While we were away…

'Old News' – Doug88888 – Flickr


A new month marks a new issue of The Gown, and what a news-packed start to 2013 we’ve witnessed since bidding you a temporary adieu back in the November of last year. To paraphrase Talking Heads, you may be asking yourself, “Well, how did we get here?” If so – lucky you! To save you the laborious task of trawling Google for the most newsworthy items of the past few weeks, we’re here to guide you through a handy round up of the events likely to have an impact on the remainder of the year.

We may have survived the apocalypse, but here in Northern Ireland circa the final days of 2012 it seemed we’d barreled ahead into some kind of dystopian future anyway – as people rioted in the streets and we all chowed down on burgers made of ponies. All in all, even though we may have narrowly avoided the actual end of the world, that small fact didn’t stop us having our fun, with December and January playing out like a poor imitation of 28 Days Later. (Still, at least we’ve finally solved the mystery of Shergar’s whereabouts). The outlook may have been bleak, but thankfully we could still laugh about it – with Willy Frazer’s absurd diatribes providing enough comic fodder to see us through.

Speaking of national treasures, David Cameron spent most of the post-festive period “sleepwalking towards the exit door of the EU”, if we’re to believe the testimony of Ed Miliband. Still, when wasn't trying to appease euro-sceptics, he found time for a desperate attempt to convince a waning electorate that a sudden epiphany has rendered him a downright lefty – by introducing a new bill on Equal Marriage (due to be read for the first time in the House of Lords today, Tuesday 5 February).
Correspondingly, everyone’s favourite world leader Barack Obama was doing his bit for equality in the US, using his inauguration speech as an opportunity to reiterate his commitment to championing the rights of women, gay people and ethnic minorities. Having perhaps hammered the final nail into the coffin of an ailing GOP with the defeat of Romney, the President’s monumental speech on January 21st signalled his first chance to outline his aims for a second term. (Incidentally, he was surrounded by flags, and there wasn’t even a burnt-out metro bus in sight).
At the same historic event, Beyoncé pulled a Milli Vanilli – miming her merry way through the American National Anthem. Yet balance was this week restored as she took to the stage at the Superbowl to get together with Kelly and Michelle for a rendition of Single Ladies that had the Twittersphere agog.
And finally, in an item which has only truly unfolded over the past few days, France have taken it upon themselves to rid Mali of those pesky Islamist Extremists. Ostensibly citizens of the African nation are overjoyed with this turn of events. Yet as the line between liberation and oppression is a thin one, this story will be one to watch in the coming weeks.
If this whistle-stop tour of the past two months has whetted your appetite for all things topical, keep your eyes fixed on http://localhost:8888/thegown/ more resolutely than Daniel Day Lewis is clinging to hopes of that Best Actor Academy Award, for the latest news, features and opinion!
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