Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Karen Bartlett

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Karen Bartlett

Article excerpt

Byline: By Karen Bartlett

This was the year when Hollywood realised only big budget epics were capturing our attention. Middle ranking hum drum tales sank without trace.

After the year we've had, it's got to be vast, transforming, horrifying or unique. Something fundamental about life and death and love. Granted, at the moment we're rushing to see a lengthy story about life and death and love between a woman and a giant monkey, but what did you expect?

A disaster movie about a wave that crushes New York? Or the film about the man who wakes up from a coma to find London deserted in the wake of a devastating terror attack?

After a year where all those things happened we'd enjoy fantasising about those events about as much as an in-flight movie of a plane crash.

Tucked up in our world of technological advances it's comforting to feel safe. I can check my emails from a hut in outer Mongolia, drive a car with six airbags and I'm so far removed from Mother Nature I only ever buy food in little plastic bags at the supermarket.

Surely nothing terrible could happen to someone like me?

Those tourists stretched out on the beach in Thailand, or the commuters unlucky enough to get the wrong tube in London on July 7, discovered how wrong that was.

I can't do much to prevent those kind of disasters, but I'm less powerless when it comes to influencing what happens next. Unfortunately, after the catalogue of natural and man-made disasters this year most of what happened next was chaos.

Last Boxing Day the strongest earthquake for more than 40 years threw up a 10-metre tidal wave that swept across the Indian Ocean at a speed almost as fast as an airplane, killing 300,000 people ( 140 of whom were British.

At home we rose to the challenge. We gave money as never before. Forget buying a goat for a Third World village, this was a splurge of ethical giving that led some people to sell their jewellery. …

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