By Robin Gibson 1:32PM 20 DEC 2016
ANYONE remember the beginning of the year? One thing that happened then was Donald Trump said he would shut down parts of the internet if he won.
So you (if you use the parts he’s going to shut down, and you probably do) have got, ooh, maybe a month or two of usage left. How long exactly depends if he does that before building the wall and banning the Muslims, or after. Looking at it from his point of view, you’d do the internet first.
Trump was one of the big predictions back then. Nobody got Pokemon Go though, did they? Now everyone in here is banging on about speech recognition.
That’s nailed on. It will turn work, home and leisure into an unbearable, full-on version of those cacophonous trading rooms with everyone shouting that you see in old movies about greedy chancers on Wall Street.
It’ll make you think you’d rather contract leprosy and work solo in a pigpen. Then then there will be a backlash.
If the future fills you with dread, why not savour the past year’s online sediment? Not much gold, but a few nuggets twinkled.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Gong for world domination (postponed)
In January it looked as if Willie Mullins would rule Cheltenham and the jumps forever, or at least a year or two. It was getting to be pointless having a bet. Everyone got worked up on Twitter. Several polls (Twitter polls being one thing that took off nicely in 2016) questioned how welcome this dominance should be made.
The Post’s James Pugh (@Jimmypugh33) captured the atmosphere, asking: “Those who believe Willie Mullins’ domination is boring are: idiots; correct; mental; on to something.” ‘On to something’ got up by a nose.
The furore also produced the year’s best characterisation, by Jimmy P2P Expert Now (@rjstew1982), who asked: “What’s your favourite ‘pre-evil’ Willie Mullins moment?” An enduring image. But now everyone feels sorry for him.
Peanuts ‘Hi-fi’ Bracelet for pointless technology
Hi-fi was the thing in 1958. The Peanuts characters that year had a ‘hi-fi’ jump rope too. But now it’s all about tweet power (it says here). Yes, a host on NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage had a horse-shaped ‘tweet-powered brooch’. As more viewers tweeted #WatchMeNeighNeigh, the faster the horse would “gallop and illuminate”. Anyway, is that not a terrible hashtag? What does it mean? Was it provocative? Did it get the people going? We’ll never know.
Mildly connected, Toasteroid, a hi-fi concept that lets you print messages on toast, was launched on Kickstarter to disdain and mocking laughter through the land. When we featured it, the would-be producers had raised only $ 25,000 of $ 150,000 needed, but there was a joke in it, about the going at Towcester. Well, now they’ve busted the target, and you’re going to be able to buy the thing. God forgives, but I don’t.
#Longshot_Ted #Hashtag for best #impromptuhashtag
The most entertaining are always composed in haste. Step in Oliver Sherwood (@OliverSherwood), whose dander rose at our controversial ‘You won’t be seeing this pair again on a racecourse’ front page. He tweeted: “What a pathetic headline – supposed to be a ‘racing’ paper not a tabloid #getyouracttohether”.
But although #getyouracttohether was good, it didn’t catch on – partly because he ran it into another word, and partly because he put ‘h’ instead of a ‘g’. #GETYOURACTTOHETHER!!!
Masterchef Passionfruit Dome for unnecessary passion
There’s so much passion flaunted you don’t know where to look. I mean, I’m passionate about drinking beer and watching the telly, but I don’t go on about it. It’s rude.
This year even the royal family were at it, with Ascot egging them on. The track’s Twitter had HRH Princess Royal “reveal her #RoyalAscot passion”. As it happened, she turned out a bit steely and not passionate at all. Humph. But she was only really a proxy for her mum. She’s the passionate one. Yes! Yes!! Yesss!!!
Betamax Golden Cassette for being pointlessly ahead of the game
Everyone got excited by Pokemon Go for a while. Some folk were passionate about it. But the augmented reality thing had been employed by the Jockey Club 18 months earlier with their Racing Explained app – highly trumpeted, flatly ignored.
It was cutting edge. What’s more, all it did was help with useful stuff like finding Mama J’s contemporary Italian cuisine at Market Rasen – not walking into the sea or down some crack alley to get yourself nutted.
Yet it was an utter flop. What does that tell us? Again, it’s hard to say. By the way, did you know they only stopped producing Betamax video cassettes this year? Now that’s interesting.
Armitage Shanks ‘Flush Your Money’ Porcelain Bowl for hopeless betting app
Yes, it’s ‘casual betting’! With the Bookee app. What is casual betting? As a concept, it makes reckless betting sound good. It’s just not got the drive or enthusiasm of recklessness.
In reality, it means bets are predetermined, and somewhat unlikely, and you just keep swiping until you find one you like. If there is one. First two I came across were Southampton to win the Premier League, 100-1, then Southampton to finish top four (12-1). Slogan: ‘Swipe. Bet. Done.’
Brexiteer’s Tin Helmet for sunlit-uplands optimism
British racegoers are a hardy island race who’ve survived for three million years, or at least since the Carlisle Bell was first run, and they won’t let a bit of grime and faeces spoil their fun.
Most generous, surely, are the ones who visit Doncaster and rate the track on TripAdvisor.
Despite pricey drinks, “NO FLUSHING TOILETS and NO HAND WASHING”, one reviewer still enjoyed it so much they awarded it four out of five. Imagine how good it could be.
Handwoven ‘Emoji-as-language’ Tapestry for nailing the zeitgeist
Out of nowhere, like Trump, but not vile, came Stephen Power,
@racingblogger on Twitter. A human McFlurry with improbable muscles, ‘Blogger’ barrelled around the parade rings and the cheap seats, rightly sussing that the youth whom racing would love to attract have attention spans stretched by a Ten Second Tip.
Entertaining and eschewing deference and formality, Power was a cheering presence, tweeting with enthusiasm and many emojis across a year when social media was often sour and bilious.
When he interviews people (briefly), he’s interested and when he’s holding forth, he has sufficient humility. And as he clearly wants a job on TV, he needn’t worry too much about spelling.
By the way, what about ITV Racing? Try itv.com/racing. See you next year.