among the public, and brief hope for her parents that she may have met someone other than that hairdresser.
In the phone-hacking scandal, News International pays out millions for pain and suffering to 32 celebrities like Jude Law whose lives are, y’know, just shit.
Mitt Romney became the front-runner in the oh god I can’t relive this.
Former nurse Florence Green, the last veteran of World War I, dies in a nursing home. Ironically, she is bayonetted by a German.
Diva Whitney Houston — famous for her line “no matter what they take from me/they can’t take away my dignity” — dies drowned, ravaged, beaten face down in six inches of bathwater after being given a crack enema by one of her entourage.
Honduras pioneers early release system as prison fires kill 380.
The Artist becomes the first film featuring an amusing dog and no script to speak of to win the Oscar since the last big Sandra Bullock success.
At the funeral of Davy Jones of the Monkees, thousands of mourners shed a tear as an un-named session musician is lowered into the ground.
In rural Alabama and Kentucky tornadoes do tens of millions of dollars worth of improvement.
Encyclopaedia Britannica announces it will cease distributing a paper edition, in the week that the Vol.1 of 2451 volumes of the Illustrated Wikipedia goes on the market.
A gun massacre of seven people in Oakland, California is seen by many as a turning point in the US gun debate.
Musician Earl Scruggs dies at 88. The inventor of bluegrass music, Scruggs was executed.
James Murdoch, having stepped down as chair of News International and resigned as head of BSkyB, resigns from the Murdoch family, announcing that henceforth his name will be James Shit, with new middle names “I’m”, “Shit” and “Just” in that order.
Edvard Munch’s The Scream sells for $119 million — way above reserve — prompting outrage from gallery directors who usually just steal it from each other.
After the scandals of Nicolas Sarkozy’s divorce, Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s s-xual scandals and Francois Mitterand’s mistress, Francois Hollande — whose former partner, ex-Socialist Party leader Segolene Royale, is in a political struggle to the death with his current partner, also a prominent Socialist Party member, because she, the current partner that is, is jealous of Royale receiving political support from Hollande — was elected as a welcome “safe pair of hands” in France.
Aged 63, and with cancer, disco diva Donna Summer does not survive … oh hang on, that’s Gloria Gaynor.
Julian Assange walks into the Ecuadorian embassy … no it’s not the start of a joke, although check back with us next year.
The long-awaited Bee Gees reunion draws a little closer.
Boris Johnston wins London mayoral election, the Australian spin doctor-assisted philanderer ironically hinging his campaign on the reintroduction of classic London bus, the routemaster.
Greece’s New Democracy party forms government, after the bouzoki music stopped and it couldn’t find a chair.
Hit by huge and avoidable losses, Fairfax sheds hundreds of staff so that its Melbourne and Sydney headquarters will have room to accommodate the giant-sized brain of chairman Roger Corbett whenever he’s in town.
The fourth inquest into the death of Azaria Chamberlain briefly concludes that the father did it, just to mix things up a little.*
The Dark Knight release dubbed “worst promotional campaign ever” as gunman opens fire at showing in Aurora California, killing 12. The massacre is seen by many as a potential turning point in the US gun debate.
Great wit Gore Vidal dies with a final acerbic bon mot on his lips. Also, a tiny amount of semen.
After the sentencing of Russian punk band P-ssy Riot to two years hard labour, a global campaign erupts for the immediate freeing of the pretty one.
Top Gun and Enemy of the State director Tony Scott dies in an apparent suicide when a burning helicopter he is flying crashes into a tanker filled with liquid nitrogen during a San Francisco street parade.
In the UK, the Olympics opening ceremony involves medieval squalor, backbreaking misery and the dream of a better future, as thousands use London public transport to get to the venue.
Days after the Australian High Court rejects Big Tobacco’s challenge to cigarette packaging featuring a plain colour and a graphic warning, Philip Morris changes its logo to a diseased lung.
Robert Hughes dies. God what will we do, everyone asked? How will we keep going? How will we even breathe or go to the shops?
US Libyan ambassador Chris Stephens is attacked and killed by one of a wave of violent protests across the region, at a film causing immense anger, initially thought to be “Innocence of Muslims” featuring Mohammed, later revealed as the Kristen Stewart remake of On the Road.
The massacre of six people by a disgruntled colleague, at a sign-writing company in Minneapolis, is seen by some as a turning point in the US gun debate.
Jimmy Savile — the mulleted tracksuited septuagenarian with blond bangs who slept in his dead mother’s room for three decades — was … well, yes, it seems obvious now.
Beijing writer Mo Yan wins the Nobel Prize for Literature, dealing a blow to stereotyped ideas of Chinese culture. Critics described his work as “a banquet” and said that versions “A” and “B” were available, but an hour later you might feel like reading him again.
Lance Armstrong’s entire Tour de France team was found guilty of drug use after they were found queued up on bikes at an ATM at five in the morning.
In New Jersey, an enormous swirling collection of dangerous gases bears down on the coast as governor Chris Christie comes to comfort the bereaved in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Barack Obama wins re-election to the US presidency. Can’t think of a joke, it was just so good, y’know, so good …
General David Petraeus becomes embroiled in a scandal which without checking my notes involved a woman who had written him into a fictional book with a sister who was the honorary ambassador to Chad or something, and Petraeus had a couple of guys killed, but this other woman who was from space was told by the first woman to back off, and she called in the CIA, who sent photos of their chest to aliens, and then the first lady’s head opened and this giant tentacle came out.
The Pope began tweeting, the first senior Catholic figure to do so, aside from a few cardinals who mainly use it to trawl for twinks.
Sitarist Ravi Shankar and jazz experimentalist Dave Brubeck died. Enthusiasts suggested they were “jamming in heaven”, with the result piped directly into hell.
Koko, canine star of Red Dog, a victim of the wild success of the movie, died at the age of 7, surrounded by biscuits and bitches.