Steve Higginson's Top Ten Years of the Last Ten Years

10. 2013

By any measure I think we can all agree that 2013 was the worst year of the last ten years. Whatever counterpoints you may bring to this, they cannot offset the fact that 2013 was the year that people started to think it was the future year that Marty McFly and Dr Emmett Brown travel to in Back to the Future Part II.

Whether through ignorance or deliberate malice these people have, and continue to, falsely spread doctored images of the DeLorean’s time circuits. “Hey guys,” they post to Facebook, “guess what today is!” It’s not. It never is.

The worst part, of course, is that Doc and Marty never travel to the future in Back to the Future Part II as the bulk of the film takes place in 1985 with the pair discussing their philosophies on life over dinner in one of Hill Valley’s upscale restaurants.

9. 2014

It’s only been two or so months, but we’d all like to move on from 2014 already. It wasn’t great. Looking back it didn’t get off to a great start, beginning on a Wednesday. Then there was a Winter Olympics, the worst of the four seasonal olympic games. Those were quickly followed by the news that the Autumn Olympics, scheduled for September on the island nation of Palau, were cancelled due to a forecast lack of foliage.

You may think that to all be subjective, but statistics don’t lie. 2014 saw the lowest levels of donut precipitation globally to date (which almost definitely contributed to the under-growth of Palau’s undergrowth). There were a record number of accidental shootings of gumball machines. The total number of dinosaurs resurrected via Frankensteinian genetic meddling was zero, which does continue the trend of the last 65 million years but is nonetheless disappointing.

8. 2011

The year 2011 ranks fairly low on the list mainly because of its sheer ubiquity. Everyone’s got their own 2011, right? As the very first mass produced year it was quite fashionable at the time and almost every member of western society has at least one 2011. Some collectors have dozens. Of course not everyone takes care of their years as well as annual collectors do.

As most of us know, classic years such as 1885 and 1945 (the settings of Back to the Future Parts III and IV respectively) are stored by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Even less popular years like 1985 (the year New Coke was released and the setting of the critically panned Back to the Future prequel trilogy) are stored for posterity and treated with respect.

Conversely many 2011s are mistreated. There have been instances of people using their 2011s to prop up the short leg of a table, to clear autumn leaves from rain gutters and, in one recorded incident, grated and used as a seasoning for a roast chicken.

7. 2008

The career of 2008 has been one of peaks and troughs. Born in 1960s Brooklyn, 2008 had a rough upbringing. This was channeled into his art and helped him win the Academy Award for his performance as Christy Brown in My Left Foot. Unfortunately this was followed up with a subpar role as Dave McFly in the woeful Back to the Future prequel trilogy. Roger Ebert described his performance as “more transparent than his character’s photograph in the original [movie].”

Luckily his floundering career was saved by Quentin Tarantino, who cast him as boxer Butch in Pulp Fiction. Tarantino was blown away by how he played the role and this saw the start of a long working relationship between Tarantino and 2008. This relationship saw 2008 cast in the titular role in Jackie Brown, as the Bride’s vengeful fiance in Kill Bill Volume 3 and as Christoph Waltz in press tours for Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained.

6. 2005

Now 2005, there’s a real mid-table year, eh? It had some good things, it had some bad things. If I could sum the year up with one word? Well… I wouldn’t. That would just be reductive. There were so many different aspects to the year, it would be foolish to try to boil it down to just one word. You know?

Well now, so much happened, I couldn’t just pick out a few examples. There was… there were those wars still happening, of course. And the internet, obviously, was a thing in 2005. The Killers? Yeah, they existed then...

Okay, you’ve got me. I can’t really remember 2005. It was ten years ago, alright! The Killers were a thing then though, right?

5. 2010

2010 was a great year, primarily because it was the first time time we could pronounce the first two digits as “twenty” instead of the clunky “two thousand and”. Needing only half the amount of syllables in this vocalisation put 2010 at a huge advantage over its older brethren. There was a drop in the amount of carbon dioxide added to the planet’s atmosphere by human speech. Scientists calculate that this could increase the amount of time we have left before the world becomes uninhabitable by almost two weeks.

2010 was also the year of the greatest Autumn Olympics in living memory. The games took place over March and April on Bouvet Island, a Norwegian dependency in the South Atlantic, and were hailed as a return to form from the heavily commercialised games of previous decades. Athletes were heavily challenged by the harsh climate of the island, where most of the vegetation is mosses and fungi.

4. 2007

You might be surprised that 2007 didn’t attain the number one spot on this list. I concede that it is perhaps one of the greatest years ever, but it simply doesn’t have the same merits of the years that ranked higher. Saying that, it has certainly earned its place here given that it was the year Apple Inc introduced the world to the telephone and started a communications revolution that has changed our everyday lives.

We all remember those dark days of 2006 and prior when arranging a night out would take weeks of planning using hand written letters sent via the postal service. Of course, the rotary dial of the original Phone seems equally as backward now when compared to the latest touch-tone technology of the Phone 6.

Technological innovation can make prophecies from the past seem quaint in hindsight. There is the now famous scene in Back to the Future Part VI where, in the year 2010, Biff Tannen sends a letter to his grandson using an unmanned aerial drone.

3. 2012

Great year, 2012. One simple reason for that: the world ended. As predicted by the ancient Mayans the world came to an end in December 2012 and it was spectacular. With the end of the world came the end of everything shitty: poorly run bus services, mass dancing outbreaks and faux Ben and Jerry’s ice cream brands. Responsibilities and commitments went out the window as well. Along with that annoying nagging feeling that you have something slightly more important to be doing at any given time. Best of all was the destruction of any remaining stockpiles of white chocolate Moros.

2. 2009

It managed to surpass the actual end of existence and was just beaten to the number one spot, 2009 was an all-around solid year. It had that feeling like a warm day that never causes you to break out in a sweat. A real goldilocks year.

The kicker for 2009 comes from a quirk of modern physics. According to general relativity, spacetime itself curves when matter is present. This has effects such as time dilation and gravitational lensing. So, when you sit down and work it out, it turns out that the first moon landing actually took place in 2009.

While Armstrong and crew took off in Apollo 11 from Florida in July 1969, it was actually 2009 here on Earth when the lunar module touched down in the Sea of Tranquility. The final manned mission to the moon, Apollo 17, won’t actually take place until late 2018. Unfortunately, quantum theory prevents us from communicating with the time-displaced astronauts, so don’t get any ideas about trying to warn them about the production of the Back to the Future prequels.

1. 2012 (Movie)

We come to my number one year of the last ten years and it is unquestionably Roland Emmerich’s 2012. The film has everything: John Cusack driving his family away from exploding cities, John Cusack flying his family away from exploding cities and that douchebag journalist from season five of the Wire dying a gruesome death. Five stars.