This has been a good year for me, personally. Ignoring the events that have occurred worldwide in the last twelve months, there is very little for me to complain about. However, as I sit here to put my thoughts down on paper regarding the ‘big’ issues of the previous year, I begin to realise that there is in reality rather a lot for the more pessimistic among us to get up on their high horses about.

I find it rather odd that when I try to think of anything of significance that has occurred in 2011, my mind draws a blank. In times like this, when one is very much required to remember what has happened, the brain seems to lock down, as though the memories are too terrible to allow us to recall. As such, I have been forced to open up a Wikipedia page dedicated to the year (yes, there’s actually an article on it), and a torrent of memories has finally come flooding back to me…

…Oh dear…perhaps my initial optimism was a tad premature?!

As we all are undoubtedly aware, 2011 was an important year for the United Nations, who designated this year as the International Year of Forests and of Chemistry (obviously. How could any of us not have known that, I ask you? What with all the forestry and chemistry going on everywhere we turned and whatnot…)

2011 was the year in which the world opened up its wallets and discovered it had absolutely no money left whatsoever! Greece ended up with absolutely nothing, with America tailing just behind it.  The situation seemed to become even more dire when we realised that if these countries made several billion dollars, they would finally be able to say that they had no money… And when things are put into terms such as those, you realise the world is finally beginning to well and truly go down the toilet, as I believe the sentiment is; perhaps the Mayans’ prediction that 2012 shall be the year of our doom was not so absurd after all…

War certainly seemed to be a major theme. Only a short time after the death of the ever-elusive Osama bin Laden, the Western world realised that it was now without a great enemy and, as such, began holding auditions to fulfil to post of ‘Ultimate Moriarty Figure’. The winner was, of course, Colonel Muammar Gadaffi. And so began yet another Iraq. Its funny how history does indeed seem to repeat itself, isn’t it?

Elsewhere the world was forced to admit a potentially bleak future, or one which is at the very best uncertain and fraught with anxiety. Yet another figure of terror met his end, suggesting heavily that someone was looking down upon us during 2011. Three of the most hated men in the world gone within the same twelve months – if you are a supporter of using death to solve your problems, then this must surely have seemed liked a year-long Christmas. The holder of the rather arrogant title of Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, passed away just before Christmas, leaving his son, Kim Jong-un, a figure whom we know even less about than his distinguished father, in charge. Suddenly the world seemed to be in panic. Any viewing of the BBC News seemed to scream at us to stay indoors, lock our windows and doors, turn out all the lights and pretend to be out shopping for a new edition of Monopoly, because a new leader was on the town, and whatever happened we were certainly going to be attacked by a horrendous tirade of nuclear force if we so much as moved a muscle. It’s good to see that the news hasn’t lost its penchant for scaremongering of late. However, for many internet lovers, the greatest horror to be had from this news was the now all-too apparent redundancy of the great website ‘Kim Jong-il Looking at Things.’ Look it up, if you want a cheap laugh – it is actually rather amusing. But luckily for the techno-nerds, somebody immediately stepped up to fill that hole with a brand-new site featuring the late-Kim’s son, who also apparently shares his father’s passion for looking at things. Bravo, inter-nerds!

Not much else happened in the world as far as I can remember, apart from the sudden widespread mistake made by many members of the British community that 2011 hosted an epic countrywide sale in which everything – yes, everything – was, for a limited time only, absolutely free of charge! Yes! Everything from plasma-screen televisions to basmati rice was included in the free-for-all battle-royal supreme with cheese than was the 2011 riots! I have already written about it, so do not feel like going too deeply into the situation apart from to say that if you haven’t already read it then you are clearly not worth my time until you have. So go on. Hop to it.

Music… music… does anybody remember the crime against music that was the 1990s? A decade in which we all listened to the likes of ‘5, 6, 7, 8’ and ‘S Club Party’. Well, it’s all coming back! With the announcement that, with Westlife taking it upon themselves to step out of the limelight, 90s pop horror Steps was more than ready to step back into it. Many saw this as a great opportunity, not least S Club 7, who decided that, if Steps were doing it, they should copy. And so, with one foul swoop, those most annoying of “musicians” returned to a stage previously occupied by greats such as the Beatles, David Bowie, Queen and the Who, in order to attempt to rekindle some sort of fame and make one final attempt at avoiding the all-consuming abyss that is the mystery line-up round on BBC Two’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks. May God have mercy on our souls.

2011 was also the year in which the laziness of human kind seemingly reached a head, with the arrival of a family of terrifying blue puppets from outer-space who came to Earth to teach how we could all sit down and do absolutely nothing this Christmas by logging online and having every single one of your presents delivered to your door without you ever having to leave the comfort of your armchair. If desired, you could exist throughout the entire festive period by sitting in one spot in your living room, equipped only with a laptop, an internet connection, a power supply, three mince pies, a bar of Galaxy and a well-composed note taped to your front door requesting that anybody intended to give you a present do so by putting them in the porch (which you must always remember to leave open). To me, that seems to defeat the entire object of Christmas, the one time of year when you should at least attempt to make some effort. But perhaps I am just old-fashioned. Perhaps this is the way forward, a thought which is made bearable by repeating ‘the Mayans are never wrong… the Mayans are never wrong…’

Television has also managed to go downhill. Gone are the days when all we had to suffer was Big Brother (the title of which caused great fury among the entire population of the little people who work inside my brain for daring to use anything thought up by the great George Orwell for something so base). At least when the aforementioned abomination of reality TV was around, we had the comfort that it would, one day, undeniably come to an end…and it did… only to be immediately replaced by a new incarnation on Channel 5 which is in fact no different to the original incarnation (there was no Doctor Who-esque regeneration here in which to breathe fresh life into the show.) But now the horror of Big Brother seems to have spread across the small screen: aside from Big Brother opportunity to laugh at desperate people, we also have the opportunity to laugh at stupid people with The Only Way is Essex, at posh people with Made in Chelsea, incoherent people with Desperate Scousewives and we even have a chance to use uneducated children as an example of every young person in Britain in Educating Essex. Why, oh why can every program not be like the ever-factual Panorama?

Oh, wait… this is program that, in 2011, decided to fake footage of child labour for an episode about Primark…

It’s this kind of behaviour which angers budding journalists like myself. I mean, if there’s one thing you should be able to count on, it is that a journalist will always be honest and law abiding…which reminds me, never leave a message on an answer phone if you don’t want all of your life details printed on any one of Rupert Murdoch’s papers.

Well, perhaps as I bring this to an end I realise that, while 2011 was a good year for me, it wasn’t exactly a fantastic year for the world in general. Well then, here’s to 2012, a year which will most definitely not contain any dishonesty, backhanded politics, war or violence. And even if it does, it won’t be the end of the world… right?