JULY '98. World Cup in full swing in France. Scotland knocked out by losing 6-5 to Jamaica, after leading 5-0 with 10 minutes to go. Scottish manager Craig Brown says: "It's the same old story. We have only ourselves to blame. We had it for the taking. Then we threw it away. I am sick to my boots. I think I am going to commit suicide. At least then I won't be confused with Craig Brown the restaurant writer." Boxer George Foreman announces another comeback. Tony Blair goes on holiday in Tuscan villa belonging to Spice Girls. First Test drawn.
AUGUST '98. American scientists announce that they have developed a genetically altered garlic plant which tastes of nothing and which will therefore appeal to the American palate. Production of Disney animated version of The Bible runs into trouble with ethnic minorities, because there are no black or Asian disciples, and because Jesus does not look Jewish enough. East Anglian house of restaurant writer Craig Brown stormed by angry Scottish football fans, bitter about ignominious Scots exit from World Cup. When informed of error, Scots fans apologise and say: "We got it wrong. It's the same old story. Sorry about that." John Major announces his comeback.
SEPTEMBER '98. American scientists announce they have developed a genetically altered tomato which will automatically fall apart in slices when picked, or even into fancy shapes. Tony Blair goes on holiday in Millennium Dome. American promoter Don King says that if the money is right, he will stage a spectacular George Foreman v. John Major comeback special. Many East German athletes are stripped retrospectively of their Olympic medals after massive steroid abuse in the 1970s and 1980s is proved. Some British athletes who trailed in fourth and fifth get gold and silver. David Coleman breaks down in tears of joy.
OCTOBER '98. A new, genetically improved strain of bird flu reappears in Hong Kong. It is not being passed on by poultry as no poultry are left alive in Hong Kong. Therefore it is being passed on by humans. Therefore all humans in Hong Kong should be slaughtered, say world chicken lobby. No decision taken. "If our policies are right, I see no reason why we should not defeat Mr Foreman's outmoded vision," says John Major. "I'll murder him," says Foreman. Ffion Hague gives birth to twins, Ffred and Ffrieda. More controversy over Disneys Bible film - Pope criticises Disney decision to omit Crucifixion and to have God played by Robin Williams as a Jewish father. ("You want to be a what? A saviour of the world? My son, the saviour? What kind of career is that for a bright boy?" etc etc).
NOVEMBER '98 The Titanic is finally raised, amid huge publicity. Unfortunately, as it is being towed back to New York at night, it is struck by an unseen iceberg and sinks. Tony Blair invites Sir Elton John to join the Cabinet. "Money cannot buy his sort of experience," he says. "Oh yes, it can," says Elton John. Manchester United loses for the first time in season. "These are early days," says Alex Ferguson. John Major breaks a fingernail in training and the big fight is postponed. American scientist claims that obesity helps to prevent heart attacks. Russian scientist proves that the 21st century has already started. Spice Girls threaten to make comeback.
DECEMBER '98. The Blessed Virgin Mary appears to a Portuguese peasant girl in a vision and tells her that she is, on balance, in favour of a single European currency, though there are bound to be teething problems. Tony Blair goes on holiday in balloon belonging to Richard Branson. Scientists discover a new strain of flu bug which flourishes only in cars caught in traffic jams on the M25. Tony Blair defends his decision to invite Father Christmas to join Cabinet by saying: "Money cannot buy his experience of winter retail trade cycles." Blessed Virgin Mary reappears to peasant girl and urges her to get linked up to the Internet, as reappearing in these visions really takes it out of her. George Foreman falls asleep in third round; John Major disqualified for incessant talking. Snow. Floods. Last minute Christmas shopping. 1999 starts.