Twerking, a royal baby and triumph (finally) on the British tennis courts. Tanya Gold relives the highs and lows of the past 12 months
2013 was always going to wilt in the shadow of 2012, the year that had the London Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, a naked Prince Harry, and a terrible disaster film – 2012 – named after it, in which the plates of the earth stopped turning, and the elite fled via an ark from a secret base. But 2013 held its own, with enough interesting events to keep us busy, although I could have done without Miley Cyrus licking a sledgehammer for money; although, when I think of it, who would lick a sledge-hammer for anything other than money?
2013 was principally the year the nation stalked a baby. In fact it was the year the nation stalked a foetus. It belonged to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; poor Prince George is now five months old, and safely cosseted away from us, after being the most over-discussed Baby Bump in history. It was never too young to objectify in 2013. Was he too big? Too small? Or just medium? Eventually he arrived on 22 July, mid-heatwave. The media, particularly Sky News’ Kay Burley, went temporarily mad, and ran up and down the street, screaming, “It’s a boy!” at random people; the News At Ten came live from a pavement outside Buckingham Palace, and cut to another pavement for reaction. The law was changed beforehand, so if Prince George had been a girl, she would have inherited the throne, but when the time came the Cambridges’ joint DNA just couldn’t be this revolutionary. It’s a boy, as Burley would jabber, even after everyone, including Prince George, went home.
2013 was also the year that Andy Murray stopped crying and won the Men’s Singles championship at Wimbledon, after employing the terrifying-looking Ivan Lendl as his coach; when Lendl shouts at you I doubt if any serve is a bother. This is my personal highlight of 2013. I was thrilled for Murray. I knew he would win because he wanted it so much –and no man could eat that much sushi and not be rewarded. It wasn’t even ruined by the idiotic broadcaster John Inverdale saying the 2013 ladies singles champion, Marion Bartoli, wasn’t actually that hot on BBC Radio 5 Live, or by the media repeatedly saying we hadn’t had a British champion since Fred Perry in 1936, when in fact Virginia Wade won in 1977, even if she is a woman. It still counts. Which brings me to:
Feminism, which has had a noisy and counter-productive year. Everyone’s a feminist on Twitter, where it matters least. Beyond Twitter, women are poorer than ever, constant victims of sexual assault, and there have been huge scandals about unreported – or un-investigated – crimes against women in the Seventies. The cuts affect us disproportionately (we remain the nation’s carers and public service employees). And we also had to deal with Miley Cyrus’s tongue. A terrible year for womanhood. Do better in 2014, Feminism.
And so to comedy. Comedy is the new politics, because everyone is so fed up with the old politics, which actually contains politicians, who are now too widely despised to pay any attention to. (Boris Johnson remains the exception, but for Boris’s run at the Tory leadership we will have to wait until at least 2015, after Labour have won the election and David Cameron can start hunting to hounds again and re-emerge as a proper braying toff with a pink face). Instead, we had comedians doing politics.
Russell Brand recently guest-edited the left-wing magazine the New Statesman and, because he is a massive narcissist, that is, a comedian, he felt he needed to do something that would attract special attention. So he called for revolution, because he doesn’t know what revolution means, and probably thinks he would look good in the outfit; a sort of East London Che Guevara, I imagine. In fact, revolution involves a lot of murder, mayhem and despair; Brand probably thinks it means hanging out with John Lennon, even if he is dead. In the end one of the nice boys from Peep Show rescued us from Brand the dictator; Robert Webb told Brand off and told him to vote Labour if he is so unhappy.
Which brings me to narcissism; 2013 was the year of the Selfie. This involves taking photographs of yourself on your mobile telephone, while doing quite boring things of interest to no-one but yourself; it is the new looking at other people. 2013 continues the disturbing trend of doing absolutely everything while holding a hand-held computer; I do it myself, and I’m bored with it. I’m bored of so many 2013 trends. What happened to reading books? Or – and this is Twitter again – slagging people off behind their backs? Or arses?
Which leads us to twerking, the final trend of 2013. Twerking involves waving your arse, and being photographed doing it, because why wave your arse otherwise in 2013? Miley Cyrus did it (obviously and at great length), plus Rihanna, Beyoncé and Harry Styles. When history remembers 2013, there will be Andy Murray, Prince George and an awful lot of arse.