Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011: A Review

     Well, it's not likely to be a year anyone will forget. All around the world events, whether natural or man-made have affected the lives of millions. In fact, billions is probably more accurate as in 2011 the world population hit 7,000,000,000 that's BILLION.

       Let's go back to the beginning shall we. 2011 started with a bomb attack on 2 churches in Alexandria during New Year services, shocking Egyptians and laying the groundwork for what was to begin a mere 24 days later. The desperate actions of a single man in a small city in Tunisia became the spark that was needed to make millions in the Arab world shake off decades of apathy and stand up to their leaders. How this will all pan out is yet to be seen, but I'm so glad that I'm here to see it instead of reading about it in a history book. For better or worse I can tell my children and grandchildren (presuming I ever have any) all about it. 

      The economic crisis focused on Europe and spread. The Occupy movement started with Occupy Wall Street and expanded to include cities and economic landmarks around the world.

       The UK in general and London in particular made international headlines twice in 2011, the first time in April for the Royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton (now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and then again in August because of the riots which swept from London to include several major UK cities. The riots surprised and horrified some, while others seemed surprised that they hadn't happened before. Either way, everyone agreed that the grief of one man certainly helped bring them to an end. Tariq Jahan lost his son Haroon during the riots in Birmingham, Haroon and two others (brothers) were killed in a hit and run in what appeared to be an anti-Muslim crime by members of an Afro-Caribbean gang. Jahan had tried desperately to revive his son himself. This is what he had to say; "I lost my son. Blacks, Asians, Whites - we all live in the same community. Why do we have to kill one another? Why are we doing this? Step forward if you want to lose your sons. Otherwise, calm down and go home - please."

   Osama Bin Laden was killed a decade after the 9/11 attacks. US forces pulled out of Iraq.

    Natural disasters included earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan. The Japanese earthquake in March was followed by a devastating tsunami. The most dangerous and worrying effect of which was the meltdown it caused at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The area is still contaminated and people have yet to be allowed to return after they were evacuated.

    There were floods in Asia and droughts in Africa. Again.

     2011 started with several dictators in place: Ben Ali (Tunisia), Mubarak (Egypt), Gaddafi (Libya), Saleh (Yemen), Kim Jung Il (N.Korea) and Mugabe (Zimbabwe). With 2 days till 2012, Mugabe is the only one left in power.

     On a personal note, I finished my Masters degree in education (woohoo me!) and started teaching full time and I voted in my first ever elections. My love life has remained uneventful, which considering everything that's been going on, is a relief. There was no time for romance during a revolution!

      What does 2012 have in store for us? The Olympics in London, Presidential elections in Egypt and the USA and if the Mayans are to be believed; the end of the world. Whatever's coming, it will be memorable!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Review of The Fry Chronicles

The Fry ChroniclesThe Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As with a vast majority of Britain, I love Stephen Fry. His various Blackadder characters (especially the brown-nosing Melchett of Blackadder II), the school master in Gormenghast, the idiotic detective in Gosford Park. Not counting his sketches in A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Jeeves in Jeeves and Wooster (also with Hugh Laurie)and many many more. More recently QI and Twitter have been my source of all things Fryesque, not to mention the various documentaries he has produced and presented (the most recent being the fabulous Planet Word, a must see for any anglophone).

I have not-yet-read his first autobiography chronicling his early life; Moab Is My Washpot, but I grabbed at this one with both hands as soon as I saw it. My only regret is that I waited so long to actually read it.

I loved the whole thing from start to finish, his writing style is effortless (he would probably argue this) and makes for very easing reading. He pulls no punches when it comes to describing his weaknesses, and through this he becomes more human. The man behind the voice and brain is revealed and he is full of faults, racked with self-doubts and infinitely more likeable than his on-screen persona.

View all my reviews