2012: From a British Perspective

As the year draws to a close, many like to reflect on the months that have passed and what events and news shaped and affected their year. 2012 has been a year to remember, especially for British people like myself, with the world’s eyes on us throughout the summer. Globally, it has been a dramatic year too- scientific history has been made at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland and in the Middle East and Africa political regimes and rulers have been overthrown.

One of the many occasions this year was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in early June. The celebrations spanned over three days, including a river pageant on the Thames and a concert outside Buckingham Palace. The anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign after six decades prompted jubilee street parties throughout the country and thousands of beacons were lit across the Commonwealth. The Royal Family were in the headlines several times this year, from the Duke of Edinburgh’s illness after the Jubilee weekend to the naked pictures of Prince Harry in Las Vegas. Furthermore, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have recently announced their pregnancy, meaning that next year a direct heir to the throne will be born.

The majority of British people would say that their summer, and indeed their year, has been one of sport, with most of the nation glued to television sets throughout July and August as the Olympic and Paralympics came to London for the 2012 games. It all kicked off a few weeks before the Opening Ceremony, with the Torch Relay making its way across the country, gathering excitement for the games and bringing communities together. The Olympics and Paralympics were both memorable, with athletes such as Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, Ellie Simmonds and David Weir collecting an array of medals. And just before Christmas we saw Bradley Wiggins, Olympic Champion and 2012 Tour De France winner, pick up the Sports Personality of the Year award.

However, entertainment this year hasn’t just been in sport. 2012 has seen some great films hit cinema screens, such as The Hunger Games, which was a huge success at the box office and has left fans eagerly awaiting the sequel which is reportedly being released late 2013. Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie, came to UK cinemas in October, with some critics stating that it was Daniel Craig’s best performance yet as the famous British spy. This year also saw an end to the Twilight series, with the release of the final film Breaking Dawn: Part 2. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson both received a great reception, although the recent controversy surrounding their personal lives had meant that the film series had lost a few loyal fans. In literature, Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels have dominated the bestseller lists, with a reported twelve million copies sold and a film in the pipeline.

2012 has been a great year for music too, with many British artists enjoying global success. ‘Boy Bands’ such as One Direction and The Wanted have gained an army of young fans and produced record sales for their songs this year, as have other artists such as Mumford and Sons and Ellie Goulding, staying in the charts for the majority of 2012. However, there was tragedy in the music world this year. On the 11th February, Whitney Houston was found dead in her bathtub in a California hotel. The singer, who won six Grammy awards, had reportedly drowned and had several drugs in her system, although some details about her death are still emerging.

Unrest throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa has continued this year, with Syria in particular featuring in headlines on a daily basis. The violence there has intensified, with the death toll and number of refugees increasing each week. Both the government forces and rebel fighters have been blamed for countless massacres and war crimes across the country. The war is ongoing and human rights groups and charities are calling for international intervention to aid the escalating situation there.

This year has also seen many tragic shootings around the world. During the summer, four adults were shot dead at Lake Annecy, France, killing a French man, as well as three British adults. The two children of the British family survived, but worryingly, the gunman has not yet been found. In July, twelve were killed and fifty-eight wounded at the screening of the new Batman film, in Aurora, Colorado. More recently, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, twenty children and six teachers were shot dead, a crime that shook the world and prompted the newly re-elected US President Barack Obama to move towards a change in gun law in America. There was some justice in Norway this year, when Anders Breivik, who killed seventy-seven people in summer 2011, was sentenced to 21 years in prison with very little chance of him being released after that, or indeed for the rest of his life.

Finally, last week, as the Mayan calendar ended on 21st December 2012, people worldwide feared that there was some sort of imminent apocalypse and the world was dramatically going to end. As most had suspected, nothing actually happened and now, with the Christmas decorations up and New Year’s Eve fast approaching, were are at the end of 2012. Whether you loved the sport of the summer or achieved great things personally, there is no denying that this has been a great year. There will always be political uncertainties and bad weather, but for a change, a lot of the news that grabbed the headlines this year was positive and it is important that we remember that as we enter the New Year.

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