In 2016, Leicester City won the Premier League. Zara Holland was on Love Island. Feeling old yet?

Justin Timberlake, Zara Holland, Secret Life of Pets

On 23 June 2016, the top 3 singles on the UK Official Singles Chart were One Dance by Drake, This Girl by Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 Burners, and Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake.

Mike Posner’s I Took A Pill In Ibiza was #10, Adele’s Send My Love To Your New Lover was #25 and Alan Walker’s Faded was #26. The Chainsmokers’ Don’t Let Me Down was #30. In 2016, the Grammy winners for the Best Dance Recording were Skrillex and Diplo, together with Justin Bieber.

In 2016, Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris were still dating. The Scotsman’s Celtic charm wore off around the time of the EU referendum, and soon afterwards Taylor Swift got together with Tom Hiddleston.

Zara Holland in August 2016. Photo: Century Black / Flickr.

On the small screen, the second series of Love Island aired in the summer of 2016. On 17 June, Zara Holland was stripped of her Miss GB title for having sex on TV. She walked out of the show on 19 June. Just in time to vote in the EU referendum, I suppose! Cara De La Hoyde and Nathan Massey went on to win the series.

On the big screen, meanwhile, the highest-grossing film in the UK and Ireland the weekend of 23 June 2016 was The Secret Life of Pets. (The first one, not the sequel.)

Nigel Farage proclaimed the day after the EU referendum “independence day”. Fitting, then, that the second-most popular film that week was Independence Day: Resurgence. While Brexiteers promised sunlit uplands, the film saw an insurgent alien force nearly destroy the world. Turns out Hollywood’s prediction of the future was more accurate than Farage’s.

In 2016, the British entry in the Eurovision Song Contest was Joe and Jake’s You’re Not Alone. The winner was Ukraine with Jamala’s 1944. Since then, Portugal, Israel and the Netherlands have all won the contest. Maybe 2020 will be the UK’s year! Hopefully the Eurovision fans flocking to London in 2021 will smuggle some fresh fruit for us to eat.

Leicester City, Andy Murray, Rio Olympics

In the Premier League, Leicester City were crowned the surprise winners of the 2015/16 season. The best goalkeeper of the season was Petr Čech. Frank Lampard, who played for New York City, retired at the end of the 2016 season.

Now Leicester has returned to mid-table obscurity, and Frank Lampard and Petr Čech have begun new careers in management and coaching. Or given that we’re talking about Chelsea, I guess I should say busing. *badum-tss* If only ‘parking the bus’ still conjured thoughts of Chelsea, instead of Boris Johnson and a £350 million porkie.

Leicester City score against Southampton in April 2016. Photo: LIHD Leicester City / Flickr

On 10 July 2016, Andy Murray won his second Wimbledon singles title. He would also be Team GB’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics the following month.

At those Olympics, Britain won an impressive 27 gold medals, placing second in the medal table behind the US. Second-biggest sporting nation in the world, right? Well, taken together the rest of the EU won 54 gold medals, placing ahead of the US’ 46. Maybe the EU don’t need us more than we need them, after all.

François Hollande, Barack Obama, Matteo Renzi

Don’t you wish Obama could’ve just stayed on for a few more years? (Photo: Voice of America)

In June 2016, Barack Obama was the President of the United States. Much like the UK, the US has seen some dramatic events since 2016, too. For example, there have been 1,148 mass shootings in the US since 23 June 2016. On a more cheerful note, Michelle Obama’s book Becoming was published on 13 November 2018 – one day before negotiations for Theresa May’s Brexit deal finished.

In June 2016, François Hollande was the President of France. David Cameron was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Remember those guys?

In June 2016, Matteo Renzi was the Prime Minister of Italy. Unfortunately for him, it seems he was taking tips from Dave: Renzi, too, lost a referendum in 2016. Unlike David Cameron, though, he didn’t step down but still fought a general election – and lost. This autumn, Italy and the UK are equally likely to have yet another election. Who said Brits and Italians have nothing in common?

“Britain faces a simple and inescapable choice – stability and strong Government with me, or chaos with Ed Miliband” -David Cameron on 4 May, 2015. (Photo: Global Panorama / Flickr)

In July 2016, Turkey was shaken by a failed military coup and by President Erdogan’s violent response. While Britain has spent the last three years arguing over Brexit, Erdogan has been busy purging Turkish military and civil service, and torturing political prisoners.

In case you hadn’t noticed, absolutely no-one is talking seriously about Erdogan’s Turkey joining the EU – though somehow Brexiteers keep bringing this idea up. With Brexiteers now taking aim at the very foundations of British democracy, let’s hope they aren’t taking their cues from Erdogan.

Harambe and bottle flip

Grim, eh? So let’s wrap this up with some memes from 2016.

In June 2016, it was cool to say “dicks out for Harambe”…

LittleT889 / Wikimedia Commons

…and everyone was flipping bottles.

At the end of 2016, people were posting about how long a year can feel.

That’s accurate – except that Brexit has been going on three times longer than that. Just make it stop already!

Author: Juuso Jarviniemi

Originally from Finland, Juuso Järviniemi studies International Relations at the University of Edinburgh. He has been active in Young European Movement UK and the European Movement in Scotland, as well as European-wide pro-EU movements.

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