It was in November of 1997 that a couple of guys named Gary and Harry scraped together a few dollars and opened a little pub with a big British attitude in downtown Plymouth. As the BBC’s 20th anniversary approaches, we find ourselves reflecting on the major events of the world. Well, maybe not major, exactly; more like mildly noteworthy.
1997: We were too busy launching the BBC to notice much else, but as the tunes cranked mid-renovation, Hanson’s “MMMBop” was unfortunately inescapable, and we wanted LeAnn Rimes to finally find the answer to her epic question, “How Do I Live”.
1998: The world was introduced to a woman named Monica Lewinsky; Gap’s navy blue dress entered the halls of infamy.
1999: Bill Clinton managed to skirt the Lewinsky scandal when he was acquitted of perjury charges; Y2K turned out to be much ado about nothing; Barbie built her Dream House, and SpongeBob SquarePants made his debut.
2000: Vermont residents proved themselves anything but staid New Englanders when they legalized same-sex unions; Bill Gates stunned the tech world when he resigned as CEO of Microsoft.
2001: It was a year of fantasy at the box office with Shrek, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Mummy, Jurassic Park III, and Mark Wahlberg’s inexplicable Planet of the Apes coming in as the highest grossing films.
2002: Harry and Gandalf continued to rule at the box office as they showed up in much-hyped sequels; corporate America ruled the bankruptcy courts with Kmart and United Airlines filing for protection.
2003: Tens of thousands of bikers gathered in Milwaukee to herald the 100th anniversary of Harley Davidson; Arnold went from terminator to “govern-ator” when he was elected governor of California.
2004: The Red Sox broke the curse of the Bambino. ‘Nuf said.
2005: Disneyland marked a milestone as it celebrated 50 years at the happiest place on Earth; Harry Potter was back at the box office, joined by King Kong and Batman.
2006: Google continued its path to world domination when it bought YouTube; Barry Bonds allegedly broke Babe Ruth’s homerun record.
2007: For better or worse, the world as we know it changed when Steve Jobs debuted the iPhone.
2008: We’ve got nothing good to say about ’08, as banking scandals pummeled the global economy in a recession; insult was added to injury as we were forced to watch reruns when Hollywood screenwriters went on strike.
2009: It was a year of miracles as the U.S. elected an African American to the highest office in the land and Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger crash landed a plane on the Hudson River, and everyone lived to tell about it.
2010: Health care in the U.S. made a major change as ObamaCare became law; Justin Bieber emerged from the dark corners of YouTube as he began to climb the charts with his cotton candy pop music.
2011: The world lost a visionary when Steve Jobs died; as the recession continued, a grassroots effort to protest income inequality was born as Wall Street found itself occupied.
2012: Marvel’s The Avengers was the superhero of the box office as it shattered all previous records; Bruno Mars went from relative unknown to superstar with an epic performance at the Grammys.
2013: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby found a new generation of fans as the Baz Luhrmann-directed movie premiered with a thumping Jay-Z soundtrack; Lance Armstrong fell from grace in a tour de farce when he admitted to doping.
2014: “Upskirting” became a word when Massachusetts made it illegal to photograph up a woman’s skirt (we needed a law for that?!); a guy named Bubba won the Masters; our beloved Mork made his departure from Earth far too early.
2015: Adele said “Hello” to the world and Bruno Mars waxed philosophical about Michelle Pfeiffer, Saint Laurent, and Skippy.
2016: Massachusetts native Meghan Trainer rode “All About That Bass” to the top of the charts while Matt Damon took a spaceship to Mars; Tom Brady spent quality time at the 2nd District U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals discussing balls.
2017: The Super Bowl: take that, Roger Goodell. ‘Nuf said.