Category Archives: history

You’re so last summer: How times have changed for the better since 2008

It’s been a while since you heard from me, sorry about that, but now I’d like you to try and cast your mind back to this time last year, what were you doing? What has changed? Is life better or worse?

Personally this time last year I was just getting my teeth into the last year of university with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. Now I find myself on the other side the grass is greener, but too short to graze on just yet.

2008 was a negative year for many people, though strangely it was the international year of the potato…I’ve no idea why ask Wiki, but amid all of the job losses, wars and natural disasters there are a few things to be positive about.

The Olympics for one, we got 19 gold medals, NINETEEN, it’s pretty impressive non? Unfortunately it does mean we’ve got to work extra hard to do even better when we get to host the event to avoid colossal worldwide embarrassment…could be a tall order.

House prices fell dramatically, Andy Murray succeeds at getting everyone’s hopes up only to fail Wimbledon and Carol Vorderman leaves Countdown after 26 years and most exciting of all the Hadron Collider’s proton beam is switched on only for nothing to happen.

On the upside Obama was elected as the 44th president and we gained an extra leap second on the end of the year, a small reward for colossal global financial meltdown you might say, and with over 5million jobs lost in the UK and 7million in the US you’d be right.

The sadness does not end there, the year robbing us of acting legend and humanitarian Paul Newman, though arguably 2009 hit back by relieving us of reality TV ‘star’ Jade Goody, amid a flurry of tasteless publicity.

Speaking of tasteless, Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross get a firm slap on the wrist from the BBC in October after harassing ex-Fawltey Towers star Andrew Sachs about his daughter, but the two hang onto their jobs at least, which is more than can be said for the Radio 2 Chief Lesly Douglas.

The interest rate was slashed from 4.5% to 3% to try to stimulate the economy, as well as slicing 2.5% of VAT, but now that seems minor compared to the 0.5% interest rate reached in March 2009.

So really, there are some reasons to feel happier today. The economy is finally starting to turn around and technically speaking we may already be out of recession. The jobs market is in its best state in 17 months and England have actually started winning sporting events…surely this means Armageddon?

The simple truth is that things always look bad in the moment, but when we look back on this summer in years to come we’ll see the oft mentioned ‘green shoots’ of recovery and the hint of opportunity.

For me it’s been a hard summer of job applications and economic woes, but even in my world, where headlines proclaim: “Worst year to graduate, like, ever!” everywhere you turn, I’m starting to feel a little better about my place in the universe, not least because of the new friends I’ve made along the way. It might not be perfect, surely nothing ever is, but there’s still potential for me to achieve something before the end of the year.

So, with the first decade of the new Millennium almost as an end, what have you accomplished? Have a good think about it, it will probably be more than you think.

Advertisements

Barack Obama: It’s about life…It’s about change…It’s about Bono at ANOTHER concert…

As America seems to already be settling in to the idea of having a new man in charge of the keys of the White House, plans have been announced to hold a celebratory bash two days before the new President is sworn in on January 20.

The ever-patriotic Bono with the rest of U2 in tow are one of the many big names who have decided to play to usher in this time of change for the American people.

As impressive and feel-good as it may be to have a big party with a host of big stars, there’s no escaping that Obama’s time will be a difficult one, though he should be able to avoid pissing off the entire country so long as he doesn’t invade anywhere…at least not until his second term.

The gathering is said to focus on ‘unification’ and ‘history’, rather than a stream of self-indulgence like the Live 8 or Live Earth events that have taken place in recent years.

Stars have been asked to play songs which reflect the nature of the event, whatever that means, but it seems Obama is already being likened to Abraham Lincoln, the well-known American president who won the election through his vicious debates with opponent Stephen A Douglas about the slave trade. Interestingly, Lincoln was a Republican, not a Democrat like Obama, but already he’s being likened to this strong historical figure, hopefully this does not suggest the direction which his political career will take absolutely…since Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth and killed.

Judgement and criticism should be reserved for a few months time, when the US economy will surely either have rallied or sunk, since there can be no other option, but for now the reality TV nature of this new presidency and its overt celebrity star cannot go ignored.

Everyone knows that thing can change, but few seem to remember that change goes two ways.