Search icon


29th Dec 2016

There is a late contender for the greatest single moment of 2016

This is possibly the greatest thing we've ever seen

Nooruddean Choudry

A year ago – almost to the day – 2015 signed off with the perfect depiction of modern British culture.

Professional snapper Joel Goodman was at hand on New Year’s Eve in the Shudehill area of Manchester to capture a photograph for the ages. Such were the golden ratios, plots and sub-plots, and perfect timing of the image that it was quickly acknowledged as something of a timeless classic.

Mike Deveney, the sprawling pint-saving hero of the piece, may have been unaware of his part in what was subsequently dubbed the ‘Manchester Masterpiece’, but future generations will study and admire every inch of him and his co-stars in the quite beguiling scene. We could – and did – stare at it for hours.

But a turbulent year on, 2016 finally has a moment in time to rival Goodman’s incredible work. Twenty-sixteen may have proved the most hurtful, poisonous and soul-destroying twelve months in living memory, but it has been in some way redeemed by 19 seconds of unadulterated joy.

Much like the Manchester Masterpiece, it encapsulates everything we represent as a nation – both good and bad – in its brutal asphalt beauty. It is also tinged with similar shades of violence, anger, love, hilarity, chaos and joy. If future civilisations care to study who and what we were in 2016, this would be the ideal reference point.

We don’t want to ruin it for you, but the scene is a city centre at the dead of night. It could be anywhere along the length and breadth of our post-Brexit land. Suffice to say there is a scuffle, raised arms and voices, and then, quite beautifully, a moment of breathtaking audacity. It fills the heart with joy and hints at a better tomorrow.

Never have moving pictures moved us so. Never has an empty Dixie Chicken meal deal box been upgraded to a half full Burger King bag with such elan. Enjoy…