There has always been a heated debate on the vexed question of what is, in fact, the best year. "When I was seventeen", sang Frank Sinatra, "it was a very good year". By my calculations, Frank Sinatra would have been seventeen roughly circa 1843, so we shall have to take his word that it was some pretty hot shit. The Wu-Tang Clan spoke out boldly against such reactionary attitudes on 'Can It Be All So Simple', where they invite us to:
"Remember back in the days when, shit, everything was all smooth and calm and shit was like, yo like back in seventy, fucking '79...?"
"Nah nah, '87, that was my favourite shit, everything was like, fuck, everything was lovely, man"
Clearly, if the usually united Wu cannot even agree amongst themselves, we are dealing with a question of the utmost seriousness. I have done some fairly extensive research into the subject myself, and am pleased to announce my findings here on URT. There were several strong contenders for the title of Best Year Ever, including old stand-bys such as 1945 (Hitler dies, Europe liberated) and mainstream classics like 1977 ('Star Wars' released, Neill Cameron born).
However, after much deliberation I've had to settle on 1996. It is of course unutterably pitiful to be the sort of wanker who spends the rest of their life looking back on their student days with smug nostalgia, and it is terrifying to consider the prospect of having 'peaked' at age 19, but it has to be said that all in all it was a pretty god damn good fucking year. There was laughter, there were tears, we all learned a lot about life... and each other.
1996: a rollercoaster ride of sex, drugs and Mario Kart addiction. Any way you look at it, that's got to beat working for a living.
The darker side of 1996; TFI Friday, Oasis, The Lightning Seeds featuring Baddiel and Skinner with Three Lions, War in the Balkans, the Girlie Show, Northern Uproar, Neil Morrisey a sex symbol, A levels, Peter Andre, the internet nothing but a group of sad cases discussing Science Fiction, Tory Government, three day weeks, rubbish piling up in the streets.
In the words of the great ones, the best place to be is right here, the best time to be is right now.
And besides, 1995 was much better.