2016 wasn’t all bad. Here are the things that made me cheerful

2016 has got kind of a bad reputation. 2016 is the leather-jacket-wearing, Marlboro-smoking bad kid who hangs around outside the local branch of Spar asking grown-ups to buy bottles of White Ace on their behalf. But maybe, deep down, underneath all the death, destruction and global mayhem that 2016 caused when it wasn’t busy getting shitfaced by the swings on budget cider, 2016 was actually just misunderstood.

See, for all its flaws, 2016 wasn’t a totally shameless dick. 2016 actually did some incredible things. I reckon 2016 should be cut a little slack. This was the year that the 
Standing Rock protests in North Dakota proved that non-violent people power really works, as indigenous campaigners won out over an energy company 
that wanted to build a pipeline through their ancient lands. The year eternal underdogs Leicester City topped the Premier League. The year ravers’ paradise Fabric got saved. The year grassroots teenage activists Girls Against took the British gig circuit by storm in an attempt to put an end to sexual assault at shows. The year a police officer dropped to one knee and proposed to his boyfriend during London Pride and made everyone’s hearts feel so very full of love.

The year Stranger Things made us believe in great telly. The year 800,000 volunteers planted 50million trees in India over the course of just 24 hours. The year funds raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge actually helped score a significant breakthrough in the battle against the disease ALS. The year Danny Dyer found out he was royalty, kinda.

The year more young people watched Planet Earth 2 than The X Factor, proving that the kids are not only alright, but also heavily interested in the day-to-day habits of peregrine falcons. 
The year Frank Ocean put us 
out of our misery and released the follow-up to 
‘Channel Orange’. The year Tim Peake had a lovely time in space. 
The year Wales gloriously got to the semi-finals of the Euros. The year it was declared giant pandas were no longer endangered. The year the Paris Agreement – a serious global measure to combat climate change – came into force. Hell, it was even the year in which Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar.

Of course, let’s not forget all the crap and misery that 2016 also offered up, but let’s stop for a minute and look at the excellence that managed to sneak through the cracks. All we can do now is build on those triumphs and make 2017 the utterly fabulous, nonsense-free year that all of us deserve.