John Woodhouse: Crystal ball gazing to predict just what's in store for 2013
IT'S been an incredible year. The London Olympics, Andy Murray's US Open win, Bradley Wiggins taking the Tour de France. How rightly ashamed Englebert Humperdinck must feel that he finished second bottom in Eurovision.
But, as many celebrities from the 70s would agree, it doesn't do well to dwell on the past. North Staffordshire, aside from still routinely eating an oat-based dish from 300 years ago, is a forward and progressive place, and so we must ready ourselves for what 2013 might bring. Here's a taste of the year to come.
January – Hanley's new multi-million pound bus station is opened. With Kate Middleton unavailable, officials plump instead for Olive from On The Buses. Sadly, the building is later mothballed after it is discovered its 'fried egg' roof design is causing catastrophic amounts of pigeon droppings to slide on to passengers waiting at bay 3 for the Pittshill flyer.
February – Buoyed by the success of The Year The Town Hall Shrank, one of the few documentaries to be sponsored by the Samaritans, Stoke-on-Trent invites BBC4 to follow its move into its new £55 million civic centre in Hanley. To best capture the seamlessly efficient nature of the operation, the programme is presented by Ant and Dec.
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March – Great news for the proposed City Sentral development as Spud-U-Like throws its weight behind the scheme, joining other retail giants such as Tracy's Tongue-Piercing, Ballcocks R Us, and the One Stop Coffin Shop. Developers say they'll also have a leading sexual health clinic on board by the end of the month.
April – The new financial year brings little respite for councils in North Staffordshire. Frontline services are axed as residents in Newcastle are told they'll have to share the streetlamp. The mayor of Cheshire East , meanwhile, becomes the first in Britain to travel to official functions by wheelbarrow.
May – Staffordshire Moorlands District Council attempts to remedy its position as the third whitest place in Britain by staging a Twenty20 international between India and Pakistan at Leek Cricket Club. The match is abandoned without a ball being bowled as old enmities arise and council leader Sybil Ralphs, pictured below, is ordered to appear before the United Nations' security council.
June – In an attempt to get communities to engage with their roots, North Staffordshire residents are urged to revive the tradition of the Potters' Holiday. As thousands descend on Blackpool, the plan backfires when Channel 4 releases a special Stoke-on-Trent edition of 999: What's Your Emergency?
July – The wettest summer since, er, the last one is in full swing. As floodwaters rise, people are warmed by the news that the cast of Viva Forever, the Spice Girls musical, have been washed off stage at The Regent.
August – The new football season starts with Stoke having finally filled in the missing corners of the Britannia Stadium. They're applauded by environmental bodies for their imaginative use of a secondhand dry ski slope.
September – A national day of celebration is announced as a mix-up between the gas board and a national energy supplier means there's no roadworks in Ash Bank for the first time in a century.
October – Alton Towers unveils plans for its new ride. Named simply Vertigo it entails carriages full of revellers being hurtled at high speed up and down Peter Crouch.
November – Police clampdown on drunkenness in the city centre. From now on councillors won't be given expenses cash in hand.
December – Confusion reigns as Stoke-on-Trent City Council admits it has issued a compulsory purchase order on its own new £55 million complex to make way for City Sentral. Ant and Dec bring Graham Norton and Miranda Hart in as back-up.