Society Diary: 2020, the year which gave us speedos, fat dogs and a plague

18 Dec 2020 Voices

Speedo Mick: Like Captain Tom, but half naked

Readers, we got there in the end.

After a year of – let’s be honest – relentless bad news, we have all staggered our way to the end of December.

New words have entered our reporting lexicon. It isn’t that we have no sources – we are "self-isolating". It isn’t that we are too lazy to work – but coincidentally, just as that long press release arrived, we came down with "zoom fatigue".

Christmas is going to be different for everyone, but Diary will be with you in spirit (or, for some of the editorial team, deep into the spirits). And what better way to prepare than a trip down memory lane.

We were going to treat you to twelve days of Diary Christmas, but honestly there weren’t that many things worth reproducing. So we have rewritten the song and gone with 10 instead.

10 Days of Diary

Zip all the way back to January 10 and Diary had some new year’s resolutions to announce. The last of which was to approach 2020 with “a sunny disposition and positive outlook on the world”. O the innocence. O the optimism. My sweet, sweet child…

Innocence never lasts long, though. By Valentine’s Day we had grown obsessed with fundraising hero Speedo Mick. Remember him? Mick set out to raise £100,000 for charities by wandering around in very small swimming trunks. Presumably if Mick tried this now, he would be arrested not for the nudity but for walking unawares from Tier 2 into Tier 3.

At the end of February, Diary got all artistic and joined a fundraising campaign which involved drawing our pets. This is still a Favourite Day Ever for many of Diary’s colleagues, even better than that afternoon when the charity minister got done in a tabloid sex scandal.

The first week of March and even Diary, which we admit does not always pay as much attention as we should, has noticed things have all gone a bit pandemic-y. Amid a charity scheme to help slim down pets (illustrated with adorable photos of chubby dogs), we declared our plan to isolate at home for a few months and hide under the bed until it had all gone away.

We reappeared in August. Now, it might just be chance, but personnel changes at CSM Towers coincided with a gratuitous reference to Liberal Democrats defending the rights of charities. Rumours that someone pitched a column in their first week based on Nick Clegg actually being a good bloke cannot be confirmed or denied.

By the end of the month, Diary had retreated to its happy place, with lots of chat about very good dogs who had been made charity ambassadors and some awful puns. Oh and the best photo ever used on our website.

In the second week of September, we found room for a snarky aside aimed at Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, who Diary thought may turn out to be a bit of a wrong ’un. Our crystal ball never fails us, because literally today we are reporting on his spat with charities trying to feed hungry children. You can read that here, although it is long on grimness and short on laughs.

More fat pets in October (we will only stop writing the same thing over and over again when the editors make us). And a reference to the incredible fundraising work of national hero Captain Tom, who followed in the footsteps of Speedo Mick but with a lot more clothes on.

Then we covered the slightly hard-to-follow row between a hedgehog charity (ahhhhh) and supermarket giant Aldi (brilliant hotdogs). Rereading it now, Diary is stunned to see that the author did not refer to the two sides being “prickly” with each other. Some puns beg to be published and we can only apologise.

And finally, as November loomed and another national lockdown was, er, locked down, Diary asked the two most important questions we have: What excuse do we have to write about pet charities again, and when do we get to go back to charity events to quaff the warm white wine? Whatever Building Back Better means, we are fine with it provided drinks and nibbles are still laid on.


And one last serious note.

Thank you all, readers, for sticking with us. It has been a tough year for charities everywhere and a very strange one at Civil Society Towers. We have adapted to the new abnormal and Diary knows that you have, too.

Cheers – and see you in 2021.

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