Tuesday 3 January 2017

Goodbye 2016...

Another year over and sadly I won't really miss that one either.

2016 was the year the world turned inside out. We prematurely lost David Bowie to Cancer on January 10th and, as predicted, the fabric of the universe silently and steadily began to unravel.

While the over 25's were still in shock, Cancer came for Alan Rickman, Hogwart's Professor Snape, so that the under 25's could also wander around stunned and at a loss. Just in case any UK demographic felt left out, before January was ended, long-standing Radio DJ and presenter of Children in Need for 36 years, Sir Terry Wogan was also taken. And it all pretty much carried on that way all year...

In many ways 2016 was been calmer here at The Brick Castle. Possibly it's helped that we aren't the only people walking round mourning and wide-eyed like a rabbit caught in the headlights. While everyone else was caught off guard, we are finding a rhythm, a way to work around my partner's permanent Meningitis damage, having a young person in hospital, and the big hole Elspeth has left. Some things which hadn't been sorted out in 2 years finally got done. The treadmill doesn't seem to ease, we just built up more resistance, and know better how to keep onwards.

In 2016 the UK lost 3 prolific female TV comedy writers in Carla Lane, Victoria Wood and Caroline Aherne. They have entertained 4 generations of my family, while entertainers Paul Daniels and Ronnie Corbett, and actors Peter Vaughan, Robert Vaughn and Andrew Sachs filled my childhood - there were only 3 channels back then, everyone watched pretty much any big budget show, Butterflies, Bread, Porridge, The Man From U.N.C.L.E and even The Paul Daniels Magic Show were big crowd pullers.

Far away from the celebrity world, we lost two of the most important Scientists we have ever had the pleasure to benefit from. Vera Rubin, the prominent female Scientist who discovered Dark Matter, and Dr Donald Henderson, head of the WHO team to eradicate Smallpox. Since the last case was recorded in 1979, over 74 million people did not die from Smallpox. It remains the only human disease to have ever been totally eradicated. That's one heck of a legacy.

The British public were in 2016 told they 'didn't need experts'. The Government then suffered the humiliation of having them ignore the experts and vote for Brexit. It's not something I would ever personally vote for, I think the world now is far too small - and most of the global population agreed. We escaped total humiliation purely by timing. Within weeks middle America showed it was almost entirely populated by the prejudiced or stupid. Idiocracy can be forgiven, but not racism.

Racism and hatred was fought, and won, on one level at least. The #StopFundingHate campaign made us sit up and take note, with LEGO being the first to announce they have no further plans to advertise in the Daily Mail, and Specsavers pulling adverts from the Daily Express.

Those of you who know me elsewhere will know I rarely use my own photograph, instead that of a nickname I was given as a child, and one of my childhood treasures, Crystal Tipps. Goodbye, and a personal 'Thank You' to the creator, Hilary Hayton.
Music moved to a whole new level during my lifetime. By the time I was a teenager, MTV had made pop musicians into worldwide megastars. 2016 was cruel to the MTV generation. Not only Bowie, but also Prince and George Michael. I can't imagine being 13 again without them there.

I also can't imagine Christmas without Greg Lake's I Believe In Father Christmas, his bandmate Keith Emerson also left, as did Pete Burns, Rick Parfitt and Leonard Cohen. That'll be one heck of a party. Not so much rock 'n' roll as pure musical talent.

The saddest celebrity losses for me were as 2016 reached a climax. The unanticipated death of Yuletide hero George Michael on Christmas Day itself was cruel enough. To follow with the sudden and very public loss of my childhood hero Carrie Fisher, and within a day her Mum, Debbie Reynolds, really left a lump in my throat. However old they are, they are still your babies, and you don't ever want to see them leave out of turn...

The over-riding image which for me sums up the year is from @christhebarker on Twitter. A fabulous and tender tribute to all who appear, but possibly especially George Martin, the Beatles Producer who we lost in March.

We are still here, thank you for every comment, message, every giveaway entry, photo like, every tweet. Thank you to each and every one of you who has helped to helped to keep us going this far.

From all of us here at The Brick Castle, have an excellent 2017 x

There are so many songs I could have ended with, and many would be perfect. Hallelujah from Leonard Cohen, Heroes from David Bowie, When Doves Cry from Prince. We have heard them a lot this year. Instead I doff my hat to Richard Adams, author of Watership Down, released in time for my first birthday, and made into one of the first films I ever saw at the cinema, aged 7. Nothing better sums up the fragility of life, so apparent to us all throughout 2016...

Turn the page.....but never put down the book.


  1. That was a lovely piece to read Jen xxx

  2. That was a lovely speech to read x

  3. It was a really rubbish year wasn't it. I love your tribute to those we've lost in the last year, let's hope that 2017 is a little kinder. x

    1. I don't have much faith in it, but some hope! I think personally it wasn't as bad as the 3 previous years, but overall everyone struggled. It was a hard year to stomach for many.

  4. What a refreshing change to read a 'proper' review of the year on a blog. Prince and George Michael were the big ones for me. Let's hope 2017 is calmer for everyone

  5. So much has changed last year, I'm hoping 2017 won't be too much of a struggle with Brexit x


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