1. Dario G – ‘Sunchyme’ was released
Might as well get this one out the way first: ‘Sunchyme’ is one of the best songs ever to hit a speaker. It is one of the most uplifting, life-affirming tracks in existence and the world without it would be a bubbling hellhole of darkness, despair and molten hot pain. The fact that it still sounds absolutely perfect is testament to how much of a universe-altering banger this is.
Sit back, pull your pants down and just listen to the majesty of it.
2. The Nintendo 64 reached the UK (and Goldeneye was released)
In general – @ me – the PlayStation was better than the N64. However, the N64 did have a good number of stormers under its belt. Namely: Goldeneye 007.
Everyone’s Favourite Game™ was released in August, and immediately opened the eyes of the world and showed it how good multiplayer gaming could be. Also, you could just play as Odd Job and win every time, which, much like it did whenever I played as Eddie Gordo, brought me intense, often crippling, pleasure.
3. Channel 5 was born into our lives, and it was really exciting
OH IT'S FRIDAY EVENING I SUPPOSE I HAD BETTER BE GOING TO BED EARLY NIGHT NIGHT EVERYONE.
4. And the very first Harry Potter book came out
Harry Potter eh? Who’d have thought it? Could anybody have predicted just how close it would get to legitimately taking over the entire world? Did 31-year-old J.K Rowling ever imagine that she would become the richest author on the planet? A billionaire? Probably not, in all honesty, but all of that happened. It’s a madness.
It is quite good though, old Harry Potter, isn’t it. Fair enough.
5. Brass Eye graced our screens for the first time
One of the greatest comedy programmes of our time first aired in 1997, and to celebrate, I’ll just leave this here.
6. The Fifth Element came out and it was absolutely amazing
Luc Besson has been involved with some proper good stuff: Leon, Kiss Of The Dragon, District 13, but also some pretty awful stuff: Lucy. Thankfully, The Fifth Element is in the former camp, and is easily my favourite film of his. It’s also my favourite Bruce Willis film (alongside The Last Boy Scout, obviously), my favourite Milla Jovovich film, my favourite Gary Oldman film, but not my favourite Ian Holm film (that’s Alien, also obviously).
It’s top-notch stuff, and if not for anything else, it belongs on the list for introducing me to the best opera scene in any film, ever.
7. Roberto Carlos scored that unbelievably stupid goal
Well done Mr. Roberto Carlos, you did a pretty good kick.
8. White Town – ‘Your Woman’ was unleashed unto an undeserving world
A one-hit wonder, here, but what a one-hit wonder – and as White Town himself, Jyoti Prakash Mishra, says: “Better than a no-hit wonder”. I couldn’t agree more – this is such an unbelievable banger. Let the music do the talking.
9. The UK actually won Eurovision
This is not a thing that happens. We do not win the Eurovision song contest, not even when Daz Sampson represented us – a travesty, I know. We’ve only nabbed the top spot five times in total, and not once since 1997, when Katrina and the Waves took us home with ‘Love Shine A Light’, an extremely average song if I’ve ever heard one. Also, Katrina is American, so did “we” even win? WE ARE NOT VERY GOOD AT THIS COMPETITION.
10. Wishmaster came out, which was great, obviously
If you have not seen Wishmaster, it’s time you rectified that immediately. It is a film about a genie who grants wishes in a very literal manner, pretty much always killing the person who summoned him. It is hilarious.
For example, in one scene a security guard says “You’ll have to go through me, and that is something I’d love to see.” So the genie literally walks through him, killing him. In another, a woman wishes to be beautiful forever, so the genie turns her into a shop mannequin, killing her. It’s stupidly OTT, horrendously violent, doesn’t make any sense, and I love it.
Probably best to ignore the sequels though, unless you want to see what happens when someone says “I wish my lawyer would go and fuck himself”.
Wishmaster 2 will show you, btw.
10. And Aquila, one of the greatest children’s TV shows in history, first aired
Do. You. Remember. Aquila? It. Was. The. Best. It was a show about two kids who find an ancient alien spaceship and decide to fly it around, as you absolutely would if you found an ancient alien spaceship. They don’t do anything really cool though, like fly above a school and drop water bombs filled with dog shit onto the playground, but you can’t have it all I guess.
Anyway, if you’ve got no idea what I’m talking about, all the episodes are on YouTube – watch episode one here.
12. DJ Quicksilver – ‘Belissima’ was released, and it was a banger
13. Mike Tyson bit a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s ear – back when boxing was properly good
Mike Tyson fought Evander Holyfield in front of loads of people and thought he’d get away with biting his actual ear off. Cameras everywhere, referees, thousands and thousands of spectators, I’m going to bite his ear off and win this thing. Mike Tyson ate Evander Holyfield’s ear, and quite a lot of people noticed, so he was disqualified. The reason for this is: you are not allowed to eat your opponent’s ear in a boxing match.
14. The best Steven Seagal film, Fire Down Below, came out
OK, it’s not the best one, but it’s my favourite (the best one is Marked For Death, FYI). This one has it all: some amazing Seagal jackets, some great ponytails, Seagal playing guitar, Marg Helgenberger, Kris Kristofferson and Seagal beating up loads of people one a time and making them look like idiots.
15. I loudly and confidently proclaimed that ‘Mo Money Mo Problems’ was the best song I’d ever heard
I am 99% sure that a large amount of other people also said this in 1997. In fact, I’m 98% sure that a large amount of people still say it now. Here’s all the proof you need.
16. Tamagotchis arrived on our shores
Although they had been released elsewhere in the world the year before, we finally got the chance to scream at our parents until they bought us one in 1997. I think some of the pleas in my reportoire included:
“Everyone else at school has one.”
“It will mean you don’t have to buy me a real pet.”
“I need to learn how to look after things.”
“It’s for a school project.”
“I won’t get down off the roof until I have one in my mouth.”
Of course, anyone that actually ended up getting one soon found out that they got very boring after about two life-cycles. From then on, it was pretty much just stealing the girls’ ones at school and feeding them until they died. Still, fun for a bit.
17. It was a fantastic year for creature features
All the following films came out: Mimic, Anaconda, The Relic, Alien: Resurrection and The Lost World. All films with creatures in them, all features.
You may be looking at those films and saying “Hey, mate, this list doesn’t have any good films in and those ones were especially shite,” but actually, looking back, they’re objectively not. Mimic is a film about insects that have evolved to look like humans and that gives it a free pass regardless; Anaconda is so dumb it’s brilliant; The Relic was wicked then and is still wicked now; Alien: Resurrection is actually not as bad as you remember; and The Lost World is the second best Jurassic Park film.
18. The two best Nicolas Cage films came out in the same year
If you have disagreed with most of my filmic choices so far, I understand (I don’t like you, but I understand), however, there is absolutely, positively no denying that Face/Off and Con Air are top-dollar got-daym hot-dog jamborees of cinematic power-punching. I think of the two, my favourite is Face/Off, simply because it’s completely nonsensical and makes not a lick of sense – a disregard for comprehension that even stretches to it’s actual title. Why is there a slash there? What does that even mean?
Also, “It's like looking at a mirror only... not” is the hands-down the greatest movie quote in all of every instance of time.
19. Smash Mouth – ‘Walkin' On The Sun’ – you know, that one that isn’t ‘All Star’ – was released
Bubba Sparxxx wouldn’t appear until 2001, but Smash Mouth’s Steve Harwell was looking like him back in 1997, paving the way. Also, he was releasing thumbs-up bangers like this one.
20. And the greatest party political broadcast of all time aired
THIS IS THE GREATEST THING TO HAVE COME OUT OF 1997.