Terence Blacker: 2011's most annoying people and things

Click to follow
The Independent Online

It is the moment in the year when anyone with a public voice is asked to list their favourite books, films or CDs of the year. But those of us in the grumpiness trade have a tougher time. What of the people, animals and stories of whom we have had too much over the past 12 months? Surely they deserve a Christmas list, too.

Jeremy Clarkson: In saloon bars and dinner parties in the Home Counties, there will be a middle-aged male (minor public school, right-wing, hopeless with women, you know the type) holding forth and making bad jokes. He is ignored. Give the same type a television programme, and suddenly every asinine comment becomes a mini-typhoon of media opinion and outrage. Who in truth is not thoroughly bored of this man and his rival professional controversialists? Runners-up: Liz Jones, Rod Liddle, Ricky Gervais.

Twitter: The mini-message form is tremendously exciting to the media. Celebrities stalk themselves, providing easy, pointless stories. There are amusing little rows to follow. Despite its name, the noise is not like birdsong, but is brief, direct and occasionally startling – a shout, a whisper, a giggle. It is time for a bit of Twitter silence. Runners-up: Mark Zuckerberg, Mumsnet, Spotify.

The Banned List: "Someone watches over us when we write. Mother. Teacher. Shakespeare. God," Martin Amis once wrote. As from 2011, the list should be revised to: "Mother. Teacher. Shakespeare. God. John Rentoul." Once an excellent idea, pillorying lazy and often evasive clichés used in public life, it has become something of a scourge. Journalists, writers and politicians live in fear of a new literary Stasi. Runners-up: The Campaign for Real Apostrophes, The Literary Review Bad Sex prize, Crimewatch.

Pippa Middleton's behind: From the moment when bored photographers at the royal wedding snapped the unexceptional back view of the bride's sister, the semi-royal bottom became an object of erotic yearning for frustrated monarchists around the world. Last week, it landed its owner a £400,000 deal with Penguin. What next? Bronze buttocks on a plinth in Trafalgar Square? Runners-up: Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Robbie Savage.

The MacPandas: These two luckless caged animals have yet to meet their public, but the Scots and the pandas, we are told, are made for each other. Already we have heard too much about their silly names, their dull, basic diet, their famously limp sexuality – and the pandas are probably not much better. Runners-up: Polar bears, the cuckoo, War Horse.