FROM a raving football fan to a dangling Boris Johnson, here are the stories that tickled, bemused and baffled us most in the past year
Ban Ki-moon dances Gangnam Style
The UN Secretary’s endearing - if not a little awkward - press call with South Korean rapper PSY said rather a lot about how successful the 34-year-old’s hit song, Gangnam Style, had become. Currently the most viewed Youtube clip of all time (it topped 805 million views last month, beating the record previously held by Justin Bieber), it is the undisputable pop culture phenomenon of 2012: hailed by Ban as a “force for world peace”, co-signed by pretty much every celebrity you could think of, and allegedly aped by David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Chequers. All this for an electro-rap song parodying a bourgeois neighbourhood in Seoul, a synopsis which hardly seems sufficient to persuade your local warlord to lay down arms and saddle up on an imaginary horse.
‘Jesus’ escorted out of darts tournament
Nathan Grindal was attending a darts tournament at Butlins between Phil Taylor and Kim Huybrechts when he was asked to leave - for looking like Jesus. Fellow spectators, having noticed Mr Grindal’s resemblence to the son of God, began chanting “Jesus”. Soon, all 4,500 fans in the Somerset arena began to sing the name of the Almighty, albeit in a rather mocking fashion. Organisers feared that the chanting would distract the players, and so asked a visibly upset Mr Grindal to leave.
“The crowd were bullying me and picking on me,” Mr Grindal said of the incident. Perhaps he has more in common with Jesus than he realises.
Boris Johnson gets stuck on zipwire
First, there was the hung parliament - now here’s a hanging politician! No? Well, at least Boris Johnson had the good grace to pretend he enjoyed it. In 2012 - despite, or perhaps because of such gaffes - everyone fell in love with the Mayor of London. Johnson’s re-election in May was a precursor to a summer that saw him preside over a successful Olympic Games, and even mount something of a leadership challenge to David Cameron that many politicos, if only for a brief period, discussed as if it were an entirely credible possibility. Still, if Boris Johnson were to become Prime Minister, celebrating like this would surely be the height of extravagance.
Mystery raver seen at Rangers v Elgin match
One of the more entertaining spectacles seen at Ibrox in recent months, this mystery woman - later revealed to be Jenny Bird, a Nairn County supporter - was spotted by Sky Sports cameras dancing in a way familiar only to aficionados of 90s acid house and demonic possession. As the Sky Sports presenter exclaimed with just a little too much relish, “I don’t know what that dance is but she looks like she’s having a really, really, really, really good time by herself.”
Kony 2012 campaign goes viral, film-maker suffers meltdown
The very public breakdown of Jason Russell, the film-maker and campaigner behind the Kony 2012 campaign, was a bizarre and sad end to a campaign that had been watched, analysed, shared, dissected, praised and denounced to death by the blogosphere. Russell was photographed walking the streets of San Diego naked, in broad daylight, making bizarre proclamations and battering the ground with his hands shortly before he was arrested by police.
Invisible Children, the charity which he is co-founder of, and the organisation behind the Kony 2012 campaign, came to global attention when they released a video to raise awareness of Ugandan paramilitary leader Joseph Kony. After an initial swell of public approval, it attracted stern criticism for a perceived neo-colonial stance, as well as a number of inaccuracies, including the implication that Kony was still resident in Uganda, where in fact it is widely believed the warlord has been in the Democratic Republic of Congo for some time.
The Mayan apocalypse prophecy
It might have come to your attention that the world is ending this Friday. Though the specifics of our impending doom have yet to be outlined, a sizeable minority of people across the world have taken the Mayan prophecy, which predicts the end of the world on Friday 21 December, with the utmost sincerity.
Sales of survival shelters and canned foodstuffs have rocketed in pockets of the US. Several towns in Russia have seen a peak in purchases of kerosene, torches, candles, salt, Thermos flasks, and other items that you’d only buy if you were having a tea party in a damp cave.
Meanwhile, the French village of Bugarach has become the unlikely base camp for armageddonists around the globe, a small number of whom have flocked to the sleepy village in the Pyreneese with a population of 176 people. It is believed that the mountain which looms over Bugarach, with its unusual rock formation, is a “UFO car park” that will also act as a collection point for those seeking salvation in the cold, leathered bosom of ET. Even Australian prime minister Julia Gillard has taken the prediction (not) seriously by making a (spoof) statement in an (un)official broadcast on Youtube.
• Are these the weirdest stories of 2012? What do you think? Post your suggestions in the comments section.