The Weirdest Parts of 2015

Its been a funny old year. I am sure we have all had personal ups and downs, some very big downs and some very big ups. But on a larger scale there has been a lot of change and strange goings on. The worlds of celebrity, politics and media have thrown us some oddities this year and although many other sites have listed the bizarreness of 2015 I thought I’d jump on the page-hits band wagon. Now, not all of these on the list are funny bizarre, some of them are simply weird whilst others examples of people getting their just desserts. In no particular order let’s crack on:

A Petition to crown Donald Trump King of Englandtrump
Donald Trump could fill a list entirely by himself. From his suggestion of making Muslims wear identification to having an honorary degree revoked from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen it has been a big year for the man with the big hair. But one of the oddest Trump related moments wasn’t something he did himself, but something a man called Bob Jones – was John Smith too obvious a pseudonym?- set up on the UK Governments petition website.

A petition to have Donald Trump crowned King of England!

Although clearly meant in jest, it is non the less a bizarre place for us to start. Sadly – or fortunately- the petition was taken down and only reached the dizzying heights of five signatories. The idea of King Don would certainly stir things up and give us a real life King Ralph scenario, the question is though; would Camille Coduri fall in love with him?

ITV mistakes Ainsley Harriot for Lenny Henryfreeman
Earlier this year comedian and charity fund raising legend Lenny Henry became Sir Leonard of Henry and the revelation was covered by many media outlets. ITV, being one of the UKs biggest television stations joined in and made the announcement followed by a clip of an interview with Henry. All well and good. Except part way through they switched to a clip of chef Ainsley Harriot shaking maracas at a comedy club.

Obviously a silly mistake, but one that should really not have happened. This wasn’t a picture or fleeting appearance, it was a clear and obvious video of another man.

 Man buys AIDS drug, hikes up price then Schadenfreude kicks inmartin
Martin Shkreli was formerly CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals and earlier this year acquired the drug Daraprim which is used, among other things, for treating AIDS. He and his company immediately hiked the price by a whopping 5,500% changing the cost of a dose from $13.50 to $750. This was of course met with great anger and frustration from the general public. He later went on to buy, for $2 million, a one of a kind album by the Wu-Tang-Clan. But his taste in music wasn’t his downfall, instead he was recently arrested on suspicion of securities fraud. He has since proclaimed he is being targeted because of his price hike and his obnoxious behaviour was simply part of a social experiment.

Prime Minister David Cameron put us all off bacon butties for life.pig
David Cameron has faced massive backlash for his apparent disregard for the well-being of the poor and disabled. Some suggest his Government has done whatever it can to try and make life difficult for those already suffering. So it was a pleasant gift to the world when a story (which in fairness may not actually be true considering the source) came out that whilst at university he put his penis in a dead pigs mouth.

The internet jumped on this, and although it a) might not be true and b) was not really sexual, it is still fun to refer to him as “the man that head fucked a pig”. It was stated by Michael Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott in their unofficial biography of Cameron – Call me Dave– that whilst studying at Oxford University, Dave, joined an exclusive society. The Piers Gaveston Society is a men only dining club started in the 1970s. Membership is limited to 12 people and there are initiation ceremonies to join. It was at one such ceremony where Dave had to place a “private part of his anatomy” into the gaping mouth of a deceased pig.

The authors of the book do admit the story may be a case of mistaken identity, but the fact that Ashcroft had a falling out with Dave in 2013 has only added fuel to the claims the anecdote is a bogus attempt to ridicule the Prime Minister. True or not, it will likely stick around until long after Cameron is ousted as PM, until long after he has aged and will likely be remembered even after he has bought the farm.

Jack the Ripper Museumjack
In 2015 a new museum opened up in London’s Cable Street. When planning permission was sought, the intention was to use it to celebrate women of the East End. It was to showcase Suffragettes, to celebrate the overcoming of adversity in Victorian England and to present the history to people who may be unaware of it. Now the history of women in Victorian Britain is pretty fascinating reading in and of itself and the 60 year reign of Victoria saw women’s place in society fluctuate – from losing the right to work in mines because they and the men usually worked almost nude, up to changes in the law that meant women could finally keep their own property.

So it was a great opportunity to showcase these changes and bring the history to people who may be unaware of just how the role of women changed in Victorian and later society. But then the museum opened and yes, it did focus on women to some degree. Specifically five women – victims of the never caught serial killer Jack the Ripper. There was immediate backlash and accusations that it was glamorising the butchering of these women. There is already enough literature, movies, tours and even video games about the murderer that makes a museum somewhat redundant. But it was a very real slap in the face for many, and changes what could have been a wonderful addition to the street into nothing more than a horror display.

What Jack did to these women is not something to celebrate, and even if the museum claims not to celebrate them, it is difficult to see it in any other way when you can get selfies with the victims, and the fact you can buy tacky merchandise after walking around scenes of brutality.

Bacon causes Cancerbacon
Earlier in the year Vegans and Vegetarians, usually a quiet bunch, had something to celebrate. It was shown that eating processed meats such as bacon increased the likelihood of certain cancers by a whopping 18%. That’s not a small number.   Bacon eaters were not budging however and insisted the increased risk wouldn’t stop them eating pork. To be fair, if David Cameron pumping a pig doesn’t put you off pork, a little thing like cancer isn’t going to.

This news was widely reported and although it is true that there was an 18% increased risk of cancer for beacon eaters the reports failed to take in to account an important factor. This wasn’t an 18% whole increase, it wasn’t rising from 5% to 23% an increase that seriously would make one reconsider eating processed meats. Instead it was an 18% increase of the original risk factor, which was about 5% for non meat eaters, bringing it up to around 6% for meat eaters. When you look at it like that, the increase seems negligible.

Honestly, there are good sound reasons to go vegetarian, and unless you actually have a medical condition that requires the nutrients from meats (such conditions DO exist, though are incredibly rare) then there arent really any good reasons for eating meat. The arguments for going meat free are pretty strong, whereas the arguments for eating meat – it tastes good, our ancestors did it, we wouldnt have evolved without it etc- aren’t really strong enough and at its root we are killing other life forms simply for our own pleasure.  This does not sit well with me and I should look at going veggie- but the cancer risk should not be the deciding factor.

Journalist offers £500 for stories about sex with ghostssadie
In November, journalist Sadie Nicholas, tweeted the above.

Spectrophilia is the term used to describe sex with a ghost. Now, ignoring the fact that based on current evidence ghosts do not exist, if ghosts did exist how would they have sex? It is one of the ongoing problems with ghosts, in that how they are described jumps between them being able to throw things to not being able to do anything because they have no form. No one can decide on exactly what a ghost is in the first place

Stories of ghost sex are not rare, but the explanations could be varied including but not limited to; sleep paralysis, dreams, hallucinations. Any one of those natural explanations, now matter how flimsy, is still more likely than it being a ghost.

My main query here though is; “pics essential”… pics of what?

Election candidate attends polling station in suit of armourarmour
In May this year, the United Kingdom had a general election where we ended up with a Tory Government.  I don’t think even the Tories were expecting a majority of seats, and we were all discussing whether it would be a hung parliament, a multi party rule, a single party like Labour relying on smaller parties to build up their numbers on votes or another two party coalition. No one was seriously considering a Tory outright win.  In the end the Tories did get into power, though even getting a majority in the house it was hardly a landslide considering that majority was voted in by just 36% of the voting public meaning 64% of voters DIDN’T want them.

But before all of that happened there were debates, hustings, and discussions culminating in the election night results at polling stations across the country. When the results came in, each constituency had its prospective MPs lined up to announce the final decision. Now we have come to accept parties like the Monster Raving Looney Party attend in wacky attire, but not others. Except in Scotland.

At the results for the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk seat, all of the candidates were dressed pretty smartly in suits. Although one of those suits was a little different. Jesse Rae, an independent candidate turned up in full battle armour, however he could not take his sword in to the polling station.

Miss Universeleela
It is a common gag that the winner of Miss Universe is always from Earth, but when the results of this years event were announced the Earthling winner wasn’t even the actual winner.

Television host Steve Harvey was presenting this years show and when it came time to announce the 2nd runner up, 1st runner up and winner he misread his details. Instead of announcing Miss Colombia as 1st Runner Up, he announced her as winner and it was not until mid way through the fanfare, crowning and celebrations that the mistake was realised and the real winner, Miss Philippines was crowned. But this was too late, the celebration of the moment was over.

Now regardless of whether you think Miss Universe is outdated sexist claptrap, or a legitimate cultural phenomena, we need to take a moment to think about how these two women must have felt. Humiliated comes to mind. Not only did Miss Colombia have to unceremoniously give up her crown after a wave of euphoria, but Miss Philippines lost out on her big moment. It was a mistake, mistakes happen, but its an embarrassing and humiliating one that neither contestant is likely to forget.

Harvey has at least taken some responsibility and has been self deprecating by wishing everyone a Happy Easter at Christmas, but the impact this must have had on the two women is truly something that elicits my sympathy.

Man says really long word  name
Wales, the land of leeks and dragons. Also the land that seems to have omitted vowels from its language. I love Wales, my surname is Pryce, my grandmother a Pritchard suggesting that somewhere deep, deep back in time there is some smatterings of Welsh ancestry. I’m an Englishman with a Welsh name living in Scotland. I believe if I marry someone from Northern Ireland I get to become King.

When weather presenter Liam Dutton took to the screens to read the weather in September, he had the troubling issue of having to discuss the weather that was hitting a specific town in Wales. A town with a name so long that written out it went off the UK map and into mainland Europe. The town? Well, that little place called:

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

No, I can’t say it either, but Liam rose to the occasion and said it. Fair play to that man.

I hope you all had a great Christmas, and here is to a wonderful New Year and 2016. It is bizarre to think how deep into the new Millenium we are getting, the Millenium is already sweet 16 years old and now legally old enough to have sex, pay taxes and work. Way to go Millenium, remember to practice safe sex now.

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