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2013 in review: Wimbledon victory and a royal baby

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  • by STEPHEN MCGINTY
 

Scotland baked in the longest heatwave since 1976, which tempted us out of our cagoules and wellies and into shorts and T-shirts ... sometimes with unfortunate results. As one Glaswegian said: “I don’t tan. I go red and then I go to the hospital.” Still, there were few complaints as T-In-The-Park enjoyed clear blue skies. Of course, the summer of 2013 belonged, as did the whole year, to Andy Murray, writes Stephen McGinty

July

IT was a victory for which Britain had waited 77 years and for which all of Scotland rose up to celebrate. Andy Murray won Wimbledon, beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets and delighting the UK as he became the first British male since Fred Perry in 1936 to win. The victory would later win him the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award and the adoration of all those who dismissed his as dour.

Bradley Manning, the former US intelligence analyst, was found guilty of espionage for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified document to Wikileaks. He was sentenced to 35-years. Pope Francis said of gay people: “Who am I to judge them? They’re our brothers.” Eighty people were killed and 130 injured when a train crashed near Santiago de Campostela. The train driver was later revealed to be speeding at 120 miles per hour as he approached a corner where the limit was 50mph.

A Vatican diplomat, Leo Cushley, was appointed by the Pope to be the new Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh following the resignation in disgrace of Cardinal Keith O’Brien. He promised to deliver a period of “healing and reconciliation”.

Thousands of train passengers suffered major disruption as the hottest day of the year brought meltdown to parts of the network and one in ten services were cancelled or held up. Health warnings were issues as the temperature in Scotland reached 30C during the second warmest July in a century. The 20th T-in-the-Park took place in glorious sunshine as 85,000 music fans sweltered in 27C, while three soldiers died in the Brecon Beacons in Wales while on a training course for the SAS.

JK Rowling was revealed to have pretended to be a male retired military policeman who penned a crime novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling. The secret of nom de plume Robert Galbraith was revealed by the friend of her lawyer’s wife, who tweeted it to a journalist. The book immediately leaped from 4,159th place on Amazon to number 1. First Minister Alex Salmond refused to attend the Open Championship at Muirfield in protest again the club’s male-only membership. Susan Taylor, 34, died one mile from the French coast while attempting to swim the English Channel. Presenter Sally Magnusson threw her arms wide in despair when the end of BBC Scotland’s lunchtime news bulletin was beset by “technical chaos”, saying: “Oh, it’s a wee bit of a dog’s breakfast.’

“Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4:24 pm today. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.” So declared the sign posted at the gates of Buckingham Palace. The future king weighed in at 8lbs 6oz and the weary parents celebrated by ordering pizza. The birth brought an end to a long news drought that led one television BBC reporter standing outside the hospital to declare: “the breaking news is … there is no ‘news’.”

August

Jane Park, from Midlothian, decided not to celebrate winning £1 million with her first ever lottery ticket with a drink, mainly because she was just 17. Daria Kuchuk, 35, and her boyfriend, Igor Pavlov, 27, both from Eastern Europe committed suicide in The Scotsman hotel by using homemade cyanide, requiring the hotel to be evacuated and fire officers in hazmat suits to vet the premises. Peter Capaldi was unveiled as the new incarnation of Doctor Who.

Scotland played England at Wembley for the first time in 14 years, scoring first but still losing 3-2. Fraudsters spent more than £100,000 on credit cards owned by Creative Scotland before anyone noticed the money was missing. The world’s first test-tube burger cost £250,000, without even a side order of fries, and was described by a food researcher as having an “intense” taste. It was grown from the stem cells of a dead cow.

Two men were shot dead at an equestrian centre near East Kilbride. One was murdered and the perpetrator killed himself. Two British women working as volunteer teachers in Zanzibar had acid thrown in their faces.

Scotland’s population hit a record high of 5.31m. There were strong indications that Tian Tian, the female panda at Edinburgh Zoo, was pregnant. Everyone got excited but, well, she wasn’t.

The former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, David McLetchie, died from cancer at 51. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said he was “an immense figure and a towering strength”. Bill Walker, the SNP MSP, was found guilty of 22 assaults on his three ex-wives but initially refused to step down from the Scottish Parliament.

The Yes campaign was said to have “virtually no chance” of winning next year’s referendum according to Nate Silver, the award-winning statistician who correctly predicted every single state result in the US elections. He was speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. And Andrew Marr, also speaking at the festival, warned that “anti-English sentiment” still felt “entrenched” in Scotland. Jeremy Paxman appeared on Newsnight with a beard and Twitter exploded, with the Beard Liberation Front tweeting: “Paxman’s beard is a blow against pogonophobia.”

Melissa Reid, 19, from Lenzie, was arrested in Peru attempting to smuggle £1.5m worth of drugs out of the country. Calvin Harris, a former fish factory worker from Dumfries, was revealed to be the highest-paid DJ in the world, earning £29.5m, according to Forbes magazine. The countdown to the 2014 Commonwealth Games began as tickets went on sale for events, while travel booking websites such as Expedia and Travel Supermarket were revealed to have been charging visitors planning to stay in Glasgow during the games as much as £500 per night, compared to the usual fee of £32, a rise of 1,282 per cent.

The Syrian government was accused of using chemical weapons on 1,360 men, women and children. The House of Commons rejected David Cameron’s motion to take part in military action against Syria, after Labour leader Ed Miliband gave the Prime Minister his support. Singer Miley Cyrus introduced the world to “twerking”.

A Super Puma helicopter crashed into the North Sea off the coast of Shetland, killing four oil workers. This led to a crisis in confidence in the Super Puma, with some oil workers refusing to fly in them. A Facebook page set up to call for the Super Puma to be scrapped attracted 22,700 “likes” in two days.

Michael Caine sparked a media scare when he told a German newspaper his old friend Sir Sean Connery was “no longer in control of his senses”. Connery’s publicist later denied he was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and dismissed it as “truly silly and nonsense”. A Forfar man, Jim Dunbar, who had been late for every appointment in his life, including dates, weddings and funerals, was diagnosed as suffering from attention-deficit-hyperactitivy disorder, meaning he cannot properly gauge the passing of time.

John Bellany, one of Scotland’s greatest painters, died at his studio, clutching a paintbrush and surrounded by family. He was 71. In Ireland, Seamus Heaney died at the age of 74, his last words were a text to his wife which read, in Latin: “Don’t be afraid.”

September

Sir David Frost, the broadcasting icon who prompted an act of contrition from the disgraced American President Richard Nixon, died at the age of 74, after suffering a heart attack on board a cruise ship. He said of his favoured medium: “Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your home.” The Great Tapestry of Scotland, a 500ft long work of art that tells the story of the nation across 420 million years, created by 1,000 stitchers in 160 panels, was finally put on display in the Scottish Parliament. The artwork was devised by novelist Alexander McCall Smith. Glasgow was once again bequeathed a battered crown no one else wished to wear: that of the jobless capital of the United Kingdom, as figures revealed that one in three households have no one in employment. The city was passed the jaggy bunnet by Liverpool.

A bilingual roadsign on the A99 next to Wick Airport was blasted by gunfire on the day it was put up in what was believed to be an anti-Gaelic attack. It is not known what the perpetrator thought of the decision to release Tintin in the Black Isle in both Scots and Gaelic. Diana, a movie of the life of the former Princess of Wales starring Naomi Watts, had a premiere in London – but not a Royal one. It attracted some of the most vitriolic reviews of the year, and few punters. An investigation was launched by South Lanarkshire Council after a primary school was targeted by the Church of Christ, who donated books such as Truth Be Told: Exposing the myth of Evolution.

The 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden, in which thousands of Scots died, including King James IV, had a low-key commemoration because, well, we lost. The estate of the late Sir James Cayzer, which comprises farmland, woodland, six lochs and a Scots baronial castle, was put on the market with an asking price of £29m.

JK Rowling revealed that she was working on a screenplay based on Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them, a textbook given out to pupils at Hogwarts.

A poll by ICM and The Scotsman found Scots would vote Yes if an independent Scotland made them better off by £500 per year. A gunmen with mental health problems shot dead 13 people at a navy base in Washington DC.

Comedian Billy Connolly said he had been diagnosed with the early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and that he had also had surgery for prostate cancer. Sunshine on Leith, a musical based on the songs of the Proclaimers, was released in cinemas to largely excellent reviews. BBC news presenter Simon McCoy presented a report while holding a pack of A4 which he had mistaken for his iPad.

Jack Vettriano, the artist behind The Singing Butler, had his first major retrospective exhibition at the Kelvingrove Gallery in Glasgow, after being largely ignored by the art establishment in the east. Due to the sexual content of many of the paintings, children under 16 had to be escorted by an adult.

Militants linked to al-Qaeda attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi in Kenya, triggering a three-day siege which resulted in the deaths of 68 people, including six Britons. Interpol issued an arrest warrant for Samantha Lewthwaite – a British woman known as “the white widow” on account of her marriage to one of the bombers killed in the 7/7 attack in London – who is believed to have been involved in the attack.

Andy Murray tweeted a picture of himself in a hospital bed to thank fans who had wished him a speedy recovery from an operation for a disc problem in his lower back. The Hydro, a new music venue in Glasgow, opened with a concert by Rod Stewart. Emmanuel Joel-Hornak quit as musical director of Scottish Opera after just a few weeks in the post, amid reports of rows with the general director Alex Reedijk.

Alex Salmond wrote to the Prime Minister demanding he participate in a televised debate on Scottish independence. David Cameron said he’d rather not.

 

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