My son, Joseph Marc Williams, was born on 7th February 2002. I was 25 at the time and working as the Assistant Manager of The Litten Tree in Rochdale. I’d been in Oldham since 1999 and was beginning to realise that the town wasn’t going to be a footnote in my life story but the most important part of it. All of the important shit that was going to happen to me was going to happen here. I’ve grown to love the town, despite the many, MANY problems that it has. It’s got a rich history and the people that live here are… unique.

This post isn’t about Oldham though, or me. It’s not even about my awesome son. It’s about the year that he was born. A trip down memory lane for me, if you like.

The highest grossing film of the year was The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Hard to believe that it’s that long since the film came out. The stars must have aligned that year as most of the top ten films were geek related. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Spider-Man; Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones; Men in Black 2; Die Another Day; Signs; Ice Age; My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Minority Report fill out the rest of the list. Those are some great films and might deserve a re-watch to celebrate his birth. Star Trek: Nemesis, the last of the Next Generation movies, also came out but some things are best forgotten.

Chicago won the Academy Award for Best Film, The Pianist took home a few and Spirited Away won Best Animated Feature. Basically it was a rubbish year for awards.

The number one single the day my son was born was “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias. It wasn’t the top song of the year, though. That honour went to Will Young with “Evergreen”. Gareth Gates had a couple of hits with “Unchained Melody” and “Any One of Us”; “A Little Less Conversation” from Elvis and JXL was a song that I loved and there was also S Club 7; Wheatus with “Teenage Dirtbag” and “Because I Got High” from Afroman.

Reality TV also started (I think) as Will Young won Pop Idol 2 days after Joseph came along. So some great things happened that year, and some should be regretted. “Popstars: The Rivals” began and ended, sparking a lifelong love for Joseph in Girls Aloud.

The Queen Mother died and Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Golden Jubilee. “I’m a Celebrity…” began for the first time and the downfall of civilisation as we know it joined it.

The Osbornes wormed their way into the global consciousness and The Dead Zone debuted. A little show called Firefly also began and lasted only one year yet, somehow, is regarded by a vast amount of people to be the best SF show ever made. Ally McBeal finished, as did The X Files, Dharma and Greg and Lexx.

It was also the year of the World Cup, and the year of the only football match that I can remember enjoying. It was June 12th; England versus Nigeria. The final score was a goalless draw but they qualified for the knockout stages. I can’t really remember the match, but I had a delicious bacon butty. That sort of thing stays with you.

Despite all of these things, and the vast number of other things that happened that year, the greatest event that happened was the birth of my son. He’s the most wonderful kid and, although he’s getting to the age where he doesn’t really like it, I love cuddling up with him in bed on a morning. I know that he’s going to grow into a young man that I will be proud to call my son. I just hope that I can be someone that he’s proud to call his Dad.